The Legend

The Legend

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Inevitable

Baseball fandom can be a cruel bitch sometimes. I'm a glass half full type of guy, but that doesn't mean I'm void of emotion.  The Andrew McCutchen trade is a bitter pill to swallow even if the writing was on the wall. 

McCutchen's debut was a catalyst for respectable baseball in Pittsburgh. He would blossom into a legit superstar and from all accounts an even better human being. He made baseball fun again in Pittsburgh.  You would be hard pressed to find a bad word about him minus a few shock jocks in the local media.  The guy named his kid Steel. He loved being a Pirate.

I could ramble on forever about trade value and give personal opinions, but ultimately the Pirates continued with normal operating procedures by trading Cutch. That reality is what makes this sting.

The culprit with the Pirates is the shoestring budget/ownership.  In a perfect world Cutch would be a Pirate for life, but the Pirates have zero track record of signing players to long term deals post arbitration.  Basically the main argument is whether you think the Pirates should have traded him now, at the deadline or qualifying offer/comp pick next season.  The Pirates played it safe and chose now.  We can vent about this until we are blue in the face, but it is done.  Now what?.....

I'm not revoking my Pirate fan card.  All I can do is hope that the Pirates develop the next Cutch.  Life is too short to be bitter over billionaires disrespecting millionaires.  As always I will be optimistic during opening day and let the season play out.  It is just going to be really weird not seeing #22 in the outfield.  Goodbye Cutch.  Thanks for giving me so many great memories.

Monday, January 15, 2018

JBF Plays Possum

Arch rival and professional Twitter troll JBF recently declared that he was calling off his bombardment of my mailbox.  Obviously this was a ploy to keep me off guard as he enlisted my pal Peter to join the dark side.   While I do joke (and will get my revenge), Peter's cardboard generosity was greatly appreciated.  He knocked off three hard to get cards in one swoop.  

The JBF installment of the trade package was typical JBF.  Tons of great cards that hit numerous collections of mine. 

 While the package was more hit based, it was this Keller card that drew my attention.  Keller is the Pirates top prospect and it was one of the few Pirate minor leaguers right now showcasing top of the heap potential.  He will likely make his debut in 2019 at which time he could be a consensus top 5 overall prospect.
 Adam Laroche's Pirates tenure was one that left you wanting more.  His overall numbers were probably a tad above average, but he was a notorious slow starter who accumulated a lot of meaningless counting stats.
 Triple Thread relics are always nice additions.  I have a feeling Jhay is going to go dealt at some point.
 Another rising prospect in the Pirates system is Cole Tucker.  His career progression has been very similar to Pirate first baseman Josh Bell.  Highly touted in the draft, but injuries have stunted development.  Last year was his most complete year and the hope is that he can make a push to the upper levels of the minors this year.   The shortstop position in Pittsburgh is up for grabs as Jordy Mercer will likely be out after this year.

 Bucco vest jersey appearance!
 I fear Cutch will be dealt at some point too.

 I believe this was pack pulled by JBF if I recall correctly!

 Another Keller rookie stands out in a nice crop of Bowman cards.

 I don't actively add Steelers cards, but I think I might be close to becoming a Dri Archer super collector! I swear JBF has sent me 25 different ones.  Very much appreciated as all Steeler cards are welcomed. I want to collect more football, but that collection got slowed down after marriage.
 Dreaded Cutch!

Thanks for all the great cards Wes.  You are a madman.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Cole Train Heads to Houston

Gerrit Cole was finally traded to the Astros tonight.  Nothing shocking about this as it was falsely reported as being finalized a couple of days back.  The two teams were able to get things wrapped tonight with the Pirates receiving four players from the Astros. 

I'm sure some Pirate fans will be disappointed in the return as the Astros were able to keep their top prospects.  With the Pirates accepting the deal it likely means that neither the Yankees or Astros were willing to deal their top names away. Some huge names were being reported the last few weeks, but either this was wrong or the Pirates weren't willing to do one for one type of deals.

While the guys coming over from Houston lack the big name pedigree, three of the four will likely be on an opening day roster. So I guess that is something. 

For Houston this was a great deal.  They hold onto their best prospects and add a pitcher who has top of the rotation stuff, but will slide into the middle of the rotation.  The big question for Houston is which Gerrit Cole will they get.  In 2015 Cole was an ace, 2016 he was injured and last season his numbers regressed with the longball being a huge issue.

I'll miss watching Cole pitch and his absence will leave a gaping hole in the rotation.  You have to think that Cutch and Harrison will likely be moved if the right deal comes up.  Being a fan of a small market team can be rough.  You just hope the next crop of young guys can repeat the success Cole saw with the Pirates.  Time will tell.

Friday, January 12, 2018


I've been fortunate in that I have had a great post holiday run of getting cards in the mail.  Some were expected while others such as my most recent package from Chris (The Collector) was a pleasant surprise.  Chris said that he found some cool cards on COMC that he wanted to ship my way.  No complaints here!

Leaf Certified is probably classified as one of those sets you either love or hate.  For Pirate collectors I think you have to love it.  The checklists were unique even if the parallels are maddening.  

I've been on a nice Craig Wilson kick lately.  Pirates aren't well represented in sets in the mid 2000's. Many are Jason Bay or bust so finding auctions for players like Wilson are few and far between. Thanks to Chris my hot streak continues! 

 Some Steelers love! I believe Smith-Schuster was the youngest NFL player this year.
 Leaf Limited cards do not scan very well.  Probably should have just taken a pic with my phone.  Either way Bay is one of my all time faves and I always welcome his cards.

 Supak is in the Brewers system these days, but has had a hard time getting above A ball. 

 Many of us long for another set like Topps Total.  I'm still convinced that this would be a great retail only set.  I miss getting cards of backup catchers and middle relievers. 

Of the more recent retired player oriented sets I would probably choose Greats of the Game as my favorite.  Clean design and perfect for autos. 

 Someone should research which "retired" player has appeared on the most cardboard.  Clemente is probably near the top. Eventually it will be Jeter for sure though......

I'm not sure if it is right to call the Topps 206 underrated, but I did like it a bunch. It seems like most in our community like it as well.  

This framed Giles auto is pretty sweet. 
 I love when people send me Pens cards.  I don't talk hockey too much on the blog, but I'm a big fan.  My brother and I frequent games and I watch most Pens games on tv if I'm home. 

Diamond Kings would likely be in my top 3 favorite sets of the 2000's.  I'm a fan of portrait/canvas cards and the set had the best Pirates checklist of any in the entire decade. Legend players like Parker are well represented, but obscure players like Rob Mackowiak also got cards.  Love it! Also, bonus points for gold swatch on the jersey.

Thanks so much for the cards Chris.  You cherry picked from some of my favorite sets of all time!

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Whale Hunting via Wes via Peter

So it begins.... For months Wes has been tormenting me on Twitter that he was going to devote all of 2018 destroying my poor mail carriers back. Little did I know that he also used this time to create cardboard alliances.  Peter from Baseball Every Night decided to join the dark side.

For the last couple of years I've kept a white whale list.  These are all cards I've tried to win on eBay, but have failed to secure on numerous occasions. This current list of 10 has been extra difficult, at least until Peter joined in the hunt. 

 I love this card.  More Pirate cards should have angry logos lurking over the players shoulders.  The silver spectrum parallels from 2006 UD are /99 and kind of a pain in the ass to find at reasonable prices because shipping costs dwarf actual card costs.  Thanks to Peter the hunt is over!
 Not an easy card to scan. As many of you know I love collecting Jason Bay cards.  No player is more represented in my collection that the former Bucco outfielder.  The main holes in my Bay collection are hard to find auto parallels.  I'm not sure where Peter found this 2006 UD Epic Endorsements auto, but I'm happy he did.  Always super exciting to add a new Bay card.
 This card has kind of pissed me off over the course of a year.  Bowman Chrome autos are always on auction on eBay, but yet I could not secure this one.  It was getting comical how many times I got sniped at the last second.  Peter to the rescue!  I'm a sucker for Will Craig cards since he played in Morgantown for the WV Black Bears.

Holy cow Peter, thanks so much for sending me these.  I'm sorry you are now associated with Wes, but I'm willing to let it slide.  Now I plot my revenge.....

The Wes portion of the trade will be posted soon.  In typical Wes fashion it was eclectic and hit based.  Don't think for a second I've been just sitting around not preparing for you....

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Powerful Cards

When Jared sent a bunch of big name rookie cards last week that was only half the package! The Pirates portion packed a punch with old and new.  It was like winning two contests!!!!

Ted Power is what happens when you cross John Candelaria and Bob Walk. 

Bob Patterson is wearing a trash bag under his jersey. 

Sluggo is giving the death stare to the cameraman.  The Pirates catching tandem of Don Sluggo Slaught and Mike Spanky LaValliere had 10 WAR nicknames. 

I'm convinced this is Ted Power batting.
I think their might be an autograph version of this card in that Archives Signature set.  I'm pro Tony Pena Pirate autographs.
Belinda was pitching when Sid Bream scored in the playoffs against the Pirates.
I love Marte, but his freaking suspension killed the Pirates last year.
This is a quality picture.
I have a lot of Jason Kendall cards, but I feel like one pops up everyday that makes me think I don't have it.
Reese Mcguire for a time was seen as the Pirates catcher of the future.  He got traded two season back to the Blue Jays and has lost a good bit of his prospect luster.  The bat just never developed.

Almost like an old Studio card.

Polanco is such a tease.  He is always the perennial breakout candidate, but for whatever reason can't seem to put it together.  Even when his bat was inconsistent during his first couple of seasons, defense and base running made him extremely valuable.  Now he has been plagued by hamstring issues which has zapped most of his non hitting value.  The Pirates have a good bit invested in him so I hope he can "breakout" for real this year.

It is kind of weird, but for as long as the Pirates have been around they really haven't had many Hall of Fame caliber pitchers that spent the majority of their career as a Bucco.

I think Kang is never going to suit up again in the MLB.  He played a little winter ball, but was cut from his team.

Always happy to get some Melancon cards!
Neil Walker was still a catcher when this card came out!

Now we are getting into the real heavy hitters! This looks like a max effort Bob Walk fastball.  May God have mercy on the hitter and catcher.

Likely scoping out the ladies in the stands. Actually who am I kidding.....they flock to him.
The hair creates extra force.
Gerrit Cole was almost traded today.  That may signal the end for Cutch too.
I really hope Glasnow pans out.

Thanks for the cards Jared.  Since my computer has been down I've been experimenting with different scan techniques.  These turned out nice....(shhh...I used my work scanner)!

Thanks for reading.