Posts Tagged ‘Double-A baseball’

2007 jacksonville suns team set review

February 19, 2009

2007 Jacksonville Suns
Official Score – leadoff SINGLE
Manufacturer: Grandstand
Sponsor: Jacksonville Sports Cards, Comcast, 102.9 the point
Retail price: That ship has sailed.

Again, the Jacksonville Suns served as the Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the 2007 season. Of course if you are searching for individual players, that shouldn’t matter in the slightest. The 2007 Jacksonville Suns team set includes eleven pitchers, two catchers, seven infielders, four outfielders, and six* manager/coach/trainer cards. What, no checklist? That’s right. I don’t think the folks at Grandstand know what a checklist is.

1 – [43] Brian Akin (p)
2 – [29] Luke Allen (of)
3 – [14] Alberto Conception (c)
4 – [41] Eric Cyr (p)
5 – [44] Danny Darwin (pitching coach)
6 – [9] Cory Dunlap (if)
7 – [17] Scott Elbert (p)
8 – [15] A.J. Ellis (c)
9 – [25] Juan Gonzalez (if)
10 – [36] Zach Hammes (p)
11 – [13] Chin-lung Hu (if)
12 – [54] William Juarez (p)
13 – [45] John Lindsey (if)
14 – [8] Luis Maza (if)
15 – [23] Marshall McDougall (if)
16 – [5] Mike Megrew (p)
17 – [22] Jonathan Meleon (p)
18 – [50] Alvis Ojeda (p)
19 – [34] Justin Orenduff (p)
20 – [6] Xavier Paul (of)
21 – [11] Anthony Raglani (of)
22 – [7] Matt Riley (p)
23 – [40] Jimmy Rohan (if)
24 – [26] Wilkin Ruan (of)
25 – [12] Luis Salazar (hitting coach)
26 – [12] John Shoemaker (manager)
27 – [16] Wesley Wright (p)
28 – [‘07] Trevor Dorian (strength coach)
29 – [‘07] Yosuke Nakajima (trainer)
30 – Marty McCall (proprietor – Jacksonville Sports Cards)

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* Note: the final card in the “manager/coach/trainer” subset features the owner of Jacksonville Sports Cards, whom I’ve arbitrarily designated as the team’s official baseball card coach. Every ballclub should have one! Normally I will not feature scans of non-player cards as part of my team set reviews, but given that this fellow runs a card shop and appears to have sponsored the team’s card set giveaway, I’ve decided to give him the nod. The bio on the back of Marty’s card indicates that he has a green thumb- something I can certainly identify with.

You don’t get a lot of variation in the cards featuring outfielders. Ruan and Raglani are pictured in the batters box, Allen appears to be running out a pop fly, and here is a scan of Xavier Paul taking a conservative lead off third base. I have no idea what it is, but something appears to have been distracting the majority of the fans along the third base line when this photo was taken.

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The cards of infielders exhibit considerably more variation than the outfielders. Four of the players are depicted in the field while the other three are hitting and/or base running. For those of you who have placed a wager that I will be including a scan of Chin-Lung Hu from this set, you need to pay your bookie. Instead, I present John Lindsey’s card due to the rare horizontal alignment. This team set also includes a horizontal card of manager John Shoemaker “helping” an umpire be the best that he can be.

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Both cards of catchers in the 2007 Jacksonville Suns set are keepers! Both are typical of the overall nice photography that helps make this team set fun to flip through. Ellis in full gear and a huge smile walking from the dugout to the plate gets bumped so I can feature Alberto Concepcion, Jr., who played for the Albuquerque Isotopes for part of the 2008 season.

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Without question, the cards of pitchers vary the most from one another as fans are treated with a few posed headshots, and a number of action photos. Although all of the action photos are mound shots, the angles vary enough to keep the photos from becoming stale, and there are even a few that appear to have been taken at night (for those of you into that sort of thing). In deciding which pitcher card to feature, I chose Alvis Ojeda’s in order to highlight his Dodger blue glove.

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The card backs consist of typical player stats, short bios and company logos printed over a muted image of a glove and a few baseballs. Easily read, but nothing to get excited about. Graphers in the southwestern United States should note that thirteen cards in this team set feature players that could end up on the 2009 Albuquerque Isotopes Opening Day roster

You can purchase this 30-card 2007 Jacksonville Suns team set online, but not directly from the team. Instead, you are looking at dropping between $8 and $13 per set (plus shipping) on the secondary market. I would say that anything in that range is a fair price for this set.

– Kris

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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 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 midland rockhounds team set review

July 8, 2008

2008 Midland RockHounds team set
Official Score – bases clearing DOUBLE
Manufacturer: Grandstand
SGA: Sunday, June 1, 2008
Tulsa Drillers – 2 / Midland RockHounds – 0
Sponsor: Coldwell Banker Covenant, KMID abc 2, KODM98
Retail price: Best guess is $9.99 at the team shop, $12.00 secondary market

Double-A affiliate of the Oakland A’s for the past decade, the Midland RockHounds have earned the respect of fans and “baseball people” located hundreds, perhaps thousands, of miles beyond the Texas League circuit. The RockHounds don’t just do baseball- they do it right. In fact, the RockHounds were honored as winners of Minor League Baseball’s John H. Johnson President’s award in 2007. That’s pretty impressive.

I was lucky enough to have made the trip to Midland, Texas last summer to watch the RockHounds take on the Corpus Christi Hooks (Houston Astros). I can tell you first hand that they have a fantastic ballpark. One very kool feature of Midland’s Citibank Ballpark is Legacy Field– a wiffleball field that was opened on the centerfield concourse in 2007. My only complaint was that they didn’t schedule any extra inning games while I was there!

I really like the grey and white mottled three-sided borders on the front sides of this team set. I also like the concept of having all positions listed in the border while the appropriate one is highlighted in the same blue used for the player name, position and team name. Neat idea! It sort of reminds me of the gear selection display panel in my jeep. If I ever manage to hook up with a representative from Grandstand Trading Cards, I hope to be able to say something about the templates used in the creation of their cards.

One of the questions I will ask Grandstand is whether they even offer a checklist with their team sets as I have yet to review one that included one. The 2008 Midland RockHounds 27-card team set is no exception.

1 – [5] Cliff Pennington (inf)
2 – [9] Jon Zeringue (of)
3 – [10] Kristian Bell (p)
4 – [11] Myron Leslie (of)
5 – [14] Scott Emerson (pitching coach)
6 – [15] Brian Snyder (inf)
7 – [16] Nick Blasi (of)
8 – [18] Jesus Guzman (inf)
9 – [19] Justin Sellers (inf)
10 – [20] Aaron Cunningham (of)
11 – [22] Casey Myers (c/batting coach)
12 – [24] Andy Shipman (p)
13 – [25] Andrew Carignan (p)
14 – [28] Ryan Webb (p)
15 – [30] Jason Glushon (p)
16 – [31] Henry Rodriguez (p)
17 – [32] Vincent Mazzaro (p)
18 – [33] PatrickCurrin (p)
19 – [34] Justin Dowdy (p)
20 – [40] James Simmons (p)
21 – [41] Jay Marshall (p)
22 – [45] Anthony Recker (c)
23 – [46] Andrew Bailey (p)
24 – [49] Webster Garrison (manager)
25 – [50] Jose Rojas (p)
26 – [55] Tommy Everidge (inf)
27 – [‘08] Jeremy Smith (realtor)

Yes, the cards are thin, but they aren’t exactly flimsy. Both sides exhibit a semi-gloss finish, so graphers do need to employ a bit of caution to ensure that the fresh signatures don’t get smudged. A few nanoseconds of drying time in that warm west Texas air should be more than enough. Card backs exhibit four-color printing of player stats, team and sponsor logos, and other important data over a grey background with a stylized batter image in white. The cards are sharp and easy to read. Photos are credited to HotShots Photography and Greg Bergman.

Eight of the set’s thirteen pitchers are posed in right field with the scoreboard used as a nice background. Instead of coming off as monotonous, this strategy actually helped highlight each player’s unique personality. It was actually kind of difficult deciding which cards to include as an example. That said… this offering of Jason Glushon was a must. I like a card image that needs no description. The shadow cast by Jason’s extended arm is bothersome, but even that doesn’t really take away too much from this card.

I also selected Vincent Mazzaro as a representative sample of the posed pitchers cards in the set since he currently leads the Midland RockHounds with 8 wins and an ERA of only 2.29 over 17 starts this season. Mazzaro has only suffered three losses and given up three long balls while completing 106 innings on the mound.

Although the five remaining cards featuring pitchers are action photos taken from different angles, the quality and clarity of those photos simply fall a bit short of the bar that was set by the eight posed shots. James Simmons’ card is my favorite of the action photos used for the pitchers. Simmons is the only non-coach present wearing an orange jersey. Just to make it easier to sleep at night, let’s assume this photo was taken while Simmons was warming up, as a large portion of the crowd seated along the first base line seems to not be anticipating the possibility of a screaming foul ball heading in their direction.

This card of Ryan Webb is the only one with horizontal orientation with exception of the sponsor card that features realtor Jeremy Smith. Unfortunately, the photo of Webb is completely out of focus, resulting in that card being my least favorite in the set. On the other hand, this card does make you stop and take notice of the ultra KOOL RockHounds logo.

This set contains six cards of players batting. This card of Tommy Everidge gives you a good idea of what to expect in that department. It is worth noting that the focus on the other five is a bit sharper than this.

The remaining four player cards are a wonderful mixture of baseball randomness that goes beyond hitting and pitching. These cards include Brian Snyder running, Myron Leslie warming up on deck, and a well-framed shot of Anthony Recker in the process of throwing out a would-be base thief.

I really like this card of Jon Zeringue. Not only is he helping out a teammate by carrying his stuff back to the dugout, but he also appears to be lending a sympathetic ear as someone just off to the side explains that the first base umpire just blew a call. Isn’t that what teammates are supposed to do?

The RockHounds always schedule a large number of fantastic promotions for fans that show up at Midland’s Citibank Ballpark throughout the season, including the popular “Thirsty Thursdays.” Heck, for $2,400 you can sponsor your own half-inning! Of all the promos, it is tough to top Photo Wednesdays when the first 250 fans through the turnstiles receive a player photo packet. These photos are great to get autographed by players who stick around after the game. Of course fans that don’t arrive in time for a free player photo packet can always pop into the RockHounds’ gift shop and pick up one or more team sets to get autographed as well.

Overall this is a quality product that I believe should appeal to fans beyond those in Midland, Sacramento and Oakland. Without a doubt, all of you RiverCats and A’s fans need to grab up these cards so you’ll be ready when players get called up. I see that you can purchase various Midland RockHounds team sets (2000, 2001 and 2002) and Texas League Top Prospect card sets (2001, 2002 and 2004) and online for right around ten bucks each. However, I was unable to find where you can pick up a set of the 2008 Midland RockHounds cards directly from the team, so I would advise that you contact them directly to find out what other card sets are available.

– Kris

2008 mississippi braves team set review

June 29, 2008

2008 Mississippi Braves team set
Official Score – UNASSISTED DOUBLE PLAY
Manufacturer: Grandstand
Retail price: $ 10.00

The Mississippi Braves are the Double-A Southern League affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, and play their home games at Trustmark Park in Jackson, Mississippi. As of this posting, the Braves maintain a three-game lead in the Southern Division in the second half of the season- after finishing 10 games out in the first half. They may very well lead the league in “most players named J.C.” for all I know.

Checklist: 34 cards (neither printed nor included)

1 – [1] J.C. Holt (inf)
2 – [2] J.C. Boscan (c)
3 – [4] Carl Loadenthal (of)
4 – [5] Jordan Schafer (of)
5 – [6] Matt Young (of)
6 – [8] Van Pope (inf)
7 – [9] Paul Bennett (inf)
8 – [10] Jose Camarena (c)
9 – [12] Jason Perry (of)
10 – [13] Javier Guzman (inf)
11 – [16] Mark Jurich (of)
12 – [17] Nelson Payano (p)
13 – [18] Quentin Davis (of)
14 – [20] Kala Ka’Aihue (inf)
15 – [22] Franklin Stubbs (coach)
16 – [23] Kris Medlen (p)
17 – [24] James Parr (p)
18 – [25] Greg Creek (inf)
19 – [27] Derek Botelho (pitching coach)
20 – [29] Tommy Hanson (p)
21 – [30] Phillip Wellman (manager)
22 – [31] Sung Ki Jung (p)
23 – [32] Dustin Evans (p)
24 – [34] Todd Redmond (p)
25 – [36] Jerome Gamble (p)
26 – [37] Ray Serrano (c)
27 – [45] Luis Valdez (p)
28 – [47] Ryan Basner (p)
29 – [48] Brad Nelson (p)
30 – [50] Carlos Sencion (p)
31 – [51] Michael Nix (p)
32 – [52] Dan Smith (p)
33 – [na] Ricky Alcantara (trainer)
34 – [na] Trusty (mascot)

Cards are thin, but not flimsy. Both surfaces are semi-gloss that require no preparation prior to autographing- not that I’m suggesting that anyone needs to get the back sides of their cards autographed. Photos are credited to Ed Gardner and Tom Priddy. Bob Smith shot the photo of Jo-Jo Reyes used on the ‘08 Mississippi Braves pocket schedule.

I do like the card designs, with their random blue and red curved borders, team logo and player name in red text highlighted by white drop shadows. That said, these cards are probably only a single design element away from being declared “busy.” The curved blue and red border theme is continued on the back, but with player bios and stats printed in black over a mottled grey background.

First up is pitcher Luis Valdez. One of the darkest cards in the set, this one still works because the photo is sharp, and there is plenty of room for a signature across the lower third.

Yes, I believe I really like these cards. I wonder how they would look with a horizontal alignment.

Very nice! This is the ONLY card in the set in which a player steps in front of any border, and it really stands out. Matt Young leads the Braves with 19 stolen bases out of 27 attempts. Young also leads the Braves by having appeared in 79 games so far this season, and scoring 45 runs in the process.

Another good example of the horizontal alignment of several of the cards in this set is the card of Paul Bennett. This card refuses to be “complete” until it is signed with a blue Sharpie!

Did I mention how good the photography is in this card set? Check out this offering of Dan Smith. See what I mean?

The 2008 Mississippi Braves team set provides an even mixture of position players batting or playing defense. The J.C. Holt card illustrates the importance of not making cards of every player swinging a baseball bat.

Catcher Ray Serrano demonstrates the art of framing a pitch to help make sure the home plate umpire “sees” it correctly. This card won’t help you identify Serrano in a crowd, but that is also why the players where numbers on their jerseys. Please don’t ask me who the umpire is since there is no number 11 listed on the official Southern League Umpire roster, or am I simply not seeing things?

As you realize that you are nearing the end of my review, you may be starting to wonder if I am going to include a scan of Tommy Hanson’s card in light of the fact that he recently hurled the first no hitter in Mississippi Braves history. I am not. Instead, you should pick up a set for yourself while it is still an option. The 2008 Mississippi Braves team set is available for purchase directly from the Extra Innings team store for $10.00.

They also have the 2007 Mississippi Braves team set still available as well. Actually, those are a STEAL at only three bucks a pop! I look forward to an opportunity to review that set at some point in the future.

If you are heading to the ballpark to take in a Mississippi Braves game, just wait and pick up a few sets in person. These cards will be distributed FREE to the first 2,000 fans attending the July 6, 2008 game vs. the Chattanooga Lookouts. Want to sort your new cards in style? I suggest dropping another $500 and renting one of Trustmark Park’s luxury suites for an evening. You can invite up to fifteen of your best friends or favorite blog writers to join you. Post-game fireworks will help draw a large crowd to that game, so arrive early.

– Kris