The Rays Fail To Meet Expectations

Early in the 2009 season, the Tampa Bay Rays could do no wrong. Their biggest star, Evan Longoria, was on a torrid home run pace while Carl Crawford was flirting with 100 stolen bases.

In the end, Longoria’s stats were impressive but not phenomenal after a full season. Crawford, meanwhile, has 60 stolen bases which is not even good enough for first place thanks to the speedy Jacoby Ellsbury.

Worst of all, last season’s Cinderella Story, the Tampa Bay Rays, have been eliminated from the playoffs. Of course, it doesn’t help when you play in a division in which the top 2 teams, the Yankees & Red Sox, spent over $320 million in team payroll in 2009.

It’s been more than twenty years since anyone has stolen 100 bases. Vince Coleman accomplished the feat three years in a row starting in 1985 and reached 700+ career stolen bags despite playing 150 games or more just four times in a 13-year career.

You can find a Vince Coleman certified autograph in 2009 Tristar Obak.

He's No Vince Coleman...

What Have They Done To Ted Williams?

In perhaps the worst sports story of 2009, gruesome reports from an upcoming tell-all book regarding Ted Williams’ remains have begun to leak. The book, titled ‘Frozen’, was written by a former Alcor executive who witnessed employees abuse and further damaging the severed head of the “Splendid Splinter”.

You can read the horrific report HERE.

If you’d like to remember Williams in a more positive light, check out this exclusive photo of Ted signing his 1992 Upper Deck chase cards. Yes, back in the day companies actually had the players sign cards not sheets of stickers. The Upper Deck card, hand numbered to a whopping 2,500 is currently on eBay.

One has to wonder just how many are still hiding in packs waiting to be found.

Ted Williams

Can We Have Miggy Back? PLEASE?

They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. While Miguel Cabrera was part of the Florida Marlins, the team won a championship against the evil, overpaid New York Yankees in 2003. Meanwhile, “Miggy” became one of the most feared sluggers in the game all before the age of 25.

As a Marlins fan, I knew it was only a matter of time before the organization could no longer afford Cabrera. When the Marlins traded Cabrera in 2007 for a bunch of prospects including Andrew Miller, I was assured by many that the Fish had pulled off a huge steal.

The deal for Cabrera also included slumping fan favorite, Dontrelle Willis. In return, the Marlins acquired Andrew Miller, Cameron Maybin, Mike Rabelo, Burke Badenhop, and Dallas Trahern. From that deal alone, Rabelo has already been released and Trahern hasn’t touched the Majors in the two years with the organization.

Burke Badenhop has had minimal success when he’s not pitching erratically or in the Minors. Cameron Maybin put up a huge September in 2008 and stunk it up so bad in the beginning of this season that he was demoted and not seen again until the beginning of this September. He’s still not accomplished a damn thing.

That of course brings us to Andrew Miller, a model for inconsistency. Just when he begins to find his groove and show flashes of dominance, he loses the ability to pitch. He’s made two trips to the Minors through demotion along with two trips to the Disabled List in the two seasons with Florida.

The Marlins spent a ridiculously low $36.8 on payroll for this season, an average of $1.8 million per player. The Yankees spent over $200 million this year alone and despite this fact, we are still statistically in the playoff hunt coming into the last week of the season.

Imagine if both Miller and Maybin lived up to their potential in 2009; where would the Marlins be? Or what if the Marlins kept Cabrera around with the kind of players we had in the past two years? Clearly something needs to be done because this team has a lot of potential to compete.

Slugger Dan Uggla is expected to be traded this off-season.

Oh where oh where can my Miggy be?

Top Prospect Detained For Murder

Angel Villalona, a top prospect of the San Francisco Giants, turned himself into authorities this afternoon. He is suspected of murdering a 25-year old man in the Dominican Republic.

The 19-year old Villalona will face a judge on Monday and could get up to 20 years in prison if convicted. He made headlines as a 16-year old when the Giants awarded him with a 2.1 million dollar bonus for signing.

Unfortunately, while the power has not been a problem, Angel has been progressing slower than expected and ended the 2009 Minor League season injured.

In 254 career Minor League games, Angel has 31 home runs and 144 RBI.



What Is The Must-Have Card Of The 80’s?

Ask any baseball collector today what the best card of the 80’s is and more likely than not you’re going to get Upper Deck’s ’89 debut featuring a fresh-faced kid named Ken Griffey Jr. who would go on to rule The Hobby and hit 600 career home runs along the way.

While the ’89 Upper Deck may just be the best of the decade, what other cards could compete with the first “high-end” product in baseball cards? Once upon a time you couldn’t find an ’85 Topps Mark McGwire or ’86 Donruss Jose Canseco for less than a hundred dollars but thanks to steroids, times have changed.

Huge rookie cards from Roger Clemens & Barry Bonds still sell well on the secondary market but usually only when the cards come graded and with a high grade. Heck, you could pick up Cal Ripken Jr.’s 1982 Topps rookie for under $10 dollars if you’re not looking for a graded copy.

Not counting Glossy, Tiffany, or graded cards, what is the absolute must-have card released from 1980 to 1989? My vote goes for the Griffey Jr. Upper Deck card with Big Mac’s 1985 Team USA following closely behind. In my lifetime I have never seen a card skyrocket the way the ’85 Topps did between the end of the 1997 season into 1998.