Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Secret Santa: En Fuego

I wanted to get to this post before Christmas. After all, it was my Secret Santa post. When I was younger, I was told that a Secret Santa deal was to include the person receiving the gift trying to guess who gave it to them. Of course, those deals always included an in-person gift giving session, so maybe that's why some folks did not go that route in the BWTP-organized giveaway this year.

For what it's worth, I kept mine secret for this reason. I don't know if my recipient quite figured out it was me. Still don't.

I was lucky enough, though, to get cards from Ketchupman36 from "Rekindling the Cardboard Flame." It's time for a music post, because that blog name puts the same song in my head every time I hear it. 

Cheap Trick sold out. Yup, they did. But they deserved it -- they worked hard and came back from the dead. It hit number one in July of 1988. The same song writers apparently also wrote Chicago's "Look Away" -- which was another catchy ballad from the time period. 

This song was absolutely huge during the summer before my junior year of high school, and I remember well when this song got played at the music camp I attended that summer. For the first time I could recall, I was one of the cooler people around -- which, I suppose, shows how lame band kids could be -- but it also showed me that I could be myself, trying to be funny and crack jokes and such, and people would actually like me if they didn't come in with a predisposed notion of me as the "smart" kid.

Appropriately for that memory, K-Man sent me a number of late 1980s/early 1990s cards. Let's start with the Sportflics!

Thanks to this mailer, my want list for 1989 Sportflics was obliterated. Ah, the joy of youth matched with the joy of a complete team set. I love it!

Let's keep the music appropriate for the time. 

The next summer, I went to three camps for four weeks total. Music camp was even more fun, because I had a base of friends already from the previous year and I wasn't the "new" kid. I had a blast. I met tons of girls and guys whom I still keep in touch with through the wonders of modern social media a/k/a Facebook. 

One person I have never found again after a few letter exchanged back in 1989 was this fellow saxophone player named Andi. She was obsessed with Skid Row. Like, unhealthily obsessed. I thought she was really cool though, because she wasn't a "good girl" -- and I don't mean that in a sexual way. I mean that in a "doesn't give a crap" sort of way that really appealed to me. Plus she was cute too, of course, with long, curly brown hair and blue eyes. That didn't hurt either.

I think I liked her for that second thing, but that "don't care" thing was pretty big too. I cared too much back then.

Okay, weird remembering Andi after over 27 years of not really having thought about her. Music does that to me.

Some great early 1990s oddballs go with that odd recollection about a very different girl. The Mootown Snackers card shows how good unlicensed cards looked back then, before MLB started getting super picky about its teams' uniforms and probably started filing Lanham Act complaints to protect the teams' "trade dress" as exemplified through their team uniform schemes and designs.  

The 8 of hearts is from a U.S. Playing Card company deck from 1991. I have looked in vain for this; K-Man sent me two. 

The Yount is actually a Cracker Jack card from that same year -- 1991. The front looks the same, but the back is different. 

Finally, we have a Pat Moustache card from the Milwaukee Boozers. I'm pretty sure that MLB was not a fan of this set. Parody is protected under the U.S. Constitution as free speech -- just ask Jerry Falwell. See Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, 485 U.S. 46 (1988) (expanding First Amendment protection to an ad parody insinuating Falwell's "first time" was with his mother in an outhouse).

I love parentheticals in legal writing.

Okay, last song for the modern cards:

Yup, I cannot help another Bastille song here. I'm an Anglophile, they are extremely British, and their attempts to make their videos into something straight out of the minds of Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte all appeal to me. Just try figuring out this song's video. I mean, I can figure out the song itself, but the video? Strange.

I'm not saying that these cards are strange. No, they are pretty much your typical Topps cards from 2014 and 2016. It is strange that this is my first Junior Guerra card. Guerra was a waiver wire claim from the Chicago White Sox. In fact, Guerra was the first move that David Stearns made as General Manager. It turned out well -- Guerra pitched 121-1/3 innings and finished 9-3 with 100 strikeouts in 20 starts. With his age being 32 coming into this season, I'd be in favor of flipping him if it's possible. We'll see. I don't think Stearns's moves are done for this year.

It's also strange that Kirk Nieuwenhuis appears to be playing centerfield in the midst of a forest fire. But that problem with design has been addressed in many, many places. 

Many thanks go out here to Ketchupman for the great cards and to Matt from BWTP for organizing the Secret Santa program this year. 


  1. Man, I hope we see more retail promotional items like Moo-town Snackers come into the fold in 2017. That Paul Molitor is the stuff of cardboard greatness.

  2. Awesome post. We all knew an Andi who was unhealthily obsessed with Skid Row. Only mine was a Kim who has a thing for CC Deville & Poison.

  3. Nieuwenhuis looks like he's running from the smoke...and that is kind of cool in a way.

  4. It's always a good feeling to finish off a set want list! Glad to have helped!

  5. Great stuff from Ketchupman! My hope is to compile all the secret santa posts in one place for people to see.