*Disclaimer* Don't worry, this isn't going to be some internet hot-take about how the Cubs should trade Kyle Schwarber for a fungible reliever from the Yankees or any of the other silly trade rumors that are currently abound.
Alrighty then - yesterday we saw the goofy portion of the latest P-Town Tom trade package to land on my doorstep. Furthermore, we also saw how my fiancee chose to deal with that portion.
Meanwhile, as I mentioned towards the end of that very post, there was more than just cheap laughs and gimmicks to this bubble mailer - much more. Today, let's take a look at the real meat and potatoes that were served with my latest "Gracing:"
The appetizer was a healthy double-serving of 2015 Diamond Kings, a set which is heavily underrepresented in my collection. In fact, these two cards may even be the first from that checklist to make their way to the Wrigley Roster Jenga headquarters - I can't quite recall. Anyway, I'm always happy to find new cards of the Cubs dynamic young core.
Jorge may have a little bit of developing to do yet, but the potential is there; meanwhile, Javy is already a human highlight reel with the glove and, if his 15th inning grand slam a couple nights ago is any indication, his bat is coming along nicely as well!
Of course, the fact that three relievers played left field in this game and Travis Wood kept bouncing back from the mound to the outfield kept Javy's heroics from being the most notable part of the never-ending contest. God bless Joe Maddon.
What have we got next, eh?
Speaking of the dynamic young core, here's the crown jewel of that crop back when he was a college kid playing for Team USA. Panini might not have an MLB license; but, they were able to secure the proper & exclusive authorizations to produce NCAA and Team USA cards without having to airbrush out anything that so much as resembled a team identification mark. Thus, they've carved themselves out a nice niche in the card-collecting market.
Speaking of niches, this card fits perfectly into one of my niche collections: cards of Major League Cubs that depict their minor league/college/high school days, aka my "Baby Bear" binder. Bryant cards are like gold around here, so thank you for saving me the excessive hometown markup, Tom!
This one made my jaw drop - a Team USA relic of yet another one of the Northsiders' young core? On top of that, it's numbered out of 299? Hot damn! This instantly becomes the nicest card (by far) in that previously mentioned niche collection.
Almora is another absolute defensive whiz, having already made several highlight reel-worthy catches in his short time in the Bigs, thus far. His bat has been a tad better than advertised too - in fact, just yesterday he smacked his first career homer by going the opposite way. He may have to be sent back to AAA when Dexter Fowler returns from the DL; that said, Almora may very well replace Fowler when the latter hits free agency this winter.
Jeeze - he just makes it look so easy and effortless, doesn't he?
Anyway, there was still one more card left in P-Town Tom's envelope of goodies - how can we top what's already been seen?
ROCK SHOULDERS!! The man whose name sounds more like it belongs in an old western movie or woven into the tall tales of Paul Bunyan and his big blue ox than a baseball diamond.
Rock was Tom's prospect crush before Dan Vogelbach burst onto the scene and is probably the most preeminent Rock super-collector on the internet. This certified auto made me audibly gasp when I pulled it out of the trade stack - anytime inked cards make their way into my hands unannounced is a time for celebration!
It's too bad the first baseman is the one prospect in this batch who never made the ultimate ascent to Chicago, though the chances of him doing so were slim to none to begin with (ahem, Anthony Rizzo). As of now, Shoulders is actually playing with my adoptive hometown's Frontier League nine, the Joliet Slammers.
Image courtesy of JolietSlammers.com
Funny - when I read that he'd been activated off of the league's DL this past Sunday, I began thinking about making my way to a game and seeing if I could get Rock to sign a card for me. Tom is clearly thinking on the same wavelength as I am.
Well, after all that, I think I'd weather being hit with every single 1989 Fleer Mark Grace ever printed if they were also accompanied with those generous offerings above - that was one heckuva mailer! Although, I may very well be opening the floodgates with that statement.
Thank you P-Town Tom for your exceptional generosity; I hope to have a comparable return in the mail for you in the near future!