Wednesday, August 23, 2017

New Negro League Set



I'm currently in the middle of creating my "Negro League Stars" Set, it will feature plenty of the cards that APBA came out with for their Negro League Set, while usually featuring the players' best Negro League seasons. There will be players featured in this set, that were not featured in previous APBA sets such as Alejandro Oms, Red Moore & John Beckwith, among many others.






Plus logos from the well-known Negro League teams, plus logos from little known Negro League Teams.

I found myself drawn to this idea of late, due to the fact, that I love Negro League Baseball, and due to all the unnecessary nonsense that has took place of late, in Charlottesville, Virginia -- there seems to be no better time to start creating a beautiful Negro League set. 

Not going to get too political here, but one thing is for sure...  Hate, Racism & Bigoty has no place in this society, it is acts like this that delayed Negro League players a chance to play in the Majors. This country has come so far, we can't afford to have this country revert to a dark area in our nation's history.

More news to come on these cards & how you may be able to acquire this set through trades...



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Late Innings of Life

[This post was started in late July, when my two friends passed, it has took a lot of energy in trying to continue]

This has been an odd week to say the least, I've been on Facebook very brief this week, and found out bad news at work, that my coworker Josh, apparently suffered a seizure in his sleep & never woke up. He was one of the kindest guys you could have ever come across, completely selfless... He used to work with my wife at Goodwill, he would stay a little extra longer off the clock & walk the ladies out to their vehicles, during closes. He has time & time again at Applebee's would volunteer himself to help the restaurant in anyway that he could, he would occasionally pat people on the backs, when he felt people needed a spiritual lift.

On July 25th, this past Tuesday, he was working his tail off in the dish pit, I brought a container of mixing bowls & utensils over, he was a bit overwhelmed with the waitstaff asking for dishes & etc, he mentioned "They are going to have to wait, I'm trying my hardest." I came over, patted him on the back (like he would do for us) and said "Josh, you are working hard bud, that's all you can do at this moment, you know it, I know it, you got this... (patted him on back), he seemed to be at ease & a better mood after this. Becky & I clocked out of work about a half-an-hour later, and went home to go out to Lake Michigan & the Sleeping Bear Dunes, we had the next two days off... little did we know, that would be the last day we would see Josh on this green Earth.

Came into Friday, and our boss got the phone call around 10 am... The word spread quick and everyone was really quiet for some time, it was odd, and difficult for any of us to wrap our heads around.

That night (Friday, July 28th), I was making a post about my friend Josh, finished it, and was shocked to scroll down my Facebook feed and read about another friend's death, in my friend Mike Miller...

I should say our friend Mike Miller, anyone that has ever got to meet him face-to-face, was treated with a great gift of humanity. He had this amazing way of making every single person in the room feeling as equally important, embracing us with his wonderful smile, enjoying life to its fullest. I would love to be this guy when I reach his age, carefree, no worries in the world, he was selfless in the many ways that my friend Josh was, and he went out of his way to make sure that everyone during Chicagoland (Summer 2016) was having a great experience, to the point that he helped Thomas Nelshoppen make his train & helped get me down to Chicago O'Hare for my trip back home...



I didn't get to spend as much time with Mike, as others that weekend got to do, but in the limited time that I got to spend with him, we spent that time well, talking about where he was from & his big love for the San Francisco Giants.

I have made it no secret in the recent past that I get tired of teams that continue to win, I rooted for the Giants to defeat the Rangers in 2010, then they beat my beloved Detroit Tigers in 2012, by 2014, I & everyone outside of San Francisco were sick of the Orange & Black. I feel bad for Mike's sake that the Giants are having a terrible season, but I am delighted that he got to see his guys win 3 titles in 5 years.

Now for all of you who thought you knew how much of a big heart that Mike has, you are about to be floored on how big of a heart he has. The night of the celebration dinner when he overheard that I needed a ride to the airport, he said he had no problem doing so. The next morning after breakfast, he was out having a smoke, and we were chatting, and through our discussion we realized we had our lines crossed the night before, he thought I was flying out of Milwaukee like he was, and found out I had to go to Chicago. I quickly grabbed my stuff from the hotel, when I was checking out, the clerk mentioned something odd to me that "I was all taken care of", I was thinking that's odd. Yes, I checked in, but not at any point I remember them ringing up my card.

He got me to the airport in great time, while we had a great morning of discussion along the way, we took some pictures along the way.

After the trip, and I got home to rewind, I was waiting & waiting to see $320-$330 taken out of my account for my two-night stay in Libertyville, nothing ever came of it, I wondered for the longest time if there was an error by the desk clerk, or that someone paid for them, $330 is a lot of money, so no way did someone pay for them...



I used to think that, then I start to think of Mike's smile & generosity, and I'm pretty convinced he may have paid for my two nights. He touched so many lives, as witnessed with the outpouring of love coming from his friends & family on Facebook. They spoke highly of Mike, which all came as no surprise to any us that got to be around this wonderful personality during that weekend in Chicago. Mike & I have chatted over the years on Facebook, we shared the same views relating to politics, I knew where he stood long before knowing where he actually stood, and none of it was a surprise to me, he had an amazing heart.



I miss you my friend, and I wanted to thank you for everything that you have done for me, your advice, your encouragement & your heart.

Also, I wanted to add one more thing, only you my friend, can rock out a that multi-logo T-shirt, only you my friend!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Dawn of the Rebuild


My Detroit Tigers are about to go through a new period for the franchise, a rebuild. Most fans dread the word, but as a Tiger fan, I am glad that they are going to finally commit to it.

They honestly should have started a few years ago, instead of signing Justin Upton & Jordan Zimmermann, they should have made a serious attempt at resigning Max Scherzer first (and I'm not speaking of the $142 million extension), then once that did not work out, did small signings or extensions elsewhere. They waited too long (like the Philadelphia Phillies did) and are now facing a long rebuild, they need to get the max amount of the pieces that they are trading away.

I happened to be in the 4th row behind the visiting dugout at Comerica Park, as the Detroit Tigers won in extras, with a walk-off walk to Miguel Cabrera on July 16th; In that game, fan favorite J.D. Martinez homered to right field, it would be his last home run as a Tiger, as the Arizona Diamondbacks would acquire him two days later.

I was stunned to hear the return of J.D., I felt we were low-balled in that trade, I feel we should have gotten back a better package of prospects from Arizona. The Tigers acquired Dawel Lugo, Sergio Alcantara & Jose King -- All infield prospects. We should have tried to acquire back Domingo Leyba, that would have been really nice. Lugo had the most upside, was Arizona's #4 prospect, and falls to #12 in Detroit's system according to MLB.com.

We ended up trading Justin Wilson & Alex Avila to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Jeimer Candelario & Isaac Paredes (minors), plus a player to be named later or cash. Avila has hit 2 HR's for both of his hits with the Cubs so far, while J.D. has hit 7 HR for the Diamondbacks already in 19 games of play.


My favorite player in all of Baseball is Justin Verlander, and as much as I love seeing him wearing the old english D, it's time that we get something for him while we can; I am a Detroit Tigers fan first & foremost, so if it betters my Tigers, I think we need to definitely deal him. He didn't go anywhere at the Trade Deadline, but there is still a small slim chance he could be acquired by someone in August, on a waiver wire trade.

Verlander has been red-hot, 3-2 record with a 1.91 ERA, 1.021 WHIP & 50 K's in 47 innings, during his last 7 starts.

We need to rebuild the farm system & go from there, I knew realistically our championship window closed during the 2013 American League Championship Series, when "Big Papi" David Ortiz smashed that ball over the fence (with Torii Hunter along with it) that it was the dagger moment. Now it's time for a new group of guys, hopefully not too far down the horizon to lead the Tigers to that elusive World Championship that they have been thirsting for since 1984.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

2017 BoS All-Star Teams Announced!


As my reader know, I currently commission a 16-team league, featuring 16 fellow APBA owners, in a keeper's league that allows trading, which includes year-to-year drafts (that includes both rookies & free agents). We are in our 5th season, and we are at the mid-way point, which means it's time to announce the All-Stars

First off, the reserves for the American League...


SP - Bartolo Colon


C - Wilson Ramos
DH - Chris Carter
SP - Jake Arrieta
SP - Max Scherzer
RP - Mark Melancon


C - Salvador Perez
DH - Yangervis Solarte
SP - Zack Greinke
RP - Cam Bedrosian


SS - Xander Bogaerts


1B - Hanley Ramirez


OF - Charlie Blackmon

(Vancouver)

3B - Manny Machado
OF - Cameron Maybin
RP - Edwin Diaz


1B - David Ortiz
2B - Robinson Cano
OF - Andrew McCutchen
SP - Justin Verlander


The National League Reserves...


OF - Starling Marte
SP - Jose Fernandez
SP - Johnny Cueto


SP - Rich Hill
RP - Aroldis Chapman


3B - Jake Lamb


1B - Edwin Encarnacion
SS - Francisco Lindor


1B - Wil Myers
2B - Jose Altuve
OF - Christian Yelich
DH - Nelson Cruz
SP - Kyle Hendricks

(Spring Branch Duffers)

SS - Carlos Correa
SP - Aaron Sanchez
RP - Blake Treinen


C - Jonathan Lucroy
3B - Nicholas Castellanos


OF - Yoenis Cespedes
RP - Zach Britton


STARTING LINEUPS

American League

  1. CF- Mookie Betts (South Side)
  2. 2B- Dustin Pedroia (Vancouver)
  3. 1B- Anthony Rizzo (Swatara)
  4. LF- Khris Davis (Fairgrove)
  5. 3B- Kyle Seager (Corktown)
  6. DH- Matt Kemp (Watersmeet)
  7. C- Yasmani Grandal (Swatara)
  8. SS- Asdrubal Cabrera (Buffalo)
  9. RF- Howie Kendrick (Fairgrove)
SP- Madison Bumgarner (Fairgrove)

National League
  1. SS- Eduardo Nunez (King Road)
  2. 2B- Daniel Murphy (King Road)
  3. 1B- Miguel Cabrera (Traverse City)
  4. CF- Ryan Braun (Seattle)
  5. 3B- Adrian Beltre (Urbana)
  6. DH- Carlos Beltran (King Road)
  7. C- Evan Gattis (Holland)
  8. LF- Ian Desmond (King Road)
  9. RF- Nomar Mazara (Spring Branch)
SP- J.A. Happ (King Road)


The big stories during the 2017 BoS Season has been the emergence of the King Road Kings, one of the original franchises looking for their first playoff birth. At the break, they are 55-32 in 1st place, 1.5 games ahead of the Seattle Rainiers in the N.L. West. 

The defending BoS World Champions - Fairgrove Tigers (55-32) currently hold a 5-game lead over the newcomer Vancouver Storm franchise. 



Miguel Cabrera is currently leading the National League in the three Triple Crown categories, his stats on the ballot: .348 Batting Average, 24 HR & 70 RBI.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

While You are Waiting


I just wanted to do a quick shout-out to my regular readers, I am so sorry for the lack of posts lately. Many things going on, been very busy, and dealing with the loss of good friends.

While your waiting please check out many of my past posts along the topics table on the right side, or please check out some of the blogs & websites that I love following, such as...

  • My friend Thomas Nelshoppen's "The APBA Blog" on all things APBA, like leagues, tournaments, the people involved & the cards themselves.
  • "Cards That Never Were" - A site of custom-made cards, this site has over 850 cards on here to check out, talk about creativity! Love cards, check it out!
  • "Love, Life and APBA Baseball" - My friend Kenneth Heard has this amazing blog which brings an in-depth perspective of his personal life while it's peppered in with the great game of APBA Baseball. You won't find another blog that comes straight from the heart, and you will love Kenneth's way with words, while he'll also make you laugh.
  • "Minnesota APBA" A blog by my friend Beau Lofgren & his APBA projects, he has a few family members that love the game as well... I really enjoying reading his posts.

Enjoy! I do have plenty to come...
Thanks for your patience,
Shawn 
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