Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Strasburg’

This afternoon Kerry Wood was traded from the Indians to the Yankees. I know there are many Cub fans that have a sore spot set aside for Woody due to the fact that his injuries prevented him from living up to his, (dare I say?) Strasburg-like hype.

I am not one of those Cub fans. Wood remains one of my favorite Cub players of all time. In fact, he probably only ranks behind Mark Grace on my list. Yeah, Kerry had a lot of injury issues but those were a by product of what made him lethal. I personally wanted Wood to finish his entire career in a Cub uniform but that was not meant to be. Even though he wanted to stay, the organization felt it was time to turn the page. Now he gets to chase a ring as a member of the Yankees.

I will obviously be pulling for the Twins to win the AL and the World Series, but if the Yankees were to win it now…I wouldn’t be as upset as usual. 🙂

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Earlier this year there was a quiet little product that was released with little fanfare but quickly caught fire. That product was called Famous Fabrics by a little known company called Creative Cardboard Concepts. Pre-sells on the single boxes were around $70 and by the second week after the release, boxes were fetching $140 or more. While the cards themselves didn’t have any player pictures or team logos (due to licensing issues), the cards featured huge jersey swatches, great patches, and unique player combinations that we haven’t seen. So after the huge success, was it any surprise to hear that there was going to be a second product?

So in the great tradition of the Hollywood blockbuster sequel, we have Famous Fabrics: Second Edition releasing on August 4th. Pre-sell prices on the product are currently hovering around $85 (Dave and Adam’s) as retailers seemed to have learned their lesson from the previous release and aren’t pricing the product too low this time. Each box contains just one card, which is encased so there are no issues with the cards being damaged between the factory and your hands. Every game used memorabilia card is numbered to only 9 with a ton of cards being 1/1. In addition, there are cut signature cards of legends like Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, and many more. The whole product run is limited to just 5,000 boxes and only 500 10-box cases.

I know what you’re saying… “ok, seems just like the first Famous Fabrics to me. Why is this going to be so hot?”

Two words…Stephen Strasburg. Like it or not, Strasburg has taken over the hobby like no one has in years and any product that offers a chance at something with him in it is going to sell big. And when you are the first product to offer a jumbo patch for Strasburg, people are going to be all over it. Yes, this patch is not a Washington Nationals patch, but look at it! That patch could be from Nick Punto and I would still think it was a freaking cool patch.

Maybe USA Baseball memorabilia pieces aren’t your thing. That’s ok, Famous Fabrics has you covered there if you’re a Strasburg chaser. Check out this autograph card. Yes, that is part of an autographed hat from Stephen Strasburg. Someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but I can’t think of any other product that I’ve ever seen where they diced up a signed hat bill and placed it in a card. I imagine this card is very thick (thank goodness they all come to you encased). In addition to this unique Strasburg hat auto, they have a Tiger Woods golf glove autograph card that is in the product.

One other thing about the product that I absolutely love is that since there is no licensing from any of the major sports leagues, FF is free to pretty much do anything they want. A great example is a subset in the product called Notorious. The cards are designed to look like police mugshots and feature some of sports’ bad boys over the years. You can see here the Michael Vick card and notice that it even has “Surrey County Sherrif’s Office” on the board! There is no way on earth that Topps or Upper Deck would even consider doing a set like this in fear of ticking off the player’s unions. (Also in this subset are Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Mike Tyson, Pete Rose, Plaxico Burress, and others)

So is Famous Fabrics: Second Edition going to be a winner? Yes, I think it certainly will be. If you’re like me and you love love getting big game used patches, this product is definitely for you. If you’re in the hobby for the thrill of the big gamble, I also think this product is right for you. There are tons of cards in the product that will far exceed the current $85 pre-sell price.  Remember, there are only 5,000 boxes being produced so as boxes/cases are being bought and busted, if the big prize cards are not being hit early the prices on the still sealed boxes are going to go up and up. So if you’re getting in on this, get in early.

One last card image before I end this post…

For this card here, I have to give a lot of credit to the folks at Creative Cardboard Concepts. Whether you like all the Lebron/Wade/Bosh hoopla or not, you have to give credit here for being reactionary to the current sports news. Being a small company CCC has a much easier time reacting to what is hot in the sports world and making adjustments. I would venture to guess that at this time last week this card wasn’t going to exist in the card set. But now it does and will certainly be a hot card. Kudos to CCC.

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Hopefully you’re as sick of this soap opera as I am. Ever since the spring of 2008, all I’ve heard or read about was the second coming of Cy Young, or you may know him as Stephen Strasburg. I’ve touched on him in a post back in March and every media outlet in the world has had something on him since the draft. He is the arm that is supposed to set the world on fire.mlb_a_strasburg_300

There’s just one problem….he’s not signed yet.

Here we are now with less than 11 hours before the deadline for draft picks to be signed. Stephen has chosen Scott Boras to be his agent, which means that we all knew it would come down to the last day and probably the last couple of minutes before we know if he signs or not. Boras is a love/hate kind of guy. His players love him because he gets them top dollars. Fans hate him because he seems to be the epitome of greed and what is wrong with American sports.

Boras has floated numbers upwards of $30 million all the way up to $50 million. The Nationals have reportedly offered as much as $17 million, which would blow away the previous high water mark of Mark Prior ($10.5 million).

So there is the background and here are my thoughts…

Strasburg needs to take his $17M, sign the contract, and get himself on a team and pitching. Don’t be greedy….just play ball. Listen, I know that a player should get what he feels he is worth, but let’s remember that this is a kid who pitched against college kids last year. This isn’t an established Major League player gunning for a free agency windfall.

If they don’t come to an agreement, this absolutely cannot end well at all for Strasburg. Look at past pitchers who have turned down big contracts because they felt like they were worth more. Luke Hochevar isn’t tearing up anything. And what about Matt Harrington?? Don’t you think he wished he had done it differently? Turning down $17+ million (if that is indeed the offer) won’t doom Strasburg to baseball failure, but would make him the poster boy of greed in baseball.

Ultimately, it comes down to Strasburg and not Scott Boras. If the kid wants to play, he’ll tell Boras that the offer is good enough and he just wants to play baseball. But if he is more concerned with setting salary records, this could end up with no contract by midnight tonight. I am hoping for the former and not the latter.

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