Saturday, November 17, 2018

Mookie Betts 2018 MVP and Steve Pearce Re-Signed

Well, I'm back. I've been gone about ten months, for personal, devastating reasons I'm not getting into. If you're close to me, you already know. But I'm happy to be back, and hopefully I can post consistently as an avenue to better days.
If you're a constant reader, thanks for staying with me. If you're not, welcome aboard, and thanks.

My first blog back is about Mookie Betts, the majors' best 5-tool player (with Mike Trout 1B). Here's the numbers on the voting, via the good people at, at this link:

AL MVP Award voting
Mookie Betts, BOS282410
Mike Trout, LAA124212265
Jose Ramirez, CLE110113208
J.D. Martinez, BOS12855198
Alex Bregman, HOU14109192

So Mookie won by quite a bit, as he should have, as a) Trout had one of his best seasons, but for another mediocre Angels team, and b) Betts was the best player on a great team with other great players, notably J.D. Martinez. (Martinez being voted out of the top-3, replaced by Jose Ramirez, is silly, but that's another blog. I mean, he won 2 Silver Sluggers last year, one at DH [obviously; surprisingly bad year for AL DHs in general] and one in left, where Benintendi is standing right now, his arms high, saying "What the hell?" But that's how eye-popping Martinez's numbers were. I don't think anyone's ever won two SSs at 2 different positions in the same year before.)

Someone, perhaps from L.A., or Anaheim, or wherever the identity crisis identifies itself, voted for Trout, and maybe that's forgivable. But someone else voted for Martinez, and this--though I'm a Sox fan--is provably wrong, and really indefensible.

First, of course, is that Martinez didn't play the field, outside of National League parks. This is for a reason, and it's not just that the Sox outfield is one of the best defensively of all time. It's because Martinez is a defensive liability. Look at on his page, and you'll see. I'll provide it for you here. His defense was -1.4 last year, and -7.6 for his career. By any explanation, that's bad. Really bad. Now, I know Martinez hit .330 and drove in 130 runs, but Mookie Betts clearly would have as well, had he batted 3rd and 4th in the lineup, and for the MVP, Martinez's extra homers and RBIs don't compensate for what would've been a horrendous defense had Sox leadership had a stroke and let him play the field for 150 games.

Secondly, and it should be said again, if Mookie Betts hits 3rd or 4th as Martinez had, he would've had Martinez's numbers this year, minus the RBIs, because he wouldn't have had Mookie Betts on base in front of him. Betts's on-base % was higher than Martinez's, and his 30 steals and first-to-third ability far eclipses Martinez's running talent, which is limited. Have you seen how many times Mookie Betts scored from 2nd on infield hits the last few years, a la the last play in the movie Major League? If you haven't, YouTube it, because it's electric and unreal. J.D. Martinez simply can't do it. So baserunning ability, and electricity on the bases, and scoring 129 runs, advantage Betts.

Thirdly, it's not just that Martinez is terrible in the field. It's also that Betts is the best right fielder out there right now. He's got Rickey Henderson's speed (almost) and Dwight Evans's arm. He throws out people at 2nd and 3rd with liners that only Jackie Bradley, Jr. can emulate. Remember his throw nailing Houston's Tony Kemp, who had homered earlier, who tried to go to second in the 8th, down by two, 8-6, with Kimbrel possibly again about to fall apart on the mound? That was the play of the game--and not the catch against the wall (and the fans), because of course the Astros tied the game later, and even had 2 one-run leads. Anyway, Martinez doesn't make those plays. With him out there, Joe West signals homerun. Martinez doesn't make all those diving catches. And in left, where he'd play, he'd never, ever make Benintendi's diving play to save that game (and Kimbrel's ass, since the bases were loaded and they all would've scored to lose the game).

So that one vote for Martinez is a joke. Betts has the same homers and RBIs with another Betts leading off. Betts has the huge advantage in defense, base-running, stolen bases, OBP, electricity on the bases, scoring from second on infield hits, going first-to-third, and distracting the pitcher to the advantage of the next batter. (The pitcher would just ignore J.D. at first base.) That one voter must be old-school sold on homers and RBIs to the exclusion of everything else, and that's frankly, and provably, wrong.

And P.S.--Did you see that Steve Pearce got re-signed for one year at $6.25 million? The same Steve Pearce who was World Series MVP, who hit three homers in the last two games, and who had an awesome playoffs in general? But here's the thing: He had just finished a contract that paid him two years at $12.5 million. Now, I'm no math teacher, but isn't two years at 12.5 the same as one year at 6.25? So Steve Pearce gets a 0% raise after winning World Series MVP and having an electric playoffs--and some great games against the Yanks, including a 3-homer game, during the regular season? I know he probably got a bonus for winning World Series MVP, but his 0% raise still smells like a stinky home-field discount to me. It's cheap.  

Monday, July 9, 2018

Making Over $50 on One Fatima Card -- Same Exact Certification #

Just a little tidbit about how I sometimes make summer money with baseball cards. Here is a 1913 T200 Fatima baseball card I just bought. Notice the PSA certification number:

I bought this one via bid last night for $106.50, quite cheap for a 1913 Fatima, in PSA 1.5 Fair condition. The PSA certification number, if you don't want to click the pic--and you should; it's a nice card--is 19195087. So, last night, $106.50, Cert. #19195087.

Of course, before you agree to spend that much money, you research online how much that card has sold for recently on ebay, to make sure you don't overspend. Specific bids on ebay can inexplicably go crazy; I saw just last night some T206 PSA 2s go for almost $40 (you can get them typically between $23-$28) and I saw 3s go for over $50 (you can commonly get them for $35 to $45, max) and so on. Well, one of the ones I saw had sold via bid on May 9th of this year, just a few months ago. Here it is:

This one sold for $157.50. Same card, same condition, same grading company. (Same ebay company, too.) I thought this was rare, since 1913 T200 Fatima cards themselves are pretty rare, so I looked a little closer. You can, too, just click the pic. You might notice the same thing I did. This wasn't just the same card--a 1913 T200 Fatima Cincinnati Reds in PSA 1.5 condition--but it was literally the same exact specific card. Look at the certification number. Exactly the same: 19195087!

What're the odds of that? That means that someone on May 9th--just two months ago--bought this exact same card on a bid from this ebay company for $157.50 (plus $6 shipping). But something happened. Either he didn't actually pay for it, so the same company had to re-post it for bid, or he did pay for it, but either because of financial hardship or something else, sent it back to the same exact ebay company he bought it from to begin with, which re-posted it, and I bought it via bid for $51 less than the original buyer bought it for just two months ago. $150 or so is a decent, common price for a Fatima in this condition, so my $106 bid is a steal. In fact, the original buyer in May spent $157.50, plus $6 shipping, plus another $3.50 or so when he mailed it back to the company to sell for him. At 15%, this company made $23.62 off of him when he bought it, plus whatever profit it makes from the $6 shipping, since it definitely doesn't take $6 to ship this one card to the winner. Then it re-posted it for him and made another $15.97 from the sale to me. So this poor guy spent $157.50 to get it, and got just $106.50 - $15.97 back from it, so $90.53. So $157.50 - $90.53 is $66.97, plus another few bucks for shipping it back to be re-sold. So let's say $70. So this guy lost $70 on this same exact, same certification number, card. In less than 2 months. It takes about a month to mail it to an ebay company: let them itemize it, list it, let it be bid on for about a week, itemize the sale of it, wait a max of 5 days for the winner to pay for it, and then another few days for that to clear through PayPal for the guy to get his money. So that means the original guy owned it for less than a month before he decided to send it back to the ebay consignment company to re-sell for him, at a $70 loss. That sucks!

To maximize a profit, I won't sell this one anytime soon. (It's my only Fatima, so I hopefully won't sell it at all.) I'll wait until the end of the baseball season, and I sell via a different ebay company, anyway. A card in this condition normally sells for $150+. This one, and a Fatima PSA 2 that sold for a crazy-low $126, are the only two out of dozens in my research, in a 1.5 or 2 condition, that I saw sell for less than $150. Sometimes you make more by not selling, and waiting a little. And since I spent $50 less than usual, it won't have to re-sell for much more for me to see a profit from it. I'm confident that it'll sell for about $150+ when (or if) I'm ready to let it go.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Satchell Paige 1953 Topps PSA 3

Sorry to geek-out here, but...My Xmas present to myself. I've wanted this one for a very long time! I sold some cards for over $300 total, threw that in my PayPal, and bought this one for $162, including shipping. This is a much more valuable card than anything I sold, and I got this for $30-$40 less than it's been sold for on Ebay lately. So a nice little turnover.

Happy Holidays to my sports blog readers and collectors!!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Ken Griffey Jr. 1989 Mother's Cookies RC #4 in PSA Gem Mint 10

Photo: Ken Griffey, Jr. 1989 Mother's Cookies #4 in PSA Gem Mint 10

Not too much to say about this one, except that it's a great picture, and is one of four cards of Griffey produced by Mother's Cookies in 1989. I've got this one, #4, and his #3 will be here shortly. Still on the lookout for a decently-priced 1 and 2. This one is supposedly the hardest to get and of the greatest value of the four. I got it for $30.75, including shipping, and PSA currently values it at $45, for a profit of $14.25---not too bad for a recent card. I've got #s 1 and 2 on my radar, but I'm waiting for their prices to come down. These are a bit more rare, so they won't be up for bid on eBay regularly.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Ken Griffey Jr. 1989 Fleer Rookie Card in PSA Gem Mint 10

Photo: front and back of Griffey's 1989 Fleer card

Not much to say about this one. I got it recently after being on a bit of a Griffey kick lately. I got this one, a 1989 Topps Traded and a 1989 Mother's Cookies, #4. All rookie cards, all perfect 10s, all to be put on here soon.

This one I got for $30 and PSA says it's worth $30. I usually make a profit from my buys, but every now and then I break even or take a hit. On this one I broke even. I don't expect it to drop too much, but it probably won't gain much, either. In 2002, this one sold for about $64 and it now sold for $30, so that's a drop, but I don't see it dropping further. PSA indicates that this exact card in my collection may be from the Dmitri Young Collection, so that's very exciting, and led to me taking a chance on it.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Pedro by Pedro Martinez and Michael Silverman

Photo: the hardcover, from its Goodreads page

Better-written than usual for this type of book, Pedro nonetheless continues a string of multi-millionaires complaining of lack of respect and then throwing their teammates and colleagues under the bus. Mike Napoli, for example, may wake up one morning, read a page of this, and wonder WTF?

It is well-written and it has a better narrative flow than is usual for the genre. Michael Silverman has created a structure of Pedro's voice, narrative voice (certainly not Pedro's), author voice (same) and then enmeshes direct quotes from others, like you're reading a screenplay of a documentary. It doesn't sound like it works (and, sporadically, it doesn't), but overall it does work and you read on.

You get the childhood background, but without the grittiness that you think the self-proclaimed poverty would demand. It's smoothed over when maybe it shouldn't have been, but then this isn't really a documentary, it just sounds like one. You get the beginning, with the Dodgers, then the other teams: the Expos, the Red Sox, the Mets and the Phillies. (Did you remember that Pedro's last start was in the 2009 World Series against the Yanks? I did, but it seemed surreal, then and now.) You get the typical beef about the management: the Dodgers and Sox especially.

And this is the first of two things that made me rate this a three rather than a four: it's hypocritical about two things, so glaring you wonder they weren't amended. The first: Every Sox fan knows Pedro's last game was Game 4 of the 2004 World Series. Immediately he let it be known that he wanted a 3-4 year contract, and the Sox wanted to give him the shortest one possible, a year, or two, at most. That was known before the season ended and for as long as it took for him to get a guaranteed 3-4 year deal with the Mets. And it was also known that his shoulder and arm were frayed. More time on the DL; more injuries; more babying at the end...All of this was known. And it was just as well-known that the Sox were right: Pedro had one good year left for the Mets, and then the rest of that contract he mostly spent on the DL. If the Sox had given him a 3-4 year deal, they were going to eat 2-3 years of it. They said that out loud, and they were right. If you were Sox ownership, do you make that deal? The Mets did, as they candidly said, because they had a newer ballpark and the fan base was dwindling, and they had to bring in a name.

The hypocritical part is that this book whines about a lack of respect from the Sox about all this--and then shows in following chapters that they were right! He acknowledges he lasted just one more good season (a very good 2005) and then had one injury after another. The 2009 season with Philadelphia was a half-season for him--he was 5-1 and basically started in September. The rest of the year he was the same place as the previous three--on and off (mostly on) the DL. He narrates all this without saying the Sox were right, but clearly shows in his narration that the Sox were right. He calls it a lack of respect that the Sox weren't willing to give him a long guaranteed contract and then eat 75%-80% of it. But of course that's not what businesses do. And the casual fan could see his physical regression in 2003 and 2004. It was obvious. I wouldn't have given him that contract, either. (He's made hundreds of millions from baseball and endorsements, so don't feel bad for him.)

The other blatant example of hypocrisy is how he states all book long that he was misunderstood, that he was mislabeled, that he didn't throw at batters intentionally, that he wasn't a headhunter--and then, often in the same sentence or paragraph, admits that he hit someone on purpose, and that he often told the player he would do so, and then does it. He threatened players verbally with it all the time, then hit the player--and then says he's misunderstood, that he's not a headhunter. This is so obvious in the book that you shake your head.

But, again, that's what these books do, right? They complain about money, about disrespect, about how the media screws them, all that same stuff all the time. It makes you yearn for another Ball Four, and to truly appreciate how direct and honest it was. Say what you want about Bouton, but he was well aware of how not a God he was, about how lucky he was to do what he did and to make the money he did, and he had actual thoughts to say, and didn't complain too much about management or anything else. Yes, he was traded for Dooley Womack, but he never says he shouldn't have been.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Yanks Lose ALCS, 3 Games to 2

Photos: Jose Altuve's Gem Mint 10 rookie card, from my collection.

Yanks lose 4-0 and go home as the Houston Astros move on to the World Series. So despite Judge's 50+ homers, a high-powered offense, and getting past the heavily-favored Indians, the Yanks go home. What. A Damn. Shame.