Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Christmas from Section 36

Yes, I'm still posting about cards that I got before Christmas on January 10. I have at least two or three more posts in reserve about Christmas cards too. 

Today's cards came from the man behind the Fenway paean blog, Section 36. As a giveaway, all you had to do was comment on a blogpost that was not the post about the giveaways. I decided to take a page from our old spamming friend Fashion Shoes and made a comment on the post about Samantha Russo that echoed the shoe pusher. In return for that, I got some great Brewers cards. 

So, let's highlight a few cards by pairing them with songs about or mentioning Fenway, of course.

"Angels of Fenway" by James Taylor

James Taylor is a Red Sox fan. When watching the 2004 team come back from 3-0 down to overcome the Yankees and, then, roll all the way to the first World Series championship in 86 years, he was "moved . . . deeply and . . . knew [he] wanted to write [a song] about it." This song, "Angels of Fenway" was on Taylor's first new album in 13 years when it was released in 2015.

At least one reviewer, Deadspin's Tim Burke, was not a fan. As he put it, "'Angels of Fenway' sounds like a parody song, or maybe what James Taylor would perform at an improv night when handed a random card reading, 'Sing a song about the Red Sox.'" Burke even called Taylor "a poor man's Scott Stapp." Wow. That's pretty low.

These 2007 Upper Deck cards aren't terrible. It's an odd coincidence that all of them are horizontally presented. It doesn't seem like it was necessary for that to be the case. I will say, though, that 2007 Upper Deck seemed to be the year that a single photographer took all his/her photos before one game when the Brewers were signing autographs. I swear that the Corey Hart is just one of about five or six cards of a similar angle and a similar subject.

Not sure why.

"At Fenway" by Brian Evans

So, if you thought James Taylor's song was painful -- and let's be honest, it wasn't his best work -- this song by new age crooner Brian Evans will help you forget it. You'll forget it because the video is so hokey and terrible and Evans's efforts to seem cool in a big band style are so ridiculous that you might yearn for "Angels of Fenway." 

Shockingly, however, this song is not musically as bad. It's not great, mind you, but it's not bad. Supposedly, according to this Boston Globe article, it is the first song that Major League Baseball licensed for game use. Okay. The guy likes suing people, though.

A few Fleer cards to fill in some gaps in my collection. This design pretty much matches up with Brian Evans. It's better than a sharp stick in the eye, but, at the same time, it's not one I'd chase after for its looks.

One guy to highlight is Vinny Rottino. He was born in Racine, Wisconsin, in 1980 and had the pleasure of getting to play for his hometown team. He married a local girl from Racine later on, and as of 2015 he had retired to become a scout for the Texas Rangers.

Hmm. Is that why the Rangers keep going after former Brewers (Fielder, Gomez, Gallardo, Lucroy, Cruz...)?

"Tessie" by Dropkick Murphys

I don't think there is any legitimate way to write a post about Boston and its music without mentioning the Dropkick Murphys -- at least to me. If you know Boston baseball history, you know that this song was the theme song for the 1903 Boston Red Sox and their "Royal Rooters" -- who included JFK's grandfather John "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald among their members. 

In 2004, the Murphys said they wanted to bring back the spirit of the old Royal Rooters and put the Red Sox back on top -- and, look what happened, it worked! It is now played after every win at Fenway, and Trot Nixon used it as his at-bat music. In fact, it was so successful that in 2016, the Red Sox rolled out a new mascot called Tessie.

It's random card time now. That Prince Fielder card is an odd looking portrait of him. Not an exact portrait but any means. 

The Aramis Ramirez red Target parallel from 2013 is actually a pretty decent looking card. As much as the full bleed cards can look good, I think Topps's last two efforts -- its first two without real borders -- have started dissuading me regarding the borderless cards. The smoke corners on 2016, the flat cross on 2017...not a fan.

Scott Linebrink's eyes kinda scare me in that photo. So intense. I don't think he's trying to look that intense, which makes it a bit weirder.

"Fenway" by Griffin House

Griffin House turned down a golf scholarship to Ohio University and went instead to Miami University in Ohio. There, he taught himself guitar and starting writing songs. I don't think I have ever heard of this guy, but apparently he has opened for Patti Scialfa, John Mellencamp, and The Cranberries at times.

It's not a bad song. Very earnest -- very folky. It's what James Taylor's song could have been had he not taken ten years to try to write the song.

This group features two Bowman cards from about 9 years ago, a Bowman reprint of Braun, an Upper Deck Weeks, and an A&G Ramirez from 2012. 

Speaking of A&G, I think I'd like the borders back on those cards too. This border, for instance, is very attractive. Very fin de siècle. I'm a sucker for fin de siècle.

"The Fenway" by Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers

Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers is a later incarnation of a band from Massachusetts that was called originally just "The Modern Lovers" and featured Jerry Harrison, later of the Talking Heads.

I listen to this song, and it sort of reminds me of early Violent Femmes songs. 

Lots of cool stuff to close out this post -- especially that Ballpark Collection dual relic of Troy Tulowitzki and J. J. Hardy! 

I'm on record of liking early Bowman designs, so the Scott Podsednik card from Bowman Heritage strikes a nice chord in my world. It makes me wonder how Topps decides what to bring back and what not to bring back. I'm guessing that the people making decisions there are about 10 years younger than me, and they like the 1990s rather than the 1950s or the 1980s. 

That's just my guess though.

At any rate, many thanks go out to the best section at Fenway -- Section 36 -- for the great cards. Check out his scavenger hunt going on now too! Some great stuff going on over there.

Thanks for reading.


  1. Glad the cards found a good home. Thanks for adding the Fenway/Red Sox musical selections. I hadn't heard of most of them.

  2. I forgot Podsednik played with the Brew Crew. Nice selection of cards!

  3. "Tessie" has been on my workout playlist since it came out - even as a Cubs fan, the passion and energy that the tune exudes is empowering. Also, I didn't realize that any incarnation of the Modern Lovers had a baseball song. Anyway, enough about the music, this is a pretty nice assortment of cards too.

  4. I always think of Papelbon's run-in music "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" by Les Murphies de Dropkick. For the Fenway fan, I think it was as iconic as "Enter Sandman" for Rivera and just as bad-ass. Too bad Papelschmear turned out to be what he was...

  5. I'm a big Dropkick Murphy's fan. The last time I saw them in concert in Pittsburgh the lead singer made fun Sidney Crosby and Ben Roethlisberger. It was hilarious.

    Great cards. Tulo is one of my favorite non Pirates so I like that card the best.