Sunday, May 20, 2018

NOW, More Than Ever


What a moment! I am unabashedly a Twins fan, and part of me was disappointed that Cleveland won this game, but there's no denying the excitement that Lindor brought to the crowd in San Juan, Puerto Rico last month. Topps Now of course was there to capitalize.


But Topps decided to do something special for this card, donating a portion of the proceeds to Puerto Rico hurricane relief efforts. Normally I would have skipped this card, but it tangentially involved the Twins, and directly benefited people in need. Topps would also add donations to two Stephen Piscotty cards, who lost his mother to ALS in May.


Topps found that there are still more ways to get me to shell out some cash with a new Topps Now feature called "Moment of the Week."


Ohtani has been every bit as good as advertised, and I couldn't pass up a chance to get in on the fun. I was unaware of the voting period this first time around, so I missed out on the gold parallel of this card, given out to collectors that voted for Ohtani to be the first moment of the week.


Last but not least, I still collect the Twins when they manage to make it on Topps Now cards. I was fortunate enough to be in attendance for this game, in which the Twins nearly gave away a 10 run lead to the defending champs. Kepler's homer was an absolute laser beam out to right field, and the whole ballpark knew it was gone the moment he connected with it.


I was able to see this game in person as well, as Mauer collected both hit # 1,999 and hit # 2,000 on the same night. The 2 run single for 2,000 was vintage Joe Mauer, a screaming grounder up the middle past the pitcher and into center field. His first hit of that night was greeted with a big roar from the crowd and the team played Prince's "1999" over the PA. It was good timing by Mauer, as the rest of the Chicago series was postponed due to snow and rain, meaning it would be some time before he would play in front of his home fans again. He's up to 2,025 hits now, though he just landed on the DL with a neck injury.


Bringing it full circle - the night after Lindor's homer, it was the Puerto Rican Twins players that put on a show. Jose Berrios pitched 7 shutout innings, and the winning run was scored by Eddie Rosario. This is the first appearance for Ryan LaMarre on a Twins card. He was a journeyman AAA outfielder and tore up spring training. Given the opportunity to start in the big leagues, LaMarre played very well for the Twins in April.


It seemed to me to be the very best outcome for the fans in P.R., with the heroes each night being from Puerto Rico.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

A Team Effort


After several failed trips to Target and even striking out at a card show in April, I finally was able to find a Twins team set at Target Field after attending a game in person.


There is much in the way of surprises in the team sets, though Twins' utility man Ehire Adrianza is featured at Dodger Stadium in his card. 


Several players in the team set are also featured in Series 1, so these cards are nothing new.


Unlike the Spring Training Topps NOW set, this team set was compiled before the free agent signings, so we are treated to middle reliever Trevor Hildenberger instead of Zach Duke, Addison Reed, and/or Fernando Rodney. Fine by me! It also meant that Logan Morrison wasn't on the roster yet, so that leaves room for . . .


Kennys Vargas! He might not get this card in Series 2 or in Update, as he's no longer on the 40 Man roster, though he passed through waivers to the Reds, then back to the Twins. He's currently in AAA with the Rochester Red Wings.


The Team Sets all have unique numbering for their team MT = Minnesota Twins. Always happy to add another Kennys Vargas card to the collection, I'm hoping it won't be his last as a Twin.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Paxton A Punch


I know I missed the Dodgers' combined no hitter, but I'll excuse myself since I don't think I have cards of any of those 4 guys in Dodger unis. The Donruss card above is the only 2018 James Paxton card I've pulled so far. 


No hitters are cool no matter what, but what made this one special was that it happened in Paxton's home country of Canada. In fact, all 3 no-hitters so far this season have happened in 3 different countries - Paxton in Canada, the Dodgers in Mexico, and Manaea in the U.S.

Congratulations to James Paxton, tossing the 6th no hitter in Mariners' history! He's only the second Canadian to toss a no-no, after Dick Fowler did it way back in 1945.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

NOW The Twins Finally Have A Little Spring In Their Step


The Twins are winners of 5 straight and are nipping at Cleveland's heels for first place in the AL Central. It took them quite some time to heat up, just like the weather in MN, and just like the shipment from Topps with the Twins' 2018 Spring Training Team set.


The two rookies included were Zack Granite and Felix Jorge, both of whom are currently in the minors. Granite is on the DL at the moment with a bum shoulder, as are veterans Ervin Santana and Miguel Sano.


The Twins' shiny new Relief Corps has been hot and cold, though Addison Reed has been the most consistent of the bunch. Berrios is appropriately shown working out, as he's taken on the mantle of the hardest working man in the off-season, with crazy workouts of pushing cars on the beaches of Puerto Rico popping up on social media all winter long. 


The set features the first appearance of Logan Morrison in a Twins' uniform, and he's just now starting to swing the bat well after a horrendous April. Topps sent an extra copy of Zack Granite for some reason...


The backs of the cards are all identical below the player's name and the card number.



Since I am a sucker, I opted to buy the "autograph" edition and I was pleasantly surprised to pull a Brian Dozier card.

I like the photo selection, and even though they didn't include my dude Kennys Vargas, I think they did a good job of player selection.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

The Collective Assimilates a Moose


Greg aka GCA of The Collective Mind blog has been seeking out bloggers' want lists recently, and resistance is futile!


It started innocently enough, as Greg found a handful of 1983 Topps needs, including a couple Hall of Famers.

The great Willie Hernandez with his trademark mustache, but without his trademark glasses!


This is my favorite of the stack - Bob Boone is tracking a foul pop, as the Mariners' hitter watches helplessly from the batters' box. I love the spring training crowd in the background.


If that wasn't enough, Greg knocked out one of my Arbitrary 8! I have a very small collection of 1955 Topps, so each new addition is a rare and welcome sight.


Very interesting to see that his home is listed as Austin, MN -- Moose was born in Chicago and went to college at Purdue in Indiana, so it's an odd fit for a Yankee to be living in a smaller city in southern MN. Maybe he worked at the SPAM factory in the off-season?


Thanks very much Greg!