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2011 Fan Pack Challenge: Washington Nationals

No pocket schedule. No stickers. But some cool stuff nonetheless. The Nationals shipped two packages to me instead of one…not sure why they didn’t stick everything in one envelope. The first package contained the “Inside Pitch” magazine, a small publication given out at games. I got one last year when my son and I attended a game in Washington, and another one last week in Pittsburgh. I’ve never seen them in Cincinnati, though, so not all teams use them. They are really neat books, 38 pages with articles and player profiles. The Washington version I received today also had a couple of tear-out baseball cards inside, along with a postcard. Thus, they get a few extra points there.

No, it isn’t a current issue, dated July 27-August 1, 2010. But I don’t really care. It’s something, and that’s better than nothing in my book.

But that’s not all. The Nationals also sent the August/September 2010 issue of “The Official Magazine of the Washington Nationals.” All 144 pages of it. With the greatest pitcher in the history of baseball (Stephen Strasburg) on the cover. They get 5 points for this beauty alone. Because I said so.

Here’s their score:
The inclusion of pocket schedule(s) = 0 points
Stickers = 0
Baseball cards = 2 (Roger Bernadina, Michael Morse)
High-quality promotional items = 7 (postcard, “Inside Pitch” magazine, 2010 “Official Magazine”)
Other stuff = 0
Timeliness = 10 points

If you want to request a Nationals fan pack, click here and be super nice about it!

Topps All-Star Rookies

I’ve decided to go after the Topps All-Star Rookie subset in 2011. It’s a throwback to my formative years in collecting…I collected the ASRs every year from 1987 through at least 1990…maybe 1991 too. I can’t remember. That was a long time ago.

According to bdj610’s Topps Baseball Card Blog (an excellent resource), the 2011 team is:

1B: Gaby Sanchez, Florida Marlins
2B: Neil Walker, Pittsburgh Pirates
3B: Danny Valencia, Minnesota Twins
SS: Starlin Castro, Chicago Cubs
OF: Austin Jackson, Detroit Tigers
OF: Mike Stanton, Florida Marlins
OF: Jason Heyward, Atlanta Braves
C: Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
RHP: Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals
LHP: Jaime Garcia, St. Louis Cardinals
RP: Neftali Feliz, Texas Rangers

It seems that Topps is giving each of these players two cards in the 2011 set. I have the Strasburg ASR, but have seen other bloggers post scans of a cupless Stephen. In the blaster I opened last week, I pulled a Neil Walker ASR. Tonight in a loosie, I pulled a cupless Pirate. I also got a cupless Gaby Sanchez tonight.

I only want the gold cups. Here is the list of the cups that I’ve been able to locate so far. Only five of them. Am I missing any from Series 1? If this is all there is…I already got ’em all (either in-hand or in the mail). That wasn’t very difficult, now was it?

24 Neil Walker
59 Gaby Sanchez
135 Mike Stanton
183 Stephen Strasburg
198 Buster Posey

When is Series 2 scheduled for release?

Also, I’ve updated my trade list with the cards (and inserts) from the loose packs I picked up tonight.

Stephen Strasburg to have “Tommy John Surgery”

The surgery will be renamed “Stephen Strasburg Surgery” (or, “Triple S” for short) shortly thereafter.

TJS isn’t as big a deal as it used to be. There have been several success stories of pitchers coming back strong after the procedure, most notably the Cardinals’ Chris Carpenter with his 31-9 post-surgery record.

At least Strasburg got a few starts in before going down. Brien Taylor never even broke the bigs (even though his injury was not baseball-related, he was one of the most high-profile first picks in my memory).

Click here for more information.

My trip to Nationals Park

I’m still working on organizing the 600+ photos taken at Camden Yards last week, so give me a few more days to upload some from the O’s/Marlins game that I attended. But here are a few of the photos from the Nationals/White Sox game on Father’s Day that I attended with my 10-year son.

statue of Josh Gibson

Teddy Roosevelt

Gordon Beckham turning two over Nyjer Morgan

Freddy Garcia can’t beat out the throw to Adam Dunn

starting ChiSox pitcher Freddy Garcia

no game would be complete without Ozzie Guillen arguing with an umpire
(Greg Gibson in this case)

Paul Konerko

Ryan Zimmerman

golden boy Stephen Strasburg

I also made some cards for the 2010 Goose Joak set using these and other photos.

1974 Topps Stephen Strasburg

I was hoping that Strasburg’s turn in the rotation might come up Sunday when we are attending the Nationals-White Sox game in the nation’s Capitol, but he is due on the mound tomorrow instead. I’m not sure who’s supposed to be throwing the ball (for either team) Sunday, but I’m sure we’ll have fun at the game anyway.

2010 Rookie Sensations: Heyward, Leake, Strasburg, Stanton

I know I’ll never own “the” Strasburg rookie card (which is a farce anyway), so I made my own…with added value in the former of should-be All-Star Heyward, should-be Rookie of the Year Leake, and a guy I had never heard of but Yahoo featured him in an article and every “Rookie Stars” card needs at least one no-name.

Heyward is having a fantastic season so far, which is no surprise to dayf. What is a surprise, at least to me, is Leake’s hot start. I heard on the radio (and everything you hear on the radio is correct </sarcasm>) that he is the first pitcher in major league history to start his first 10 career games without a loss. Any bbref’ers care to figure out if that is actually a correct assertation? 5-0 already, with 6 unfortunate no-decisions, and a fantastic 2.68 ERA…Strasburg has some catching up to do. Yeah, Stephen had a great first game (albeit against the hapless Pirates), and may do great tomorrow (against the just-as-bad-as-the-Pirates Indians; we’ll see how he does when he faces an actual major league team, though), but to start your career in the fashion Leake has is pretty awesome. Out of his 11 starts, 4 have ended in a Reds loss (thanks, bullpen!) and only 1 of those was by more than 1 run.

So which of these players will go on to Cooperstown, and which one will be the most recent Brien Taylor?

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