Posts Tagged ‘Midwest League’

2008 beloit snappers team set review

June 26, 2008

2008 Beloit Snappers team set
Official Score – TWO RUN RAINMAKER
Manufacturer: Grandstand
Retail price: $10.00

I wish to begin by stating that it was an absolute PLEASURE to review this particular team set. The Beloit fans are fortunate to have such a quality product available to help them document the 2008 season as their Snappers continue in their winning ways in the Western Division of the Midwest League.

I must caution that this set lacks a printed checklist and utilizes player jersey numbers as card identifiers on the back (without benefit of a # of # designation), a small detail that I know will frustrate the most anal of completist collectors. With that out of the way, let’s move on to the official checklist.

Checklist: 32 cards
1 – [1] Rudy Hernandez (hitting coach)
2 – [2] Ramon Santana (ss)
3 – [4] Chris Cates (ss)
4 – [5] Joe Benson (of)
5 – [7] Ben Revere (of)
6 – [8] Garrett Olson (3b)
7 – [9] Daniel Lehmann (c)
8 – [10] Chris Parmelee (of)
9 – [11] Steve Singleton (ss)
10 – [13] Daniel Berlind (p)
11 – [16] Jair Fernandez (c)
12 – [17] Spencer Steedley (p)
13 – [18] Matt Williams (p)
14 – [19] Greg Yersich (c)
15 – [21] Charles Nolte (p)
16 – [22] Michael Tarsi (p)
17 – [23] Mark Dolenc (of)
18 – [24] Deibinson Romero (3b)
19 – [25] Gary Lucas (pitching coach)
20 – [26] Brad Tippett (p)
21 – [27] Steve Hirschfeld (p)
22 – [28] David Bromberg (p)
23 – [30] Michael McCardell (p)
24 – [31] Blair Erikson (p)
25 – [33] Ozzie Lewis (of)
26 – [35] Brian Kirwan (p)
27 – [37] Santos Arias (p)
28 – [39] Nelson Prada (manager)
29 – [40] Loek Van Mil (p)
30 – [‘08] Kazumasa Manabe (strength coach)
31 – [‘08] Alan Rail (trainer)
32 – [‘08] Snappy D. Turtle (mascot)

The Class Low “A” affiliate of the Minnesota Twins through 2010, the Beloit Snappers have sprinted to an early lead in the second half of the Midwest League’s Western Division after finishing the first half in third place. They play their home games at Pohlman Field in Beloit, Wisconsin. Home to just under 38,000 Snapper fans, the “Petunia City” is located at the confluence of the Rock River and Turtle Creek, and nearly straddles the mythical Illinois/Wisconsin border.

The cards in this set include a nice mixture of action and portrait shots featuring stunning photography framed by an eighth-inch white border. Player names along with the snazzy team logo and name are superimposed over the image of a bat rack along the lower margin of the cards. While not detracting from the overall appearance, this does lend itself for effortless reading of player names- even in low light situations.

This card of Brian Kirwan is fabulous not only because the photo is both in focus and well cropped, but also because the outfield signage helps capture the flavor of the ballpark. For instance, the Hormel Chili sign is likely significant to many Beloitians as they probably at least know someone with no more than a couple of degrees of separation from the Hormel plant. Beloit is also the birthplace of Korn Kurls, Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander and the speedometer. Both Chief Black Hawk and former Major League infielder Jerry Kenny once called Beloit home.

Another major plus with this set is the variety of backgrounds present. For example, the hibernating trees in the background of David Bromberg’s card not only provide a wonderfully neutral background ideal for autographing, but also serve as a stark contrast between the coldness of winter and the initial signs of spring- in this case, the onset of a new minor league baseball season.

Outstanding examples of the ten “portrait” cards included in this set are pitching coach Gary Lucas sporting his big league jacket, and catcher Jair Fernandez- apparently smiling after realizing that he will be one of few minor league catchers who will be recognizable on his baseball card rather than shot while completely covered with safety gear.

The 2008 Beloit Snappers team set also contains seven kool action cards that aren’t simply guys standing in the batters box waiting to take a hack. (Don’t worry, there are a few of those, but even they are well done.) A few good examples of these action shots include outfielder Ozzie Lewis about to grab a fly ball just shy of the warning track…

third baseman Garrett Olson judging a high hopper…

and catcher Greg Yersich playing first base and concentrating on a hit ball in an effort to make an inning-ending play to preserve a two-run lead for the Snappers. Sports photojournalists around the world over could take a lesson from this card and due their best to compose similarly creative shots that help tell the story they are helping preserve for the future.

Backs of the cards feature smart four-color printing with black stats and player bios over a grey and white background. Cards appear to have a semi gloss finish. Card stock is thin, but I would not characterize them as flimsy. Add thicker cards to the sparsely populated “wish list” for 2009.

I’ve encountered no evidence on the Snappers pocket schedule or website to indicate that these cards were given away to fans as one of this season’s game promotions. I believe the most interesting of the Snappers promotions has to be their “Must Win Miller Mondays.” According to the rules of that promotion, all fans attending games when the Snappers end up losing at home on a Monday receive free tickets to the next Wednesday home game. I wonder what will happen if the Snappers drop the final home game of the season on Monday, September 1st. Obviously, they MUST win that one! Right?

Fans of the Minnesota Twins, Midwest League baseball or simply well-designed baseball cards should not hesitate to snap up one (or more) of these team sets. 2008 Beloit Snappers team sets are available online directly from the team shop for $10 each. As of this posting, they also still have team sets from 2007, 2006 and 2001, in addition to Midwest League Top Prospects sets from 2008 and 2004. Order one for your collection today! I haven’t had the opportunity to review previous Beloit Snappers team sets, but I would not be surprised to discover that this isn’t the first time they’ve knocked this product out of the park.

The same set is moving at $14.00 on the secondary market, while a nearly complete autographed set recently sold for $38.00 on eBay.

Subjectively yours,

– Kris