Sometimes when I'm dealing with something with which I'm not very familiar, I'll try to relate it to something that I do know, something from my time.
This happens a lot these days because the older you get, the less familiar the world is. You'd think it would be just the opposite: you've been on the earth longer than a lot of people, you should be more familiar with it, right? But, no, Alexa is not in my house; I haven't seen Infinity War (it is something you see, right?); and I have never read a single political tweet, no, not even from that guy.
So it was when I received a bunch of cards from Josh D. of Royals and Randoms on Christmas Eve. Inside contained a note saying that they were Dodger cards for Christmas, just in case I didn't get any (good thinking, I didn't). The cards were enclosed in wrapping paper. No, it wasn't Christmas wrap. It had dragonflies on it. I just chalked it up to new Christmas wrapping paper that all the kids were using.
The majority of the Dodger cards were from this:
Some of you are nodding your head because you know exactly what this is and what to do with it. I guarantee that all of you nodding were not around for our nation's Bicentennial.
I do actually know what this is, because over the years I've received a fair amount of cards from MLB Showdown from fellow collectors. I know it's a card game. But that's about it.
There were so many Dodger cards from the set in the package that I started to look at the numbers on the cards, wondering what they meant, and then the music started forming in my head. "She cried to the southern wind, about a love that was sure to end ..."
I began singing it in my head, not even consciously. This was my brain finding something familiar in this rather unfamiliar card set: the ELO song "Showdown". It was released in 1973 and was one of ELO's first hits. It's very distinctive for ELO, probably one of its more funky tunes.
So that's what got me through deciphering these cards. I still don't know how to play the game with these cards. But I did do enough research for this post so I can give you a little background on it. You can't survive on ELO lyrics alone. (🎵"Every dream in her heart was gone, headed for a showdown.🎵🎵")
The cards were created by Wizards of the Coast, well-known for their role-playing games and the brains behind "Magic: The Gathering" and all that stuff I ignore when I'm in the card aisle. But obviously they've made a bunch of cash over the years and they don't need a baseball interactive card game anymore. But at the time it was a thing.
From what I've read, MLB Showdown was fairly popular in the beginning, drawing both gamers and card collectors.
I kind of like the look of the 2000 and 2001 MLB Showdown cards. Probably the best part for me is these sets offered players I don't see in Dodger uniforms very often such as Gregg Olson, in the lower right.
The card game came with a 20-sided dye and depending on what you rolled, you'd see what the batter's chart or the pitcher's chart said. I can't get into the game any more than that because I've never played it. And I'm going to run out of things to say about this set soon. (🎶 "Bad dreamer, what's your name. Looks like we're riding on the same train ... 🎵").
There were a bunch of Dodgers from the 2001 set in the package. I think I like this set the best.
I mean that card looks cool to me.
Just one card from the 2002 set in the package ...
But it's a notable one. Unfortunately, Alex Cora is now on the shit list that also includes:
A.J. Hinch, Bob Lemon, Billy Martin, Alvin Dark, Hank Bauer, Casey Stengel, Bucky Harris, Joe McCarthy, Tris Speaker and Bill Carrigan.
You get in the way of the Dodgers winning a World Series, I won't like you for a long time.
As the Showdown series continued, it added more reality to the card fronts.
The later sets contain game backgrounds and look more like baseball cards, except for those rounded corners.
I'm rather surprised how long MLB Showdown lasted -- all the way through 2005. Outside of the APBA board games, which have been going on since long before I was a kid, I can't think of anything similar that's lasted as long.
That's an interesting collection of players on the Dodgers team in 2004, huh? Maybe they should have won something.
OK, this is the last year for MLB Showdown and I've officially run out of things to say. ("🎵 Looks as though there'll be more pain, headed for a showdown.🎶🎶")
Always nice to find another Jose Lima Dodgers card.
And what's this? A Wilson Alvarez Dodgers card? There aren't a lot of those.
MLB Showdown also issued special postseason sets and promo sets and because it was trying to be a collectibles set, too, there are short-prints and parallels and a bunch of stuff I'll probably never look into.
There are also strategy cards that aren't easy to catalog by year if you're doing the collecting thing instead of the gaming thing. But I'll figure them out.
Josh also sent a few recent Dodger cards:
And a little less recent ones:
And a couple of Asian aces from -- ack, 25 years ago!
I'm not a fan of how fast the years go by these days. Those MLB Showdown cards are getting to be close to 20 years ago and that doesn't seem right for something that was still being published when "Boom, goes the dynamite" was a thing.
But then I'm always shocked by how young people are and what they weren't around to see. Every time someone says they were 4 in 1988 (the year I graduated from college), the world seems to make less and less sense.
Fortunately, I have my ways of coping.