Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Palm Beach Cardinals IP Recap

While on vacation in Florida the first week of July, I was able to cross a baseball related goal off my bucket list.  I have been to 3 different Cardinals minor league ball parks in Peoria, Springfield, and Memphis.  Springfield is the longest drive at about 5.5 hours.  The only remaining full season minor league team I have not seen is the Palm Beach Cardinals.  They are located in Jupiter, Florida about 16 hours from my house, but only a 2 hour drive from Orlando where my daughter's dance competition was located.  We made the drive on July 5 to watch them play the Bradenton Marauders, the Pirates single A team. 

Tickets were $9 for adults, $7 for 12 and under.  I will say this is the first minor league game that I have been to that was general admission seating.  It was nice to be able to move around the stadium during the game.  Announced attendance was a little over1,100, but I bet there were fewer than 300 people there.  I have read that Florida State League games are not very well attended.  Seeing is believing. 

The small crowd made it easy for my kids to grab some balls, including my son's first foul ball.  The other two were thrown to them after the final out of an inning.  My son had to outrun another boy for the foul ball.  This same boy must have gotten 10-12 balls that night.  If he could not track the ball down himself, he would find the person who did and ask them for it.  If it was an older person, he would usually get it.  By the end of the night, he was being booed if he got a ball from someone else. 

I was able to grab two team sets from the team store at great prices. The top 2015 set was only $5, while the 2016 set was $8.  My son was able to complete his Cardinals minor league mini bat collection also.  My plan for later this fall is to build a display rack to show off the bats along with a ball from each league.

Of course when we go to minor league games, we take the opportunity to get some autographs.  Single A players are very accommodating before game time. Several even took a few minutes to ask my son and daughter about their ball seasons.   

Bilardello is the first manager we have ever gotten.  He commented how old he looks now compared to his 1987 Topps card.

Niemann has served as pitching coach for 3 different Cardinal teams. 

We saw Young play his last game in Peoria on Father's Day.  He hit a homerun in the bottom of the 6th to tie the game at 2.  Palm Beach would win the game in the bottom of the 14th inning.  We did stay for the entire game. 

Seferina was a Florida State League All Star.  He has since been promoted to double A
Springfield.  Diekroeger is going the opposite direction.  He had some time in Springfield, but was demoted.

Spitz plays a decent outfield, but does not hit much.  He also saw some time in Double A this year.  He makes card #20 from the 2016 Chiefs set that we have autographed. 

While my son and I were graphing the home team, my wife and daughter graphed the Marauders side pregame.  I had a few cards from my Trading Bases friend Ron B that he wanted for his Pirates collection.  My wife said all of them were extremely nice.  Good to see considering some of them are top prospects.  I do not know much about these guys, so I will just show the cards.

You can see I should have given them a better sharpie.  This one was retired after the game.  Overall it was a great time.  The small crowd made the game fun.  By the time extra innings rolled around, there might have been 50 people left in the stands.  You could hear about any conversation in the stadium.  We were sitting behind the first base dugout and could hear the relievers along the third base line complaining about the strike zone. 


Monday, July 17, 2017

TCDB Trade Makes My Day

Shortly before I left for vacation, I made a trade with a TCDB member that finished my 2017 Topps Opening Day set.  I love when you can knock out a set in one trade.

 Martinez was denied another win yesterday due to the bullpen blowing a lead.  At least he was rewarded with his second All Star appearance.  He had a nice outing with 2 scoreless innings and 4 strikeouts.  Grichuk is having a forgetable season that includes a demotion to Triple A and DL time.  I am not sure he will be able to cut back on his strikeouts to remain a full time outfielder.

I have a somewhat love/hate relationship with Matt Carpenter.  I hate that he plays shaky defense no matter where he plays on the infield and he was the main reason Matt Adams was traded.  I love his production as a leaf off hitter even though his average is not that high right now.  Weaver may be a trade chip in the next few weeks.  He showed decent promise in a call up last year.  Unless a starter is traded, he might better serve the Cardinals as a reliever.

The last card in the package was this blue foil insert.  Unless my eyes are playing tricks on me, I do not think these are numbered like previous years.   Still very sharp cards though. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

2 Cheap EBAY Wins

If I have any down time at work, I usually surf  EBAY for cheap Cardinals cards (after I do my daily blog reading of course).  I found 2 good deals before I left for vacation that were waiting for me when I returned.  The first one was the Cardinals Topps Series 2 team set for 25 cents delivered.  I was rather shocked that all the cards arrived safely in a PWE. 

It was nice to knock out a team set for less than the price of a stamp.  Wish they were all that easy.  The next package only had one card, also arrived in a PWE, and cost me 30 cents.

I guess this counts as a new Lankford for the collection.  I have seen a 2001 Topps Rediscover card a few times on EBAY, but cannot bring myself to pay $3 for it.  A stamp on an old common card does not mean that much to me.  

Thursday, July 13, 2017

First Trip to Peoria This Year

It seems the past few years I have spent Father's Day at a ballpark.  I can recall days in Peoria, Indianapolis, and St. Louis that I spent with the entire family watching a game.  This year was no different as we headed to Peoria to watch the Chiefs for the first time this year.  The stadium give away was a very nice Chiefs dry fit shirt for the fathers in attendance.  Sundays are also autograph day for kids, so of course my son and daughter had some good luck.

The Chiefs had out player posters on most Sunday games.  This one featured the 5 players who were voted to the Midwest League All Star game.  The only auto we did not get was Andrew Knizer who was promoted to Double A Springfield a week or so before the game.

Nick Plummer was the Cardinals #1 draft pick in 2015.  He did not play in 2016 due to a wrist injury.  He is not having the best of seasons right now, batting under .200 with 2 home runs.  He is only 21 years old, so he may have time to turn it around.

Dylan Carlson was Cardinals #1 pick in 2016.  He is doing better than Plummer, hitting .230 with 6 home runs while showing a cannon of an arm in right field.  He is only 18 years old, so there is promise there.  He was the player of the game by hitting a 3 run home run.  He also struck out 3 times though.

Ronnie Williams was a second round pick in 2014.  After starting his career as a starter, he was moved to a reliever this year with a little bit better results. 

O'Keefe is repeating low A Peoria as a 24 year old.  I doubt he will ever make the majors, but he does provide a veteran presence for the young pitching staff.  My son was thrilled to get his auto on this 2016 team card.  He is only 6 or 7 away from completing the set.

I bought the 2017 team set while we were there.  Nice looking cards that I am sure my son will attempt to get autographed also. 

Our seats were by the Chiefs dugout.  After a strikeout to end the top of the second, O'Keefe tossed my son this ball.  He always seems to come away with some type of souvenir from Chiefs games. To end our day, I was able to play catch on the field with my kids after the game.  Can't think of anything else I would rather do on Father's Day.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

It Has Been A While

It has been 3 weeks since I have written a post.  The end of June was very busy at work, and my nights were occupied with post season baseball/softball for my both of my kids.  We also took a family vacation from July 1-10.  We spent the majority of time in Florida at Disney for my daughter's national dance competition, but we did have time at the beach and also watched some minor league baseball.  I will say that I will never travel very far over 4th of July weekend again.  My 10 hour trip on July 1 turned into 12.5 due to traffic in Alabama. 

Before I left I was fairly caught up as far as blogging material goes.  I had one IP recap to highlight from Father's Day.  Now I have 2 more IP recaps, some EBAY wins, and a handful of trades to go over.  The first trade recap is a package from fellow blogger Jason who resides at Jason's Sports Card Blog.  Jason and I are also friends on the Trading Card Database sight. 

 Sounds like Jason has a huge stack of 1994 Fun Pack cards.  The Todd Zeile finished my team set.  The Tatis is a 2000 Topps Home Team Advantage card, and the Gant is a 1996 Upper Deck Predictor.

This is my first 1984 Donruss Champions card.  It is oversized just like the Action All Stars cards from that year.  This set is a mix of retired and current players.   

I think the Cardinals miss Matt Holliday more than they let on.  He was having a pretty good year for the Yankees until a mysterious illness landed him on the DL. 

Freese is another former Cardinals who is having a nice year. It would be nice for him to have another season in St. Louis before he retires.

Prizm cards look so much better in person than what my scanner shows.  Gomber has struggled somewhat in his first full season at Double A.  At worst he should be a decent LOOGY out of the bullpen.  Carpenter has been more productive since he moved back to the leadoff spot.  He does take a ton of walks, but it would be nice to see his average north of .250 .

I like the 2013 Topps Emerald cards a bit more than 2015 Rainbow foil cards, but it is close.  Wainwright took over being the Cardinals ace once Carpenter retired.  He does have 10 wins this year, but his ERA is above 5.00.  Carlos Martinez will soon be considered the new ace.

Last but not least is a 2015 Topps insert of sweet Lou Brock and Rickey Henderson.  I caught the first couple innings of the celebrity softball game on Monday night.  Rickey is still being Rickey.  He hit a leadoff home run and did his famous home run trot/bounce. 

Once again thanks to Jason for a great bunch of cards.