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  • Writer's picturePaul Semendinger

Perspectives: Lions and Baseball Cards and Outfielders... OH MY!

By Paul Semendinger

February 1, 2024

***

Wandy Peralta signed with the Padres. He got four years. That seems like a lot years for a middle of the bullpen type pitcher. On the other hand, the deal was for only $16.5 million ($4.12 million per year).


Wandy was a good pitcher for the Yankees, but I don't think losing him is going to hurt the team in any way.


Earlier this off-season, the Yankees acquired Victor Gonzalez, a lefty, from the Dodgers. Gonzalez is four years younger than Peralta. I trhink he'll fill Peralta's role well.

***

It's been an interesting off-season for the Yankees regarding minor moves. They seem to be improving on the fringes an inch at a time. They sign a long shot player, then they sign another and release the first guy. As this progresses, it seems some guys come back again and again and again.


Greg Allen is on his way back. Again. This is, it seems, the 436th time the Yankees have signed him.


In reality, the following are Greg Allen's lifetime transactions with the Yankees (from MLB.com):


  • January 6, 2021 - Traded to the Yankees (from San Diego)

  • March 1, 2021 - Sent to AAA

  • July 16, 2021 - Called to Major Leagues

  • July 17, 2021 - Sent to AAA

  • November 5, 2021 - Claimed off Waivers by Pittsburgh

  • May 20, 2023 - Traded by Red Sox to Yankees

  • June 3, 2023 - Placed on IL

  • July 14, 2023 - Rehab in Tampa Begins

  • July 23, 2023 - Called to Major Leagues

  • August 22, 2023 - Designated for Assignment

  • January 30, 2024 - (From MLBTR) - Signed Minor League Deal with Yankees


In looking at his transactions page on MLB.com, Allen has also been with the following organizations: Indians, Padres, Yankees, Pirates, Red Sox, and Brewers.


Whew!

***

Here's an example of the Yankees transactions this off-season regarding MLB outfielders (from MLB.com):


  • Nov. 6 - Franchy Cordero electes free agency

  • Nov. 6 - Billy McKinney elects free agency

  • Nov. 17 - Jake Bauers traded to the Brewers for Jace Avina and Brian Sanchez (both outfielders)

  • Dec. 1 - Oscar Gonzalez claimed off waivers

  • Dec. 5 - Alex Verdugo acquired via trade

  • Dec. 7 - Juan Soto and Trent Grisham acquired via trade

  • Dec. 9 - Billy McKinney signed to minor league contract

  • Dec. 15 - Billy McKinney traded to Pirates

  • Dec. 21 - Luis Gonzalez signed to a minor league contract

  • Dec. 26 - Estevan Florial traded to Guardians

  • Jan 4 - Bubba Thompson claimed off waivers

  • Jan. 17 - Oscar Gonzalez designated for assignment (sent to AAA)

  • Jan. 19 - Bubba Thompson designated for assignment (claimed by Twins)

  • Jan. 30 - Greg Allen signed to minor league contract


Whew... lots of comings and goings!

***

We have a nice collection of baseball cards, not great by any means. As a kid, I loved collecting. I have most of the cards I acquired as a kid. As a dad with young kids, I also loved collecting with them. But I don't collect cards any longer. The hobby has passed me by.


For a few years, I'd buy a hobby box when the cards first came out and I'll show the Yankees cards as I opened the packs here on SSTN. Then, the price of hobby boxes exploded a few years ago. That was the last time I ever bought baseball cards.


Ethan and I are slowly sellling the less meaningful cards we have, trimming the collection down.


Over the last many years, baseball card companies started to re-issue new cards in the design and format of older cards. I'm sure people love these sets, but I have to be honest, I don't. I find it confusing, especially when they add former players to the re-issue.


Here's an example. The card on the left is an original 1988 Topps card of Will Clark. The card on the right is the 2023 1988 Re-Issue:



Yes, the re-issue has a little seal on the bottom left, but why is this necessary? Was the 1988 Topps design so great that they had to do it again?


Worse is when they issue an almost identical re-issue. Here's the original 1961 Topps Mickey Mantle All-Star card:



Now, here is the 2021 Topps update card:



Yes, in the bottom left, almost hidden, is a little logo...


Finally, I'm not sure how many people know about the Topps Project 70 where artists were commissioned to create their own versions of baseball cards. The results are interesting to say the least. Here are two MIckey Mantle cards from that set:




You can see the entire archive of the cards here: Project 70 Archive.


Maybe I'm simply out of touch, but that bottom Mantle card was selling on the Archive site for $19.99. It is sold out. I could never see myself buying that card for one cent rather than twenty dollars.


Oh well.


The hobby passed me by long ago with too many variations and too many sets. Each time I look into the hobby I see that more and more clearly.

***

A quick note on the Lions vs 49'ers game from last Sunday. As most know, I am a casual football fan, by no means am I an expert. But, the moment the Lions went for it on 4th down, while up 24-10, I knew the game was over and they'd lose. I said it at the time. It was all too obvious. Remember, I am, at heart, a Jets fan and I've seen this movie a million time before.


A field goal in that spot would have made it 27-10, a three score game. Instead the Lions went for it, failed, and the 49'ers scored a quick touchdown. It became 24-17. In just a blink of an eye the game went from what would have been a three score game to a one touchdown game. I know that anything could have happened, and the Lions could have come roaring back, but anything usually doesn't happen. As teams start to blow leads, especially huge underdogs, they tend to crumble.


I remember years and years ago, it might have been a meaningless game, it might have mattered, I don't recall... In a way, when you're a kid and watching football, or any sport really, every play matters like life and death itself. Again, the specifics don't matter. All I recall is the Jets had a new coach, Joe Walton. We were all told he was brilliant and an innovator and a guy who wasn't afraid to go for it on fourth down. This was going to be the new aggressive and dynamic Jets. I remember the Jets going for it in a similar situation on fourth down, failing, and falling apart and losing the game. I saw the same thing happen last weekend.


I like when teams are aggressive. I like when they go for it. But in the NFC Championship game, against the 49'ers, in San Francisco, with a chance in the second half to score on your first possession, and go up 3 scores, especially since the 49'ers had just scored themselves, you take the points. In that situation you keep scoring as often as you can and keep letting that clock click with the lead. You don't go for it on fourth down.


The Lions and the Jets are similar franchises. They always find ways to lose and break their fans' hearts. With teams like that, with a lead, the smart play is to play fundamentally sound football. You kick the field goal. The Lions didn't do that. Even their coach admitted, later, that getting back, this close to a Super Bowl, is a longshot next year. They had their chance - and they blew it.

***

Speaking of not winning, I hope the Yankees get us a championship this year. I'm getting tired of waiting.

26 Comments


Jeff Korell
Jeff Korell
Feb 01

Is there a Compensation Draft Pick associated with Wandy Peralta? If so, losing Peralta to the Padres may actually help the Yankees if they obtain an extra draft pick from the Padres as a result of them signing Peralta. Obtaining a Compensation Draft Pick from another team signing one of our former players can be substantial. Case in point. The Yankees lost Nick Swisher when he left as a free agent and signed with the Cleveland Indians (still their name at the time). The Yankees received a Compensation Draft Pick from the Indians as a result of their signing Swisher. The Yankees used the draft pick they got from the Indians to draft a kid by the name of…


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Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
Feb 01

"[T]hat bottom Mantle card was selling on the Archive site for $19.99. It is sold out." I believe the phrase you're looking for is, "There's one born every minute."


I collected cards from 1970 to 1976, I think. I have a moving box somewhere in the house filled with the shoe boxes I used to keep them in. I loved the photos of the players and the stats (and sometimes little factoids) on the back. That first moment opening the package, inhaling the bubble-gum dust, wondering who you might get that day -- marvelous. I can still look at a card from that era and know with fair certainty whether I had it or not.


Then I also grew out…


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Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
Feb 01
Replying to

The last page of that book is one I'll always remember...


"Good night Sibi Sisti, wherever you are."


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Jonathan Silverberg
Jonathan Silverberg
Feb 01

I've been a Lions fan since, when I was nine, they drafted Heisman-Trophy-winning halfback Howard Cassady (in later life a longtime Yankees scout) in 1957. In case you're wondering why, his nickname was Hopalong, and any young boy in the fifties spent a lot of time watching westerns on the family's first TV. Later that year, they won the NFL Championship for the third time that decade, destroying the Paul Brown/Jim Brown Browns 59-14. With the exception of a year in the early 90's, when they lost the NFC title game to Washington, the 1957 season was the last time it was good to be a Lions fan. UNTIL THIS SEASON.

With that all as background, and speaking as someone…

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Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
Feb 02
Replying to

Jonathan - I think you're missing my point. I have said, over and over, that I'm not a football expert, but there was this sense that once they went for it, they were done. Also again, I stated that I felt that way probably because the Jets always lose when they do things out of the box.


To me it going for it had doomsday written all over it.


And, on this I was correct. That's all I'm saying.

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Melfman1
Melfman1
Feb 01

As a lifelong Niners fan, I can tell you that when the Lions went for it on 4th down and were stopped… I also knew my Niners were gonna win. Even though we were still down by 14.


Momentum is one of those intangibles that doesn’t show up in the box score. You can argue until you’re blue in the face that taking chances are what got the Lions to the NFC Championship game, but the playoffs are different. They only went for it once against Tampa on 4th and 1 (from the 1 yd line) with the game tied. Likewise, against the Rams, they only went for it once from 4th and 2 (from the 2 yd line)…


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Alan B.
Alan B.
Feb 01
Replying to

Dude, Reynolds had a big time drop on that 4th down. The Niners stuffed them the 2nd time on 4th down.

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Alan B.
Alan B.
Feb 01

When there is no tomorrow if you lose, you go for the FG to go back up by 3 scores. As one football analyst said in these playoffs (Tony Romo?): Who wrote this Analytics book? Certainly not a football guy because sometimes it's about the game not what the stats say you should do.

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