2019 High Heat – NL West

2019 High Heat – NL West

Customs | Cards | Baseball

2019 High Heat

National League West

Matt “Doc” Perry, Texas

September 20th, 2019

We’re almost done! This is it. The final division of my first card set. It’s been fun, it really has. I used these cards much in the same way the I used Fantasy Baseball: to spark interest in teams and players I might have otherwise ignored. I had fun designing these, finding the photos, picking out just the right colors and so on. I hope you’ve noticed that I tried to make each teams card a little different while keeping the visual appeal. For example, just here in the West, the Diamondback have teal position letters, a nod to their color teal being part of some of their alternate jerseys (officials colors here). Same thing with the Dodgers player names, and the Giants team name bar. I made small changes to things like that to keep them unique between teams with similar color palettes (Orioles vs Giants for example).

In terms of the actual baseball teams, I think it’s been locked up since what, June? The Dodgers are 20+ games in front. It’s not even close. Ladies and Gentlemen, unless LA gets hit by a meteor, the Dodgers are probably going to the World Series again. Maybe this time they can win…. #burn.

I kid. Let’s check out the last of 2019 High Heat with a look at the National League West.

Dodgers

Twenty games in front is a lot. Are there even 20 games left? The Dodgers could literally take a two week vacation and come back and still be in first in the division. What’s worse (for everyone else in the NL) is that the deep blue sea of talent doesn’t really show any signs of letting up. Forget Oakland in the Moneyball era and the sabermetrics epiphany, people need to be taking a page out of the Dodgers play book on how to stock a farm system. This years offering to the rookie phenom record books, Alex Verdugo, is another in long line of player LA can call on to mash at any given second. Comparatively “old man” Cody Bellinger is “only” most likely the NL MVP.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Please don’t step on snek. Or so the internet memes would tell us. Even in second place, the DBacks are sadly 20 games back. Arizona seems to have a good core, and even with Christian Walker stepping up and having a big year they just couldn’t get out of the way of the big blue juggernaut.

San Francisco Giants

I was rooting for the Giants a few years ago during their up-and-down playoff runs. They had a fun pitching core and some great young players to watch. These days they seem to be mid-rebuild and were struggling to be a .500 team this year. Sitting at 72-78 (.480) they almost made it. They do have a prospect with a familiar name however, who mercifully was traded by the Orioles so now I can root for him without pause. Mike Yastrzemski couid be worth keeping an eye on.

San Diego Padres

Now we come to the Padres, the recruitment wing of the MLB. The Padres have been so famously bad this past decade that they’ve managed to have dozens and dozens of first round picks. They get solid young talent, train them, then trade them for… more prospects? Honestly I’m not even sure what’s going on out there. They could have had 3 “Astros style” rebuilds at this point and be dominating the West. Instead they’re just farming talent for the rest of the league.

Also, two things of note. First: I hate Manny Machado. Second: I couldn’t think of another non-Machado player worthy of a card, so I didn’t. Instead I added a second rookie card.

Colorado Rockies

I can’t think of the Rockies without thinking of some sort of Robert Redford, lumberjack, fur trapping utopia. Then I remember that they also play baseball there. Then I remember that they apparently don’t play baseball well there. 66-85 and in last place in the West. I don’t keep up the the team so I honestly couldn’t say if they’re rebuilding or just had a bad year, but they do have Charlie Blackmon, who, if nothing else, is literally the poster person for “Rocky Mountain Living”. Go beard!

And that brings this whole thing to a close! I’m actually pretty happy with these as a whole. I did all 30 teams, 3 cards per team with an additional 10 rookies to make an even 100 card set.

All credit to the awesome photographers who got these shots. They were snagged from Google without actual permission, so that’s why I’ll never be able to sell these. I wouldn’t dream of stepping on someone else’s copyright, especially not a photographers. If you’re a photographer who’s photo I used, please know that these were just for fun and not profit.

I hope everyone enjoyed them. I know I enjoyed making them. I’ve got plans for a more retro set next, but I’ll probably take a little break and return to normal posting before I start on them.

If anyone has any questions about the designs or fonts or anything like that, just let me know. I always like talking design and custom cards.

Thanks for reading!

2019 High Heat – NL Central

2019 High Heat – NL Central

Customs | Cards | Baseball

2019 High Heat

National League Central

Matt “Doc” Perry, Texas

September 16th, 2019

The National League’s Central Division might just be, for me at least, the most interesting of them all. I’m as AL-sided as could be, I just can’t see the interest in watching pitcher bat, but this Central division is actually pretty fun to watch. With three teams all within two games of each other heading into the final stretch, you couldn’t ask for a better end to the regular season. All the teams have at least a couple interesting players and if it weren’t for the Dodgers, well, existing, I’d have put money on the NL champs coming from the Central this year.

So… let’s do this thing. Here’s the cards for the National League Central.

St. Louis Cardinals

Red birds are up first since (as of this post) they’re currently in first. They’ve only got a two game lead in the division so next week, technically, they could be in third if they hit a cold streak. I can’t say I’d actively root for the Cardinals, not that they ever did anything to the Red Sox except give us a fairly interesting World Series win, but I’m channeling a little Astros’ favoritism today and they always beat up on the Astros in their more recent down years before joining the AL. So, yeah, not really in the top half of my list of teams to cheer for. A couple interesting players though, and Goldschmidt always seemed like a nice person, so, yeah.

Chicago Cubs

Is it wrong to call the Cubs the “Red Sox of the NL”? The Dodgers are clearly the Yankees, just in terms of TV money and influence, but the Cubs were, until recently, the perennial underdogs without a big WS win. They’re only two back of the Cardinals but are looking to make a late run. Even though I think he’s been on the Cubs for longer than he was with Boston at this point, I still can’t help but root for Jon “I can’t throw to 1st base” Lester. It might have been a bit of a homer pick, but he’s my third card for the Cubs set.

Milwaukee Brewers

Here’s where it gets interesting. The Brewers are 3 back of the Cardinals and just 1 back of the Cubs, and Chicago and St. Louis have TWO series against each other to finish the season out while the Brewers get to beat up on the Reds, Pirates and Rockies. If they can sweep those, and the Cardinals and Cubs trade wins, it could get really close, really quick and all come down to the last week of the season.

Cincinnati Reds

The Reds, 13.5 back of the pack and the Pirates (18.5 GB) get to play potential spoiler this year to the Brewers. The Reds have enough games left in their division to really hurt the Brewers if they can pull off some wins. The Reds also have my favorite National League player, Joey Votto. I just always felt he was a continuously under-rated player and often over looked. 6-time All Star, NL MVP, Gold Glove, and everyone seems to forget he’s even still playing. On top of that, the Reds also have Eugenio Suarez, who just hits bombs all day.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Lastly, the Pirates who, on paper, are actually better than their record would suggest. They do have a serious pitching problem, as do most teams in the MLB. If you don’t have an effective rotation, its just really impossible to put wins together against offenses that are hitting more and more home runs. I don’t really believe that the baseballs have anything to do with it, but there’s seemingly less guys who have 3+ pitches and can keep hitters guessing. If all you have is a mid-90’s fastball and a change-up/sinker, you’re going to get hammered these days. My one regret in these cards was not including Bryan Reynolds who’s been quietly putting together a great rookie season for the Pirates.

And that’s the NL Central. Stay tuned for later this week when we finish this whole thing off with the NL West!

Thanks for reading!

2019 High Heat – NL EAST

2019 High Heat – NL EAST

Customs | Cards | Baseball

2019 High Heat

National League East

Matt “Doc” Perry, Texas

September 9th, 2019

We’ve reached September and it’s time to wrap this set up. Can’t have teams going into the playoffs before I call this thing finished. I wish I could say we took a well deserved vacation or that relaxing and having fun just got the better of my time this summer, but honestly I’ve been extremely busy. A few client sites here, a few work projects there, and poof, summer is gone before it really even settled in.

I decided to design the entire National League side all at once but that meant finishing up templates for teams that don’t really even cross my radar. I had to search for the right color yellow for the Pirates, I had to google who exactly actually plays for the Marlins, and I had to remind myself that Jon Lester didn’t retire after leaving the Red Sox, etc. I have most of it ready to go so I figured I’d start the posting off in the same way I did the American League.

We’re starting in the East! Let’s go!

Atlanta Braves

Sitting at number one in the NL East, by a healthy 9 games, the Atlanta Braves. Atlanta has a ton of young, solid talent and they’re going to be a force in the NL East for the next couple years. Acuna, Albies and “veteran” Freddie Freeman were my early picks for their team set, and I included a Mike Soroka RC since he seems to be having a great rookie season.

Washington Nationals

The Nationals are currently 9 back of the Braves for the number 2 spot in the NL East. Juan Soto is have a ridiculous year and is definitely that star the Nats were looking for to fill the Harper void.

Philadelphia Phillies

Right in the middle of the pack we’ve got the Phillies. At the start of the season, with how they had made some major upgrades in free agency, I would have said the Phillies would be running away with the East at the moment. Instead they find themselves in 3rd, 14 games back.

New York Mets

The Mets seemed to be having some internal problems this year, and are just barely over 500, which is sad considering soon-to-be National League Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso plays for them. On the other hand, it’s allowed his insane year to stand out and above the noise in Queens.

Miami Marlins

The last time the Marlins crossed my train of thought it was “hmmm, they traded Realmuto to the Phillies”, quickly followed by “who actually plays for the Marlins at this point?”. I didn’t know. I had to go visit Baseball Reference and figure it out. At least they weren’t the first team to 100 loses, so… you know… they’ve got that going for them.

There we go, there’s the NL East.

More to come when I wrap up the National League with the Central and the West. Thanks for checking them out!

Inspirational Fire

I wanted to try something a little different with a custom I was working on. For the longest time I’ve enjoyed seeing the work of a fellow by the name of Tyson Beck. You might not recognize the name right off the bat, but you’d probably recognize his work. Topps hired him to work on the “Fire” brand of inserts and cards. The overall look of the “Fire” brand of cards changes from year to year, but on the whole they usually involve both geometric abstracts as well as paint/dust/particle effects. Some would say “paint splatter”, others “grunge and dust”, I just call it fantastic and inspirational. I was using the “Fire” inserts specifically from 2016 Update Baseball as inspiration.

So, with that said, and with literally 100 different “paint” brushes in photoshop, I came up with this…

 

 

2015 Fantasy Baseball – Final Results

With the 2015 regular season coming to a close, so does Fantasy Baseball. I’m actually stunned, honestly so, that my own team pulled off an upset win over Duff’s team for the championship. My season record was barely over .500, but we went on a 7-week streak towards the end.

2015_FantastyBaseball_Finals

I can take zero credit for it, I just had the good fortune of having both Clayton Kershaw and Dallas Keuchel in my rotation when they were hot. My outfield was weak, the rest of my rotation was weak, and I had to pick up about half a new team mid-season due to injuries. I took a couple longshots on rookies that panned out. Last year that same strategy bit me in the butt. Both Carlos Correa and Rougned Odor turned out to be pleasant surprises.

I’d like to thank everyone for playing this year. I had fun, I hope you did as well. Duff, I’d like to send some Padres your way as a consolation prize. I think I already have your address around here somewhere. Let me know if it’s changed recently.

Just for fun I think I might post up a comparison between the players I started the season with, and the ones I ended up with, but I’ll save that for another day. Thanks everybody!

Batting around

I don’t actually own that much in the way of “sports memorabilia”. Having entire gloves, bats, shoes, etc., is just too expensive. I don’t have any disposable incoming, I’m not a doctor or a lawyer, so paying hundreds of dollars for stuff is just not going to happen. I do have a signed Jim Rice jersey that Sam found for me, and a couple balls I’ve had signed in person. That was it, until today. Today I’ve added a signed bat to my collection.

So, who signed the bat…?

(more…)