Wednesday, September 30, 2015

2015 N.L. Central Division Champions: St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals clinched the N.L. Central today after beating the Pirates 11-1 in the second game of a doubleheader in Pittsburgh.  Today's victory was also the Cardinals' 100th win of the season.   clinched home field advantage as well with the National League's best record.  The Cardinals have now made it to the Postseason for five consecutive years.  Here are the 2015 St. Louis Cardinals:

2015 A.L. East Division Champions: Toronto Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays won their division today on the road with a 15-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.  This is the Jays' first time back in the playoffs since coming off of their second consecutive World Series title in 1993.  The Blue Jays currently have the best record in the American League.  Here are your 2015 A.L. East Division champs:

2015 N.L. West Division Champions: Los Angeles Dodgers

For the 3rd year in a row, the Los Angeles Dodgers win the N.L. West with an 8-0 victory over the Giants in San Francisco.  Here are your 2015 Dodgers.

Looking through this team set, I noticed that at least one key card is missing: Don Mattingly.  I wish Topps would bring back the Manager's card.  If they didn't want to dedicate an entire card to just the manager, then Topps could also put the coaches on there too and make it a multi-person card.  Both, the Manager and his coaches put on the team uniform everyday and go out to the ballfield for games and practice.  They deserve to have a card--at least the manager.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

2005 Topps A-Rod Spokesman insert set #ARI1-ARI4

I stumbled across this insert set a couple of weeks ago and had to jump on it.  "Cards that Never Were"-type reprints are some of my favorite non-mainstream cards.  Lets try to forget the fact that A-Rod himself is still recovering from the "Most Hated Man in Baseball" award for a moment.  A couple of years ago before A-Rod was forced to take a year off from the sport, I'm sure many people wondered why Topps waited until 1998 to produce A-Rod's rookie card.

He was the #1 Draft Pick in 1993 and should've made the Topps Traded set if not the 1994 set for sure.  Since he began playing in the majors by June 1994, he should have had a 1995, 1996, and 1997 card as well.  Actually, A-Rod does have a card for 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997.  These cards are nearly perfect replications of what his cards might have looked like each year.  To me, these cards are part of those sets and will be inserted into my set binders accordingly.  The numbering for these 4 cards is #ARI1-ARI4 and the copyright year of 2005 is also included on the back in fine print.

Once again, I wish Topps would go back and reprint a few more "Cards that Never Were" for other players like Mariano Rivera for 1996, 1995, and either a 1990 Traded or 1991 base card.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Washington Nationals Fight Night: Jonathan Papelbon vs. Bryce Harper

The only unacceptable action occurring during yesterday's Washington Nationals home game against the New York Mets was Jonathan Papelbon grabbing Harper by the throat and pushing him against the wall.  It doesn't matter who started it, Papelbon was wrong and has received his punishment.

Papelbon came to the Nats ballclub on July 28th in a trade with the Phillies.  He still doesn't even have a Nationals Topps baseball card yet.  

Although still a young player, Harper is already in his fourth season with the Nationals, having come up through their farm system. 

Harper was a major part of the Nationals past two post-season appearances and has a good chance winning the NL MVP award this year.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

2015 N.L. East Division Champions: New York Mets

Yesterday, the New York Mets became the second team to win their division with a 10-2 victory over Cincinnati on the road.

I'll put myself out there a little bit.  Picks are more sentimental than something I'd recommend taking to Vegas.  The elimination of the Dodgers and Cardinals were a tough decision, and a victory for those teams would still keep the playoffs very interesting for me.  The Royals have already beat the Cardinals in the WS though, and the team with the most to gain from that match-up is the Cardinals.  I really don't think it's a good idea to go there for the Royals (been there, done that).  I'd rather see a different opponent--preferably the Mets or Dodgers.  I'd take the Cardinals for the NLCS though.  Now, a Royals-Yankees ALDS would be a revenge opportunity for Royals who were often knocked out of the Playoffs by the Yankees during the Royals 7 out of 10 year playoff run between 1976-1985.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

2015 A.L. Central Division Champions: Kansas City Royals

Tonight, the Kansas City Royals clinched their division for the first time in 30 years.  It happened at home with a 10-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners.  Back in 1985, winning their division was commonplace for the Royals, having accomplished the feat 7 times over a 10-year period from 1976-1985.  That was back when each league was divided into only two divisions, meaning more teams to compete against to win the pennant.  The royals will be heading into the postseason for the 9th time in franchise history, but unlike last year, it will be as the division winner.  They've really come a long way.

Here's tonight's headline from the Kansas City Star:

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

2009 Topps #586: Nelson Cruz, OF, Texas Rangers

I was reorganizing portions of my more modern sets and came across this cool-looking card.  I had initially intended to put a few of them together and come up with a theme, but I guess I just got impatient.  Nelson Cruz is performing very well for the Seattle Mariners this year although the team as a whole is still trying to dig themselves out of one.  To date, Cruz is 2nd place in the Majors in HR's with a total of 42.  He trails former teammate Chris Davis by only 1 HR, but Cruz has a much better Batting Average and OPS with fewer strikeouts.  There's a lot of good photography in the 2009 Topps set.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

2015 Topps: '14 League Leaders Subset

Here's the final subset from the 2015 Topps baseball card set that I have left to post.  This year's League Leaders subset features three-player panels for five different categories in each league.  The three offensive categories include the three typical triple crown of batting categories: Average, RBI, and Homeruns.  The defensive categories include only two of the three triple crown of pitching: Wins and ERA.  My on criticism of this subset is that it should have included a card for the Strikeout leaders in each league; otherwise, this subset looks nearly perfect.