Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Steroids, Group Breaks and You

You heard it here last: Yesterday, someone apparently decided to talk about the past in the present. Yesterday. Still the past, I guess. I made a rather spirited, heat of the moment comment over here and pretty much said my piece.

To sum things up (and to make a few additional points):
  • Tony La Russa is a liar. That's part of his job, however.
  • Mark McGwire is a cheater, but I don't understand how he is somehow worse than many other players... especially Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens.
  • McGwire is not the "godfather of steroids" by any stretch of the imagination. Anyone who was even slightly interested in sports knew about steroids when Ben Johnson went down for it in 1988. He was a top-level athlete doing what extremely highly competitive individuals do. They try to get over on everyone else and use every means necessary to do so.
  • That being said, not everyone was on steroids. Not everyone lives in the grey area of life, no matter whether you're talking about someone who steals office supplies, someone who jots down a few test answers on their hand or someone who attempts to improve their body by any available means to win a competition. Plenty of people do these things, but plenty of people don't as well.
On a happier note, I received a couple of packages recently from the ever inventive impending Ruler Thorzul. (As a side note, I heard that he is practically begging people to send him at least 30 copies of Atlee Hammaker's 1988 Topps card - the more, the better!) He held another cheapo group break back in early December and followed it up with a double group break where each slot got you two teams. In the second break, I picked the (Devil) Rays as my second team because they were available and tradeable and I don't hate them.

As part of the revival of my interest in Stadium Club, it was nice to see a few cards from the 1999 set including Darren Oliver. Oliver has been around forever, tossing quality innings with zero accolades and I almost always fail to remember that he was a Cardinal at one time. Hopefully this card will serve as a reminder.

I ended up with a lot of these 1999 Upper Deck MVP cards as they were a part of both group breaks. It's not a very attractive set as a lot of the silver design looks like it was created on an '80s Macintosh.

This was the "hit" of the first group break as far as the Cardinals are concerned. This appears to be an insert, parallel or some combination of the two of Albert Pujols from the 2004 Power-Up set and certainly a card I didn't own previously.

Thorzul was generous enough to throw a "hit" in from his own personal collection if nothing particularly special was pulled for the two teams chosen. In my case, I ended up with an Aaron Miles gold card from 2008 Topps Updates & Highlights. This is pretty fitting considering that I don't think I own more copies of any other 2008 card than the base version of this one.

The Circa '97 set is totally insane. I'll leave it at that.

File this under the terrible yet somehow awesome category.

I'm starting to gain an appreciation of sorts for Flair sets. Back in the '80s, when I first started collecting, I remember encountering several people who used to pronounce Fleer as "Flair" for no apparent reason. These are the same people who also used to call one of the card companies "Done Ross". This card looks awfully similar to one of the more recent Topps Co-Signers sets, though.

This is a nice one, too. If you remove some of the grey and add a bunch of shiny, this card starts looking like it belongs in 2009 Topps Finest, however.

Here's to hoping there's another cheapo group break in the offing.

1 comment:

Erin said...

I had to comment on the blog you mentioned, too. I couldn't hold my tongue. (But that isn't surprising ...)

McGwire said some stupid things in his Costas interview, but I think he truly believes what he said. Whether he is just delusional or has used his many years since leaving baseball to convince himself of them, I wouldn't know.

I am getting rather annoyed hearing people say he came forward with this now so he could get into the HOF. He IS NOT getting into the HOF! He is, however, going to be the new Cardinals hitting coach, and thus back in the spotlight once again. I suppose he figured he should get it out on his terms, rather than on others. But now I speculate.