A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Farewell Chase


As you may or may not know, Chase Headley is no longer a Padre.  He was traded to the Yankees yesterday for infielder Yangervis Solarte and pitcher Jose De Paula.  The Padres were in Chicago getting ready to take on the Cubs, and when the deal was done, the Yankees got him out of Chi-Town and over to the Bronx, where he was able help the Yankees to a 2-1 win in his first game.  It took 14 innings, but the Yankees had a walk off victory.  Game winning RBI?  Chase Headley.

Of course.

I'm torn on Headley, because I'm not sure what he is.  I went to Spring Training in 2012 and 2013, and Headley was the only Padre who signed autographs for us both times.  And he was easily there longer than any other Padre, signing and taking pictures.  Really down to earth, humble, personable guy.

He isn't a bad player, but his 2012 season, when he got MVP votes, won a Gold Glove, and led the league in RBI, may have led to more problems with the Padres organization.  After that season, they tried to sign him to a long term deal.  He wouldn't take it, and so, with two years left on his contract, it might've been prime time to trade him.

However, he got injured, or just sucked, and it looked more and more like the second half of 2012 (when he racked up RBI once the Padres were hopelessly out of the playoff race) was a fluke.  Trade market died off.

From there, it was just "cross our fingers, hope that something works out" with him, which is rarely an effective strategy.

The Padres didn't handle the situation well, but they did also offer him money that he didn't take, so it seems that he wanted out of San Diego as well.  So, I'm torn on him.

Anyways, I just so happen to have a card of one of the guys the Padres got in return from New York.

Solarte had a great start to this season, but has cooled off considerably (kind of the opposite of Headley, who is currently playing his best ball).  He played in the Rangers system last year in Round Rock.  I didn't go to any games last year, but I got this card from the discounted team set I bought on Opening Day this year.  Cool to have now, I guess.

I actually think that I had a Heritage Minors card of De Paula, too, but traded it away to somebody.  Oh well.

Anyways, in tribute to Chase, here are my top 5 favorite Chase Headley cards, in order.  I won't count any of the 2013 Heritage rainbow that I've been working on, although I do really like all of those.

#5 - 2013 Topps Museum Collection
Throwback uniform, ball popping out onto the border.  This is a good card.  A little too fancy for my tastes, but still top 5 quality.

#4 - 2014 Pinnacle "Clear Vision"
Who needs an MLB license when Pinnacle is still making awesome inserts?  If you don't have any of the "Clear Vision" cards, you should really fix that.  The cloud part of the card is acetate and see through.  That's cool.  I think there are a bunch of variations of these, marked Single, Double, Triple, etc, which is less cool.

#3 - 2013 Topps Opening Day
A walkoff celebration shot!  How can you not love this?  Hard to recognize all the players in this shot, but I count more guys that are gone than are still here: Luke Gregerson, Edinson Volquez, Chase Headley, Mark Kotsay, and Huston Street.  Still here: Carlos Quentin, Will Venable, Cameron Maybin, Everth Cabrera.

#2 - 2014 Topps Chrome (sepia)
I have a couple of variations of this same image/card that I considered, including the Topps Opening Day blue parallel and the black bordered parallel from Chrome.  In the end, the high school kid with his first photo class wins out - I love the sepia.  The second throwback uniform on the countdown doesn't hurt matters either.

#1 - 2014 Donruss "Diamond Kings" (stat line parallel)
This card is not shows the grand resurgence of the "Diamond Kings" (which, not being in the card collecting game until '91ish, I think look even better here), but also the main reason that people ever talk about Headley: that one year he hit a bunch of RBI.  It's serial numbered to 115, which is cute, but I think I mostly love the use of two images of the player, neither of which has been beaten to death by being used in other cards.  Panini takes two of the top five.  Good on them.

A keen eye will notice that, of the 68 Headley cards that I have that qualified for this countdown, only cards from the last two years ('13 & '14) made the cut for the top 5.  Not sure if this shows that the quality of your play increases the greatness of your cards, but I guess most of these are inserts, and the base cards are from "higher end" sets.

Anyways, tonight's game against the Cubs marks the beginning of the Yangervis Solarte era in Padres baseball.  Which coincides with the beginning of the Jeff Francoeur era as well.

What a great time to be a Padre fan.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Eventful Weekend

I'd have to say that the past week has been one of the most uneventful, dull weeks in recent memory.  Not that it's a bad thing, per se (better than having a really bad week), but to say that I've been bored would probably be an understatement.  I'm sure that once school begins, I'll be pining for these lazy summer days, but last week, I wouldn't have minded something to do (although I still need to get the lawn done, I guess).

However, yesterday was pretty eventful.  If you paid attention to the Padres game, you'll know that Cuban rookie Odrisamer Despaigne was four outs away from what would've been the first no-hitter in franchise history.  He ended up giving up a double to the Mets' Daniel Murphy, who scored on a David Wright single, which tied the game at one.

Even though I was really, really, really bummed about losing the no-hit bid, I was really worried that they might lose the game.

Fortunately, they won on the weakest infield single you'll ever see, hit by Seth Smith.  I personally think that it should've been ruled an error, because the pitcher fell down while moving to his left to pick up the chopper that Smith tipped to the right of the mound.  The play was still close, but Smith beat it by a step, and Cameron Maybin scored from third.  Glad to get the "W".

I got to watch a few at-bats with my daughter Harper, a three year old.  We bought her first baseball glove this week (alright, so maybe this week wasn't so boring), so she got excited about watching the pitcher try to throw it past the hitter.  She got really animated during an intentional walk, because the catcher caught it "every time".  The excitement only lasted until she got excited with something else, but I told her that "Goebbert" was the batter, and she explained to me that "Goebbert is my favorite Padre".  She always has to have a favorite, and I know that she had never heard of him, but it was cute that she said that.  Also, I just got this card of the young 1B/OF that the Padres got from the A's in exchange for Kyle Blanks.

However, the biggest event this weekend was also the saddest and most painful.


After breakfast, my son Foster was standing on a chair, and he caused it to fall over backwards.  He face planted on the tile, and knocked out both of his top front teeth.  As someone who is pretty bad at noticing details, I'll say that it's pretty hard not to notice that his smile isn't what it used to be.  He's a pretty tough kid, so aside from the initial shock (and blood), I think he handled it pretty well.  Still, as parents who are chiefly responsible for his safety, my wife and I feel pretty horrible about it.  Mostly because his permanent teeth won't grow until he's 6-8 years old, and he isn't even two yet.  It's hard to look at him and not be reminded of what happened.  I just wish I could go back in time and change it, kid deserves to have all his teeth.

Like I said though, things can always be worse, and we still thanked God at the end of the day for all of our blessings, which are many.

On a more positive note, the countdown is on for our trip back to San Diego.  I haven't been back since Christmas, so it'll be good to see family, eat good Mexican food, and go to the beach again.  Unfortunately, the Padres are out of town almost the entire duration of our trip there.  There is only one game that we'd be able to go to…

And we already got the tickets for it!  August 2nd, when they take on the Braves.  A little bummed, looking at the schedule, since (if the pitching rotation stays in the pattern they're on right now), it appears that we'll be seeing Ian Kennedy pitch for San Diego.  Nothing against Kennedy, but I was really hoping to see Despaigne or Jesse Hahn (or Andrew Cashner, but he's been injured, and I think he's still a ways from coming back).  Kennedy has been mentioned in trade rumors, so it might not work out that way, but either way, I think Despaigne and Hahn will have pitched previously when we go on Saturday evening.

Here is the view from the section we'll be sitting in.  I think we'll be at the front of the section, so we won't be this high up, but it's still pretty high up.  Regardless, it'll be fun to enjoy a game with my family and root on the Friars, glad we'll get to see a game, I haven't been for over two years (since 2012).

If there's time, I think we'll also be able to go to a Lake Elsinore Storm game, the Padres High A affiliate, a little more than an hour north of Petco.

Well, hope y'all had a great weekend, and that wether it was eventful or uneventful, that it was good.

Or at the very least, you had fewer ER visits than me (1).

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The '13 Topps Update Minis


Well, I finally did it!  I completed the '71 Update Mini set from last year's Topps Update release.  The above Mike Trout card was the final piece to the puzzle.  I feel like I'm kind of breaking out of a "card rut".  Only collecting Padres can get a little boring after a while (especially as the cards worth having become harder and harder to track down), so having some mini projects to work on is fun.  See what I did there?

Anyways, yeah, I love the 1971 design.  Between sets like Heritage and Archives, and now with insert sets in the flagship set, Topps seems to be toeing that line and between charming us with nostalgia and going overboard with retro designs.  Regardless,  I will stand firm in my belief that I will never get tired of the '71 set design.  It remains my favorite of all of the vintage sets from Topps.

So, without further ado, here are all 50 cards in the set, in groups of nine (side note: I need to get those newfangled mini-pages from Ultra Pro to store these guys in).

Wow, three Yankees on the first page?  No bias there, right?
Best card: Trout
Honorable Mentions: Bo Jackson, Ken Griffey Jr.
Meh: Joe Mauer

Great, we go from bad to worse, or in this case, from three Yankees to three Dodgers.  This is why hesitate to venture from my "Padres only" policy.
Best card: Jackie Robinson
Honorable Mention: Prince Fielder
Meh: Joey Votto, Justin Upton, the other Dodgers

Alright, now here's a pretty good page.  Only one Yankee, and a couple of Hall of Famers.  Love to see Greg Maddux in a modern release, though I haven't seen any of him as a Padre yet.  Won't hold my breath on that one.
Best card: David Wright
Honorable Mentions: Stan Musial, Ian Kinsler
Meh: Shelby Miller, Mariano Rivera

Holy west coast teams, Batman!  Six cards here are from either the NL West or the AL West.  Some good players here, but lots of laundry that I don't like.
Best card: Cal Ripken Jr.
Honorable Mentions: Johnny Bench, Paul Goldschmidt
Meh: Dodgers guy, Giants guy

Alright, got some really heavy hitters on this one.  I mean, David Ortiz and Frank Thomas?  That's really heavy hitting.  More than a few missing limbs here, with Thomas, Nomah, and Big Papi having their hands & elbows cut off by the border.
Best card: Will Clark
Honorable Mention: Yoenis Cespedes
Meh: David Ortiz

Last half of a page!  Eh, I'm not really big on any of these guys, though Matt Harvey and Manny Machado seemed like guys who would be easy to root for.  Not so sure of that now.  Lots of weird looking expressions on some of these guys.
Best card: George Brett
Honorable Mention: Matt Harvey
Meh: Jay Bruce

Here's what the backs look like.  A little brighter green than the original '71, but otherwise (from what I can tell), a pretty good remake.  Adam Jones is a guy that I might start collecting a little more of now, ever since I found out he's from San Diego and is a Tony Gwynn fan.

Here's a breakdown of all of the players on the checklist:
5 cards - Yankees
4 cards - Dodgers
3 cards - Red Sox, Tigers, Reds
2 cards - Nationals, Royals, Mariners, Braves, Pirates, Rockies, Mets, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Cardinals, Giants
1 card - Diamondbacks, Marlins, A's, Rays, White Sox, Phillies, Angels, Twins
0 cards - Padres, Astros, Blue Jays, Cubs, Indians

Retired v. Active players:
15 v. 35

I like the ratio of retired to active players.  Topps seems like they're pandering to the older collector, which is a smart move, without going overboard.  I was still a kid when I bought my first "vintage" card ('67 Willie McCovey), so introducing whatever kids are into baseball cards to a little history isn't a bad thing either.  Unsurprisingly, the Yankees and Dodgers are the most represented here, making up 18% of the set combined.  Unsurprisingly again, my Padres get goose-egged, though it turns out that we weren't the only ones.  Surprising that the Cubs got shut out as well.

Well, there you have it.  Finishing a 2013 midway through the 2014 season takes a little luster off of the deal, but I'm glad to have it done.  Black borders rule.

Have a great Sunday.  Do good things.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Farewell Huston


I've had all the photos for this post queued up and ready to go for when Huston Street was traded, and it just so happened that the deal was made to send him up the I-5 to Orange County.  The jump from being a Friar to an Angel is a big one (religiously speaking), and I'm sure it'll be nice for Huston to not lose all the time.

Huston Street spent two and a half years with the Padres, a decent amount of time by today's standards, and (though he was on the DL a few times) he was a good pitcher and a good guy and a good Padre.  He's also a Longhorn, which gives him bonus points in my book.

Let's take a look at the cardboard legacy left by Mr. Street, starting with the lone non-Topps card above.  A great picture to use when you don't have the license to use official MLB logos.  Well done Panini.

Street made it into all three Heritage sets.  Do you have a favorite here?  I think I'd have to go with the 2012 version, with the mountains and tree in the background.  Might just be the design.  Also like his head kind of popping out from the photo in the '13 set.

Well, I guess 2.5 years doesn't really net you a lot of cards, if you're a Padre.  Here are the three flagship cards from Street's tenure in San Diego (I'm not sure what happened with the card on the right, it isn't chopped up in real life, promise).  Not really a bad card to be seen, though I guess that the blue bordered '12 card might be the lesser of the bunch.  I also have the regular Opening Day card of the one in the middle, but decided not to scan it.

Well, there you have it: all of the Huston Street cards I have as a Padre.

The experts say that the Padres ripped off the Angels, nabbing three of their top prospects in a four for two trade.  I can't remember the last time a prospect (position player) that the Padres got in a trade panned out.  I guess Adrian Gonzalez?  Before that, I'm not sure it's ever happened.  Oh well, such is baseball.

Even though I don't like the Angels (too much Pujols/Hamilton/Wilson for me, though I love Trout and now Street), I'm glad he'll get a shot at the postseason now.  Best of luck Huston!

Oh, and how did the Padres fare in their first game without their All-Star closer?  Lost to the Mets 5-4 on a 9th inning single off the new closer.

Figures.

Friday, July 18, 2014

SABERSTARS


As I was recently reviewing some of my "set" binders (ones that I've organized by set, but I only have a few pages worth of cards for, not a complete set binder), I realized that in sets like Archives or Allen & Ginter, that I really favored the retired players that were featured.  Other than the Padres, there are very few current players that interest me on the same level as a Killebrew, Ripken, or McCovey might.

However, there was one insert set that Topps released in Series 2 this year that really caught my eye, and it featured only current players.  And stars (for the most part) at that!

The Saberstars inserts might not wow a lot of people, but I thought they looked pretty cool, and kind of reminded me of something you might see out of a 90's insert, which is right up my alley.  The gimmick is that all of the featured players are shown with an advanced metric, something besides the archaic "batting average" or "ERA" that cavemen used to rate players thousands of years ago.*

*disclaimer - I really like those stats.

While I'm not much of a sabermatrician, I thought it'd be cool to put the set together and look at them as a whole.

The metric we'll start of with is one that made a splash by appearing on the backs of cards this year:  WAR.  What is it good for?  Well, as noted at the bottom of the Mike Trout card above, it stands for WINS ABOVE REPLACEMENT.  If you were to replace Mike Trout with an average MLB center fielder, you would lose 10.4 games, whereas with Mike Trout, his contributions would add up to 10.4 more wins.

WAR is a tricky stat, since there are different formulas for determining it, although regular WAR values each players' offensive and defensive contributions.  Sound like a hokey stat yet?  Let's look at who lead the league in WAR, starting with the losers of the All-Star Game, the National League (fittingly, the first card is a Cardinal).

Alright, so while it's hard to trust a stat for a formula I don't know how to compute, seeing that Andrew McCutchen and Paul Goldschmidt are amoung the leaders means that it can't be that horrible.

I've read that Josh Donaldson is the poster boy for WAR, as he is among the league leaders in WAR again, despite hitting for a low batting average (.238 - I can figure that one out).  WAR is a cumulative stat, not an average, so the longer you play, the more WAR you can amass.  I guess what's weird about WAR (well, one of the things) is that you can look at a guy like Robinon Cano, who just signed for a TON of money with Seattle, and say, well, we could go with an average second baseman, or we could pay and arm and a leg for an extra six wins a season.  It may not sound like much, but when you're in the same division as the A's, the Angels, and the Rangers, that can mean a lot.

Alright, here's one that's a little bit easier to explain, BABIP: Batting average on balls in play.  For this, you use the same formula for batting average (hits divided by at-bats), and simply subtract the at bats that ended with strikeouts, foul outs, and home runs (also, walks, which aren't included in regular batting averages either).  Looking at BABIP usually goes hand in hand with looking at "types of contact" stats (balls hit hard/line drives/grounders, etc.).  In a SSS (small sample size), BABIP can get fluky, e.g. the ground ball either finds a hole or it gets gloved, the line drive can find a gap or be snared by the short stop.  Over an extended period of time, however, it usually indicates the type of contact that is being made - line drives and hard hit balls.

How does a guy like Michael Cuddyer lead the NL in average?  Well, when he hit the ball and it stayed in the park, he was batting .382, which was over 50 points higher than his regular batting average.  The closer the BABIP and the regular batting average is, the more likely they are good and not just lucky (not to take anything away from the great hitters mentioned above.  For example, I'll use my personal golden standard of hitting: Tony Gwynn.

Tony had a lifetime career batting average of .338.  His career BABIP was only three points higher at .341

All right, to be honest, I feel like I'm hanging by a thread here with explaining these stats.  I'm not really confident that I'm explaining them well, or if I'm even explaining them correctly.  Feel free to correct me, I will not be offended.  That being said, I have no freaking clue what "Fielding Independent Pitching" means.  And I don't feel like finding out, so for this group, we'll take a look at the cards themselves.

The first thing that I noticed about these is that I think that not very many (if any) of these photos have been recycled from somewhere else.  This is a great sign, as it has become very common practice for Topps.  Secondly, I like how the background colors (graphs, I suppose) compliment the team/uniform colors for the players.  While the gray background may seem a little drab, these look pretty good in a binder altogether.  Good fonts and graphics here, these get the ATWTTB seal of approval.

Alright, last one - UZR: Ultimate Zone Rating.  This is a fielding metric that takes a lot of factors into account, including errors, assists, double plays made, and the number of balls they get to/area they cover.  Really surprised to see Juan Uribe make the cut here, as I didn't think he was particularly known for his defense, and I thought Andrelton Simmons would've been higher - the dude is a human highlight reel at short stop.

Clear as mud?  Well, all I can say is that I took Algebra 4 three times in high school, and I actually didn't pass my last math class in college - I had to beg the dean to let me graduate (he didn't let me "pass" the class, but allowed me to get my degree, it just dinged my GPA, which wasn't stellar to begin with - no advanced metrics needed there).

Let's take a look at the backs.


To be honest, I really thought the card backs would break down how to formulate each different sabermetric (man, am I tired of using that word).  I was wrong.  Not a whole lot of interesting stuff going on here.  There are articles written on how to determine these advanced stats, I suppose fitting it onto a 2" x 3" card would've been difficult.

Well, there you have it, the complete set of this year's Saberstars.  Am I the only one who liked this set?  Are there any surprises?  Do you hate all those math nerds trying to ruin baseball for you?

Hopefully this was at least a semi-beneficial post, or at the very least you liked looking at pictures of cards.

If not, well, can't say I didn't try.  Points for trying?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Chipping Away...


I recently made a small purchase from JustCommons.com.  Third time I've done so, and the third time I've been a happy customer.  If you're not looking for anything fancy, this is a great place.  Only a few of these cards cost more than 30 cents.

When I go there, I usually start off checking for cards I want of players I collect.  Since I only have one card of Padres rookie Jesse Hahn, I decided to check for those first.  Above (though you can't tell) is a mini Bowman card from last year's set.

Here are two more Hahn's.  Look familiar?  Yep, three cards, three of the same images, which appear to be photoshopped from Hahn's college days as a Hokie at Virginia Tech.  What's weird is that the one that came out first is a Donruss card, while the latter are Bowman.

There weren't any Cashner, Gwynn, Denorfia, or Cianfrocco cards that I didn't already have (and I still can't find a card of Odrisamer Despaigne), so I went on to recent sets that I'm interested in.

These three '71 Minis from last year's Update set brought me to within one of completing the 50 card insert set, and I finally found a deal on the elusive Mike Trout card on eBay, so that's as good as finished.  Didn't think it would take so long, but I kept holding out for the cheapest deal I could find.  No regrets here. 

Since I've only opened a rack pack of this year's Archives (and of course, didn't pull anything worth keeping), I thought I'd try to find a few cards from that set that I could put into the binders.  No current players here, but a few former greats that I'm a big fan of.  I think the McCovey is my favorite of this batch, but I'll never turn down a new Gwynn card, and the Jim Palmer is great as well.

 Next, another ridiculous pursuit of mine.  I'm trying to get all 26 of this year's Bowman Hometown parallels that have the Texas flag on them.  Before this purchase, I only had three, but now that it's here, I'm up to eight.  I love Hunter Pence cards more than any self respecting Padre fan should.  I've got a bead on three more from Gavin at Baseball Card Breakdown, but am still less than half way there.  Help a blogger out if you've got any that I don't already have.

As I was trying to find as many more cheap cards as I could to qualify for free shipping, I remembered that there are always minor league cards that I have a hard time tracking down.  Team sets of Topps Pro Debut sell on eBay for about seven bucks or so, but I was able to put together six sevenths of the Padres-affiliated cards for less that $2.  Oh, before I get to that, I also snagged a card of Taylor Jungmann, a guy I rooted for when he was a Texas Longhorn.  Go Manatees!

 Alright, here are the Padres minor leaguers.  All but Max Fried play for the San Antonio Missions, though Jankowski is on the DL with a broken hand.  Max Fried just threw his first game since being for in Spring Training.  The one I was most excited about was Hunter Renfroe, who I missed at the last Missions game I went to because he had the flu.  Lame.  I still need the Zack Eflin card from this set.

Still needing a few more to get the free shipping, I snagged a few boring Padres cards, and then snagged these beauties.  I've been looking for these cards for a long time, which is probably something that has never been said about Topps Total.  The last Kris Foster card I bought from Just Commons turned out to be a Dodger (they don't have scans of the card, so I was alternating between my shopping cart and eBay images), and if there's a way to get a Dodger out of a binder, I'll do it.  This looks way better.  Simon Pond is a player who I've never heard of, but we do have one thing in common: our last name.  I'm not sure if we're related (though he does kind of remind me of my uncle Eric), but it's cool to see my name on a baseball card, even if it's just my last name.

Re-reading this post, it sounds like I should be getting paid by JC for how complimentary I am of them, but I can assure you I'm not (unless you want to change that, Mr. Just Commons Head CEO?).  It's not a fancy site in the least, but it's pretty easy to navigate, and the prices really can't be beat.

Go baseball!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Ginter, etc.

Alright, the All-Star Game is over, and as we head into the second half of the season, that means that big trades will be made, playoff races will heat up, and big trades will be made.

It also means that (for me) the card releases slow down.  There may be some "high end" sets that I'm forgetting about, since I'm on the "lower end" of the collecting scale, but for me, the main sets are Topps flagship, Archives, Heritage, and Allen & Ginter.  Panini gets no love, as I don't really see their cards in my neck of the woods.  Anyways, A&G came out recently, so that just leaves Topps Update as the last big set, although I'd like to maybe look into getting a box of Heritage Minors when that comes out.

So, without further ado, here was my first venture into the new Ginter set; a humble rack pack.  This was my first card:

Of course, it had to be the guy that has no-hit my Padres twice in the last two seasons.  And it's a horizontal card.  While this one doesn't look too bad, I think that Ginter looks better as a regular card.  Whatever, I used to kind of like you Timmy.

Here were all of the "regular" base cards I got.  The Rod Carew looks sharp, and reminds me that I wish they were still called the California Angels.  Can't decide if I like the Yoenis Cespedes or the Jeremy Hellickson better, but Jose Canseco wins out for the worst card of this group.  There were also two other "personalities" or "entertainers" that Ginter is known for putting into the set, but I had never heard of either and they didn't seem interesting to me, so I won't even mention them here.

Here are some other ones.  The Curtis Granderson is one of the short printed cards, which has a home with my buddy Mark if he needs it.  The Derek Jeter mini seems timely, since the whole All Star Game seemed devoted to him.  I'm not sure who Joe Kelly is, but if he's a pitcher for the Cardinals, he's probably going to be an All Star next year.

These "Pastime's Pastimes" cards look great, but I couldn't have pulled a player that I would've been less enthusiastic about.  Really not sure why A-Rod was even included in this set.  Seem to pull tons of cards of Ryan Braun as well, who falls into a similar category as Alex.  On the back, it describes some of the player's hobbies, and (from what I've heard), most of them are philanthropists.  Not that it's not a worthwhile hobby, but, c'mon, really?  Maybe there's a court order that prohibits Rodriguez from talking about his hobbies.

There is always crap that gets put into Allen & Ginter sets, but there are also some gems.  Last year, I put together the "One Little Corner" subset, which showed planets and stuff in our galaxy.  Pretty cool concept, and it looked great.  This year, there isn't one that sticks out to me like that one, but the "Air Supremacy" subset is probably the closest.  I would love these even more if I knew something about planes, but my knowledge is pretty limited.


There was one card that I was really hoping to pull in that pack, but I ended up finding it on eBay for a buck and a half.  It hasn't gotten here yet, but here's a pirated image.

I wouldn't consider myself much of an outdoorsman, but I am and Eagle Scout, and I went on a couple of hikes with my troop every year.  I don't know how many times I've been to Half Dome with my dad, but I'd say three or four times?  Man, that is a beautiful trip.  And while it's not completely baseball related, I'm pretty sure that that's where some of our best baseball talk happened - my dad would keep me going as I trudged along by debating who should be in the All-Star game or who the best Padres of all time were.  Great, great memories in Yosemite National Park, and very cool to see hobbies collide.  It might not look like much from this picture, but from the top, well…

… it's pretty amazing.  Once again, a pirated image, but when I'm home in a few weeks, I'll try to dig up some photos of me, my dad, and my buddies up there.  I never ventured out onto the "diving board", because I didn't want to die, but I had a friend who did a hand stand at the top, but don't worry, another guy was holding his legs.  I'm really surprised that none of us died.

Well, that's it for a while for Ginter.  Gotta make sure that we've got enough cash to do some fun stuff in San Diego in a few weeks.  Plus, of the 350 cards in the set, only four are Padres.  Of those four, one hasn't played for over a decade (Tony Gwynn), and the rest are on the disabled list (Jedd Gyorko, Casey Kelly, and Yonder Alonso).  I know the Padres are bad, but to only comprise 1.14% of the checklist?  Well, I'll let Bud Black voice my opinion:

GIF courtesy of @jodes0405 on twitter, one of the most optimistic Padres fans I know.

I'll end on a more positive note.  While Major League Baseball did nothing to honor Tony Gwynn during the All Star Game (I don't know if there's a precedent for that kind of thing, but I still thought there might be something?), Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, who went to Morse High in San Diego sent this picture from the dugout.

Way to go, Adam.  We still love ya, Tony