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Oh my, Ohtani!

Ohtani

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!

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I’ve Been Everywhere, Man

Well, not quite everywhere. I love visiting other teams’ ballparks and watching games there. This past weekend, my wife and I took a quick trip to California and caught the Angels hosting the Royals in Anaheim. Unfortunately, the Dodgers were out of town (in Cincinnati, actually), and we only had a few days in the Golden State. I was disappointed Mike Trout was injured, but I saw him play in the All-Star Game a couple years ago in Cincinnati, so it’s all good. We also took a stroll down Santa Monica Pier and spent Saturday at Disneyland. It was a pretty cool weekend.

Angels

Here is a list of all the current MLB teams, when I visited their stadium, and which stadium. I’m hoping to add another team and stadium next summer.

 

Baltimore 2010, 2011 Camden Yards
Boston 1991 Fenway
New York Yankees 1991 old Yankee Stadium
Tampa Bay 2016 Tropicana Field
Toronto
Atlanta
Miami
New York Mets 1991 Shea Stadium
Philadelphia
Washington 2010 Nationals Park
Chicago White Sox 1989, 1992 old Comiskey, new Comiskey
Cleveland 1988 Cleveland Municipal Stadium
Detroit 1988 Tiger Stadium
Kansas City
Minnesota
Chicago Cubs 1989, 1992, 2001 Wrigley Field
Cincinnati many Riverfront, Cinergy, Great American Ballpark
Milwaukee
Pittsburgh 1988, 2011 Three Rivers Stadium, PNC Park
St. Louis 2014 Busch Stadium
Houston
Anaheim 2017 Angels Stadium
Oakland
Seattle
Texas
Arizona
Colorado
Los Angeles
San Diego
San Francisco

Obviously, I need to make a few more trips out west.

Angels

#FerrellTakesTheField 1990 Score style: Ten positions, ten teams, ten “fun cards”

A picture is worth one thousand words, so here are ten thousand nineteen (including these words, but not the title)…

WF-01 Will Ferrell (A's)

WF-02 Will Ferrell (Mariners)

WF-03 Will Ferrell (Angels)

WF-04 Will Ferrell (Cubs)

WF-05 Will Ferrell (Diamondbacks)

WF-06 Will Ferrell (Reds)

WF-07 Will Ferrell (White Sox)

WF-08 Will Ferrell (Giants)

WF-09 Will Ferrell (Dodgers)

WF-10 Will Ferrell (Padres)

Fun Cards Submission: 1983 Fleer “Superstar Special” Jersey Boys

Jersey Boys Trout and Frazier 2014 MLB All-Star Game

Paying tribute to the “Superstar Specials” that appeared in Fleer sets from 1983 onward, TWJ contributor Patrick sent over this nice “Jersey Boys” card featuring Angels outfielder (and future Hall of Famer) Mike Trout and Reds third baseman Todd Frazier. Trout hails from Millville, NJ, while Frazier grew up over an hour away in Toms River. They were born about five and a half years apart, so I doubt they ever faced each other in competitions growing up, but the connection is still there. It was great seeing Frazier having so much fun in Minneapolis this year, and I hope he gets to experience that for many years to come.

While he was at it, Patrick had a little fun with one of the 2014 TWJ originals…

Trout Subway

Trout is a paid spokeman for Subway, and appears in this hilarious commercial for the restaurant chain:

Patrick’s “improvement” to my card definitely brought a smile to my face. Thanks again for all your great work, Patrick!

I see many MVP awards in this guy’s future

Trout MVP

Mike Trout is a beast.

Amazing Athletes: Mike Trout by Jon M. Fishman (2014)

Trout Amazing Athletes

Amazing Athletes: Mike Trout
by Jon M. Fishman
Lerner, 2014
32 pages

I fondly remember checking out small books from the library about my favorite athletes, from Michael Jordan to John Elway to Don Mattingly. Children today can do the same with the “Amazing Athletes” series of books published by Lerner. Baseball, football, basketball and other sports stars are the subjects of these books. I recently received a copy of the book dedicated to Mike Trout, and it is very similar to the books I enjoyed in my youth, with brief biographical information and several color photographs. The recommended age range is second to fifth grade, though most fifth graders would probably find the content a bit under their level. For younger sports fans, they are a nice introduction to terminology of the game and generally encourage the reader to work hard toward personal goals.

Learn more about Lerner.

Purchase Amazing Athletes: Mike Trout by Jon M. Fishman.

500

Pujols 500 home runs

Because 500 still means something when it is done the right way. I hadn’t intended to commemorate special events this season, but Albert Pujols connecting for the 500th home run of his career on Tuesday night was a pretty big deal. I felt like I owed it to him and to history to make a special card for the event.

Jim Thome was the most recent to reach the milestone cleanly, but there was not a great deal of fanfare when he did it. When Alex Rodriguez hit his 500th, he was actually booed because of the unethical way he did it.

It used to mean more, but it still means something. It has to. Because if it doesn’t mean something, then neither does baseball. Will we ever get back to the way it was? No, but we still have the 500 home run club, and even if there are a few bad apples in the club (seven by my count), that doesn’t mean the whole thing is meaningless.

Congratulations, Albert Pujols.

To see more 2014 TWJ cards, visit TWJ cards on tumblr.

Announcing the BBBWARAOAAE American League Rookie of the Year…

It was a last-minute, but not altogether hare-brained idea. Tired of the pros always having the ultimate say in who is the best, I decided that the fans should have a say. And so the Base Ball Blog Writers And Readers Association Of America And Elsewhere was born. I sent out some e-mails and made an announcement here that I would take your votes and tabulate the winners for Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, and Cy Young Award in each league, as well as the best player not in the Hall of Fame. You were permitted to submit a top-five list for each category. The #1 name on your list received seven points, #2 four, #3 three, #4 two, and #1 one (the same scoring system used for the BBWAA MVP voting). This week we’ll begin looking at the results, starting with the one that really had no competition…

Trout

American League Rookie of the Year

NAME 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th TOTAL
Mike Trout 6 42
Yoenis Cespedes 5 20
Yu Darvish 1 2 2 14
Jarrod Parker 1 1 1 6
Jesus Montero 1 1 5
Will Middlebrooks 1 1 5
Matt Moore 1 3
Scott Diamond 1 1
Brent Lawrie 1 1
Tommy Milone 1 1
Ryan Cook 1 1

Ballots are revealed at each voter’s discretion. Justin’s World and Lifetime Topps Project each posted their picks on their respective sites.

While I was a little disappointed in the voter turnout, I do believe this award will probably line up well with the professionals’ picks. Perhaps next year I will organize the event a little better and more will respond to the call.

Come back tomorrow for the National League Rookie of the Year, which turned out to be a much closer race with what many may consider a surprise winner.

TWJ 2012: Mike Trout

The second card in the 2012 TWJ set is rookie sensation Mike Trout, outfielder for the team with the longest name in all of professional sports (someone should probably fact check the last part of that sentence). Have they already made his plaque for the Hall of Fame? He is a shoo-in for first ballot induction. Come back in twenty-five years and tell me if I was wrong about that.

rookie sensation

Large photo credit: Kelvin Kuo/US Presswire
Inset photo credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/US Presswire

Congratulations Jered Weaver!

May 2 2012 no-hitter

With the tenth no-hitter in Angels history, Jered Weaver defeated the Minnesota Twins 9-0.

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