Thursday, February 6, 2020

Zero-year Managers

During the past month or so, everyone has been talking about how the Astros cheated and how surprised they have been that so many managers have been fired so quickly. A few things came to my mind when everything happened, mainly things that made me realize that baseball fans have short memories.
The first thing that made me think that happened a few years back. In 2013 and 2014, a former Astros and (then) current Cardinals executive hacked into Astros computers and stole private information from them. He was sentenced to almost 4 years in prison. I was really surprised that I hadn't heard anyone mention that when all of this stuff about stealing signs with tablets came up, especially since the Astros were involved (this time on the recieving end) of a multmedia scandal a few years back.
The other thing I thought of was how the Arizona Diamondbacks had hired Wally Backman to be their newest manager in November 2004, only to fire him 5 days after being hired because of legal issues that hadn't been uncovered by Arizona's people. When Carlos Beltran got fired by the Mets without managing a game for them, I felt sure that someone would mention Backman's name, but nobody did. It also brings back memories of Mike Price being hired by my least favorite college football team and then being fired 5 months later after some indiscretions. Of course, maybe if he would've stayed on, he could've had them do well enough that they wouldn't have had to hire Saban and maybe they wouldn't have had all of the annoying bandwagon fans.

With all that being said, I thought I would make some zero-year manager cards of Backman and Beltran. I am a little late to the party, but I did have the Beltran card on my 2020 Topps checklist since he got hired.

I have a basic blank template for the 2020 Topps set, and as I have time and more images of the cards become available, I think I will make some more templates. I think the way they do the League Leader cards will be a nice way to do the Draft Pick cards when the MLB Draft comes along in June, replacing the 'League Leader' text with 'Draft Pick'. 

Thanks for all the kind words regarding my wife's upcoming surgery, and I hope all who choose to rip some 2020 Topps pull some cards of their favorite teams, players, and get some sick mojo hitz!
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Wednesday, February 5, 2020

2020 Topps is here!

Today after work I had to run out to Wally-World to try to find a new belt for our vacuum cleaner, so I saw it as a great opportunity to see if 2020 Topps was on the shelves. Since Target was on the way, and it usually puts the new cards out faster than Wal-Mart, I stopped there first, and found a few hanging boxes, some blasters, and some hanging packs. I chose the first hanging box I saw, and think I did an overall good job. 

First card of 2020 is:

Some guy named Michael Baez of the Padres. Could've done worse and landed a Yankee.

I think this pack should've been sent to Buffalo, New York, as 3 of the next 4 cards in the pack were Dodgers. Sorry, Night Owl. If you want my Dodgers, they are yours. 

The middle of the pack had the inserts, of course. I was a little disappointed to get so many Turkey Red cards and not much variety of the rest of the inserts, but the rest of the photos show I got to make up for it.
The team cards are back. I was hoping they would be the stadium ones, but maybe in Series 2. If not, I will add them to my 2020 Topps missing player (and stadium) checklist.

This is what made up for the lack of insert variety. I pulled a Bo Bichette '85 insert (wasn't he in 2019 Topps?  Why does he have the Rookie logo?), and a Turkey Red of Rays slugger Austin Meadows. 
The Strasburg World Series Highlight is from Game 2. I also pulled Willie Adames for my Rays binder. I don't really like that Topps added the yellow to the color scheme. I would've went with light blue. I pulled a Jordan Zimmermann and Niko Goodrum for my Tigers binder. We will get back to that Goodrum. Lastly, I pulled a Hunter Dozier and Jameson Taillon for my Favorite Player Collection.  
So that Goodrum came out of the pack, and I set it to the front, just like I do with all of my Tigers/Rays/Favorite Player/Rookie cards, and thumbed through the rest of the pack. When I looked at the back, I noticed a serial number, and I flipped it to the front, and didn't notice anything different. I didn't think Topps numbered SP cards, and then I realized that it was a Sabermetric Stat variation card. Cool. Not into all of those stats really, but cool.

Speaking of card backs and sabermetrics, I think I did a good job at predicting the back of the 2020 Topps cards, don't you?


I pretty much nailed it down except for the team logo, the top part of the nameplate, and the slants ending where the number was. Mark my words: Next year, they are going to have the FarmerOnly profiles.

I did notice a few things with the cards. They only have the Topps twitter/instagram thing, and not the players. That's fine. They feature career stats on the cards, not just the last 5 like they did 2 years ago. Another plus. They still could use work, like having 3 players in 1 League Leader card instead of wasting 2 additional cards for each one.  I really hope they bring the stadiums back this year. Also, on the back of the team leader cards, they list the HR/K/ERA leaders, but don't put the stats next to them. So you will stump your friends and tell them that JD Martinez led the 2019 Red Sox in Home Runs, but not be able to tell them how many he hit.  HIRE ME, TOPPS!!!!  I WILL MAKE YOU MONEY BECAUSE OF MY ANAL-RETENTIVENESS AND ATTENTION TO DETAIL WITH LITTLE BASEBALL THINGS!!!  YOU CAN STILL HAVE YOUR 80-CARD INSERTS OF MIKE TROUT, AARON JUDGE, & ___________________ (INSERT NAME OF NEXT HOT ROOKIE). JUST LET ME PICK OUT YOUR CHECKLIST AND CHANGE A FEW THINGS TO THE BASE SET!!!

So we got the ok on the surgery for Monday. I have Sunday-Wednesday off, and that is probably the best schedule I could have hoped for. Things are good. I got some 2020 Topps, hopefully the surgery will give Karen some relief, and I get 4 days in a row to hang out with her, sleep past 4AM, and eat some really good pizza at the hospital cafeteria (seriously, if you ever go to Shands in Gainesville, they have this place in the Neuro building that makes wood fire oven pizzas and they are amazing!).
Hope you enjoyed the peek at 2020 Topps, and if you want any, let me know. Most everything except for the Rays/Tigers/PC guys are up for trade.
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Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Done with the '70's

Today, I have finished the complete checklist of missing players for the 1979 Topps set. That set now gives me complete missing player checklists (yearbook style and traded) of all of the Topps sets from the decades of the '50's, '60's, and '70's. Just the '80's (which is close to halfway there with the '83, '84, '85, '86 and others being done), '90's, '00's, and '10's, and I will be finished (unless I don't get done by the time 2020 Topps Update comes out). If you like making customs, check out the site. There are pages for each years' Topps set (on the right sidebar of the desktop version of the site), and on each page is whatever I have done for the missing player checklist, any templates I have, and a picture with the correct fonts for the set (along with a link to download each font).

Here is a custom I did a long time ago from the '79 set, along with 2 I have done from the next set on the list, 1980.

I hate to keep having posts with medical drama attatched to them, but my wife Karen's head has been hurting probably the worst it has in a while. She had exploratory surgery in December, and they found some of her veins were occluded, and that the shunt in her head was working, just perhaps the pressure from the veins was giving her the headaches. Her doctor then presented her case to some vein doctors at a conference, and we still haven't really heard back from them, but from her case notes online, it looks like she might have a surgery to put a stent in some of them to get the bloodflow working better.
We also saw her Neurosurgeon on Monday, and he suggested putting a shunt in her back. This sounds like another surgery we did a few years ago, and it is, but we think it might be the best option. My wife has done some research about shunts working and still having pressure, and found that sometimes if the doctors can install a lumbar shunt with a valve, it will reduce the pressure. We hope that this, along with the stents in a few veins, will cause her to lose the headaches/nausea/vision problems. I have said all this before, but this time, I really believe that we have a better chance than before of relief. 2019 sucked, and although it sounds like the same old same old, at least there are different solutions (with the stents and a shunt with a valve). Her neurosurgeon has never done a lumbar shunt with a valve before (Karen's last one didn't have a valve), so he was supposed to talk to some pediatric neurosurgeons yesterday and ask them their opinion, since they do them all of the time. Tenatively, her surgery is scheduled for the 10th of this month, and I took off the 10th and 11th with vacation days, and I will either be up in Gainesville for her surgery or have 2 days at home to catch up on housework/yardwork/customs stuff. I will keep everyone posted, and hope to have a few more checklists done by then. If I can make it through 1982, then I have the '83 and '84 set that are finished, and a good number of ones in the '80's that just need coaches, so that will get me past the halfway mark pretty quick. Looking forward to some good times ahead with more checklists, customs, time off from work, and hopefully, a successful surgery.
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