Posted in Uncategorized

Highlights from a pair of 2014 Donruss Series 2 packs

Travis d'Arnaud's 2014 Donruss Series 2 baseball card
Travis d’Arnaud’s 2014 Donruss Series 2 baseball card

I may not have found any Topps Update packs yet, but I did get to open some baseball cards last week. One of my friends gave me a couple of packs of Donruss Series 2, and I have to admit that the set is growing on me.

I did pretty well – I ended up pulling Travis d’Arnaud, the only Mets player in the 100-card base set.

A pair of 2014 Donruss Masahiro Tanaka baseball cards
A pair of 2014 Donruss Masahiro Tanaka baseball cards

I also found Masahiro Tanaka‘s Rated Rookies and Diamond Kings cards – in the same pack. I normally don’t get that excited about Yankees cards, but I really enjoyed watching Tanaka pitch this year and these are his first baseball cards that have landed in my hands. Panini’s lack of a license to show Major League Baseball logos hurts the Rated Rookies card, but the Diamond Kings card works for me.

Continue reading “Highlights from a pair of 2014 Donruss Series 2 packs”

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Afternoon links: the Japanese baseball hall of fame, Derek Jeter’s next venture, and more

Derek Jeter, during his final Subway Series at Cifi Field (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Derek Jeter, during his final Subway Series at Cifi Field (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Derek Jeter‘s MLB career is over, but we’re not done hearing from the New York Yankees’ star. He is launching a new online forum for athletes to express their views without the distortion that can be caused by the media or the limitations of current social media platforms. In an introductory article at The Players’ Tribune, Jeter writes:

“I do think fans deserve more than ‘no comments’ or “’ don’t knows.’ Those simple answers have always stemmed from a genuine concern that any statement, any opinion or detail, might be distorted. I have a unique perspective…. We just need to be sure our thoughts will come across the way we intend. So I’m in the process of building a place where athletes have the tools they need to share what they really think and feel. We want to have a way to connect directly with our fans, with no filter.”

While Jeter’s new venture seems unlikely to foster true connection between athletes and fans, it should give us an opportunity to see a different image of star athletes than the one we get from the traditional media.

Other links:

Continue reading “Afternoon links: the Japanese baseball hall of fame, Derek Jeter’s next venture, and more”

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

A storybook ending to a Hall of Fame career

Last night, Derek Jeter gave millions of New York Yankees fans a storybook ending to his Hall of Fame career.

You didn’t even have to be a Yankee fan to appreciate the moment.

Here’s what my friend Vinny – a die hard Mets fan – posted on Twitter last night after he got home from Yankee Stadium:

Like some of the Mets players, I tuned in to watch Derek Jeter’s final moments as a player in the Bronx once my team’s game was over.

Continue reading “A storybook ending to a Hall of Fame career”

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Trying to catch lightning in a bottle

Jose-Valverde Kyle-Farnsworth

On Wednesday, the New York Mets announced that they had signed former Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks closer Jose Valverde to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training.

Valverde, who will be 36 on opening day, was an All-Star as recently as 2011. However, after he failed spectacularly in the 2012 playoffs, the Detroit Tigers were reluctant to bring Valverde back in 2013 and he appeared in just 20 major league games.

I’m not a big fan of “Papa Grande,” but the signing is a gamble with limited risk. If Valverde pitches better than the Mets’ other options, he’ll make the major league bullpen and have a chance to be this year’s LaTroy Hawkins. If not, he’ll be pitching in Las Vegas or heading home.

Valverde joins former Chicago Cubs reliever Kyle Farnsworth, who the Mets signed last week, in this year’s bullpen competition. Like Valverde, Farnsworth last enjoyed big league success in 2011. Again, if he works out, Farnsworth can help the Mets’ bullpen and if he doesn’t, he’ll spend the season in Las Vegas or at home.

The only real danger is that Valverde or Farnsworth become the 2014 version of Brandon Lyon (who signed a minor league deal with the Los Angels Angels of Anaheim this week. Go figure.)

There was one other minor news item on Wednesday, which I suppose a few people (somewhere) may have missed. New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter announced that he will retire at the end of the 2014 season. While I want Jeter’s farewell tour to go better than his injury-plagued 2013 season, I hope that the Mets respect the wishes of a significant portion of their fans and forgo any kind of tribute when the Yankees visit Citi Field on May 14th and 15th.

You can follow Paul’s Random Baseball Stuff on Facebook or Google+, see my photos on Flickr and Instagram, and follow @Paul_Hadsall on Twitter, where I talk about about a variety of things in addition to baseball.