Thursday, May 30, 2013

From the Pedro Binder

2001 UD Vintage AL ERA Leaders

I love this card. Love it for one specific reason.

No, it’s not the floating heads. I understand the idea with the floating head. Sort of a retro look and feel. I actually don’t mind the heads at all if they look like the Mike Mussina, as opposed to the Roger Clemens. A floating head is one thing. A decapitated head is another thing entirely.

But, like I said, that’s not what I love about this card. What do I love? This card represents the five best ERAs in the American League during the 2000 season. Take a look at the floating heads in the yellow. Look at the ERAs. 3.70, 3.79, 3.79, 3.88. As you’d expect, they’re all tightly bunched. Not a lot of separation when you get to numbers that low. There’s only so low an ERA can be, right?

But, hold on. Look at that number in the green diamond. 1.74. My goodness. The league leader had an ERA less than half of the fifth lowest ERA. And the fourth lowest. And the third lowest. And the SECOND lowest. Pedro’s ERA was less than half of his next closest competitor. Sweet mother. In fact, just for fun, double Pedro’s ERA. You get 3.48. That would still be 0.22 runs better than Clemens. Clemens was only 0.18 runs better than Colon. So, there it is clear as day. The top pitchers in the league that year, and Pedro simply embarrassing them. I love it.

The card itself is fine. I’ve said before that UD putting out a “vintage” set just rubs me the wrong way. But, it’s a simple set with a simple design. I like the fact that it’s not all in my face. The information I need is there, without garbage all over the place to distract me. So, it’s a good card.

Especially since it shows Pedro’s dominance so clearly.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Restoring Order

Here we sit a day after the Memorial Day holiday, and the Red Sox find themselves all alone in first place.


Where exactly did that come from? What on earth does it mean?

I think I need to fall back on what I said at the beginning of the month. I didn’t know how to predict results based on “better than average” and maybe, just maybe, the whole league tops out at “better than average.” There’s no more waiting to see how they fare against good teams. They’ve faced all the good teams they’re going to see. We’re two months into the season at this point. The “small sample size” argument is starting to go away. Are we now supposed to wait and see where they are on the Fourth of July? Labor Day?

Or is the whole league in the same boat. It’s going to come down to execution on a nightly basis. How your starting pitching matches up with the other starters on a given night. Do you give up six runs on a night where you score seven, or five?

The Sox are currently on pace for about 100 wins. Are they a 100 win team? I guess I have no idea. I wouldn’t think so, but I don’t know what else to call them either. They remind me of last year’s Orioles, or Giants. Nothing exciting about any of them. But, they just happened to come out on the winning side of more close games than not.

Is the rest of the season going to come down to chance? It’s very possible. They have three more games against Texas. Are they rainy games where a team wins based on an errant throw? Do they face the Yankees on a day that Rivera saved a game the night before, and is unavailable? Do they miss Felix Hernandez when they go to Seattle? Does NY? Does Verlander face them? Kershaw?

That’s what’s going to do it. How to the specific games fall? How does everything work out once it’s done? A few percentage points in their favor may make the difference in the end.

It’s gonna make for an interesting season.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

It’s 1970 Again

Today we get to take a longer look at some of the cards that were in the box of cards from my neighbor. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, take a look here. I’ll start out with the 1970 Topps cards. There was a sizable chunk from that set, with some neat stuff in it. Let’s see some of what was it there, shall we?

Checklists. Lots of checklists. Nine of them were unmarked, which was cool. Too bad series three was apparently ignored. I like the used checklists a lot too. These are really colorful. I especially like how the one in the middle has the player’s jersey colored in red.

I’ve heard of this guy. Heard way too much of this guy.

A nice reminder for Mets fans. I like the way Topps started off the set with this card.

Maybe Jim can give me some background on Lowell Palmer. Is he, in fact, the coolest cat in baseball?

Buckner. Buckner.

A couple big contributors to those great A’s teams.

A Hall of Fame manager

And, another one. I’m not a Reds fan. But, I’m guessing the Reds didn’t wear uniforms looking anything like that in 1970. I wonder what uniform he is wearing in the original photo, and why couldn’t they at least airbrush it red?

 I love cards with multiple Hall of Famers on it.

How often do you think Lee May shows this card to people?

Look, a Red Sox player!

 The past, and the future all on one card.

A couple guys who could really hit.

Best of all, lots of Red Sox!

Oddly, the single player stars didn’t want to make an appearance. The only single player base card of a Hall of Famer in the box was Billy Williams. Makes you wonder how that happened. Were they traded away long ago? Was it absolutely terrible luck? Weird. While nothing in the 1970 portion of the box made me stand up and take notice, it was still a lot of fun to flip through them all. Like going back in time.

I wonder what the rest of the box holds. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Red Sox 1-36: 23 is for…

23 Runs scored in game 4 of the 1999 ALDS

The Power of Pedro.

You all remember the scenario. In 1999, Pedro Martinez was the best pitcher the world had ever seen. A five game series in which Pedro got to pitch twice was almost unfair. All the Sox needed was to win one of the other three games to take the series. All the better, in this case, was that the Indians had their own ace in Bartolo Colon. So, not only would the Sox be able to win Pedro’s two starts, they would, by default, beat Colon twice since he would match up against Pedro. It was almost too easy. But, then things went wacky. Pedro got hurt in game one, and the Sox ended up losing the game. And game two. They won game three, leaving them down 2-1 in the series. Pedro was a huge question mark. Nobody was even sure if he would pitch in the series. If he did, how effective would he be? It wasn’t looking good. It also meant that Mike Hargrove had a decision to make. Who to pitch in Game four.

Bartolo Colon wasn’t scheduled to pitch until game five. But, what if Pedro was Pedro again by then? It would be a waste of Colon. What about pitching Colon on short rest, and removing Pedro from the equation?

That’s what Cleveland decided to do.

Think about that. Hargrove didn’t trust his ace to win a game at home against (at best) a wounded Martinez. He didn’t want any part of game five if Pedro was able to sniff the mound.

It’s not like Colon was the Cleveland ace by default. He was a top pitcher. In any other match-up, he’d probably be favored. But, Pedro was that scary. Hargrove couldn’t risk it. He made Colon pitch on the road, on short rest.

Colon didn’t go two innings. The Red Sox scored 23 runs.

As it turned out, Pedro wasn’t able to start game five. While he certainly pitched true to form once he got in there, he didn’t take the mound until the fourth inning. By then, the Indians had scored eight runs. Would a rested Bartolo Colon have been able to hold the Sox to less than eight? He had certainly done it in game one. But, he didn’t get the chance.

If any other pitcher in baseball was scheduled to pitch game five for the Sox, I bet Hargrove holds his ace. Not with a wounded Pedro though. He was forced to roll the dice.

And the Red Sox scored 23 runs.

23 is for the 23 runs the Sox scored in game four of the 1999 ALDS

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

First Pitches

Last night, in the eighth inning of a close game, David Ortiz bounced into a key double play. Instantly my twitter timeline was flooded with reactions. It went a little something like this:

“First pitch!”
“Take a friggin’ pitch!”
“First pitch! Seriously?”
“Can’t swing at the first pitch there!”

And on. And on. And on. Which led me to one specific question.

“On which pitch is it OK to ground into a double play?”

Nobody was complaining about the fact that he hit a ground ball. There were no shouts about going the other way with the pitch, or getting it into the air for a sac fly. The only complaint was that it was on the first pitch. So, how many pitches need to go by before he can ground into a double play? Does he have to let one meatball go by for a called strike first? Two?

It’s not just Ortiz, and it’s not just last night. I remember people ragging on Nomar when he would pop up on the first pitch. Implying that there’s a proper pitch to pop up on as well. People have been getting on Ellsbury lately for swinging at the first pitch. Why?

At least with Ellsbury I understand where they’re coming from. He’s struggling. There’s a feeling that when he’s swinging at the first pitch, it’s because he’s pressing. Swinging at the first thing that looks good trying desperately for that hit. I don’t think that’s what’s happening…but at least I can see the argument. But, that’s not what’s happening with Ortiz, is it? Hasn’t he been hitting pretty well lately? So, do we want him to wait, just for the sake of waiting? Again, how many pitches should he wait on before swinging?

I remember when Francona first came here from Oakland. Someone asked him what the difference was between the patient Red Sox, and the patient A’s. He responded that when the Sox got their pitch, they went for it. I think that was a great answer. It’s one thing to take pitches. Jorge Posada was always credited with being patient at the plate. But, in reality, he just didn’t swing. That’s not patience. Being patient is waiting until you get a pitch you can try and do something with. Sometimes that pitch happens to be the first one. Sometimes it’s the fifth one. Whenever it is, though, you jump at it.

So, why would anyone complain about grounding into a double play on the first pitch? If Ortiz thought it was a pitch he could do something with, I’m glad he swung at it.

It just didn’t work out this time.

Monday, May 20, 2013

How Spoiled am I?

Last January, I needed to go the mall. It happened to be the afternoon of the AFC Championship Game. It occurred to me, that I should wear some Patriots garb since I was sure the place would be crawling with Pats fans. Since my Patriots fandom ranks a bit behind the Red Sox (and Celtics, for that matter) I only had a Wes Welker t-shirt. Not that there’s anything wrong with Welker…especially then. But, it was January. A t-shirt needed to be worn under a jacket unless I wanted to freeze. That defeated the point of wearing it. How did I not have a jersey, or at least a sweatshirt, to wear on cold days? So, I went onto eBay and found a cheap jersey to buy. Solely to wear the next time the Patriots were in an important playoff game. The same thing happened recently with the Bruins. They had a big game seven last series. I wanted to show my love, but could only muster up a t-shirt. Now, the Bruins playoffs are held in warmer weather than the Patriots. But, I needed to do better than that. Back to the internet to remedy that situation. It occurred to me that this probably doesn’t happen in every city. Heck, it didn’t even happen here until recently.

What does it say that I feel I need a Patriots jersey to wear the next time they make the Super Bowl? That people need to have a Celtics jersey to wear to work during the playoffs? Parents need to make sure they have a Bruins jersey for their kids to wear to school during the next Finals series. How bizarre?

Has that slanted my Red Sox feelings? Obviously, I’m more than set when it comes to Red Sox garb to wear, even in October. But, has my level of expectations been skewed by all the other teams?

I remember 2004. The Sox came back from down 0-3 to the Yanks to eventually go up 3-0 on the Cardinals. I don’t want to say that I “feared” that they would blow that lead. But, it was something that entered my mind. More of a “Wouldn’t it just be the way, if the Sox became the first team to come back from 0-3 only to become the second team to blow a 3-0 lead the very next series?” I don’t think like that anymore. In 2007, when the Sox went down 1-3 to the Indians, it never occurred to me that they would lose. The next year, I just assumed they’d beat the Rays in game seven.

That has carried on, even now. Of course the Sox swept the Twins. They’re a good team, playing a not so good team. I didn’t care that the Twins just handed it to the Sox the week before. That was when the bullpen was in disarray. This is now. It was just expected.

And, not even “expected” like having high expectations that can’t be met. More of a relaxed assumption. Everything will turn out ok, because it always does.

Even though that’s crazy. The Pats lost that AFC Championship game in January. The Celtics were brushed out of the playoffs this year fairly easily. The Sox, if you remember, are coming off a couple disappointing years. But, somehow I’m still holding on. Weird.

I blame the Bruins.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Appraising the Situation

A while ago, a neighbor of mine mentioned that he decided it was finally time to sell some old baseball cards he had been holding on to. He asked if I’d be willing to look through them and see if any of them were worth anything, and how much he might be able to get. I had two immediate thoughts.

1. Of course I’m willing. Any excuse to flip though baseball cards is valid in my book.

2. No. Your monster box of 1988 Topps and 1992 Fleer isn’t worth anything.

So, you can imagine the range of emotions that came over me when I laid my eyes on this.

Those aren’t 1988 Topps! I recognize those black borders. That Disco theme. Those are 1970’s. And 1971’s. And ‘72’s. And 73’s.



Inhale. Exhale.

What could be in there? Munson? Fisk? Schmidt?

Dear me, what will I do if I find a Schmidt in the bottom of that box folded in half? Part of me hoped there wouldn’t be anything decent in there. Not sure I could take it.

The first thing I did was see just what I was looking at here. So, I sorted them out into the different years. Once they were all neatly stacked, this is what I had.

There were actually a couple 1968’s and 1969’s in the box. (Nope, neither of them were Ryan or Jackson) A few hundred each of 1970, ’72, and 73. Then, about two or three times that many of the 1971’s. I’ve never seen that much vintage looking at me before. Pretty cool.

So, what was in there? I’m not telling yet. I thought it would be more fun to give each year its moment in the sun. Today, I’ll do the ’68 and ‘69’s since there were only a couple. Thankfully, those couple included these Denny McLains, fresh off his 30+ win season. Not a bad beginning.

Like all the cards, the condition is exactly what you’d expect from cards in that era that had been tossed in a box. Not as many completely destroyed cards as I feared. But, not exactly any corners I worried about cutting myself on. Still, of course, lots of fun.

More to come!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

From the Pedro Binder

2001 Topps Post Cereal

Baseball cards. Cereal. It’s the perfect combination. You have to eat breakfast right? So, if you need food, might as well select the form that comes with collectables. In 2001, that meant Post.

There’s nothing about this card that isn’t great. I love the fact that they didn’t just slap a “Post” logo on the front of the 2001 Topps card. Not only does this card look nothing like the 2001 base set, it doesn’t even have a “Post” logo on the front. It has all the necessary names and logos to make it look like a real card. It’s great.

Even the design is wonderful. I know that Topps didn’t send out its best designers for this assignment…if they were even designed by Topps at all. But, it has everything you need. A little bit of color. The player’s name and position, and the team he played for. The information is tucked on the bottom, giving plenty of room for the picture. The two floating logos are small enough to be unobtrusive, even though they are also in color. A very nice presentation.

The picture itself is a good one. Nothing special, certainly. But, sometimes that’s exactly what is called for. Pedro just getting ready to make a batter look silly.

Considering what some companies do to their mainstream sets, it’s nice to see that a card Topps cranked out for someone else is still so fantastic.

And I just had to eat some cereal to get it.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I’m glad I don’t have a deadline

I had it working through my mind. With the Bruins losing last night, the eyes of New England would turn squarely on the Red Sox. There would be nowhere for them to hide. They needed to step up, and play like we know they can.

Then, the Bruins scored four more goals. And won.

Thankfully I didn’t have to make a deadline. I could simply scrap the idea, and move on. I’m glad I didn’t have to have a post half-written by then. I’m glad it was just something I was thinking of.

But, I guess it really doesn’t change things.

The Sox still need to step it up. Assuming, of course, that baseball is the sort of sport that you can step up in. Which, it isn’t. But, you get the idea.

What has gone wrong recently? Hard to say. It’s not like you can point to one thing. Some of the starting pitching had been poor. But, some has been downright stellar. Some of the hitters are going through some rough patches. Some aren’t.

I hate to keep harping on it. But, it’s just what happens. When you put it all together, you win. When you don’t you lose. You just need to score more runs than the other team in order to win. Hopefully, you do.

How do things look for this road trip? We’ll have to see. Obviously, being down two closers is rough. But, they have had some time to plan for it. They have had a few days to figure out who they have, and what they can do. They also had a much needed off day yesterday. If the pen is rested, it will allow everyone to be more effective.

Can the Sox beat the Rays, Twins, and ChiSox? Sure. Will they? Probably. Minnesota sure handed it to the Sox in Fenway. But, they’re not a superior team. Have to assume that some of that will come back to earth a bit.

What’s the rule I always look for? Win half your games on the road. So, can they go 5-4 on this trip? Certainly.

Can’t wait to see them try.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

I Scored!

May 9 1999

Mother’s Day

After Pedro vs. Mo, and Juan Pena’s debut the previous two games, this game had more of a bleh feel to it.

Mark Portugal got the start for the Sox. He ended up pitching very well, making it into the eighth inning. He gave up a scant two runs during that time. Was it enough?

The Red Sox offense in those days wasn’t exactly a juggernaut. But, they were able to score just enough runs to squeak it out.

Looking at the line-up for the Sox, I notice one thing right away. I had way too much trouble with the entry for the future captain. I managed to spell Jason Varitek’s name incorrectly in two places before correcting it at some point. In my defense, we’re talking about “47” Varitek, and not “33” Varitek. My how things change. I also notice that someone got ejected in the fourth inning. I honestly don’t have any idea what the story is there. Since I originally thought it was the manager, but then changed it to a player not in the game, I’m assuming that someone was arguing something from the dugout, and got rung from there.

The player of the game for the Sox? I have no earthly idea. Trot Nixon had three hits. All singles, and did nothing with them. I’ll hand it to Nomar Garciaparra, almost by default. He did hit a game tying homerun right after the Angels had taken the lead. That’s a nice way to answer.

How about the goat? I have to give it to Jose Offerman. He went hitless in four at-bats. Sure, he managed to drive in a run. But, getting strikeouts from your lead-off hitter in his first two trips to the plate doesn’t help the team. Although, Reggie Jefferson certainly wasn’t helping the cause with his o-fer in the sixth spot.

So, there you have it. Not the most thrilling of games. But, a nice way to spend a Mother’s Day. Solid pitching combined with adequate hitting to produce the win.

And the scorecard shows how it happened.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Now is the Perfect Time to Panic!

If, you know, you’re a complete moron!

I liked April a lot more than I’ve been liking May. How about anyone else? But, I’m curious. When did being tied for the lead in the division in mid-May qualify as a problem? Isn’t this more than we all hoped for at this point? So, what’s the issue?

I know, they’ve lost a lot of games lately. But, we all knew they were going to lose games, right? They weren’t winning them all. They weren’t even going to keep their 120-win pace they were on for a while. Right now, they’re on pace for 97 wins, after the poor showing against the Twins. Honestly, that’s probably unrealistic. But, it’s certainly more reasonable.

What people have to keep remembering is that ending a season with a .600 winning percentage does not mean you win six out of every ten games. It doesn’t mean you win three out of every five. It just averages out to that over a long season. Maybe you lose one, win four in a row, lose three in a row, then win two. Or, lump the losses into an even longer streak. But, then win in greater bunches after that. People seem to think that if the team is expected to finish with a .550 winning percentage, then that’s what they’re going to have the rest of the way. This is why people got so uptight with slow starts. Starting off 0-6 doesn’t mean you’re in a hole. It just means your losses bunched up at the beginning. That’s all that happened with the Sox. Their losses just bunched up this last week. They’ll get some bunches of wins at some point. It’s just the way seasons work.

Not with this bullpen! What happened to all the depth?

Yeah, that’s the other one I’m hearing. What happened to the bullpen that was so dominant? It’s still there. It’s just in a down patch. What happened to the depth? They’re using it right now. Depth means that your two closers can be on the DL, but you still have two guys who can close games for you. That’s why you had the depth. So, you can withstand an injury or two. This week has just been a bit more extreme than others. The two injuries stacked up on each other, and wore out some of the other members. It’ll get back. Lackey actually did a great job last night of at least going long enough to let some guys get some rest. That will breed more rest. If a guy’s not tired, he’ll pitch longer, so the other guy can rest, and it will all build on each other from there. What if there’s another injury? Yeah, that would be annoying. Chances are it won’t happen. If it does? Nothing you can do about it anyway. The injured players will be back at some point.

So, I don’t know what people expected at the end of April. Did they expect 120 wins? Do they think the Sox will need 120 wins? Did they thing the bullpen was going to shutout everyone the rest of the way? Did they think Buchholz was going to keep his 1.11 ERA?

If they did, they have problems. People and teams are what they are. All the little highs and lows will even themselves out at the end. Barring sweeping season ending injuries, the numbers will speak for themselves.

Just be patient.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

From the Pedro Binder

2002 UD MVP

Wow. Wow. Wow. That’s all I can say. OK. Maybe I can say one more thing.


Is there a lot going on with this card, or what? They’ve pretty much thrown everything at it. Once again, the name of the card brand is the most important thing. There it is, bigger than life, right in the middle of the card. Amazingly, they actually allow Pedro’s picture to obscure the “m”. The MVP is floating in a starburst effect, which dissolves into a cloud effect at the edges. If that wasn’t enough? There are floating statistics all over the card. I will say, that’s not a terrible idea. To have Pedro’s statistics right there on the front is easier that turning the card over.

Wait, those aren’t Pedro’s stats. Unless he stole 31 bases one year. Those aren’t even pitching stats! So, the card is full of noise just for the sake of noise?

At the very least, the color scheme does allow the picture to pop. Somehow despite the busyness, the photo is able to escape just long enough to be seen. So, let’s look at that photo.

Really? That the best you have?

First of all, the picture doesn’t even fit on the card. They had to trim off his foot, and fingertips. And, what about that face? I know that’s what Pedro looks like when he releases a pitch, but I’m not sure I need to be reminded of it all the time.

Once again I have to think of the people complaining about the lack of innovation from Topps now that they have an exclusive. You’re really missing the innovation that came up with this card? There was plenty of competition in 2002, and UD still put out this garbage.

Sometimes it’s not worth opening the binder.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Sweep in the Heart of Texas

Whenever a team has a weekend like the Sox had, everyone starts looking for answers to questions that otherwise wouldn’t exist. What does this mean? How does this define the team?

Was April a fluke? Did the lack of quality opponents make the Sox look better than they really were? Was this weekend a fluke? Are weaknesses suddenly exposed? Or, is this just the sort of thing that happens as a season goes along?

Naturally, I fall into line with the latter. I posted before that I didn’t buy into the “haven’t beaten a good team” line, since the Sox had faced everyone that matters. They’ve faced everyone in the division, and some decent teams elsewhere. Are we saying, then, that Texas is the only good team out there? If so, I’m ok with that. After all, the Sox only have three more games against them. I’m not going to hold this one series up as an example of the Sox feasting on weak teams.

Did it expose a weakness? Well, I guess it showed that the Sox’s number four starter can’t beat one of the top teams on the road. Not sure that qualifies as a weakness, though. Lackey pitched pretty well, and Lester threw a quality start up against Darvish. Hard to get too worked up about that. The Sox had trouble scoring runs. But, that’s nothing new. We all knew when the roster was put together that they’d have trouble doing that. When you plan on winning lots of 4-3 games, you have to plan on losing lots of those too.

At the end of it, the Sox still have the best record in baseball. They have that despite David Ortiz missing a lot of time, and each of their closers spending some time down with injuries. Of course the Sox will drop off a bit. They won’t win 105 games this year. But, I’d rather be on pace for 105 wins than 105 losses. Look at the rest of May. What do you see on the schedule that scares you? Do you see a lot more of those “good” teams that people are so concerned about the Sox beating? Neither do I.

So, let’s be disappointed that the Sox couldn’t grab at least one of those games. But, let’s not doom them for it either. Sometime you win, sometimes you lose. Sometimes you sweep, sometimes you get swept.

You just have to hope to do more of the sweeping.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Collecting the Sox: Books

I’m not a big fan of the e-book movement. It’s not that I dislike e-books, it’s that I don’t exactly understand them. I like to consider myself a reader. I’m pretty much always working on reading a book. But, I’ve never once thought to myself, “My life would be better right now if I had 400 books next to me.” I read one book at a time. Having a library at my disposal seems like a waste. I also don’t understand the “portability” argument of the e-books. If I’m going to the beach, having a book to read would be great. (again, I don’t need 400…how long am I on the beach?) But, what if I want to go for a swim? Tossing a $7 paperback onto the blanket and running in the water isn’t a problem. But, tossing a $500 iPad? However much a Kindle Fire is? Really? I’m not sure I could do that.

But, the biggest reason I don’t understand e-books is the lack of a book collection. There’s nothing quite like the look of a shelf full of books. Looking at a screen with different pictures on it isn’t close to the same thing. You need to have the actual books. The colors of the bindings. The pictures on the cover. They display nicely, because that’s their entire purpose in life. No matter what you may say, book publishers know that you really do judge your book by its cover. So, they make them eye catching. If it works in the bookstore, it works in your display. A collection of books calls to you.

Books are also great collectables because they come in any number of price points. If you want to shell out some serious cash and go for an autographed first edition of The Science of Hitting, go ahead. If you want to grab Francona the second it’s released, you can do that too. Rather wait for the paperback version? You can save some money there. Or, if you’re really patient, you can wait for the clearance areas of Amazon or your local bookstore to put the book you want out. I’ve sometimes upgraded a paperback book to the hardcover version when I found it on a great sale.

And, books are just things to put on a shelf. Although, they could be. You can read them. See what your favorite players have to say. See what your favorite writers have to say about your favorite players. Use the books as reference when you want to know who the last Red Sox player to win a World Series game was. Or, transport yourself to yesteryear. But, you knew all that. Books are nothing new. They’re great to read, and great to collect.

As long as they’re around.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Happy 36th!

Today we wish a very happy 36th birthday to Ryan Dempster!

It’s not often that we get to wish an active player a happy 36th birthday, so this is pretty exciting. Dempster was one of the many off-season acquisitions the Red Sox made this year. While not a splashy signing, he was exactly what the Red Sox were looking for. A good value guy, who has a history of success. As Dempster’s career .500 record would indicate, success is sometimes a relative term.

Dempster’s not going to be the ace of the staff. That’s OK though, because the Sox already have one of those. Two of those, really. But, if you’re looking for a number three starter, he fits the bill perfectly. He’ll give you a couple hundred innings, and his numbers won’t embarrass anybody.

And, that’s exactly what the Sox have gotten from him. His record this season is right on his career pace, while his numbers have actually been better than that. Looks like a solid signing.

The question comes from the future. Dempster is signed through 2014. The entire rotation, then, is signed through 2014 (assuming the keep resigning Doubront). With kids like Alan Webster apparently knocking on the door, you have to wonder if Dempster will find himself elsewhere.

But, for now we get to enjoy his time in a Sox uniform. It’s a nice luxury to not dread your number three starter being on the mound. When Dempster’s out there, I think the Sox have a chance to win. Really, that’s all I’m looking for.

Happy 36th Birthday Ryan Dempster! 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

From The Pedro Binder

1999 Ultimate Victory

I’m not quite sure what the point of this set was. I suppose it was Upper Deck tossing out a high end set. Well, at least high end for 1999. It certainly is shiny.

The overall look of the card is a good one. I love it when there is plenty of room for a picture, and this card certainly has that. The player’s name, team, and position are there, but still nicely tucked out of the way. The “Ultimate Victory” logo is a bit too prominent for my liking. I understand that the companies may consider their logo to be the most important part of the card. But, I certainly don’t agree.

The rest of the design does a great job of adding to the overall look, while still getting itself out of view. When looking at the card, it’s almost possible to miss the colored square behind the picture. But, it’s still strong enough to add visual appeal.

The picture chosen is a great, if unoriginal, shot. It shows Pedro ready to embarrass a hitter once again. He’s not making a goofy face, and doesn’t have any arms at odd angles. He’s just staring in at his target, ready to go to work. Seeing Pedro when he’s off the mound being a complete goofball, it’s always interesting that he’s capable of a face full of this much seriousness and concentration.

I guess that’s what makes Pedro Pedro. 

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