Warning! Time wasting ahead!

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

I'll tell you right now - this video is not worth your time.

Let me just give you the highlights. I got three (yes - three) new cards. Out of a pack of 50 that contained what, 42 base cards? Three.

I expect some degree of duplication, since there are 330 base cards in the set and a jumbo box contains around 420 base cards. But in the second pack of the box? I almost don't feel like busting another pack tonight out of sheer spite. But yet, I feel like I have to.

There had better be some good stuff later on in the box.

If you don't watch this video, I understand.

2012 Season Recap, Part 2

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

In case you missed Part 1, I was able to simulate the 2012 baseball season thanks to Out of the Park Baseball version 13. The game not only provides incredibly detailed simulations of any Major League Baseball season, it's a lot of fun to play. In this article is all the good stuff from the second half of the season sim, including where your team finished. Read on to find out:


The All-Star Game was held on July 10, with the American League running out 6-4 winners...Jose Bautista was All-Star MVP after a 2-for-3 performance including a home run off Stephen Strasburg..."Joey Bats" had 30 dingers at the All-Star break but has cooled off, and is sitting on 34 as of July 31...Ichiro Suzuki announced his retirement, effective at the end of the season...Nobody in the NL Central, it seems, like the Cardinals. Their rivalry with the Cubs is well-documented, and they feuded with the Reds during the 2010 season. Now the latest divisional foes to trade blows with the Redbirds is Milwaukee, after a Lance Lynn fastball landed between Rickie Weeks's shoulder blades. Both players were suspended for nine games...Shin-Soo Choo had a 24-game hitting streak snapped on July 16...Carlos Beltran joined the 2000 hit club on July 21...

Award winners: Adam Dunn (.330/12 HR/33 RBI) was AL batter of the month, while Jason Heyward (.382/8 HR/24 RBI) won the NL award. Jair Jurrjens (3-0/1.80 ERA/33 K) and P.J. Walters (4-2/2.51 ERA/37 K) were pitchers of the month...

Notable transactions: Lance Berkman signed a 2-year, $16 million extension with St. Louis...Kevin Millwood's new lease on his career (8-1, 3.77 ERA with the Mariners) caught the notice of his former team Baltimore, who re-acquired him in exchange for Jai Miller and two minor leaguers...Robert Andino was traded to the White Sox for minor leaguer Jacob Petricka

Trade Deadline Roundup
After Madison Bumgarner went down for the season, the Giants pulled off a blockbuster, acquiring Justin Verlander in exchange for Pablo Sandoval. The deal also brought an end to the Miguel Cabrera third base experiment, as he was shifted back to first base and Prince Fielder installed as the full-time DH...Milwaukee sent Shawn Marcum to the Cardinals for Tyler Greene...The L.A. Angels traded for Francisco Liriano (12-3), giving up two prospects in a classic rent-a-player deal...The Yankees re-acquired Chien-Ming Wang in exchange for Andruw Jones and a minor leaguer...The Cubs, 14 games out, sent Geovany Soto to Philadelphia...The Philles also acquired Nolan Reimold for minor league catcher John Hill...The Padres and White Sox swapped Orlando Hudson for Gavin Floyd. At the same time, a White Star Line employee was busy re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic...Tsuyoshi Wada didn't last one season in Baltimore, traded to Milwaukee after compiling a 5-10 record for the Birds. Baltimore received Logan Schafer and a minor leaguer in return...The Brewers then added Jason Giambi for a pair of minor leaguers...Marco Scutaro, unhappy in Colorado, was sent back east - but to the last-place Mets for knuckleballer R.A. Dickey...Omar Infante will join Scutaro in the Big Apple after being swapped for Daniel Murphy...Justin Morneau joins the Rangers for the stretch run...Finally, Milwaukee shored up its rotation, acquiring Joe Saunders from Arizona for Mat Gamel and Brett Myers from Houston for Nyjer Morgan. No word if Tony Plush will also report to Minute Maid Park

Todd Frazier hit three home runs for the Reds on August 3 against Pittsburgh...C.J. Wilson is done for the year, placed on the 60-day DL on August 4...David Price pitched a one-hitter with nine strikeouts, blanking the Orioles 3-0 on August 5...San Diego's Will Venable landed in hot water after arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Angel Hernandez. The son of former big leaguer Max Venable bumped Hernandez during the argument, earning himself a four-game suspension...Dan Haren struck out 10 in a 8-0 shutout of the Tigers on August 25...Notable milestones reached this month were Jason Giambi (2000 hits) and Miguel Cabrera (300 HR)...

Award winners: Jason Giambi (.395/8 HR/20 RBI) was NL batter of the month, while Dustin Ackley (.333/27 R/26 RBI) won the AL award. Cleveland's Justin Masterson (6-0/1.79 ERA/28 K) and San Francisco's Eric Surkamp (5-0/1.45 ERA/33 K) were pitchers of the month...

Notable transactions: Brian Fuentes was traded to Seattle for minor leaguers Stefen Romero and Rudy van Heydoorn...a last-place record doomed Robin Ventura's managerial debut, and he was let go by the White Sox on August 27 following a 51-75 record. Jim Leyland took over as White Sox manager

Stephen Strasburg was shut down on September 5. His final stats were 15-7, 3.14 ERA and 216 strikeouts in 189 innings...Coco Crisp hit safely in 21 games, ending on September 8...Toronto's surprising run at a wild card spot hit the skids with Jose Bautista's injury on September 13...Pablo Sandoval hit for the cycle in Detroit's 10-8 loss to Oakland on September 18...Philadelphia milestones achieved this month include Ryan Howard (300 HR), Roy Halladay (200 wins) and Jimmy Rollins (2000 hits)...Other milestones are Todd Helton (2500 hits) and Adam Dunn (400 HR)

Award winners: Albert Pujols (.354/10 HR/26 RBI) was AL batter of the month, while Carlos Gonzalez (.357/10 HR/20 RBI) won his second NL award for the year. Josh Beckett (5-1/2.66 ERA/45 K) and Jason Motte (2-0/9 SV/2.70 ERA/21 K) were pitchers of the month...

Notable transactions: Matt Harrison will get a substantial raise next season. The Rangers bought out his second arbitration year with a $4.4 million extension. The lefty made $480,000 this season...The Rangers also did the same with Neftali Feliz, agreeing to a $4.32 million contract for next season...Papa Grande may have only saved 25 games this season, but Jose Valverde will stay in Detroit, signing a three-year, $19.5 million extension. The Tigers also signed Delmon Young to a $2.2 million contract for 2013

Click on the graphic for the final regular season standings. Spare a thought for the poor Toronto Blue Jays, who had the fifth-best record in the AL but only the fourth-best in the AL East, thus missing the playoffs:

The playoffs started early, with the Dodgers and Phillies needing a one-game playoff for the second NL wild card spot (man it feels weird to type that)...The game was close until an eight-run Dodger eighth, bookended by two Matt Kemp home runs, put the game to rest...The Red Sox beat the Rays and the Cardinals beat the Dodgers in the first Wild Card rounds...The Braves then swept the Cards in the Divisional Series, and had to wait for the Giants, who ran out to a 2-0 series lead, to put away the Brewers in five games...The Red Sox and Indians both won the first games of their respective series, only to see the Yankees and Rangers win the next three...Phil Hughes pitched that first game for the Bombers, and struck out 12 in the loss. Unfortunately for Hughes, Tim Lincecum struck out 13 in the Giants win, so Hughes wasn't even the best pitcher on the night...The ALCS was a home team extravaganza. Unfortunately for the Rangers, there were four games played at Yankee Stadium and only three in Arlington...The Braves beat the Giants in six...The Yankees, thanks to the AL's victory in the All-Star Game, held home-field advantage for the World Series...The Bombers used that to good effect, jumping out to a 2-0 series lead...The Braves won the third game, 12-2, only to drop the fourth game 3-2...Atlanta won the fifth game, 5-3, on Halloween but faced two must-win games in Yankee Stadium...Down 7-6 in the 9th inning, a two-RBI triple by Martin Prado gave the Braves an 8-7 lead, which was padded when Jack Wilson doubled home Prado, then secured by the ever-reliable Craig Kimbrel...That left a Game 7 at Yankee Stadium, and the Braves drew first blood in the 4th when Dan Uggla hit a solo homer off CC Sabathia...Two innings later, Atlanta delivered the knockout blow with a five-run 6th inning followed by a six-run 7th...Robinson Cano touched Tommy Hanson for a two-run blast in the 6th for all of the Yankees scoring in a 12-2 Atlanta win...The World Series title was the fourth for the Braves organisation (1914, 1957, 1995) and the second in Atlanta...Martin Prado was named World Series MVP

I will be happy to provide any information about players or teams you might be interested in, and how they fared in the simulation. Just leave a comment below and I'll do the same with the answer!

I'm opening the Jumbo Box!

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in , ,

It's been two years since I last posted a video. Seriously. My laptop that had a video camera suffered a meltdown in 2010, and we only just recently purchased a new laptop (we've been making do with the desktop in the meantime, obviously). The new laptop, much like the old, has a webcam. So let's make a YouTube video!

Yes, that's a Brooklyn Dodgers cap. I won't wear a L.A. Magic Dodgers cap, but how can anyone not love (or at least have a warm feeling toward) the Brooklyn Dodgers? When I was visiting my brother last year, I saw an old guy walking down Montague Street with a Dodgers hat. Seriously, the guy was like 80 years old if he was a day. Somehow, I don't think he purchased his hat at a Lids store like I did. He probably got it at Ebbets Field. When Carl Furillo threw it into the stands or something.

2012 Season Recap

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

No, that's not a misprint. Thanks to the folks at Out of the Park Baseball, I have simulated the 2012 MLB season using their just-released game, OOTP 13. Here are some highlights of the year that has yet to be. The amazing thing is, I didn't add any information. All of this came from the game, it's that detailed:

Joe Mauer suffered another injury, which kept him out of the Twins lineup for two weeks...Michael Young collected five hits in a game against the White Sox on April 6...Erik Bedard showed flashes of his old self, shutting out the Dodgers on three hits on April 11...Paul Konerko hit his 400th career home run against Baltimore on April 16, but the game was marred by a bench-clearing brawl sparked by the O's Luis Ayala beaning Chicago's Adam Dunn. Both players were suspended for five games...April 18 was a bad day for young pitchers, as both Kris Medlen of the Braves and Brad Ziegler of the Diamondbacks saw their seasons come to an early end with identical elbow injuries. They'll both need Tommy John surgery...The meek Dodgers bats re-surfaced on April 17; this time it was Zack Greinke who shut out Los Angeles on three hits...Carlos Marmol missed a week after getting beaned on the head by a faulty pitching machine during pitchers' batting practice, causing both a concussion and embarassment...

Award winners: Carlos Pena (.300/11 HR/24 RBI) was AL batter of the month, while Carlos Gonzalez (.366/7 HR/25 RBI) won the NL award. Francisco Liriano (5-0/2.72 ERA/38K) and Matt Cain (5-0/2.54 ERA/23 K) were pitchers of the month...

Notable transactions: Free agents Roy Oswalt (Mariners) and Vladimir Guerrero (Cubs) signed deals for the season...The Reds added veteran leadership in the infield and outfield, signing Derrek Lee and Johnny Damon...The Indians gave up on "Fausto Carmona", designating Roberto Hernandez for assignment and then waiving him...The Pirates, in need of catching help, traded for Braves back-up backstop David Ross, sending Jo-Jo Reyes back to Atlanta

John Lannan pitched the first only no-hitter of the season on May 11, blanking the Reds 6-0. The Nationals hurler faced only one batter over the minimum and racked up six strikeouts...Not one, but two batters rapped out five hits on May 1, with Milwaukee's Corey Hart and San Francisco's Nate Schierholtz holding the hot bats...Felix Hernandez will miss three months with rotator cuff inflammation. King Felix got off to his usual type of start, compiling a 5-3 record despite a 3.60 ERA thanks to non-support from the anemic Mariners' offense...Carl Crawford's injury continues to plague him. It's now expected that the Red Sox outfielder won't return until early June...More bad news for the Red Sox, as Crawford's replacement, Ryan Sweeney, injured himself in the weight room and will miss a few days...Ben Revere strung together a 27-game hitting streak from April 14 to May 18. Bizarrely, it wasn't enough to keep him from being sent down to Rochester on May 20...As if it couldn't get worse for the Phillies, they lost Chase Utley to a sprained ankle on May 22. He'll be out for eight weeks...

Award winners: Evan Longoria (.364/11 HR/32 RBI) was AL batter of the month, while Lance Berkman (.340/8 HR/25 RBI) won the NL award. Stephen Strasburg (5-0/1.29 ERA/40 K) and Jeff Niemann (5-1/3.30 ERA/38 K) were pitchers of the month...

Notable transactions: Brandon League signed a 3-year, $19.5 million extension with the Mariners...Shane Victorino signed a 6-year, $90 million deal with the Phillies...Jim Leyland was fired by the Tigers on May 30 after a 25-26 start saw them fall 10 games behind the AL Central leading Indians

Jon Lester seemed to enjoy interleague play, as the Red Sox hurler struck out 16 Washington batters on June 10...Jayson Werth wasn't amongst Lester's victims, as he was serving a 10-game suspension for a fight with the Mets' Jonathon Niese on June 7...Notable milestones reached this month were Ichiro Suzuki (2500 hits) and Placido Polanco (2000 hits)...The Roy Oswalt era in Seattle isn't going great, with Oswalt pitching to a 4-8 record with a 6.13 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 79.1 innings, then going on the DL on June 10...A bad omen for the Astros' move to the AL West, as there was a bench-clearing brawl in their June 16 interleague game against the Rangers. Derek Holland (Texas) and Jimmy Paredes (Houston) each received 10-game bans...Fredi Gonzalez's overuse of Jonny Venters has apparently caught up with him, as Venters learned on June 18 that his sore shoulder will rule him out for four months, bringing a premature end to his 2012 season...In an announcement that surprised absolutely nobody, the Twins announced Joe Mauer would miss one-to-two weeks with a shoulder strain...

Award winners: Dee Gordon (.458/13 SB/19 R) was NL batter of the month, while Jason Kipnis (.342/10 HR/27 RBI) won the AL award. CC Sabathia (5-1/1.86 ERA/39 K) and Adam Wainwright (5-0/1.76 ERA/28 K) were pitchers of the month...

Notable transactions: Cincinnati traded Drew Stubbs and minor leaguer Gabriel Rosa to Texas for David Murphy...Texas traded Mitch Moreland to Oakland for Yoenis Cespedes...Philadelphia dealt Polanco to St. Louis for minor leaguer Matt Carpenter...Pittsburgh sold high on Erik Bedard, trading him to Arizona for Chase Anderson...Zack Greinke signed a 4-year, $58 million extension with Milwaukee...Barry Larkin's stint as a Baseball Tonight analyst was short-lived, as the Hall of Famer and Michigan alumnus was tapped to succeed Jim Leyland as the Tigers' skipper...The Mariano Rivera circus will last for at least one more season, as the 42-year-old signed an $11 million deal to play in 2013

For Part Two of the Season Recap, click here

Stop thief!

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

I learned something while reading Baseball Prospectus this weekend. Tim Hudson was born on the date that I was due to be born. Therefore, Tim Hudson stole my life.

I always knew I should have been a big-league ballplayer!

Just think, this could have been my statistical career...

Bad Timing

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

My wife, as you know, is Australian. I don't want to say that she hates baseball, but she definitely doesn't understand it. By that, I don't mean that she doesn't know what's going on - she can certainly follow a game. It's that she doesn't understand the importance of baseball.

Why else would she book a five-day camping trip to start on Opening Day?

This is my way of saying that I will be incommunicado for the biggest day of the sporting calendar. I'm none too pleased about this. At least I'll get to see the Marlins/Cardinals game (I'm watching it now on the DVR) and I've set the Reds/Marlins game and White Sox/Rangers Sunday night game to record, but in order to not find anything out, it's radio silence.

I don't like camping at the best of times. I hate camping right now. This is not my idea of a relaxing vacation. Sitting in front of a television watching nine straight hours of baseball is my idea of a great time.


We interrupt this broadcast

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

I supposed you all want to know my thoughts on the Joey Votto contract, right?

On one hand, I am excited that the Reds have locked up the best player I have seen in a Reds uniform since Barry Larkin (yes, I know Ken Griffey Jr was a Red, but he was much better as a Mariner) for the next twelve years. This contract probably means that Votto will spend the entirety of his career, a possible Hall-of-Fame career, in the Queen City. We haven't seen that since the aforementioned Mr. Larkin.

On the other hand, it means that Votto will spend his entire career with the Reds, so the team will be spending in the neighborhood of $25 million to a 39-year-old first baseman come the year 2022. That sort of contract can cripple a small-market team with little revenue streams.

But who knows what player salaries will look like ten years from now? It's entirely possible that $25 million per year then will seem like $4 million now, and $4 million could be the league minimum. This could turn out to be a bargain, or a fairly priced deal.

I'm not ashamed to admit it: part of me is really glad for the deal because it represents a giant upraised middle finger to the fans in Toronto, Los Angeles and anywhere else that was all but measuring Votto for their team's uniform in time for the start of the 2014 season. Instead, thanks to his new contract and full no-trade clause (which is effectively moot thanks to the 10-and-5 rights that Votto will earn in a couple of years), we'll see Votto in red and white for a long, long time.

Why would Votto take the extension? Well, frankly, it's for as much money as he probably could have gotten in free agency, or at least near enough as makes no difference. So that takes money effectively out of the equation. I believe the answer lies in a quote that Votto said to John Fay, the Reds' beat writer for the Cincinnati Enquirer. "Here I am about to sign a $200 million extension," Votto said, "and the only media I have to answer to is you."

That's a big part of it. I grew up in Cincinnati and Raleigh, two cities with the same distinction: they are each among the smallest cities in major professional sports. The result is that the Reds (and the Hurricanes in Raleigh) absolutely own the town. To be a Cincinnati Red is to be loved by the fans (as long as you don't make an ass out of yourself). Joey Votto may be a Toronto native, and he may be one of the best first basemen in the game today, but if he were to have signed with the Blue Jays, as good as he is, and as a Torontonian he may be, he still be behind 21 Maple Leafs in the city pecking order. And while Votto might have movie star good looks, in Los Angeles he would have had to compete with actual movie stars. Not to mention that it's tough to stand out when the team owner is still the city's favorite athlete. I don't know if being "The Man" is an important consideration for Votto, but that quote clearly shows that he knows the situation in the Queen City.

All in all, I was stoked when I got the alert on my phone yesterday morning that said "Votto, Reds near extension." And it didn't take long for the next update to flash across saying that the deal was done. While the numbers seemed incredible at first (after all, there's only been four $200 million contract in history, and I never would have thought the Reds would agree to one of them), the Votto deal shows that Bob Castellini and Reds management are willing to do what it takes to win. I can't ever imagine Carl Lindner agreeing to such a deal, for example. It's no coincidence that his ownership was a fallow time for the Reds.

One thing that has been mentioned a bit, but not enough in my opinion, is the effect this extension has on Brandon Phillips and his negotiations. These now appear to have broken down, and there's a good chance that he could leave after this season. While that would be sad, if forced to choose between Votto and Phillips, I'd pick Votto, ten times out of ten. The Reds got their man, and I for one am glad of it.

Damning with faint praise

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in

A short post today as I'm going to spend four hours watching Wrestlemania tonight.

As regular readers know, I love the MLB At Bat app. It is my lifeline - my way to stay in touch with all the games, including spring training games. Those are a particular treat, as announcers tend to have a bit of fun, especially with the small listening audiences and in the late innings when the fields are full of minor leaguers.

I was listening to a Pirates/Rays spring training game (don't laugh, it was the only game on the radio) Thursday whilst I was driving around. Rod Barajas was at bat for the Pirates. Now, Rod Barajas isn't exactly what you would call gifted with speed. That much was apparent after he hit the ball into the gap, where it reached the wall and kept rolling. As the Rays' play-by-play man, Dave Wills, called it:

"Barajas lines a ball into the gap in left center, Johnson chasing after it, that ball is going to roll along the wall. Johnson throws it back in, and Barajas stretches a triple into a double."

I bust myself laughing at that one. I'm sure the drivers in the other cars thought I was crazy.