Grand Cards: May 2011

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Who Are These People: Andy Dirks

There are a lot of new faces wearing the Old English D these days. Trades, DL Stints, Call-Ups, Demotions -- all points to a roster in flux as Dave Dombrowski grasps at the world's supply of straws trying to find something that works.

Of course that leads to the question: Who are these people? (Jerry Seinfeld voice optional). Sounds like a multi-part series to me. We'll be doing these in chronological order.

While there was some movement on the roster earlier in the season, the carousel started in the middle of May and really picked up speed about a week later. The first domino to fall was Maggs.

May 13, 2011 Magglio Ordonez to the DL

Hello: Andy Dirks

Dirks? Dirks was an 8th round pick of the Tigers 2008 out of Wichita State. He was an ok minor league player that really came into his own at AAA last year and the start of this season (.347/.384/.575). Sure, he strikes out more than he walks (almost 2x as much). He missed out on Baseball America's Top 10 organizational prospects list at the end of last season, but was considered the Tigers' best defensive outfield, something that he has shown so far.

Since being called up he has flashed his glove and his power, with 2 HRs and a double to his credit in 32 plate appearances (a 121 OPS+!).

Get that man a baseball card? Yes, please. Despite the fact that Bowman frequently puts out cards of worthless prospects that will never see the show, and that Topps had a "pro debut" series come out last year, Dirks is as-yet baseball card-less.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Timing is Everything

Last week I got a small package in the mail that included a card that I was pretty excited about.

Awesome, right? I mean first of all, who doesn't love refractors. In case I haven't said so before, I go after refractor sets now. How could you not, with all the shininess etc.?

Second, look at Scott Sizemore's signature. He has arguably the best signature on the team. It's just all sorts of snazzy.

So yeah, I was pretty pleased to get a rookie card autograph of the Tigers' starting secon...awww crap.
The Tigers parted ways with 2B Scott Sizemore, trading him to the A's for RP David Purcey.

That was May 28th, or TWO days after this card arrived.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

No Takesies Backsies!

Source: Boston Wolverine's (aka ROtT) Flickr Account (via a random google search, how about that!)

Sorry folks, this is already in the ground. Can't take it back now! Do you think all the great buildings and institutions put into place by the Rockerfellers and Carnegie's etc. were built with honest, hard earned money?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tigers Gallery & Review: 2011 Topps Opening Day

I'm sure right now everyone cares about bigger and better things. Well that's fine. I just got a package that contained team sets of Opening Day, Attax(!) and yes, Bowman. I'll be posting Galleries & Reviews for all of them this week, as well as filling in the rest of the year's sets. Opening Day starts things off because it is fun, quick and easy.

Every year I consider Opening Day a throwaway set, and every year I find that I like it as much, if not more, than the regular Topps offering. The 2011 edition continues in that tradition in many ways.

Take a look at the full team set in the gallery below. My take on the set can be found after the jump.

#16 Max Scherzer

#82 Brennan Boesch

#100 Miguel Cabrera

#104 Victor Martinez

#177 Magglio Ordonez

#184 Austin Jackson

#188 Justin Verlander

#M9 Paws

#OD55 Miguel Cabrera

#UL5 Miguel Cabrera

TTOD21 Austin Jackson

2011 Master Checklist

It's that time again. With my finals over and a little bit of extra time, it's time to get back to blogging with one of the things I love best--cataloging the Tigers cards every year. Below is a list of 2011 card sets, which may or may not link to their respective image galleries and reviews. The goal is to get all of them done by the end of the year.

New this year--an acknowledgement of continuity sets (where appropriate) such as the "Happy Anniversary" autograph set, among others. Also, parallel sets will be included if and when I complete them for my personal collection. Otherwise they will likely be addressed on a set-by-set bases. As per usual, galleries will be a combination of what I have and images pulled from the internet


Topps Sets
2011 Bowman
2011 Gypsy Queen
2011 Topps
2011 Topps Factory Team Set
2011 Topps Attax
2011 Topps Heritage
2011 Topps Opening Day
2011 Topps Pro Debut
2011 Topps Tribute

Unlicensed Sets
2011 In The Game Heroes and Prospects

Oddball Sets

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Updates and Bullets

Sorry for the radio silence everyone, my semester has been wrapping up--I have one last paper due Friday--and has left me with very, very little time to do anything that isn't directly related to work or school. This should turn around in the next week or two as I try to ease back into things.

In the meantime, I haven't been living under a rock. Quick bullet thoughts, ho!

  • RIP Harmon Killebrew
  • This has been the big news, after his announcement that he was entering hospice care just last week. I saw him at an Autograph show in Baltimore a couple years ago and he seemed like a nice guy. That last half of the sentence sounds like the understatement of all time based on articles I've read about him since. Also, he had one of the nicest signatures in all of baseball.
  • The Tigers are...good? I contemplated putting a post together to this point after their 40th game as they sat on a sweet 7 game win streak. Of course, there was that 7 game losing streak earlier, but that's in the past, obvs. It seems like the Tigers are, in fact, kind of good, but I expect them to play uneven, frustrating baseball for the entirety of this season as they seek a playoff spot. The best news for the Tigers is the apparent badness of the Twins.
  • Benoit needs to be de-leveraged. He cannot be the 8th inning guy anymore. The Tigers need to Joe Nathan him pronto to see if he can get back on track.
  • The Tigers starting rotation is money. Verlander and Scherzer are better than I thought they would be prior to the season. Porcello has pitched very well, and I have been impressed with Brad Penny in his last few starts. I don't really like Phil Coke, but maybe I'm just a grump. I wouldn't mind seeing him shift back to the bullpen to be replaced by one of the prospects. If the Tigers can sustain their starting pitching at even 80% of this level, they will be in the playoff hunt right to the end.
  • Indians, man. They're not bad. Really, it's the former Indians that I'm interested in, right VMart and Jhonny? They've been excellent for the Tigers this year.
  • Please don't slump Brennan Boesch
  • On Cards: I think that I like Gypsy Queen but don't love it. It may be the first set to have the distinction of mini cards that look worse than the base. 2011 Bowman is ugly (what else is new) and has a crappy Tigers checklist. The more I look at it, the more I like 2011 Topps. Could go down as one of the best designed and executed sets in a long time. Diamond Parallels are money, and I hope they continue the Black Diamond redemptions into S2
  • I have Baltimore City Jury Duty on Monday. I will be live tweeting my experience up until the point it becomes illegal for me to do so. Just FYI.

I hope to expand on some of these thoughts in future posts, and you know that I have the entirety of 2011 card galleries to catch up on. That's what summer is for, right?

Thursday, May 12, 2011


At some point in your life, you will experience a death that immediately calls on that sweetspot of your childhood memories. When Ernie Harwell died, I felt a sense of personal loss. When Sparky Anderson died, I recalled seeing Tigers games as a kid. But both of those men, and the memories they created for millions, predate me by quite a bit.

That's what makes this one different. Tractor Traylor was nobody before he was somebody, and he didn't become somebody until I was 11. His entire career at Michigan corresponds perfectly with my childhood. I remember the NIT championship in 1997. I remember the Inaugural Big Ten Tournament Championship. I remember the day he broke the backboard at Crisler--not because I was there, but because a bunch of my friends were at the game and told me about it at school the next day.

There are plenty of reasons not to memorialize him. This is a Tigers blog, for one. The fact that he was a prime contributor to the the downfall of the Michigan basketball program, miring it in an obsolescence that it is only just beginning to recover from, is another. But whatever the reasons, he is one of those guys that I remember, like a beloved, if flawed, side character in a good movie. Like Donnie. Robert Traylor is Donnie.

Apart from the fact that his death is unexpected and tragic, it is also the first time that I have experienced the death of a public figure without feeling like there was some cache of memories that other people could recall that were simply inaccessible to me because I wasn't there. Well I was there. I remember Robert Traylor, and I always will.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

That's Two Thus Far



As @jposnanski put it:

24 pitchers since 1919 w/multiple no-nos. Six are in Hall, two more will go. Verlander at 29 in rare air. He will throw more.

I certainly hope so. He's already the greatest Tigers pitcher of my lifetime.

Monday, May 2, 2011


"BlahBlahBlah Leyland Confident BlahBlahBlah Potential BlahBlahBlah Fans Grumbling BlahBlahBlah Contender.

"I don't know if it will be tonight, tomorrow or the next day, but this team will play good," he said about his 12-16 Tigers before the start of a four-game series against the Yankees at Comerica Park.

"There's absolutely no doubt in my mind."

Whatever you say, Jimmy.

Guess Who's Back

Curtis Granderson returns to Detroit for the first time since he was traded prior to the 2010 season.

He remains my favorite non-Tiger in baseball. I'm not alone. Given the year he's been having and the year that the Tigers have been having, it would certainly be nice to see him around again.

His return corresponds with what portends to be a somewhat momentous night around the league. Heck, the Four Tops are singing the national anthem. Word on the street is that everyone in the entire country is a good mood. My guess is that Curtis is the beneficiary of some of that happiness, perhaps in the form of a prolonged standing ovation.

He deserves it.

Also, America.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Ol' Switcheroo (but I need help from you)

So, I'm thinking about changing my blog name and domain so that I can take advantage of a .com address (instead of an but I need some advice.

I'm pretty happy with google. I haven't had a lot of problems with them, and I'm pretty comfortable with what I can do on here. There are some limitations, yes, but all in all, I feel like a full transition to something else (wordpress hosted, independently hosted) would be more trouble than its worth for me. So some questions:

  • Has anyone made this transition from .blogspot to .com but stayed with google?
  • Has anyone made the transition and switched to something else
  • Once I have the .com can I transition to a different host at a future date without too much trouble?
  • Any thoughts/comments from those of you with a tad more expertise than I have?

It is my understanding that all of my old posts will live on at the new domain if I stick with blogger, and things will redirect and google rankings will stay the same etc. If I'm wrong about this and you know it, please let me know.

Otherwise, this is where things are trending. I think the move to a .com will generally be a positive one, but any help or advice I can get would be much appreciated.