Grand Cards: March 2011

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Opening Day Is Go

Tigers vs. Yankees in the first game of the season on ESPN.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day 0.

It's been a long hard winter for all of us. But Lo! Spring. Oh thank god, spring. A friend of mine called today "Christmas Eve," and I could only nod in agreement. It's enough to make me want to break out into song.



This blog has been pretty quiet for a while, and for that I'm sorry. I've been busy, then in a funk, then busy again etc. For days I've asked myself, "what am I going to write about the Tigers this year?" Last year it was a season preview in which I predicted some things that proved to be pretty much true and also that Gerald Laird would hit .275 so, yeah. The year before it was THE YEAR, as painstakingly detailed in a multi-part series about how 2009 would be the year that nobody expected the Tigers--2008 cellar dwellers--to do anything at all. What did we get for that? 163 game crushing disappointment. Close but no cigar.

The problem is, I don't know what to think this year.

I don't feel like last year, when the team was both too young and too old, or the year before, where they really felt poised to take the division by storm. I don't know what this is. I don't know who the Tigers are.


Individually you can see the potential.

Justin Verlander is going to win a Cy Young in his career, and I think he does it this year. You can write that down. Tell your friends.

Miguel Cabrera, sober edition, is an MVP.

Max Scherzer had a breakout 2nd half that could carry into this year

Austin Jackson, your should-have-been 2010 ROY, is back with a year of experience under his belt.

But geez, when I start reading things like "BEST ROTATION IN BASEBALL" by the person that you would absolutely expect to write something stupid like that, you just want to scream PHILLIES! in his face or hell, WHITE SOX! or a handful of others. But the problem is, we don't know.

That's why you get back-to-back columns in the Detroit News--Five reason the Tigers will be a hit and Five reasons the Tigers will be a flop.

We don't know.

We don't know if Phil Coke will be an effective starter all season, or if Brad Penny will be healthy.

We don't know if Rick Porcello will be better than he was last year.

We don't know if Alex Avila will be a good catcher.

Or if Will Rhymes will be a good second baseman.

Or if Ryan Raburn is ready to play a full season in the show.

Or if Brennan Boesch can take his place if he's not.

Or if Casper Wells can take his place if he's not.

We don't know if Maggs is healthy after breaking his ankle last year, or if he can stay healthy.

We don't know if Joel Zumaya or Carlos Guillen will ever return.

When you start counting up the question marks things become disconcerting. I don't like disconcerting--it plays games with my defense mechanisms. I want to prepare myself for disappointment, or temper my enthusiasm, but now I'm left here bare, naked to the whims of a round bat hitting a round ball. I don't know that I can take it.

It is Day 0 and the wait is over. Tomorrow will be Christmas Morning, and I have no idea of what I'm getting.


This is the part of the season preview where predictions are made. Except, as my earlier ramblings may have indicated, I have no idea what is going to happen this season.

But this is the internet, dammit.


YEAH. Serious predictions.

  • Justin Verlander wins the Cy Young
  • 40% of the Tigers starting rotation will be removed for non-injury reasons at some point.
  • Austin Jackson has pretty much the same year as last year, is viewed as a massive disappointment
  • The Tigers win 85 games, 2nd in Central to White Sox (91)
  • Jim Leyland's contract is extended for two more seasons
  • Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen and Joel Zumaya play their final seasons

Tommorow is a new day, folks. Welcome to the next six months of your lives and to a rejuvenated blogger.

Go Tigers.

Friday, March 25, 2011

I'm back baby

Sort of.  I'm officially back on US soil, but am still operating with my phone as primary computer.  Regularish posting should resume this week...just in time for the start of the season!

For those of you that have hung in there, thanks.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Fact: Everybody collected Fleer as a kid and it was awesome
Fact: Everybody wishes Fleer were still around
Fact: Nobody collected baseball cards in the mid-2000s
Fact: You can get 7 boxes of mid-2000s Fleer cards for basically nothing.

How? Community Gum's Super-Fleer Group Break. He just lowered the price and there are still a bunch of teams left like the Angels--who won a world series in this era, White Sox (who ALSO won a world series), Marlins (I'm sensing a pattern here) and a bunch of other teams that were actually good in this era.

This stands in sharp contrast to the Tigers, who were terrible for most of the years represented by these cards. Yet here I am, getting in on the break, because it will yield approximately 1,000,000 cards I don't have for the same price as a 2011 Topps Blaster.

I'm just saying.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Wait, What?

Hmmm. These are the same card. They are supposed to be 1/1. For realsies 1/1 too, not like printing plates or all the other weird stuff that the card companies do to make faux-1/1s. This is a red refractor 1/1 from Bowman Sterling. So what is going on?

Auction 1

Auction 2

Both listings are active for at least the next 9 days. Anybody have an idea of what the deal is with these?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Card That Had To Be Made

Love it, love it, love it.

The only sad part is that Galarraga isn't a Tiger anymore. Also, that it's not crystal clear from that picture that Donald was out. Still, I couldn't be happier that this card will exist and A&G is the perfect product for it.

HT to Sports Card Info for bringing this card to my attention.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Best Trade of All Time?

I am so far beyond my days of Lynn Henning bashing, but I feel like it's appropriate to provide some factual counterpoints to some of the things he says. Today, he writes:
[Austin Jackson] is one-quarter of perhaps the best trade in Tigers history. Dave Dombrowski will never make a deal that will have netted more talent — Jackson, Max Scherzer, Phil Coke and Daniel Schlereth — at such an affordable price (Curtis Granderson, Edwin Jackson).

I was the first to admit that the trade has worked out even better than expected. Personally, I still feel as though Granderson is one of the better all-around center fielders in the game, and that he will continue to prove that this year for the Yankees. But, Austin Jackson is incredible and will hopefully be a franchise player for the team. Also, Max Scherzer has been everything we hoped Max Scherzer would be and is going to be a star.

But. But! I don't even think that it was the best trade of the decade. Once upon a time the Tigers traded for Miguel Cabrera. At the time, it seemed like they paid a steep price. In reality, they gave up nothing. The Tigers gave up no impact players, save a still-young Cameron Maybin who could potentially resurrect his career. In return the Tigers got Cabrera, someone who, if he can get his extracurriculars under control, could legitimately go down as one of the best players in Franchise History. Sure they got Willis too, but that was no big deal--it was resigning him that was the problem.

But that's not it. The Tigers also acquired Carlos Guillen for Ramon Santiago and someone else (Juan M. Gonzalez, maybe?), and then got Ramon Santiago back! Certainly, that was a better trade at a cheaper price.

And it gets better. In what I believe may actually have been the best trade in Tigers history the Tigers traded Ugueth Urbina for Placido Polanco. Polanco went on to be one of the most consistent Tigers players around, won two Gold Gloves, nearly won a batting title and went to an All-Star game in his 4.5 years in Detroit. Urbina killed someone and never played another game.

So no, I'm not going to go on an anti-Henning warpath anymore. But dude. This is a man who loves his hyperbole and loves talking about the players that he has these pet-affections for (I'm looking at you Scott Sizemore and Casper Wells in their) and those that he loves to disparage for some reason (Granderson). To say that giving up Edwin Jackson and Curtis Granderson represents some sort of low-low price is ridiculous. These guys are former (and could be future) All-Stars and start on Major League rosters. The Tigers have made better deals than that. Not just ever, but recently.

Also, can someone please get Norm Cash on the phone? Or Rocky Colavito? Or MICKEY COCHRANE? Best trade in Tigers history...Humph.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Best Discontinued Set of the Last 10 Years

It's here (sorry for the delay)

I had a lot of good responses in the comments That read something like Masterpieces, Masterpieces, GOTG, Masterpieces, Goudey, something Topps did 8 years ago, and you know what? Those were right on.

UD Masterpieces was a phenomenal set--in fact, 2007 and 2008 masterpieces remain the ONLY sets that I have completed in their entirety since I returned to collecting, so, yeah. It was pretty great.

I've collected cards from Greats of the Game and I love me some Goudey (especially 2007), but they're not it either.

Then three people said "Topps All-Time Fan Favorites." Let's see: Retired players, new photographs on old card designs and on-card autographs. Yeah, I'd say that that is a recipe for fantasticness. One problem: with all the different designs, it didn't really feel like a set per se. Oh, it was cool, but it falls just short of greatness for me.

This doesn't:

That was Lance Parrish that you were looking at in my original post Lance. Parrish. Quiz time, how many mainstream, non-buyback cards does this 8x All Star, 6x Silver Slugger, 3x Gold Glove winning Catcher who sports 324 career home runs and 1000+ RBI have since he retired in 1995? 15. Four of those came out in 1996. Nine (!) came out in 2003. Was 2003 the year of Lance Parrish? Is there some reason that this borderline hall-of-famer has been effectively ignored by the hobby (who's top comparables include 3 Hall of Famers, Jorge Posada, Ron Cey, Benny Santiago and Bill Freehan), but Ty Cobb has ELEVEN cards in 2011 Topps Series 1?!?!

Oh, and that's another thing...


At least he got some love from Upper Deck, in Greats of the Game and Legendary Cuts etc.

At this point in the show, I realize that I may have digressed from my main point: Topps Retired is the best discontinued set of the last 10 years.

My reasons are twofold, and simple:

1. The cards use a modified design of each year's Topps base set, giving the set a cohesive feel that ties in nicely with the flagship Topps release

2. The checklist highlights the many, many players who were STARS, including some should-be Hall of Famers that have barely graced ANY sports cards since 2006. Right Alan?


I've got LOTSLOTSLOTS more to say about this fantastic set and how it compares to things nowadays after the jump.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Not Yet

Sorry folks, some things came up tonight and I can't post my best discontinued set of the last 10 years. Keep an eye out tomorrow. In the meantime, I still want to hear your thoughts. What was your favorite product that card companies stopped making?

Inquiring Minds Want to Know: Best Discontinued Set of the Last 10 Years?

I'm genuinely curious what everyone thinks about this. There have been a lot of cards released by a lot of companies since 2001, and many sets/brands that were short lived. What has been the best?

Are you a Masterpieces person? Goudey? Fleer Greats of the Game? Topps Gallery? There are countless options.

(PLEASE don't be limited to the couple I've listed here)

I ask because I'm pretty sure that I know the answer. Let me know what set(s) you've loved and lost and I'll show you my favorite later tonight.

Here's a hint: