Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Night Owl Strikes Again

The Cards broke out of their offensive slump last night with an 8-1 pummeling of the Brewers, so I was in a good enough mood after watching the game tape to post a bunch of Cardinals cards. Even though the Cards went on a 5 game winning streak last week, the offense has basically been in a coma since the end of April. The only reason they've started winning again and competing for first place has been some incredible performances from their starting pitchers, which right now is giving me reason to believe this is one of the best starting groups they have had since I've been alive. Of course, like many things tied to the Cardinals fortunes this season, Chris Carpenter's health has a lot to do with how this will all turn out in the end.

Here's another in a seemingly (and hopefully) endless series of swaps with Night Owl Cards. I seem to get Dodgers cards more than any other team's (along with the Red Sox and Yankees, of course). If you aren't already a regular reader of Night Owl Cards, then you probably either stumbled here through a fit of drunken rage searching for Khalil Greene material or somehow thought this was a Hallmark fansite. Either way, you should check it out, because at the very least you'll learn some stuff that you didn't already know. It's kinda like the baseball card blog equivalent of Vin Scully broadcasts, only with the occasional American Idol post.

I lead off with perhaps my favorite photo in the bunch. Most Stadium Club sets look pretty amazing, and I really love the dirt spray captured on Brian Jordan's card. I don't know if Stadium Club is coming back for 2009, but if it does I hope that it makes more sense than last year and has no cards like Manny Ramirez's photoshopped card from last year.

I don't think I can go out on a limb yet and say that Skip Schumaker is my favorite current Cardinal, but like Greg Oden of the Blazers, I feel like I root harder for him than any other player right now. He has made the incredibly difficult transition to second base this season from the outfield and seems to be handling it pretty fairly. He's an all-out player who doesn't make any head-shaking mistakes and could really be an impact player in the future at 2B if he continues to get the chance.

Chris Carpenter has not allowed a run this season. That's all you need to know. Sure, he's only made four starts so far, but he isn't in the run-allowing business.

Mark Mulder gives just about every Cardinal fan a lump in his/her throat. I still think the trade made sense at the time. The Cards were dealing from a position of strength - starting pitching- and Danny Haren was a flaky swingman who had potential but hadn't proven much of anything. Mulder was awesome at the time. Mulder had one great season before his career went spiralling downwards and Haren blasted off. It didn't work out, but it seems like established star players have a better future success rate than unproven prospects. Of course, I wouldn't make the trade again if I was in Walt Jocketty's shoes.

Rick Ankiel came off the DL last weekend unexpectedly, and then proceeded to spend the next two games on the bench after a start. I hope he's okay and not being rushed back before he's capable. I keep thinking of Mike Matheny, even though there's been no media reports of concussion complications - everything's been shoulder-related. This card was a nice surprise after I bought a blaster of 2008 SP Authentic awhile back and was decently impressed with the set.

This one will undoubtedly go straight to Erin. Yadi is leading all NL catchers in all-star votes in the first tally of results. He's finally getting some recognition. I will be very upset if he does not make the team. He might not be the hitter that Brian McCann or even Russell Martin is, but he is definitely an important hitter in the Cards lineup and he has no equal defensively right now.

Floating heads! Current Cardinal coaches! I kind of hate these cards, but since they are SPs in the 2009 Heritage set that I plan on collecting, I really need them.

Delmer Ennis circa 1957. I have to gasp whenever I see a card from the 1950s (!) in a package. It doesn't happen often, but I definitely encourage it. Ennis had spent his entire career with the Phillies up until this year. This would ordinarily be a great candidate for airbrushing, but did Topps do that back in the '50s? The logo on his hat looks enormous, the lettering and swoosh underneath on his uniform top does not look very Cardinals-like and I'm pretty sure his stirrups are wrong as well. I am certainly not an expert on '50s uniforms, though, so I would like to invite any comments on the matter.

This is hilarious. I had read about Pacific making Christmas ornament style cards, but I had never seen any in person until I got this package. There were two others in the lot, but I think I am going to save them until the holiday for fun.

Aaron Miles hasn't quite had the success he had as a Cardinal early in his first Cubs season. I can't say I feel bad about that, because he didn't exactly go out with a parade.

I planned on not understanding what Topps Attax is and sticking by that plan, so I won't even tell you what this card means. Since it contains Yadi, it will also go into Erin's collection. I won't discourage others from sending me Cardinals "Attax" cards or anything, but I will continue to switch my brain to the "ignore" setting whenever this concept comes up.

This is a good looking card. Not everyone wants to part with their Pujols cards, so I am always extra-appreciative at receiving them.

There's been a little bit of buzz about Jess Todd this season. He's recently made the switch from starter to reliever. I don't blame Topps for knowing who he is or anything, but it makes me think of "Mitch" Mitchell Boggs and "Russ" Martin when I see this card. Topps used to always use "Rock" Raines and "Doc" Gooden on cards when other companies would use the more familiar and proper names for those players. I guess that was their attempt at being edgy. Anyway, this is definitely cool because it's my first Jess(e) Todd card.

Going back to that awesome rotation. Does anyone feel intimidated going into a game with Kyle Lohse starting? And yet, Lohse has been extremely valuable since St. Louis first grabbed him just before the 2008 season started.

Both of these guys have had interesting career paths.

I was also lucky enough to receive a small stack of 2008 Topps Heritage cards. This seemed like one of the best looking cards in the bunch.

I am trying to collect all Turkey Red inserts this year. Actually, I want to own every Turkey Red card ever, but that's not going to happen. There's a printing flaw (white blotch) in the uppper left-hand corner of the card and I actually like it. It makes the wannabe vintage card feel more... vintage or something.

Lastly, and unrepresented here, there was a healthy stack of 1985 Fleer cards. I am eventually going to talk about this set in a future post. In the meantime, I will invite anyone out there that is reading this to send me any of your unwanted 1985 Fleer cards.

Thanks again to Night Owl, who always has a spot on my desk occupied with excess Dodgers cards.


MattR said...

Those coaches are putting on the age. They're getting older and so am I. :(

night owl said...

Well, I like to mix it up a little more than Vin Scully does. Hence (yes, I just used the word "hence") the American Idol post.

I never thought about airbrushing on 1957 cards. Those were pretty much the first Topps all-photographed set. I suppose that was one of Topps' first attempts at airbrushing photographs.