Posts Tagged ‘memphis redbirds’

2008 fresno grizzlies team set review

October 29, 2008

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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2008 memphis redbirds team set review

September 24, 2008

2008 Memphis Redbirds team set
Official Score – TWO RUN HOMER
Manufacturer: MultiAd Sports
Sponsor: Superlo Foods
Retail price: $6.00

This may be the first set of MultiAd cards I’ve reviewed that does not contain a checklist. But don’t sweat it, the cards are numbered # of 35 on the back. Besides, you have already figured out that when it comes to official minor league team set checklists, Aardvark Trading Company will never leave you hanging. That said, take a look at the players (as well as non-players) included in the 2008 Memphis Redbirds team set:

1 – Colby Rasmus (out)
2 – Chris Perez (p)
3 – Bryan Anderson (c)
4 – Jaime Garcia (p)
5 – Clayton Mortensen (p)
6 – Mitchell Boggs (p)
7 – Joe Mather (out)
8 – P.J. Walters (p)
9 – Blake Hawksworth (p)
10 – Jarrett Hoffpauir (inf)
11 – Mark Worrell (p)
12 – Mike Parisi (p)
13 – Jason Motte (p)
14 – Brian Barden (inf)
15 – Hugo Castellanos (p)
16 – Ron Flores (p)
17 – David Freese (inf)
18 – Cody Haerther (out)
19 – D’Angelo Jimenez (inf)
20 – Gabe Johnson (c)
21 – Mark Johnson (c)
22 – Josh Phelps (inf)
23 – Anthony Reyes (p)
24 – Matt Scherer (p)
25 – Nick Stavinoha (out)
26 – John Wasdin (p)
27 – Rico Washington (inf)
28 – Nick Webber (p)
29 – Chris Maloney (manager)
30 – Blaise Ilsley (pitching coach)
31 – Mark Budaska (hitting coach) & Colby Rasmus
32 – Chris Conroy (trainer) – Ryan Eubanks (batboy) – Tony Martin
33 – Jake Fitts (strength coach)
34 – RBI (Returning Baseball to the Inner City kids)
35 – Rockey (mascot)

The Memphis Redbirds chose MultiAd’s (Style C) template in the creation of their team set for the 2008 season. This style was one of the more popular choices in 2008 (see also 2008 Omaha Royals and 2008 Iowa Cubs). I am a big fan of the greyscale cigar-band style strip across the lower margin of the cards where the player name, number and position are printed along with the team name and logo. The designers of the Memphis Redbirds team set elevated this product to a higher level with the inclusion of facsimile autographs. Sure, you are probably thinking that they passed that additional cost of that feature on to the consumer… That is simply not the case.

Facsimile autographs are particularly useful in determining whether a player really would have preferred to not sign your card. I suppose if you’d rather not know that about players, you may not be that excited to have the facsimile autograph on the front of your cards to tempt you into comparing them.

Card thinness is average for a minor league sets. The card fronts are coated with a semi-gloss leaving them ready for autographing without any surface preparation. The backs consist of four-color printing over white matte, typical player stats and short bios. Color player headshots in the upper right corner of the backs are extremely useful in helping you identify the players in street clothes in spite of the fact that they are all wearing hats in the photos.

Photo credits for the 2008 Memphis Redbirds go to Allison Rhoades. All are first rate- a few perhaps even bordering on Pulitzer Prize material. The vast majority of the backgrounds are light and ideal for autographing. In fact, Rico Washington’s card has one of the darker backgrounds, and he will compensate by turning his card at an angle- then sign his autograph up the length of his white uniform pants.

As entertaining it is that the Redbirds have a strength coach named “Fitts,” I’m not amused enough to include a scan of that card in this review. There are also cards of the 2002 Eastern League Athletic Trainer of the Year and his pals, kids from the Redbirds RBI (Returning Baseball to the Inner City) Program, and Rockey the mascot for people who enjoy baseball cards of non-baseball players.

The 2008 Memphis Redbirds team set contains three coach cards, including manager Chris Mahoney filling out a lineup card, pitching coach Blaise Ilsely tossing batting practice, and hitting coach Mark Budaska coaching third base and chatting with outfielder Colby Rasmus. Regardless of what team or league you follow, it is always a good sign to see one of your top prospects standing on third base wearing a batting helmet and taking off his batting gloves. This isn’t the only card in the set that inspires optimism.

Since I have already mentioned Rasmus, I might as well preempt my discussion of the pitching staff and just move on out to the four outfielders included in this set. Of the three cards featuring outfielders on offense, Rasmus is the only one not holding a bat in his hands. I suspect it is much easier to take photos of Colby on the base paths since he spends more time there than in the batter’s box.

Nick Stavinoha’s photo suggests that he his eyeballing the trajectory of a homer, while Joe Mather’s photo captures him poised to knock one out of the yard as well. Cody Haether’s card not only depicts him in the outfield having just tracked down the fly off an opponent’s bat, but while wearing one of four different Redbirds uniforms included in the set. My point being that this team set offers a wide variety of poses that will please every fan except those who prefer redundancy.

How about Haether’s game day signature compared to the facsimile? I’d say that is close enough to say it is consistent.

Readers expecting me to move on to the infielders will undoubtedly be frustrated as I instead take this opportunity to focus on catchers. This set contains three of them. Each depicts a backstop in full or nearly full catcher’s gear. Sure, the helmets do obscure the players’ faces, but graphers may use the full-color headshot on the back of the cards to help identify the players they do not recognize. This set scores high points for that alone!

Personally, I find that Mark Johnson’s card is the weakest of the three catchers, but I chose to include a scan of it here because of the background. No, I’m not a Nashville Sounds fan. Instead, I like the fact that you can see a dedicated fan recording a “2-6 CS” (caught stealing) in her scorebook even before Johnson fires a bullet down to second base. If you don’t absolutely love minor league baseball, I’m assuming you’ve never been to a game. Try to knock that off your “to do list” next season.

The 2008 Memphis Redbirds team set contains cards of six infielders. Three are batting, one is navigating the base paths and two are fielding. As much as I feel that each of these cards warrant scanning and including in this post, I think the proper thing to do is to pick one* and urge you to purchase a set from the Redbirds so you can enjoy seeing them for the first time in person. (*Note: Having already stated in a prior post that I would include a scan of Jarrett Hoffpauir’s card saves me from having to decide which of the infielder cards is my favorite.)

Of course I can’t even begin to think about ending this review without mentioning the various cards of pitchers contained within. There are 15 in case you didn’t keep track earlier when you were scanning through the checklist. Even though all were captured while pitching, the different uniforms, backgrounds and angles employed combine to add a great deal of variety to the team set. Although there is only one horizontal card in the set, all photos used have been expertly cropped.

Castellanos is captured in the process of delivering a pitch to the plate while his teammates lounge in the sunny bullpen and discuss the likelihood that Hugo will have his card featured in Cards in the Attic simply because of the horizontal orientation. So it goes!

Another method of ensuring that your card is included here is to get called up to the majors soon after signing a card for me, and ultimately wind up as one of the players on my fantasy baseball team roster – a strategy that Jason Motte has wisely chosen.

If a stronger minor league team set was produced in 2008, it has yet to be submitted to me for review. I just read the other day that the St. Louis Cardinals have entered into the process of buying the Memphis Redbirds team. I would hope that if the sale goes through, the parent club would recognize the talents of the Memphis personnel responsible for putting this team set together and call them up to the bigs.

I was not able to locate this particular team set for sale on the Memphis Redbirds online team shop, and that is a shame. I don’t particularly care for the current trend in minor league teams shifting to use the “shop.mlb.com” format online team shop. While I may have to accept it, I do not have to like it.

Instead, I am here to tell you that you may still obtain your own 2008 Memphis Redbirds team set (for only SIX BUCKS (plus shipping)) by calling the Redbirds team shop at 901.722.0273. Do not delay as supply is limited, and demand is sure to be high for such a quality product! I haven’t seen any pop up on the secondary market, but would expect them to be priced in the neighborhood of $12.00 and higher on eBay.

– Kris