A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Monday, August 18, 2014

Back to the Minors...

Man, I can't believe it' already Monday. By the time this is posted, I'll be on my way to school for a week of training before school's back in session next week.  Should be a good year, I'm still teaching 1st grade, which I love, my team is the same (minus one teacher, who switched schools, but wasn't replaced due to enrollment numbers), and we have a new principal, who I worked with in summer school a year ago who I think will be awesome.

As far as the blog goes, I've been slacking on two things that I haven't put enough of a priority on: my vacation wrap up, and my farewell to Chris Denorfia.  The first one I might just scrap as a whole "post" and try to parcel it out into a few posts (while not overly exciting, some might be amused by what we wore to the Padre game that we went to - which the Padres won in a walk off!).  The second one I might just be ignoring because I'm still in the denial stage.  I'm not sure.

Anyways, I really wanted to do a post about some actual baseball cards, nothing about me personally, so here it goes.

I love minor league team sets, but they can get kind of pricey.  Bought at the stadiums, they're not cheap, but online, they're even more expensive - even singles.  But, since my birthday was last week, I didn't mind picking up a few from the same seller on eBay for the discount on shipping.

The first of the quartet is Matt Kata, from the 2011 team set.  Kata made it to the bigs in 2003 with Arizona and spent time with the Phillies, Rangers, Pirates, and Astros.  Played in 278 games and logged a .239 average with 12 homers and 63 RBI.  The reason I picked this one up was because after moving to Texas in 2010, we lived in Round Rock, and one night on the way to Walmart, I passed Dell Diamond and saw that the game was in extra innings.  After getting the stuff I needed, I decided to swing by and catch the end of the game, which featured a Matt Kata walk off single.  A pretty fun game, and one of my best baseball moments in Texas.

The Kouz needs no introduction, of course.  After playing in the bigs from '06-'11, he was released and signed minor league contracts with a few teams, trying to make it back.  This year, he burst onto the scene with the Rangers in a big way for 13 games, before suffering a back injury and is now out the rest of the year.  This is last year's card with the New Orleans Zephyrs, the Marlins AAA affiliate.  While a boring uniform does little to enhance a boring looking card, I was stoked to add this to my Kouz collection.

As generic as the last Kouz card was, this one was a thousand times better.  A horizontal shot of the Mashin' Macedonian when he was with the Omaha Storm Chasers in 2012, the Royals AAA team.  Sweet looking swing, along with some candid shots of fans in the background.  Plus, the Storm Chasers did it right with the team logo on the bottom.  A little crowded, perhaps, on a horizontal card, but still, pretty good for a minor league team set.

Lastly, we have the newest card of the bunch: Gabriel Quintana, this year's card from the Lake Elsinore Storm.  I actually went to a Storm game while on vacation in San Diego, but the team set was $10, and I didn't see it until I had picked up three older team sets for the same price.  Still, I wanted Quintana's card, as he hit a 417 foot bomb in the game we saw - monster shot, which helped the Storm beat the Inland Empire 66ers.  GQ (I'm not sure if anyone calls him that) is from the Padres Dominican Academy, and has been with the organization since he was 17.  He's now 21 and with the High A team, hitting a decent .263 with a not-too-shabby 17 homers and 79 RBI.  His strikeout to walk ratio is abysmal (136/21), but he's still young and is the Padres #20 prospect, according to MLB.com.

Having his card was also a necessity, since I also have…

…an autographed bat of his!  Not the greatest picture, but I picked it up from the Storm team shop for $25 bucks.  It's game used and broken, though it's really a half-inch sliver out of the handle with a hairline crack that runs about two thirds up the middle of the bat.  Should've taken a full on picture of it, but it still holds together pretty well.  They had a few others as well, all originally marked for sale at $40, but I guess since it's nearing the end of the season (or there weren't many buyers?), they were discounted.  Quintana was the only name I recognized, and this bat was in the best shape.  I had to pay cash for it, since it went directly to the player, which I thought was pretty cool.

We went to the game on my birthday, and since I had gotten some birthday money, I counted it as a birthday present for myself (although, since I payed for my brother Sam's ticket, my brother Ammon had to spot me a few bucks, so I guess it's also from him, as well).  My wife thought it was a weird purchase, since he's basically (right now) a no-name prospect and she didn't know where I was going to put it (I want to put it somewhere on display in my classroom, maybe hanging on a wall above some of my baseball stuff or something), but I figured there's worse ways to spend $25 on your birthday.

Anyways, yeah, minor league cards are pretty cool.  My minor league cards of Archi Cianfrocco are some of my favorites in my entire collection, and hopefully someday I'll get a few of Tony Gwynn, though I'm not planning on that happening soon.

Hope everybody's Monday is a good one, wether you're excited to get your kids out of the house for the fall, you'll be heading back to the classroom to study, or even if your life is completely unaffected by school.


  1. I remember seeing Kouz play in the Arizona Fall League the one time I went to Arizona during a November. He and Tulo were the two big prospects. I was there for a Baseball HQ "First Pitch Forum" and the scout from the Blue Jays they had speak broke down Kouz's swing and called it the sweetest, purest swing in minor league baseball at that time. I've always rooted for the guy since.

  2. My wife is back at school for her first day with her kids (teaches kindergarten). Hope you have a good first week! It's neat that you share your baseball hobby with your class.

  3. I have no idea why, but I collect Matt Kata. It's good to see him get a mention around the blogs.

  4. Hey Marcus, I have a boatload of older Padres minor league cards, specifically the old AAA and AA Line Drive Cards and ProCards. If you're interested, let me know and I can get a package together for you (I beleive I owe you, anyway).