Sunday, May 27, 2018

The Trading Post #120: It's Like Having My Own Card Shop

I'm still here.

As you might have guessed, it's been a pretty busy month for me. I haven't posted (or really kept up with the Cardsphere at all) in about a month. I hope I didn't miss a super-awesome Blog Bat Around topic or anything like that.

So what have I been up to? Well, the main event was a trip to London, which happened the same week that MLB announced the Yankees and Red Sox would be playing each other in London in 2019. It was kind of neat to read about that in the evening paper as I headed down to the nearest Tube station. I didn't have a ton of time to read, since I don't think I had to wait more than seven minutes for a train or bus the whole trip. They know how to do public transit in that city.

Other highlights this month included my nephew turning one, my first ballgame of the season on Friday, which resulted in a win against the Reds, and (more of a lowlight), a new ERP system at work, which I managed to miss the first week of due to the aforementioned vacation.

The baseball season has carried on, as have a handful of trades. I'm going a bit out of order here, but one such trade came from Daniel of It's Like Having My Own Card Shop. He did a great job of finding a few cards for my Coors Field frankenset, but one thing he sent isn't quite a card.

Daniel's team, the Diamondbacks, and my Rockies share a spring training facility in the Phoenix area, and Daniel snagged a pocket schedule from the '18 Cactus League season. All the usual Western teams are on here, as well as an exhibition game the D-Backs played against the ASU Sun Devils.

I have yet to visit this park, but I did once see the Rockies play the Cubs in 2008. That was when the Rockies and a few other teams still made their spring training homes in Tucson. It's about a three-hour drive from Phoenix to Tucson, though, so in 2011 everyone decided it would be a lot easier for everyone to just play in Phoenix, and you now find a situation where ten stadiums host fifteen teams, with many teams sharing facilities in a similar arrangement. However, according to the stadium map, the D-backs and Rockies still have separate gates. I'm not sure how strictly that's enforced for incoming fans, or if each team just wants a spot to run their own promos.

2014 Topps #199 Matt Davidson (RC)
The main event was a few D-backs duplicates from Daniel's collection, which all fit perfectly into my Coors Field frankenset. As in spring training, these two teams find themselves in each others's stadiums on a regular basis, whether that's Opening Day, the Wild Card game, the NLCS, or anywhere in between. Many Diamondbacks in 2014 Topps clearly had their photos taken in Coors Field, starting with Matt Davidson. Davidson is now on the White Sox, and he started off the 2018 season with a three-homer game. But before his current tenure in Chicago and a couple seasons of Triple-A, he was a late-season callup in 2013.

I had to do a lot of digging to date this card, but it's either from September 21st or 22nd, 2013. Davidson sure looks like he's casually rounding the bases after a home run, and he had one in each of those games. My initial guess was the 21st, which was a night game, and there are definitely lots of stadium lights reflected in his helmet, a trick we all learned from Night Owl. Davidson hit one to straightaway center off of Collin McHugh to drive in three, but video review shows that the team wore their gray jerseys that day. That must mean it was Sunday the 22nd, where he launched another three-run shot, this time to left field. It was late in the game, and the video shows it was a cloudy day, which would account for the lights.

So there you have it. September 22nd, 2013, showing Davidson rounding second after taking Chad Bettis deep. A close look at the video lets you match the out-of-town scoreboard, the numbers on the left corresponding to the Reds blowing out the Pirates 11-3 in Pittsburgh, and the Marlins beating the Nationals in D.C. Home teams did not have a great day that day, as this shot helped the Diamondbacks win 13-9, even though the Rockies chipped away 4 runs in the bottom of the 9th.

2014 Topps #232 Chris Owings (RC)
Chris Owings, now a veteran Diamondback, was a young rookie when this card was printed. It's very possible that this is from the same game as Davidson's card, but there's not much to go on besides the center field forest and the leg of a pinstriped Rockie who seems to be stuck in an inning-ending fielder's choice. Owings, another late-season callup in 2013, only played 20 games for the Diamondbacks that year. I'm certain it's from the same series, and it probably is from the same game on the 22nd, since a highlight from the Friday game in that series shows the Diamondbacks in their gray jerseys again.

Any candidate plays? Possibly in the first inning, when DJ LeMahieu hit a comebacker, resulting in Charlie Blackmon being forced out at second base. This looks more like an end-of-inning "can I keep the ball?" gesture to the ump, and that play was just the first out. But it's a reasonable guess.

2014 Topps #648 A.J. Pollock
A.J. Pollock, one of my (injured) Fantasy team members this year, appeared in Coors Field much more frequently that year than his rookie teammates. I can't be sure it's the same game, but the jersey matches. The distinctive purple banner on the dugout roof makes it easy to locate, but any one specific pitch is near impossible to pinpoint.

Also, is it just me, or does Pollock's right elbow look a little strange?

2014 Topps #379 Gerardo Parra
I showed this card before, actually just a few months ago when I wrote my entry into the What I Collect Blog Bat Around. It's nice to have an extra copy of this now-Rockie, as it shows an angle that's not often seen on cards. Interestingly, that press box has been the site of an important development in broadcasting. For the first time since 1993, a woman has called the play-by-play for an MLB TV broadcast. Jenny Cavnar, a longtime TV personality on AT&T Sportsnet, has been calling games for the Rockies telecasts all year long, and she's been doing a great job. It's not every game, but she has a wealth of knowledge, and has even inserted her own catchphrase into the Rockies fan's lexicon, "Fire up the fountains!" That phrase refers to the fountains near the center field forest that are turned on after each Rockies home run. I assume it's a home-game-only phrase, but I haven't watched enough games this year to know for sure.

Another change at Coors Field this year is the updated video scoreboard in left field. It's now even bigger, and rather than just a plain old rectangle, it now has the outline of a mountain range at the top. It's quite stunning to see in person, and the traditional analog-style clock still occupies the top areas of the scoreboard during the normal course of play. They do use its full height during some of the introductory videos and between-inning features, and sometimes the top of the action was cut off a little bit. To this collector, that reminded me of 2008 Topps, the set with the bump at the top where the Topps logo intruded into the photograph.

2016 Topps Wal-Mart Marketside Pizza #3 Nolan Arenado
Finally, Daniel found a card from my Eight Men Out list, my first one from Topps' Marketside set, the one that was inserted into frozen pizza boxes at Wal-Mart. These were all the rage a couple years ago, but I'm not a Wal-Mart shopper so I never ran across one. I was still interested to add one to my collection and see the design up close, so thanks to my trading buddy for unearthing one. It's too bad these weren't more widely available, because it's a solid design. The two bold silver stripes at the bottom are attractive, and the grid of small squares in the background add some character without taking things over. They're about the size of what you'd see on a Chrome X-fractor without being shiny, and remind me of another insert set or two that I can't quite place at the moment.

The back makes that grid theme just a little bit bolder, and also mentions Nolan's excellent defense, plus his ability to reach 40 HRs and 130 RBIs, numbers that he's pretty consistently met or exceeded for a few years now.

Thanks for sticking around. If I missed anything major this month, feel free to let me know in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. Glad I could send you a few cards you for your collection and the schedule.