Wade Boggs finished his illustrious career in Tampa Bay, collecting his 3000th hit while wearing one of the ugliest uniforms in MLB history.
My wife stopped in the Toys R Us store at the Tanger Outlets in Pigeon Forge, and emerged with two packs of 2018 Topps for me. Sadly, there were no Reds cards inside, but I did manage to pull this…
I love Chris Archer. I went to a Rays game a couple of years ago (indoor baseball is weird, y’all), and Archer was pitching. They also gave away an Archer bobblehead. I don’t have an Archer PC, but I might start one. It’s really hard for me to trade his cards. The guy is just fun to watch, he has a great time on the field, and he gives back to his community:
How can you not respect and appreciate Chris Archer? This purple parallel card is a great addition to my collection, even if he doesn’t play for the Redlegs.
I mentioned a couple of days ago that I went to a Tampa Bay Rays game on Saturday. As a friend said, I was making lemonade this past weekend. I was presented with an opportunity to attend a pretty awesome music festival in Orlando, and booked a non-refundable airline ticket and hotel room. Much to my chagrin, the concert was cancelled. Since I couldn’t recoup my expenses, I decided to make the most of the situation. “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
I rented a car for the weekend and made the trek from Orlando to Tampa (actually St. Petersburg) Saturday night to catch the Rays host the Toronto Blue Jays. Not only did I get to see a pretty spectacular game, complete with Jose Bautista and Evan Longoria longballs and a walk-off bottom-of-the-ninth hit, but I got to take home this very awesome Chris Archer “K-Counter” bobblehead. I’m not really a bobblehead collector, but I don’t turn them down when offered, and I love being able to take something home with me after I go to a ballgame.
Not only did I see a great ballgame and take home a cool souvenir, I also visited a pretty sweet museum called the Ted Williams Hitters Hall of Fame. The museum is located in the centerfield area of Tropicana Field.
There are also a number of guys who are in the Ted Williams Hitters Hall of Fame who have not made it to Cooperstown—at least, not yet—like Alan Trammell, Pete Rose, and George Foster. It was cool to see all of this baseball history on display.
I also got to see one of my favorite American League players, last year’s Most Valuable Player, Josh Donaldson. Even if I think his haircut is quite ridiculous, he is fun to watch. And I did enjoy hearing all the Tampa fans mocking his rat tail.
I sat next to a gentleman from British Columbia, and was very entertained by his accent and constant use of “eh?” at the end of each sentence. I always though comedians exaggerated the whole “eh?” stereotype, but it’s really true how much some Canadians use it. It was difficult not to laugh every time he said it, but I managed.
I did have a smile on my face nearly the whole game. It was just such a neat experience, although really weird to watch a baseball game played indoors. And I got to cross another major league stadium off my list. I have now seen a game in nine current parks (Baltimore, Boston, Tampa, Chicago AL, Washington, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Chicago NL, and Cincinnati), and seven that are no longer with us (New York AL, Chicago AL, Cleveland, Detroit, New York NL, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati).
After the game, I drove back to Orlando. On Sunday I visited a local church and ate supper with a cousin I don’t believe I had previously met. She grew up in Florida, and said her family did come to Ohio once when she was younger, so it’s possible we met way back then, but neither of us can remember for sure. It was great to connect with her on a non-Facebook level.
On Monday, I killed time by walking around the Florida Mall and stopping by a baseball card shop. They didn’t have any dime or quarter boxes, but they did have fifty-cent packs. I’ll show off a few of those cards in a future post.
2015 ex-Reds, 1990 Score style: Jake Elmore (Tampa Bay Rays), Edwin Encarnacion (Toronto Blue Jays), Yonder Alonso (San Diego Padres)
The Reds are absolutely horrible right now. After leading the Padres 7-3 yesterday, Tony Cingrani gave up a grand slam and then Jumbo Diaz allowed a couple more runs to score…and another loss went in the books. Seriously, if your offense scores seven runs, you oughtta be able to win a few games!!! My frustration level is beyond belief right now. So let’s look at a couple of guys that used to be Redlegs…
First we have Jake Elmore, who is currently employed by the Tampa Bay Rays. Elmore was drafted by the Marlins in 2007, but did not sign. He was then drafted in 2008 by the Diamondbacks, and he made his big league debut with Arizona in 2012. After that season, he was selected off waivers by the Astros, and played the 2013 campaign in Houston. He was then selected off waivers by the White Sox, who sold him to Oakland. But he did not make a big league appearance in 2014 until September with the Reds, who had selected him off waivers from the A’s. Granted free agency on November 4, 2014, the Reds signed him on November 5, but then on November 7 he was selected off waivers by the Pirates. Elmore was again granted free agency in February—why the Pirates took him in the first place no one will ever know—and signed with the Tampa Bay Rays.
This is not Elmore’s only custom card in the world. He is also featured in the very cool TSR set, as a SuperStar Special card no less.
Continuing with guys whose last name starts with the letter “E,” we have Toronto superstar Edwin Encarnacion. His stats are down a bit this year, but he’s still driving the ball far and flipping his bat like a pro.
And I have just realized that I skipped over three other ex-Reds that I already made cards for but haven’t posted yet, including Yonder Alonso, who hit that grand slam yesterday to tie the game against the Reds. GRRRRRRRR…
In a three-way trade involved the Reds, Rays, and Diamondbacks, catcher Ryan Hanigan is headed for Tampa. What do the Reds get in return? David Holmberg, Diamondbacks prospect who pitched mostly in AA last year with a 2.75 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 157 1/3 innings. Is this a great trade for the Reds? Probably not, but it’s better than getting nothing for the aging catcher (33 years old). Holmberg is only 21 and has been compared to Terry Mulholland and David Wells, impressing Kirk Gibson and other Arizona coaches last spring. His AA pitching coach said, “He has a great feel for four pitches. He has good sink, excellent location and he carries himself like he’s never nervous, never fazed. He’s going to be a good, solid major league pitcher.”
The Reds are pretty crowded on the mound, so I don’t expect to see Holmberg in a significant role for Cincinnati for at least a year. But it’s always good to have some insurance in the minor leagues in the event of injury. Just look at what Tony Cingrani did for the Reds last year when Johnny Cueto went down.
While not a great trade that will have immediate positive impact, it does show that Walt Jocketty didn’t want to let Hanigan go for nothing.
Ryan Hanigan, one of my personal favorites, was just traded to the Tampa Bay Rays. Possibly a part of a three-way deal, his is the only name that has been leaked to the press thus far.
Hanigan struggles with the bat, but is one of the best catchers in the game from the standpoint of calling a game and handling the pitchers. The Reds will miss his experience; hopefully he taught Devin Mesoraco plenty in the time they spent together. The signing of Brayan Pena a few weeks ago gave the team the freedom to deal Hanigan.
This photo shows Joey Votto sporting his new uniform.
After vehemently denying the rumors, Walt Jocketty traded All-Star first baseman and 2010 NL MVP Votto to the Tampa Bay
Devil Rays today for a box of cracker jacks and tickets to the Harlem Globetrotters game December 30 at US Bank Arena in Cincinnati. I’m sure someone at the Arena could have hooked him up with a free pair of tix, but he didn’t want to give the wrong impression to the youngsters. “If you want something in this life, you have to work hard for it. Or barter for it,” the Reds GM said. “I wanted to see the Globetrotters when they came through town next month, and Andrew (Friedman, Rays GM) wanted a new first baseman. Plus, I’ve always loved Cracker Jacks. I can’t wait to get back to my room to see what my surprise is!”
Votto didn’t waste any time posing in his new uniform. “Florida is nice, eh,” he told the press. “It’s not Toronto, but it’s nice, eh.”
Let it be known that I am not a fan of the Tampa Bay Rays. But the performance by rookie pitcher Matt Moore last night was phenomenal. Josh Hamilton had to be wondering where the rest of his team was, because they certainly weren’t at the ballpark with him.
Congrats Matt Moore, who gave up just two hits in seven scoreless innings!
I just couldn’t help myself…I made some more fun cards! Mike from Awesomely Bad Wax Packs sent me a couple of cards earlier this week, but I didn’t have anything to send back to him…so I made some fun cards of his current favorites, Anibal Sanchez and James Shields!
I also made a card for Johan Santana, who was recently traded to the Mets, and Sean Casey, who just signed with the Red Sox.
Any more suggestions/requests?