Sunday, September 24, 2023

Baseball in French, Lesson 9: Le Ballon

Welcome to Baseball in French, Lesson 9. Previous lessons can be found here.
Today's term is le ballon
In English, that translates to "the balloon". What's the baseball translation?

Fly ball.

Here are three Expos who certainly hit their share of ballons—many of which went far enough to float right over the outfield fence. 

Of all the French baseball terminology we've covered in this series so far, I think ballon could be the most questionable. I mean, I suppose a high, soft fly ball that an outfielder can settle under might resemble a balloon floating up into the sky. And if we've learned anything from other romantic French baseball terms like "butterfly ball" for knuckleball or "the arrow" for line drive, then sure, a balloon would be similarly romantic. So it works

And I also suppose that it would be a derogatory way for the hitter to refer to it.

Argh! Stupid balloon. Didn't even hit it far enough into the outfield to let the runners tag up.

Anyhow, let's look at some stats for those three big balloon hitters above.

Vladimir Guerrero began his career with the Expos in 1996. In his 8 seasons there, he put up 1215 hits, 226 doubles, 34 triples, 234 home runs, 702 RBI, and 641 runs scored, with a robust .323/.390/.588 slash line. You can add 123 stolen bases on top of that. He was an All-Star and Silver Slugger while with Montreal.
Andres Galarraga began his career with the Expos in 1985. In his 7 seasons there, he put up 906 hits, 180 doubles, 14 triples, 115 home runs, 473 RBI, and 424 runs scored, with a .269/.328/.432 slash line. He was an All-Star, Gold Glover, and Silver Slugger while with Montreal. In 1988 he led the N.L. in hits (184) and doubles (42).
Larry Walker began his career with the Expos in 1989. In his 6 seasons there, he put up 666 hits, 147 doubles, 16 triples, 99 home runs, 384 RBI, and 368 runs scored, with a .281/.357/.483 slash line. Like Andres Galarraga, Walker was an All-Star, Gold Glover, and Silver Slugger while with Montreal. In 1994, his final year with the Expos, he led the N.L. in doubles with 44.

That's-a-lotta balloons.

Still, I'm going to stick with "fly ball"—or one of the many other colorful terms we've got here in the States. Can of corn, Texas-leaguer, bloop, looper, loud out, moonshot.

So what do you readers say? Balloon, or no balloon?

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Another WRIPP Card from Gavin!

Back in July, I shared two super-cool pieces of 1/1 cardart that Gavin from Baseball Card Breakdown sent to me. Both of them featured Bo Jackson's 1988 Topps card, re-imagined as Donruss variations, all done by Gavin's hand.
What I didn't share was that he included one more card in that envelope. And it was also a 1/1. 

It was another card from his Warhol Rose Infinite Parallels Project! (Also known as WRIPP.) Appropriately, it features Bo Jackson. This time he's superimposed with the Hit King. And both of them are staring you down. Pretty cool effect.
Gavin started the WRIPP earlier this year, and the most fun part about it is that anyone can join in. Shortly after he announced the project, I tried my hand at a couple of WRIPP cards and sent them to Gavin. In return, he sent me one of his versions. So now, with the addition of the Pete Rose/Bo Jackson parallel above, I'm very happy to have two WRIPP cards from Gavin in my collection. I might have to create a few more to send out to people as well.

I encourage all of you readers and collectors to visit Gavin's original WRIPP post, download the template he created, and try a couple of parallels of your own. You can create your design digitally and then print it out, or you can print out the starter template and then use any type of media you'd like on top of that: colored pencils, markers, ink pens, newspaper print, stickers, anything.
We've got a long way to go on this project—forever, in fact—so I really do hope you'll create some WRIPP cards, number them 1/1, and send them out to friends and fellow collectors.

Here's what the back of Gavin's WRIPP cards look like:

You can style your card backs similarly or differently, but it helps to indicate that it's a WRIPP card and a 1/1.

So have fun with it, and share your designs with the blogosphere. Maybe one day you'll receive a WRIPP card in the mail, too.

Thanks for another cool piece of art, Gavin, and thanks for reading, everyone.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

A Custom Card of Elaine? Get OUT!

Back in 2019, I started my custom card journey with a design featuring George Costanza from the hit show Seinfeld. It's been quite a fun ride on the custom train since then, and I'm getting pretty close to having completed 100 unique designs. (More on that in a future blog post.)

Last year, a couple of those unique designs featured another two characters from the show: Cosmo Kramer and Jerry Seinfeld
There was only one more character needed to complete the legendary quartet. And here she is:

Elaine Benes!
If you're a fan of the show, you'll know why she's wearing that Baltimore Orioles cap. (And no, she is not taking it off.)
As for the on-card action, let's imagine that Ms. Benes has just hit a home run against the Yankees, and now she's displaying her signature dance move—little kicks—just before she crosses home plate. In fact, her playing position at the top left is listed as "little kicker".
To stay true to many of the original 1956 Topps cards, all that action has kicked up some dust around Elaine's feet. And look closer: With all the "full body heaves set to music", her batting helmet is flying right off!

If you're unfamiliar with all those references, here's a clip that'll fill in the blanks:

So that's that. Another custom card is in the books. I'm happy to have finally completed the Seinfeld "fab four".

More fun stuff to come.

Sunday, September 3, 2023

A Grandpa Gets a Custom Card

Any person can consider themselves fortunate if they've grown up in the presence of their grandparents—even more so if that presence was a steady, strong, positive one. I'm grateful to have had that experience, as three of my four grandparents were around during my childhood and teenage years. I even shared a story about one of my grandfathers here on the blog a few years ago. He was truly a best friend, and I think about him often.
Well, a few months ago, a fellow trading card blogger named Luke (also known as Twinkiller) reached out to me with a request for a custom card. He explained that the card would feature his grandfather, who played minor league ball in the 1960s, and that he'd be giving the finished product to his grandfather as a gift. Photo on the front, stats on the back.
There was no doubt in my mind that I'd be taking on the project—even if it had to go on the back burner while I finished up some other work. Grandfathers are just too special, and I knew Luke felt the same way.

So, he sent me all the info: a card design choice, a photograph, a slight bit of backstory, and a link to his grandfather's baseball-reference page. And I got to work.

Here's the result:

Luke was even able to procure a facsimile signature for the card front!
I'm very happy with the way it turned out, and so was he—enough to ask me for a bunch of copies that he could give out to other family members!

And really, what a cool tribute. I've designed nearly 100 custom cards over the past few years, and some of them are pretty special to me. However, I'll say honestly that this one ranks right at the top because of the significance it has for the Swanson family. I'm both happy and honored to have been a part of such a meaningful project.

Thank you for getting in touch and asking me to work on this with you, Luke. It's truly a great tribute to your grandfather. Here's to the man!