Monday, June 16, 2014

2014 Staten Island Yankees Home Opener!

Okay so this past week was Opening Day for the Staten Island Yankees. The home opener was originally supposed to be on 6/13/2014 but due to bad weather the game was postponed and instead the home opener was held on Sunday (6/15/2014) and the postponed game was made up for with a double header. Needless to say, I was pumped. After weeks and weeks of waiting, real baseball is finally back!

Now this year the roster consisted of a few repeaters. Which was bittersweet in that I was glad to see some familiar faces, but also bummed to see that some of these guys didn't get bumped up to the next level.
Let me show you by using the custom cards I made using photographs courtesy of Staten Island Yankees reporter, Robert Pimpsner (thanks again Rob! :)). And these were also signed by the players.

First is Sam Agnew-Wieland who was the starter for Game 1 of the double header. Sam is an awesome dude, I had a few conversations with him last year and he really liked the custom cards I made for him/the team last year :).

Next is Bubba Jones, one of the nicest players you'll ever meet. After he led the team in batting average last year I assumed that he was going to get the bump to Charleston, I was unfortunately wrong.

David Palladino is a 6'9" giant who was the Opening Day starter for the SI Yanks. After throwing 6 no-hit innings last year I thought he was also going to get the bump to Charleston. Unfortunately I was wrong again.

Dillon McNamara is a fan favorite in Staten Island. Mostly because he himself is from Staten Island. Last year he was a reliever but this year he's been inserted into the rotation.

Andy Beresford was a reliable piece of the SI Yankees bullpen last year. This time I made the mistake of asking him to sign my custom with a pen instead of sharpie that I was too lazy to retrieve from my pocket.

Andury Acevedo was originally signed as an infielder by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2007 but came to the New York Yankees organization as a minor league free agent. After his arrival the Yankees converted Acevedo into a pitcher (more specifically a reliever). While it did take some getting used to, Acevedo is starting to make some progress.

Daniel Lopez was signed in 2009 as a free agent and destroyed the DSL and GCL but started to falter once he came to Staten Island. This is his third season with the low-A ball affiliate, as much as I'd hate to say it, time may be running out for him.

After destroyed the GCL in 2010, Isaias Tejeda is now entering his fourth season with the SI Yankees. He was the starting catcher in Game 1 of the double header.

Cale Coshow was the starter for Game 2 of the double header. While Coshow did walk a few guys his command was pretty good. He's a big guy who (I'm hoping) will at least make it to Tampa.

And here is Radley Haddad. Haddad was signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Yankees last year and spent 5 games with the team before being sent down to the GCL where he spent the rest of the season. This year he was in Tampa for a little while before being assigned to Staten Island again. Haddad was the bullpen catcher in Game 1 and the starting catcher in Game 2 of the double header.

Alright, now that we're done with the repeaters, lets look at some of the newer faces in town.

First up is Thairo Estrada. Out of all of the guys on the current SI Yankees roster, Estrada might have the highest ceiling. He's a very solid shortstop with good bat and good defense. In Game 1 Estrada walked and stole second, which would be important as he later came home on a sacrifice fly courtesy of...

Chris Breen was drafted by the Yankees back in 2012 and has slowly (but steadily) climbed the ladder up. Although he was drafted as a catcher, the Yankees appear to be trying to move Breen to other positions. In Game 1 he was the DH while in Game 2 he was the first baseman.

Here is Renzo Martini. An infielder with some power, Martini was signed as a free agent in 2010 and spent the last few seasons in the DSL and GCL. He put up pretty decent stats (take that for whatever it's worth) and has finally made it to a minor league affiliate that's open to the public.

Next up is a couple of Bo Thompsons.
Bo was drafted just this year in the 13 round of the draft and he is a pretty big human being. And naturally he also posses a lot of home run power, the kind you expect your first baseman to have. Prior to the draft Bo went to The Citadel and played baseball during his college years at Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park, aka the home of the Charleston Riverdogs. If Bo flashes the power potential the Yankees drafted him for he may find himself back at "The Joe" very soon.
Now you may have noticed that I made two different cards for Bo. A normal SI Yankee version and a college baseball version. That's primarily because I thought I'd try making college baseball cards of the recent draftees. And Bo's not alone.

Although he's not on the Staten Island Yankees roster (yet), Sean Carley was present during the double header. And man oh man, this guy is one of the coolest dudes you will ever meet. Before the games he interacted with a lot of fans (he did that even after both games ended), signed autographs and looked like he was really having the time of his life.
I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't really recognize Carley at first because he had shaved his Kenny Powers-esque beard off, but Carley understood and we both had a laugh. I've gotta say though, I kind of want to make an exception for the Yankees' No Beard Rule just for Carley. I mean look at this beard.

Matt Wotherspoon was drafted by the Yankees in the 34th round a week or so ago and he has already found himself in the Staten Island Yankees bullpen. He was pretty curious about my homemade cards.

Collin Slaybaugh was drafted by the Yankees in the 26th round of this year's draft. The catcher/outfielder appears to still be a catcher/outfielder. Which is to say that every roster sheet I see (all from official sources) either lists Slaybaugh as a catcher or an outfielder. I would say that the team/world needs to make up it's mind, but I guess it just goes to show how versatile Slaybaugh is. BTW, Slaybaugh scored the winning run in Game 1 which was courtesy of this next guy.

Ty McFarland was drafted by the Yankees in the 10th round of the draft this year and he was the hero in Game 1. The game was already in extended innings, the ninth inning to be exact (note, in the NYPL double headers are usually 7 innings long), McFarland came up to the plate with the bases loaded and walked, resulting in a literal walk-off.

Now that ends the IP autographs I got on my custom cards. Now I'll share with you the autographs I managed to get on real cards made by companies.

One of the names that I was really excited to see on this year's roster was Austin Aune. Aune was drafted in the 2nd round back in the 2012 MLB draft and despite being a pretty talented quarterback, he chose to go with baseball when the Yankees picked him. He spent 2012 and 2013 in the GCL but he's finally here folks. The Aune train is finally here. BTW, Aune's name is pronounced "oh-nee."

I also had Austin sign this really cool card from 2012 Elite Extra Edition that featured him, Peter O'Brien (the home run masher whose currently in Trenton) and another new SI Yankee, Nathan Mikolas.
Mikolas was drafted in the third round of the 2012 MLB player draft. While his career as a professional baseball player has not gone as smoothly as he would've liked, there is still plenty of time for Mikolas to break out and turn into the high batting average hitter that scouts said he could be.
Now if only I could get Peter's signature...

Ethan Carnes was also present this year. Currently he's a reliever and he is a really nice guy. He interacted with a lot of the fans and even asked some people what their names were. He also noticed how one of the cards I had was a chrome card. I wanted to ask him what else he knew about baseball cards but the game was about to start so I decided against it and just thanked him for signing my cards.

And finally, I got Jake Anderson's autograph.
Taylor "Jake" Anderson was drafted by the Yankees in 2010 and spent the 2011 and 2012 seasons in the GCL (with a short stint in Tampa). Although he's listed as an outfielder on the card, the Yankees appear to be trying Anderson out in the infield as he's listed as a second baseman on the SI Yankees website. He's yet to make his SIY debut so I'm not sure if he's going to really man the infield though.

Alright, Zippy Zappy used the word finally. That means that this post is over right? WRONG! I got a few more signatures.

Because the season hasn't even been going on for a week I didn't have photographs for a pretty significant chunk of the roster. So for the players that I didn't get to make cards of, I asked them to sign a ball I brought with me. Unfortunately getting a lot of the pitchers were hard and I ended up with only four signatures on the ball, but four is still A LOT better than none so I'm not complaining.

The four guys are (from top to bottom):
*Chad Taylor
*Tim Giel
*Elvin Perez
*Brady Steiger

Hopefully I can make custom cards for the other guys on the roster soon (if/when I do I'll go into detail about them).

Now we've reached the last two autograph related things I want to show off share with you guys. In their home opener the Staten Island Yankees were facing their arch rival, the Brooklyn Cyclones (the short season affiliate of the New York Mets). This rivalry has been described as the biggest/best in minor league baseball and has been dubbed as "The Battle Of The Boroughs." And naturally I had a few Mets cards I had signed in person too.

One is Casey Meisner.
Meisner was drafted by the Mets in the third round of the 2013 MLB player draft. Meisner projects to be a solid starting pitcher. With a low 90's fastball, decent change-up and pretty good curveball, Meisner has a pretty high ceiling.

Now here is the other Cyclones IP auto I managed to get, Gaither Bumgardner.
Gaither was drafted by the Mets in the 23rd round of the 2013 MLB player draft. Based on the reports I've read (and to be honest there aren't that many) it looks like Bumgardner might end up as reliever if he makes it to the majors.

Okay, this post has gone on for far too long so I'll just wrap this up by noting what else I needed to say about the Staten Island Yankees 2014 home opener.

*The SI Yankees and BRK Cyclones split the double header. The Yankees took game 1 (2-1) and the Cyclones took game 2 (2-3).

*The SI Yankees were attempting to try and break the record for largest gathering of people with fake mustaches. A noble effort but they really messed up when they decided to count everybody during Game 2 of the doubleheader. Why does that constitute as them messing up? Because after Game 1 ended almost everybody who came to the stadium (which wasn't a whole lot to begin with) practically left. By the time the team started giving out mustaches and counting them the only people left in the place were the players, employees, and just barely 100 fans. And no the team didn't break the record.

*The SI Yankees were doing a special promotion and giving out scarves to the first few hundred fans who came to the game. I think this was only supposed to be given out to fathers (since it was fathers day) but since the people giving them out just handed one to me I took it. I haven't taken mine out of the plastic yet but it will serve me well once the cold harsh winter comes and takes away our baseball season.

Anyway, the 2014 Staten Island Yankees season is finally here :)!
Here's to hopefully doing better than how the team did last year (last place finish in the division).

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

2014 IP Auto Count: 77 (I've reached my goal :)!)


  1. Who's left on the roster who didn't sign autographs for you? It looks like you got the whole team!

    And those West Virginia uniforms are godawful.

    1. Sean Carley has actually received press for his resemblance to Kenny Powers! Those uniforms do suck.

    2. I still need Rony Bautista (who I didn't even know was on the roster), Jordan Cote, Francis Joseph, Jose Pena, Manolo Reyes, Jose Javier and Devyn Bolasky.
      Plus I want to get autographs of Tim Giel, Chad Taylor, Ty McFarland, Chris Breen, Collin Slaybaugh, Elvin Perez, Brady Steiger, Jake Anderson, Austin Aune and Nathan Mikolas on (custom) cards that depict them as SI Yankees.

  2. That Carley auto is do awesome!

    Curious to see how Aune does. I just got a TTM back from this weekend.

    1. So far it looks like Aune is taking his walks, which is a good thing :).

  3. Very nice collection. Hadn't realized until reading an article in my local paper that the Yankees second first round pick is from the next town over from me

    1. Thanks.
      And yeah the Yankees took a few guys from Red Sox territory this year.