Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Oriole #955, Travis Ishikawa

Since I'm late to the party yet again (which has become a regretfully typical issue around here lately), I imagine that most of you that care about this sort of thing are aware of the fact that the Orioles added 1B Travis Ishikawa to their active roster last week. It was a bit of a forced issue, as he had a June 15 opt-out deal in his minor league contract, and had just been named the AAA International League Player of the Month in May for having had an amazing month at the plate. Oh, and apparently the Yankees would have signed him if the O's let him walk away. So that combination of events led to the Orioles adding him to their 25 man roste, and he made his Orioles debut on Tuesday, June 18 against the Tigers. He is officially the 955th player to appear in a game for the Orioles and the 13th player to make his Baltimore debut this season. 

Once again, the awesome combination of my dad's Old Man Cards and my Spring Training trip has come through for me, and I already have a signed, personalized Orioles card of Travis to insert directly into my collection. Travis was a good signer in Sarasota, as I saw him signing multiple times and actually ran out of his cards to be signed, which I suppose is a good problem to have.

Something tells me that Travis's stay in Birdland will likely be a short one, mainly because the Orioles have another left-handed first baseman who is having a pretty good year. But he will always be Oriole #955.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Filling Some Holes

There have already been twelve players who have made their Orioles debuts so far this year, and I did not have autographs of six of those guys; each of whom knocked me further and further away from the 100% of total signatures from the Orioles all-time roster I had achieved in the off-season. And that made me mad(ish). So I took action and knocked off certified signatures from four of the six I needed. (As far as I can tell, there are no certified Josh Stinson autographs out there, and I have yet to acquire one of Alex Burnett.) 

While I have custom Old Man Cards ready to be signed of all four of these guys, I figured that I would rather go ahead and knock them off my list for now, since my autograph time has been drastically reduced, at least to this point in the season. Hopefully these four will end up on my trade list one day, but if not, at least I'm covered. Oh, and they were all to be had on the cheap, which works out perfectly for me!

Chris Snyder #948

Freddy Garcia #949

Yamaico Navarro #951

Danny Valencia #953

 I have trades and/or consignments out for Stinson and Burnett, so hopefully I can knock them off my need list in the near future to get back to my cherished 100%. Now if only the Orioles would cooperate and slow it down with the debuts already. How is a collector to keep up?!?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Check Out the Contest at Autographed Cards

Hey, look at me, a second post in June. Wow, I'm really rolling now! This will be a short post, but I suppose that's still better than no post at all.

Anyway, my buddy Zach, who writes the excellent blog, Autographed Cards, is holding his annual College World Series contest. Now, if you haven't already entered, you missed the preliminary round and the chance to get some bonus points. But, not to worry, I missed out on that as well, and everyone still has a chance to win, so head on over there and give it a shot.

Zach has given away some excellent prizes over the years, such as this autographed card of (now-deceased) Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew,that I won three or four years back. 

Good luck everyone!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Orioles #951-954, Navarro, Jurrjens, Valencia, & Gausman

Hello there. You remember me? I'm the guy who used to blog almost daily about Orioles autographs. Nowadays, it's like a once a month thing, but hopefully I will get better. I won't promise to get back to my nearly daily posting level, but I can do better than once a month. And man, 2013 is taking my collection backwards so far.

Luckily, I had autographs of two of this group of four new O's, but I'm still slowly slipping away from the 100% of Orioles autographs that I achieved in the offseason. I have a few things in motion to add a couple other of these guys to my collection too, so hopefully I can keep 100% within striking distance.

Yamaico Navarro #951, Debuted May 17 against Rays

Yamaico had been recalled to the team earlier in the year to fill a roster spot for a day but did not appear in a game until he was brought back to the team for a second time in mid-May. At the time of his debut, he took over the everyday 2B duties from Ryan Flaherty, who was sent to AAA to straighten some things out. He was the second baseman for a majority of the team's games between his debut and May 28th. He hit .286 over eight games, which isn't spectacular but was impressive when stacked up to the O's other 2B this season, but his defense was spotty, and he was sent back to AAA to make room for Flaherty's return to the club.

Jair Jurrjens #952, Debuted May 18 against Rays

Jurrjens was one of the Orioles bigger off-season signings, but some lingering injury issues changed his deal from a major league to a minor league contract and he began the season at AAA Norfolk. He had a mid-June opt-out date in his contract, but as I understand it, since he was called up, albeit briefly, that opt-out is no longer in play.

He was called up to start against the Rays on Saturday, May 18th, and he pitched five innings, gave up six hits, four earned runs, and struck out five. He did not get a decision in the game, but I don't think that Buck Showalter liked how Jurrjens let the Rays claw their way back into the game after the O's gave him a four run lead in the first inning. Thus far, that was Jair's only action for the O's, although I fairly well expect to see him again at some point this summer.

Jair kindly signed and personalized my card for me on my Spring Training trip, and from what I saw, it seems like he is a good signer. He has quite an interesting signature, that I would describe as somewhat looking like a dollar sign.

Danny Valencia #953, Debuted May 19 against Rays

Danny marked the Orioles third debut in their three game series against the Rays. Thankfully, they won't sustain that rate, otherwise, I'd be chasing 162 new autographs each year, and I think that would drive me away from this crazy collection.

Valencia has been one of the more pleasant surprises so far this season for the O's, and has hit 3 home runs through just 9 games, appearing solely as a DH or pinch-hitter.

Kevin Gausman, Oriole #954, Debuted May 23 @ Toronto

Gausman made his highly anticipated MLB debut against the Blue Jays, and I don't think it was a coincidence that his first two career starts were both on the road to somewhat lower the excitement level that the hometown fans would have brought to the Yard. He has had some ups and downs over his first three starts, and currently has an 0-2 record with a 7.20 ERA, but his most recent start, and first at home, against the high-octane Tigers offense was his most successful thus far, and he gave up just one earned run over six strong innings. He even earned a few nods of approval during at-bats from the reigning A.L. MVP and Triple Crown winner, Miguel Cabrera. And that's got to say something.

Kevin will likely stay in the starting rotation if he can continue to show improvement, and many people think that he could be the Orioles best starter by the end of the season.

So at least I had autographs of two out of these four new Orioles, but it still leaves two more names to add to my need list. And I would say that out of all the players who were with the O's during Spring Training, Navarro and Valencia were two of maybe four or five (out of 50ish) players whose autographs I did not get at all. And it figures that both of them would make the big league club, and early in the season at that.

Hopefully, it won't be another month until my next post, but time will tell!