We have reached the Final Four. Today we will see which teams will represent their respective leagues. Our Final Four?
Chicago White Sox
San Diego Padres
Round 4: Houston Astros vs. Chicago White Sox
2009 Upper Deck #667 LaTroy Hawkins vs. 2012 Topps #336 Gavin Floyd
Here we have two decent pitchers in their windup. Like the pitchers, the card designs or both decent, but not extraordinary. I think the Upper Deck design is a good idea, but the foil is kind of hard to read. The 2012 "surfboard" design is probably my second-least favorite from Topps this decade, but it's not horrible. It's just kind of blah. Gavin Floyd was probably a better pitcher, but something has to be said about Hawkins's longevity. The guy spent 21 years in the Majors. Even though the photos are similar, I really like the look of Astros red with the bronze of the Upper Deck card. This is a tough call, so I'm going on a miscellaneous point to decide: I remember LaTroy Hawkins from the days when my dad would take me to see the old Salt Lake Buzz. With that in mind . . .
Round 4: Atlanta Braves vs. San Diego Padres
2013 Topps Archives #137 Brian McCann vs. 2014 Topps Heritage #375 Yasmani Grandal
This is an odd coincidence. The previous matchup was two pitchers with similar poses on cards from the same era. Now we have two catchers with similar, non-action photos. Both are cards of recent years, but are throwback designs. I never noticed until I examined these two cards together, but the 1965 and 1985 designs have many similar elements. I see a team name in a diagonal space starting in the bottom left, a team logo, and the player name in white on the bottom right. I think I'm partial to the 1985 look, though, if I were forced to choose. Grandal wins the back of the card with the cartoon highlighting the hot start to his career: 4 homers in first 6 games. However, I think Atlanta will win this on the strength of Brian McCann vs. Yasmani Grandal. Not only has McCann been one of the best catchers of the past decade, but he also has the all-important All-Star Game MVP.
Now our championship matchup has been set. I'll post Monday with the NCAA championship game so we can see the true winners this March.