Tuesday, September 30, 2014

2014 Spirit Base: 531-540

#531 - Jimmy Rollins
Rollins is a free agent after the 2015 season. I wonder if he'll have a good contract year and the Yankees will throw a bunch of money at him, even though he'll be 37.

#532 - Jeff Locke
Have you heard this story about one of Locke's childhood "friends"? It's kinda fascinating and pretty alarming.

#533 - Allen Craig
Craig had a bummer of a 2014. Maybe a long offseason will help him turn it around next year.

#534 - Will Venable
I'm kinda bummed that one of his eyes is covered up by his glove but I had to use this photo anyway. Cool shot.

#535 - Tim Hudson
I really hope Hudson's late-season turd impression was just a result of him being a little worn out. The Giants have the least reliable rotation of the playoff teams unless all the old guys magically get right now that the regular season is over.

#536 - Tom Wilhelmsen
The Mariners came close but didn't quite make the postseason. I'm sure this offseason will be one of the most optimistic their fans have had in a long time.

#537 - Yunel Escobar
Maybe it's the anonymity of playing in Tampa, but I haven't heard anything negative about Escobar since he joined the Rays. I guess he grew up a little bit?

#538 - Kevin Kouzmanoff
Kouzmanoff only played in 13 games for the Rangers this season but he made such a splash I had to give him a card here. He actually won a Player of the Week award during his short renaissance.

#539 -  Drew Hutchinson
Hutchinson had an encouraging 2014 campaign after missing all of 2013 for Tommy John surgery.

#540 - Scott Hairston
Hairston finished the season below the Mendoza Line and struck out in a third of his at-bats. Still, he gets a card.

Monday, September 29, 2014

2014 Spirit Base: 521-530

#521 - Dexter Fowler
This photo almost looks posed. Cool shot, though.

#522 - Omar Infante
Congrats to the Royals and all the Royals fans for finally making it back to the playoffs. I moved to Northwest Arkansas, so I'll be going to a lot of Naturals games in the future. Since they're the Royals AA-affiliate, I think my AL allegiance will probably shift from the Rangers to Kansas City.

#523 - Hector Santiago
The Angels finally went out and got some starting pitching depth last offseason. And what do you know, they're finished with the best record in the majors.

#524 - Juan Uribe
Man, if he weren't a part of the Giants' 2010 Championship team, I'd REALLY hate jazz hands here.

#525 - Jarrod Saltalmacchia
This isn't the most exciting shot but I had to take advantage of a usable Marlins photo that actually includes blue in their gear.

#526 - Will Smith
Luckily the Will Smith photo base I was looking through had the images listed chronologically. And THE Will Smith hasn't been in any movies lately. Unfortunately there also seems to be a rugby player and a cricket player with the same name, along with the NFL player. No matter, I was still able to find this one on the second thumbnail page.

#527 - Josmil Pinto
It'd be great if this guy could find his way back into baseball and work his was up to the Twins. That'd be an awesome battery with Josmil Pinto.

#528 - Eric Young, Jr.
I wasn't sure if the 'Jr.' suffix was necessary or not. But I figure since Senior is still around in the league and stuff, better safe than sorry.

#529 - Brian Roberts
Roberts made it until early August with the Yankees before they decided to end the experiment, acquiring Stephen Drew from Boston.

#530 - Stephen Vogt
Time to believe in Stephen Vogt.

2014 Spirit Base: 511-520

#511 - Gerardo Parra
I'm glad to see Parra out of the NL West. He always seemed to do well against the Giants and nobody else.

#512 - David Carpenter
Looking at Carpenter's numbers, he didn't pitch that much worse in 2014 than he did in 2013. That is unless you look at his ERA which nearly doubled (1.78 to 3.45). Basically it looks like for as good as his luck was last year it was conversely bad this year. Baseball gods and whatnot.

#513 - Miguel Gonzalez
Not that Miguel Gonzalez. No, not that one either. The one that's been a solid rotation piece for the AL East champs, just like everyone predicted.

#514 - Will Middlebrooks
Middlebrooks has been a bust since his rookie season and it looks like the Red Sox might be looking for his replacement this offseason.

#515 - Wesley Wright
Maybe the Cubs can get him a hat that fits next season.

#516 - Jake Petricka
Show of hands: who can pronounce his last name correctly?*

#517 - Jay Bruce
Bruce looks like a Ken doll or something here.

#518 - C.C. Lee
C.C.'s back in Cleveland!

#519 - Matt Belisle
I'm kind of on the fence about the Rockies' pinstripes. I guess they work if they're not going to start embracing purple more.

#520 - J.D. Martinez
What a break for J.D. Released by the Astros just before the season starts, then signs with AL favorite Tigers and proceeds to have a career year.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

2014 Spirit Base: 501-510

#501 - Antonio Bastardo
How does the last name Bastardo get passed down?

#502 - Tony Watson
I'm guessing he was one of the least well-known all-stars this season.

#503 - John Jay
There haven't been many sliding shots in the set so far. I though I had better include a good one when I had the chance.

#504 - Ian Kennedy
He hasn't quite regained his 2011 form yet but Kennedy had a bounce back season. I wish he could've made his way out of the NL West, though.

#505 - Santiago Casilla
He's been a bit of an unsung pillar of the Giants' bullpen for the last few years. He's now filling the closer role following Sergio Romo's mid-season hiccups. This is a cool shot, especially considering he doesn't always make it onto the checklist.

#506 - Willie Bloomquist
A decent dugout shot that makes sure you're not confused whose card it is.

#507 - Jake Odorizzi
Another unfortunate boyhood last name I'm sure.

#508 - Yu Darvish
Looking at a lot of preseason prediction posts, so many of them picked Darvish as the AL Cy Young. Safe to say that's not happening. I guess if he was gonna have an injury-riddled season, this was the one to do it. Let's hope 2015 is back to business as usual.

#509 - Brett Lawrie
It's strange to see a guy wearing sleeves in a dome. Oh, wait...

#510 - Kevin Frandsen
Another former Giant that's finding a little bit of success on another roster. He's not setting the world on fire or anything but he's still playing.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

2014 Spirit Base: 491 - 500

#491 - Collin McHugh
He's been a pleasant surprise for the Astros this year. 25 games started with an ERA under 3. His ERA+ is 143. His previous season high was 51, as a reliever.

#492 - Norichika Aoki
Even though it was difficult, I found a normal-ish action shot of Aoki. As an aside, if you're on Twitter and you don't follow Grant Brisbee, you need to rectify that. Unless you prefer the dull "humor" you get from me.

#493 - Joe Smith
I thought the blurred out scoreboard in the back was kinda neat, along with the angle of his delivery.

#494 - Clayton Kershaw
Man, I'm really sick of Kershaw. I don't mean I'm sick of hearing about him or think he's overrated or anything stupid like that. He's so damn good. What I mean is I'm tired of the Giants having to face him every series (or so it seems.) It's not fair, I tell ya.

#495 - Derek Dietrich
They need to start incorporating those sound device things from greeting cards into baseball cards. This one would be perfect with a nice "BOING" sound effect.

#496 - Mark Reynolds
Something feels wrong about showing Reynolds with a glove instead of a bat but I liked this photo.

#497 - Jason Kubel
Kubel didn't have a lot of photo options for this current stint with the Twins. I figured the undershirt, hood and empty bleachers was the most Minnesotan I could get.

#498 - Chris Young
I wish there was more of his face showing here but I liked this pic a lot. Plus he'll have a Yankees card in the next series where I can hopefully find a more personal shot.

#499 - Kelly Johnson
Johnson had a nomadic 2014, playing on three different teams, most of it with the Yankees. He, too, will make another appearance as well.

#500 - Scott Kazmir
It's hard to believe Kazmir's only 30. He's been decent this year but will probably only get a postseason start if Oakland makes it to the ALCS.

2014 Spirit Base: 481-490

#481 - Bronson Arroyo
I thought I'd show his goofy leg kick since it's something out of the ordinary.

#482 - Gerald Laird
More like Gerald Lard, amirite? (Sorry, that's unnecessarily mean.)

#483 - Chris Davis
I hope the Orioles are somehow able to get him onto their playoff roster without any issues. It'd suck if he got left off and they ended up going pretty far.

#484 - Grady Sizemore
Pretty cool outfield shot. I'm glad he's back around though it's a shame he couldn't keep up his hot start from the spring. Look for his Phillies card in the next series.

#485 - Ryan Sweeney
I wonder if he had to deal with "Ryan's weenie" taunts growing up.

#486 - Conor Gillaspie
Nice to see him sticking on a major league roster after leaving the Giants.

#487 - Skip Schumaker
I find him a little more tolerable after switching uniforms. Funny how that works.

#488 - Asdrubal Cabrera
I kinda liked the Indians' red uniforms until I just realized they're in-state competitors are called the Reds. Eh, they're in need of an entire rebrand, anyway.

#389 - Jhoulys Chacin
Probably one of the most mispronounced names in the MLB. (It's joo-LEEZ cha-SEEN, btw.)

#390 - Ian Kinsler
First, I was bummed that the Rangers traded him. Then, I was bummed that he kinda made himself look like a little jerk. Then the Rangers went up in flames and I got over it. I'm glad he had a great season in Detroit and he'll make things a little more bearable for me if the Tigers make it to the World Series again. Good luck, Kins.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

2014 Spirit Base: 471-480

#471 - Jonathan Papelbon
Figured I'd play it safe and go with a non-crotch shot.

#472 - Chris Stewart
This Giants/Pirates pipeline thing is neverending.

#473 - Jhonny Peralta
It's probably too late to be on the cuhtting edge of sutble wahndering H jokes, huh?

#474 - Robbie Erlin
The "oops, that fart wasn't a fart" pitchface.

#475 - Michael Morse
It took about half the season for Duane Kuiper to stop pronouncing his last name as Morris. Unfortunately, that's also about how long it took for Morse to stop exceeding expectations.

#476 - Corey Hart
This photo looks like a Panini Special but it was also about the only one I could find to fit the card.

#477 - Matt Joyce
The poor man's Ben Zobrist.

#478 - J.P. Arencibia
One of the Rangers' best pitchers this season.

#479 - Sergio Santos
Looks like Santos is done mending and back to doing his thing again. Glad to see. He was always an under-the-radar great reliever.

#480 - Anthony Rendon
Living up to expectations. It sucks that Ryan Zimmerman's injury is what opened the door for him but the Nationals are probably better off this way.

2014 Spirit Base: 461-470

#461 - Dallas Keuchel
I didn't realize Keuchel is from Tulsa and went to the University of Arkansas (where my wife currently works) until making this card. I'll probably take a special interest in him going forward.

#462 - Jason Vargas
Not a lot of pitcher fielding shots so far. So here's one.

#463 - Collin Cowgill
Is it better to just write something stupid like this or to have nothing written at all?

#464 - Hanley Ramirez
It's saying a lot that he's one of the least-detestable Dodgers.

#465 - Henderson Alvarez
I hope Alvarez throws another no-hitter on the final day of the season again and starts making it an annual thing.

#466 - Martin Maldonado
I really hate the lighting inside Miller Park. Every shot there looks kind of dead and lifeless.

#467 - Danny Santana
I had zero knowledge of his existence until making this card. I needed to replace Pedro Florimon after noticing he was released by the Twins in May.

#468 - Jacob deGrom
I'm guessing it'll be either deGrom or Billy Hamilton to win the NL Rookie of the Year. Could be another Puig/Jose Fernandez situation, though at about half the volume.

#469 - Masahrio Tanaka
Speaking of ROY debates, I wonder if it'll be Tanaka or Abreu in the AL. There's obviously the Yankee factor to contend with, but since Tanaka spent a good chunk of time on the DL, maybe Abreu edges him out. THIS is your Puig/Fernandez for 2014.

#470 - Craig Gentry
More bunting!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

2014 Spirit Base: 451-460

#451 - Randall Delgado
Not a fan of Arizona's black jerseys or hats.

#452 - Craig Kimbrel
Since Delgado got the leaning forward/hanging arm pose that's Kimbrel's signature, here's a subdued post-save fist pump.

#453 - Matt Wieters
Since you won't find him on any Topps cards I figured it would be good to show a clear shot of his face. Maybe collectors outside of Baltimore will be able to remember what he looks like.

#454 - Craig Breslow
If you squint just right, his forearm looks like he has a huge chin.

#455 - Emilio Bonifacio
One of the most fun names to pronounce.

#456 - Jose Abreu
Well I guess he lived up to the hype.

#457 - Chris Heisey
Great shot with the hand-operated scoreboard in the background.

#458 - Danny Salazar
Salazar's had a decent 2014. Corey Kluber's emergence has probably tempered expectations for him a bit.

#459 - Drew Stubbs
Stubbs is having a bit of a comeback season, posting an OPS over .800 for the first time in his career.

#460 - Justin Verlander
Conversely, this is Verlander's worst season since he became an elite pitcher. Who would've thought he'd be the 4th- or 5th-best starter on the Tigers before this season started?

2014 Spirit Base: 441-450

#441 - Ben Revere
Probably the best action shot of the set.

#442 - Francisco Liriano
Mean-muggin' like Gary Coleman over here.

#443 - Mark Ellis
I've tried to avoid including other players in action shots but Mark Ellis didn't have a whole lot of other options. Hopefully Amarista's not too distracting.

#444 - Everth Cabrera
Another bunt shot!

#445 - Buster Posey
I had a hard time settling on a Buster photo. Had to make sure I used one that conveys how majestic and infallible he is. (creepy)

#446 - Justin Smoak
Even after hearing his name for 4+ seasons, my mind still draws a blank when he's mentioned. Maybe this dugout shot will help.

#447 - Wil Myers
Can we get a paternity test to Tim Robbins here? Or Maybe Rhett Miller?

#448 - Michael Choice
It's hard to judge much from this season in Texas but it doesn't look like Michael Choice is gonna be big contributor for a while.

#449 - R.A. Dickey
Dickey has some non-pleasant pitchface so I decided to go with this stoic, dignified pose here. Looks good.

#450 - Danny Espinosa
Another acrobatic action shot to bookend this post.