Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cards from The Readerman

A few days ago, perhaps a tad longer than that, I received a bubbleope from Rod "Readerman" Richards.  When I picked it up, I heard a bit of rattling around in there, so my curiosity was certainly raised a bit.

When I opened the package, I tilted it a little and sliding out came four small buttons.  Rod loves to read and to post his reviews and thoughts about the books he reads on  as you may recall, he recently reviewed my debut novel (I got a well-deserved "B" with tips on making into an "A").  The buttons each contained literary references:

My favorite of the lot, of course, "I'm Bringing Paperback."  Even my daughter "got" the joke! Excellent stuff!

Of course, what I really wanted to get after: the cards!  Send in the cards!  (Okay, bad parody of a line from "Die Hard," but what can I say?)

First up: 2011 Heritage Clubhouse Collection Relic Arodys Vizcaino, 2011 A&G Chris Perez, and 2011 A&G Carlos Santana. I had to look up Vizcaino because I am not familiar with him. Turns out, he is a Braves "future star" that ultimately figures in to the Derek Lowe deal with the Tribe. How? Well, I figure if he stays up in the majors (he saw some time last year evidently), he may show that getting rid of Lowe was the best move more the Braves. I can't say I disagree. I can't I agree with the Tribe getting Lowe, though. I digress. The card itself is Heritage classic: wood grain background, washed-out/faded image, nice sturdy card stock. The Allen & Ginters are VERY nice this year! I know, not everyone is a fan, but I am. I love the trim/border and the colored logo area. Great stuff. And, I get Perez and Santana to boot! Wahoo!

Next up, a trio of 1988 Score cards: Cory Snyder, Carmen Castillo, and John Farrell. Synder, of course, is one of the Indians all-time fan favorites. He played nearly every day, every chance he got. He wasn't "Hall of Fame" level, but he was "Get in there and get to work" level. And, in Cleveland, that's what matters. Carmen Castillo didn't play as often as Synder, but still managed to hold his own with an AVG that mirrored Synder's as well as an OBP that was about the same as well. John Farrell served as part of the Indians starting rotation through the late 80's into 1990, then made a brief return in '95. I'm not crazy about the purple borders on these, and the double border design seems to shrink the photo even more than it already is. In any case, I love getting Tribers from days gone by!

The next cards include 2008 UD First Edition Update Jhonny Peralta, 2008 UD First Edition Update Paul Byrd, 2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects Kyle Blair.  I love these UD First Edition cards.  Large photos with text that doesn't overtake the card and they are borderless.  Nice stuff here!  The Bowman Chrome makes the photo look like it was tacked on as an afterthought - so small... So small... (Okay, that double "so small" is a reference to Stephen King's short "The Man in the Black Suit.").  The Kyle Blair card threw me a bit because the auto doesn't say "Kyle Blair."  There's a good reason for that: his name is actually Blair Kyle Carson, and the auto is, of course, his legal, contract-binding name.  So, mystery solved.  Is he likely to see The Bigs in 2012.  I'll vote yes.

The next three Tribecards are 2011 Topps Lineage Grady Sizemore, 2011 Topps Lineage Cy Young, and 2011 Topps Mitch Talbot.  I think I've said this before, but I love the look of the Lineage cards! They are, how do you say, "modern retro."  Haha, something like that.  And, I also happen to like the 2011 base product design as well.  Grady Sizemore is coming back to the Tribe for another year of "maybe he'll play today, maybe he won't."  Cy Young. Perhaps you've heard of him?  There's some kind of pitching award handed out with his name on it.  You didn't know?  Yeah, he was one of the best freaking pitchers out there.  Yeah, he played for the Indians!  In his pitching debut (for then Cleveland Spiders), he pitched a 3-hitter.  Just sayin.  Talbot has elected free agency and might be picked up by someone - if they overlook his horrid 6 gazillion ERA. Ouch. 

So, check these bad boys out: 2011 Topps Diamond Anniversary Gold Sparkly Kosuke Fukudome (yes, that's what I'm calling it, got a problem with that?), 2011 Gypsy Queen Carlos Santana, and a 2011 Topps Update (or something or other) Lonnie Chisenhall.  The gold sparkly ROCKS!  Man, that is one sweet card!The Gypsy Queen is an interesting fella.  The border is a bit big, but I can't help but like the text on it and the weird cell-shading effect of the player.  Cool card.  Chisenhall was gonna save the team.  That's a lot to ask of a kid.  Just ask Sizemore.  Overall, though, a sweet triplet.

The last three cards feature a 2011 Topps Lineage Albert "freakin" Belle, 2011 Bowman Platinum Moments Carlos Santana, and a 2011 Topps Jeanmar Gomez.  Any time someone sends me a player like Albert Belle, I go bananas.  I know, I know, he had his "moments" on and off the field, but you cannot dent his on-field awesomeness.  Flat out rockin.  The Bowman Santana card is something to behold.  Man, this is one fantastic card!  THIS is what chrome/foil/shiny should have been all along.  Thick card stock, great photo and color, and even the text/logo scream "class."  One of my favorite styles yet.  Topps did something right with this set!  Gomez looks like he is pitching in the desert. Wait, this was probably taken in Goodyear.  (Ah, I hear the calls of "NO S***, SHERLOCK!" now)

I want to thank Rod for a VERY cool surprise package!!  These are some great Tribers and a handful of cool literary buttons to boot!!  Not often those two worlds collide for me, and it's nice to see they make a neat pair!  In fact, I think it's time to sit down and start a baseball-related novel.  I mean writing one, not reading one, although there may be some of that too.

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