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An encore

It’s been about a week and a half since I announced my intention to stop updating this blog… and the reasons for doing that really haven’t changed. But I got something in the mail this weekend that I did want to share and acknowledge.

Back in 2013, I attended Zack Wheeler‘s first start at Citi Field along with 33 thousand other Mets fans who were there to see his home debut and/or try to get the David Wright bobblehead giveaway.

Mission accomplished on the bobblehead front, I might have had a better afternoon if I’d made an early exit from Citi Field. Wheeler got rocked, and Brandon Lyon (remember him?) threw gasoline on the fire. Heading to the ninth inning, the Mets trailed 11-0.

But I’m glad I stuck it out for the whole game. Instead of summoning another reliever, Terry Collins called on backup catcher Anthony Recker to face the Washington Nationals in the game’s final inning.

There were far less than 33 thousand people still in the ballpark at that point, and I was one of the few Mets fans on hand who bothered to take any photos of Recker’s pitching debut. I posted them online after I got home, because it really was the only highlight of a disappointing game.

Mets fan and autograph collector Lee Harmon contacted me to obtain my original image files so he could use one of them for a custom baseball card to get signed. At the end of the season, Lee sent me an autographed copy for my own collection. Since Recker never appeared as a Met on an official widely-released baseball card, Lee’s creation has a permanent spot in my binder.

Earlier this month, Lee got to see Recker when the Columbus Clippers played the Indianapolis Indians. According to the note he sent me, Recker liked the photo and was thrilled to keep a copy.

Anthony Recker CCI04252016

The one Recker signed for me instantly became one of my favorite pieces in my collection.

Thank you, Lee, and thank you Anthony Recker.

Signing off one more time,

— Paul 

 

Mets baseball card of the week: Carlos Beltran 2011 All-Star Game Relic

Carlos-Beltran-ASG

A while ago, Twitchy sent me some really neat Mets baseball cards… and I still haven’t shown any of them off. So let’s fix that.

I love All-Star Game relic cards, despite not being a particularly big fan of relic cards or the All-Star Game. Go figure. I think it’s because it’s fun to see players in uniforms that they don’t normally wear.

In 2011, Carlos Beltran was in his final year as a Met. It seems like a lifetime ago, but it hasn’t even been five years since he represented the Mets in the National League’s 5-1 victory in the All-Star Game at Chase Field. Beltran went 1-for-2, scoring on Prince Fielder‘s home run off of C.J. Wilson. A few weeks later, he was traded to the San Francisco Giants for Zack Wheeler.

In a few hours, Beltran will be trotting out to right field at Yankee Stadium as New York’s other team tries again to get their 2016 season started. On the plus side, it’s not raining today…but it’s not exactly baseball weather – fans might need to worry about frostbite.

It’s too easy for Mets fans to remember Beltran’s career for one playoff at-bat in 2006, but he really was one of the greatest players in team history. Hopefully after he retires, the Mets will honor him with a plaque in the team’s Hall of Fame.

Meanwhile, the Mets will try again this afternoon to get that first win under their belts. Friday’s home opener will be more fun if they aren’t starting the season with an 0-2 record.

Mets baseball cards of the week: 2016 Opening Day team set

It’s been a little while since we last talked baseball cards… a few new sets came out, and I even have two new 2016 Mets partial team sets to show you.

I’d really been looking forward to Topps Heritage, since this year’s set is based on one of my favorite classic Topps designs. Now that I actually have most of the cards in hand (thanks Stubby!), I find myself with mixed feelings.

So let’s save that for another day and focus on the product that wildly surpassed my expectations: Topps Opening Day. It’s been years since I actually bothered getting the Mets team set from Opening Day… the cards are almost identical to the ones from the Topps flagship set, but you don’t get all of the players because Opening Day is less than half the size.

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Except this year, I noticed half of the Mets in Opening Day aren’t in Topps Series One. Steven Matz and Lucas Duda will undoubtedly turn up in Series Two, most likely with the same image. Matt Reynolds and Ruben Tejada? Your guess is as good as mine… I could easily see Tejada getting bumped or digitally transformed into a Cardinal. (The better question is: “where’s David Wright?” but he did miss all but 38 games last season and is in Series One, so I’ll cut them some slack.)

(Tejada also has a pretty nifty super short print photo variation in Opening Day that I’d been planning to get, but the Mets released him before I had the opportunity and it has kinda killed my motivation. There are also super short print photo variations for Noah Syndergaard and Reynolds according to the Cardboard Connection’s gallery.)

So Reynolds’ first Mets baseball card (not counting autographs in Heritage and Spring Fever) was motivation enough for me to pick up Opening Day this year, but the set’s strength is in its inserts.

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Opening Day gave us Mrs. Met’s first baseball card appearance, as well as two cards commemorating the Mets’ playoff success last fall. (There’s also a less interesting Matt Harvey card in an insert set dedicated to teams’ alternate uniforms, but the Mets wear their blue alternates often enough that seeing Harvey in the home jersey that he always wears isn’t very exciting…still, what’s one “miss” in a product that’s so much better than I expected?)

In actual baseball news, Matt Harvey weathered a health scare, Bobby Parnell got released by the Tigers, Philip Humber retired after learning he wouldn’t make the Padres’ roster and Jeff Francoeur managed to make the Braves roster.

We’re just days away from baseball games that count…I’m looking forward to caring enough to watch more than one game a week.:-)