Sunday, July 31, 2016

Meet the Brewers #30: Roberto Peña

As GM Marvin Milkes began shuffling the cards he was dealt in 1970, one of the casualties was John Donaldson, who spent most of 1969 with the Seattle Pilots after coming over to the Pilots in a trade for Larry Haney, a catcher who came back to the organization in 1977 to play briefly and then stayed for well over a decade as a coach. Donaldson came to the Pilots from Oakland, and it was back to Oakland in 1970 for him in exchange for Brewer #30, Roberto Peña

To Oakland, Peña became expendable once Bert Campaneris got back into the lineup starting around May 1 and, at the same time, got his bat back -- in the 14-game stretch bookending Peña's last two appearances with Oakland, Campaneris pushed his numbers from .184/.212/.265 to .252/.302/.402. 

Dell Today's 1971 Milwaukee Brewers
Peña was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 1960 at the age of 23 years old by the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. It would appear that the Pirates thought that Peña was actually 20 years old, and that is the age he claimed at that time. This is based off the fact that, when looking at news stories from later in his career, Peña is credited as being 30 years old when he joined the Brewers when, in reality, he was 33. 

Peña moved up the chain slowly, spending a full season in Class D, a season and a half in Class B, nearly two full seasons in Class AA before spending parts of three seasons in Triple-A.  He did not reach the major leagues until 1965 at the age of 28, meaning that he literally was always older than the average age of players in the leagues in which he was playing.

The Cubs gave Peña his chance in 1965 in what amounted to a challenge trade for Andre Rodgers. Neither team really won the challenge as neither man really did much for their new teams. The one notable event that did occur, though, was that Peña hit homers in his first two major league games, something that did not happen again until 1980. Peña ended up getting set down to the minors early in the 1966 season, and it did not look good for him having a major league career.

1971 Topps
And yet, he stuck with it and, after the 1966 season, he was drafted out of the Cubs organization by the Philadelphia Phillies and handed the starting shortstop job. He had a superficially acceptable season at the plate -- .260 batting average, but with only a .307 OBP and a .300 SLG -- though he was second in the National League in errors committed with 32.

All that was not enough to convince Philadelphia to protect the Dominican from the expansion draft. This was especially true because Philadelphia had a hotshot young prospect that they believed was ready to play -- a guy by the name of Don Money.

The Padres decided to pluck Peña off the Phillies expansion list as the 48th pick of the National League expansion draft. Once again Peña was a regular, but once again Peña's performance led his employer to think, "you know what, we need to upgrade at shortstop." That is why Peña was in Oakland -- having been traded there in spring training in 1970.

Milwaukee plugged the now 33-year-old into its lineup nearly immediately on his arrival. Over two seasons with the club, Peña didn't hit all that well -- .238/.281/.316, an OPS+ of 67 -- but he did fill in at a number of different positions. To tell you how awful those early Brewer teams really were, Peña actually played 52 of his 113 games (only 62 starts total, mind you, but still...) at first base. Yes, a 5'8" first baseman who hit anemically for a shortstop.
1994 Miller Brewing Commemorative
1971 proved to be the end of the line in terms of Peña's major league baseball career. After the Brewers cut bait on him, no one else in the major leagues decided to see if there was anything left in his tank. Peña decided to keep playing, though, and signed on for two seasons with Tampico in the Mexican League followed by one final season with Yucatán in 1974.

I can't find much of anything about Peña after his playing career ended. All I can say, though, is that he died very young -- at the age of just 45 years old -- on July 23, 1982 in Santiago de los Caballeros in the Dominican Republic. I also don't know how accurate this website is, seeing as it is only available through the Wayback Machine on, but according to, Peña died due to alcohol poisoning.

Peña appeared as a Brewer -- or, rather, was featured as a member of the Brewers -- on just five cards or items. These include the three I've shown here that I own. In addition, I do not have Peña's 1971 O-Pee-Chee card, nor do I have the black-and-white photo that the Brewers recycled above for the Miller set that they also used in 1971 for their team picture pack.

Thanks for stopping by. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Crackin' Wax Allen & Ginter Charity Break

I really enjoy participating in case breaks. The joy of getting a bunch of only Brewers cards and knocking an entire new Topps product -- at least the base and the more numerous inserts -- off my wantlist. 

I especially like participating when my financial contribution is scaled to match the number of Brewers and potential Brewer hits in the product. I certainly understand when people keep the accounting easier for themselves and price all the teams the same -- especially when there is an add-on team automatically provided. But I like it better when I don't pay as much as the person with the Yankees and their 8000 cards. It just makes better sense.

Finally, I really enjoy participating with Crackin' Wax a/k/a Varsity Trading Cards. Thanks to both the non-sports auction that Topher ran on eBay for all those cards and to a bunch of donations both from skunk protection on hits being donated as well as one heck of a charity giveaway, the Crackin' Wax team was able to donate $1000 to Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America. 

It feels good to know that I could help a little bit there with donating my skunk protection. It feels good, too, that I got some Allen & Ginter in my hands as well.

Those are the base cards for Milwaukee in the A&G set. They are pretty good. The problem at this point, though, is that Allen & Ginter is pretty much out of ideas. There's just nothing interesting about this set any more. Yeah, sure, I know -- it's not about the base cards with A&G; it's about the minis and the inserts. Even there, it's sort of yawn-inducing.

I mean, like I said, it's not that I dislike these cards. They just aren't as exciting as they used to be. The issue is that I'm not sure that there is any way to make it more interesting or exciting. 

Let's see if the minis or inserts can help.

Out of an entire case of A&G, I got three of the five Brewers minis. I guess that's not bad considering they come one to a pack, though I was hoping for better I guess.

I sort of like these "numbers game" inserts. On the back, they list both team greats to wear the jersey number as well as other MLB greats. 

Or, at least that is what they say they are doing:

Um, guys in Brooklyn with Topps, you do realize that there is a difference between the Milwaukee Brewers franchise (where only Tim Johnson, Mike Hegan, and, for one year, Pat Listach wore the number 4) and the Minnesota Twins/Washington Senators franchise -- where Bob Allison, Sam West, Mickey Vernon, and Joe Cronin all wore the number 4. 

You guys in New York can tell the difference between Minnesota

(which is a state) and Milwaukee

(which is a city) -- right?

I'm pretty sure people who live in those "flyover states" between New York and Los Angeles can.

And, I'm really sure that Crackin' Wax from Minnesota and Off Hiatus from Milwaukee can.

Anyway, as you can see, my break was, in fact, as hitless as David Ortiz in the 2016 All-Star Game (#ToppsNow!). So, Crackin' Wax made it up to me with a few extras:

A nice hit from Rickie Weeks capped off this great break for me. Hopefully, I'll remember to sign up for the Bowman Chrome break coming up in a couple of months. Perhaps by that point the Brewers will have taken over the Twins franchise history even more so that I will be able to crow about how we won the World Series in 1987 and 1991.

Or not.

Thanks for a great break, Crackin' Wax!

Monday, July 25, 2016

According to Hoyle

Edmund Hoyle was a renown expert on the rules and play of card games in the early-to-mid 1700s in England. From his knowledge and authority on card games, an idiom of the English language developed: "According to Hoyle" means "according to the rules; in keeping with the way something is normally done."

In the two-and-a-half centuries since Edmund Hoyle lived, his name has become synonymous with card games and gambling -- so much so that Hoyle is a trademarked name of the U.S. Playing Card Company. You know -- the folks who put out those playing cards with baseball players on them back in the early 1990s.

In our online world of baseball card collecting, the name Hoyle has become synonymous with generosity and vintage cards and items thanks to Red Sox supercollector Mark Hoyle. Mark has gotten active on Twitter (follow him @Markhoyle4) and has begun posting photo after photo of some of the incredible items in his Red Sox collection -- everything from a 1955 Topps Doubleheader Ted Williams to a World Series Program from 1967 to the 1964 Tony Conigliaro Topps Rookie All-Star Banquet card (of which only 6 have been graded; Mark has one).

Like I said -- the man is a Red Sox supercollector.

The most recent package I got from Mark actually combined both baseball and playing cards, so I had to go with the cliché.

Let's start with cards that would make Edmund Hoyle pleased -- but which might make his name's trademark holder upset.  There is this site called "Hero Decks" which probably violates a number of trademark laws but which feature original drawings/caricatures of baseball heroes from a number of cities. They also have football, college football/sports, hockey, non-sport, and a few other oddities. Each one is full playing card deck.

This box carries the disclaimer that it is "Not affiliated with the Milwaukee Brewers." Being the lawyer here, I don't think that's good enough to avoid potential liability.

At any rate, enough talk about work. It appears that Mark needed the Warren Spahn, the Cecil Cooper, and the George Scott from the Milwaukee Hero Deck, but he was kind enough to share the rest of that deck with me. Here are a few cards I've dealt off the bottom of the deck:

The suits were set up to have spades represent the current players in 2007, diamonds represented the 1982 era team, hearts picked up players from the 1987 run through the 1990s, and, then, clubs were the Milwaukee Braves players.  In addition to the full 52-card deck, the two extras -- jokers? -- were Bob Uecker and Bud Selig. 

In looking at the list of players included in the set, I don't have too many complaints. Maybe I cut out Carlos Lee and include Ryan Braun instead if these cards were produced late enough in 2007 to make that switch. How George Scott got included while Sixto Lezcano and Don Money were left out is interesting as well. Finally, the real Braves head scratcher was including Bob "Hurricane" Hazle over a player like Joe Torre or Wes Covington -- who both spent a good amount of time in Milwaukee as Braves (though not on the 1957 team).

About half the deck are cards I need for player collections (no surprise there, of course) so I'll probably buy another one or even two of these for the sake of completeness.

Those cards were sent to accompany a great addition to my oddball collection that actually finishes off an oddball team set.

This 1971 Topps Coin of Danny Walton was the last one I needed for my collection after I went to my local card show a couple of weeks ago. Mark immediately piped up that he had this and would send it to me.

Let's give Mark a bit of thanks musically with his favorite band:

Coincidentally enough, this song reminds me of Massachusetts. I had a summer job in 1993 traveling around with a guy and installing furniture in renovated dorms and the like. He picked up a cassette tape of driving songs at some truck stop we stopped at, and this great song by The Allman Brothers Band was on it. 

Thank you very much, Mark, for the great cards and the awesome coin!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

eBay, What you Wanna Do?

This weekend is a weird one for me. I have to go out of town for a business development industry group meeting, leaving tomorrow for Naples, Florida, and returning on Sunday. I almost never have to be gone from home over weekends for work or business development, so it is going to throw me off a bit I'm sure. 

Of course, I'm going to the beach on a weekend by myself. It's a rough life.

I've plucked a few cards and items here and there off eBay again recently. To celebrate, let's pluck a few strings on some 1970s guitar and get in that laid back beach mood.

The 1970s for college kids was a weird time. Apparently, Pure Prairie League's song "Amie" became popular on college campuses, especially in the Midwest, during what Wikipedia calls "a minor bluegrass revival." This song is what gave me my title for tonight's post. So, what card will it introduce?

I could stay with these 7/11 coins from 1984 a while -- maybe longer. My love for the oddball is well documented, and I greatly enjoy finding items like this to scratch the itch. Slowly but surely, I'm finding these coins for my collections. I've got two of the three Younts -- which I think are different literally only because of a single letter on their back. The Younts were released nationally, but the Molitor and Cooper are both from the "Central" issue. I now have two Coopers and one Molitor to go with my one Yount, and I am still looking for two Ted Simmons coins.

There are not many rock songs that feature a flute. You get Jethro Tull's stuff, of course, and then this Marshall Tucker Band song, and also Men At Work's "Down Under" -- but that's all I've got off the top of my head.

Another rarity -- at least for me -- is getting bonus cards in eBay packages. It seems a lot of other bloggers do a lot better than I do with this. Maybe they just buy more off eBay than me, but I rarely get bonus cards. This time, though, I did.

That's what makes that purple Bowman Carlos Gomez so cool to me. It is serial numbered out of 250, and the seller just threw it in with the Finest Black Refractor I bought for 99 cents (free shipping, I think) that it's pictured with. Just outstanding!

Only two more items, so two more laid back 70s Southern Rock songs.

For a while in the early 1990s and almost certainly influenced by the fact that I had moved to the South, I really got into the Allman Brothers Band for a while. It wasn't like I listened to them nonstop or anything, but whenever I was in a chill mood I wanted to hear stuff like this. Pop in the Allman Brothers Greatest Hits CD, and I'd be more laid back than Jimmy Buffett at 5 o'clock.

The opposite of laid back is this ridiculous Bowman's Best insert from last year. I actually found two of these pretty cheap from two different sellers at the same time, so I picked up my requisite "one each for the player collection and the team collection." Apparently, the mirror image here was that Braun had back-to-back 30-30 seasons in 2011 and 2012 in the majors, and Pederson went 30-30 in 2014. 

Is this racial profiling? I mean, is this one of those, "we can only compare Jewish players to other Jewish players" things? Or is it just a mere coincidence? 

Got me.

All this chill music gets me thinking about one of my favorite chill songs of all time.

It's not easy to be peaceful with all the political stuff going on. But I'm trying.

As a kid, I had a tremendous love for media guides. During a few years in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Brewers Media Guide actually was available for purchase at our local grocery store. As a huge Brewer fan, I would wear out that media guide. I memorized middle names of players -- Cecil Celester Cooper, James Elmer Gantner, Paul Leo Molitor, pitching coach Calvin Coolidge Julius Caesar Tuskahoma McLish .... and the wonder of what Robin Yount's middle name was since he was only listed as "Robin R. Yount."

I did not realize that Robin featured on the front cover of the 1977 Media Guide until very, very recently -- and the minute I found out, I snapped up the least expensive copy I could find on eBay. It's in great shape, so I just got a good deal.

Going back in time is often a lot of fun. Nostalgia is great -- so long as we don't fetishize it too much and remember that the good old times weren't always so good. Often, they were just old. The 1977 Brewers sucked, but better times were ahead. I hope that's where we are going too.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


Let's be clear about a couple of things. I'm a pretty good technical writer when it comes to writing like a lawyer. I don't mean that I fill my sentences with legalese and "wherefores" and all that, but I mean that write fairly clearly and concisely enough to get my point across in situations in which I usually have a page limit. 

On the other hand, as a creative writer, I'm a bit of a mess. I've never focused on creative writing. My writing tends to angle toward stream of consciousness. All you have to do is read one post here and you will know immediately that, at best, I might plan out a theme for music. Otherwise, my writing is full of what those literary types would call conceits -- which occur when a writer compares two highly dissimilar things to create a far-fetched simile or metaphor. 

Unless you feel that Gypsy Queen Minis really are like Mazzy Star.

At any rate, P-Town Tom -- the math wizard behind Waiting 'til Next Year (which is likely to be in the running for the Zippy Zappy award for renamed blogs if the Cubs finally finish out this year and win the World Series like they should) -- recently sent me a passel of cards to thank me "in advance" for some Conlon cards I was sending his way. I didn't warn Tom before now, but those cards went out yesterday to him and should arrive pretty soon. Be watching for a priority mailer, Tom!

So, let's see what Tom sent my way this time. Do we need music? Sure. Let's use bands that MTV says are "Similar" to some of Tom's favorites.

1. O.A.R. is Similar to....

It's not a terribly long list, and it's populated by a fair number of southern bands. Like this one, from the best city in the entire world and entire galaxy, Athens, Georgia:

I have never really given Widespread Panic a fair shot. Well, I take that back. I've listened to them in the past in bits and pieces. They are considered by some to be the Southern answer to Phish, as one fan quoted in the Jackson (MS) Clarion-Ledger said: "People up North like Phish, but [they] like Panic down here. . . . If I get stressed out, going to a Panic show cures all ills."

That same article said that the band reached its peak in 1998 when between 80,000 and 100,000 people descended on Athens for a CD release show. I remember it well -- it was the fall after I graduated, and I was still living in Athens. I didn't leave my house, though. It was like a football game day -- the football stadium holds 93,000 people -- but without all the freely available parking on campus. Still, I kind of feel like I missed out and should have just went down there anyway.


Speaking of missing out, when I checked out on collecting in about 1989 and started focusing on college and girls and girls and work, I missed out on cards like these. Granted, as Peter says to the Bobs in Office Space, "I wouldn't say I missed it" with respect to 1991 Fleer. 

The highlight here is that dark metal card of Jeromy Burnitz, as it completes my 1998 Metal team set. Yeah man. Metal!

2.  Manchester Orchestra is similar to....

According to MTV, my local band Manchester Orchestra is similar to this next band who hail from the original suburb, Levittown, New York:

Brand New have not put out any new music on a new album since about 2008. They have been working on their fifth album since about that time, supposedly. The first real new song they released came out in 2015. I can see the relationship between Manchester Orchestra and Brand New in some earlier songs I've heard, but this one is pretty poppy alternative. 

It's not bad. It's actually pretty decent.

"Not bad" and "pretty decent" is how I'd describe the recent 2015 Panini Contenders release. I busted a box of this back in February and distributed the results around the blogosphere, but I couldn't tell you if I got that Nathan Kirby as part of that ripping or not. 

These cards for Cubs players will work well for Tony Burbs' new "nothing major" collection he's starting up, though.

3. Thirty Seconds to Mars is like...

I love how the music so far has allowed me to stay pretty local. And, while I don't particularly like this next band, they are all decent guys from all indications. Who are they?

Hailing from Stockbridge, Georgia, Collective Soul got a boost from 99X, the radio station I mentioned a couple of posts ago. This song, "December" came in the midst of a legal battle with a former manager that got ugly and, eventually settled through a confidential mediation. 

There were a lot of hard feelings in Milwaukee just a couple of years earlier when Paul Molitor decided to leave Milwaukee for Toronto. The behind-the-scenes story appears to be that Robin Yount was pretty much always Bud Selig's favorite son and got the big paydays. When it came time for Molitor to get another contract after the 1992 season, Bud Selig and his lackey, er, general manager Sal Bando decided to offer a low-ball 1-year deal to Molitor. 

From some stories, there were even hard feelings between Yount and Molitor for a while thanks to all that. I don't know that I've ever seen much coverage of that or whether things were ever so bad that they needed to be "patched up" though.

For what it's worth, that Molitor went into my team set for the 1981 Kellogg's set. I have three Younts, two Molitors, and absolutely no one else from that set. It's weird.

4. Imagine Dragons is like...

The local angle on this is not obvious immediately. This song has a very particular memory attached to it for me, though:

First, the specific meaning to me. This song was released in 2004, and I loved it. Kaiser Chiefs put out some of the catchiest earworms in indie rock and this one absolutely stuck when I first heard it on XM Radio. 

But, I really glommed on to it -- despite the obvious cliché to it -- when I took a very long trip. In 2008, I was looking at moving to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates for work with the law firm I was with at that time. I talked to people over there on the phone, and they seemed like very cool people. So, I got on a plane for a 15-1/2 hour plane ride to spend a week in Dubai. I absolutely hated the place. There are cool things about it if you're going to go there for a vacation -- definitely -- but the actual "living" there part was not for me. The whole time, I was miserable. 

And I must have listened to "Oh My God" about a dozen times on that trip -- first out of excitement and, eventually, out of understanding.

The local Atlanta angle? So, the band is named after South African football team Kaizer Chiefs, which was former Leeds United captain Lucas Radebe's first professional club. That team was named Kaizer Chiefs for its founder, Kaizer Motaung. But why "Chiefs"? Because Kaizer Motaung had played as a striker for the Atlanta Chiefs of the North American Soccer League.

Long, round about stories like that one are perfect for when I get a card in quadruplicate and still need two more of them. Yes, this is the 1987 Sportflics Team Preview card. Tom saw my mention of it before and how I couldn't find it anywhere, and so he sent me four. These went into the Molitor, Higuera, Plesac, and Deer player collections. Now I just need one for the Surhoff collection and the team collection!

5. AWOLNATION is similar to...

Try as I might, I could not find a local tie to any of the bands that MTV listed as being similar to AWOLNATION, so I'll go with a band I know has not featured here.

Foster the People had a pretty big hit (over 214 million YouTube) with "Pumped Up Kicks." While that song is pretty good, I actually prefer either this song or "Houdini." I think it's the fact that my wife absolutely loved "Pumped Up Kicks." When she loves a song, I can count on hearing that song at least 1 or 2 times a day and maybe more on weekends or roadtrips.

It's not a bad thing sometimes, but it can make a person tire more quickly of a song.

So, the title of this post is "Foreshadowing" for a reason. Yesterday, I asked whether I should try to collect the 2016 Topps Jonathan Lucroy rainbow in the wake of receiving the clear Lucroy serial numbered to 10 from Matt at BWTP. 

I mean, I got pretty close with 2014 Topps and Topps Chrome and Topps Mini -- I think I'm missing the 1/1 stuff. But, I already have that covered with the three printing plates I have. 

But, as I said at the end of the post, "Of course, there is that framed version of which there are only 16. That one might be tough to come by too...or..."

Or, maybe, Tom already sent it to me. I think that Tom may have commented to that effect on the post last night and then, realizing what I was doing, deleted it. For that, I thank him. The funny thing is that I received the envelopes from Tom and Matt on the same day.
I opened the one from Matt first and was gobsmacked -- thinking, man, that is just awesome! Then, Tom's package has this framed gem in it. Simply incredible.

Tom, thank you so much for the great cards. And thanks, too, to Matt -- since I didn't thank him properly last night with my attempt at the foreshadowing.

You guys are a part what make this hobby so awesome. Hopefully you'll each get the stuff I've sent your way soon.

Monday, July 18, 2016

3 Cards and the Truth

Nashville legend Harlan Howard wrote dozens of hits in his life, so much so that he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1973 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1997. He was asked one time how he formulated great country songs. His reply is now practically a cliché, but he said it first. His response was, "Three chords and the truth."

The now-legendary giving of Matt from Bob Walk the Plank is almost a cliché by now as well. The guy opens up more top-end cards on a regular basis than I see in a year living in the card show lands here in Atlanta. His recent mailer to me brought to mind Harlan Howard -- it contained three cards and Matt's truth that he had stocked up again on Brewers.

Relying on Harlan's line, here are three songs to go with the three cards.

Ry Cooder, "Three Chords and the Truth"

It's not an exciting video for sure -- basically someone just put up the cover art for the album and uploaded the song. It's a bluesy five-minute song of three chords and Ry Cooder's truth. It's worth a listen -- it sort of reminds me of early 1970s Rolling Stones in some respects.

Corey Knebel's truth is that he attended the University of Texas at Austin and was a Detroit Tigers' first round draft pick (39th overall) in 2013. He signed shortly thereafter, and by the next May he was already in the major leagues with Detroit. He didn't do all that well in his first exposure to the majors, but he was still in demand enough to be sent to the Texas Rangers in a 2014 July trade with Jake Thompson for Joakim Soria. 

Neither Thompson nor Knebel made it through the 2015 season as a Ranger. Thompson went to Philadelphia as part of the Cole Hamels trade, and Knebel came to Milwaukee with the already departed Luis Sardinas and minor league pitcher Marcos Diplan in the Yovani Gallardo trade in January of 2015. Knebel just got recalled from Triple-A a couple of days ago. If the Brewers trade Jeremy Jeffress and/or Will Smith away by the end of July, don't be surprised if Knebel and Tyler Thornburg share closing duties to see whom the long term closer is.

Mrs. Jay Barker, er, Sara Evans: "Three Chords and the Truth"

Look, Sara Evans looks really good now, especially since she is now 45 years old. I mean, that's older than me and I don't look that good.  

</insert charity laugh>

In this video from 1997, Sara was around 25 years old. Let's just say that she was displaying her best fastball in this video. She is gorgeous and, to top it off, this song really allows her to show off her vocal abilities -- unlike all the overdubbed stuff that literally everyone puts out these days.

And I am not even that big of a country music fan. But, if it sounded like this more often, I might listen more often. Instead, it's Florida-Georgia Line and Luke Bryan singing songs that make them sound like 40-year-old overgrown bro frat boys thinking they are still 23. 

Taylor Jungmann actually attended the same high school (Georgetown (TX) HS) as Corey Knebel, and he also attended the University of Texas. Jungmann was the Brewers 1st Round pick -- 12th overall -- in 2011. Two picks later, the Marlins selected Jose Fernandez, and 6 picks later, the Athletics selected VandyBoy Sonny Gray. 

On the bright side, Jungmann is a better hitter than either Fernandez or Gray. Jungmann looked decent last year, but this year he has been a train wreck. He's been demoted to Double-A Biloxi after 20-2/3 innings of 9.15 ERA ball in Milwaukee and 31 innings of 9.87 ERA pitching in Colorado Springs. Usually ERA does not tell a complete story, but in that neighborhood there are only horror stories.

U2: "All Along The Watchtower"

In their version of the Bob Dylan classic which Jimi Hendrix appropriated and made his own on Electric Ladyland, U2 added lines to the song that did not appear in previous versions. In particular, in the bridge of the song, Bono sings, "All I got is a red guitar. Three chords, and the Truth. All I got is a red guitar. The rest is up to you."

Because I was a big U2 fan in high school -- they lost me for a while with that Zooropa stuff, though some of those songs are now okay -- I must have listened to Rattle and Hum from first song ("Helter Skelter") to last ("All I Want Is You") dozens, if not hundreds, of times. Keep in mind -- I grew up in the country, didn't go to the cool kid parties, and I spent a lot of time in my bedroom going through magazines to find evidence for debate topics. 

I know -- it's a complete shock that I wasn't at the cool kid parties after that last revelation.

To be fair, though, Matt did send me a revelation as well:

It's a Jonathan Lucroy 2016 Topps Clear serial numbered 3 of 10! Holy moly. This is my first of the acetate cards that Topps has put out the past several years, and I must admit that I am impressed -- it is a good looking card on both sides of it.

Lucroy is in the news so much lately for trade rumors that I half expected him to be dating Taylor Swift at this point. One day, it's Texas. The next day, it's Boston. Then, it's Cleveland. 

To be honest, I'm okay with him getting traded if it means a good return. I'm also okay if Lucroy retires as a Brewer after a contract extension after the 2018 season. Either way, it's a win for the team.

But, with three printing plates and this clear out of the way, do I need to go for the rainbow?

Maybe. Of course, there is that framed version of which there are only 16. That one might be tough to come by too...or...