Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Fernandomania!

 My deepest apologies to those of you who expected  this post to be about a pudgie  pudgy, Mexican American paint-master who had the habit of looking up to the heavens before delivering pitch after filthy pitch. The  "Fernandomania" I am referring to  happened In 2006-07, when the Mets were mashing and pitching  on all cylinders. For the first time in what seemed like forever, the kings played In Queens (literally, Reyes means kings In Spanish) and not the Bronx. A young Dominican GM named Minaya was pushing all the right buttons. A combination of quality trades, timely moves and Minaya's scientist-like ability to create good chemistry  had Mets faithful thinking dynasty! Now I could sit here and tell you about that teams veteran star power until we're  orange and blue In the face. Delgado, Beltran, Reyes, Martinez,Valentin etc. Latino heavy? Yes! I remember watching a game with my dad and thinking out loud "This team needs more white guys In the lineup." Reggeaton laden walk-ups were prevalent. The culture was set  and Minaya sought to continue this trend by calling up  two highly touted Dominican  prospects, Carlos Gomez and Fernando Martinez. Both were great minor league players. Gomez would get his first crack at big league pitching In 2007 but Martinez was still raw, physically underdeveloped and got the kid gloves treatment, ultimately getting the call in 2009. Both were solid minor league players but It was the sweet swinging Martinez that got most of the praise. The raw lefty drew comparisons to ,wait for it, Ted Williams. (O.K. I don't have any sources but I'm pretty sure I heard or read that somewhere.) A young Manny Ramirez from the left side. The golden child! A new Fernandomania would ensue and prospect card values of the young phenom would skyrocket! Unfortunately, things never worked out for Martinez. I'm not sure what It was. Some say he was rushed into the big league spotlight. Others say he just never had It to begin with. As his numbers, playing time and overall hype declined, so too did his card prices. The image you see below Is of a personal grail card that I thought I'd never own. If anybody out there still has their 2008 Beckett price guide, I would love to know exactly how much this card was going for at the time. I'm thinking It was somewhere In the $40 to $50 range.  I picked this one up for just under $7. I probably should have just bought an 1981 Topps Valenzuela rc , It sells for about the same price.

2007 Bowman Chrome Prospects Fernando Martinez AU


Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Papers,The Papers!

I don't know about you but as a kid ,the sound of  Baseball Tonight bumper music playing In the distance meant It was time for me to plant my butt in front of  our living room television set to get filled In  on whatever It was that took place In baseball that day.Of course ,without the internet and the never ending stream of instant sports news and media,there was always that void.That space between the morning edition of Sportscenter and Baseball Tonight .Both shows gave you ample  information on the goings on In baseball that day ,but none of It was tangible.One had to rely solely on memory to run back last nights episode to   anyone who may have missed It.
So what did an 80's kid living In an internet-less world  do to get the 411 on his favorite team? I present to you ....the newspaper!





Prior to this copy ,I hadn't read the sports section of a newspaper In over 20 years!I've yet to pick up another paper ,since.Which begs the question.Do kids still read the sports section?Does anybody?I highly doubt It.



When was the last time you picked up the newspaper to check out the sports section?






Monday, September 9, 2019

My Childhood Sandlot Park!

I got to reminiscing the other day about my childhood sandlot park.I got an idea to swing back by for old times sake and snap a few pics for the blog,but decided not to.The neighborhood isn't as nice as It used to be and I'm streetwise enough  NOT to  be out there, carelessly snapping pics .Fortunately Google has no qualms about It!I took to Google Maps and from the safety of my desk and PC , took screenshots of  my old stomping grounds!Is this even legal?Not sure but for nostalgia's sake, here goes nothing!I present to you...Bay St. Park!


Here's the side view along the Left Field line .


Here's the front view,behind homeplate. That makeshift garden  Is new and was non existent  back when we played there as kids.Those gates on the far right side were always locked .We'd have to squeeze In between the master-locked chains In order to gain access.Most of us lived right on this street.
 Here's an overhead view. Isn't that beautiful?!?There really weren't any foul lines or even a diamond for that matter .That fence is about 15 ft. tall surrounding the entire park.It was our version of The Green Monster.We just decided how far apart the bases would be and placed them accordingly.
I diagrammed It out so you could see how we set up the playing field.As we got a little older ,we actually started hitting balls over the 15 ft. fence If you can believe It ,lol!Damn,good times!  
Poor Royal Cleaners :(  They got the worst of It.Not only did we manage to shatter their windows but also cars driving by would get the unsuspecting drive by balling LOL!Most of the time they'd just keep driving but there were times when we'd get chased off the field by angry drivers.So much fun ,though!I still get a little choked up every time I happen to drive by It.I'll tell you this,Bay St. Park will forever be a part of me.Thank you!   




Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Recent Pick Ups

I still get a kick out of collecting rookie cards.But why?What's the psychology behind It?I could tell you why I did It as a kid.In price guides ,rookie cards were always worth the most.So naturally,rookie cards were what I looked forward to pulling when opening packs upon packs of 1989 Topps. I couldn't get enough of those Future Stars cards.Even though  I sometimes hoped my  more prominent rookie cards  would accrue value over time,I lived In the present ,concentrating more on what kinds of immediate returns I could get via trades with friends and other collectors.

As I got older I became more of a prospector.I'd pick up lesser valued rookies In hopes of them making an impact In the majors.That only worked once for me.I picked up a 1990 Topps Major League Debut Sammy Sosa card for  fifty cents ,years before the home-run barrages.Note to self-Find my 1990 Topps Major League Debut  Sammy Sosa card.I'm sure It's still floating around somewhere In my dilapidated collection.

Today ,the RC  Is still my favorite kind of card to collect.That's a good thing  seeing as how Topps has decided to slap the RC logo on EVERYTHING!It's whatever ,I guess. I don't prospect anymore.I'm kind of a front runner waiting to see If a player develops into something good  his first couple of MLB seasons before  snatching up their rookie cards.My most recent pick ups will attest to that.

I'm way late to the Ohtani party.That's cool,though,because showing up to the party late means smaller crowds and less raucous. Juuust how I like it ;)


What Is It with Philly and their influx of stud first baseman?I knew Hoskins would be something special  early In his career.Ironically ,I have him paired up with division rival and newly acquired Met Marcus Stroman. 



Thursday, July 25, 2019

My Favorite 9 Right Now - Updated

To quote one of my favorite M.C. 's ,and probably the best that ever did it, Rakim "It's been a long time..." The fact of the matter Is that I'm not really collecting cards anymore.At least ,not the way I used to.I don't buy packs anymore and It's only once In a blue moon that a particular player will strike my fancy enough for me to go online and pick up his cards.I will,however,pick up any Mets players ,especially homegrown guys,that make  MLB impact.Hence the reason for this quick update.As you can see Peter Alonso ,Jeff McNeil and Keith Hernandez have all made their way into my Favorite 9 card sheet  ,while the elusive Cespedes ,injury prone Bryant and Ultra Pro Canseco have been voted off the island.





Also ,quoting another one of my all time favorite M.C's ,Big Pun ,even though "I'm Not A Player" anymore ,I still appreciate the game.I still love looking at baseball cards and look forward to seeing new card designs every year.There is just so much out there - online exclusives, parallels ,variations- that I just can't keep up with  anymore. I'll never stop being interested In baseball cards,but I refuse to let It drive me batty either.Ironic how the "overproduction" era of baseball cards , was a much simpler time.