Friday, July 21, 2017

A pair of call-ups



It’s been crazy to see the amount of Yankees who have made their Big League debuts this year. Overall, the number stands at 11 different players making their MLB debuts. Some, like Clint Frazier, are top prospects, while others, such as Gio Gallegos, are more roster filler or were needed out of necessity.
Frazier came up right after Dustin Fowler’s injury, and looks to be a fixture in the lineup from here on out, despite what Brian Cashman says. He’s hitting for power and providing a nice energy spark. He’s also wearing #77 now, which is pretty rad.
Miguel Andujar played only one game for the Yankees. He came up, tore the cover off the ball and went 3-for-4 with 4 RBIs, and was sent back down after the game. He’ll be back, but it’s gotta be a tough pill to swallow to get the call, perform, then immediately be sent back down.

Both player’s successful debuts earned them Topps NOW Call-up cards for their performances. I snagged them from the same seller for the same price that it would cost to normally purchase one of these.

I hope Frazier provides many more Topps NOW moments this summer, and I really want to see Andujar back sooner than later.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Coastin' through life

Increasingly, I feel like I’ve fallen into a rut of boredom.

Now, that’s hard to fully do with a 5 and 3 year old, I just mean me, personally. I love watching the Yankees each night after work, even when they stink as they do now, but I’ve started to realize it’s too easy to just come home, help get the kids to bed, and then just retire to a night of laziness on the couch and repeat the next day.

In order to try and motivate myself and just spice up my work/life balance a bit, I’ve taken on a few card/hobby-related projects. There is an upcoming massive reorganization of my collection, but in the meantime, this is helping me get off my butt…or at least relocate my butt.

First and foremost, for the first time in several years, I started a baseball painting. I’m definitely rusty, but it does feel good to be doing this again. Here’s a little sneak peek at the progress. I’m not saying who it is just yet – hint, it’s not Aaron Judge.
Second, I started a smaller project which has always interested me. Eventually, I want to take an old coffee table and redo the surface with baseball cards finished with epoxy resin. I’ve seen a lot of photos of these, and think it’s a great way to display some cards with a unique piece of furniture. I’ve assured my wife I’ll hide it in the attic or something.

However, I don’t trust myself to start this with no practice, so I’m trying to get used to the process and materials by making some coasters. These were easy, although I definitely don’t have the gumption to try the epoxy resin mixture yet. I simply made these by using a few pieces of standard bathroom tile ($.16/each at Home Depot), a few layers of Mod Podge glue, and a clear acrylic spray sealant.
I don’t love how these came out. As expected, the newer cards (notably the Mantle from 2012 Topps) were a little too thick and the edges started to come up. I also can’t seem to get the brush ridge marks off of these, and feel like there must be a way to get surface a little smoother (note: some research has shown that adding some water to the mixure will smooth it out). I also think I need to spend more time pressing the card down so it adheres in the corners, versus just putting the card down and sealing over it quickly. Unsurprisingly, the ’87 Topps stuck best, and I feel like more traditional, thin cards without much gloss will probably work best.

So as to not have a bunch of “samples” laying around, I’m sending these home with my little brother, who is in town for a few days. I have four gray spray-painted tiles waiting in the garage, and will try a few more cards this weekend – likely of Tino. Eventually I’ll get to making the table, but for now, it’s all about trial and error and trying to make these look good.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

TTM Tradewinds

As you have likely heard, the Yankees and White Sox engaged in a fairly large trade last night. The Yankees made their bullpen stronger by acquiring former Yankees David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle, as well as 1B/3B Todd Frazier.

In return, the Yankees sent highly rated prospects Blake Rutherford (a personal favorite), Ian Clarkin, Tito Polo, and reliever Tyler Clippard to the White Sox. Good riddance, you massive flyball pitcher, you.

While I'm bummed to lose Rutherford, the Yankees dealt from a position of strength within their organization. I also know that you need to give up something to get something. It irks me to no end when fans think their team's junk can just be shipped off to other teams for usable players. Ellsbury! Headley! Clippard! For Sonny Gray!

And it's not just a Yankees thing. All teams' (misinformed) fans do it.

Anyhow, what I found amusing about this trade was how many TTM tentacles it hit for me.

Clippard was the latest entry into my Topps Yankees Project.
David Robertson was my 2013 entry, although since replaced by Hiroki Kuroda due to the personalization.
Blake Rutherford signed this card for me not once, but twice last year.
Ian Clarkin was a fantastic TTM signer.
Tommy Kahnle was a success I posted about my first year of blogging in 2011.
In the past, Frazier had been a good TTM signer. I haven't seen many successes from him this year, but knowing how random Yankees enter into Series One (see Butler, Billy), I can't help but think this: Todd Frazier, 2018 Topps Yankees Project entry.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

TTM Success: Trevor Stephan

My first TTM success from the Yankees 2017 Draft class came in!

Trevor Stephan, a 3rd rounder from Arkansas, signed my two cards in about a week. Not having a card of him, I sent him these two generic Yankee cards, which he promptly signed.
He was also nice enough to send a short note.
Good luck in pro ball, Trevor!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Signed, unsealed, delivered

Several years ago, I started using self-adhesive envelopes in my TTM requests.

To me, I'm doing the player a favor. Who wants to lick an envelope? Plus, I figure most answer fan mail in batches, and would appreciate the simplicity of using an envelope with a peel-off adhesive.

However, what I have overlooked is that some players might not notice the adhesive. This was the case with my latest success from Yankees prospect Nelson Gomez.
Thankfully, the card arrive in the envelope, but the seal was not used. It was not even attempted, as the waxy label hadn't even been pulled off. I'm not sure if Gomez tried to lick it like a normal envelope, or simply overlooked it, but I'm lucky the card made it back. Props to the USPS for handling it. Thankfully I don't live far from Staten Island, so the envelope had minimal travel-time, but it's still a minor miracle that the card didn't slip out.
This same exact thing happened just three years ago - again from Staten Island, this time featuring Zippy Zappy favorite Luis Torrens. Again, the card made it back.

So in the last three years, this has happened twice, both from the same location. I think we need to tutor the Staten Island Yankees on self-adhesive envelopes.

Zippy, I'll send you some how-to pamphlets. Would you mind passing them along next time you're at the game?

In all seriousness, I'm really happy with the success, and I thank Nelson for signing my card.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Archives blastin'



I was finally fortunate enough to find a blaster of Archives when I had to make an unexpected Wal-Mart run last weekend. It would have been cool to stumble on a box of Bowman Platinum, but I didn’t see any.

As fate would have it, the Archives blaster was a complete dud, again reminding me why I shouldn’t spend $20 on retail. You’d have thought I’d learn by now that I just don’t have good luck busting packs.

I was glad to snag two Jeter Retrospectives, including his ’93 RC reprint.
I was hoping to get a Peach parallel, which I did. Of course, it was of a Blue Jay. Between them and the Astros, I feel like that’s all I pull these days. It also came in the first pack, and I had a feeling it would probably be the best card I pulled.
See what I mean? Blue Jays and Astros.
As for my coins, they couldn’t have been less exciting either.
Pretty boring box, overall. However, I like the product, and at least now won’t wonder “what if” like I was before I was able to bust a blaster of this stuff.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Fa(s)t Albert



I felt like the Yankees sold a little short on Brian McCann last off-season, sending him to the Astros for two pitching prospects.

It’s not that I disliked the prospects, it’s just that they were in the low minors. I would have liked to see them try to get a guy back who was a bit closer to the Majors, that’s all.

However, it’s hard to argue that the Yankees didn’t know what they were doing, as the arms they were targeting have put on quite a show this year. One of those pitcher is Albert Abreu, who is a bit further along in his development than the other, Jorge Guzman.

At just 21, Abreu has already been promoted once this season, from low-A Charleston to high-A Tampa. On the year, he’s got a 3.82 ERA in 37.2 innings. He has also K’d 41. He’s currently battling a shoulder injury, but has been impressive when healthy. He’s currently ranked by MLB.com as the Yankees 10th best prospect, which is saying a lot in a loaded system.
This is the only card of his I own, but hopefully will get a few more as he climbs the ladder. I hope his shoulder heals up and he continues to develop as the season goes on.