A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Greatest Team Set Ever

As a Padre fan, I'm used to the term "under promise, over deliver".  It's basically the only way to survive - expect little, be surprised if/when anything good happens.

Can this post really show the greatest team set ever?  Should I have under promised and over delivered?  Am I setting up whatever potential readers I might have for complete and utter disappointment?

First, let me state that I can't believe that I've waited until now to pick up the 1984 Smokey The Bear Padres team set.  Unbelievable.  Only, like $8, free shipping.  As a Padre fan who is a big fan of the '84 team (the year I was born, the year of their first World Series appearance), this is unacceptable.

If I had known that Smokey was not only the sponsor of this set, but also personally appeared on every card, trust me, I would've been all over this years ago.  Luis DeLeon letting Smokey try on his gold chain?  Eric Show showing an obviously confused bear how to hold a ball?  Kurt freaking Bevacqua sitting on Smokey the Bear's lap?  You gotta be kidding me!  This is the best team set of all time, and I declare that it's not even close.

Not only do they have the great '84 team, but they have coaches, the general manager, broadcasters, the mascot, heck, even an umpire!  While the card of the Chicken… uh, kissing Smokey is a little weird if I look at it for more than a few seconds, I gotta say that seeing Jack McKeon with a stogie in front of Smokey the Bear is pretty rad.  And I'll always take a Jerry Coleman card that I didn't have before.

When I clicked "buy", I figured at the very least, even if the set was a bust, I'd have a new Tony Gwynn card I didn't have previously.  Well, turns out that the Gwynn probably isn't' one of the top 10 cards in the set.  Not too shabby.

Here's a look at the back of them as well.  Nothing too fancy, vital information as well as stats from the previous year, mostly.  I chose these ones for the quotes, which ranged from interesting to punny to boring.  Still worth showing.

Well, there you have it, depending on who you are and what you like, I guess I can either accept your virtual pat on the back for a job well done, or I can return the price of admission for entrance to the blog.  As far as Padres go, this is about as good as it gets.

Monday, April 25, 2016

A Few Recent Pick Ups & Trade Bait

Though my blogging has slowed down, I've still been picking up a few cards here and there.  As the title states, here's a few new cards for my collection, as well as a few cards that are up for trade.

Of all the Padres prospects that were traded last year during their ill-fated "let's make a run at it even though our team isn't very good" phase, the player I was most bummed to see traded (besides top 10 short stop prospect Trea Turner) was Mallex Smith.  I got to watch him play in single-A Lake Elsinore, and the dude has blazing speed.  Strong defense and a decent contact hitter, he seemed to not get much attention during his time in the Padres system, but he's already been brought up to the Braves big club.  Anyways, I'm not one to collect former Padres prospects, but the fact that the title of this card is a play on one of my all time movies meant that I couldn't pass it up.

I have a few "announcer" cards of my all time favorite broadcaster, Jerry Coleman (RIP), but this is my first of still-current broadcaster Ted Leitner, along with former announcer Bob Chandler.  Leitner is a local legend, with more than a few detractors, but his longevity and love for all things San Diego sports makes him good in my book.  I still haven't listened to a broadcast this year where he didn't mention Jerry, so there's never a reason to tune out.

I got a package from TJ, the Junior Junkie, and among all the great Padres he sent, this was my favorite.  I liked it so much that it bumped another top five Khalil card from the Miscellaneous Padres binder.  

As much as I love trades and eBay pickups, sometimes I have to actually go buy cards from a store.  And sometimes, I even get Padres that way.  I bought a rack pack of Gypsy Queen for the first time in three years, and I snagged a few Friars.  I've been pretty down on GQ's design the past few years, as well as the checklists, and even though Ian Kennedy was strangely added as a Padre (despite being a free agent at the end of the year), I liked it enough to pick it up.

Here's a few cards from the rack pack, as well as a few cards from a few other sets.  Lemme know in the comments if there's anything you'd like to claim.  I've updated my want list on the side, so if you have any of those, or any other Gwynn's/cool Padres that I don't have, let me know!  I haven't emailed all my old trading buddies my new address yet, so I'll need to do that soon.  There's a pretty cool minor league set at the bottom that might interest a few of you, so don't stop halfway down.

2016 Gypsy Queen:
Base: 31-Kipnis, 43-Owens, 156-Tanaka, 189-Rosenthal, 190-Travis, 220-Thompson, 221-Duffey, 237-Gausman
Blue Bordered: 37-Lackey, 68-Rendon, Duffy-81, Correa-90
Minis: 180-Quintana, 202-Sabathia

2016 Topps Series 1:
MLB Debut: 3-Bryant, 6-Castro, 13-Gonzalez, 18-Koufax
Berger's Best: 36-Bo Jackson
Wrigley Field 100 Years: 8-Fergie Jenkins
Pressed Into Service: 1-Mitch Moreland
Walk Off Wins: 8-Allen Craig (2), 15 Henry Urrutia
The Greatest Streaks: 2-Ken Griffey Jr. , 6-Chris Sale, 9-Ted Williams
Back To Back: 5-Votto/Phillips, 10-Cabrera/Phillips
Wacky Packages: St. Louis Cardinals
MLB Debut Medallion: Josh Donaldson

2016 Topps Opening Day:
115 - Carlos Gomez (blue foil)
Heavy Hitters-2 - Giancarlo Stanton
Striking Distance-15 - Cole Hamels

2016 Heritage:
Flashbacks NF-CG
67TDC-AM - Andrew McCutchen
423 - Fence Busters (Pence/Belt)
426 - Clayton Kershaw
432 - Robinson Cano

 2016 Donruss:
Power Alley-4 Carlos Correa
Masters Of The Game-2 Roger Clemens
Diamond Kings-27 Evan Longoria, 29 Josh Donaldson
'82 Inserts-44 Ken Griffey Jr., 48 Robin Yount
The Rookies-15 Richie Shaffer
The Prospects-1 Lucas Giolito, 8 Rafael Devers
Rated Rookie-31 Kyle Schwarber, 33 Trea Turner
Studio-3 Michael Taylor, 5 Corey Seager

2015 Pacific Coast League Top Prospects:
I'm only keeping the Padres, former Texas Longhorns, and the Round Rock Express players, and I've set aside the Mets for my buddy Mark, but the rest are up for grabs:
Jon Gray, Cristian Adames, Domingo Santana, Preston Tucker, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Stephen Piscotty, Marco Gonzales, Samuel Tuivalala, Chris Bassitt, Joey Wendle, J.T. Realmuto, Jose Urena, Justin Nicolino, Darnell Sweeney, Scott Schebler, Christian Binford, Orlando Calixte, Peter O'Brien, Robbie Ray, Andrew Susac, Ty Blach, Andrew Heaney, Nick Tropeano, Ketel Marte, Patrick Kivlehan

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Opening Day Blues

Alright, so Opening Day was a while ago - heck, Opening WEEK was a while ago, but I recently picked up this year's edition of the Padres Opening Day blue foil parallels.

I'm usually not a big "parallel" guy, especially when talking about team sets, but there's just something about the blue parallels that I really like.  Opening Day has been doing the blue foil since 2013, and while I didn't love it as much in '14 and '15, I really like the look this year.

Aside from showing off a team set, I guess I can go into brief detail about how horrible the Padres (4-9) have been this season.  After being shut out in their opening series vs. the Dodgers 25-0 over three games (they didn't score until their 30th inning of the season, which is an MLB record of futility to start a season), they've lost series to the Phillies and Diamondbacks, hardly a promising start to the season.  Tyson Ross, the Opening Day starter, is on the DL, Derek Norris is off to a freezing cold start (.150/.209/.200), and Wil Myers leads the team in strikeouts with 19 (though with a much more respectable .288/.321/.481 line).  Those are two guys the Padres need offense from, though I'm more of an Austin Hedges fan, the Padres catcher of the future, who's a defensive stud and hitting .400 at AAA.

James Shields has already given up four homers in 20 innings pitched, picking up right where he left off from last year.  I want to really like the guy, but as the biggest free agent signing in Padres history (well, money-wise), he's been a pretty big disappointment.

If there are bright spots on the team (besides the surprising resurgence of Melvin Upton), it's probably Colin Rea and Matt Kemp.  After a rocky start in Colorado, Rea settled down and had a solid performance in Philadelphia, going 7 innings and allowing a run on 5 hits with 5 K's.  The Padres have basically zero starting pitching depth, so Rea's performance this year will be magnified.  Matt Kemp destroyed Rockie pitching for a few games and currently leads the club in homers, RBI, and slugging percentage.  His defense in right is still atrocious, and there's talk of the Padres shopping him around, but I really don't see who would take on the aging slugger at the price point he's at right now.  I only have two Padres shirt-jerseys ("shirseys"), and one of them is a Matt Kemp one, so it's safe to say that I don't hate the idea of keeping Matt on the team.  It's easier to think that when he's hitting well.

There's always a card or two that surprises me when I see it on the checklist.  Adding Odrisamer Despaigne to this Opening Day checklist is one of them.  He was traded to the Orioles in the offseason, and really is far less noteworthy than basically any other player on the Padres roster, which is really saying something.  Still not as bad as Ian Kennedy or Justin Upton Padre cards (in the Gypsy Queen and flagship sets, respectively), who were free agents at the end of last year that the Padres obviously weren't going to sign, but still a weird choice.

Alright, didn't mean to drone on and on about the Padres horrible season, but I feel like it's been cathartic in a way.  At the very least, Opening Day gives me some great looking cards to add to my collection, even if the rest of the "Opening Day" experience was far from positive from a Padres fan perspective.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

1st Day

Since the Padres haven't played yet, I hesitate to really call today "Opening Day".  I'll go ahead and call it "First Day".  So here's Archi Cianfrocco's '94 Stadium Club "1st Day Issue" to celebrate that there is a whole, complete, entire baseball season in front of us.  Regardless of how "our" team's do, I think we can all agree that even a losing season is better than the offseason.

Hopefully get back to posting more now that the season's kicking off.  Thanks for reading this if you made it this far.