Monday, March 30, 2015

"Faith, Hope & Charity": Cards from Bob Walk the Plank

Writer's block is a weird thing.  For me, it usually applies in one of two ways. Sometimes, I'm uninspired to write or blog. In those times, either I plow through and write something that probably feels as uninspiring to read as it was to write, or I just don't write at all. Other times, I have writer's block because I know that I have a very difficult, uphill argument to write. That issue alone can make it difficult to get inspired, so writer's block in that case is often just avoidance.

Lately, I have had some writer's block when it comes to work but not to blogging. I feel very inspired by my hobby currently, while my work has a few difficult arguments to handle right now.  

The inspiration here, though, is easy to come by. Fellow bloggers keep sending me such excellent envelopes filled with cards that blogging is fun.  It keeps me thinking about ways to talk about the cards that are more than just, "hey, look, got these. Thanks." There's nothing wrong with that, but I like themes for my posts.

Today's theme came as the result of a problem posed to me by Matt of Bob Walk the Plank. You see, he sent me a Robin Yount card that I really needed, but, it came with this note:

What is a guy to do when his player collection is trapped inside lucite with an interloper? 

I didn't use a paper clip, like MacGyver would have, but I did free the Yount card from his plastic prison.  That act, though, inspired me to use titles of MacGyver episodes to present the cards.

Back in the decade and a half when the Astros were in the NL Central, that would have been a fair assessment of the Astros from the Brewers perspective...if the Brewers really mattered at that point.  So, here's Mike Scott in the lucite lockup that Yount left behind:

Yes, it's a Topps Pristine from 2005, serial numbered to 549.  Bru, do you want this? Otherwise, it is up for grabs and features the shiniest looking sunglasses/glasses I've ever seen on a card.  It's downright eerie sometimes.  I had to put it into a box so the light wouldn't reflect in my face.


Oops. Didn't show the Yount!

The Brewers tried to get Richie Sexson to agree to a contract extension.  When it became apparent that Sexson would not sign, the Brewers traded him to the Diamondbacks and unleashed the power of the Overbay in Milwaukee.

Of course, both the team and the player would tell you that this was all strictly business. It's disappointing when a player you like is pushed out the door before he is shoved, but it happens.  Remember -- we cheer for laundry or, in this case, white and blue swatches of fabric.

This humorous plot synopsis tells us that the episode was about an awkward female hacker who is wanted by both the US Government and the bad guys because she can crack the launch code on some top secret missiles.  Awkward?

While not a female hacker Johnny Estrada was an awkward stopgap at catcher for the Brewers.  Estrada stayed in Milwaukee for just one season and came over in one of the Brewers/Diamondbacks trades from that mid-2000s time period (Estrada, Greg Aquino and Claudio Vargas for Doug Davis, Dana Eveland, and Dave Krynzel was this one).  Estrada's batting average was so empty and bereft of value (.278/.296/.403 slash line in 2007...) that the Brewers traded him to the Mets for Guillermo Mota and replaced Estrada with the late career Jason Kendall.  You know -- the Jason Kendall with a SLG south of .325.  

So, yeah, kinda awkward.  Everyone was waiting on Lucroy, after all.

Hindsight is great -- we all say, "yeah, well, hindsight is 20/20 vision." It's easy to second guess things when you know the result that will follow, after all.  

A perfect example of this is Jose Capellan.  Throughout his minor league career with the Braves, Capellan was a starter who tended to put up some very good peripheral numbers. The trade that brought Capellan to Milwaukee -- Capellan and a minor leaguer for Danny Kolb -- seemed like a steal at the time.  With hindsight, we know that neither club truly did all that well in the process.  

Kolb was the Braves closer in 2005 on the heels of his All-Star season in 2004 (hey, everyone gets a representative!), but a look at Kolb's peripheral numbers screamed "DANGER!"  Those numbers: 3.3 K/9 in 2004 as a closer with a FIP a full run higher than his ERA.  He sucked.  Trust me. I saw a lot of those games.

For his part, Capellan spent part of 2005 with Milwaukee in the bullpen.  The Brewers saw his stuff and said, "This guy is a reliever." 71-2/3 innings of 4.40 pitching and a FIP of 4.95 said otherwise.  Unhappy in 2007, Capellan demanded a trade. By the end of 2008 at the age of 27, Capellan would never return to the big leagues.  He last pitched in the Venezuelan Winter League in 2013 for Tigres de Aragua.

The plot summary on VUDU is short and to the point: "In Chicago, MacGyver tries to help Roxy, an old friend, during her shoot of a Rock Against Drugs video. She believes her twin sister is trying to kill her, fueled by jealousy over her music career."

Rock Against Drugs?  Two Times Trouble?

We get two cards of Ryan Braun, of course. Now these two cards are hardly trouble, but Braun's two issues with steroid accusations/positive tests somehow makes this far more perfect than I could have expected based solely on the episode title.  The Prizm is a "42 parallel" meaning that it is numbered to 42.  I guess that makes it the meaning of life.

Matt, thank you very much for the cards and for the excuse to link to a bunch of dodgy websites with questionable claims as to the legality of hosting complete episodes of MacGyver.  

In all seriousness, your generosity is just incredible, and I greatly appreciate the cards.


  1. Matt always hits a homer with good-looking cards! I'm actually a sucker for the Blue 42s and shiny, blue refractory cards in general. Great post Tony!

  2. Man, I loved MacGyver growing up. Nice post!
    I have a couple of those Topps Pistine cards, but I didn't know what they are. They are ridiculously shiny for sure.

  3. That is funny you mentioned MacGyver as my brother and I were just talking about that show. He told me he wants to put that he interned at the Phoenix Institute during the summer on his resume. That is where MacGyver worked.

    The 42 Prizm cards are so weird. It feels like something the Riddler would leave in a Batman episode.

    Glad you enjoyed the cards.