Thursday, March 17, 2016

A PWE From the Shoebox featuring Flogging Molly

I recently packaged up a bunch of cards that I didn't want and didn't need -- they weren't Brewers, after all -- and sent Shane at Shoebox Legends an envelope that he wasn't expecting. It had been a while since we had swapped cards, so it was good to surprise him with a bunch of cards that he needed.

With it being St. Patrick's Day and all, it would make sense if I put the PWE I got in response from Shane to music. Spotify tried to help me out with a playlist called "Greatest St. Paddy's Day Hits."  Then I looked through it, and it's nearly useless. Yes, there are songs by The Pogues, Dropkick Murphys, House of Pain, and even Macklemore & Ryan Lewis's "Irish Celebration."

But what, pray tell, does the Van Halen song "Runnin' With The Devil" have to with St. Patrick's Day? Or "Take On Me" by a-ha? Also, how can you put together a 12-hour playlist for St. Patrick's Day without a single song by Flogging Molly?

Seriously, check out this 185-song monstrosity for yourself.

Just unbelievable.

I have to do something about that. So, featuring cards sent by Shane, here's your Flogging Molly playlist.

"To Youth (My Sweet Roisin Dubh)"

Let's start with a song featured on the FIFA 2005 game soundtrack. I played the hell out of that game, and the music EA picked for that game was just excellent. This one, "Irish Blood, English Heart" by Morrissey, "Fit But You Know It" by the Streets...just a crazy good soundtrack that included this great song that is an homage to youth and to a very old and famous Irish political song.

By the way, "Roisin Dubh" is a reference to a black rose.

To go with this song, I go to a player from my youth -- Ted Higuera -- who made a huge splash with the Brewers in 1985 and was Milwaukee's best pitcher in the second half of the 1980s before shoulder injuries from all the mileage on his arm in the Mexican League caught up with him.

"Salty Dog" & "The Lightning Storm"

"Salty Dog" was the first song on Flogging Molly's first album, Swagger. and this is Irish-punk done as it should be to me. It doesn't hurt that the lead singer is actually Irish. As he says mid-song, 

"It could be worse, California. It could be worse. 

We could be Welsh!"

BONUS: Watch after "Salty Dog" ends for a toast to Johnny Cash just before they break into "The Lightning Storm."

These were the oldest cards that Shane sent me, to go with the oldest Flogging Molly song on the playlist. I'm midway through opening a box of 1992 Fleer Ultra, and the design is close enough that I thought that these cards belonged to that set. They don't -- they are from 1993 -- and they reminded me what full-bleed cards without distracting smoke effects can look like.

Good, that is.

"Drunken Lullabies"

One of my absolute favorite Flogging Molly songs is the title track. This appeared on a video game as well -- "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4." It's a song about how as much as things seem to change, we still seem to repeat the mistakes of the past -- "Has the shepherd led his lambs astray to the bigot and the gun?"

For whatever reason, this Bowman Platinum card seemed appropriate for this song. The Bowman line of cards expands and contracts fairly regularly, it seems. Topps never learned its lessons from the overproduction era, though. Rather than cutting back on the number of sets and the number of cards printed, instead it chases artificial scarcity and buzz about crazy photo variations and 24 wacky parallels each serial numbered to numbers ranging from 599 to 1.  "Catch the collecting fever, kids!"


Float is another great song that is catchy and sad all at once. It's especially sad watching the paperclip man walking sadly through the dirty streets looking for who-knows-what to make himself happy. Then, he builds himself a boat, only to get buried under the first wave that comes along.  

It's tough to explain, but I get legitimately sad for that little guy.

See, that's the thing about real punk music. Yes, there's a lot of upbeat aggressive music, but it's also about a mentality that things need to change for the better. 

Then again, I guess that doesn't go as well with drunkenness off crappy green beer as "Hotel California."

To go with this general sadness, here are cards from two guys the Brewers traded away. Vaughn was traded ostensibly to assist with a rebuild in 1996. Getting Bryce Florie, Marc Newfield, and Ron Villone didn't build anything, though.

Matt LaPorta was the Brewers first round draft pick in June of 2007 out of the University of Florida. Thankfully, the Brewers ditched him with Rob Bryson, Zach Jackson and a player to be named later for CC Sabathia. Weirdly enough, the PTBNL ended up to be the best piece of that trade for the Indians since they received 2014 All-Star and the third-place finisher in the MVP race that year: Michael Brantley.

"Requiem for a Dying Song"

This song is upbeat, though it still has the punk in it -- "Does the Government whip crack across your back? Is the Order of the Day don't listen, attack?"

Still, it's a fun-sounding song. It puts me in a better mood than before.  

Just as a new addition to my Prince Fielder collection puts me in an even better mood. This "Upper Deck Elements" was a new one on me -- I'd never seen it before. 

I criticized Topps earlier for blowing through different "brands" or products regularly. Well, Upper Deck might have been the king of doing that. You would get the flagship and Sweet Spot about every year, but otherwise, you could end up with just about anything -- Goudey, O-Pee-Chee, Baseball Heroes, The Ballpark Collection, even Fleer one year.

Upper Deck should get a lower-priced license to release two sets a year -- one with current players, one with former players (or a mix of current and former players). Impose discipline on them, and they'd be a fantastic addition.

"Rebels of the Sacred Heart" (NSFW language)

Careful -- there's a bit of cursing here.  But it is punk, so tough f**king luck, right? Now THIS is a proper Irish punk jig -- tin whistle and all. Just an awesome song, done live with a ton of energy. And I mean, come on, it talks about being drunk (Three sheets to the wind), being human (aiming for heaven, probably winding up in hell), and being free in the end ("no ball or chain, no prison shall keep!")

To go with it? The exuberance of youth -- or, more particularly, of a prospect still on his way up in Tyrone Taylor. 

For Tyrone and for all of you on this St. Patrick's Day -- when we're all a little Irish:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of your hand.

Failing all that, just send out a lot of PWEs to your blogging friends no matter who they may be. That's what makes our hobby fun and great -- and my thanks to Shane for the great reminder.


  1. I remember thinking the Brewers were going to regret giving away LaPorta for a Sabathia rental.... Shows what I know. However, Shane certainly knows how to put together a PWE though!

  2. Glad you liked a few of the cards at least Tony, I need to restock on some Brewers ASAP!

  3. Drunken Lullabies was played at my wedding! They put on a fun live show.

  4. Duuuuude...that Fifa 05 soundtrack brings back some great memories. My brothers and I were pretty obsessed with Fit but you know it. I've been playing Fifa 16 lately and the soundtrack is decent but not nearly as good.