Create your own custom baseball cards with Rookies App

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If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably a baseball fan. And if you’re a baseball fan of a certain age, you probably at one point in your life collected baseball cards. Yeah, those things decaying in your parents’ basement, accruing value only in your imagination.

It’s time to reignite the flame in this digital world.

Matt Sebek — of Joe Sports Fan and Cardinals Twitter fame — has developed the Rookies App, a simply-designed program for your phone that allows for the creation of customized baseball cards.

We’ll let Sebek and his cohorts further explain:

Over the past two years, our team has been creating an iPhone application that allows users to create their own baseball cards. The front and back are fully personalized with custom photos, text and color. Once created, users can share them socially on Facebook and Twitter.

Then, the real fun begins.

Users can purchase a pack of cards that are printed on premium recycled stock and come wrapped in a custom wax pack. There are 20 cards per pack and you can purchase the same card or mix and match from your collection. Then they’re shared as birth announcements, business cards, wedding gifts, birthday presents or conversation pieces. Our team tinkered with every possible inch of this product, all the way down to the gum – which FDA policies restrict these days. Sorry, you’ll need to find stale gum somewhere else.

Use of the app is totally free. If you want a custom, handcrafted pack it costs $12.99 (plus shipping).

There are numerous card templates and the possibilities within those card templates are endless:

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Download the Rookies App now for the iPhone or iPad. A version for Android users is coming soon.

Justin Verlander changed his mechanics to prolong his career

Justin Verlander mechanics
Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Last week, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reported that Astros starter and reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander changed his mechanics in order to prolong his career. Specifically, Verlander lowered his release point from 7’2″ to 6’5″.

As Brooks Baseball shows, Verlander drastically altered his release point after being traded to the Astros from the Tigers on August 31, 2017. The change resulted in a huge bump in his strikeout rate. Verlander’s strikeout rate ranged between 16% and 27.4% with the Tigers, mostly settling in the 23-25% range. With The Tigers through the first five months of 2017, Verlander struck out 24.1% of batters. In the final month with the Astros, he struck out 35.8% of batters. He then maintained that rate over the entire 2018 and ’19 seasons with respective rates of 34.8% and 35.4%. Just as impressively, the release point also resulted in fewer walks. His walk rate ranged from 5.9% to 9.9% with the Tigers but was 4.4% and 5.0% the last two seasons with the Astros.

Verlander finished a runner-up in 2018 AL Cy Young Award balloting to Blake Snell before edging out teammate Gerrit Cole for the award last season. Despite the immense success, Verlander described his mechanics as unsustainable. Per The Athletic’s Jake Kaplan, Verlander said, “I changed a lot of stuff that some people would think was unnecessary. But I thought it was necessary, especially if I want to play eight, 10 more years.”

Verlander is 37 years old, so 10 more seasons would put him into Jamie Moyer territory. Moyer, who consistently ranked among baseball’s softest-tossing pitchers, pitched 25 seasons in the majors from 1986-2012.  He threw 111 2/3 innings with the Phillies in 2010 at the age of 47 and 53 2/3 innings with the Rockies in 2012 at 49. But aside from Moyer and, more recently, Bartolo Colon, it’s exceedingly rare for pitchers to extend their careers into their 40’s, let alone their mid- and late-40’s.

The Astros have Verlander under contract through 2021. The right-hander will have earned close to $300 million. He’s won a World Series, a Rookie of the Year Award, an MVP Award, two Cy Youngs, and has been an eight-time All-Star. Verlander could retire after 2021 and would almost certainly be a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 2027. That he continues to tweak his mechanics in order to pitch for another decade speaks to his highly competitive nature.