Wednesday, March 30, 2016

P-Town Tom: #SuperTrader

Jaybarkerfan started the SuperTrader concept earlier this year as a way for folks to have built-in trade partners for almost every team. JBF included me in the group as the resident Brewer receiver, and I was quite happy to be included. I mean, unlike many folks on that list, I have only been in the trading game online here for not much more than 18 months at this point.

Whether the appellation of "Super Trader" should be appended to my name is a reasonable question to ask. For whatever reason, I find myself thinking like I'm Wile E. Coyote being introduced as "SuperGenius" instead...always losing and never able to catch the speedy roadrunner.

Then I saw this recently, and my whole thought process changed:

So, let's talk about a real SuperGenius -- and SuperTrader too. His name is Tom and he hails from Peoria, Illinois. The man is incredible. He's a math teacher, a coach, and a food lover too! Seriously, Tom juggles so many different roles and hats that I wonder how he has time both to put together the great packages that he sends out and also write such a good blog.

Speaking of the great packages, Tom dropped one in my mailbox a couple of weeks ago now.  Here are the highlights, set to Peoria music because, well, I need music.

Mudvayne: Happy?

Mudvayne formed in Bloomington, but is now apparently from Peoria. It is not a band I've listened to at all. Having listened to this song, I can tell you that it's okay, but I'm not a huge fan. It just doesn't sound any different from any one of a number of different bands. 

On the other hand, Tom sent me a bunch of great oddballs, such as the three cards here from Baseball Cards magazine/Sports Cards Price Guide magazine and the Topps UK Mini of Paul Molitor.

REO Speedwagon: Time for Me to Fly, written by Gary Richrath 

REO Speedwagon -- I think the kids these days would call this "Dad Rock," maybe -- featured Gary Richrath on the lead guitar until 1989, when he left the band. Richrath wrote this song in 1981.

Richrath reunited with them briefly in December of 2013 in Bloomington, Illinois for a benefit concert for families in central Illinois affected by a massive tornado.  That would be the last time that he played with REO Speedwagon, as he passed away on September 13, 2015 at the age of 65.

After that fairly depressing story, we need some happiness and celebrations.

The Nyjer Morgan card was featured on a Sports Illustrated cover in 2011. Ah, those halcyon days of 2011 -- before Braun was busted for steroids and when the team was at its best before Prince Fielder waddled out of town to greener bank accounts.

The Forecast: And We Return to Our Roots

Before this post, I'd never heard of the Forecast. Now that I've heard this song, they sort of remind me of Evanescence crossed with Jimmy Eat World. There's a strong female vocal that definitely sounds like Amy Lee's powerful sounds, with the rest of the vocals and sound being sort of typical indie rock from that mid-00s period.

Speaking of returning to roots, I'm pretty sure that Topps only has photos of Ryan Braun hitting that feature his eyes bulging out of his head. Or, maybe that's just another side effect of the steroids?

Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys: I Write The Songs

Bruce Johnston joined the Beach Boys in 1965, taking future country music star Glen Campbell's place as the touring bass player and vocalist (filling in for Brian WIlson) for the band. Though he didn't write any noteworthy songs for the Beach Boys, he won a Grammy Award for Song of the Year for writing "I Write the Songs" for Barry Manilow.

If the fact that Manilow did not write "I Write the Songs" isn't ironic, I am unsure what is. Seriously, that makes me laugh, because for the longest time I was pretty sure Barry wrote the songs.

He said he did, right?

Thankfully, the package that Tom sent me had two guys who (hopefully) wrote their own names on their cards. There's a Bowman signature from Eric Arnett and an in-person or TTM signature of former Clemson Tiger and 1987 First Round Draft pick Bill Spiers. I was glad to add the Spiers because I don't think I ever saw young William signing autographs in 1989 or so when I was still chasing them at Milwaukee County Stadium.

Dan Fogelberg: Leader of the Band

Fogelberg was always way too folky for my tastes. He's a good singer and a very good musician, but I just never really liked his music. Fogelberg died very young -- just 56 years old -- in December of 2007.

And now, for something completely different:

It's a Trent Clark mini-collection! Clark was a first round pick for the Brewers in 2015, selected 15th overall despite being identified as anything between the 7th to 10th best player in the draft. Kile McDaniel of Fangraphs called Clark "the best pure hitter in the draft." This article on Fansided's "Reviewing the Brew" labeled Clark the Brewers third-best prospect. 

His performance last year supported the hype. In 43 games in the Arizona Rookie League, Clark slashed .309/.422/.865 (WOW) with 1 HR, 16 RBI, and 20 SB (WOW).  Then, at Helena in the Pioneer League in 12 more games, he slashed .310/.431/.381 with 1 HR, 5 RBI, and 8 more steals. The kid even hit for the cycle in Arizona.

He may only be a future left fielder based on an average to so-so arm. Some reviews say his stolen bases come as much from his baseball intelligence as it does from pure speed, and they compare Clark as in the mold of Christian Yelich.

That's a fine upside.

Many thanks again go out to P-Town Tom for the great cards. 

As for Peoria's music, though, well...y'all be the judges.


  1. REO might be considered "dad rock," but I was a damn super fan in high school - which, in retrospect, was a lonely existence. They were my first concert and I've seen them 5 or 6 times now. My grandfather was the handyman for Kevin Cronin's parents and I got tickets gratis whenever I wanted. I also had the privilege of seeing the wall of Gold Records that adorns the front room of the Cronin residence.

    Oh yea - those are some sweet cards too!

  2. I dated a girl that lived across the street from the Cronin's in Oak Lawn, and in the mid 80's a delivered a bed to Cronin's sister.

    And just the bed.

  3. The song Dig by Mudvayne is pretty crazy.

  4. Mudvayne has some decent stuff, but I don't listen to it too much because my wife calls it Angry Music. You're right though, there quite a few bands out there it can be confused with.
    Bulging-eyed Braun is what I will forever know Braun as... thanks for that, Tony!
    Glad you liked the cards!