As a result, the man who loves looking at shadows for Sunday silliness -- Johnny of Johnny's Trading Spot -- took over as the Braves SuperTrader. To introduce himself to the group, he sent out Priority Mailers. Well, at least that's what I got.
To honor John's favorite silliness, let's look at the inserts and parallels he sent to me accompanied by songs only the Shadow will know. Or, rather, songs about shadows. I don't think I've heard of any of these songs before, so I'm hearing them for the first time too.
"Prakriti" by The Shadows
So, have you ever wondered what Candlebox or maybe *shudder* Nickelback would sound like if they sang in Nepali? I'm pretty sure this is it. The Shadows are known as Nepal's first hard rock band, and they hail from Narayangarh, Chitwan, Nepal.
I haven't the foggiest idea what they are saying. Apparently, though, they are known and are popular due to their lyrics discussing social issues.
Let's start this post with first basemen. The top card is from the 1994 Upper Deck Major League Baseball 125th Anniversary set, and it's the special foil stamped parallel of Cecil Cooper. I have not seen too many of these cards -- read as: no others that I can recall -- so this was a pretty awesome card to get.
On the bottom, it's a Prince Fielder Upper Deck insert from 2006 and a Topps Attax code card from 2010. Ah yes, 2005/2006...those halcyon days when the Brewers had prospects that were forcing their way quickly into the major leagues -- and I hope those days return soon. Prince was one of the first to get there and made his presence known in a big way.
"In the Shadows" by The Rasmus
That said, with the name of this band, it's almost like my random word search forced me into covering current events here, what with all the kerfuffle about Colby Rasmus's neckbeard making its way into baseball Twitter today.
Personally, I don't see the big deal.
Going the other direction here, we have the perpetually clean-shaven Teddy Higuera. The Studio card is one of those promo cards. Next to it, of course, we have a Score Gold Rush card -- which were too numerous to presage fully Topps's conversion to the serial numbered gold parallel standard several years later. But, that gold background is only okay -- it's a little too tough to know whether Higuera is pitching on Tatooine or in Cleveland for my taste.
Finally, we have a sticker-back from 1989. For player collectors, these sticker backs are great and completely frustrating for the same reason: how many variations of each back are there? I mean, I know Higuera has at least 4 or 5 variations of which stickers are on the other side. My problem is that I have no idea how many total there are. This is good for my Yount collection though -- increased possibility of adding to it based on the variation.
"Apache" by The Shadows
I think this song appeared in every Western film from 1960 through about 1985, or at least a variation of it. The Shadows are revered by fans of what I would call "proper" country & western music (as opposed to the "Contemporary Country" stuff that is on the radio today) -- the band's rockabilly sensibilities shine through. It feels like tumbleweeds should roll through when this song is playing.
The band also served the backing band for English rock legend Sir Cliff Richard. Richard is huge in England, but he's barely received any notice here in the United States. The Shadows' collaboration with Richard ended in 2009's Golden Anniversary tour in the UK.
Speaking of gold...and silver and metallic and rainbow foils, here are some mid-1990s (and one early 2000s) parallels all gilded up and ready for review. When card companies figured out a way to stick foil everywhere on cards, suddenly everyone everywhere did it.
I'm thinking that there are a couple of innovations coming in the near future to cards. First, I'm waiting for the first high-end GIF cards -- maybe a minute long GIF that has a small solar panel on it to charge a microbattery (you know, like the ones Evan Musk is developing). Second, a similar microbattery card will be produced with the player's voice to tell stories. If it's a super high-end card, perhaps it will include wifi access to update the stories.
Not sure I'd buy either of these creations, but I could see it happen.
"Shadows" by Sabrina Carpenter
Sabrina Carpenter is someone I've never heard of, but that's because I don't have kids to make me watch Disney movies or listen to Radio Disney. She is a 17-year-old actress/singer whose voice sounds similar to many of the other former Disney stars.
To be quite honest, this song surprised me in how easily it got stuck in my head. It's a well-crafted pop song -- the background music doesn't detract from her voice, and she has what seems like an excellent voice. Of course, who knows how much studio help her voice gets, but it sounds like she can really sing.
To go with a song that surprised me greatly -- I was guessing that I almost certainly wouldn't like it -- here are four very random cards. Jeromy Burnitz is in the midst of a silver Pacific Revolution. It's a card my cat Gus loves, because he loves to chase reflected light spots around the room.
Then, we have two Cal Eldreds -- a Virtual Reality parallel, and a Team 2000 insert. That Team 2000 insert reminds me: I had the 2000 Edition of Baseball Prospectus out recently and read the Brewers section. This section may have colored my view of the Sal-Bando-led Brewers somewhat. Here's what it said about Eldred:
The second poor decision was Phil Garner's sacrifice of Cal Eldred. . . . It's hard to remember how good Eldred was, but when he came up he was a better pitcher than Alex Fernandez. There was every reason to expect Eldred would grow into a staff ace, the kind of guy who makes the job of building a solid rotation almost easy. But Garner couldn't wait for it to happen. Everyone rushed to call him a genius in 1992, so he had to keep putting up a good front. Eldred's career was sacrificed in the seventh and eighth innings of his starts during meaningless 1993 and 1994 seasons, where the only goal was satisfying Phil Garner's sense of self-worth.Harsh. But true. The whole chapter on the Brewers is a horrible reminder of the days that were the second half of the 1990s in Milwaukee baseball.
"Shadows" by Lindsey Sterling
I am not sure how dubstep and the violin work together, but Lindsey Stirling sort of makes it work. She was a quarterfinalist on season 5 of America's Got Talent, but Piers Morgan and Sharon Osbourne shot down her hopes and dreams by saying that she simply wasn't good enough to dance and play violin at the same time and that it would not fill a theater in Vegas.
She also teamed with the Atlanta Music Project in 2013 to spread music appreciation to children who might not otherwise have the chance. I'm not sure how well that went, but hey, she's trying.
This cluster of four cards will finish off this post. On top is just a really well-done card. I like the black and white background with Dave Nilsson in the foreground in color. It just works.
The middle cards -- a Skybox of Nilsson and one of the Gold Label variants (I think it's a Type 2 or Row 2 or whatever the hell weird nomenclature those used) of Jeromy Burnitz. That uniform of him throwing, though, looks fake to me.
Finally, we close with a Robin. I finally got my hands on a Leaf base-set checklist with Robin on it. Seriously, it took me nearly three years of collecting to get this card. I have no idea why it took that long.
Thanks to John, though, that search is over. As always, my deepest thanks go out to John for the cards and to all of you for reading.