2008 fresno grizzlies team set review

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2008 Fresno Grizzlies team set
Official Score – HIT BY PITCH
Manufacturer: MultiAd Sports
Retail price: $10.00

Consider yourself warned that you should turn your computer speakers WAY down before you click on this link to the Fresno Grizzlies website.

Okay… perhaps in the future you will take my warnings seriously.

I’ve been sitting on this team set for too long while trying to decide if I like it or not. Some days I think it is very nice. Other days I get annoyed as I thumb through the set, but I’m not sure if that is due to the overall darkness of approximately one-third of the cards, or if because I am of the opinion that the team logo in along the left portion of the cards is a bit much. I guess I’m getting ahead of myself.

The 2008 Fresno Grizzlies 35-card team set contains no printed checklist. That is countered by the fact that the set only contains two non-essential cards. Here’s what you get:

1 – Nate Schierholtz (out)
2 – Geno Espineli (p)
3 – Jim Bowie (hitting coach)
4 – Bartolome Fortunato (p)
5 – Todd Jennings (c)
6 – Patrick Misch (p)
7 – Brad Hennessey (p)
8 – Guillermo Rodriguez (c)
9 – Eliezer Alfonzo (c)
10 – Matt Palmer (p)
11 – Ivan Ochoa (inf)
12 – Emmanuel Burris (inf)
13 – Dan Rohn (manager)
14 – Alex Hinshaw (p)
15 – Dayton Buller (c)
16 – Kevin Gryboski (p)
17 – Brian Bocock (inf)
18 – John Bowker (out)
19 – Julio Cordido (inf)
20 – Clay Timpner (out)
21 – Justin Leone (inf)
22 – Scott McClain (inf)
23 – Nick Pereira (p)
24 – Anthony Reyes (trainer)
25 – Eugenio Velez (inf)
26 – Brian Horwitz (out)
27 – Brett Harper (inf)
28 – Randy Messenger (p)
29 – Ryan Sadowski (p)
30 – Eli Whiteside (c)
31 – Victor Santos (p)
32 – Jesse Foppert (p)
33 – Mike Caldwell (pitching coach) [talking to Victor Santos]
34 – Travis Denker (inf)
35 – Parker (mascot)

While I generally make it a rule to not post scans of mascot cards in my blogs, I’ve decided to make an exception in this case as I am offering this card as the prize in a fun little contest. Meet Parker. He’s a bear. I suppose he’s a grizzly.

Parker was named “best mascot in all of professional sports in 2007.” Why am I always the last to hear stuff like this? Possibly it is because I am extremely cynical, or because I am about as anti-mascot as one could be.

If there were a time and a place for mascots in professional baseball, I would accept that it MIGHT be making silly videos during the off season- when the rest of the grizzly population is hibernating. You don’t need to purchase anything to enter this contest, but you will be required to watch at least some of this- “The best minor league baseball off-season show on the entire internets…” Afterwards, simply leave a comment with your guess as to which part not only made me laugh out loud, but also caused A&W Root Beer to squirt out my nose.

(Content warning: Video contains country music, so you may prefer to leave your speakers turned low.)

A note to the winner: I will ship this card directly to your home or office as you wish. Alternatively, I will be happy to ship this card gift-wrapped in your name to your favorite card blogger who collects cards featuring mascots, musical folding chairs and/or smiling kids- all courtesy of Aardvark Trading Company.

Photo credits for the entire 2008 Fresno Grizzlies team set go to Don Davis. Don has some very nice photos on his website. I was going to include a link to an image that includes ex-Isotopes first baseman Derek Wathan, but I think many of you will really enjoy this photograph more.

The Grizzlies opted for MultiAd’s logocentric (Style D) template for their 2008 team set. (What I’d really like to find out is if any team used MultiAd’s fantastic (Style K) template.) Card thinness suggests that the Fresno Grizzlies are doing their part to conserve natural resources by selecting the thinnest cardstock available. Hey, it isn’t like cardboard grows on trees.

The 2008 Fresno Grizzlies team set contains the aforementioned mascot, one trainer, three coach cards, a dozen pitchers, FIVE catchers, nine infielders and four outfielders. And that concludes this review.

Just kidding…

Five catchers in the same team set? I find that somewhat puzzling. Apparently so does Todd Jennings.

Another catcher card that has earned the distinction of being featured in this post is Eli Whiteside since he was CAUGHT IN THE ACT of signing autographs for fans. Thanks Eli!

The nine cards of infielders include a nice mixture of players fielding, hitting and running. This shot of Travis Denker represents the better end of the images in the set.

This shot of Eugenio Velez is representative of what I consider to be overly dark cards. I can’t help but wonder just how much quicker this young speedster would be if his rear pockets weren’t loaded down. It appears that besides a batting glove, Velez is also toting around a pocketful of baseball cards- possibly to trade with the infielders of the opposing team as he rounds the bases.

The four cards of outfielders are evenly split depicting players batting and fielding, as well as sporting different version of the Grizzlies’ uniforms. Well done!

John Bowker gets the nod for inclusion here since he helped my 2008 fantasy baseball team with some badly needed homers at times when my regular outfielders were on the mend. In fact, John spent more time on my fantasy team than he did with the 2008 Fresno Grizzlies where he accumulated only 27 at bats.

Of the dozen cards of pitchers in the 2008 Fresno Grizzlies team set, seven feature a Grizzlies pitcher in a white uniform, the other five in a black jersey. And that is where the variety ends. To be fair, the shots are from slightly different angles and capture the pitchers in slightly different stages of their delivery- but only slightly. This subset is clearly the weak link in the product, and could have been improved simply by including a photo of one pitchers laying down a sacrifice bunt, or another charting pitches in his street clothes. Since none of the cards stand out as being above or below the others, I’ve chosen to include a scan of ex-Isotopes pitcher Randy Messenger to give you an idea of what these ALL look like.

Surface treatment appears to be a semi-gloss that shouldn’t require preparation prior to obtaining autographs. (Normally I would perform a Sharpie test using a mascot card, but I won’t in this case since I will be sending it to someone else- possibly YOU!)

The card backs consist of two-color (black and orange) printing over white matte, player stats and short bios. Greyscale photos of the players on the backs aren’t particularly useful in player identification since they are simply tightly cropped headshots from the same photos used on the front. If you are a fan of nighttime baseball cards, the 2008 Fresno Grizzlies team set might be for you. Then again, if your résumé fails to note that you are a big time supporter of the San Francisco Giants and their farm system, then perhaps not so much.

Personal bias completely aside, the 2008 Fresno Grizzlies team set is a MUST HAVE any self-respecting grapher who lives in, or frequently visits a Triple-A city. In addition to the 2008 team set, the Fresno Grizzlies’ online store provides the opportunity to pick up team sets from 2002-2004 (for only THREE BUCKS each!!!), plus the previously reviewed 2008 PCL Top Prospects set for $10. Shop smart and save on shipping!

– Kris

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