Monday, December 26, 2016

Tardiness, Thy Name Is Off Hiatus

In some respects, Shakespeare presaged the internet. By that, I mean that Shakespeare was really incredible at coming up with pithy yet memorable lines that completely foretold the coming love 500 years later for memes. 

One that has persisted for centuries derived from Hamlet -- "Frailty, thy name is woman." To paraphrase Wikipedia, the "____, thy name is ____" phrasing is used to indicate the completeness with which something or somebody embodies a particular (usually negative) quality. 

That applies completely to me this month. I keep complaining about how work keeps getting in the way of blogging, but it does. I guess I need to start writing things up on weekends and scheduling and releasing them during the week or something. But then, I get tired of writing or I start writing in the same vein constantly and I fear that folks will get bored.

At any rate, today I am going to combine a couple of things that came in to the OHHQ from random directions. One is an obvious source and the other sounds just strange.

Happy Holidays from Topps

While I was never a fan of Wham! or of George Michael, there is no denying that the man could sing and write catchy songs. 

The Wham Christmas song goes well with Topps's Topps Now Holiday card. Lord knows I am critical of Topps on many levels. Topps deserves much of the criticism I send its way too. Take this holiday card, for instance. On the back, it features Ichiro (for his 3000th hit, I'd assume) and David Ortiz for his retirement. And while I have made multiple jokes about the multiplicity of David Ortiz Topps Now cards, the fact is that Ortiz had an excellent career. 

Then you see this side of the card. You get Kris Bryant -- the NL MVP who led the Cubs to the team's first World Series victory in 108 years. 

But Gary S├ínchez? 

Gary Sanchez, thy name is shoe.

Yes, he had a good debut this year for his two months in the majors -- 20 homers in 53 games is nothing to sneeze at. But come on! He wasn't the AL Rookie of the Year -- Michael Fullmer was, and deservedly so. Sanchez was not the AL MVP -- Mike Trout was and deservedly so as well (only Mookie Betts was within a win by WAR of anyone in the majors of Trout's shocking 10.6 WAR) and, in fact, did not even get a single vote. 

So what the hell is he doing on a 2016 Highlights card, other than the fact that Topps had its own little Sanchez-gasm, spewing Gary Sanchez Topps Now cards around like Ron Jeremy at the AVN awards? I guess Topps felt like it needed to send its own employees a Christmas card with their favorite team on it.

Cards from Christmas for Kids

My wife does a lot of volunteering around Dunwoody. One of the coolest ones is Christmas for Kids. The Dunwoody Police Department collects up toys through donations. They then work with local social workers and local child services organizations to identify children in need and give those children invitations to a special outing the weekend before Christmas. 

At the event, the children are ordered by their relative level of need. The neediest go in first and get to select multiple gifts for themselves. The kids get to meet Santa, and they get to eat free food from local food trucks which volunteer and donate the food for the day. 

At the end of the event this year, there were tons and tons of toys left over. There were so many toys left over, in fact, that the DPD drove around Dunwoody on Christmas with toys in the back of a patrol truck and handed them out at local apartment complexes. My wife saw some cards laying around unclaimed and asked the police about them. Turns out that the cards had been left for a couple of years, so they said that my wife should take them.

It's a bit sad, therefore, that I have these cards. After all, it means that dozens of kids decided they would rather have some GI Joe toy -- or whatever else was available -- instead of grabbing baseball cards. I'll take them, but I feel bad about it.

On the bright side, I got some good stuff:

Such as a complete factory set of the 2009 Upper Deck First Edition set complete with relic and five 20th Anniversary cards. What did I get from those?

Josh Barfield didn't make it past 2009 as a major leaguer. He started his career pretty well with the Padres in 2006. He was passed by Asdrubal Cabrera in the organization by the end of 2007. He kicked around the minors thereafter, and played last in 2013 in the Atlantic League. Most recently, he has been a part of the Arizona Diamondbacks organization as the Assistant Director of Pro Scouting.

Otherwise, my 20th Anniversary cards were decent. Granted, I'm not a hockey guy, so I had to Google him to find out that Eric Staal is a "Triple Gold Club" member, being a winner of the Stanley Cup (2006), the World Championships (2007), and the Winter Olympics (2010). 

I've heard of the other four people/things, though the whole idea of putting "The Universe" on a card is a bit ridiculous. Maybe we can get a "stars of the stars" card set to highlight all the great stars in the sky soon.

As for the set itself, well, it's a set. I needed nearly all the Brewers in the set, so no complaints there. It was fun to see CC Sabathia in a Brewers' uniform and to see Mat Gamel listed with uniform number 98 though.

And, this set was a great reminder of how good a card design can be when you don't have the creeping death fog at the corners of the card.

I hope everyone had a good Christmas, and I'll try to write again this week -- but I do have to go to work some too!


  1. Fun fact: The Staals (There are four of them in the NHL) are from Thunder Bay, Ontario.
    Eric is the oldest.

    1. I almost added the fact that the Staals' dad is a sod farmer. Perhaps that's because all you can grow in Thunder Bay is sod. ;-)

  2. The Staals got nothing on the Sutter family, though.

  3. May I ask...are you breaking apart that set? I believe I have an Indians team set want list for that set.

  4. I found it funny when Sabathia got himself in "better shape" a couple years back he had the worst year of his career.