Wednesday, January 4, 2017

An Infield Fly from the Colorado Mountains

Adam from Infield Fly Rule is a Rockies collector and, for some reason -- I think it was #SuperTraders -- he sent me a package of Brewers cards. I'm fighting a cold right now so my brain isn't working terribly well. As a result, the cards Adam sent are going to get a musical treatment to help me some ideas on what to write.

With no more introduction than that, here we go!

Let's start with a jam band I have known about for about 18 years now but have not listened to hardly at all: The String Cheese Incident. These guys formed 24 years ago, and they are originally from Crested Butte and Telluride. This song, "Colorado Bluebird Sky," has some pretty clear bluegrass influences, though the guitar solos are very much in the jazzy/prog rock tradition. In other words, it's totally a jam band. 

It seems appropriate to use this song to introduce a card that looks like it could have been hidden in a jam jar. It's a 1994 Score Rookies & Traded set card of Matt Mieske, not that you can read his name in that swirl of yellow and red at the bottom of the card. It's like someone at Score/Pinnacle took a look at 1990 Donruss and it's red ashtray border and said, "YES! THAT'S IT!"

At any point in life, if you find yourself saying "THAT'S IT" when pondering the design of 1990 Donruss, life has clearly gone wrong.

3OH!3 is from Boulder, and this song ("Don't Trust Me") hit number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2008. Though their career has apparently gone on since that song, I have heard one other song by them -- "My First Kiss" with Ke$ha. This song is very catchy, and it's hard to believe that it is already nine years ago. Of course, considering that I have started encountering first year lawyers who were born after I started college, I'm feeling quite geriatric now that I'm 45. 

Having nothing to do with me feeling geriatric, I present two cameo cards that have made their ways into my player collections. The one on the left features a neon Jeff Treadway trying to tag out a very matte version of Robin Yount. On the right, Ty Wigginton is successfully catching a ball on a bang-bang play at first base that looks like it might have just gotten Rickie Weeks out.

Cards like these are great to get in trade packages because most of the time such cameos elude me. I'm still too busy trying to catalog my 2013 Bowman parallels.

Long before Katy Perry talked about kissing girls and making it seem so titillating, Jill Sobule -- born in Denver -- was singing this song for the Clueless soundtrack in 1995. This odd video helped drive the song to success on alternative radio. Sobule's song is very much more of a 1950s still flirtation, while Katy Perry was in full on Jenna Jameson make-out territory with hers...not that there's anything wrong with that.


Another area in cards where I sometimes miss out on Brewers is when they are listed as being on other teams. Apparently, the Brewers cast aside a few players to the Rockies in their time. The Triple Play Brewer-Rockie combinations worked out far better than the Fleer and Upper Deck guys did. Holmes was nothing special in Milwaukee -- 2 seasons, 9 saves in 81 total appearances -- but in Colorado he earned the scarlet "C" for closer in 1993 (saving 25) and rode that to a career through 2003.

Jim Tatum and Tim Bausher? Not so much. Tatum came to bat a total of 218 times in 5 seasons with trips to Japan, Mexico, and Korea thrown in for good measure. Bausher never got to the majors and, oddly enough, only made 16 appearances in the Rockies system.

Bichette? Y'all know him.

Every once in while during my early morning runs -- which I'm still trying to do despite the winter temperatures -- this song comes on the local radio station I listen to while I'm out. I can honestly say that I do not recall the song getting much airplay on the stations that I listened to in the 1990s. 

Of course, I also recall being in Salt Lake City in 1993 for an NCAA tournament game. I was in the Vanderbilt basketball pep band, and we were playing in the First and Second Round at the University of Utah. We saw a marquee that said that Big Head Todd & The Monsters -- from Boulder -- were playing at this club. I chuckled inside at the name, but one of the women in the band pointed and said, "Dude, those guys are awesome" or something similarly nondescriptive.

They aren't bad. This song has grown on me, even if it sucks to try to run to it.

Yeah, it's as close to "Big Head Todd" as I can get. The amount of texturing and Photoshop work done on this photo makes it look positively awful. Bring back real photos -- not CGI Baseball cards!

This is legitimately the first time I have ever listened to a song by OneRepublic, who hail from Colorado Springs. This song isn't bad. It's a typical, overwrought ballad for a movie or something, I suppose. But it could be a lot worse. They recently released a new album, in case you're interested. The one song I've heard from it (just now, since Wikipedia said it's a different sound from previous albums) is called "Kids" and it sounds like Imagine Dragons-Light to me. It's not bad, but it's not exactly ground breaking.

Nothing wrong with that. Ask any musician and they will tell you that everyone is still riffing off the Beatles, the Stones, and Elvis.

Topps has been trying for years and years and years to incorporate digital cards into its repertoire. This is because it is easier to print digital cards -- there is literally no overhead other than licensing. Topps finally broke down a couple of years ago and rolled out the Bunt app, which I used for about 3 weeks before growing tired of it.

This is a "Gold" Invitation to Topps Town from 2010. It's the rarer of the invitations, I believe. Eventually, I'll get all these inserts catalogued. Till then, I just gather them up in a monster box or two and hope that I don't lose any.

Finally, we have The Fray, a band that formed in Denver. This song, "Over My Head (Cable Car)" also shows up from time to time on my alt-rock radio station. The follow up to this song, "How to Save a Life," got played constantly -- to the point where The Fray's album in 2009 was #1 for the entire year.

Drawing on Wikipedia again, critics compare them to Coldplay and Keane because of using piano as the lead instrument. The band says they were influenced by Counting Crows and Better Than Ezra. I can see that too.

They aren't bad -- at least in my book they aren't.

These are not ordinary 2014 cards. Nope. They are 2014 minis! Slowly but surely, I am creeping up on getting a complete team set for the Brewers from that year. Maybe someday I will complete it. 

In the meantime, my thanks go out to Adam for the great cards and the excuse to dig into Colorado music.

John Denver needed to be here. He just did.

Thanks for reading.


  1. I went to school with a girl that was crazy about Stringcheese Incident, I think she followed them on tour once too...

  2. Hope you are feeling better. Lots of good music comes out of this state. But I can't really stand The Fray.