BLOG MVP: ANDREW CASHNER
My Andrew Cashner player collection is the one that had the most growth, percentage-wise. I've collected almost every single parallel that's come out this year, with the only exception being the printing plates (besides this one) and some of the pricier Bowman Chrome parallels (I'm maxed out on Cashner parallels, especially since the only difference between Bowman and Bowman Chrome is the backs). He was my go-to whenever I needed a new post, since it seemed like I was always getting a new one. I had been worried that he'd be traded this offseason, but he's been spared so far, so here's hoping the collection continues to grow in 2015.
BEST PADRE MOMENT OF THE YEAR: ANDREW CASHNER ONE-HITS THE TIGERS
If you're not (painfully) aware that the Padres are the only MLB team heading into 2014 that hadn't thrown a no-hitter, well, 2014 proved to be no different. Andrew Cashner came close again, following up a September 2013 one-hitter against the Pirates with a one-hitter against the Tigers in April. Damn you Rajai Davis!
PADRES ROOKIES OF THE YEAR: CORY SPANGENBERG & JESSE HAHN
Neither Spangenberg nor Hahn were included in any sets this year besides Heritage Minors and Heritage High Numbers (though I also have cards of them in the 2014 San Antonio Missions set), but they were the best rookies the Padres threw out there. I would've given this award to Hahn by himself, but he's no longer with the team (traded to Oakland with RJ Alvarez for catcher Derek Norris), and I'd like the award to, well, have someone relevant to the Padres still featured. I loved watching Hahn though, kid has a killer curveball. Gives me another reason to root for the A's in the AL West. Spangenberg was a late season call up who skipped AAA altogether, and I think he'll make the 2015 Opening Day roster as a utility infielder (although the roster isn't finished yet, so I wouldn't be surprised if he got traded before April). He had some good moments, though, for a guy who had kind of fallen by the wayside in the Padres farm system.
"LIVE" PADRES MOMENT OF THE YEAR: WALK OFF WIN V. THE BRAVES
Living in Texas, I don't make it out to many Padre games, as you might imagine. This year, however, I was able to time our family vacation just right, so I was able to go to a Padre game with my brothers and my dad. We dressed up as friars, which was way fun (thanks again to my mom and sister Charlotte for making those for us). That the Padres won on a walk off hit by Will Venable made the night even better.
I look forward to doing this again in 2015 guys.
OTHER GAMES THAT I WENT TO IN 2014:
Not living near a city with with a MLB team, I had to go to the minors to get my baseball fix from time to time. I only went to three games this season (really I live close enough to one team in particular to go more often), but they were at three different stadiums, so that's kinda cool.
Game 1: Opening Day at the Round Rock Express game. I went a little crazy whenever Kevin Kouzmanoff stepped up to the plate. Man, I love that guy.
Game 2: Random trip down to San Antonio for a Craigslist pickup for my wife that I was okay with doing since I got to go to a San Antonio Missions game. The best part was being able to go with my daughter Harper. She had a blast, even though I ended up missing a few chunks of the game for potty breaks and we ended up leaving early because she was sleepy (and we still had to make the 2.5 hr drive back home).
GAME 3: A Lake Elsinore Storm game on my 30th birthday! We went to the Padre game a few days before, so going to the tiny Diamond in Lake Elsinore wasn't quite as awesome, but I saw Padres prospect Gabriel Quintana hit a home run, and later went to the Storm Shop and picked up his game used, autographed bat for… well, I can't remember how much it was, but I used my birthday money from family, and my brother Ammon spotted me the rest. I think it was $40, maybe less. I am bummed that the Padres traded Mallex Smith to the Braves (though we get a year of Justin Upton in return), because I really liked watching that guy play.
TOP THREE ALBUMS OF 2014:
After living in San Diego and later Austin, I have gotten spoiled by live music. It fuels my desire for new music. Moving about an hour and a half from ATX, plus having kids and limited funds for shows has dampened my search for new music, but I still managed to trip my way across these three albums, which I thought were worth recommending, though I don't expect my tastes to appeal to many.
#3 - The Both / The Both
The Both is Ted Leo (Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, Chisel) and Aimee Mann ('Til Tuesday). I am a huge fan of TL/RX, and a lot of his influence shines through on this record. Mann's vocals are a great addition to the record, though sometimes a little more melancholy for my taste. I like this record, but I loved seeing them live.
#2 - Stay Clean Jolene / Stay Clean Jolene
I listened to a lot of punk rock as a high schooler. My musical tastes have branched out a bit since then, and there aren't really a lot of bands that I listened to regularly then that I listen to regularly now. However, this debut album from an English band I've never heard of totally caught me off guard and has been on repeat for the last few weeks since I bought it. Really digging it.
#1 - Spoon / They Want My Soul
I've been a fan of Spoon since 2005's Gimme Fiction, and then went crazy when they released Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga in 2007. While I wouldn't say that TWMS is as awesome as Gx5 (my favorite Spoon record), it's probably tied for second w/Gimme Fiction. Spoon doesn't really do a whole lot that's different from one record to the other, so some might say that they're predictable - I'd say that they're predictably awesome.
BEST CONCERT I SAW IN 2014:
I only went to two shows this year (I coulda gone to a third in December, since The Black Keys played in Austin and I had the money at the time, but decided to save for Christmas presents, plus I was pretty disappointed with their new album). Both of the bands I saw were featured in the "Albums of the Year" section - The Both and Spoon.
Both shows were free, since Spoon played at a hotel while I was in San Diego, and it was free (though we stood in a line for while to get in). I got free tickets to see The Both from a contest that I saw on twitter. In the end, The Both were better live, but I got to see Spoon with my siblings Sam and Charlotte, who I definitely don't see enough (living in San Diego), so they get the edge.
Yeah, they played at a hotel, by the pool. If I had brought my trunks, I would've gone swimming. San Diego, you are just too beautiful.
MOVIE OF THE YEAR: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
To be honest, I don't really watch a lot of movies. This was one of the very few movies that came out in 2014 (that isn't a kids movie) that I saw. I am not a big comic book-movie guy, and I knew nothing about Guardians of the Galaxy walking into the theater, but I loved it. Chris Pratt is funny (and in incredible shape, if you're used to seeing him on early seasons of Parks and Rec), and the story and especially the soundtrack are awesome. I assume that if I've seen it, then everybody else has, but if you haven't yet, I'd recommend it.
FOOD RELATED DEVELOPMENTS IN 2014:
IN-N-OUT OPENED AND IT'S NOW ONLY FIFTEEN MINUTES AWAY!!! Moving away from San Diego, one of my main concerns was leaving In-N-Out. When we moved to Austin, I had P. Terry's which is pretty good, but when we moved north of Austin, I was back to having nothing (burger-wise). Having In-N-Out close to me again is incredible.
THINGS THAT STARTED IN 2014 THAT GET ME EXCITED FOR 2015:
It'd be easy for this Padre fan to say that seeing a Padres outfield of Matt Kemp/Justin Upton/Wil Myers is the most exciting thing to see in 2015. However, there is a different development much closer to home that I'm a much more invested in…
Adding a new player to our team! Alright, that's a pretty cheesy way of saying that my wife and I are expecting our third child, sometime in the next month. It's a boy, and we're pretty excited about it. I would've shown a picture of a sonogram or something, but I couldn't find one. This picture of Foster and Harper in their Halloween costumes (from the movie A League of Their Own) does the trick. Ooh, baseball tie-ins galore!
THINGS THAT I LIKED ABOUT MY COLLECTION IN 2014
Alright, we'll end on a card related note: my collection of Tony Gwynn cards passed the #550 mark, I completed a few Andrew Cashner rainbows and am close to another Chris Denorfia rainbow, and I got a whole bunch of cards that had the Texas flag on it (I just did a search and realized that I haven't done that post yet! Oh man!)
Well, there's a lot of pictures and videos to commemorate 2014. I'm planning on having much better years than this in the future, so I'm not saying that I'm going to forget it any time soon, but this will be a good one to print up for the scrapbook.
I'm just kidding, I don't scrapbook.