With the elimination of four more teams yesterday, we are down to 12. Today will finish off the Sweet 16 round and leave us with an Elite 8. As a reminder, the cards you see today are different from the cards representing the team in the first round. But they are all cards I own. Here is a look at the updated bracket before we move on to the competition:
Round 2: Philadelphia Phillies vs. Chicago Cubs
1992 Fleer # 538 Jim Lindeman vs. 2017 Panini Diamond Kings #55 Kris Bryant
Two sets I like here, even though they are extremely different. The picture is essentially the same on both: right-handed batter standing in the batter's box. This comes down to the player, and there's no contest here. Former ROY, NL MVP, fielder of the final out of the curse-breaking World Series--Kris Bryant has the resume to win this one.
Round 2: Cleveland Guardians vs. New York Mets
1979 Topps #705 Indians Prospects vs. 2002 Topps Pristine #56 Roberto Alomar
This is a tough matchup. When cards are this different, it makes judging between the two of them difficult. Both of these cards are in my collection for my special focuses (Alfredo Griffin was a Rookie of the Year; Roberto Alomar was an All-Star Game MVP.) I think Pristine is beautiful and I treasure the one that I have because only have a few. However, Alomar has been banned from Major League Baseball for some pretty heinous off-field behavior and that taints this card. The Guardians (or Indians, in this case) are represented by a multi-player prospect card. Besides the aforementioned Griffin, Tim Norrid and Dave Oliver also make their card debuts here. After winning Rookie of the Year, Griffin went on to a long, productive career. The other two combined for seven Major League games. All of those are Oliver's; Norrid never made it to the Show. But that's a beautiful, black and white, multi-prospect card. I think I'll go with it.
Round 2: Miami Marlins vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
2017 Topps Update #US71 Junichi Tazawa vs. 1981 Topps #430 Jim Bibby
This one is a blowout. I don't like 2017 Topps. The picture is dark, with a dark jersey fading into a dark background. Tazawa had a decently-long career, but he wasn't as successful as Bibby. The other card, however, has a nice "All-Star" banner on it. The little hat on 1981 Topps is classic. And I never noticed this until now, but the shape of the cartoon hat is even a pillbox to match the Pirates hat! It's a card I really like against one that I find thoroughly mediocre.
Round 2: Boston Red Sox vs. Washington Nationals
1988 Donruss #41 Jody Reed vs. 2017 Topps #34 Bryce Harper
Sheesh. Right after I blast a card for belonging to the 2017 Topps Flagship set, another one comes up. But you know what I probably dislike more than 2017 Flagship? 1988 Donruss. This set doesn't appeal to me at all. At least the photo is crisper and cleaner on Bryce Harper's card. And Harper is the better player. In this case, 2017 Topps is good enough to advance.
So that does it for the Sweet 16 round. Looking forward, the NCAA tournament will decide the Final Four this weekend. We'll pick up our own tournament on Monday to catch up. As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Would you have advanced teams differently today?