Monday, March 19, 2018

Card Madness 2018, Pt. 4: Out of the 1st Round

This week, I started my own tournament in conjunction with March Madness: Card Madness.  I  created a bracket and I'm pitting baseball teams against each other in a battle to the death by showcasing cards from my collection, which have been randomly selected.  The bracket is here, so you can view progress.

I may be a day late with this, but my goal was never to keep up with the NCAA tourney.  I figured that if I could reveal the Sweet Sixteen before that round actually started in basketball, I was okay.  So here have four more matchups, which will narrow our pool to 16 teams.

Round 1: Detroit Tigers vs. Chicago White Sox

2010 Topps Update #US276 Austin Jackson vs. 2015 Topps Heritage #324 Alexei Ramirez
Two nice-looking cards face off here.  I don’t have much 2010 flagship, but I really think it looks good.  Heritage carries all the simplicity of 1966 Topps, of course.  I like both.  Jackson has been a solid player throughout his career, but Ramirez was an All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger.  Plus, he looks like a Cuban Fresh Prince.
(Funny side note: I once overheard a conversation in my eighth grade classroom in which one student saying that he watched an old episode of the The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and he couldn’t believe how much the Fresh Prince looked like Will Smith.)
Another point goes to Ramirez because of the cartoon on the back which highlights his 21-game hit streak.  Pretty impressive, and it’s a cartoon.

Winner: White Sox

Round 1: Philadelphia Phillies vs. St. Louis Cardinals

2015 Topps #662 Darrin Ruf vs. 2017 Topps #234 Luke Weaver 
This is another 2015 vs. 2017 flagship, and I keep expecting 2015 to pick up a win.  But Luke Weaver is a better (or at least, more promising) player and the photo features a clear shot of the jersey number.  For some reason I really like cards where I can see the jersey number prominently.  It may be horizontal and the Cardinals, but I’d take it over a 2015 Ruf anyday.

Winner: Cardinals

Round 1: Baltimore Orioles vs. Los Angeles Angels

2015 Topps Heritage #315 Adam Jones vs. 1990 Upper Deck #645 Jim Abbott
2015 Heritage makes a second straight appearance, and we see our first junk wax card.  How more of them haven’t shown up in the randomizer is a mystery to me.  I’ve always admired both of these players, but Jim Abbott moreso than the average player.  Not only was he a good pitcher, but he was truly inspirational.  I like 1990 Upper Deck more than I do 1989, so I’m toward Abbott for the card design.  It’s clean, crisp, and bright.  The back has Upper Deck signature second photo.  I really enjoy watching Adam Jones play, but Jim Abbott is simply the better card here.

Winner: Angels

Round 1: New York Mets vs. Arizona Diamondbacks

1991 Donruss #154 David Cone vs. 2017 Topps Update #US130 Zack Greinke
Whoo, two really good pitchers.  I have always liked Zack Greinke.  I have people close to me who suffer from similar mental health issues to what Greinke fought so publicly earlier in his career.  Heck, given the nature of such issues, he is probably still battling them now.  David Cone once pitched a perfect game, though.  Still, if going by the player, I think I’d rather have Greinke on the mound.  The photos are actually quite similar.  Both righties in the windup, but you can see just how different their deliveries are.  Greinke is an All-Star card, which is cool, but Donruss’s blue border and orange speckles look great with the Mets uniform Cone is wearing.  I think this one must be decided by the back.  Normally, Topps would beat Donruss, but this card doesn’t have any stats.  So I’m going with Donruss and its full-name, lots of vitals, truncated stats back for the win.

Winner: Mets

I'm interested in hearing your takes.  Are there any cards you have especially liked?  Any that lost that you thought should have won?  Does your team still have a shot?  Now, on to the Sweet Sixteen! 

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