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 Uncategorized

First baseball cards of 2015

It took a little longer for this year’s baseball cards to reach retailers near me, but I finally found them today and splurged to by a “value box” of 2015 Topps Series 1 from Target.

Daniel-Murphy Daniel-Murphy-b

I really like this year’s design. The colorful borders help the 2015 cards to stand out from Topps’ recent efforts, and really, they don’t look much like anything else in the company’s 60+ years of flagship sets. The card fronts are mercifully foil free except for the Topps logo in most cases, and the backs have large, easy-to-read card numbers.

Or maybe I’m just happy that I found some Mets in my 10 packs of cards. Daniel Murphy was the top card on the first regular pack of 2015 baseball cards I opened. (He could have been my first card of the year, except I wanted to see what was in the bonus pack before I got started.)

And the Mets kept coming.

Continue reading “First baseball cards of 2015”

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

Thoughts on the Yankees & Mets after the Tanaka signing

Yankee Stadium (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Yankee Stadium (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

On Wednesday, the New York Yankees signed Rakuten Golden Eagles star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka to a seven-year, $155 million contract.

Tanaka’s signing marks the end of the Yankees’ shopping spree, which included a seven-year, $153 million contract for center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, a five-year, $85 million deal for catcher Brian McCann, a three-year, and a $45 million contract for outfielder Carlos Beltran.

The moves were necessary because the Yankees are coming off of their worst season since 1992, and their farm system has no players who are ready to provide significant help at the major league level.

The Yankees’ projected 2014 payroll currently stands at $210.8 million, with eight players signed to contracts with an average annual value of more than $10 million. While they should be competitive, they are by no means the favorites in the American League East. And they can’t really spend half a billion dollars every off-season, can they?

Continue reading “Thoughts on the Yankees & Mets after the Tanaka signing”