Baseball has come out of its long winter hibernation. Well, not counting the weeks of spring training and the World Baseball Classic. But you know what I mean.
Writing with a ballgame on in the background is one of my favorite pastimes, especially when someone from my fantasy team is playing. I happen to have Madison Bumgarner on my team, who was on the hill for the Giants this Opening Day. He took a perfect game into the 6th, and became the first pitcher to hit two home runs in a single Opening Day game.
That makes today the perfect day to write about a stack of cards that Jeff from 2x3 Heroes sent as part of his annual 'Tis the Season giveaway.
|2016 Topps Opening Day #OD-133 Greg Holland|
Or maybe he'll end up in more of a high-leverage sort of role, similar to what the Indians have been doing with Andrew Miller. ESPN ran a pretty interesting article the other day, about how the whole idea of the Save statistic has effectively shaped the modern closer role, and perhaps not always for the best. The argument is that it makes more sense to put your best reliever in during the diciest late inning, not simply the 9th where a Save can be earned. Leaving your best reliever in the bullpen in case a save situation materializes isn't necessarily the best strategy. For example, the Orioles famously didn't use their star closer Zach Britton in last year's AL Wild Card game against the Blue Jays, and that ended up costing them dearly in the 11th inning with Edwin Encarnación at the plate.
|2016 Topps Opening Day #OD-152A Carlos Gonzalez|
|2016 Topps Bunt #59 Trevor Story (RC)|
|2016 Topps Opening Day #OD-148 Robinson Cano|
By the way, I did it! I finally remembered the Astros are in the AL without having to think twice about it!
The Mariners' colors do look good on this card, and especially on Cano's batting gloves. And seeing all those aqua-colored knuckle pads on his batting gloves line up appeals to me. I liked when the Seahawks had similar colors, before they moved to airport-gate-worker electric green.
|2016 Topps Opening Day #OD-139 Dustin Pedroia|
Also, with the trend toward beard and facial hair throughout the Major Leagues, it's a bit odd to see Pedroia clean-shaven now. It's even more odd to see Hunter Pence with a much shorter beard than before.
|2016 Topps Opening Day #OD-138 David Ortiz|
|2016 Topps Bunt #133 Stephen Piscotty (RC)|
|2016 Topps Bunt #45 Steven Matz|
|2016 Topps Opening Day #OD-73 George Springer|
On this shot of Springer sliding into home, you can spot an Astros' 50th Anniversary patch on his right sleeve. Not the 50th Anniversary patch, a 50th Anniversary patch. Apparently the Astros also celebrated their 50th Anniversary in 2012, but for 2015 they ignored the three years they spent as the Houston Colt .45s and celebrated it again. It's a bit strange, celebrating anniversaries that both include and disregard the team's first name. But it does let you sell twice as many t-shirts.
|2016 Topps Bunt #114 Brooks Robinson|
|2016 Topps Bunt Light Force #LF-23 Willie Stargell|