Saturday, December 9, 2017

A cool card of a guy who didn't deserve an MVP vote in 2000

I don't understand why Cy Young voters get up to five choices while MVP voters get then.  I know one award goes to a smaller population than the other, but I feel like the bottom of an MVP ballot rarely affects the winner.  Just one of those things I guess.

Anyways, today's player got one MVP vote in 2000 as a relief pitcher.  And NO votes for the Cy Young award.  Seems a bit backwards right?  So does giving an MVP vote to a guy with a 1.514 WHIP, 4.24 ERA, and an overall 0.5 WAR as a closer.

The player's name: Antonio Alfonseca

The card:
This is one of Alfonseca's first cards from when he joined the Marlins' system, and I like that he's hitting on it.

A random rookie more deserving of the award: Rick Ankiel.  He finished 2nd in rookie of the year voting with 0.8 WAR in a year where he went 11-7 with a 3.5 ERA and hit his first two homers

Saturday, December 2, 2017

A cool card of a guy who didn't deserve the vote in 2012

WAR isn't a perfect stat, but in general a player with a good WAR score is a player people think is pretty good.  So when you look at rankings for MVP and Cy Young, you expect some high WAR scores, especially these days since sabermetrics have a bigger hand in things.

Recently, this HAS been the case.  For instance, on this year's MVP and Cy Young ballots, over 50 players got votes of some kind.  The lowest WAR of any of those players was 2.5 by Khris Davis, which is still pretty good.

Back in the day, however, before WAR and sabermetrics ruled the scene, some weird names popped up on ballots.  And when I'm bored, sometimes, I ponder over them.  So starts a possible semi-regular segment where I pick a year and find the guy(s) that didn't really belong on the ballot.  And then I share a card of theirs that I found cool looking.

Why start with 2012?  I just looked at the Baseball Reference leaderboards starting at 2017 and went backwards until a statline stuck out.

The name:  Raul Ibanez.

Ibanez got one tenth place vote in 2012 for a 0.5 WAR season with the Yankees.  That ranked him 24th in the MVP rankings in the American League, essentially declaring him the league's 24th most valuable player in a season where he hit .240/.308/.453 with 19 homers in 130 games.  Definitely a tribute vote if I've ever seen one, and it apparently came from John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press.

The card:

TIL Raul Ibanez started out as a catcher.  Muy interesante.

A random rookie from that year more deserving of the vote (Since Baseball Reference lists the Rookie of the Year vote getters as well): Jarrod Parker, who had 3.8 WAR and a 3.47 ERA across 29 starts.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Brief Bat Around: Bacon

I had to do a Seneca Wallace to Kevin Bacon post.  So here goes:

1. Seneca Wallace was on the 2003 Seahawks with Shaun Alexander

2. Shaun Alexander was in the short (Can be found on YouTube) film Conker: Celebrity Squirrel with Ryan Stiles

3. Ryan Stiles was in Astro Boy with Nathan Lane

4. Nathan Lane was in He Said, She Said with Kevin Bacon

And so you have it.  Seneca: Kevin = A Bacon number of 4.  Noice.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Quads from Matthew - #38 Titans

Most of these 2002 Heads up quads bring back memories, but few cards have all four players pretty involved in my football fandom past like this Titans one.  My brother was a Titans fan (And Buccaneers fan) growing up, which was kind of weird since we lived in Massachusetts.  I guess it's a combination of loving winners (Both teams made Super Bowls in that era) and loving underdogs (Neither team was close to a dynasty, although both hung for a few competitive years).  As a result, I followed the Titans a little closer than your average team, and so my rankings this time around might be a little biased.  These guys also came up a TON in Madden 2004 games since my brother was a fan.  So let's see what affect that has on my rankings below.

Eddie George was one of the "stars" of the Titans of the time, moreso for his durability and grinder playstyle than anything else IMHO.  He'd gain around 4 yards per carry, nothing super fancy, but he'd do so on a top five in the league carry number with 35-50 receptions added in.  The guy just played hard all the time.  He's also an Ohio State alum, so I hear about him in Ohio now and then.  I even got to visit a restaurant of his for my former blog writing job a bunch of years back during a weekend with an OKCupid "friend."  She's a hardcore vegan now and I'm married, so it'd never happen again, but I'm glad I got to sample Eddie's fare once upon a time.

Kevin Dyson is a legend in my home for two plays, both of which I have captured in cardboard:

The homerun throwback of card one helped get the Titans to the Super Bowl.  The last play stretch of card two almost won the Titans that Super Bowl, and stands in my mind as one of the greatest Super Bowl plays of all time.  It also made the Patriots win the next year all that much sweeter since I was rooting Titans.

Now Dyson only played six years in the league thanks to injuries, so he never really made a name for himself outside of that Titans Super Bowl run.  But I remember him fondly thanks to that and thanks to Madden 2004.  See, in Madden, he was the ONLY guy who started the year on the IR.  Not injured, actually on the IR.  Which meant he NEVER played year one in any season you did.  Even if you did a fantasy draft, where every single player in the NFL is put into a draft and you essentially make your own teams, he was designated IR and would sit out the entire season even if you drafted him.

It was weird.

But it made me draft him a lot.  I could stash him on the injured list and add a new guy, AND I would have his rights the next season.  Which was silly, since he wasn't signed for long and his stats always inevitably dropped because he didn't have any games played to improve himself.  But he still had some speed, and I had good memories, so he often made a solid WR3 or WR4 in year two and beyond of my squad (I actually played a ton of five WR sets so having five decent WR was always a big thing).  So even though he's DEFINITELY the least statistically impressive Titan on here...I like him.

Derrick Mason will never not be underrated.  He played a remarkable fifteen years in the league, and though he never led the league in anything and only played in two Pro Bowls, he ended his career 17th all time in receptions and 25th in receiving yards.  He was the definition of consistency - always in the top half of the league's WR, but never at the top while guys like Randy Moss and Terrell Owens were around.  My brother was definitely a big Mason fan, so I heard about him a lot, even after he left for Baltimore for a few years.

And finally we have Steve McNair.  Of course nowadays he's mostly remember as the victim of a murder suicide, but when he played he left nothing on the field and did some pretty good things in his thirteen years in the league, including winning the MVP once (He actually tied with Peyton Manning for the award).  He was masterful at scrambling to keep a play alive and, like Eddie George on the other side of the card, was durable as they come.  Definitely a good QB, although I almost never used him in Madden 2004 because he was the next tier slower than guys like Seneca Wallace and Brad Banks.  He often gave me fits as an opponent though.

Who wins the card: If I'm being hugely biased, it's Kevin Dyson.  He is easily the 4th most talented guy on this card, but he had a few big moments and a Madden 04 quirk/glitch that I just never got over.  So he'd win for me.  But if anyone rational voted, I THINK the winner would have to be Derrick Mason.  Yes McNair had the MVP hardware, and George probably had more fans, but Mason did the most damage for the longest amount of time and his picture should probably be in the dictionary next to "consummate pro."  So he'd get my vote if I'm not voting biased.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Holy crap, I still needed that?

When you collect a guy to the extent that I have, you come across some cards that may have never happened.

Maybe a company was going under, or the guy didn't sign, or something...and so a card on the checklist never ends up existing at all. 

There have been a few times where someone said this was the case for a Seneca Wallace card.  Heck, there's a time where I messaged upper Deck about a card and they said it didn't exist.  Of course, it did, and I own it, but that's another story.

Anyways, when I was putting my newest Seneca cards in my binder, I realized I hadn't shifted my collection yet to cover the "non-existent" 03 Fleer Authentix Luxury Box Boosters card.  I decided, before moving cards, to make one last google search for it.

It was on Amazon for a little over $10.

It's mine now:
Totally stunned this even exists.

Lesson: Don't give up on a card, even when people tell you it was never made!

(Now, officially, every card I need has a print run of 55 or less).