Archive for the ‘team set review’ Category

2009 quad cities river bandits team set review

July 24, 2009

2009 Quad Cities River Bandits team set

Official Score –  base-clearing DOUBLE

Manufacturer: Grandstand

Sponsors: Names Around Town Photography and Plaza Physical Therapy

Retail price: $ 8.00

What’s the name of that place in Iowa where the players walk out of a cornfield to play baseball and entertain adoring fans night after night? No, not THAT one. I’m talking about the ballpark whose right field skyline includes a monumental 70-year-old bridge that spans the Mississippi River. Yes, Modern Woodman Park, home of the Quad Cities River Bandits. The average fan visiting the facility from out of town would likely require a tour guide to inform them that the renovated stadium is actually 78 years old, making it one of the four oldest pro ballparks in use today.

Just between you and me, three-quarters of a century equals a LOT of baseball! Without a doubt, the Quad Cities (Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa; Rock Island, Moline, and East Moline, Illinois) fans have enjoyed many a fine ballgame in their backyard over the decades. The Quad Cities River Bandits are currently the Class A, Midwest League affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.

The 2009 Quad Cities River Bandits team set does not have an official checklist, so feel free to print out the one I’ve typed up and keep it with your cards.

Checklist: 30 cards

1 – Ace Adams (pitching coach)
2 – Jarred Bogany (of)
3 – Hector Cardenas (p)
4 – Dave Carpenter (p)
5 – Alex Castellanos (inf)
6 – Paul Cruz (of)
7 – Charlie Cutler (c)
8 – Gary Daley (p)
9 – Ramon Delgado (p)
10 – Steve Dillard (manager)
11 – Jon Edwards (of)
12 – Roberto Espinoza (c)
13 – Joe Kruzel (hitting coach)
14 – Brett Lilley (inf)
15 – Scott McGregor (p)
16 – Travis Mitchell (of)
17 – Osvaldo Morales (inf)
18 – Casey Mulligan (p)
19 – Arquimedes Nieto (p)
20 – Frederick Parejo (of)
21 – Andres Rosales (p)
22 – Chris Swauger (of)
23 – Miguel Tapia (p)
24 – Kevin Thomas (p)
25 – Guillermo Toribio (inf)
26 – Niko Vasquez (inf)
27 – Adam Veres (p)
28 – Brian Puchalski (trainor)
29 – Kevin Welch (strength & conditioning coach)
30 – Rascal (mascot)

I don’t think it is too big of a stretch for me to assume that Names Around Town Photography took all photos used in the 2009 Quad Cities River Bandits team set. The photos are for the most part very nice. The majority of the shots appear to have been thought out, and are unique throughout the set.

Divided into subsets, the 2009 Quad Cities River Bandits team set contains 3 cards of the field staff, 11 pitchers, 2 catchers, 5 infielders, 6 outfielders, and 3 non-baseball player cards (that will not be discussed further in this review). Here is the card of manager Steve Dillard. Nice action shot, and an interesting background to boot.

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Each of the cards featuring the Quad Cities River Bandits coaching staff would have been fantastic if some sort of reflector or fill flash had been used while shooting the close-up of hitting coach Joe Kruzel. But such lighting was not used, which leaves us with a pretty nice photo of the River Bandits logo on the front of his cap.

The 2009 Quad Cities River Bandits team set contains cards of eleven pitchers. This subset illustrates three different styles of River Bandits uniforms, contains a nice variety of different angles, in game photos, posed upper body shots and even the set’s first horizontally aligned card.

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This photo of Andres Rosales is perfect for use as a horizontal card. How about that grin folks? Sort of makes one wonder if Rosales is always in a great mood. Let’s check out the back of his card…

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Well, I guess this photo answers the question about whether or not Rosales is a constant ray of sunshine. A good team set will not only make you think of  questions, but will also answer them!

I’m including this scan of Arquimedes Nieto simply to increase this blog’s Google strength amongst web surfers hunting for the name “Arquimedes.” I do like the use of the outfield berm as the background, even though the result is that Arquimedes is a tad bit on the dark side. The photo is expertly cropped, allowing fans to see that Arquimedes is pitching while wearing a custom-made left shoe that looks exactly like the Quad Cities River Bandits logo. How wild is that?

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There are only two catchers included in the 2009 Quad Cities River Bandits team set, but the designer took full advantage of the opportunity to depict one catcher on defense and the other on offense. That is the equivalent of a one – two – three inning!

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The defensive-offensive ratio drops to 20/80 as you flip through the cards of the infielders. Even still, the different camera angles and backgrounds vary so much that each card is as refreshing as an ice cold Mountain Dew.

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Infielder Alex Castellanos appears to be watching a foul ball bounce off one of the five arches of Centennial Bridge and plop into the Mississippi River only to be eaten by a giant catfish rumored to lurk in that area.

For those readers scratching your heads wondering about this confounded bridge that I’ve mentioned a couple of times now, here it is in the background of Brett Lilley’s card. Obviously the 2009 Quad Cities River Bandits team set provides you with a golden opportunity if you want to own a card of the all-time NCAA leader in hit-by-pitches.

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One-third of the cards of outfielders in the 2009 Quad Cities River Bandits team set show players in the field while the rest were shot in the act of hitting or running the base paths. As with the other subsets, the outfielders show a nice range of the different River Bandits uniforms and provides numerous views of the ballpark, helping make this set a pleasure to flip though. Is it just me, or do players seem happier on horizontal cards?

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Structural engineers world wide must be salivating by the fact that the 2009 Quad Cities River Bandits team set contains more cards with images of a bridge than do the 2006-2009 Topps Allen & Ginter sets combined!

Card thinness is standard for a minor league set, and both sides have a semi-gloss finish. No surface preparation is necessary prior to obtaining autographs. The backs consist of four-color printing including typical stats, biographical data and very nice photos of players that are different from the photos on the front- a very classy touch that helps makes this team set a keeper in all leagues.

The 2009 Quad Cities River Bandits team set is a must have for all St. Louis Cardinals fans who enjoy following the careers of young players as they navigate their way upstream through the Cardinals farm system.

The set is available online for those of you who do not expect to be traveling through the Midwest at any point in the near future. You get all 30 cards mentioned and/or pictured in this review for $8.00. Shipping is right around six bucks, and you may be hit with sales tax. Heck, you might as well have them toss one of their 2008 team sets in your shopping cart for only five dollars and no additional shipping costs. I haven’t reviewed that particular set only because I do not have it.

–  Kris

……….

On a side note, I would be completely remiss as a historian if I failed to take advantage of this opportunity to hook you up with a link to a bit of the past of the Modern Woodmen of America. If you’ve ever been to a cemetery of any age, you’ve probably seen a distinctive grave marker of one of the members of the fraternal society and wondered what it was all about.

2009 albuquerque isotopes team set (P)review

June 17, 2009

SPOILER ALERT !!!!

If you already have tickets or otherwise plan to attend the Omaha Royals – Albuquerque Isotopes game on Thursday, June 18, 2009 and do not want to see images of the 2009 Albuquerque Isotopes team set before you have one in hand, DO NOT continue reading. Instead, you should revisit this post after the game if you are interested in my thoughts on the cards.

On the other hand, if you are in the area and trying to decide whether or not you want to go, I urge you to read on and keep in mind that team sets will be distributed for FREE to the first 3,000 fans through the turnstiles. After that, team sets will be available for purchase in the stadium team shop, or via the internet.

………..

2009 Albuquerque Isotopes team set
Official Score – COMPLETE GAME two hitter
Manufacturer: MultiAd Sports
SGA date: Thursday, June 18, 2009
Retail price: tbd

After setting the bar high with their 2008 team set, the Albuquerque Isotopes certainly delivered a first pitch strike by including a checklist on the back of the team photo card- the first of 35 cards in the 2009 team set. The team photo features a crisp, bright image with the players dressed in white uniforms.

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1 – Isotopes team photo (checklist)
2 – Tim Wallach (manager)
3 – John Moses (hitting coach)
4 – Jim Slaton (pitching coach)
5 – Greg Harrel (trainer)
6 – Giancarlo Alvarado (p)
7 – Danny Ardoin (c)
8 – Henry Bonilla (p)
9 – Dee Brown (out)
10 – Nick DeBarr (p)
11 – Blake DeWitt (inf)
12 – A.J. Ellis (c)
13 – Shawn Estes (p)
14 – Sergio Garcia (inf)
15 – Charlie Haeger (p)
16 – Jamie Hoffmann (out)
17 – Chin-Lung Hu (inf)
18 – Mitch Jones (out)
19 – Hector Luna (inf)
20 – Luis Maza (inf)
21 – Brian Mazone (p)
22 – James McDonald (p)
23 – Eric Milton (p)
24 – Valentino Pascucci (inf)
25 – Xavier Paul (out)
26 – Miguel Piñango (p)
27 – Dwayne Pollok (p)
28 – Stephen Randolph (p)
29 – Jason Repko (out)
30 – Jovanny Rosario (out)
31 – Scott Strickland (p)
32 – Erick Threets (p)
33 – Jeff Weaver (p)
34 – Sophie
35 – Orbit (mascot)

The cards are non-glossy, and therefore require no surface treatment prior to autographing. The 2009 Albuquerque Isotopes team set utilizes MultiAd’s “Style O” template on the front, and “Style 4” template on the back. Card backs consist of two-color (black and red) printing over white matte, with player stats and short bios. Player headshots on the card backs are essentially a cropped, greyscale version of the image depicted on the fronts.

The light grey borders help lighten the overall appearance of the cards. The set contains one card each of the Isotopes coaching staff, trainer, mascot* and fan favorite Sophie. Manager Tim Wallach and his coaching staff are all depicted in black jerseys. I find Jim Slaton’s card the more engaging of the non-player cards. This card demonstrates that random candid shots make for better baseball cards than posed headshots.

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(*There is a non-numbered variation of the mascot card that is not included in the official team set. In a nutshell, the second card was printed with the set, but will be distributed by Orbit during “personal” appearances. If you ABSOLUTELY HAVE to have one, I would recommend asking in the team shop if you can purchase an uncut sheet.)

The 28 player cards include a nice mixture of different uniforms that helps keep the team set interesting. This mixture includes nine black, eight white, six red and five Dodger blue uniforms. Uniform aficionados should note that the blue uniforms are only worn during Sunday home games. Similarly, the team set contains generous helpings of prospects and major league veterans.

Half of the player cards in the set feature pitchers. With the exception of Charlie Haeger, all were shot on the mound. That does get a little monotonous, and it would be nice to see a photo of a pitcher laying down a bunt or running the bases while wearing an Isotopes jacket. Here are three examples that best demonstrate a need for a little more variation when it comes to cards of pitchers.

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The 2009 Albuquerque Isotopes team set contains two cards of catchers. Both Danny Ardoin and A.J. Ellis are featured in full gear near the plate. Unfortunately, Ardoin was sent to the disabled list soon after being forced to bend down in order to fit into his awkwardly cropped photo.

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The six cards of Isotopes infielders contain the best action photography in the set. This card of Blake DeWitt is a great example of the level of play Isotopes fans are treated to game after game.

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“Determination” would be an apt title for the outfielders subset. Again, excellent photography persists as is obvious in this fantastic shot of Jovanny Rosario scrambling back into first base to avoid being picked off.

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Whether you are a casual fan or a hardcore baseball card collector constantly on the hunt for night cards, mid-air moments or even umpires, the 2009 Albuquerque Isotopes team set offers something for everyone. You can bet that baseball fans all across Dodgertown will show an interest in the 2009 Albuquerque Isotopes team set given that eight players included in the checklist have either already spent some time with the NL West leading parent club or are currently on board for what is proving a magical season. There is no reason to suspect that the list won’t continue to grow as the season progresses.

This is going to be a fun and challenging set to get autographed!

– Kris

2008 jacksonville suns team set review

February 8, 2009

2008 Jacksonville Suns
Official Score – RBI DOUBLE
Manufacturer: Grandstand
Sponsor: Jacksonville Sports Cards, WQIK 99.1 and WTEV 47
Retail price: $8.00

The Jacksonville Suns served as the Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2001 through the 2008 season. A word of warning that the Suns website now contains a tragic collection of hideous advertisements that have absolutely NOTHING to do with baseball that will insult your intelligence until you navigate away, or close your browser in disgust. I guess that is how all minor league websites are going to appear now that they have been taken over by Major League Baseball Advanced Media (BAM). Sad…

The 2008 Jacksonville Suns team set includes three manager/coach cards, a dozen pitchers, two catchers, six infielders, four outfielders, and five cards that barely warrant taking the time to type them up for the official checklist.

1 – [35] Brain Akin (p)
2 – [44] Mario Alvarez (p)
3 – [45] Marlon Anderson (p)
4 – [13] Rick Asadoorian (p)
5 – [38] Mark Bellhorn (if)
6 – [15] Jesus Castillo (p)
7 – [11] Ivan DeJesus, Jr. (if)
8 – [5] Glenn Dishman (pitching coach)
9 – [23] Adam Godwin (of)
10 – [8] Adolfo Gonzalez (if)
11 – [9] Juan Gonzalez (if)
12 – [36] Clayton Kershaw (p)
13 – [54] Zach Hammes (p)
14 – [43] Jamie Hoffman (of)
15 – [7] Greg Jacobs (of)
16 – [28] Shane Justis (if)
17 – [50] Brent Leach (p)
18 – [25] Lucas May (c)
19 – [17] James McDonald (p)
20 – [14] Russell Mitchell (if)
21 – [40] Danny Muegge (p)
22 – [31] Rene Rivera (c)
23 – [3] Luis Salazar (hitting coach)
24 – [12] John Shoemaker (manager)
25 – [37] Eduardo Sierra (p)
26 – [41] Tanyon Sturtze (p)
27 – [6] James Tomlin (of)
28 – [na] Carlos Olivas (trainer)
29 – [na] Trevor Doian (strength coach)
30 – [na] Southpaw (mascot)
31 – [na] Brent Martineau (CBS 47 sportscaster)
32 – [na] “The Big Show” (99.1 WQIK radio personalities)

The two cards of catchers are evenly split with photos demonstrating both the offensive and defensive views of the game. Seems like common sense to break it down like this, but you would be surprised at how many team sets fail to do so. Another plus is that the photo selected for Rene Rivera in full gear actually allows fans to see what he looks like. Well done!

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The 2008 Jacksonville Suns team set also demonstrates diversity among the twelve cards of pitchers. Featured are four different uniforms, a swell mixture of live action photos with varying backgrounds and camera angles, and a few three-quarter view posed headshots where the only problem is the shadow created by that difficult mixture of bright sunlight and the bill of the player’s cap.

I am posting scans of two pitchers in spite of the fact that they are wearing the same style of uniform. Clayton Kershaw gets the nod simply for name recognition, and I know there are readers who are interested in players who have attained major league status. Enjoy!

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James McDonald is included due to my bizarre attraction to baseball cards with horizontal alignment. Again, enjoy!

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Of the six cards of infielders, five contain photos of players wearing a baseball glove waiting for something to happen. If Joseph Heller had a card in this set, I would include a scan of it. Since he does not, here is a scan of Mark Bellhorn’s card. At first and second glance, it would appear that Mark is working on employing the hidden base trick by covering it with dirt. You gotta dig minor league baseball!

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The four cards of the Jacksonville Suns outfielders also lack variety. In each case, the player is holding a bat and standing either in the batter’s box, or is close enough that anyone could tell you that when each photo was taken would have been a poor time to leave your seat for popcorn or another brew. Representing the outfielders then is Jamie Hoffman- chosen simply because I think he is going to be one of the starters for the 2009 Albuquerque Isotopes.

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Speaking of the Albuquerque Isotopes… a whopping TWENTY of the cards in the 2008 Jacksonville Suns team set are of players who are currently on track to potentially appear in the Duke City this season, either on the Isotopes Opening Day roster, or at some point during the season as roster moves in Triple-A are commonplace. Thus, the “value” of this particular team set is quite high right now, and is expected to increase once graphers begin snapping them up on the secondary market as they begin to shake off their sluggish winter habits and start thinking spring.

Overall, the photography is very strong, and the red and blue Grandstand template tends to complement the images. Card thickness is typical for a minor league set.

Surface treatment is of the semi gloss variety. Sharpie testing on the CBS affiliate broadcaster card revealed that although surface preparation is not required prior to obtaining autographs, it may actually help prevent smearing- especially if you are having a player sign more than one card and he wants to slide a freshly autographed card under the others instead of handing it back directly to you. The backs consist of four-color printing over a mottled grey background, typical player stats and short bios, and a significant amount of corporate logos.

If you act now, you can still pick up a 2008 Jacksonville Suns team set online– directly from the team for only $8.00. Just for fun, I entered the maximum allowable number of 100 sets in my shopping cart. I have no idea if they actually have that many sets left, but if they do, and you are interested, that order would run you $879.95 with sales tax, shipping and handling. Once they run out and you are forced to shop on the secondary market, expect to shell out between $14 and $20 (plus shipping) for a single set.

– Kris

2008 albuquerque isotopes dav team set review

December 13, 2008

2008 Albuquerque Isotopes DAV team set
Official Score – seeing eye DOUBLE
Manufacturer: Disabled American Veterans (undetermined printer)
Sponsor: Disabled American Veterans
Retail price: FREE SGA– not available for purchase

I’d like to promise that this will be my final post about the Isotopes this year, but you never know. I definitely wanted to get this review completed this calendar year since the Isotopes and Marlins have parted ways, in order to clear the path for many posts dealing with new (and old) Isotopes and Dodgers connections.

DAV night at Isotopes Park took place on July 25, 2008. Official attendance that evening was recorded as 13,390 fans. Only the first few thousand fans through the turnstiles received this special limited edition 10-card team set. Between the free baseball cards and an Isotopes loss to the Sacramento Rivercats, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Here’s the checklist.

1 – [195] John Baker (c)
2 – [196] Chris Barnwell (if)
3 – [197] Andrew Beattie (if)
4 – [198] Tagg Bozied (if)
5 – [199] John Gall (of)
6 – [200] Bobby Keppel (p)
7 – [201] Jai Miller (of)
8 – [202] Lorenzo Scott (of)
9 – [203] Taylor Tankersley (p)
10 – [204] Ross Wolf (p)

Most importantly, the 2008 Albuquerque Isotopes DAV team set included cards of three players that were not included in the regular 2008 Albuquerque Isotopes team set. They are as follows:

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Ross Wolf has made quite an impression on me over the last two seasons. Always a pleasure to talk to, and I can’t remember a conversation that I’ve had with him that didn’t end with him thanking ME for coming out to the ballpark.

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Taylor Tankersley pitched very well for during his stay(s) with the Isotopes in 2008. The Tank hurled 31 and two-thirds innings over 29 appearances, managing to keep his ERA at 1.71 in spite of a WHIP of 1.55. Taylor has one unique signature.

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Lorenzo Scott was one of two Isotopes players on the 2008 roster who shared my birthday. Again, that is a surefire method of having one’s cards highlighted on this blog. If I could run half as fast as Lorenzo, I would have been a track star.

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Tagg Bozied put together a great season for the Isotopes in 2008, hitting .306 with 36 dingers in 425 at bats. He was also one of the true characters on the team as is apparent in this video of Tagg Bozied announcing the starting lineups prior to one of the games.

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I’ve blogged about Chris Barnwell before, and it appears that the girls at Dinged Corners have a slight crush on him. I think I read that Chris is a free agent, but I’m not completely sure about that. Do you notice anything “missing” on Barnwell’s card? That’s right- a signature. Unfortunately Chris had to leave town for personal reasons right before the end of the 2008 season, so I didn’t get have the opportunity to tell him how much I enjoyed watching him hustle day in and day out. I’ll be sure to tell him the next time he passes through Albuquerque- then hit him up for an autograph.

Overall, the set includes a fair share of pitchers pitching, fielders fielding and hitters hitting. My only real complaint is that 80 percent of the cards depict players in black jerseys instead of spreading the love and representing the other uniforms worn throughout the season.

Card surfaces are a semi-gloss that required no treatment prior to autographing. I believe you can tell from the scans that the autographs add a great deal to the overall look of the cards. If you flip one or more of these cards over, you shouldn’t be surprised to find only the DAV ad mentioned in previous reviews of these limited edition team sets.

You cannot purchase these cards from the Isotopes team shop- online or in person. I did see one sell on eBay recently for just less than six bucks, so that could be an option. Probably if you put your thinking cap on, you would be able to think of one baseball card blogger who might just have an extra one of these sets (unautographed) available for trade…

– Kris

2008 salt lake bees dav team set review

December 10, 2008

2008 Salt Lake Bees DAV team set
Official Score – TWO RUN TRIPLE
Manufacturer: Disabled American Veterans (undetermined printer)
Sponsor: Disabled American Veterans
Retail price: FREE SGA– not available for purchase

The Salt Lake Bees are the Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. A long-time member of the Pacific Coast League, the Bees play their home games at picturesque Franklin Covey Field, in Salt Lake City, Utah. If, like me, you guessed that Franklin Covey might be the name of a tough old mountain man who dedicated his life to hunting beaver along the streams that drain the nearby gorgeous Wasatch Mountains long before Brigham Young relocated his flock to the valley, you are wrong. Feel free to chuckle at my expense if you want as you click here to discover who (or what) Franklin Covey actually is.

Hopefully, you will find the names of Salt Lake players included in this team set more recognizable than the stadium’s namesake. I wonder why the set was split into two separate groups in the 2008 DAV minor league master set. It appears that the DAV could have utilized one or more of Franklin Covey’s planning tools in order to avoid the numbering gap.

Here’s the checklist for the entire 29-card set.

1 – [32] Nick Adenhart (p)
2 – [33] Giancarlo Alvarado (p)
3 – [34] Jose Arredondo (p)
4 – [35] Erik Bennett (pitching coach)
5 – [36] Henry Bonilla (p)
6 – [105] Dee Brown (of)
7 – [106] Matt Brown (if)
8 – [107] Ryan Budde (c)
9 – [108] Jason Bulger (p)
10 – [109] Brad Coon (of)
11 – [110] Jim Eppard (hitting coach)
12 – [111] Terry Evans (of)
13 – [112] Nick Green (p)
14 – [113] Jeff Kennard (p)
15 – [114] Shane Loux (p)
16 – [115] Bobby Mitchell (manager)
17 – [116] Kendry Morales (if)
18 – [117] Kasey Olenberger (p)
19 – [118] Gary Patchett (if)
20 – [119] Adam Pavkovich (if)
21 – [120] Sean Rodriguez (if)
22 – [121] Freddy Sandoval (if)
23 – [122] Alex Serrano (p)
24 – [123] Coby Smith (of)
25 – [124] Rich Thompson (p)
26 – [125] Matt Wilhite (p)
27 – [126] Reggie Willits (of)
28 – [127] Bobby Wilson (c)
29 – [128] Brandon Wood (if)

Let’s get to the cards…

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While choosing which cards to highlight in this review, I had to decide between Kendry Morales and Dee Brown. Ultimately I went with Brown based on his willingness to sign autographs for fans without acting as if they have just asked him to jump-start their car in the middle of a hailstorm. That’s a beauty of a grass stain on Dee’s left knee. Those pants would certainly make for an interesting batch of game-used relic cards.

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Brandon Wood is one of those unpredictable players that you never can tell how they are going to react to an autograph request. Normally he will sign one item per fan per day without having much to say. Catch him away from the crowd and you might see him chat up a storm while signing a handful of cards. My take Wood is that he’s a nice kid who is still learning to deal with the pressure of having been billed as the next Cal Ripken Jr. before he was old enough to buy a beer. At any rate, this card is going to autograph quite nicely, and I plan on being there when that happens to thank him for his time.

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Hey, Jason Bulger makes an appearance in consecutive posts. This is starting to get out of control. Bulger is one of a dozen pitchers included in this set. While a few of the faces are obscured by shadows, all but two of the photos are serviceable. All but two of the cards featuring non-pitching players depict the players in the act of hitting. That gets a little tedious because we all know that there is so much more to baseball than just swinging a bat. The lack of variation stands out as an area where the set could easily be improved upon.

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This is a very nice card of Bobby Wilson. An action photo in full catcher’s gear, yet a mask does not obscure his face. The focus is a bit soft, but I’m willing to forgive them given the overall appeal of the card. Wilson did appear in seven games with the parent Angels during the 2008 season.

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Reggie Willits is a super nice guy who will always give his team 120 percent. He’s the kind of player who will crash into the wall in foul territory to make the third out in the top an inning, then some up to bat second in the bottom of the inning and lay down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runner from first into scoring position. Yet it appears that the jury is still out on whether or not that is going to be enough to land Reggie a full-time spot on a major league roster.

Willits is one of only three players in the team set not wearing a white jersey. From an autographing standpoint, if a team is going to feature the same style of uniform on the majority of the cards in the set, I would prefer that they follow Salt Lake’s lead and select the lightest color.

The Salt Lake Bees have one of the best looking logos and overall color schemes in the Pacific Coast League. The logo is most visible on the cards of manager Bobby Mitchell and pitching coach Erik Bennett.

As is the case with all cards from the 2008 DAV promotion, these puppies have a semi gloss surface that are ready for the Sharpie directly out of the pack. The card backs exhibit the standard DAV ad instead of stats. I am of the opinion that the Salt Lake Bees have one of the best looking team sets included in the 2008 DAV minor league master set. Weighing in at 26 players and 3 coaches, what you get here is basically a full team set. I haven’t seen the actual 2008 Salt Lake Bees team issued set, but I am guessing that the images used for that differ significantly from the ones utilized for the DAV set. While the Bees offer bracelets for sale thru their online team shop, they do not offer baseball cards. Go figure!

I did see one of the 2008 Salt Lake Bees DAV team sets sell on eBay for $7.50 plus shipping with five unique bidders showing interest. I would say that is about as low as you might expect to pick up one of these sets on the secondary market- assuming you are fortunate enough to find one for sale. After all, the Bees did finish 1st PCL Pacific North division.

– Kris

2003 lancaster jethawks team set review

December 9, 2008

2003 Lancaster Jethawks team set
Official Score – ground rule DOUBLE
Manufacturer: Grandstand Cards
Sponsor: Bubble Yum
Retail price: $6.00(ish)

The 2003 Lancaster Jethawks finished 4th in the California Southern League. The Baseball Cube indicates that Rick Rodriguez managed the team, yet this team set begs to differ. I wasn’t there, so I honestly couldn’t tell you who was in charge. It is interesting to note that some 148,194 fans stopped smelling the poppies long enough to file through the turnstiles at “the Hangar” (Clear Channel Stadium) to watch the Class A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks play ball. (Today the Jethawks are affiliates of the Houston Astros.)

There is no printed checklist for this 30-card team set. The numbers on the backs of the cards correspond to the player jersey numbers. Pretty much the best way to tell if you have a complete team set is to compare your cards to this official team checklist sponsored by the Aardvark Trading Company.

1 – [25] Mike Aldrete (manager)
2 – [33] Scott Barber (p)
3 – [17] Billy Biggs (p)
4 – [20] Jason Bulger (p)
5 – [31] John Castellanos (p)
6 – [18] Lance Cormier (p)
7 – [36] Joey Cramblitt (p)
8 – [7] Mike DiRosa (c)
9 – [38] Jay Garthwaite (of)
10 – [26] Matt Henrie (p)
11 – [23] Jamie Jones (of)
12 – [21] Josh Kroeger (of)
13 – [11] Erick Macha (if)
14 – [30] Damon Mashore (hitting coach)
15 – [9] Kyle Nichols (1b)
16 – [4] Danny Richar (if)
17 – [14] Mayobanex Santana (if)
18 – [12] Sergio Santos (if)
19 – [16] Pete Sikaras (p)
20 – [29] Doug Slaten (p)
21 – [37] Chris Snyder (c)
22 – [24] Jeff Stanek (1b)
23 – [34] Mel Stottlemyre, Jr. (pitching coach)
24 – [19] Francisco Trejo (p)
25 – [8] Dan Uggla (if)
26 – [35] Justin Wechsler (p)
27 – [28] Carlton Wells (p)
28 – [22] Marland Williams (of)
29 – [‘03] Justin Jakubcin (strength coach)
30 – [‘03] Adam Weyer (trainer)

I like the design of these cards- a kittywampus layout of a full-bleed “baseball card” card superimposed over a warning track area of an outfield next to the foul line. However, I wouldn’t want to have like 20 of these sets from different teams to look at. The set also suffers a bit from the fact that only two cards (pitcher Matt Henrie and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre, Jr.) have backgrounds that really differ from the rest. I’m not saying that all of the backgrounds are identical, but they are lacking in variation. Technically, the photography is very good, and I wouldn’t have hesitated to score the cards higher if the set had included some action shots.

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You’d have to think that with a name like Billy Biggs, a player was destined for the majors. That was not the case with this right-handed relief pitcher. Instead, it appears that Biggs hung up the glove after spending four seasons in the minors, logging 216 innings on the mound and racking up exactly ONE plate appearance. Billy’s entire professional baseball career was spent within the Diamondbacks organization- pretty uncommon in this day and age. Biggs’ total stats include a record of 11-16 with an ERA of 3.33 and a WHIP of 1.30- again, all in relief. Certainly players have hung around in the majors for much longer than four years while not performing as well. Billy failed to reach base in his only trip to the plate.

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Dan Uggla smashed 23 homers and stole 24 bases for the Lancaster Jethawks during the 2003 season. Any questions?

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Jason Bulger made his major league debut on August 26, 2005. He was traded to the Angels the following spring, and has yet to spend a full season with the parent club. That’s the way it goes sometimes.

While I would not argue that Jason bears a slight resemblance to the scarecrow on the Wizard of Oz, I am here to set the record straight by reminding you that the man who played that character was named Ray Bolger- not Bulger. In other words, if they are related, someone in that family tree has some spelling issues.

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Infielder Sergio Santos is still working toward his first call up to the majors. He has been in the Toronto Blue Jays organization since the end of 2005 when he was included in a deal with Troy Glaus for Orlando Hudson and Miguel Batista.

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Chris Snyder broke into the big leagues on August 21, 2004. Snyder has been cashing paychecks from the Diamondbacks organization his entire professional career. I’m fond of baseball cards that utilize photographs taken from this vantage point. It almost allows you to feel what it would be like to be a baseball.

Card thickness is typical for a minor league set. Surface treatment is a semi gloss that left the cards practically begging to be autographed. The backs consist of two-color (black and grey) printing over white matte, including name, typical player stats, minimal bios and a grayscale Bubble Yum logo.

I obtained this team set in trade from a blogless reader in exchange for a 2008 Albuquerque Isotopes team set. Although the Jethawks don’t have it listed on their online team shop, I was informed that they do still have this set available. So you probably have to call them if you want to order one for six bucks. I haven’t seen this entire team set available on the secondary market, but if you act fast, you can pick up just the Josh Kroeger card from a dealer on eBay for “only” $3.95 plus $1.50 shipping.

– Kris

2008 louisville bats dav team set review

December 7, 2008

2008 Louisville Bats DAV team set
Official Score – base hit
Manufacturer: Disabled American Veterans (undetermined printer)
Sponsor: Disabled American Veterans
Retail price: FREE SGA– not available for purchase

The Louisville Bats are the Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. After running away from the competition in the Western division of the International League in 2008, the Bats’ magical season ended when they flew into the wall that was the Durham Bulls in the first round of the playoffs.

When the home team takes to Louisville Slugger Field for opening day in 2009, they will be playing on a brand new surface of Kentucky Bluegrass thanks to sod recently imported from Indiana. The difficult part of writing that last sentence was deciding whether to end it with a period or a question mark! It is interesting that the Bats front office opted to replace the playing field the season after they hosted the 2008 Triple-A All Star game.

At any rate, a six-card team set hardly needs a checklist. I’m including one just the same because you never can tell who might be Googling for more information on Tom Shearn.

1 – [26] Bill Bray (p)
2 – [27] David Ross (c)
3 – [28] Homer Bailey (p)
4 – [29] Jay Bruce (of)
5 – [30] Jolbert Cabrera (if)
6 – [31] Tom Shearn (p)

I thought I’d start right off with a scan of the Jay Bruce card. So if you are only reading to see that particular card, you won’t need to continue reading this post. Before you leave, wouldn’t this baseball card look sweet with a sticker autograph haphazardly slapped across the front?

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Autograph collectors should note that surface treatment is a semi-gloss that requires no special preparation prior to obtaining a signature. That’s right; just add a player and you’ll be cooking with gas!

Graphers won’t get any help from David Ross’s card in the task of identifying the catcher in his street clothes, but this action photo of Ross in full gear will probably look so good signed that you won’t mind the extra effort that might be needed in the effort. I wouldn’t hesitate to assume that Ross is probably on enough cards where his face is visible that picking him out of the crowd outside a ballpark won’t be impossible.

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This limited edition minor league SGA team set includes two hitters, the aforementioned catcher and three hurlers. With the exception of the Tom Shearn card, all players are wearing the same style of uniforms. I haven’t the slightest idea why the Bats’ DAV team set contains only six players. As I understand it, teams were allowed to submit entire team rosters if they so desired. Apparently, the Bats did not so desire.

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Enter pitcher Homer Bailey… Homer started 19 games for the Bats in 2008, accumulating a record of 4-7 with a 4.77 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP. Bailey struck out 96 batters while handing out 46 free passes over 111.1 innings. He was also touched for 10 round-trippers in the process. Lackluster as those stats may be, he didn’t fare nearly as well during his eight starts for the Reds in 2008. Bailey displayed an enormous amount of determination while pitching for the parent club last season. Unfortunately, that determination manifested itself in Homer’s uncanny impression of Josh Fogg.

There are no statistics on the backs of these cards. Instead you’ll find the same standard ad for the Disabled American Veterans as on all of their cards distributed in 2008. One of the things that I find most appealing about these DAV minor league baseball cards is the fact that only a few thousand sets were created in the first place. That, combined with the high probability that few sets will survive given that the average person who attends minor league baseball games probably doesn’t make any effort to retain baseball cards, should result in a collectible item that will prove extremely difficult to obtain even before a number of these players retire.

I’d like to think that I do a pretty decent job of monitoring the secondary market for these DAV team sets in order to have a little information to pass along about their value. That typed, I have yet to see one of the 2008 Louisville Bats DAV team sets up for auction on eBay. Given the limited supply of these cards, I would expect that this six-card set might fetch between four and five bucks in auction, and the winning bidder could expect to add an additional three to eighteen dollars (depending on the fine print) to have the cards shipped to their home or office.

– Kris

2008 dav minor league master set team checklist

December 2, 2008

Another slight departure from my normal reviews of minor league baseball team sets in that this entry isn’t intended as a “review.” Rather, my goal here is to simply let readers know what minor league teams participated in the absolutely wonderful Disabled American Veterans (DAV) baseball program during the summer of 2008. I’m not sure how long the 2008 information will remain available on the DAV website as they are probably already working hard on the schedule for 2009. After all, there may be a team you are interested in, and it is quite possible that you will be able to pick up their DAV team set on the secondary market long before I get around to reviewing it.

You will have to wait for the individual DAV team set reviews for an official Aardvark Trading Company-sponsored player checklist. (Okay, if you want to know if a particular player is included in a team set, either shoot me an email or leave a comment here and I will let you know. Please just don’t ask for an entire team checklist. (Try bribery if you want me to review one team before any others….).)

Also, I will be adding links to this master list as I review individual team sets. So if you happen upon this posting via a Google search or whatever, you will not be forced to scan the entire Cards in the Attic archive to find out more about the team set you are interested in.

The 2008 DAV minor league baseball master set contains 277 cards from 1 independent league team and 17 minor league teams. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why more organizations didn’t take advantage of this excellent promotion. Slackers, I presume, until evidence to the contrary is presented.

1 – 10: Iowa Cubs
11 – 15: New Hamshire Fisher Cats
16 – 25: Oklahoma Redhawks
26 – 31: Louisville Bats
32 – 36: Salt Lake Bees (part I)
37 – 70: Hickory Crawdads
71 – 74: Pawtucket Red Sox
75 – 104: Potomac Nationals
105 – 128: Salt Lake Bees (part II)
129 – 140: Wilmington Blue Rocks
141 – 152: Tulsa Drillers
153 – 157: Omaha Royals
158 – 165: New Britain RockCats
166 – 191: Sioux Falls Canaries
192 – 194: Peoria Chiefs
195 – 204: Albuquerque Isotopes
205 – 227: Joliet Jack Hammers
228 – 261: Cedar Rapids Kernals
262 – 277: Camden Riversharks

Considered “Limited Editions,” these team sets were available only as FREE SGA promotions, and as such, were not and will not be made available for sale either at minor league stadiums or through online team shops. In other words, if you didn’t make it out to the ballpark for the game when the DAV was there, you need to hustle to find someone who did, then talk him or her out of their cards.

– Kris

2008 new britain rock cats dav team set review

November 3, 2008

2008 New Britain Rock Cats DAV team set
Official Score – walk
Manufacturer: Disabled American Veterans (undetermined printer)
Sponsor: Disabled American Veterans
Retail price: FREE SGA– not available for purchase

Behold, here is another limited edition subset of the even more limited 2008 DAV minor league baseball master set. I’ve chosen to review the New Britain Rock Cats cards as a special thank you to Cards in the Attic reader and South Dakota geography expert Mike who recently helped me figure out the difference between Sioux Falls and Sioux City- about 50 miles! Mike is a Twins fan and baseball card collector, but I don’t believe he has a blog.

The New Britain Rock Cats have been the Double-A (Eastern League) affiliate of the Minnesota Twins since 1995. Some 365,758 fans attended Rock Cats games in New Britain Stadium at Willow Brook Park in 2008, setting an all-time high water mark that I am predicting will be surpassed in 2009. Obviously if you find yourself in New Britain, Connecticut, this ballpark is a must see destination.

Rock Cats fans attending the game on Monday, July 7, 2008 received these baseball cards absolutely free of charge. Unfortunately, the Rock Cats dropped that game to the Connecticut Defenders by a final of 5 to 3.

The 2008 New Britain Rock Cats DAV team set contains only eight cards, three of which are mascots. Crazy! I know, enough with the preliminaries, and on with the checklist (an exclusive feature sponsored by the hard working folks at the Aardvark Trading Company)!

1 – [159] Francisco Liriano (p)
2 – [160] Justin Morneau (inf)
3 – [161] David Ortiz (inf)
4 – [162] Glen Perkins (p)
5 – [163] Scott Baker (p)
6 – [164] Blooper (mascot)
7 – [165] Rocky the Rock Cat (“star” mascot)
8 – [166] Toner the Copy Cat (mascot)

I guess I really only have two complaints about this “minor league” team set. First, a whopping 37 percent of the set is dedicated to mascots. Definitely overkill, but at least the mascots are still part of the current Rock Cats family.

My second complaint is that this is really more of a minor league alumni set. I honestly don’t understand the concept here. Why not take advantage of this generous DAV promotion to highlight several current players? Or if you are going to issue an abbreviated alumni baseball card set, how on earth could you not include Pat Neshek in the checklist?

Seriously, does anyone really need another David Ortiz card, or another card of Justin Morneau? (Of course I’m not talking about THIS GUY (who needs to set up his RSS feed before worrying about getting more Morneau cards).)

Similarly, the rest of the players included in this set need no introduction, so here they are in random order.

The photography employed for these cards is like looking at some Ansel Adams shots after my recent review of the Sioux Falls Canaries abomination. Of course it isn’t truly THAT good. It may just take my optical nerves a few more days to adjust.

You cannot purchase this limited edition New Britain Rock Cats DAV team set at the ballpark or via their interweb store. In fact, I haven’t even seen one of these things show up on eBay. That said, I would imagine that the set could easily fetch five bucks or more if you are lucky enough to find one on the secondary market.

In spite of the fact that the New Britain Rock Cats have not submitted any of their team issued sets to Cards in the Attic for review, I will take the high road and mention that you can pick up team sets from 2006-2008 for just under seven dollars each by following this link to the Rock Cats online Third Base Shop. I notice they also have a deck of team logo playing cards for sale. I’m of the belief that getting something like that autographed would result in a highly valuable collectible simply because not many people are going to think of doing something like that. Besides, it would look really neat.

– Kris

2008 sioux falls canaries dav team set review

October 31, 2008

2008 Sioux Falls Canaries DAV team set
Official Score – RAIN OUT – no make up date scheduled
Manufacturer: Disabled American Veterans (undetermined printing source)
Sponsor: Disabled American Veterans
Retail price: FREE SGA– not available for purchase

Who doesn’t love FREE baseball cards? It would be impossible to not like FREE baseball cards, right?

…. er, not so fast ….

The 26-card Sioux Falls Canaries limited edition subset of the 2008 DAV minor league baseball set is a complete tragedy. The cards themselves are well made- and certainly well intentioned, but the photography is atrocious. I toyed with the notion for a while that they might be so bad that they are actually kinda “good,” but no, they are worse than that. They are so frighteningly bad that I think Halloween is the most appropriate day of the year I can choose to blog about them.

I won’t pretend to be all knowing about the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, but I will make the assumption that the majority of the players, coaches and staff involved in the league work very hard to put a quality product out on the field for their fans. Therefore, I believe the players and coaches of the 2008 American Association Champion Sioux Falls Canaries deserve to have had their photographs taken by someone who has a better understanding of the workings of a camera than my grandmother. Sure, grandma may have somehow always managed to get her thumb into each and every shot, while sometimes accidentally cropping off the top of the head of the tallest person in the photo, but at least her shots were in focus.

Catcher Andrew Barbaro stands at the plate thinking, “Is it just me, or does the ball seem sort of fuzzy coming off the mound?”

No Andrew, it isn’t just you. Your entire team is out of focus.

Unless the photographer was also responsible for selecting and editing the images, then submitting them to the DAV representative who coordinated the free card promotion, I would say that more than one person should share in the diSTINKtion of having created one of the worst team sets in the modern era. Even the printer should have called the DAV rep and asked if they were positive that they wanted to go forward with this project.

I’m trying to think of something positive to say about this card of Canaries pitcher Angelo Morales. Beyond the fact that it is rectangular, I’m drawing a blank.

Perhaps it comes down to being a toss-up between inexperience (ie., never having seen a real baseball card before) or taste. It may be worth adding that Ballpark Digest recently named the Sioux Falls Canaries as having the “Best New Food Item of the Year” (2008). How intriguing! What on earth could it be? Try “Fowl Balls” on for size. That’s right; deep-fried turkey testicles. Honest.

I’m not sure if it is worse for the player who may only find himself on a single baseball card in his entire life- and that card is part of this set, or of it is worse for those players with minor and/or major league experience who may have become accustomed to being depicted somewhat realistically on their other cards.

I feel very sorry for each and every Pat Mahomes supercollector who is going to have to scramble to get one of his cards from this train wreck of a set. After accumulating more than 450 strikeouts in the major leagues while pitching for the Twins, Red Sox, Mets, Rangers, Cubs and Pirates, I guarantee you that Pat never saw a batter miss by a margin equal to the substandard execution of this set.

Mahomes isn’t the only player with major league experience included in this compost. Manager Steve Shirley pitched in some eleven games for the 1982 Los Angeles Dodgers. Don’t be shocked if you recognize more names when you scan through the checklist that I have gone to the trouble of typing up. Ex-big leaguers and determined young dreamers such as Kris Regas coming together to play baseball in places like “the Birdcage” in Sioux Falls, South Dakota should be celebrated instead of having their season tarnished by a product such as this. Even for FREE, these cards are overpriced.

If you really want one of these sets, you should expect three coach cards, four outfielders, five infielders, eleven pitchers, two catchers and one mascot- whom I suspects steers as clear of the “Fowl Balls” concession stand as possible.

1 – [166] Andrew Barbaro (c)
2 – [167] Alex Bardeguez (inf)
3 – [168] Lenny Bays (p)
4 – [169] Kennard Bibbs (out)
5 – [170] Kelly Casares (p)
6 – [171] Benny Castillo (hitting coach)
7 – [172] Ryan Ford (p)
8 – [173] Ryan Grant (p)
9 – [174] Tim Hutting (inf)
10 – [175] Travis Kane (p)
11 – [176] Josh Kite (p)
12 – [177] Pat Mahomes (p)
13 – [178] Mike Meyer (pitching coach)
14 – [179] Ben Moore (p)
15 – [180] Angelo Morales (p)
16 – [181] Josh Patton (inf)
17 – [182] Kris Regas (p)
18 – [183] Patrick Reilly (inf)
19 – [184] Grant Richardson (inf)
20 – [185] Mark Roberts (p)
21 – [186] Steve Shirley (manager)
22 – [187] Will Smith (out)
23 – [188] Paul Smyth (c)
24 – [189] Beau Torbert (out)
25 – [190] Ben Van Iderstine (out)
26 – [191] Cagey (mascot)

As is the case with all DAV baseball card releases, cardstock is thin, yet the cards are reasonably sturdy. There are no stats on the backs of the cards- standard for DAV sets. Surface treatment is a semi gloss that doesn’t require preparation prior to autographing.

I wonder if there are any graphers living in Sioux Falls. If so, I would love to find out if the baseball cards given away on August 12, 2008 are different than these, or these are the only cards fans have to commemorate the Canaries championship season. Normally, the DAV lists dates that they appear at ballparks, but for some reason Sioux Falls was omitted from the 2008 list. Possibly that is because the Canaries are not associated with major league baseball, or someone got a look at these things at the DAV after they were printed, but not early enough to cancel the giveaway, and removed that line from the website.

At any rate, you can’t buy these cards from the Canaries. Possibly you can find them on eBay or from some other secondary source, but I’m not going to even waste my time to look. Neither should you.

– Kris