Friday, June 10, 2011

Fitting Image for Nishioka's Rookie Card

Mauer is the cover boy for 2011 Topps Series 2
The Topps Trading Card Company released their Series 2 Baseball set during the middle of this week. Joe Mauer is the athlete featured on the cover of the product. It is fitting that Mauer is the cover boy since the most Twins fans have seen of Mauer this year has been in advertising campaigns. But that is neither here nor there.

There is one card Twins collectors might be looking for out of this set. The only rookie card to collect from the Twins is their new Japanese import, Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Topps was able to get the picture of Nishioka during the first series of the year in Toronto. The picture is eerily similar to the play that has come to encapsulate Nishioka's first season with the team. Take a look below:
Nishioka's Topps Rookie Card
In the picture above, you can see that Nishioka has his front leg planted very strongly in the way of Jose Bautista. This same type of play is the one that has cost Nishioka over a third of the season. The image of Nishioka that is burned into the minds of Twins fans is that of Nick Swisher plowing into Nishi's leg as he tried to turn the double play. Notice that Nishioka has the same expression on his face in both pictures, even though he is getting his leg broken in the later picture.
Swisher sliding into Nishioka at 2B
Depending on how the rest of the season goes for Nishioka, it is fitting that this image will be cemented into history on his rookie card. The Twins middle infield has been influx since the Nishioka injury. There have been appearances in the middle infield from Alexi Casilla, Michael Cuddyer, Luke Hughes, Trevor Plouffe, and Matt Tolbert.

The Twins are winning on a more consistent basis besides all of the injures that have been part of this season. Both Mauer and Nishioka are on pace to return to the Twins in the coming weeks. This can be a boost to a team that seems to have found a pulse.

Twins fans hope that the image on Nishioka's rookie card is not a microcosm of the 2011 season for the Twins. Hopefully it's a reminder of a wonderful second half when the Twins fought their way back into contention in the Central Division.

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