Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Is It Inevitable?

What are you looking at? I didn't go anywhere. You went away! It was you!

I'm starting to wonder if we're facing the inevitable World Series rematch come this October. Last season's series between the Cards and the Rangers was so thrilling that you wouldn't ordinarily expect the teams to meet up again. Nearly everyone expected the Rangers to repeat as AL champs this season, however, and they've held up their end of the bargain so far. The Cardinals recently snapped a four game losing streak but I definitely feel that they have the offense and pitching to make it back to the Series again. Of course, you wouldn't have to look past last September to see a time when several teams' lofty expectations were turned upside-down in just a few short weeks, so you never know. It's only mid-May.

I bring this up because I'm showing off some cards I received from Play at the Plate. I've probably received the largest total number of packages from the Rangers fan than anyone else I know, and that probably even includes friends and family members.

I keep forgetting that Tony La Russa is no longer managing the Cardinals, or anyone for that matter. If you asked me who the St. Louis skipper was and gave me less than 3 seconds to answer (or caught me in a less than sober state) I probably would reflexively say La Russa and start grumbling about his surliness. But I can't discount the fact that he was a winner, and brought many wins (and multiple rings) to the Redbirds in his 16 seasons in the dugout.

More Ozzie cards for me! I really need to get to work on my want lists.

Edgar Renteria might finally be done as a baseball player, but it's never completely clear when someone is retired these days.

I've never seen this set before. Weirdness. It's a Standing "O" apparently, but not an actual O.

Skip Schumaker can be a polarizing figure, both among the Cardinals loyalists and the baseball card fans in 2012 who have to deal with that squirrel card. He does seem to have a knack for pulling a key base hit out of thin air from time to time and he's one of just three players that were on the 40-man roster for both World Series wins.

A shiny gold card of a Gold Glover.

These last two cards will pay a nice tribute to the end of J.D. Drew's career. I always appreciate bat cards as there seems to be far fewer of them than the jersey cards. And, personally, I'd rather own a piece of a equipment used in a game than something a dude actually wore for some reason.

It's amazing to think that in 2002, St. Louis fans probably didn't have any idea who the star of their team would be for years to come and probably thought it might still be J.D. Drew, even after an astonishingly great rookie season from their now former first baseman.

Monday, May 7, 2012

5 on the 5: 2012 Topps Heritage

The latest installment of Topps Heritage has been out for awhile, but it's something I always collect and I figured I should write something about it. Here are the first (and thus far only) packs I've purchased this year. Usually, I will buy five (or more) packs together, but these were purchased on separate occasions. The first and last packs were impulse buys at Rite Aid while the middle three are of the Target variety, with a chance to get exclusive red bordered parallels.

Pack 1:

140 - Max Scherzer (My first Heritage card of the year features a St. Louis area native.)
282 - Jeff Francoeur
236 - Salvador Perez (First Heritage card of a guy I've never heard of!)
314 - Alexi Casilla
398 - Craig Kimbrel

444 - Brandon League (All of the cards above number 425 are short printed, apparently.)

288 - Chicago White Sox (The team card. A classic.)
92 - Austin Romine

391 - Matt Moore (They can airbrush and Photoshop players into new uniforms, but they can't do anything about faces.)

Pack 2:

244 - Jason Motte (My first Cardinal card of the set features the closer.)
241 - Johnny Cueto

197 - Ian Kennedy (Cartoons on the back!)
269 - Justin Morneau
330 - Jorge Posada
35 - Chris Sale

9 - 2011 NL Strikeout Leaders (Floating heads!)
134 - Jim Leyland
243 - Jordan Pacheco

Pack 3:
387 - Ricky Nolasco
61 - Aubrey Huff
337 - Adam Dunn (Is Dunn done being terrible?)

328 - Elvis Andrus (I like the cloudy sky background.)
361 - Alex Rodriguez
12 - Jim Johnson

1 - Miguel Cabrera Stick-Ons (These are 1:8 pulls according to the odds on the wrapper. It doesn't do kind things to Miguel's head. Since these are very thin and count as a card, I wonder if it's easy to tell without opening when packs contain these.)
195 - Desmond Jennings
335 - Bobby Abreu

Pack 4:
293 - Tim Stauffer (Former Portland Beaver!)
179 - Shaun Marcum
175 - Matt Garza

286 - Tom Milone / Addison Reed / Matt Moore / Dellin Betances Rookie Stars (I don't really know what's going on with these Rookie Stars cards. You'll recognize Matt Moore's goofy mug from a full sized card I pulled earlier. I've read elsewhere that certain players appear on multiples versions of these. I wonder if the original 1963 set did anything like this.)
423 - Neftali Feliz

11 - David Price Stick-Ons (Goofy.)

151 - Pittsburgh Pirates (Piratey.)

208 - Brett Pill / Adron Chambers / Thomas Field / Drew Pomeranz Rookie Stars (Adron Chambers has yet to crack the big league roster this season. He was passed over in favor of Rule 5 draft pick Erik Komatsu and the similarly pint-sized Shane Robinson. Komatsu has since been DFA'd and Robinson had a hot start to cement his place on the team as an extra outfielder and top pinch-hitter.)
283 - Brad Lidge

Pack 5:
197 - Ian Kennedy (It's just my 5th pack and I already have a double?)
225 - Aroldis Chapman
349 - Alex Gonzalez (What is it with ACL tears all of a sudden?)
384 - Blake DeWitt (DeWitt was DFA'd today. He's still young, so it will be interesting to see who picks him up.)

22 - Edwin Jackson (I felt like the Rafael Furcal trade was the single biggest thing the Cardinals did to improve the team to get their incredible run started last season, but the Edwin Jackson move really helped stabilize the rotation. I won't really miss seeing Edwin labor on the mound. He truly belongs in the AL East if you ask me.)

BF-EW - Early Wynn Baseball Flashbacks (I haven't been too excited about the Heritage inserts in recent years, but this card is really nice looking. It might have something to do with the colorization - assuming it's a colorized photo, of course.)
294 - Mike Scioscia
317 - Jason Donald
113 - Kerry Wood

And there we have it. I will be collecting this set, but I won't have a want list ready for quite some time. Check back this summer, perhaps.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Bazooka... Joe?


The group breaks just keep on coming. This particular one, courtesy of Juuust a Bit Outside, featured the 2003 Bazooka set among other things. I didn't have many of these cards, so it fit nicely for my needs.

There's something really off about Bazooka Joe's physique here. Really off. I think there was a Bazooka Joe card for each and every team, which just spreads the weirdness all around. Okay, I'm just going to come out and say it: Bazooka Joe was a slender lady with Popeye arms and big legs.

Like the 2006 Bazooka set that I've gone on and on about, the 2003 version also had 4-in-1 sticker cards. This one features two Cardinals and a future Cardinal.

I had never heard of Mike Wodnicki before receiving this card, which is always fun. A quick Google search finds that Wodnicki was a 16th round pick in 2001 who never made it past AA.

This was a dark day, indeed. Despite celebrating a title claimed in the previous postseason, it would be the last game Chris Carpenter would start for 17 months. It was also the start of a really depressing season, the final in Cardinals gear for such staples as David Eckstein, Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds. Call it the Kip Wells era, if you will.

Finally, here is one of the throw-ins in the package. I think this might actually be an Ozzie card I didn't own before, which is great. I have no idea what it is, but I like it.