This time it was a Battle of the Boroughs or another series between the Staten Island Yankees and their bitter rivals, the Brooklyn Cyclones (the Mets' NYPL affiliate).
As always I'll start with the autographs.
I kind of forgot who I got first (I know, I'm a horrible person). But I think it might've been Cody Hamlin. This time I managed to prepare a custom for him using a picture I took myself on my iPhone. Cody Hamlin was a non-drafted free agent the Yankees signed this year. According to this video on Pac-12, Hamlin's approach is to pitch to contact. And according to Pinstripe Alley he has a deceptive delivery.
After Hamlin (or possibly before him) I got Alex Robinett. Robinett was drafted by the Yankees in 32nd round this year. He was Army West Point's ace once striking out 21 batters in a game (he was the first accomplish such a feat as a Division 1 Player since Stephen Strasburg). Because he came from an Army academy there will come a time when he has to serve his five years of service time, when exactly that is I'm not entirely sure.
Next I got Michael Schaub. Schaub was signed as a minor league free agent by the Yankees. He was originally a Brewers farmhand (he was drafted by the Brew Crew back in 2010) but was released in 2013. He came back to professional baseball in 2014 when he signed on with the independent Rockford Aviators. During that time he appeared in all of his games as a reliever (some of them as a closer). According to this article his fastball had managed to tick back up to 96 mph. Which is probably why the Yankees signed him. Never hurts to have some bullpen depth/guys that throw really hard.
After Schaub I got the last position player I needed, Jeff Hendrix. Whether by bad luck or coincidence, Hendrix's signature eluded me for far too long. Hendrix was the Yankees' fourth round pick this year and he's been primarily tasked with being the team's everyday leadoff hitter since being assigned to SI.
As you'll soon see, the rest of my haul today was pitching oriented due to the fact that I've missed out on a large number of the relief corps. This particular reliever is Bret Marks. Marks was drafted by the Yankees in the 15th round this year and he was actually drafted by the Yankees before back in 2012 as a 22nd rounder. According to this really excellent article by Dustin Dopirak, Marks doesn't shower very often, he sleeps in the aisle of the bus and he wears glasses with thick black frames to look like Rick Vaughn from Major League. I wonder the Yankee let him sleep in the aisle of the bus on the road.
Next up is Will Carter. According to PinstripedProspects' Jacob Hopkins, Carter is a Tommy John survivor who is equipped with a low 90's fastball and a curveball. He's primarily a reliever but the Yankees have given him a chance to start. Hopefully the 14th rounder goes on to be another very useful bullpen piece for the Yankees in the future.
This was another elusive Yankees arm, Jonny Drozd. When I created this custom I only had this picture of Drozd (which I took myself) available. I might have to remake this cards for Jonny. He thought it was kind of weak (note, he thought it was the official one the team made when he said that).
My last autograph from this game was from Jose Mesa Jr.
Jose Mesa Jr. is the son of former big leaguer Jose Mesa. He started the season down in rookie ball but he was promoted to SI a while back. He was one of the players I could instantly recognize.
Now I actually have something baseball card related to show you all this time.
At this game the SI Yankees were giving away a special set to commemorate the 2000 Staten Island Yankees which was the first team to win it all and become the NYPL Champions.
As you can see the design is loosely based on the 1982 Topps design. As cool as this set is the unfortunate part is the, in the grand scheme of things, none of these players went anywhere. Jason Anderson became the first SI Yankee to make it to the big leagues and Chien-Ming Wang was an ace for the Yankees for a short while until injuries derailed his promising career.
The backs a few bits and pieces of the players' personal info and one key highlight that player had as a pro, and to be honest the people behind these cards (Choice?) had to really stretch for some of these highlights.
After the game ended I knew that some people would leave behind their card sets because, duh, this is for a 15 year old squad with guys nobody (outside of a few diehard fans) remembers. In the process I picked up 23 extra sets/sheets. Out of these 23, four were in relatively good condition. It's really hard to describe in words but the way these things are packaged makes a few cards really prone to scratches. And since these were just dropped on the hard concrete floors of Richmond County Bank Ballpark, some of these had scratches and even stains. While I was picking these things up, I had to leave some behind because they were beyond repair. Anyway three of these sets already have designated homes and I've got a pretty good idea where to send a fourth one. If you'd like one of these sets/sheets feel free to leave a comment saying so. Just be warned that it might be a little damaged.
Now the actual game itself was pretty okay. My boy Yoel Espinal was on the mound and was, to be frank, pretty shaky. He allowed a lot of walks and even hit a batter. That said he did have a few good pitches and did keep the Cyclones offense pretty silent.
The game went into extra innings with 2 runs apiece and the bottom of the 10th is when things got crazy. With my boy Thairo Estrada at third, my other boy Jhalan Jackson at first the opposing pitcher Carlos Valdez got the signal to intentionally walk another one of my boys Jake Hernandez. On what was supposed to be Valdez's third ball, he balked. There was a split second where it seemed like time just froze and then a split second later the reality of what had just happened hit everyone harder than Giancarlo Stanton hits home runs. During that split second you knew that in Valdez's head he was thinking "OH, NO..."
The place (or most of it anyway) erupted as Estrada came home on the balk and the Yankees walked off, err excuse me, balked off against Brooklyn.
After the game I took a photograph with Bret Marks (mainly because he was wearing his trademark glasses) and Travis Hissong who has come to recognize me. I gave Hissong one of the extra sets I picked up and he talked about a few of the players on it like Danny Borrell who is currently a pitching coordinator in the New York Yankees organization.
All in all it was a pretty good time. On my way home I ran into my first "you made me drop my (insert item here)" scam where somebody intentionally bumps into you and claims you broke something of theirs and demands that you pay for it. I knew from the get-go where this con was going (in this case it was a cellphone) and I told them to go away because I'm a jerk who doesn't give a damn about other people (unless they're family, friends, baseball players, people who cover baseball or baseball card collectors I interact with ;)). Because if there's any place where being an asshole who doesn't care for the suffering of strangers is widely accepted, it's New York City ;). To all of my friends out there who aren't used to big cities, be careful when you go to these metropolitan areas. The minute somebody approaches you. Immediately put your hands in your pockets and make sure you can clearly see all of your belongings (like shopping bags, suitcases etc..) in front of you. It may seem extreme, but it's for the best.
And that ends what was a pretty odd day (at least for me lol).
As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).
2015 IP Auto Count: 57