It has been an up-and-down time -- particularly in sports for me -- since I last wrote a blog post here. I watched on Friday as the Arkansas Razorbacks chose a poor time to revert to being Bert [sic] Bielema's little babies in not being able to run the ball and relying on a quarterback who was less mobile than a lamp post trying to scramble around for a comeback against Missouri. Bert's Backs' loss caused Georgia to be shut out of the SEC Championship game.
Then, there was Saturday's debacle against Tech. Despite a first half in which Georgia's two freshman running backs -- the incredible Nick Chubb and the speedy Sony Michel -- both fumbled inside the 5-yard line, Georgia had come back to go ahead of rival Georgia Tech with just 18 seconds to go. It's easy to second guess coaches, even if we all do it, but Mark Richt's decision to squib kick rather than kick it long on the kickoff goes down as one of his dumbest decisions as Georgia coach. It's right up there with his decision in his first year as head coach of running the ball into the middle of the line with no timeouts on the clock against Auburn...no touchdown meant no time left to try another play. But that was, as I said, in his first year as head coach.
From all that ridiculousness came the Packers incredibly impressive victory over the Patriots on Sunday. Aaron Rodgers is playing as well as any quarterback in the game, and it is a joy to watch him run the offense.
Into this roller coaster ride stepped a couple of packages that I got at Thanksgiving time. The first one came from Keith at The Home Run Apple. Keith's blogging has been interfered with by real life imposing itself on him. But, he found the time to send me some cards and a Topps Chip!
Let's start with the Chip -- which looks to be what Keith thought it was...a gold version of a Ryan Braun 2013 Chipzzzzzzzzz.
I have not sought out the Chipz or Ponch and Jon from Chips or any other chips actively at this point, but it is getting to the point that I need to figure out what I have and what I don't. Of course, I've also been lazy lately so I haven't updated my player collection lists for these cards yet, so that's not going to dig me out here.
As Keith said in his note, he also sent me some shiny Chrome surprises. Three of those surprises were Brauns.
You get the X-Fractor on the top right, the die-cut on the bottom, and the pretty black one serial numbered to 100 on the top left. That black-bordered one in particular is just awesome. As much as I get on Topps's case for all the parallels, many of them are very attractive cards. I just don't want (and tend not) to chase 30 or 40 parallels from one set for one player.
I'm a very bad supercollector, I guess.
Wrapping up the Bruans was this Triple Threads Purple Drank parallel serial numbered to 650 and inspired by JaMarcus Russell.
On the whole, I'm not 100% opposed to parallels. The parallels from the 1990s were not all that bad. I mean, two or three parallels are kind of fun. It's when we get to things like the prospects in Bowman, where we get 8 or 10 parallels of the paper card, 8 or 10 parallels of the chrome parallel, 4 or 5 parallels of the mini parallel, 4 or 5 parallels of the autographed parallel, and then some die-cut parallels of the insert parallels of the chrome parallel -- that's where things go off the race track.
Which is a segue, of course:
When I saw this Jaime Navarro card pop out of the team bag, I was starting to wonder if Keith was just reading my mind when I saw this motorcycle card on Dimebox Nick's blog. It's a good thing that is not the case -- no one deserves the misery of reading my mind! -- because Keith simply sent me a number of the 1995 Stadium Club Brewers.
In the past, I have said that Jose Valentin often got the best card photos by virtue of his being a middle infielder. Now I understand that those other cards were making up for what may be one of the least attractive cards I've seen in recent memory.
In keeping with the team-set theme, Keith also sent me a few of the 2009 Topps Allen & Ginter Brewers.
JJ Hardy's card here is apparently an homage to the Jeff Cirillo 1995 Stadium Club from above.
Finally, Keith cleaned out some of his 2009 Topps 206 cards, including a couple of rookies who (in true 1990s Brewers fashion) turned out to be nothing but hype:
Sometimes the throwback cards work, and sometimes they don't. These don't. But, they are from a major release set from Topps, and, as a result, they are needed for my collection.
After all, I could collect only the sets I really like a lot, but where's the fun in that? Without Topps's decision making process to second guess, the hobby would be a much more boring place!
Keith, thank you very much for this package. It was a surprise and it was and is greatly appreciated.