Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Opening Day, Interrupted

Bartolo Colon pitches against the San Diego Padres at Citi Field on June 13, 2014 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Bartolo Colon (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

My Opening Day experience consisted of catching pieces of the third and eighth inning of the Toronto Blue Jays’ 6-1 victory over the New York Yankees, and parts of the eighth and ninth innings of the Mets’ 3-1 victory over the Washington Nationals.

The most memorable moment was hearing the fans at Yankee Stadium embrace Alex Rodriguez with a loud ovation during his first MLB plate appearance since 2013. (He walked, so that wasn’t especially exciting… but at least he had a better day that most of his teammates – A-Rod had one of three Yankee hits against Drew Hutchinson.)

Masahiro Tanaka had a terrible pitching line, allowing four earned runs in just four innings. I didn’t get to see him at all, but it doesn’t seem as though his new pitching style is nearly as effective as the old one that led to damage in his left ulnar collateral ligament. It’s a shame – I enjoyed watching the 2014 Tanaka.

Bartolo Colon proved that he was up to handling the Opening Day assignment for the Mets, even though fans wanted to see Matt Harvey. Jeurys Familia looked dominant – and that’s good, because he might become the closer for the immediate future. And at least this year, Terry Collins sent healthy pitchers to the mound to defend a ninth inning lead, although having Buddy Carlyle earn his first career save wasn’t in anyone’s Opening Day plans.

Let’s hope that today’s MRI doesn’t reveal any serious problems with Jenrry Mejia‘s arm.

Today, when I could actually sit down & watch a baseball game, neither the Mets nor the Blue Jays are playing.

New York Yankees catching prospect Gary Sanchez (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
New York Yankees catching prospect Gary Sanchez (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

But that’s ok – I’ll get my baseball fix at the Trenton Thunder’s “Welcome North” event at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton this afternoon. The 3-6:30 p.m. event offers fans a chance to meet the 2015 Trenton Thunder team and get autographs, eat free hot dogs and take a tour of the ballpark.

Trenton’s roster this year includes four of the top five prospects in the Yankees’ farm system as judged by Baseball America: pitcher Luis Severino (#1), outfielder Aaron Judge (#2), first baseman Greg Bird (#4) and catcher Gary Sanchez (#5).

Maybe I’ll see some of you there.

Posted in Baseball, Baseball Cards, Site News, Uncategorized

I’m still here

Citi Field sunset (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Citi Field sunset (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

We’re one month into the Major League Baseball season, and the New York Mets have a 16-14 record and are just a game out of first place in the National League East. Only the most wildly optimistic fans expected the Mets to be competitive this year, but so far they are.

Will it last? Probably not, but let’s enjoy it while we can. The early success has been based on great starting pitching, just enough hitting and a bullpen that hasn’t blown up too often even though the Mets are already on their third closer of the season. That doesn’t seem sustainable over the long haul, but stranger things have happened.

I’ve made it to three games at Citi Field so far, and the Mets have a 1-2 record in them. I’m planning to go to one more, so maybe they can get back to .500 when I’m watching.

I can’t say I’m thrilled about the team’s latest marketing campaign that seems to suggest that only “true New Yorkers” can be real Mets fans, though.

I’ve also been to a couple of Trenton Thunder games. The New York Yankees’ Double-A farm team looks like it could be good again this year – they are off to a 19-11 start. The Yankees’ two top prospects — catcher Gary Sanchez and outfielder Mason Williams — are both in Trenton to start the year. I’ve been impressed with Sanchez’s bat, but then again, I remember Jesus Montero in Double-A and how his major league career has turned out.

Almost everything was for sale at the Newark Bears' liquidation auction on April 26, from uniforms and mascot costume pieces to office equipment. (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Almost everything was for sale at the Newark Bears’ liquidation auction on April 26, from uniforms and mascot costume pieces to office equipment. (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

One place I won’t be going to watch baseball anymore is Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium in Newark. I spent a couple of hours at the Newark Bears’ liquidation auction last month, and came home with a 2012-2013 home jersey last issued to Mike Gedman for $12.31.

I will cherish the memories of good times I had at that ballpark and the friends I have made their over the years, but all good things come to an end.

I’m not quite ready to bring this blog to an end, though I will be surprised if I have many readers left at this point.

  • I am writing about the Mets at HotStoveMLB.com, so you can read what I have to say about on-field issues there.
  • I will still write about baseball cards and collectibles here, and while finances are severely limiting my ability to add to my collection, I do have a couple of cool things that I want to show you over the next few days.
  • I should have a review of Out of the Park Baseball 15 posted here in the near future.
  • You can find me on Twitter, Instagram and Flickr, which will all probably be updated more frequently than this blog.

Your turn (feel free to answer any or all):

  • What’s the biggest surprise of the 2014 baseball season?
  • What’s the coolest minor league promotion you’ve seen this year?
  • What’s your favorite baseball card of 2014 (so far)?
Posted in Autographs, Uncategorized

New Trenton Thunder players welcome fans

(Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
(Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

The Trenton Thunder held their annual Welcome North Open House event yesterday, giving fans the opportunity to watch batting practice and then meet and get autographs from the members of this year’s team.

Four of the New York Yankees’ Top 30 prospects (as ranked by Baseball America) will start the year in Trenton.

  • Catcher Gary Sanchez is regarded as the organization’s best prospect and is on the 40-man roster.
  • Outfielder Mason Williams is ranked number three in the Yankees’ system.
  • Pitcher Bryan Mitchell, also on the 40-man roster, is ranked #21 and is scheduled to start on Opening Night tomorrow.
  • Infielder Rob Refsnyder is ranked #29.

This is the first time that I got to go, but a couple of friends who have attended in previous years said that the crowd is usually bigger. That turned out to be a good thing, allowing me to get nearly everything I’d brought with me signed even though the players were broken up into groups of three or four at different spots on the field.

Continue reading “New Trenton Thunder players welcome fans”