Friday, October 30, 2015

I Scored!

October 25, 2007

With The World Series going on at the moment, and this being the second anniversary of the most recent Red Sox championship, I thought this would be a great scorecard to look at today. Hope you agree.

What we have here is the card from Game 2 of the 2007 World Series. The 2007 championship always seems to be the forgotten championship for me. It was the curse breaking 2004 win. It wasn’t the most recent 2013 title that was won with me sitting in Fenway. It’s always been in a non-descript no-man’s land for me. That makes it a little bit more fun for me to give it another look.

And this game certainly deserves another look.

First, we see Curt Schilling is the starting pitcher, and he gave his usual solid performance. He got into a little trouble in the sixth, which required Okajimi to come in to put out the fire. But, if this had been a regular season game, it’s possible Schilling would have stayed in and gotten out of the jam himself. But, Oki did what he had been doing all postseason. Two and a third hitless innings to perfectly bridge the gap to Papelbon. Exactly like they drew it up in the clubhouse.

How about the offense? Well, they only put up two runs. Thankfully that was all they needed. The actually came from behind, which was something new. (They never trailed in the 2004 World Series, nor in Game 1 in 2007) A couple walks came all the way around to score to give the Sox the lead. The one that stands out the most is Lowell’s in the fourth. He went to third on Drew’s single in a video clip I’m sure you’ve all seen of him going full Bobby Orr into third. It was exactly the hustle the Sox needed at exactly the right time.

That move might have been enough to give Lowell the player of the game title right there. But, he also added an RBI double to drive in the other run. When you play a part in both runs in a game, and supply two of the six hits, you’re having yourself a game.

The goat? A few choices for this one, as three players went hitless. But, Varitek was able to still drive in a run, and at least Ortiz walked and scored. Julio Lugo, however, was 0-3 with a sacrifice bunt. If the only thing you did well in a game is make a productive out…that didn’t lead to a run…you’re having a bad game. I know he was at the bottom of the order for a reason, but he still wasn’t any help at all.

But, of course, that didn’t matter. The Sox pitching made the meager offense enough. The Sox took the second game of the series on their way to a four-game sweep.

And the scorecard shows how it happened.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Who You Got?

I realized something watching the World Series last night. 

For the first time in a while, I couldn’t care less who wins.

Oh, sure, only if the Red Sox are playing do I REALLY care who wins. Well, maybe the Red Sox and Yankees. But, usually I at least have some sort of rooting interest in the Series, even if it’s not particularly good. For instance, last year I was hoping for the Royals because I didn’t want the Giants to have that third title this century. I wanted that to be exclusive Red Sox territory. Like I said, it’s not a wonderful reason. It was the same one I had in 2012, when I didn’t want the Giants to win their second in the century to match the Sox. In 2011? I didn’t want the Cardinals to win. No explanation should be necessary.

It even happened in this year’s LCS. I didn’t want Joe Maddon to have a ring. That was a deal-breaker for me. To a lesser degree, I wanted Toronto to win the ALCS. Mostly because, since they’re in the AL EAST, I have a lot more internet interaction with Blue Jays fans. There have been blog cross-overs, and twitter followings. So, I wanted to have their team do well. I’ve also had several Blue Jays fans submit incredible pictures to the blog (Both in, and with Section 36). No Royals fans have. That was enough for me.

But, now, I really don’t have anything. If I had to pick, I’d probably lean towards the Mets. Mostly as a way to screw Yankees fans even more. And, there has been one Mets fan who has sent in a picture to the blog. But, that’s not a reason for me to be on the edge of my seat. Or even really pull one way or another.

So, I actually found myself watching for the game. “Hey, that was a cool inside the park home run.” “Neat, they scored a run on an error.” “Huh, the closer blew a save.” “Interesting.”

It was an incredibly freeing way to watch a game. I could simply root for good baseball, and interesting situations. I’m not saying that I want to turn into a casual fan, or anything. I imagine this gets old after a bit. I assume I’m only going to want to watch the whole games over and over if there’s a reason for me to do so. The break will be over soon.

I guess that settles it.

Let’s Go Mets.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Chasing David Price, and the Playoffs

Can you do both at once?

There has been quite a bit of discussion lately about David Price and his odd lack of success in the playoffs. As soon as Dave Dombrowski took over for the Sox, people were thinking about David Price. After all, he said that he wanted to get an ace, and he had already traded for Price once before. Perhaps it was making too much sense. 

Then, during the playoffs, people started noticing that he wasn’t winning. In fact, he had never won a postseason game he started. Is this the guy you want as the ace of the staff? Someone who dooms your chances in the playoffs?

Which, pretty much broke people into two camps. Those that cared, and those that didn’t.

As a quick side note, this very conversation is one of the reasons I hate allowing playoffs to determine a champion. Why should it take two types of teams? Why should you have to make this choice?


There are a couple different arguments people use when they still want the Red Sox to go after Price. One is that he could always turn it around. After all, Clayton Kershaw was pretty bad in the playoffs until this year. The wonder of small sample size could mean that Price will turn it around in his next start. Of course, that same sample size argument would mean that any ol’ pitcher could pitch well in a playoff game. Look at Lester. People were actually screaming that he wasn’t an ace…until he dominated in a postseason run. Who’s to say Wade Miley can’t dominate in a postseason…if you’re bringing up small sample sizes. Do you really want to chase after a guy and give him big money, and then hope he figures out when to pitch when it counts? 

The other point people try to make is that you can’t sign guys for the postseason. The theory is that the Sox did exactly that when they signed Pablo Sandoval. He was known for his clutch performances as his teams won three rings. Teaming him up with David Ortiz in a postseason series was going to be something special. Until the Sox didn’t even make the postseason. What a waste. They signed a guy to help them win in the postseason, and then didn’t even make the postseason. But, I could argue, isn’t that exactly what the Sox did in 2004? They reached the ALCS with, basically, just Pedro. That wasn’t enough. They needed another starter. They needed a reliever who could pitch multiple innings when needed to close out games. So, they got Schilling and Foulke. That had already made the playoffs without either of them. So, they were only really needed once the Sox got there. That worked out pretty well. But, I’ve always said that the postseason is a roll of the dice. So, you do need to sign guys that will get you to the postseason, and then see what happens. I can at least understand this theory. The key is getting there. Then figure it out from there.

The question I have with that approach is, how will you “figure it out” when you get there? Put yourself in next October. David Price has led your staff to the playoffs, and now you need a game one starter. Are you “figuring it out” by starting him in game one? Even when all history says he’s going to crap his pants? Do you feel good about that? Do you bench him in the playoffs like the Yankees just did to Jacoby Ellsbury? Not exactly the best use of your so-called ace. What exactly is your option when you “figure it out?” That’s not a plan.

For the record, I do think the Sox should go after Price. No, I don’t think they should open the checkbook for him. I do think he should be punished financially for his postseason woes. If he’s not the type of pitcher who can win in both the regular and post season, he’s less valuable to your team. If I had a player who could only perform well in day games, or against lefties, I’d pay him less for that fault as well. Same idea. The reverse would be true the other way as well, by the way. If the guy could only hit in the playoffs, but struggled in the regular season, that would be held against him as well.

If you want all the money, you need all the skills.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Happy Birthday to the #BYBHub

What an accomplishment.

You may remember it was just over a year ago that Robert Casey approached me with an idea. He was going to create a master list, a Hub if you will, of baseball blogs. It would be a place that would serve several purposes. For readers, it would allow people who love baseball to head to a single place to find a ton of quality baseball writing from several different viewpoints. Sure, the “Y” in “BYB” stands for exactly what you think (or fear?) it does. But, there would bloggers on the Hub covering other teams as well. It would make it easy to see those other points of view. For bloggers, it would give some lesser known or less established bloggers the exposure they need to have their voices heard. It would also be a ton of fun for everyone. 

He was right. 

Oh sure. At first, as I mentioned, I was a tad bit apprehensive when a Yankees blog approached me about a project. Was I going to be the butt of their jokes? Was I going to have to plaster pinstripes all over Section 36? Of course neither of those were the case. After all, not all Yankees fans are dingbats. And, even if the audience of the BYBHub slants slightly to the Bronx, I’m happy to provide the voice of reason. Tomorrow the Hub reaches its first birthday, and I’m pleased to report that I’m glad I joined. In fact, I regret not being even more involved.

That is definitely something that will be improved going forward, especially on my end. I need to (and intend to) use the BYBHub as more of a resource myself. If the Red Sox have a story that involves a team covered by the Hub, I need to do a better job reaching out. If the Sox trade for Sonny Gray, of course I’ll need to get some comments from Jen at “Bullpen, Baseball, and Sock Talk.” When the Red Sox sweep the Yankees in a series, I’ll be sure to get some reactions from some of the Yankees BYBHub bloggers, and at least provide links to what they have to say. 

There’s also been talk about some Hub-wide events. Chances to have all the blogs discuss the same topics at once. Being able to easily see different viewpoints on the same subject will be a great opportunity for readers to expand their thoughts, and the BYBHub will provide that central location. A must-visit launching pad for basebally goodness.

So if you haven’t done so already, go over and click the BYBHub logo on the sidebar. It’s a great way to find other wonderful things to read at any time. (Once you’ve finished reading everything at Section 36, of course!) Keep doing it. There’s always something new. You’re not going to want to miss any of it. If you’re a baseball blogger, head over to the BYBHub to find out how to get your blog added to the roster. The more the merrier and the better for everyone!

Happy Birthday BYBHub!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Yankees Gift that Keeps on Giving

Just over eleven years ago, the Yankees gave Red Sox fans a great gift. Actually, it was eleven years ago just last night. Or, was it this morning? Hard to keep track of these things. But, the Yankees gave the gift of choking away a 3-0 lead in the ALCS. It was a wonderful gesture. They twice had leads with their closer on the mound in a clinching game. They twice saw that closer blow a save to let the Sox back into the series. 

It was wonderful.

It was, of course, one step towards the World Series championship that would change Red Sox baseball. Even if that was all, it was a great gift.

But, that epic collapse is really the gift that keeps on giving. Even before the World Series that year, we sensed it. After all, the Yankees were the first team to blow such a lead. It made sense to think it wouldn't happen again anytime soon. And, the next time a team went up 3-0, people would have to say, "Don't be cocky. The Yankees once blew a 3-0 lead!" And so it's been. Year after year after year.

Like this one.

Just last night, the Mets took a 3-0 Series lead against the Cubs. Almost immediately you saw graphics listing them as the only team to ever blow a 3-0 lead. Even Theo alluded to it. It's just glorious.

It doesn't end there, either. After all, once the Sox won game four, the Yankees led the series 3-1. Just like the Royals do in the ALCS this year. Once again, lists are made of teams to have blown 3-1 series leads. Yup. There are the Yankees again, big as life. (Right next to the Indians from when THEY blew a 3-1 series lead to the Sox.)

Sure, there's isn't a 3-1 or 3-0 lead in every series. It might not even happen every year. But, when it does, it's a wonderful reminder of everything the Red Sox accomplished those 11 years ago. It's a chance to see that clip of that final out over and over. Rather than broadcasts constantly showing a ball going between someone's legs, they show a clip of a ball being thrown to first. That's much better, in my opinion. 

So, thank you to the 2004 Yankees, the biggest chokers in the history of baseball, for this amazing gift. 

It's something to savor every October.

Monday, October 19, 2015

From the Pedro Binder

1999 Victory

If you think I’ve talked about this card before, you’re half right. I have previously talked about the Ultimate Victory version of this card. (Although, on that version my scanner decided to include the whole card.)

Now, parallel cards are nothing revolutionary, or even anything new. For some reason, though, this set always struck me as odd. Maybe it’s the name of the set. When Topps puts out a “Topps Chrome” or “Stadium Club Chrome” set, it’s obvious to me from the name that these are a version of the regular Topps or Stadium Club set. It’s a chrome version. In this case, the two sets are “Victory” and “Ultimate Victory.” So it screams to me that they’re completely different. Although, clearly they’re not. It also doesn’t help that I knew about the Ultimate Victory before the Victory set. (I don’t remember which was actually released first.) So, I always thought of the Victory set as a scaled back version of the Ultimate Victory. Like the Topps Opening Day Set. With that feeling in the back of my mind, I always treated this set as a sort of throwaway. A stripped down version of the real set. 

Other than that, the same can be said for this card that was said for its fancier brother. The picture is allowed to take up a huge portion of the card. The point at the top even allows for extra room to fit Pedro’s head. One thing that’s actually better in the Victory version is the lack of shine really allows the picture to be the focus. The geometric shapes are a clean way to add some visual appeal to the card without detracting from the card itself. It’s all really well done.

If only it wasn’t someone’s stripped down little brother.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Hating on Hanley Haters

Yesterday, Dave Dombrowski held a press conference, as he has been known to do. During the conference, he mentioned Hanley Ramirez. He said that the team was fully committed to having Hanley at first base in 2016, and he was too. 

People went nuts.

I have no idea why.

First, let’s cover the point that, yes, of course that what he would say during a press conference. He’s not going to sit there publically and say, “Yeah, this guy is a waste of a roster spot. Trust me, if I could deal him tomorrow I would even if I had to eat all of his contract.” Who would that help? What if he then can’t move Hanley? How would that work out next spring? How would that help him find a trade partner? He would have to at least pretend that Hanley had some value to the team, or every negotiation would be a waste of time. Even if he didn’t mean it.

But, of course he means it. Why wouldn’t he?

Most of the reaction yesterday was “I’d rather have Shaw at first.” This reaction would scare me more if it wasn’t so easy to dismiss. Clearly if you’d rather have Shaw at first, you just aren’t thinking and going for the quick sound bite. Because, in order for Shaw to play first base, Hanley can’t be. So, what are you doing with Hanley? That’s actually an important question…because you have to pay the man. So if you cut Hanley, or trade him and eat his contract, you’re still paying the money. So, now you’re paying Travis Shaw $20 million to play first base. Now, if you don’t think Hanley’s worth $20 million, Shaw sure as heck isn’t.  

It’s always interesting to me how fans love to project numbers. They love to assume that a young player who has a decent couple months is going to be an all-star next year. By the same token, a guy who has a down couple months is lousy and needs to be dumped. They’re doing that with Hanley and Shaw. Look at the numbers. Taking a quick check of the oWAR on baseball reference shows Shaw with a 1.2 and Hanley with a 0.8. This was Shaw’s performance at the pressure-less end of a lost season, compared to Hanley playing hurt when the games still counted. This was quite a drop for Hanley, who just last year was the NL leader in slugging percentage. This was, of course, the first such season for Shaw. So, which one do you think has the best chance of being better next season? The guy who’s done it his entire career, or the guy who had a good couple months?

 You can think that Ramirez is overpaid. He just might be. But, that doesn’t mean he needs to be shipped away to have an inferior/riskier player take his place. If that were true, the Sox wouldn’t need this “ace” thing that fans keep clamoring for. Rick Hill would be that guy. 

My other favorite reason for dumping Hanley is because his bad attitude poisoned the team. Really? That’s what you’re picking as the reason for the Sox demise? Ok. I’ll play along. Who did he poison? His best friend on the team was David Ortiz. They probably spent the most time together. Did Hanley bring down Ortiz’s stats? Ortiz and his 3.2 WAR? Did he drag down the production of the guy who hit 37 HR and drove in 108 runs? With his 913 OPS? I think it’s safe to say that Hanley didn’t do a thing to those numbers. Ok. Who else? Can we dismiss Mookie Betts? And Xander Bogaerts? Thanks. Brock Holt and his all-star appearance? No effect from Hanley there. Dustin Pedroia had an off year. What about him? Maybe. Although, people keep insisting to me that Pedroia is everything that the Red Sox need. That his attitude actually brings up the rest of the team. (Why we’re so excited about a player whose attitude led a team to last place three out of four years is a story for another day.) So, obviously Hanley would never be able to penetrate the force field of Pedroia’s personality. Who else you got? Blake Swihart? I think I’d argue that the rookie probably exceeded a lot of expectations. Especially after being thrust into the role. The other outfielders? Was Jackie Bradley struggling because of Hanley’s attitude? Doubt that. Frankly, not sure there was all that much common time between the two anyway. Shane Victorino? Did he not come back from an injury because Hanley was a bastard? Really? Can’t bring myself to think that. Mike Napoli? Sure, he had that great spring, and just fell off the face of the earth during the season. Pablo Sandoval? He had a pretty horrid season of his own. But, are we thinking that a poor attitude of a player affected a seasoned vet and a guy with three rings? Wasn’t Nap one of the leaders in 2013? Did he go from a leader to a follower all of a sudden? Not buying that either. Anyone else? I can’t bring myself to say Hanley needs to go to help save the clubhouse. In fact, when you actually think about it instead of trying to get retweets on a 140 character opinion, you see it's the obvious conclusion.

Which is why I want to see Hanley at first base for the Red Sox on Opening Day.

Monday, October 12, 2015

I Always Knew I Was a Winner!

But it sure is nice to have proof.

About a month ago, the Red Sox held a little Twitter contest. The tweeted out a pic of David Ortiz, and stated that for every 34 retweets that post got, they’d give away a prize. They didn’t say what the prize was, but hey. It’s not like retweeting something takes a lot of effort, right? I’ve seen these types of contests all over Twitter. “Followers who retweet” is a popular entry method. Frankly, I don’t know if any of these follower bribes ever give away their prizes. 

But, I know they gave away this one.

A couple days later, I got a DM from the Red Sox saying that if I DMed them my address, they’d send me my mini replica Fenway Park.

A replica Fenway. Not bad for a surprise prize. Then I remembered that earlier this year, the Sox gave away mini replica Fenways at a game. I wondered if that’s what they might be sending. 

Then, crickets. One week went by, Then two. Then three. I started to wonder. I mean, the Sox aren’t the type of account to run a scam contest just to add followers, right? But, was there a mix-up in my address? Something go wrong on my end? I was starting to give up hope. Then, this arrived in the mailbox over the weekend. Is there a better return address to get a package from? 

As I looked into the package, it was cleared up. It was, in fact, the SGA replica Fenway. Wonderful! I wasn’t able to make it to that game, so that was something the Red Sox room was missing.

Here’s what it looks like out of the box.

I was pleasantly surprised by the weight of it. This is a solid piece of resin, or whatever it is. It’s not some cheap piece of plastic. Even better, you can clearly see Section 36 out in centerfield!

So, a big thank you to the Red Sox for holding this contest. I know it’s probably just a way for them to get rid of some leftover inventory, and get a PR boost in the process. But, they didn’t have to do it. It’s just another way to make fans happy.

And, it proves that I’m a winner.

Friday, October 9, 2015

When Boston Won the World Series by Bob Ryan

The Year was 1903. The upstart American league, just two years old at the time, was starting to make a real name for itself. The elder National League was beginning to take notice. As the season reached a conclusion, an idea was proposed. A post season series between the winners of the two leagues, to determine the champions of the known baseball world. Fans took to the new idea immediately. Crowds were immense right from the start. It was then that the World Series was born.

The first thing I noticed when I started reading this book was the dedication. (Yes, I read them first.) This book came out in 2003. The dedication reads "To Connor, Jack, and Amelia: Let's hope they win one in your lifetime." The emphasis on "your" was his. Clearly he had given up hope on them ever winning one in his lifetime. Bet he never would have guessed that they'd win at least three.

From there, the book went off to tell the wonderful story of that first World Series. There's a natural tendency to compare this book to Mike Vaccaro's fine book The First Fall Classic about the 1912 World Series. This book felt slightly different. Where as Vaccaro invented some conversations to make you feel immersed in the story, Ryan stuck to the research. Ryan's writing style was very casual, as it always is. He would make comments to the reader about events that happened in 1903, and how they might have happened differently in 2003. That back and forth added to the feeling that this book was a retelling as opposed to Vaccaro's recreation.

But, different can be good. This book did a great job of presenting the details both of the series itself, and the events leading up to it. I was able to understand what went into creating the championship, and how the people of the time must have felt about it. I was able to see how the different era created a different game. It was a wonderful trip back in time, where I learned several things I did t know before. Not to mention that any book that ends *spoiler alert* with a Red Sox World Championship is a great read in my book.

Rating: 3 bases

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Wild Card Sham

It happens all the time. It happened again last night. Someone makes a comment about how they love the new Wild Card Game because it makes winning the division more meaningful.

They got you.

MLB used that line when they introduced yet another round of playoffs. This would make winning the division more important, they said, since you really want to avoid having to play in the Wild Card game. Too many teams realized that, under the old system, the difference between winning the Wild Card and winning the division wasn’t enough to make you go for it at the end of the season. Why start your ace in game 162 if the most you could gain is an extra home game? Better to have him ready and lined up to start game 1 on the road. So, MLB instituted this coin flip Wild Card game. That would make winning the division more important than finishing second.

You know what else would do that?

Eliminating the Wild Card in the first place.

If the only people who made the playoffs were division winners, that would make winning the division pretty darn important. Right? After all, the only thing that the Wild Card does is water down the championship. The more teams that have the opportunity to win a title that don’t deserve it, the less impressive winning becomes. (Yes. I know where the Red Sox finished in 2004)

But, what about the Cubs and Pirates? Don’t they deserve to be in the playoffs? They won more games than most of the division winners. It’s not fair to include those other teams, and not the Cubs and Pirates. And, that would be right…but wrong. The problem isn’t that the Cubs and Pirates would be excluded. The problem is that the Mets and Dodgers were included. The teams in the National League just finished a 162 game season. After months of competition, the Cardinals won the most games in the league. Which measure of fairness, exactly, would suggest that the Cubs and Pirates deserve another shot at them? Why is it fair to ignore 162 games of completion, and replace it with seven games worth? What was the point of the season?

No, I’m not stupid. I know these extra rounds are about money. I know that the more teams that can get into the playoffs, the more “postseason” hats MLB can sell, and the more ads television stations can sell. Just be honest about it. If you want to have a money making tournament, go ahead. (I’ve already come up with the almost perfect format) Just don’t continue with the sham of adding rounds to make things better. That’s like turning off all the lights in someone’s house, then convincing them that the flashlight is the greatest thing ever because it’s better than a candle. The problem was turning off the lights in the first place, not only having a candle. In this case, the problem was having playoffs at all…not the format of them.

And, no, this isn’t solely a baseball problem. (Heck, baseball lets the fewest teams into the playoffs of the major sports.) It’s everywhere. It’s the reason Draft Kings has become more popular than full season fantasy games. People like getting rewarded for flukes instead of long periods of excellence. That’s much easier. So, if that’s what society wants, fine. Have an MLB finals. Or use my dual-championship format. Make your money, and reward your flukes.

Just don’t tell me you’re rewarding excellence.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Well, That's Over

That means the off-season has begun.

The Sox limped to the finish line this weekend. Once again, they finished last in the American League East. Personally, the last place finish doesn’t bother me. The difference between third place and last place doesn’t affect my enjoyment of the season. If the Sox had swept Cleveland and finished third, I’m not a happier fan today. Frankly, once you get to the final weekend out of contention, might as well lose the last three and secure a slightly better draft position. I would never enjoy tanking a season to get a pick, but a weekend? I can live with that.

But. Now that’s over. Where do the Sox go from here? It’ll be interesting to see. If you’ve listened to Torey Lovullo the last month or so, he’s been talking about a team that finally found its place. There were a lot of new and moving parts at the beginning of the season. For whatever reason, it took them all a couple months to get everything settled in. Now that they've done that, 2016 should be able to start just like we all assumed this season would start.

Assuming he means that, and he's not just covering for John Farrell, that mans this could be a quiet off-season. Obviously, some moves will need to be made. I've mentioned before, I doubt the team starts with 8 outfielders come next April. The super-stud catchers are too manes well. So, there are a few positions of excess the Sox have to fill positions of need. Another starter, perhaps, or some bullpen help. So, I look forward to seeing how that all comes together in the months ahead.

As for Section 36? I hope to get back into more regular posting. I admit, it was getting tiring fighting everyone all the time. (Seriously, it WASN'T Hanley's fault) So, I should be re-energized now that I don't need to do that so often. I still have the scavenger hunt  to post. So, keep your eyes open for that. I also have a few books I haven't gotten around to reviewing. Add in some new pictures to post (If you have any, send them over!) and this should be a full couple of months. It'll be Spring Training before you know it.

We're on to 2016!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

From the Pedro Binder

2003 Donruss

Sometimes things are just wasted. A Monet decorating a master bathroom. Or, a good book in a Yankees fan's house. 

This is one of those times.

This card is a fantastic design. I can't think of away to make it better. It has full bleed picture on all four sides. The important information is in a floating banner that is about as small as it could possibly be. The floating banner allows the picture to perfectly extend below it. Even the Donruss logo is hidden in the corner. Everything is done to allow the picture to stand out. To be the most important part of the card.

Then they pick this picture.

Pedro on the mound, stretching his shoulders a bit.

Are you kidding me? This design just calls for an intense action shot. Even a pretty common shot of Pedro throwing a pitch. Or, a clever shot of Pedro being goofy in the dugout, or signing autographs, or wearing a Yoda mask. But, no, Donruss went with a picture of Pedro standing still, doing nothing.

Sorry...he's not doing nothing. He's shrugging his shoulders. As if even the picture knows this is a "blah" card. I wouldn't mind so much if the rest of the card was a disaster. But, so often companies take a great picture, and hide it behind an obnoxious design. Here they've done the opposite. They did the hard part. They found the design that showed off a really great picture. And, they screwed it up.

What a waste.

What people are reading this week