Monday, January 30, 2017

COMC Black Friday #4: Ryan Braun

After yesterday's rather sobering history lesson -- one which led me down paths I did not expect at all -- I need a more frivolous post tonight. I'm about to get on a plane tomorrow (actually, 2 planes, connecting through Minneapolis) to go to Palm Desert, California, for one of my American Bar Association trips. 

So, in the interest both of frivolity and of posting some more of the Black Friday cards I got, I thought, "songs about the desert/California!"

Of course. 

I mean, after all, Ryan Braun is a Californian -- born in Mission Hills, California -- so why not? Especially since one of the cards I got is this one:

Let's start with an obvious one:

Hopefully I don't end up on a dark desert highway with cool wind in my hair on this trip. It will mean that something went terribly wrong, I'd say. I do hope, though, to get out and run a little while I'm out there. The temperatures are a bit better than the mid-30s we've had here in the morning lately.

Some buy cards to remember, some buy to forget. I still need about 3 more of this 4-in-1 card from the 2009 Goudey set that Upper Deck put out. I think I still need one more of the 2009 Chrome card too. Those folks hoarding these cards must be living it up.

To be honest, this song is almost more obvious to me to be tied to the Palm Desert area than Hotel California. That's because this song is on the Joshua Tree album. Palm Desert is about 50 miles from Joshua Tree National Park. The only time I've been in the Palm Desert area -- the Coachella Valley -- a couple of friends of mine and I went to the National Park. It's incredible.

That's a younger me amidst some really awesome cacti.

These are Bowman cards of a younger Ryan Braun -- from five or six years ago now. I have trouble at times telling the difference between various years of Bowman cards. Their designs are not memorable or very distinctive, and that makes it difficult to recall whether something is a 2011 or a 2012 or a 2013 card since I wasn't around to learn it the first time around.

So, this song is new to me, though the band, My Chemical Romance, is not. MCR was huge in the era of emo and shortly thereafter -- I mean, their first major label album called Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, an album with a couple of great songs in "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" and "Helena," was 14 years ago. The band broke up in 2013 and released a greatest hits album in 2014. 

If I had to guess, I'd estimate that they will reunite for a money-spinning tour at some point in 2018. Just guessing, though. 

In keeping with my snarkiness about MCR -- and let's be honest, I really enjoyed their music on both Three Cheers and their next album, Welcome to the Black Parade, but they got to be a parody of themselves after a while -- I turn to an old standby of Panini Prizm. I swear, Panini goes through product ideas faster than NFL Games can take.

Perhaps they'll stick with Donruss for a while. Who knows. The way they keep bastardizing old Donruss designs, they'll run out of original ideas at the same time that My Chemical Romance reunites.

I've always liked this song. Yeah, it's "soft rock," but lyrically and musically it remains interesting. It tells a story -- which I always appreciate in my music. Sometimes that story is depressing -- how else do you account for my predilection toward The Smiths? -- but often it's just a song giving a feeling or building a picture. That's what this song always feels like to me. 

These cards seem to fit that "soft rock" mentality. Just as Panini goes careering through card designs like a car on an icy mountain road, Topps seemingly just dredges up old designs from other, more original card makers from years gone by. Perhaps it fits to follow a horse with no name to have the card company with no new ideas.

That's harsh, and not necessarily true. After all, Topps has had a number of new ideas lately -- Topps Now in particular. Okay, I can't come up with any more than that, but that was a good idea.

I hope y'all have a great week, and I'll be back on Sunday.


  1. The Goudey 4-in-1 is awesome. You're pale.

  2. Tony- might have a card you'd be interested in. I'm on TCDB as jasongerman9 or you can shoot me an email at

  3. Have a great trip to California. Can't wait to see a post on the great adult beverages you sample on the trip!