Before I get in the shameless plugging of links and baseball related blah-blah, I wanted to share a couple of pics of my yard from this weekend. We live on a creek, Ware’s Creek to be specific. The water flows to the Manatee River and then to the Gulf and then to the Ocean. The water is brackish and tidal and depending on the time of day, I can see all different types of aquatic life when I take the puppy (who has NOT eaten any autographed baseballs or cards in nearly a month) for a walk. The water is very clear and generally shallow, so it isn’t hard to ID different types of fish. On any given day I might see Mullet, Redfish, Pompano, Trout and Tilapia, amongst others. I have seen alligators, crabs, iguanas, eels, Kingfishers, Egrets, Cranes… My friend claims he saw a manatee in there, but he does a lot of drugs… Anyway, it’s a pretty great place to live, except when you get a lot of unexpected rain. I didn’t want to get my camera wet, so I had to wait till the storm had passed to start snapping. Anyway, the water level in my yard had gone down by at least 3 feet by the time I took these. If you look close at the pics, you can see lawn chairs that we sit at for picnics which were totally submerged. Three chairs survived, but 5 chairs and a table and pretty much everything else from our yard washed away to God knows where. Some things washed up, too. My back yard looked like we had a rager of a party with all of the trash (empty beer cans and all kinds of trash) that the creek left behind. The really funny thing (to me at least) is that normally if it rains for more than 10 minutes or if there is a gust of wind at prime time, the town is under hurricane watch and the entire population is in an uproar, killing each other for canned goods and bottled water. When we have an actual storm and it happens after midnight, nothing. Oh, well. Back to baseball…
When I first started this blog, well, within a few week… I declared myself a super-collector of Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett. I was collect up every single card that was ever made of him and we were gonna out for drinks when the team was at home and discuss which cards were my favorites. Well, neither of those happened. I am still attempting to collect his cards, but have had very little luck in doing so AND I have never actually met Mr. Bartlett and I am sure that he has no idea that I would be willing to spend lots of money to collect his baseball cards. I am going to continue to collect him, just last week Roll out the Barrel hooked me up with a Bartlett autograph and my buddy Alfredo from “My Past Time-I Love It!” has indicated that he will be sending me a few more Barts. I guess, with Bartlett, the problem is that the card companies haven’t caught up with the fact that he is an All-Star. He was on their radar as a rookie, but unless it’s a set like O-Pee-Chee that is highly inclusive, JB has been left out of a lot of sets this year. Although I only have about 15 of his cards total, I have just about every card of him from 2008. When I declared my player allegiance, I purposely avoided Carl Crawford for two reasons. One, his cards seemed more expensive and two, there was already a CC collector in the blog-o-sphere. As it turns out, even though his cards are technically worth a few cents more, they are much more accessible. He is included in virtually every single set and subset. My CC collection is up over 130 cards now and I seem to get more in the mail everyday. When I tell people that I collect the Rays, the response is always “Okay, I have a few CC cards for you”. When I specially request Bartlett in trade, the talks generally end there, simply because he doesn’t have many cards yet. I am imagining that Pablo Sandoval fans face a similar fate. Unless a player goes from being a prospect directly to a star, the card company’s radars generally skip these guys. Another awesome player that I collect is Edwin Jackson. He was an All Star this year and he has an outside chance to lead the AL in ERA, but he is included in very few sets. Due to those reasons, my Edwin Jackson player collection is also very small. Another player that I collect is
Jonny Gomes. For some ridiculous reason, Gomes went from being the face of the Rays to being non-tendered after last season. Despite showing awesome power potential, it took him a while to find a team willing to give him a shot this year. The Reds finally extended him a minor league contract and he started the year in AAA. Now, he is with the big club, but still can’t seem to make the starting line-up on a regular basis, even though he has hit 19 homers in just 247 at bats this year. Were he to play everyday and continue at that pace of a homer every 13 at-bats, in a 600 at-bat season, he would project to hit 46. With numbers like that, I think that player should warrant a card. The card companies don’t agree, not yet. I haven’t seen a card of Gomes in a Reds (Photo by AP, not me!) uniform yet, have any of you? He was a former card company darling. Like I said before, he was the face of the Rays. He was included in every set and subset for them in 2005 and 2006. He, Rocco Baldelli, and their young, future-stars like Carl Crawford and Scott Kazmir. Then, Gomes fell off the radar. That is okay, I guess, I still need to catch up and buy or trade for a whole bunch of cards from 2005 and 2006. Another Rays player that I have added to my collection is
Willy Aybar. Erick’s brother is just a part-time player for the Rays, he, too, doesn’t have many cards at all. I don’t know if he has what it takes to be an everyday player, but as a utility guy slash part-time DH, he gets the job done. In the off-chance that anyone followed the three links on here, you may notice what I am trying to show off. You see, I am famous for stealing ideas from other bloggers and a few nights ago, when Peter Moylan of the Braves set some sort of a record, Captain Canuck posted this link. Like the good blog reader that I am, I followed the link to Moylan’s Baseball Reference stats, and then realized the reason that the Cap’N had posted it. The Captain and his blog-Waxaholic, had sponsored Moylan’s stats. I have spent a ton of time on Baseball Reference, but I had never thought of sponsoring someone’s stat page. Carl Crawford, Harry Simpson, Hank Aaron, Jim Thome and Scott Kazmir’s pages all had sponsors already. Wade Davis’ didn’t, but it wasn’t cheap to sponsor. Apparently, they charge you a price based on popularity of the player and how many visits their stats get. Well, Willy Aybar was the cheapest, but surprisingly, Gomes and Bartlett weren’t too much more. A birdie told me that Chipper Jones’ stats were $400.00 a year to sponsor. Anyway, I thought it was an excellent idea that the good Captain Canuck had, so naturally, I stole the idea. Like I said at the beginning, I haven’t had much luck getting people to trade me Jason Bartlett cards-now I own his stats!!! As an end note, today is the Birthday or Anniversary or whatever of one of the best card blogs out there, Happy Birthday to the Night Owl!