We’re less than 24 hours away from the start of the 2017 baseball season… for some reason, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays get the honor of playing the very first game at 1:10 p.m. The marquee match-up of the day pits the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs against their St. Louis rivals at 8:35 p.m. (I doubt I will manage to stay up to watch the end of it.)
The game I’ve been looking forward to since Madison Bumgarner shut out the Mets last October 5th will happen on Monday as the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets kick off their 2017 campaigns. The Braves will be better as they begin their first year in a new stadium (let’s hope they’re still using it by the time the local taxpayers finish footing the bill.)
I thought K-Rod‘s 8-figure salary days were over since Omar Minaya is no longer a major league GM, but I guess he still thinks he’s worth that much to some team. The Dodgers have certainly been willing to spend big money on other players, but I agree with Aaron Gleeman – they can come up with a more creative solution to their short-term closer problem..
Milwaukee Brewers reliever Francisco Rodriguez made news this week by sustaining one of the silliest injuries of the spring: he’s missed several days because he stepped on a cactus with his bare foot.
Rodriguez was once an elite closer for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, setting a record with 62 saves in 2008 and finishing in the top 10 in both the American League Cy Young and MVP Award voting.
That winter, Rodriguez signed a three-year, $37 million free agent contract with the New York Mets. He represented the Mets in the All-Star Game in 2009 and generally had a good year, though his personality was not always appreciated.
In 2011, the Mets traded Rodriguez to the Milwaukee Brewers, where he was used as John Axford’s setup man. He hasn’t been a closer since then. After being traded to the Baltimore Orioles last July, Rodriguez re-signed with the Brewers this winter.
In 2000 and 2001, Royal Rookies produced sets of baseball cards that were not licensed by Major League Baseball or Minor League Baseball, filled with a selection of minor league prospects. While there are some players of note who made the checklist, the quality of photos, lack of logos and general design keeps the Royal Rookies cards from being popular with most collectors.
On the bright side, that meant Rodriguez’s autograph (“limited” to #4,950 copies) was less expensive than his certified autograph cards in MLB-licensed sets. His signature on the Royal Rookies cards is also more legible some of his later certified autographs. This one cost me $12.20 from COMC.com in 2012 and removed a player I’m not very fond of from my Mets All-Time Roster autograph project wantlist.
I finally picked up a few packs of Topps Heritage cards this week, but I didn’t have any luck finding Mets. I did end up with two different Derek Jeter cards and a bunch of Boston Red Sox that will be moving on to new homes shortly, and then there was this card showing former Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez with his current team.
I bought the full Mets team set from an eBay seller yesterday so I don’t have to worry about tracking down any of the short prints or multi-player cards later. I might still pick up a few more packs whenever I stopped by Target, but like everything else, baseball card prices keep going up.
A nine-card retail pack costs $3.19 this year, which works out to a little more than 35 cents per card. There are also 16-card jumbo packs for $5.29, or 33 cents per card. Give me an eight-card pack for $2 and I’d happily keep buying them for most of the summer (and even the old $2.99 and $4.99 price points would be more attractive)… I guess printing costs, licensing costs or shipping costs require the higher prices these days.
I do like this year’s Heritage offering. The 1963 set that it’s patterned after is one of Topps’ more colorful designs of the decade. Whoever was picking photos seemed to try to be true to the era by choosing a lot of posed shots. Where game action photos were used – like on K-Rod’s card – they’re cropped in a way to make it less obvious that they’re not posed.
This should be a nice set for autograph collectors who want to get their baseball cards signed.