Thursday, February 25, 2021

Baseball Happenings Podcast | Cassidy Lichtman Athletes Unlimited Volleyball Interview

Cassidy Lichtman, an outside hitter for the newly minted Athletes Unlimited Volleyball league, joined the Baseball Happenings Podcast to discuss all of the exciting developments the league has planned going into its debut season. The former Stanford star explains how significant it is to be part of this pioneering group, the feelings behind having her own official Topps trading card, and the work she's doing to move the game forward with her organization, Progress Through Athletics (P/ATH)

Click here to listen to the interview with Lichtman on the Baseball Happenings Podcast.


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

'Pretty Good Chance' Fans Could Return to MLB Ballparks in 2021

Dr. Anthony Fauci believes there is a ‘pretty good chance’ that fans will be able to attend MLB games in 2021 provided that the rate of Covid-19 cases continues to drop.

The chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden appeared on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight podcast on February 19th and said: “We could have people in the stands, maybe not right next to each other”. 

Local municipalities will make decisions on fan attendance, and the Tampa Bay Rays have already revealed their plans to kick off their campaign with around 7,000 supporters in the ballpark. 

A small number of fans were able to attend some games last season, and other major American sports leagues have been able to let some people in at a reduced capacity. 

With the Covid-19 vaccine still in its early stages of being implemented across the country, the hope is that more baseball fans will be allowed in as the situation improves. 

The season is scheduled to start on April 1st with all 30 teams set to play. ESPN will be showing live coverage of the Toronto Blue Jays @ New York Yankees at 1:05 p.m. ET, and that will be followed by the World Series champions Los Angeles Dodgers kicking off their title defense at Coors Field against the Colorado Rockies. 

Part three of the quadruple header sees the Washington Nationals host the New York Mets, and the action concludes in LA as the Angels welcome the Chicago White Sox to Angel Stadium. 

The Dodgers are the favorites to win the World Series for the second year in succession, with most of the best betting sites offering odds of +350 on the National League West outfit. 

Next in the betting is the Yankees who lost the American League Division Series to the Tampa Bay Rays in 2020 but are +550 to bounceback and win a 28th World Series crown. 

The San Diego Padres look absolutely stacked this year and it is no surprise to see them priced as a +900 third-favorite. Last week, shortstop Fernando Tatis committed his future to the Padres with a whopping 14-year, $340 million contract. All-Star pitcher Yu Darvish was also acquired from the Chicago Cubs, adding to an already impressive roster. 

The Atlanta Braves have no shortage of star power themselves, and after three straight National League East division titles, they are expected to go deep again with odds of +1200 to win the World Series. 

Both the New York Mets and Chicago White Sox are also in the +1200 range, while the Minnesota Twins are as big as +2000 with some online sportsbooks. 

Despite winning the American League in 2020, the Tampa Bay Rays are +2500 to go one better this year and are +900 to repeat their AL success. There are question marks over their ability to repeat what they achieved last term, especially with so many other American League teams breathing down their neck. 

The Toronto Blue Jays are among those that many believe could mount a challenge this year, and they are +2000 for the World Series.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

2020 Topps Chrome Black Baseball | Box Break And Review

Topps created a fresh design for their 2020 Topps Chrome Black Baseball set that provides a completely different look from its 2020 Topps Chrome Baseball partner. 

Base Set And Checklist

Each four-card box comes with a hefty $180 price tag, guaranteeing one encased autograph. The 100-card base set (see checklist here) contains almost 40 rookies including 2020 American League Rookie of the Year, Kyle Lewis. If the base cards weren't scarce enough, they all come with a variety of serial numbered parallels, sure to keep the player collectors busy search for these rare gems.


The signer list for 2020 Topps Chrome Black Baseball is impressive, boasting Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Sandy Koufax, and Mariano Rivera, alongside top stars Mike Trout, Ronald Acuña, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. The box provided for this review yielded this Patrick Corbin gold autograph #/50.

2020 Topps Chrome Black Patrick Corbin Gold Autograph / Topps

Box Break Video

Head over to our YouTube channel to check out our 2020 Topps Chrome Black Baseball box break, along with our archive of baseball interviews. 


Thursday, February 18, 2021

Bob Oldis' Missed Opportunity Against Satchel Paige In The Major Leagues

Bob Oldis only played in seven games during his 1953 rookie season with the Washington Senators, yet one almost perfect game stands out in his mind almost 70 years later. 

On June 25, 1953, Oldis was placed in the starting lineup against the St. Louis Browns. Making only his second major league start, he played flawlessly. He went 3-3 at the plate with an RBI, and threw out the lone baserunner who dared to steal that day. 

Most rookies would have been elated with that type of performance, but something about that game didn't sit right with the young catcher. With the Senators down 3-1 in the bottom of the 9th inning, Oldis was due to bat third in the inning. 

Pitching in relief for the Browns was the ageless Satchel Paige. Undaunted by his presence, the first two batters were able to get on base with a walk and a single. This set the stage for Oldis, who was swinging a hot bat that day, to be the hero ... or so he thought. 

As he approached the top steps of the dugout, Oldis represented the winning run. After battering starter Harry Breechen for three hits, the tap on the shoulder from manager Bucky Harris wasn't what he expected. Instead of words of encouragement, Harris let him know outfielder Carmen Mauro would be taking his place at the plate. 

Dejected, Oldis returned to the dugout to watch Mauro hit a pop-up to third base, and Gil Coan finish the game by hitting into a 4-6-3 double play. He never was able to test himself against Satchel Paige in the majors, as he was sent down a short time afterwards.

When the 93-year-old was reached recently via a letter to his Arizona home, I asked if he was upset with Harris' decision to remove him for a pinch-hitter against Paige.

"Yes!" Oldis wrote. 

Oldis later had his chance to face Paige in the minor leagues during the 1958 season when he played for the Richmond Virginians and Paige hurled for the Miami Marlins; however, seven decades later it is the meeting they didn't have that stands out in his memory.