Wednesday, June 29, 2016

10 For 10

I've really tried to limit my spending on baseball cards and baseball related things in generally in recent times. I've got bills to pay.

But for some things, I need to say YOLO (don't judge me) and get them. Right then and there. Although if I can be real for a second, I managed to get a slight discount thanks to the seller accepting my best offer.

That my friends is my latest Luis Torrens acquisition. A 1/1 at that.

According to the back this is the Megenta Printing Plate from 2014 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects.

But what the back doesn't tell you is that this plate was used to make the paper Luis Torrens cards in 2014 BDP&P. Want to know how I know?

If you look at the upper left hand corner the logo is just the normal Bowman brand logo and not the Bowman Chrome logo which has the word Chrome underneath the baseball with a B.

For comparison's sake here's the black printing plate used for the chrome Luis Torrens cards in 2014 BDP&P. See how this one is mirrored and uses a different Bowman logo? Also notice how I can actually (sort've) read the name Luis Torrens on the bottom?

Anyway, this is the 10th 1/1 Luis Torrens card to enter my collection (sorry DefGav, I'm limiting that count to official cards from card companies). Here's to at least 10 more in the near future.

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

Monday, June 27, 2016

Triple Rainbow!

Last month I blogged about attempting my first non-Luis Torrens rainbow of Thairo Estrada. I was able to acquire eight of the 10 non-printing plate refractors from 2014 Bowman Chrome Mini and only needed one more card.

A month (and then some) later, this finally arrived. The green refractor numbered to 15 that I needed to complete the plate-less rainbow.

I confirmed it with Gavin from Baseball Card Breakdown who built his own 2014 Bowman Chrome mini rainbow with Gavin Lavalley that the plate-less rainbow is just the following 10 cards.

All adding up to this...

Woof. Not bad for my first non-Luis Torrens rainbow eh?

As of this post Thairo Estrada has already been promoted to high-A Tampa and he's pretty much been the Ben Zobrist of the Tampa Yankees. The team keeps moving him about because of the infield log jam and it doesn't matter, he just hits and hits and hits. I've already pegged Thairo as the next Cano. And so far my comparison has yet to look absurd.

Anyway thanks for stopping by and as always, take care :).

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Balls x3...

So I went to my third baseball game of the season (second at home in Staten Island) yesterday.

It was the rubber game between last year's NYPL Championship teams, the Staten Island Yankees and the West Virginia Black Bears.

The starter for this game was Drew Finley, who I asked to inscribe my Bowman Chrome card. Maybe I should make this a thing?

Finley wasn't quite at his best but he did get the job done. Last time out Finley was part of a 10 inning no hitter. This time he went 5.2 innings pitched allowing five hits and two runs (both earned). Like the 10 inning no hitter, Josh Roeder came in to relieve Finley and threw the rest of 4.1 innings of the game.

The photograph used for this custom card was taken by Robert M. Pimpsner of RMP Sports Media Inc. and Pinstriped Prospects

I managed to get the Yankees' second rounder in this year's draft, Nick Solak.
All told Solak went 2-4 with a walk and came home in the bottom of the 10th on a wild pitch to win the game for the Yankees (ha! take that BWTP!). He also broke up the no-hitter that the Black Bears had through the first five innings.

Kane Sweeney's an intriguing prospect who has potential with the bat. But in this game's case Sweeney was mainly walking as he walked four times in five at bats. All in due time I suppose.

Now of course I got to see Luis Torrens again. Prior to this game Torrens had not been playing for a few games and according to Torrens' father he was resting his legs as his legs were a bit fatigued after not catching for over a year. But it was still nice to see him.

Bang! I got his autograph on a ball too. The first autograph I've gotten on a ball in like two years.
I prepared two pens and the first one died before Torrens got to write (hence why there are other blue lines on the left side), so my behind was saved by my second pen. This is the first time I had a player sign a game used (or practice used) ball and I love it. I also gave Torrens a program of the 2014 NYPL All Star Game (when he was an All Star) and a spare black paper parallel from 2014 Bowman Draft Asia Edition that I had.

By the time this post goes up the SI Yankees should be on a four game trip to Vermont and Hudson Valley. Torrens may or may not return to Staten Island after this trip. So it was really cool to see Torrens again and get as much stuff signed as I did (although I'm worried I pushed it).

Now those of you who read the title may notice that I alluded to there being three balls. Well, one was the Torrens above. The others?

Well one was this ordinary NYPL ball I found in the stands before the game. Ironically it was how I discovered the other ball that I asked Torrens to sign. Is this a sign that I need to use it to ask another player for his autograph? More likely, it's a sign that it's almost time for a random giveaway.

The other ball was this cool promotional giveaway ball. This was given out by the Staten Island Yankees to the first 2,500 guests in attendance to commemorate 15 years of Staten Island Yankees baseball at Richmond County Savings Bank Ballpark.

Pretty cool stuff. I'm not used to balls but it's a nice change of pace from cards every now and then.

This was another game where I left early due to personal reasons (i.e. a migraine that started to affect me). Plus I can't really stay during these 7 PM night games too long anyway considering my long commute back. It might've been the correct choice because the game went into extra innings (again).

Looking at the box score it was a solid result since the Yankees won in extra innings. Finley was reportedly not at his best but let's hope it's just a slight hiccup. Torrens should be back in the lineup relatively soon. Fingers crossed.

As always thanks for stopping by and take care of your balls (thank goodness nobody reads blogposts on Saturdays).

2016 IP Count: 15

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Mini P(-Town)WNage: 01

P-Town Tom's PWNage comes in all shapes and sizes. Not all of them having to be in bubble mailers or flat rate boxes.

PTT can PWN me using just a PWE.

Inside a PWE I didn't see coming were these two Blake Rutherfords. The one on the left is from when Rutherford was all of (aprox) 15 years old back in 2013. The one on the right is another Stars and Stripes card from last year.

According to PTT's note, the shinier and older Rutherford came in a repack. Because of course it did. The baseball card Gods intended for PTT to have more ammo to send me and make me feel guilty for not getting my package out to him yet.

Well it worked. Keep an eye out PTT.

Anyway thanks for stopping by and take care :).

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Monday, June 20, 2016

What A Game

As much as I find it difficult to rank the baseball games I've ever been to in my life, I have to admit that the one I saw yesterday in Staten Island was one of the best ones I've ever seen.

In a lot of ways my personal life has shifted and I can't really stay out too late anymore for various reasons. So this game that started at four (the gates opened at three) was right up my alley.

Obviously I was on Torrens watch. As Tony said yesterday, my Torrens watch is almost stalker-ish. 

But Torrens was still a cool dude though. He remembered me and was like "Hey, Kenny" which was insanely cool. And I asked him to sign a few autographs.


I asked Torrens to sign these two printing plates and a picture of the two of us that I took back in 2014 (for privacy reasons I won't be showing that here). Personally I love how these look.

And finally I asked Torrens to personalize this Bowman Chrome autograph for me. I felt really guilty for taking so much of his time but I can't deny how cool this is. This Bowman Chrome autograph (that came to me all the way back in 2014 from The Raz Card File) is now mine, officially.

Torrens wasn't the only Yankee I asked an autograph of though. I also asked Keith Skinner, the Yankees' 7th rounder this year, for an autograph. At the moment he's playing backup to Torrens but once Torrens gets promoted to Charleston I see Skinner taking over as the everyday catcher for the Baby Bombers.

Here is Freicer Perez. Perez was in the Dominican Summer League just last year and he's already been pushed up to Staten Island this year. He's 20 so that might be expected but it's also unexpected. The right hander is listed as 6'8", and he is very tall. He's taller than Domingo Acevedo. He might even be taller than Dellin Betances.

And finally I got Adonis Rosa, who was the starter for the first game of the season last Friday. To be honest I'm not too knowledgable about Rosa. I do know that he managed to get the on the radars of many prospect heads last year after a good season in Pulaski.

And that was kind of it as far as autographs go.

I mentioned before that the game was pretty great, and it was.

The SI Yankees starter was Anyelo Gomez who was pretty effective. Going 5.2 innings pitched with five strikeouts, one walk and allowing four runs (three of them earned).

It wasn't exactly a well pitched game as both teams gave up a combined 14 runs (although both teams had their share of defensive blunders) but oddly enough it was a pretty quick game nonetheless. The game finished in less than three hours and this is after the Yankees had played back to back games where they played 20 innings and 10 innings respectively. The only part of this game where it felt as though the game was lagging a bit was when the Aberdeen Ironbirds (the Orioles' affiliate who the SI Yankees played against) were being undone by their defense and pitching in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.

Obviously I kept track of what Torrens did during the game. He had five plate appearances and went 1-3 with a walk and three RBI.

His first at-bat was the walk.

His second at-bat was a groundout that got him the first RBI.

His third at-bat was a pop-up.

His fourth at-bat was a sac fly to right.

His fifth and final at-bat was an RBI single.

Defensively Torrens was great too. He gunned down a would-be-base stealer at second which was a good sign given how he was shut down last year for shoulder surgery. He gunned down another unlucky soul trying to steal third from second when the ball slipped away from him. By the later innings the base runners didn't test his arm anymore when dropped the ball. Although there was one low pitch that got by Torrens so far that the runner from third came home.

Of course the other Staten Island Yankees also contributed to the win. Everybody else combined for nine hits and five walks, and they were practically scoring a run a frame for the middle of the game.

Ultimately the Yankees won the game 8-6. There was never really a point where the Yankees were behind but they were in the tie early in the game, and the Ironbirds did make the game interesting. It wasn't one of those games where one team scored a ton of runs early and the rest of the game was the other team trying to make up for lost ground. It was the both teams scoring in their respective halves of the inning kind of game.

But yeah, if you were following me on Twitter at the time I didn't make a case that I wasn't some creepy Torrens stalker. I was fanboying the heck out of Torrens' game. I recorded every pitch thrown to him via my phone, posted up to the minute updates and everything. At least I was able to allow his father to follow along on what Torrens was doing on Father's Day.

I couldn't stay after the game so I headed for the ferry but on my way out I received one cool item.

This mini-bat keychain courtesy of the Derrick Hall's Pro-State Foundation. As the title kind of suggests, the foundation is an organization that serves to assist those who've been diagnosed with prostate cancer. It was launched by Derrick Hall who is better known as the President and CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Mr. Hall himself was also unfortunately diagnosed with prostate cancer, but he's been determined to ensure that it doesn't beat him. As such this Pro-State Foundation does have it's ties to baseball and this promotion makes sense.

If you're interested for whatever reason, you might want to check out the Pro-State Foundation website for more information on exactly what they are and what they do.

Pretty cool giveaway from a cool cause in my opinion.

And that was the first Staten Island Yankees home game of the season for me (I didn't go to the home opener due to a lack of effort).

It was a ton of fun and it ranks very highly on the list of best games I've been to.

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

2016 IP Auto Count: 12

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Weekend TTM Roundup: 06/13-06/18

Received On: 06/13/2016

My first return this week was on a cool action shot by Glenn Brummer.
Glenn Brummer was signed as an amateur free agent by the St. Louis Cardinals back in 1974 and he spent most of his career with the redbirds. He spent parts of four seasons with the Cardinals as a major leaguer and his biggest contribution was a steal home back in the 1982 World Series. The Cardinals won that world series and Glenn Brummer received a ring for it.
Brummer spent one season with the Rangers as a catcher and supplied a pretty cool action shot for that card above before retiring.

Received On: 06/13/2016

Another '74 Topps Dodger, this time of southpaw Doug Rau.
Doug Rau was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first round of the 1970 (June Secondary) MLB Player Draft. The lefty made his MLB debut a couple of years later and was with the Dodgers for the rest of the 1970's. Rau's mostly known nowadays for his argument with Tommy Lasorda during the 1977 World Seires.

Pretty cool stuff.

Received On: 06/13/2016

Hey look, an active minor leaguer! This time from former Mets prospect/current Padres lefty Brad Wieck.
Brad Wieck was drafted by the New York Mets in the seventh round of the 2014 MLB Player Draft. The 6'9 lefty (he is tall!) was tried out as a starter in the low minors and posted pretty good numbers in low-A ball. However he struggled in 2015 and here in 2016 it looks like he's been demoted to the bullpen. Armed with a low-90's fastball and a slider he could be a LOOGY out of the San Diego Padres bullpen if he improves.
Wieck was sent to the Padres as the player to be named later in the Alex Torres trade.

Received On: 06/16/2016

Here's a pleasant surprise from top Brewers prospect Gilbert Lara.
Gilbert Lara was the crown jewel of the Milwaukee Brewers' international free agent prospect haul back in 2014. His $3.1 million bonus resulted in the team going over their spending limit and facing penalties. The hope is that it'll be worth it because Lara is quite the promising prospect. Lara's already a top 10 Brewers prospect and projects to be a very good major leaguer. Offensively he can make solid contact but the power has yet to come (Lara's still 18 years old after all), once that comes, woo boy. Defensively Lara's a pretty good shortstop in his own right but with Orlando Arcia projected to be Milwaukee's shortstop of the future, Lara may be moved to third base. So far it doesn't look like handling the hot corner will be too much of a problem for him.

Received On: 06/16/2016

Here's a cool quartet of returns from Wilbur Howard. The little piece of paper is a signature that was written on the envelope.
Wilbur Leon Howard was originally drafted by the Seattle Pilots in the 19th round of the 1968 MLB Player Draft. By 1970 Howard found himself in the Milwaukee Brewers organization and would make his MLB debut with them in 1973. Then in 1974 he was traded to the Houston Astros where he would spent the rest of his six year MLB career. The Howard was used in a fourth outfield role for much of his career and, on-paper, put up pretty good results.

What's even cooler about this return is that the card in the 1972 Topps motif is a custom and the Astros card right below the '79 Topps card is a 1975 SSPC card.

Received on: 06/17/2016

Finally, a Yankees return to break up the Yankees drought, from Angel Rincon.
Angel Rincon was signed by the New York Yankees as a non-drafted free agent in 2010. His pro career did not get off to a smooth start. He was handed a 50 game suspension back in 2010 not long after he signed his contract. Rincon would eventually come back though and by 2015 he had already made it to Tampa. Rincon was due to start the year in double-A Trenton but an injury halted that. Rincon returned to the field back in early June and he's currently in Tampa but could be up in Trenton  soon. Oh and he's a reliever who's used in a long man situation a lot.

And those were my returns this week. Big thanks to Mr. Brummer, Rau, Wieck, Lara, Howard and Rincon for the awesome autographs.

And as always thank you (the readers) for stopping by :).

Take care.

2016 TTM Count: 161


Saturday, June 18, 2016

They're Back!


In Brooklyn first because life has to be difficult of course.

The dawn of a new local minor league baseball season will always be exciting. But it's even more exciting when your favorite player of all time will be there.


Yes folks, after a year and then some of shoulder surgery and rehab, Luis Torrens is back. His return was so hyped that the New York Post's Matt Schneidman even wrote an article about him.

And oh what a return it was.

The moment his first at-bat came up is one of this "I knew I was witnessing history" moments. You might think that I'm over exaggerating but that's because you don't know how good Torrens is. He's so good that, he's just good okay!

Well okay he's better than good. Both as a player and as a person.

Anyway Torrens promptly singled for his first at-bat. The moment was grand. His father was really happy for him (see the tweet above).

All in all Torrens went 2-for-5 with one walk and one strikeout. A fine and solid return for the best catcher in the history of baseball.

Torrens won't be back in Staten Island for long. He's already shown he can dominate the NYPL (and he's like the 2nd youngest guy on the team). This is just a small rehab-like stint at best before he gets called up to Charleston in like a week.

Now you all know me. Obviously I didn't go home without any autographs.

BAM!!! How's that for my second autograph of the year?!

For the first time ever I decided to come to the ballpark really early (like a good five hours before the game actually starts early) to see if I could get Luis Torrens to sign this superfractor when he goes into the stadium at Brooklyn. I waited an hour or so outside the stadium (enjoying the beautiful Coney Island boardwalk in the process), then I swooped into action when I saw the bus carrying the Staten Island Yankees enter the parking lot.

I noticed Torrens getting off the bus, went up to him and I think he recognized me. I'm not sure. We did that pound hug thing and then I asked him to sign the superfractor for me. Which he did.

In return for this and the gloves & bat Torrens gave me two years ago, I gave him 100+ cards of his that I've been accumulating over the past year. All of which are dupes. Some came from collecting buddies of mine like P-Town Tom, Bob Walk The Plank and 89Anco. Regardless of where they came from, they're all his now. I told his father about it and his family should enjoy them too.
I also threw in some extra cards of guys Torrens (probably?) likes such as Venezuelan icon Miguel Cabrera or Salvador Perez (who also hails from Venezuela). And of course other Yankees org guys like Thairo Estrada and Greg Bird.

After I got this superfractor signed I walked around the Coney Island boardwalk some more for two hours waiting for the gates to open. Once they did I got inside and got four more autographs.

The first of which was Drew Finley (the card misspelled his name).
Finley was last year's third round pick by the Yankees and he's one of the pretty high ceiling caliber pitching prospect the Yankees have taken in the third round these past few years. Along with Austin DeCarr and Nolan Martinez. Finley's due to pitch today's Staten Island Yankees game in Staten Island.

Next I got Yankees prospect Kendall Coleman. Coleman was drafted by the Yankees back in 2013 but injuries have slowed his development. Nonetheless he's back with a fury this year. Putting up very promising results in Charleston before kind of being pushed out due to the logjam of outfielders there. With Coleman in Staten Island, he should get more playing time and make up for lost time.

BTW, the card above is actually a 2013 Bowman Chrome MINI card. Coleman noticed and commented how it was the mini version.

It's hard to see on the scan but this is former Rays pitcher Travis Phelps. Phelps is the pitching coach for the Staten Island Yankees this year and I wanted to get his autograph on this. Drafted back in 1996 (as a 89th rounder!) Phelps pitched in the big leagues for the Rays and Brewers but mainly spent his professional career in the minors and independent leagues.

My last autograph of the day was from Dave Bialas, the manager for the Staten Island Yankees. Bialas was a pro baseball player in the Cardinals organization but never made it to the majors. Later he became a coach and was one of the Chicago Cubs' coaches for a few years. Now he's managing in the Yankees org.

Alright so the game itself was really really long.

See. 20 innings. TWENTY INNINGS.

By the 12th inning Luis Torrens got replaced by Keith Skinner (Skinner!).

As embarrassing as this is, I actually left the game early and didn't see it through the end.

Yup. I left around the 3rd inning which was sometime between 7:30 and 8 PM. I got home around 11 PM and the game was still going on and would continue to go on for a couple of more hours. Yeesh, the bullpen and players will all be tired and wiped out tomorrow.

BTW, my tweet above was featured in Jim Waggoner's recap article about the game.

In a way I'm glad I left early. My feet were killing me from all the walking anyway.

Anyway that was my first Staten Island Yankees game of this season. Will there be more to come? I freaking hope so. At least while Torrens is still here.

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

2016 IP Auto Count: 6