Thursday, July 29, 2010

Letting bygones be bygones

I am not sure what to do with this card.

This card commemorates the disgusting moment in which Eric Gagne, at the height of his invincibility in 2003, gave up a game-winning home run in the eighth inning to Hank Blalock that led to the American League's 7-6 victory.

I was at work during this game. I was totally enraged and appalled at the same time. And then I had to write a happy little "A.L. wins weeeeeee!!!!" headline, even though my brain kept screaming: "Hank Who? Hank WHO? HANK WHO??????"

Not good times.

From that point, I decided I would not work when the All-Star Game was scheduled. It took a couple of years for that plan to come together, but for the last four or five years, I have been on vacation during the All-Star Game, and that works so much better.

But back to the card.

My Dodger binders are happy little places. They are filled with warm memories and awesome athletes. Even though players like Delino DeShields and Anduw Jones make appearances in the Dodger binder, I treat them as one because they all wore Dodger blue.

Still, I don't know if I can get around putting this card in my Dodger binder. It is a card that goes out of its way to recognize a Dodger FAIL. I don't like that.

There are other cards of regrettable Dodger moments in my binder: memories of the 1952 World Series, the 1975 Topps '74 World Series retrospective, etc. I am OK with those cards because at least the Dodgers were in the Series and there was some good mixed in with the terrible, terrible, evil badness.

But this card features a lone player stupidly trying to overpower a batter with his fastball because he apparently thinks he's still facing the 2003 San Diego Padres lineup. In fact, I even said at the TV screen that fateful night: "Eric, he's an All-Star. You can't try to blow the ball passs .... oh, no."

That's all I think of when I see this card.

I'll probably end up putting it in the binder anyway. I never thought I'd have to activate my defense mechanisms while looking through my Dodgers, but I guess Upper Deck's got to be that way. Always stirring up stuff that should remain hidden, buried and surrounded by boobytraps. UD just can't let bygones be bygones.

Anyway, this card was sent to me by madding at Cards on Cards. I saw it on his blog and I knew I was going to be blessed with it. Lucky me.

Fortunately, madding sent some friendlier Dodger cards as well. Time to take a lookie:

A 1985 Donruss need, featuring Bill Russell. Two things about this card:

1. Russell is featured in almost the same manner on Donruss cards for 1983, 1984 and 1985. Not the same photo session, but not terribly creative by the Donruss dudes either.

2. Is that the most frightening example of a farmer's tan that you have ever seen? Take a look at Russell's very pink face and neck, and then move your eyes to his right shoulder. See where the pink transitions to flesh color? Damn, unless that is some sort of lighting issue, that is one alarming sunburn, son.

This is Shawn Green on something called "Fleer Inscribed." I've never heard of this before, and I don't know how madding turns up sets like this. But Green's shoes really stand out.

Here is Upper Deck SP Authentic from last year, still clinging desperately to the 1990s idea that stamping a card in gold foil and numbering it makes it a legitimate parallel. It was lame then and it's way lame now.

See, that's better. Make it shiny and put a gold border around it. Now you've got a parallel. ... although gold borders are overplayed, too. So, don't do that. Never mind.

Why are we collecting these cards? Anybody?

I received a few Donruss Super Estrellas cards from madding, which is productive because now I can work on my high school Spanish.

On the back, it says that Nomo played for the Medias Rojas in 2001. Using a combination of my baseball and Spanish knowledge, I know that means he played for the Red Sox. But if you used "medias rojas" outside of a baseball card setting, I'd probably tell you that it meant "red cow."

More Super Estrallas Action! You can't see anything on this card because it's too cool for the scanner, but the script across the front says "Poder de Cuadrangular," which translated literally means "Quadrangular of Power." I think.

I'm going to guess that it says "home run power," and not even bother trying to translate the back of the card.

While we're in an international frame of mind, here is an O-Pee-Chee card to finish it out. Again, I don't know how madding finds O-Pee-Chee cards lying around. But I sure do appreciate it.

OK, I'm off to re-repress those '03 All-Star Game memories.


  1. Send me that card so I can shred it, burn it and whiz on the ashes. That fat juiced up Canuck flinging meatballs in the Midsummer Classic cost Andruw Jones an All Star MVP and John Smoltz an All Star save. I do not like Eric Gagne even a little bit.

    I do like the Showdown cards even if I never quite got around to figuring out how to play the game.

  2. No, that card belongs in MY collection! Long live Hank Blalock (or at least the memory of his game winning homer). Maybe Hank can hang on to that memory while he hopes someone takes a chance on him.

  3. Night Owl, be careful. Hank's looking for a team right now, and since he's from the west coast, the Dodgers would be a perfect fit!!!!! Look out!!!!

  4. I would never ever try to throw a fastball past a guy who can hit a home run without a bat.