March 06, 2007

Reader Pack #3

One Whitehall is in turmoil. And yet the stories all seem to focus on what Eisner has planned for the confection side of the business…not the cards. Which is odd, seeing as how the card side seems to be hurtin’, especially the round of beatings this new blocky-bordered baseball set is currently taking online. Anyway, our series of Reader Packs continues with Pack #3, this one from a one Mr. Campbell (address unknown):

B.J. Ryan 38 saves, 1.37 era with a sick 0.86 whip. I
think he was worth the money the Jays threw at him.

Austin Kearns I still don't understand why the Reds traded him for a
cracked fungo bat and a bag of magic beans.

Billy Wagner Looks like I got the elite closer pack.

Mark Ellis Decent second baseman, but he'll never hit .316 again like
he did in '05.

Josh Bard The obligatory 3rd-tier catcher card.

Isn’t this incredible? Nearly every pack opened this year has a back-up catcher. No reports of first stringers, just back-ups. Where are the Victor Martinezes? The Jorge Posadas? The Joe Mauers? Christ, even a lousy Eli Marrero?

Hank Blalock I'm still mad at him for hitting the home run in the '03
All Star game that cost John Smoltz a save opportunity and Andruw
Jones the MVP. Actually, I'm more angry at Gagne for throwing him that
meatball, but he's not in this pack.

A quick aside from the somewhat realistic world of MLB 06: The Show that I’m completely immersed in…How do you think ballplayers active today will be remembered in ten or fifteen years? Will power hitters make the Hall of Fame if they end up with anything less than 550 home runs? And what about speed guys? It seems less and less likely that anyone will ever catch Henderson, either in single season or career numbers of SB’s….anyway, saves guys, of which there are three in this pack, will have to do a heck of a lot to impress the Hall committee when their times come. Unless they are lucky enough to have a Career Defining Moment, like Keith Foulke in the 2004 World Series, they’ll need to prove that not only did they Dominate with a capital ‘D’ (see Rich Gossage), but they’ll need to have amassed what will most likely be a ridiculously high career saves count. Either that or the standards will be much, much lower for relief pitchers.

Brad Lidge So much for elite closers. Lidge apparently has a T206 Ty
Cobb card in his card collection though, so that's cool.

Josh Gibson Home Run #580 I was excited about this insert set until I
got a few of them and realized that every card is exactly the same
front and back except for the number.

Distinguished Service: Curtis LeMay Yep. I got 2 inserts this pack.
Ol' Curtis was the Air Force general who directed the bombing of Japan
in WWII. "Bombs Away LeMay" also commanded the Berlin Airlift, was
head the Strategic Air Command and was Chief of Staff of the US Air
Force until he was pushed out by LBJ for wanting to bomb the hell out
of Cuba and Vietnam. He was then the Vice Presidential candidate for
George Wallace in 1968. According to Wikipedia he also was partly
responsible for the popularity of judo in the United States, and once
chewed out Barry Goldwater when he asked him if there was a UFO
squirreled away in an Air Force base. If you can't tell, I love these
history cards and I hope they do more of them in series 2. If General
George S. Patton doesn't deserve a trading card, by God, no one does.

Top of the Class filler card Thank goodness they put this in the
middle where it can't be damaged.

Shannon Stewart Didn't he used to be really good at one point? Did he
catch Matt Lawton disease or something?

Shane Youman RC The new Rookie Card designation gives me a headache.
Shane was drafted in 2001, so there has to be a random Bowman card of
him floating out there somewhere.

Scott Kazmir Scott was 10-8 with a 3.24 ERA and 163 Ks pitching for
the awful, awful Devil Rays. Good thing Victor Zambrano is still anchoring the Mets' rotation.

Pack Success Rate: 75% 9/12 plus a pack filler card. This pack has been the best of the Reader Packs so far. Two inserts, Kazmir, Kearns, Blalock, Ryan, Wagner…even the other cards are pretty good: a rookie, Brad Lidge and Shannon Stewart, plus who can forget Josh Bard, our pack-filler backup catcher?

Do you want to live-blog a pack and share it with the rest of us? Send me an email and I might post it on the blog!

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