Jon Lester’s first baseball card as a Cub


I still don’t know how I feel about digital trading cards. Those being the cards Topps has put out under the Topps “BUNT” brand that exist only on an app or whatever and are purchased at the App Store of Google Play. Baseball cards were always a tactile thing for me just as much as a visual thing, as the rounded corners of so many of my cards attest. For that reason, seeing graded and appraised cards under hard plastic cases seems wrong too. Let me stack them and sort them and feel them, please.

But it is always, ALWAYS wise to question any impulse you have which inspires you to reflexively assert that things were better when you were a kid. Or, rather, to feel things were better. Yes, some things were better. But lots of things weren’t and nostalgia, I have come to believe, is one of the more toxic and progress-impeding impulses around. It’s like a drug, actually. Enjoy it in moderation — there are highs to be found with it — but don’t turn your life over to it and become dependent. If you do, you’ll become cranky and insulated and you’ll miss a lot of good things the world has to offer. And it’ll be a totally self-inflicted wound.

So for that reason, I’m going to chuck my love of actual hard copy baseball cards to the side for a brief moment and note that Topps has come out with the first Jon Lester baseball card portraying him as a Chicago Cub. It’s digital only, natch:


I like the idea of a “Departures” set. It covers much more ground than the old “Traded” sets used to. And with 100% less airbrushing of caps and things. Though, honestly, an airbrushed picture of Lester pitching for the A’s, changed to a Cubs uniform, might be more fun than seeing a ballplayer wearing a jersey over a shirt and tie.

Dang. There goes that nostalgia again.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.