Sunday, July 27, 2014

2014 Clubhouse All-Stars

Just in time for the All-Star break..... aww, crap. Well, here's the 2014 Clubhouse All-Stars design anyway. I decided to go horizontal this year to match the 2014 Clubhouse base set. I also wanted to mimic one of the big features from that so I ran the player names really big across the width of the card. To make sure they didn't impose too much, there's a little bit of transparency to them as well as a soft fade. Hopefully they're still readable even if you don't see every edge of every character. The letter height varies depending on the length of the player names. That's why Iwakuma's aren't nearly as tall as Harper's below.

Along the bottom is a strip of info: league, team and position. The color of the bar alternates with the background and star color.

On the back, background color is solid so the text is plenty easy to read (other than it being jibberish here.) There's a vertical player photo on the left with the AL/NL logo on the bottom. I packed last year's design with too much info on the back that I'm sure would be nearly impossible to read. This year, it's all cleaner and clearer.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

2014 Spirit Base Series 1: 291-300

And finally, we're finishing up series 1! Only 7 months after the project began!

#291 - Freddy Galvis
Freddy's not doing so hot in 2014. His OPS+ is -54. 100 is league average...

#292 - Travis Snider

#293 -  Yadier Molina
I thought this was an unique photo for the set. I appreciate that he has his mask up so you can see his face, too.

#294 - Chris Denorfia
I don't know if the stats back it up but Denorfia always seems to be annoyingly good against the Giants.

#295 - Tim Lincecum
It's still weird seeing pictures of Timmy with short hair from last season. Still not as weird as seeing this thing though.

#296 - Brandon Maurer
There's Lincecum's long hair.

#297 - Joel Peralta
I wonder if he's watching DJ Kitty climbing around the catwalk...

#298 - Elvis Andrus
One of the few Rangers to avoid the DL this year. Let's hope I didn't just jinx him.

#299 - Casey Janssen
About half the time I type his last name, I double the Ns instead of the Ss.

#300 - Gio Gonzalez
After a so-so start to 2014, Gio's starting to hit his stride.

Well that closes up Series 1. I kinda ran out of steam there in the middle. Unfortunately, a lot of my spare time will be spent getting ready to move to northwest Arkansas. We'll see how much time I have to get Series 2 going. Thanks for those that have endured Act 1.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

2014 Spirit Base: 281-290

#281 - Robbie Grossman
Grossman was recently sent down to AAA. It's his second stint in OKC. We'll see if he plays anymore this year or if he'll be left out of the 2015 Spirit set...

#282 - Jarrod Dyson
I probably should've noticed these two cards feature the same exact pose. Oops.

#283 - Chris Iannetta
#284 - A.J. Ellis
Okay, so some more wonderful set planning here on my part. Consecutive cards featuring catchers from Los Angeles wearing #17. At least the photos are different.

#285 - A.J. Ramos
And now another A.J.

#286 -  Michael Fiers
I like how Fiers' delivery fills the card space.

#287 - Oswaldo Arcia
I'm guessing this is a homerun trot.

#288 - Jeurys Familia
Really nice lighting here. Plus it's a pitcher fielding shot. That or he's doing magic on the mound.

#289 - Ivan Nova
(Fill in the blank) is out for the rest of the season for Tommy John surgery.

#290 - Yoenis Cespedes
Here's your 2-time Home Run Derby Champ. He can tell you're clapping at your screen.

2014 Spirit Base: 271-280

#271 - David Hernandez
AT&T Park is such a pretty background.

#272 - Chris Johnson
I still don't get why Atlanta wears the navy numbers on navy tops.

#273 - Zach Britton
I'm trying to avoid redundant photo selections. So look forward to some more tightly cropped images.

#274 - Jake Peavy
The odds are pretty good that Peavy is reacting to an awesome catch by Jackie Bradley, Jr. here.

#275 - Pedro Strop
What do you think, happy scream or unhappy scream?

#276 - Leury Garcia
There weren't a lot of options for Mr. Garcia here. I had to darken the background for him to standout a bit.

#277 - Zack Cozart
This is a pretty cool shot. Luckily I was able to keep the ball in frame. Most grounder images are a little dull.

#278 - Trevor Bauer
I never noticed how much Bauer's delivery resembles Tim Lincecum's until I was photo searching here.

#279 - Wilton Lopez
Nice to get some green grass in the background

#280 - Andy Dirks
Dirks has been on the DL for all of 2014 but will probably see some action after the all-star break.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

2014 Spirit Base: 261-270

#261 - Ryan Howard

#262 - Charlie Morton
Do not try sneaking up on Charlie Morton. He knows you're coming and he's not havin' it.

#263 - Daniel Descalso
Infielders easily have the coolest photos to choose from.

#264 - Chase Headley
Headley's trade value has taken a big dive over the past season and a half but he's probably not long for the Padres.

#265 - Javier Lopez

#266 - Brad Miller
Nice to see him having a second career after his NBA days.

#267 - Ben Zobrist
As much as he's meant to the Rays, I could see them shipping him somewhere before the end of July since they're pretty much out of it this season.

#268 - Leonys Martin
I'm actually going to the Rangers' game in Arlington on Sunday. The forecast calls for 100° and sunny skies. And we got bleacher seats. Something tells me we won't be sticking around for all 9 innings.

#269 - Jose Bautista
Joey Bats is waaaaay too "active" on Twitter. And by "active" I mean "desperate." I guess it works, though.

#270 - Ian Desmond
Invisible BMX!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

2014 Spirit Base: 251-260

#251 - Marwin Gonzalez
I wonder if he'll ever make enough of a mark to be remember for something other than breaking up Yu Darvish's perfect game in 2013's season opener.

#252 - Greg Holland
Holland will be making his second-straight all-star appearance this year. Definitely one of the most reliable closers in the game now.

#253 - Kole Calhoun
Calhoun's having a decent season in Anaheim now that Peter Bourjos is out of the picture.

#254 - Carl Crawford
Who would've thought 2 seasons ago that Crawford would be a more reliable option in the Dodgers' outfield than both Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier?

#255 - Donovan Solano
Nice floating shot here.

#256 - Marco Estrada
Boy, has Estrada been serving up homers this season. He's currently tied for 2nd in the majors with Jose Abreu. You know, the 1B/DH?

#257 - Jared Burton
That's quite a sunburn hiding underneath that bill there.

#258 - Matt Harvey
It's still a bummer we've been missing out on Matt Harvey starts all season :/

#259 - Francisco Cervelli
Another Panini-perfect photo here.

#260 - Dan Straily
I considered replacing this Straily card with someone else following the A's/Cubs trade but seeing as how it's almost the all-star break and I'm still finishing up Series 1 I figured I don't need any other obstacles to making posts. So look for Straily's Cubs card in Series 3 probably.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

2014 Spirit Base: 241-250

Well since Topps has Series 2 on the shelves now, I figure I better finish up Series 1 here.

#241 - Cliff Pennington

Can't say I'm a big fan of the Diamondbacks' black jerseys.

#242 - Jordan Walden
Walden's missed a lot of time the past couple seasons so the photo options weren't very numerous.

#243 - Steve Pearce
The dusk lighting looks a little weird here.

#244 - Jonny Gomes
Look at that nicely trimmed beard. It's so very un-vomit-enducing.

#245 - Jake Arrieta
I was in the middle of writing this post when I got an update about Arrieta's perfect game and held off on posting. In other words, sorry about the jinx, Jake.

#246 - Gordon Beckham
I had to use this dugout shot of Beckham. There are only so many action poses to chose from.

#247 - Sean Marshall
#248 - Nick Hagadone

Like these two lanky relief pitchers. Probably the least exciting back-to-back sequence of Series 1.

#249 - Michael Cuddyer
The sun and sky make this shot pretty cool.

#250 - Al Alburquerque
This is the first time I've really looked at the Qs in this name font. Basically just Os with little wedges on them.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

2014 Clubhouse

Here's a look at the 2014 design for Spirit's low-end product, Clubhouse. Having lived with the 2013 design for a year now, I decided to shift the tone back a little more toward "fun" this year. There are definitely some similarities between 2014 and the initial 2012 design. Obviously there's the horizontal format but also the bold names and the bold colors. This is bringing the set back to what I originally had in mind.

With the horizontal format we'll see more dynamic action shots, different from those on the vertical Spirit base design. There's a full-color action cut-out on top of a team-color shaded background. Just above the secondary color bar with the player position/team name is a big, bold last name. Tucked just above that is the player's first name in a nice script font. In the bottom right corner is a white triangle leaving just enough room for the team cap logo.

On the back are a couple of color boxes for all the pertinent player bio information. Next to a small portrait is a stat block with the player's five most-recent seasons along with their career totals, leaving room for a few sentences about them. As you can see from the numbering in the upper right, the set is a lot bigger than most non-flagship releases. A 600-card, no-foil low-end set would definitely fill a hole in the current baseball card landscape.

I'm adding a single parallel to the set, Clubhouse Gold seen here. Just like the original Topps Gold parallels, these are strictly the same cards but with gold foil embellishing a few areas. I also made the background color gold, too, to help set them off in case the foil gets overlooked.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

2014 Spirit Base: 231-240

#231 - Jonathan Pettibone
I've always been on the fence about the Phillies' typeface. If anything, at least it's distinctive.

#232 - Jose Tabata
I don't know the context of this kiss-blowing photo but it's too good to pass up.

#233 - Jaime Garcia
It's scary to think of all the great young pitching the Cardinals had last season and then realize that they still have someone with Garcia's potential sitting in the back of the cupboard.

#234 - Jedd Gyorko
He was a pleasant surprise as a rookie. I never get tired of saying his last name, either.

#235 - Juan Perez
I don't see Perez as having a long-term MLB career so I figured I'd get him on a card now while it was still relevant.

#236 - Felix Hernandez
I know it looks like I altered the background but really it's all those King's Court signs back there sparkling like a wildfire.

#237 - Sean Rodriguez
Didn't know he existed until I was putting this checklist together.

#238 - Matt Harrison
The Rangers really need for him to get/stay healthy all year long. They'll need to pad their lead a bit more before their annual September swoon.

#239 - Josh Thole
Another good Panini photo candidate.

#240 - Tanner Roark
This is a pretty cool angle of his follow through. He's all diagonal and scrunched up but all his limbs are kept in frame. I wish they were all this easy.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Won Hundred

After I published my previous post, I noticed it was entry number 99. Which meant the following post would be my 100th of the blog. So instead of passing the milestone with another 2014 Spirit Base entry (which I'm sure you're all tired of by now), I decided to commemorate it with some relevant content. After searching for  a subject that revolved around the number 100, I saw the list of active pitchers with 100 career wins was right around the 20-player mark, which is right in the sweet spot for insert if you ask me. Then once I came up with the punny name, it was a no-brainer.

Even though pitcher wins as a stat is losing its relevance, it's still a nice sign of a pitcher's longevity and effectiveness to be able to stick around the league long enough to pile up Ws. And taking a look at the checklist, you'll see a mix of top-of-line aces as well as some guys that probably don't get their due as effective starting pitchers.

1. Tim Hudson
2. CC Sabathia
3. Mark Buehrle
4. Bartolo Colon
5. A.J. Burnett
6. Cliff Lee
7. John Lackey
8. Bronson Arroyo
9. Justin Verlander
10. Josh Beckett
11. Dan Haren
12. Kyle Lohse
13. Jake Peavy
14. Jered Weaver
15. Aaron Harang
16. Felix Hernandez
17. Zack Greinke
18. Ervin Santana
19. Jon Lester
20. Adam Wainwright
21. James Shields

For the front of the design, the big elements are 100 stacked above a big W, which works as a frame for the player cutout. The title 'Won Hundred' is wedged between them but since the players make it pretty unreadable, I have it tiled in the upper left corner. There's a circle in the bottom right corner for the team logo. Below that is the player name stamped in gold foil. Keeping with the '100' theme, each card is serial numbered to 100, stamped vertically in the left corner.

On the backside, there's an action photo filling the exaggerated W frame with the full 'Won Hundred' title and 100 unobscured to the right. With the name at an angle below, there's a brief write-up on the right along with a big bold wins total on the left.

Overall, the design is simple but with enough little details to keep it interested. I like the subdued color-palette as well as the asymmetry on both sides.

Thanks for taking the time to read any of the 100 posts I've made in the last 2+ years. Hopefully somewhere along the line I've done something to inspire you and whomever else may be out there in the card collecting/designing world. Let's see how the next 100 posts go.