Last year while on vacation, I was flipping through the channels at the hotel late at night. I landed on a marathon of American Ninja Warrior. I had never watched the show before but quickly became enthralled with the obstacle courses and the athleticism of the competitors. After we returned home from vacation, I caught up on the current season on Hulu and impatiently waited from week to week for a new episode. I was hooked. I’m an American Ninja Warrior fanatic.
I was very disappointed to find a complete absence of American Ninja Warrior trading cards. So I decided to make some myself. My design is very basic, but I’m satisfied with it. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you 2018 TWJ American Ninja Warrior trading cards…
I started with Grant McCartney, “The Island Ninja,” because he is one of my favorite competitors. He always seems to genuinely have fun running the courses and has a positive attitude, even when he comes up short.
Do you want to become a Ninja Warrior? Check out the recently published Become an American Ninja Warrior: The Ultimate Insider’s Guide.
DISCLAIMER: These cards are not for sale. They are not even printed. They exist only in digital form on this blog.
As bad as the season started, Cincinnati has really started turning it around. The bullpen is better than expected, and the starters aren’t half bad either. Hopefully the Reds can move Matt Harvey for some MLB-ready talent and start off 2019 on the right foot.
The Reds went on an absolute tear this past week, winning six straight games and catching the attention of awards-giver-outers. Second baseman Scooter Gennett was named the NL Player of the Week for May 7-13, hitting .591 with four homers and 10 RBI. I decided to resurrect this design I toyed with earlier this year. It’s kind of a pain to outline the player, so it won’t be used often.
Of course, I prefer the textured look, so I also blasted this with a little sandstone filter:
The Reds’ bullpen was also honored this week. The bullpen that I have been criticizing all year combined for a 0.95 ERA and struck out 32 batters from May 7-13.
I still don’t like relief pitchers.
James Paxton made history last night as the first Canadian-born pitcher to throw a no-hitter in Canada. The Mariners pitcher struck out seven Blue Jays batters while Seattle’s defense stepped up, making several spectacular plays to preserve the no-no.
I asked on Twitter last night what design I should use to commemorate the feat, and the most obvious answer came from the venerable Joe Shlabotnik of The Shlabotnik Report:
Seems like it should be something O-Pee-Chee for Big Maple.
— The Shlabotnik Report (@Shlabotnik_Rpt) May 9, 2018
Albert Pujols became the 32nd major leaguer to collect 3000 hits in a career, joining an esteemed list of individuals such as Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Ichiro Suzuki. He is one of only two active players in the 3000 hit club; Adrian Beltre reached the milestone last July. The only retired members of the 3000 hit club who are not in the Hall of Fame are Pete Rose (permanently banned), Derek Jeter (not eligible until 2020), Alex Rodriguez (not yet eligible and steroid issues), Ichiro Suzuki (not yet eligible), and Rafael Palmeiro (steroid issues).
I love the Cincinnati Reds, but even more than that, I love baseball. Rookie Walker Buehler pitched six hitless innings for the Los Angeles Dodgers in Monterrey, Mexico, Friday night. Tony Cingrani, Yimi Garcia, and Adam Liberatore followed, each pitching an inning of no-hit ball against the San Diego Padres to complete the first combined no-hitter in Dodgers history. What a night, but in the States, another historic moment occurred…
Sean Manaea pitched the first no-hitter of the 2018 season last night against the Boston Red Sox. He struck out ten batters and only walked two. Marcus Semien score all three Oakland runs, crossing the plate after doubles by Jed Lowrie in the first inning and Stephen Piscotty in the third, and hitting a solo home run in the fifth.
We didn’t expect much, really. The front office’s inexplicable refusal to bolster the pitching staff during the offseason, even with quality pitchers available, let fans know that 2018 would be a lost cause. There are a lot of promising young arms, but little experience. The sad truth is that the offense is strong enough to compete, but the pitchers can’t keep the score close enough. Through the first seven games, opponents have already scored 44 runs.
Cincinnati won their second game of the season last night, thanks in large part to one of my favorite players on the team, Eugenio Suarez.
Suarez is a fun player to watch, and has really blossomed as a part of the Reds’ infield. He finished last season with a 3.2 WAR, swatting 26 home runs and driving in 82 runs. I thought he had a real shot at the All-Star Game last year, but the Reds were kind of terrible and the powers that be probably couldn’t justify putting three Cincinnati guys on the roster. Maybe this year will be his year. He hit his second homer of 2018 last night, and drove in five runs in the Reds’ 7-4 victory over the Bucs.
I made a custom design last night during some downtime. I like the way it turned out, but don’t think I would make a full set with this design. It would look better as a limited insert I think. If I actually made physical copies, I would probably want a textured front, similar to the Upper Deck Masterpieces set. So I played a little with a texture filter, and voilà…
Let me know what you think. I’ll probably play around with several different custom designs this year, unless something really screams at me.