2008 Allen & Ginter Blaster

I've got the bug. I promised myself that I would finish the sets that I'm working on.

"I'll only buy a pack or two as trade bait. No, wait. I'll buy a blaster. Yeah. That'll get me an insert or three."

So much for promises to myself.

I am now three blasters into collecting this set. There is just something very enjoyable about the simplicity of these cards that makes them "collectable." Love the drawn-over pictures. Love the old-style writing. Love the clean-ness. Love the not-really-white cream-colored backgrounds. Love the card stock. Hell, I LUV YA, MAN!

Ahem. Sorry.

On to my box break.

Break the Code: sorry, already been done. Obviously, someone MUCH smarter than me broke it. Pretty tricky, too. This is some industrial strength code breaking. But it is Don Larsen, probably throwing his Perfect Game in the World Series. Now that is Great Victory.

A Jason Bay relic. Bay is in Back Bay, now. For all you non-Bahstahnahs, that's an area of Boston near the Chahles Rivah. I used to live not too far from Fenway. What a great park. I sat in the Triangle out in center field on Opening Day in 1992 or 1993, and my sister played hooky from work to go to the game. Of course, our picture was on the front of the sports section the next day. There is my sister, clear as day. Hopefully, nobody from the hospital recognized her.

As for Bay, he may not be putting up the average that Manny has in LA, but he is much more productive, getting something like 29 ribbies in the month of August. I think the Sox got some addition by addition AND addition by subtraction going with that trade.

Since I posted one for the Nation, now I should post one (by law, in 18 states plus Puerto Rico) for the Empire. Chien-Ming Wang. Boy, has this guy been the biggest import since Honda, except maybe for Ichiro. But he flew under the radar. No big contract, no fancy nickname, no flame-out, either. Just very consistent, not spectacular, but always gives them a good chance to win. I like him, along with two or three other Yankees.

Chase Utley Mini. Too bad he cooled off so much from the beginning of the year, when it looked like he might hit 105 home runs and knock in 246 runs. But he is also a very good fielder, a team leader, and not one of those "Hey! Look at me! I'm the best!" kinda guys. (Are you listening, Mr. Rollins?) I would start my team with him any day.

Vladimir Guerrero. Consistently good. Another under-the-radar guy, who doesn't tout himself. I like those guys, if you couldn't tell. It was too bad he couldn't stay with Montreal, but the Angels put themselves consistently into the playoff hunt by installing him in their outfield. Fantastic numbers, too: 1607 games, 365 HR's, 1177 RBI's, 168 stolen bases, even! Pretty darn good.

OK. Gotta give a fair shake to the other NY team. Jose Reyes. How does he really stack up? .284 BA. So-so. .426 Slugging. Pretty good for a shortstop, but only average for today's shortstop. Hmmmm. Nothing on the card on his fielding percentage. I think that might be a better way to fully evaluate a player. Fielding is totally forgotten. What about adding stolen base percentage, fielding percentage, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, and subtracting self-serving gimmicks such as pulling out your jersey or pointing to your name. We'll call it On-Field-Stolen-Slugging-Base-ity percentage. Anything less than 2749 is awful.

Can't let this go without putting at least one Indian on the roll. Ryan Garko, 1B, Cleveland. Boy, has this guy fallen off the face of the earth this year. After a really good start and a nice 2007 season, he is now relegated to pinch-hitting for Andy Marte. Boy, is that embarrassing! Too bad. Well, the Tribe will trade him off, get almost nothing for him, and then he'll find his swing and become an All-Star, just like Ludwick, Kouzmanoff and Guthrie.

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