Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Cheering for the Opposition

I'm guessing that for most sports fanatics... it's easier to choose favorite players from your favorite teams, than to pick them from teams you don't support.  However I'm in the minority.

Since the Athletics and Padres are both in rebuilding phases, you never know which guys are going to be around after the season.  This makes it really difficult for me to go out and drop money on a Sonny Gray, Stephen Vogt, or Wil Myers jersey.  However... when Matt over at Bob Walk the Plank wrote about his favorite non-Pirates, it only too me a few minutes to come up with my Top 5.

But before I get to them... let's take a look at a few honorable mentions:

Honorable Mention #1:  David Ortiz

2014 Topps Tier One Acclaimed Autographs #DO

Big Papi is a member of the Three C's Club.  He's a solid contact hitter.  He's clutch.  And he's chubby.  I don't get a chance to watch the Red Sox play very often... but when I do, I look forward to seeing what Ortiz does at the plate.

Honorable Mention #2:  Munenori Kawasaki

2013 Topps Supreme Stylings Autographs #MK

I had a really difficult time choosing between Kawasaki and my number 5 selection, because he represents everything I love about this sport.  He's fun, positive, and is a kid at heart.

Honorable Mention #3:  Andrew McCutchen

2011 Topps Lineage Reprint Auto #RA-AM

Cutch's batting average has dropped off this year... but he's still one of baseball's biggest class acts.  And even after winning an MVP Award, representing the National League in numerous all-star games, and becoming one of MLB's biggest names... he seems so down to earth and humble.

Honorable Mention #4:  Josh Donaldson

2010 Topps Chrome #191

This might sound crazy... but I've actually become a bigger fan of Donaldson since he was traded.  I've heard him talk about the trade on several occasions and he's always said he has no animosity towards Oakland and he'll always cherish the great memories.  Plus it doesn't hurt that the guy plays with a lot of heart.  Maybe one day when he's at the tail end of his career, he'll come back to the Athletics.

Okay... now for the unveiling of my favorite non-Athletic/non-Padre...

#5:  Bartolo Colon 

2013 Topps Update All-Star Stitches #BC

Big Sexy has become America's latest folk hero.  But seriously guys.  I've liked him since he signed with the Athletics back in 2012.  It's not everyday I come across a player my age who has weight issues and an entertaining personality.


#4:  Clayton Kershaw

2014 Topps High Tek Auto #CK

Kershaw is a once in a generation kind of pitcher.  The way he dominates hitters is truly something to marvel at.  To top it off... he's a lefty like myself... and that's why he's on this list.


#3:  Jose Altuve 

2016 Museum Collection Archival Autographs #JA

For the better part of my Little League career... I was the shortest guy on the team.  But I could do three things really well... field, make contact with the ball, and get on base.  Those are Mr. Altuve's strengths too... and he's one of the shortest players in the league... which makes him my third favorite player who doesn't play for one of my favorite teams.


#2:  Ichiro Suzuki

2001 Fleer Tradition #452

When I was a kid, I turned my back on my Japanese heritage.  I wanted to fit in with the people around me... and the fact is... there just weren't a lot of Japanese people in my neighborhood.  So I grew up a "banana".  It didn't help that as a kid in the 80's, there weren't many Japanese athletes to cheer for outside of Lenn Sakata and Christian Hosoi.

However eventually I realized the importance of embracing one's culture.  That's why I decided to collect Japanese athletes and one of the greatest of all-time is Ichiro Suzuki.  I've had the privilege of watching him play on multiple occasions and he's one of only a handful of athletes I've cheered for at the Oakland Coliseum.


#1:  Kurt Suzuki

2016 Museum Collection Archival Autographs #KSZ

This pick shouldn't really surprise anyone.  For years, Kurt was my favorite Oakland Athletic and I still root for him whenever I have the opportunity to watch him play.

Well there you have it.  Hopefully the A's and Padres will eventually establish a group of core players they'd like to build their franchises around.  The sooner they do... the easier it will be for me to finally find my next favorite Athletic/Padre.

Happy Wednesday and sayonara!

7 comments:

  1. mmm. PC collection of chubby players-I like it. Andrew wrote a wonderful essay on getting young kids of color in to baseball. If you google it you find it and it is worth it-great guy.

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  2. Hmmm.. I haven't really thought about current players I like that aren't Jays.. Might have to do that lol..

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  3. Ichiro should make a lot of people's lists. Take what he's done here in the US (MLB) combine it with his Japan stas, and SUPER WOWZER!

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  4. What a fun post topic! I somehow missed it when BWTP did it, but I might have to do something similar. Maybe we can turn this into a Bat-Around.

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  5. I enjoyed this topic. You should do the players you don't like as well!

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  6. Love that Ortiz card - no surprise as I'm a BoSox guy. But that is a great topic to post on. Good job.

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  7. Brady - Lol... that's how I roll. If it's the article from about a year ago and lower income kids, I read it. Definitely one of the reasons that put Cutch on the list.

    Mike - I really considered putting Bautista and his bat flip on this list.

    John Miller - Agree. People are always going to wonder "what if" he'd arrived in the states sooner. Regardless... mighty fine career.

    shlabotnikreport - I'm always up for a good Blog Bat Around.

    Matthew - It'd be a much shorter list... but I'll give it a go.

    Bulldog - Me too. But it's hard to mess up an on-card signature of Big Papi.

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