Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Card Madness: Pt. 6

Last 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.  Cards were chosen at random and each team will have a different representative every round.  This is baseball after all.  You can't pass the ball to Michael in Crunch Time; you have to go with the next man up in the order.

As four more teams bit the dust in the last post, there are twelve more remaining.  Let's narrow the field to the Elite Eight.

Round 2: Boston Red Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels

2015 Topps Update Rookie Sensations #RS-6 Nomar Garciaparra vs. 2017 Topps All-Star Game MVPs #24 Mike Trout

This is the best matchup of the tournament so far.  Two legitimate stars, two inserts, face off.  An extra fun nugget for my collection is that I collect Nomar because of his ROY and Trout because of his ASG MVP.  And these two cards happen to feature both of those moments in their respective careers.  As far as the player matchup goes, I really was a big fan of Nomar.  But Mike Trout is probably the best player in this generation, and in the conversation for the best of my lifetime.  I don't know how to choose the better card design.  I like both.  Rookie Sensations were more colorful and had a cool team logo in the background.  The ASG MVP cards look like car designs.  My guess is that it's meant to tie in with the Chevy that the MVP receives.  Even if it isn't meant to tie in, it made me think of it, and that makes the design good to me anyway.  I like the photo on Trout's card more.  The All-Star cap and holding up the trophy truly commemorate the moment that fits my collection.  A good matchup between two nice cards, but I think Trout pulls out the win easily.

Winner: Angels

Round 2: Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets

2002 Donruss Originals #393 Chipper Jones vs. 2017 Topps #416 Neil Walker

Two AL East rivals bring another matchup I like.  These aren't inserts, but they are a couple of players I've always respected.  I think Chipper is the better player here, though.  Chipper is featured on what is probably my least favorite Donruss design ever (aside from the unlicensed mess Panini has been producing the past few years).  Yet somehow, it looks better when it is done 14 years later with a player who was still in high school when the original came out.  Is that the power of nostalgia?  I really prefer the photo on Walker's card.  That is the epitome of "keeping your eye on the ball."  Even at the highest level, the basics apply.  As for the backs, I'm a little disappointed in both.  The old Donruss cards had the player's full name, but this one says "Chipper" instead of "Larry Wayne."  From Walker's I learned that he is a Pittsburgh native, and that just makes this card even weirder to me.  Walker is a Pirate in my mind.

Winner: Braves

Round 2: Texas Rangers vs. Chicago White Sox

2017 Topps #317  Mitch Moreland vs. 2017 Topps #74 Brett Lawrie

2017 Topps is dominating the randomizer again.  I don't think this domination continues after this round, by the way.  But here we have a matchup of two 2017s, so the design is a wash.  This is a tough call on the better player.  I think I would give Lawrie a slight edge, but Moreland is good for 20+ homers per season, and, more importantly, he's still on a Major League roster.  The picture here will be the decider, and I  love the emotion and intensity Lawrie shows on this card.

Winner: White Sox

Round 2: Washington Nationals vs. St. Louis Cardinals

2013 Panini Triple Play #89 Bryce Harper vs. 2017 Topps #158 Tommy Pham

The player here is no contest.  The card he is on, however, is going to score low on the design.  And actually, it's low because there is no photo.  If the border and all else looked like this with a picture, it wouldn't be too bad.  And, the picture on this card is one of the best in the set.  The pictures for both players are actually strikingly similar.  Tommy Pham was a great rookie last year, but this isn't his rookie card.  That would have scored it an extra point.  As it stands, I think I'm going with Harper and his kind of stupid cartoon card.  Maybe it's a touch of 2017 fatigue.  Maybe it's my bias against the Cardinals.  Maybe it's both.  Maybe I think Harper is enough better than Pham to overcome a bad set.  I don't know.  But. . .

Winner: Nationals

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