Saturday, April 4, 2015

New Ebay arrival and some collecting explanation: Brayan Peña Edition

Ah Brayan Peña...such a random collection, but also such a good one.

So why the heck do I collect Brayan Peña?  Well the long and short of it is that, since moving to Cincinnati a few years ago, we hadn't been getting to a lot of Reds games as of early 2014.  So my wife, thinking it was kind of ridiculous that we lived a 25 minute bus ride away from a cheap ticket, several beer baseball game (or a 15 minute car ride away from a cheap ticket, one of us is designated driver baseball game), bought into a six game package for the 2014 season.  She picked a bunch of cool after events like fireworks and movies as well as some bobbleheads days, and figured she'd at least like the fun extras and would see how much she liked the games after enjoying Cleveland Indians games a bit as a kid.

Well early in the first game we saw in 2014, starting catcher Brayan Peña, who neither of us knew beyond that day, came up to bat.  However, the only thing she and I noticed was his choice of at bat music on that given day, which was none other than the DJ Snake/Little Jon classic, "Turn Down for What:"

Now I listen to my IPod a lot in the car, and had, up until this moment, somehow completely missed out on this cultural masterpiece.  My wife knew it, and was bopping her head along to it, but the crowd also knew it, and they went absolutely INSANE, especially when the beat drops.  It was crazy infectious, and before long I too was turning down for what every time Peña came up to bat.  And so, thanks to a nice choice of at bat music, he quickly became one of my favorite players on the team.  It also didn't hurt that he's typically ace Johnny Cueto's personal catcher, meaning that if Peña's catching, there's a great chance that Cueto is pitching, which is always a good time.  

Peña's still one of my favorite guys on the team this year - if I had to make a list it'd probably be Billy Hamilton at the top, then Cueto, and then Peña (and then Brandon Phillips, who I actually like even if he sometimes talks a bit too much).  I'm collecting Hamilton (and I'll go more in depth about that in a future post) and Peña, and only opting against Cueto because there's a very good chance he won't be a Red in a couple months.  But this post is about Peña, so let's show off what Ebay brought my way!

It's a nice Chromey, on-card auto from Peña's first team in the majors, the Atlanta Braves:
 Per usual, a scan does not capture the awesome that is this card - but trust me, it looks great!
I love the writeup on the back, and it shows just how good Peña could have been in the majors (especially if he didn't have a top five catcher ahead of him in Devin Mesoroco) as a switch-hitter who hit for high average when he first hit the states.  His bat has not been as advertised since hitting the pros, with a 10 year slash line of .257/.292/.358 and a career value of 0.2 WAR, but he does bring a great personality, a reputation as a good teammate, the option to hit lefty (to contrast Mesoroco), AND decent pitch framing skills (according to Fangraphs) to the table as a backup catcher.  IMHO, he's basically the perfect backup catcher in almost every way - so I'm glad I get to see him play once every five or so games and I'm happy to collect his cards as well.

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