Friday, January 1, 2016

Je suis un collectionneur

It's a sad truth that the French people have a reputation among tourists of being rude. Whether it's this story from Scotland's National Newspaper, The Scotsman, proclaiming, "The French admit they're too rude to tourists" or this story explaining five reasons why Americans might think this is the case, it's easy to find complaints on the internet about the "rude French."

The major problems with this generalization? Well, the first is simple: when people say that they think French people are rude, they are referring to Paris. Big city people tend to be more cautious around strangers generally -- it's how you survive in a city, after all -- and that caution and reservation can be seen as rudeness.

Second, I think there is a perception that Paris is supposed to be like what people see in the movies for Paris. It's supposed to be all high fashion, the Moulin Rouge, and baguette-carrying, mustachioed, guys giving the okay sign.

The reality is, though, that French people are just people like you and me. They are courteous -- especially when treated with courtesy themselves. They are cautious in unfamiliar situations -- especially when someone they've never met comes up to them demanding that they speak in an unfamiliar language and tell them how to get somewhere.  

And, they are collectors. Like Kevin a/k/a the Card Papoy. During the week before Christmas, a package from France appeared in my mailbox. I'm pretty sure that it's my turn to send some cards Kevin's way at this point, so it was a welcome surprise. Thankfully, with the massive Christmas gift I got producing some interesting cards, I'll be able to send some cool stuff out in the next few months.

But, that's in the future. For now, let's get through the cards Kevin sent, starting by getting Lucky Pierre (caution: that link goes to the Urban Dictionary) out of the way.

Canadian buzzkillers out of the way, how about some late 1990s Upper Deck cards?

Now, other than Trevor Hoffman -- who may or may not make the Hall of Fame this year in his first year on the ballot -- these three cards are like baseball card representations of a Green Day song.

Todd Dunn and Brian Banks...yeah. 

Dunn was a sandwich round compensation pick in the 1993 draft for the Brewers (35th pick overall). The best thing I can say about him is that he attended Bishop Kenney High School in Florida, which is the same school that the daughter of two good friends of mine attends. 

Banks was the second round pick in that same 1993 draft out of BYU. The fact that he got 249 plate appearances for the 1999 Brewers (.242/.317/.352) says more about the Brewers than anything I can say.

Four more Upper Deck cards from 1997. 

Eldred, of course, is a PC. As his card caption mentions and as I've said before, Eldred got put through the Phil Garner meat grinder in 1993, facing a league high 1087 batters that season. That number is the fourth-highest total from 1993 to the present and sixth-highest in the past 25 years. For comparison's sake, only three pitchers in the past ten seasons (2006 to 2015) have topped 1000 -- CC Sabathia had 1023 in 2008 when the Brewers pitched him about every second day because they knew they didn't have to worry about his future health, Felix Hernandez's 1001 in 2010, and David Price's 1009 in 2014. (I think I mention that meat grinder every time I write about Eldred...apologies!)

Okay, on to the shiny cards with autographs and wood chips and leather embedded!

So, Jean Segura. These are great cards -- a blue chrome parallel and a Topps Tribute serial numbered 24 out of just 50. As for the player, though...I mean, I've put a fair amount of time, money, and energy into collecting Segura's cards. The only reason I haven't abandoned his PC at this point is, well, I keep getting these good cards of him. I'm thinking, though, that it might be time to cut bait. 

I'm pretty sure that Segura is going to get traded or designated for assignment or non-tendered within the next year or so. The Brewers have stocked up on replacements for him already -- with Orlando Arcia getting to Double A in 2015 and adding former Astro Jonathan Villar in trade for minor leaguer Cy Sneed -- so it's just a matter of time. At that point -- if not sooner -- I'll relegate Segura back to the Brewer boxes, I'm guessing.  Maybe. 

And, when I do, perhaps I'll replace him with Demi Orimoloye. I mean, after all, who wouldn't want a PC of the first African-born major leaguer (assuming that he makes the long trip to the majors)? Especially one trained to play baseball in Canada....

Next up -- a game used "ball" card. I'm surprised that Topps hasn't revived this type of relic card, considering how cheaply one can purchase game used balls.

Okay, last three cards, none of which are related to one another. First, let's look at some player collection inserts I needed:

The Braun Starquest is a "Starquest Rare." I haven't looked much at this, but I don't have a clue as to how much rarer a Starquest Rare" was over a "Starquest Common."

The Molitor Kimball Champions mini card is pretty cool. I do wonder how much further the "using old card designs" thing can go, though. I'd like to see revived use of oddball designs, for what it's worth. Use some of those cool "Topps Cereal Series" card designs from 1984 instead of yet another cigarette company card. Just my $0.02.

And finally, it's shiny happy Overbay:

From 2004, it's Lyle Overbay on a Leaf Certified Materials Red Mirror bat relic card. 2004 and 2005 pretty much destroyed any joy that parallels, inserts, and relic cards might otherwise have brought. Anyone who has tried to put together their own "comprehensive" checklists for their favorite team or player hates 2004 and 2005 for the ridiculous numbers of parallels, insert parallels, and base sets. Donruss/Leaf -- then owned by Playoff -- likely was largely responsible for massive glut of cards that led to the limitations on licenses in 2006. That, and financial viability for the card companies, of course.  

Still, all that just doesn't matter. What matters is that these cards and the unquestioned kindness Kevin displays to all of us in the Blogger world.  Thanks, Kevin!


  1. Mike Fetter is my favorite type of ballplayer - the kind that doesn't look like a pro athlete in the slightest joining Mo Vaughn, Bob Wickman, David Wells and Pablo Sandoval in the Top 5

  2. Totally agree with you about the French. I've been to the country numerous times and have only been treated with the utmost courtesy and respect. That includes Paris. Happy New Year Tony!

  3. About the 2006 inserts/parallels, etc... Now Topps continues the tradition especially with Bowman.. Then the rainbows, the Chrome, the Chrome Rainbows, the refractors.. For some of the guys I'm trying to collect I may just go base.. lol

  4. Truth be told I'd be annoyed too if people came up to me and spoke to me in foreign languages. I hate tourists who go to countries but never bother to learn even a sliver of the native language(s). I understand that people can't automatically master a new language but they should at least try to put the effort in.

    1. I'm totally with you here. At least learn the key questions like "do you speak [my language]."