2007 modesto nuts team set review

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2007 Modesto Nuts team set
Official Score – TWO-INNING SAVE
Manufacturer: Grandstand
Sponsor: Krier’s Cards & Comics
Retail price: $ 10.00

I must confess that from the moment I first opened the envelope from the Modesto Nuts front office and began leisurely thumbing my way through this team set, I started wondering why it is exactly that I don’t have a Modesto Nuts jersey. What am I…. crazy?

The Modesto Nuts are the Advanced Class-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. They do not play their home games against California League rivals in an almond orchard as you might suppose, but rather in John Thurman Field not far from the Tuolumne River in Modesto, California. Given that the ballpark was built by the Acme Construction company, it isn’t difficult to imagine giant cartoon anvils and pianos suspended overhead that can be dropped on unsuspecting umpires and bad 7th inning stretch singers at a moment’s notice.

Of course you didn’t come here for that! You are probably interested in finding out what players are in the set and what the cards look like. I’ve taken the time to type up a checklist since there isn’t one included in the team set.

Checklist: 31 cards (neither printed nor included)

1 – [2] Eric Young Jr. (inf)
2 – [3] Dave Hajek (hitting coach)
3 – [5] Neil Wilson (c)
4 – [7] Nick Haley (inf)
5 – [8] Chris Nelson (inf)
6 – [9] Jerry Weinstein (manager)
7 – [10] Phillip Cuadrado (inf)
8 – [11] Daniel Carte (of)
9 – [12] David Arnold (p)
10 – [13] Butch Hughes (pitching coach)
11 – [14] Kyle Blumenthal (c)
12 – [17] Travis Becktel (of)
13 – [20] Jeff Kindel (inf)
14 – [21] Nelson Robledo (c)
15 – [22] Brandon Hynick (p)
16 – [23] Brandon Durden (p)
17 – [24] Dexter Fowler (of)
18 – [25] Jonathan George (p)
19 – [27] Darric Merrell (p)
20 – [28] Alan Johnson (p)
21 – [29] Xavier Cedeno (p)
22 – [30] David Patton (p)
23 – [31] Cole Garner (p)
24 – [32] Edgar Huerta (p)
25 – [33] Justin Nelson (of)
26 – [34] Chaz Roe (p)
27 – [35] Jose Valdez (inf)
28 – [37] Lino Garcia (of)
29 – [41] Andrew Johnston (p)
30 – [43] Pedro Strop (p)
31 – [46] Tomas Santiago (p)

Ron Jackson is given photo credit for this shot of Eric Young Jr. In fact, he is given credit for every shot used in the team set. The result is consistent, quality photography and a nice looking set of cards.

The only two player cards that are not action photos belong to pitchers David Arnold and Jonathan George. I really like the spirit in which these cards were created, but am left with the nagging question of whether the background was Photoshopped in, or if the Nuts have a giant photo on a wall that they parade players past while snapping head shots. I would suspect the Photoshopping theory since George’s skin tone suggests that he may have been photographed while standing in front of a green screen.

You may have noticed that there is a Dexter Fowler card in this set. It isn’t particularly interesting. I suppose that Dexter cherishes those moments in baseball where he finds himself standing at the ready to swing a bat, as opposed to logistical nightmares that he sums up with, “That’s the grind of the Minor Leagues, but a priceless price to pay to get to the big leagues!” Trust me, Dexter Fowler’s MiLB player journal is far more interesting than is his card in this set.

It is next to impossible to create a decent team set without including at least one card with horizontal alignment. No, this isn’t a fact, but is my opinion. Jeff Kindell’s card represents the only such effort in this set, and I would categorize it as being in the top two or three overall.

At six-foot-three, this kid had to do some major stooping to squeeze into a space that measures only 2 inches high! This is a fantastic shot of a player anticipating a high hopper, but concentrating on keeping the glove low. Possibly it was shot between innings while the infielders warmed up, but it is a great photo even then.

Other contenders for strongest card in the set include this tight upper body shot of pitcher Alan Johnson…

catcher Neil Wilson on the move…

and Chaz Roe pitching with ripped pants…

Honorable mention goes to this Chris Nelson card. This card had potential to be the best in the set if not for what I suspect was the overzealous cropping efforts by a real go-getter in the Nuts organization.

Finally, I don’t know who this Jerry Weinstein cat is, but he looks like a guy who could tell you something about baseball that you didn’t already know in less time than it takes to drink a beer.

Card thinness is typical for a minor league set, and both sides have a semi-gloss finish. The backs consist of two-color (black and red) printing over white background that features a stylized image of grey baseball stitches. All you “figger filberts” will be jazzed over the short player bios and stats from the 2005 and 2006 seasons on the back.

Looking over the ’08 Modesto Nuts pocket schedule, I didn’t find any indication that they will be giving away team sets to fans before a home game this season. I did observe that Krier’s Cards & Comics, the sponsor on the ’07 Nuts team set, is sponsoring “Super Hero’s Night” on July 25, 2008 as the Nuts take on the San Jose Giants. Possibly there could be some sort of team set SGA that Friday evening? Either way, a heaping helping of fireworks will be served up for fans after the game.

The Modesto Nuts online team store has a kickin’ assortment of minor league baseball cards, including old Modesto A’s team sets, last year’s Carolina League All-Star set, a few different California League Prospects sets, and even the actual 2007 Modesto Nuts team set that you’ve just had the pleasure of reading about.

While you CAN pay $5.00 per single card for most of these guys on eBay, why on earth would you want to when you can order an entire set directly from the team for only ten bucks?

A word of warning… I will be jealous if I run into any of you readers wearing a Nuts jersey before I get one for myself!

– Kris

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