Sunday, February 28, 2021

New '93s and a new PC

I have nearly a dozen TCDB trades in progress and I still haven't finished discussing the batch of cards from BaseballCardStore so I'm going to write one more post here and one more at The Collector before moving on. 

My 1993 Leaf set is almost complete! After picking up Dave Hollins and replacing Pat Listach I just need the Ken Griffey Jr. card to complete set #2. Then it's on to Update, which is where the Tim Salmon card comes from. Salmon, Jim Edmonds, and J.T. Snow were hot rookies in 1993 and I was such a fan of their cards in large part due to the updated Angels uniform that debuted in '93. It's one reason why I really liked Mike Trout's 2011 Topps Update RC and would definitely want one even if it was valued at $1 instead of $1,000 or whatever. Perhaps the 1993 Angels rookies will be a subject for a future post here.

 

I decided against a separate post for all of my football finds from the dime store, but here are some from 1993 that were inspired by previous posts on this blog. The LT Classic is from 1994. 

When I update my 1993 wantlist I plan to mix it up with base sets, small insert sets, and small checklists of players who retired that year. Eric Dickerson will be the first new addition to my list of "sunset" stars. More on him a little later..

The first TCDB trade I completed in February was my first with user Packsux. He's a Bears fan in Wisconsin and I really thought I'd traded with him before, but it turns out he never replied to my offer. This time we made a deal quickly and flawlessly. Well... quickly, at least. 

I sent him 33 cards (mostly Topps flagship) in exchange for 30 older cards across six set builds. The highlights were these two 1993 Score Franchise inserts:


I'm now one card away from completing half of this 28-card set.

Going off-topic a bit, Mike mentioned that one card I requested had a "funky corner" - this 1987 Topps Wilber Marshall:


Yeah, it's not great - but I found two cards in our trade that were as bad, if not worse. This Randy Wood 1988-89 Topps single has some serious corner damage at the bottom (it's actually worse than it looks in the scan). Mike volunteered to send me the Marshall and some extra cards as compensation, which was appreciated:



I started a collection of team logo cards from 1999 Victory baseball (and football). So far I have the Indians.. and these two. They pair nicely with the Nied and Clark, don't you think?

He also threw in a Drew Robinson card I had on my wantlist. Who is Drew Robinson, you ask? I didn't know either until a couple weeks ago when we were snowed in and I read his story on ESPN.com.


Haven't seen the e60 documentary yet but I plan to watch it soon. He's in camp with the Giants this spring and I'm rooting for him. Anyway, two checklist cards and an update single were fair compensation for one or two bum corners. But then I found this: 
 

I requested this 1987 Topps box bottom card for my Eric Dickerson PC and as I piled up the cards to be scanned I admired it from a few feet away. What a cool card I thought to myself. Then I picked it up. 

There's a big ol' crease along the bottom. You can see part of it underneath the 'Topps' in the bottom right corner. I should have known. Damn Bears fan punking a Packer backer. lol. 
 
He's not wrong


This might be my last post here for a while. It's tough maintaining two blogs; sometimes I have tons of ideas for one but not the other - and that's the case here. However when I return in mid-March (or sooner) I'll have an updated wantlist and a new topic: athletes (and entertainers?) who were Born In 1993. 


Thanks for reading!




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Thursday, February 18, 2021

1993 in a PWE

Free Stuff Friday giveaways are making a comeback on the blogs and I was selfish enough to partake in one such offering by the always generous Kerry of Cards on Cards. I had picked up a low-numbered Portland Trail Blazer on COMC for him several months ago, but due to a combination of their incompetence and that of the US Post Office I.. still have not shipped it to him. I guess I can blame the weather and/or my own laziness for that, too. Either way, I probably had no right to claim any cards...

...but I did anyway, because Kerry offered up some 1993 football inserts including these Rookie Sensations. I bought a ton of 1993 Fleer but I don't remember pulling any of these - perhaps they were only available in jumbo packs? Coleman and Coryatt are two of the 20 cards in the Rookie Sensations set. There aren't any big names (the 1992 Draft was far worse than '93) but the cards are sharp. I might be tempted to add this set to my 1993 wantlist one day.


I'm much more familiar with the NFL Prospect inserts from the '93 Fleer set. These weren't tough to pull (I'm guessing one out of every 12 packs?) but they were a welcome sight among the grey-bordered base cards. And they were the first cards to picture 1993 NFL Draft picks if I remember correctly. There are 30 cards in this insert set but they were not all first-round picks; top-ten draftees Rick Mirer, Marvin Jones, and Willie Roaf were not included (perhaps because they hadn't signed NFL contracts yet?)

I also claimed a 2020 Donruss LaDanian Tomlinson base card. Kerry included five Red Sox singles to fill out the PWE but my brand new scanner decided to stop scanning after these four football cards. It got stuck on saving the images to my desktop and wouldn't actually finish the task. Then when I tried to unplug and reset 'er the connection was lost or some such garbage. So I'll save those for a future post at The Collector.


Kerry, thanks for the great cards! I will ship your relic as soon as possible. I hope it's worth the wait.



My manager G has two daughters and her ex-husband left the three of them for a younger woman. She had to call the deadbeat ex to discuss a matter related to their daughters' insurance and apparently the mistress was listening. G had some choice words for that "homewrecking c--- rag" and told us that the two women got into an argument over text that sounded very much like a high school cat fight. 


This. 




This is why I could never




Not even if by some cruel twist of fate that prompted New Girl to think of me as anything more than that "good person" at the office who bought her lunch one time and checked on her (after the fact) to be sure some rando wasn't harassing her.




Not even if I feel so worn down by the malaise of my home life that my heart cries out for one last gasp. 




No. 




Never.





End of story.







Thanks for reading!






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Saturday, February 13, 2021

Creep

Have you ever taken a quiz that asks you What song describes who you are?

This was my answer in 1993, and 1997, and 2001, and 2006, and 2013.. and it's still my song today.

"Creep" was the first single off Radiohead's debut album Pablo Honey. It became such a massive hit that the band distanced themselves from being defined by the song and refused to play it live for several years. I guess some middle-aged men can outgrow it lol. 

I wouldn't call myself a Radiohead fan (my friends' band covered "Just" in high school and I thought it was an original song) but Pablo Honey, The Bends, and especially OK Computer were excellent albums. The latter was nominated for Album of the Year at the 1998 Grammys - but it didn't win because Bob Dylan exists. :/

The band released Kid A in 2000 and the songs just didn't sound like songs to me, so I jumped off the Radiohead train. My best friend, who remains a fan, told me that a lot of people lost interest in them around this time.

 

What song describes who you are? Do you have a favorite Radiohead song?



Thanks for reading and listening!




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Tuesday, February 9, 2021

No One Remembers Number Two

Let's take a look at the first overall draft picks of 1993. 

In June, the Seattle Mariners drafted high school shortstop Alex Rodriguez first overall. He turned out okay - aside from all the steroids and the bizarre antics on and off the field. But he's married to J-Lo now, so all is forgiven. 😒

The Orlando Magic won back-to-back NBA Draft lotteries, and the right to draft Michigan forward Chris Webber first overall in '93. Instead of boosting a frontcourt that already included 1992 #1 overall pick Shaquille O'Neal, Orlando opted to trade Webber to Golden State, acquiring #3 overall pick Anfernee Hardaway.

Two months earlier the New England Patriots began their return to respectability, selecting Washington State quarterback Drew Bledsoe first overall.

None of these number one picks are Hall of Famers (yet?) but they all had far better careers than the players who were drafted immediately after them.

Darren Dreifort made a lot of money over eleven mediocre (and injury-filled) years with the Dodgers. His career WAR total of 7.8 is about 110 less than A-Rod's.

Rick Mirer was sacked a league-leading 47 times in his rookie season of 1993. He bounced back somewhat in 1994, leading the NFL in lowest interception percentage with just seven picks thrown in 381 attempts. However he only threw 11 touchdown passes that year. In four seasons as the Seahawks' starter Mirer threw 56 interceptions, just 41 touchdowns, and earned a 20-31 record as a starter.
 


Shawn Bradley actually played one more NBA game in his career than C-Webb. The 7' 6" center carved out a niche as a top-notch shot-blocker but his overall production resembled that of a late first rounder, not an ideal second overall pick.


So which one of these golden boys threw shade at their fellow draft prospects by saying "I'm glad I got drafted first, because no one remembers number two."


Trick question - it was none of the above. The young man who uttered these words was Alexandre Daigle, first overall pick of the Ottawa Senators.

Daigle was seen as the future of the Senators franchise, the player that would lead them to multiple Stanley Cup championships as Mario Lemieux had done for the Penguins.

That... didn't happen. Daigle flamed out in Ottawa after five seasons of subpar production and immature behavior. He lacked the supporting cast and competitive fire to succeed, retiring from the NHL at the ripe old age of 25 (he later returned for three seasons in the 2000s.)


So... who was the player drafted second overall after Daigle that no one would remember?

That would be Chris Pronger, selected by the Hartford Whalers.

Pronger won a Hart trophy, a Norris trophy, and a Stanley Cup in his 18-year NHL career. He's also the only player drafted in the top three of any 1993 Draft to be enshrined in his sport's Hall of Fame.

After Pronger, the highest-drafted player to reach the Hall of Fame was another NHL pick - Paul Kariya, drafted fourth overall by the Mighty Ducks.

No NBA or MLB first rounder from the 1993 Draft has been elected to the Hall of Fame. There are two NFL first rounders from 1993 enshrined in Canton: #8 overall pick Willie Roaf and #10 pick Jerome Bettis.


Two Fridays ago I was getting ready to leave work when I saw New Girl was stressed out. I asked her if someone was bothering her and she told me the story. It was just a co-worker being pushy about work stuff but as she vented her frustrations to me (before ending with "anyway, I'm rambling..") it occurred to me that I could carve out a niche as an office big brother-type person, someone who has her back and looks out for her because literally everyone in our company (except G) is a guy, and I can only vouch for like three or four of them.

Since having this epiphany it's been easier to conversate with NG - not trying to flirt or impress her, just being friendly and looking out for her. But if that was my intended role I failed at it today. At 5pm - when us cube dwellers were trying to leave - a truck was blocking two or three cars. I was about to clock out when I heard NG tell some dude I've never seen that she didn't know who was parked there. He proceeded to chat her up, asking her rapid-fire questions about her - how was her day? Does she like working there? Is it hard work? That kind of thing.

I don't know this guy, maybe he was just killing time until someone moved their car. But I got a bad feeling about him. Is he creeping on her? Is she uncomfortable? Should I sit with her and wait until he leaves? .. are thoughts I had after leaving the building. Not my business. Not my concern.


Thanks for reading!





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Sunday, February 7, 2021

Regret

The first time I heard New Order was sometime in 1987. I was six or seven years old when I first discovered MTV and while I didn't have a favorite band yet, certain videos really made an impression on me: "Take On Me", "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", "Sledgehammer", and "True Faith" in particular. When I was a very small boy... New Order was a big deal. "Bizarre Love Triangle" might have been an even bigger hit but "True Faith" was the one that stuck with me - probably because of the video.


I didn't really begin to absorb and consume music until about four years later. Just before the grunge era I was a bit of a metalhead, collecting cassettes of Guns N' Roses, Metallica, and even Megadeth. Then I heard the opening riff of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" for the first time and I've been an alt-rock fan ever since.

While I was in junior high, listening to bands like Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, and Pearl Jam, New Order released the last studio album of their "original" run: 1993's Republic. I barely noticed it at the time, but I do remember hearing "Regret". Can't say I remember seeing this video much. Do you remember this track at all? Did you see this video on MTV (or VH1) at the time?



By 1998 the 'golden age' of alternative was ending, though there were obviously some awesome acts still making great music. I'd just graduated high school and started a new part-time job. One of my favorite things to do with the extra cash was to pop into Strawberries and scoop up CDs of the '80s acts I'd vaguely remembered hearing as a kid: The Cure, Depeche Mode, The Smiths, and of course New Order.

In the process of acquiring these albums, I met my first girlfriend. She was a few years older than me and had so much more '80s stuff than I did. Just before Christmas (and a week or two before we started dating) she made me a mix tape which included New Order's "Temptation":


I still remember where I was the first time I heard it: driving out of the snowy parking lot of the Arby's/Barnes & Noble plaza onto the Post Road in Milford, CT. Whenever I hear this song I remember the excitement of a brand new relationship about to bloom: Oh you've got green eyes, oh you've got blue eyes, oh you've got grey eyes...

For the next three years or so I hoarded all the New Order CDs I could get my hands on - all the mainstream releases, CD singles, remixes.. you name it. Some part of me knew that I was more than a decade behind but I didn't care. I was done with school, and I had no interest in the "music" TRL was playing anyhow.

Just when I'd run out of new New Order songs.. the band reunited, recording a song for the Leonardo DiCaprio film The Beach. I didn't see it - but I bought the soundtrack.  (There's a great Moby song on there too.)

Not long after that the band released Get Ready, their first studio album since 1993's Republic.  "Regret" was a great leadoff song but the rest of that album fell flat for me (except for "Spooky") However Get Ready was a fantastic comeback album with an even better leadoff track - Crystal:


I'd have to say this is one of my four favorite New Order songs of all time. Just like with "Regret" it had been a few years since I'd heard it, I've played it a lot more recently, and it sounds as awesome as ever. You're not alone anymore, you shock me to the core...

 

 

Do you have a favorite New Order song, or a favorite '80s song, or a favorite song with a girl's name in the title? 


 

Thanks for reading & listening!




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Monday, February 1, 2021

The 1983

A few days ago Fuji was kind enough to mention my last post here on his weekly blog recap series This Week in Blogging. There was just one slight typo in his post:

No worries, though. Happens all the time. If I had a nickel for every typo I found in my NHL all-time series during and after publishing each post... here's how many nickels I'd have.

I'm home from work today due to a blizzard slamming the northeast so let's run with this. Let's talk about 1983.

The first thing that comes to my mind when someone mentions this year is the Cold War. It's one of my favorite topics in American history; I just found it frightening and fascinating how two superpowers could come so close to destroying each other - and the world - with nuclear weapons. Probably because I was far too young to experience the events at the time. Tensions between the US and USSR had been high since the early 1960s but things really came to a head in '83.


President Ronald Reagan announced a new missile defense program called SDI, or "Star Wars" which would theoretically target Russian nukes from space.
 


The Day After debuted in November 1983. It was a chilling depiction of nuclear catastrophe which aired on broadcast TV just days after the Able Archer incident.



Able Archer was the code name of a training exercise - a WarGame if you will - that many in the Kremlin believed was the real deal. (No, this was not related to Reagan's quip that "We begin bombing in five minutes.")  Fun times!

On a lighter note, 1983 trading cards are scarcely represented in my collection. 

I have 12 cards from the 1983 Topps football set: nine Packers, Renaldo Nehemiah, Andra Franklin, and Doug Williams - the original TB12.

I have 16 cards from the 1983 Fleer set, including six Red Sox and some singles I picked up for my All-Time Teams binder. I also grabbed some from the online dime box that were meant for a fellow blogger - but he filled those needs before I had them in hand. 

1983 (and 1984) Donruss singles felt like a rare treat to me as a young collector in the late '80s - something that surfaced about as frequently as an insert card a decade later. 

As for the '83 Topps set.. I have just 22 cards in my collection, one of the three lowest totals of '80s Topps sets. This makes some sense to me based on the year I was born and the year I started collecting. Here's my card count:

  • 1980 Topps - 19 cards
  • 1981 Topps - 24 cards
  • 1982 Topps - 21 cards
  • 1983 Topps - 22 cards
  • 1984 Topps - 48 cards
  • 1985 Topps - 26 cards
  • 1986 Topps - 69 cards
  • (the rest are complete.)

What doesn't make sense to me is that 1983 Topps is probably one of my three favorite issues of the decade. I like it a lot more than 1986 Topps, but that was the first flagship set I saw as a kid. Also I don't have any rookie cards of Ryne Sandberg, Wade Boggs, or Tony Gwynn - mostly because I've always figured they're so plentiful that I never saw the need to prioritize them :/

Do you have any favorite sports cards or memories from 1983? Do you have any memories of Cold War tensions at that time? I'd be very interested to hear some of your stories!

Night Owl... you up?



So last week I tried to ignore the new girl at work. And then something happened that made me laugh so hard I did an immediate face turn. My manager G got a phone call just as New Girl walked into the room. Only G knew who was calling her when she shouted "What the fuck do you want?" New Girl tucked tail and left just as meekly as she entered. My laughter at the situation let G know that there may have been a misunderstanding to address. "Does she think I yelled at her?" G said as soon as she got off the phone (with one of our very funny and sarcastic inspectors.) "She might." I replied.

"I'd better call her. The poor girl's gonna quit on us!" 

Face turn initiated. You see, I still have no idea how to handle this little office crush I have but I know that I do not want her to quit. So I got G to smooth things over (which wasn't necessary; New Girl knew she was not being yelled at - even as a joke) and then when she came back a little later I addressed the room "Okay, no one yell at her this time."

The next day- Friday - I had to mail a letter. This time I decided to actually take it up front so as not to bring it in the car with me. When I printed said letter I noticed that there were forms sitting in the tray. G told me they were New Girl's (the printer in her room doesn't work; she only comes to see us for printing and pizza.) I told myself that if I got the letter in the envelope before she came to get them that I would bring them to her. I'm headed that way anyway, I'd do that for anyone. No big deal.

Sure enough I had the letter ready to mail so I grabbed the printouts and went up front. I placed the printouts on her desk "These yours?" and as I dropped the letter in the mail slot she acknowledged my gesture.

"You are so lovely. Thank you!"

I was absolutely frozen. Usually I would say "No worries" but the girl shorted out my brain.

What did I say in response? Nothing. Literally. I was so caught off-guard that I said “Nothing”. I meant to say “It’s nothing” which wasn’t even that great, but somehow the word “It’s” never made it out of my mouth. Probably because it was blocked by what I wished I could say: “No, you’re lovely.”


Btw, New Girl is a lousy speller. She left a post-it for me to call a gentleman named Schmidt and she spelled his name 'Schmitt'. As anyone who follows baseball knows, that's not how you spell 'Schmidt'.

K-I-N-G. Schmidt. Got it?


 Thanks for reading!




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