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.
(June 8, 1925 – April 17, 2018)
Barbara Bush has passed away. As wife of the 41st President of the United States of America George H. W. Bush, she served this great nation as First Lady from 1989-1993. Mrs. Bush was the mother of 43rd President George W. Bush, and was the fourth cousin, four times removed. of 14th President Franklin Pierce and author Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. She and Abigail Adams are the only women who were both wife and mother to Presidents.
Growing up in the heyday of MTV videos, I always considered Ric Ocasek as the leader and most important member of The Cars. “You Might Think” was one of my favorite videos, with his goofy mug floating all over the place. I had no idea what an important part all the others played until much later. Still today, though, I can’t help but think of Ocasek more than any other member when I think of the band.
(October 14, 1952 – April 16, 2018)
Harry Anderson, best known for his role as Judge Harry Stone on the 1980s and 1990s sitcom Night Court, passed away today. The public defender, prosecutor, and one of the baliffs took to Twitter to express their sorrow.
I am devastated. I’ll talk about you later, Harry, but for now, I’m devastated.
— Markie Post (@markie_post) April 16, 2018
Aw man, I'm so sorry to hear this.
My condolences to his family, friends, fans and everyone who loved him.
Rest in peace, Harry the Hat, you were my friend. https://t.co/fv2yzW4sku
— Marsha Warfield (@MarshaWarfield) April 16, 2018
— John B. Larroquette (@johnlarroquette) April 17, 2018
I knew I was going to like this guy, I just knew it. He is absolutely dominating on the mound so far this year, taking a perfect game into the 7th inning today against the A’s. Between a walk in the 4th inning last week until he gave up a hit in the 7th today, Shohei Ohtani retired 27 straight batters. He struck out 12 A’s batters today, after mowing down six in his first start.
But, as you know, Ohtani has been a terror with the bat as well. In four games, he has sent three balls deep, driving in seven runs and hitting at a .389 clip. All of the concerns expressed during a slow spring have quickly evaporated as he has crushed the ball at the plate.
The “fun card” above is verrrrrry loosely based on the 1998 Fleer Ultra “Double Trouble” insert set.
Rookie of the Year…Most Valuable Player…Cy Young winner? I know we’re in the first week of the season, but that’s the perfect time to dream big!
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.
I have gone on record regarding my opinion of 2018 Topps. Really, the past three years of Topps cards have been disappointing. I don’t like change, and these cards have changed so much it’s disturbing.
There are a lot of effects that simulate television graphics—which would look cool as an insert set, but not for the base card. The lack of borders bothers me (and always will). So I decided to fire up Photoshop and “fix” Topps’ flagship issue this year. It’s a very rough draft, but I have added a border and edited the graphic-heavy name plates. I also tilted the Reds’ logo, because I don’t like cutting off the wishbone like Topps did, and nudged the name to the right so it’s not hiding behind the waterslide. Here is version 2.0:
I chose Bronson Arroyo as the featured player since he has retired, and Topps will likely not fawn over him like they do Derek Jeter. The dude was a workhorse until leaving Cincinnati, and once he got hurt in Arizona, he just couldn’t bounce back. I wish him the best in whatever his future holds, whether it is baseball-related or music-related or hey-let’s-go-fishing-because-I’m-retired-and-I-made-so-much-stinking-money-I-never-have-to-work-another-day-in-my-life-related.
Now, the waterslide is an issue in the above mock-up. By tilting the logo and scooting it to the right so the entire wishbone is visible, it reveals much more of the waterslide. I tried some hack editing and made it look even worse, so decided to remove it all together in version 3.0:
And then, after removing the waterslide, I decided the logo could be re-straightened. So, here is version 4.0:
I’m not crazy about any of these versions really, but I like it better (though it is in very rough form) than what Topps released. I would love to see a real graphic designer get a hold of it and fix the issues.
Sometimes, though, some things are just too broke to fix.
One of the biggest questions of the 2018 Hall of Fame class was Trevor Hoffman. The debate rages on the value of relief pitchers, but Hoffman proved himself over a long 18-year career that he was worthy of serious Cooperstown consideration and the BBWAA deemed him worthy of the honor in 2018. His 601 saves rank him second to Mariano Rivera on the all-time list. However, the JAWS system ranks him the 21st best reliever in history, behind a bunch of guys I’ve never even heard of.
How times have changed. When Harmon Killebrew retired in 1975, he was fourth on the all-time home runs list behind Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, and Willie Mays. Yet, it took the BBWAA four years to decide he was worthy of Cooperstown. Jim Thome‘s 612 home runs put him eighth on the all-time list, but he flew right into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely believe Thome is a Hall of Famer…I just question the sanity of the voters in the 1980s who kept Killebrew waiting so long.
In his first year on the ballot, Vladimir Guerrero received 71.7% of the vote, missing induction by 15 votes. This year, there was no doubt that the Dominican-born great would be inducted. A nine-time All-Star, Guerrero became a star in Montreal, and a superstar in Anaheim, winning the 2004 AL MVP as he helped the Angels to the playoffs. He finished in the top ten in MVP voting five other times.