When I had free time, I watched two utterly disappointing soccer games -- Manchester United's typically wasteful performance against Bournemouth (where Zlatan Ibrahimovic was shockingly bad) and Atlanta United's tough but entirely foreseeable collapse against the New York Energy Drinks -- where ATLUTD's conceding two goals in the final 15 minutes was completely expected thanks to the dead legs that the defenders had to have. As the ATL game reached the 65th minute, I was thinking, "man, why haven't we put in some fresh legs into the game?" Then I saw Kenwyne Jones stagger onto the field, and I realized that fresh legs might not help.
Anyway, my desire to write over the weekend was outweighed also by the desire to work on getting inserts/parallels into binders. I'm working on my Topps inserts and parallels and oddballs right now -- up to 1995 already! -- so I'm doing a lot of placeholder making and not a lot of cataloging. But, it means I'm getting closer to having "true" want lists.
Today, though, to break my non-writing streak, I have two PWEs I got in the past month.
First one came from Peoria. Tom sent me a Rangers player and a Yankee.
In fairness to Tom, he couldn't have known that the Yankees would sign Chris Carter. I'm thinking that Chris Carter is what Aaron Judge might turn into -- a strikeout-prone slugger whose minor league stats make him look like a potential OBP machine but, in reality, his value is tied entirely to his homers.
Now, in fairness, Judge being an outfielder makes him have more value than Carter. But keep in mind: Aaron Judge is 2 months older than Manny Machado and 7 months older than Bryce Harper. He's also 6 months older than Mookie Betts and 5-1/2 months older than Xander Bogaerts. Judge is almost 25 years old. The likelihood that Judge becomes a star is significantly depressed by that fact alone. Don't buy his cards thinking he's a Hall of Famer in the making though -- that is just not likely.
As a cautionary tale, let's look at Will Middlebrooks. By the time Middlebrooks was the same age as Judge, He'd already completed two (partial) seasons adding up to 169 games and 660 plate appearances in the major leagues. Stat line? 32 HR, 103 RBI, 7 SB...33 BB, 168 Ks, and a slash of .254/.294/.462. Now, Middlebrooks never has had the walks that either Judge or Carter had, so it's not a straight comparison. But still -- Middlebrooks is an NRI in Texas and Carter had to wait for the scraps to fall from the Yankees' table. Should we really expect all that much from Aaron Judge?
Okay, time to jump off my soapbox about Aaron Judge, Yankee prospect, and thank Tom for the 2017 Topps.
The second PWE came from 1995 Fleer hater, Peter Steinberg.
Peter sent me some 2017 Topps as well. Chris Capuano and Scooter Gennett were basically inserted to protect the Robin Younts, I think.
Peter was busy at spring training drinking beer this past weekend.
You can't blame him for that, but come on -- give some love to Victory Beer's complete logo, Peter.
Apropos of this, here are three random beers I enjoy:
1. Ommegang Brewery's Three Philosophers Ale: Ommegang is a brewery that should be close to baseball fans' hearts. It's located in the Cooperstown area, and the beer is Belgian and beautiful. Three Philosophers is a 9.8% ABV beer, but, as the link points out, it is much less bitter and less hoppy than most dark strong Belgian-style ales. This beer is just wonderful -- and with its alcohol content, it will make you the fourth philosopher quickly.
2. Delirium Tremens by Brouwerij Huyghe in Belgium. Yes, another Belgian strong ale. What can I say -- I like Belgian Ales. This one, too, drinks smoothly and with a reasonably high ABV (8.5%).
So, why do I like Belgian ales? Because while I appreciate hoppy beers, I tend to prefer beers that do not leave my palate cringing and begging for mercy.
I also say that from talking to a man with experience. My wife's uncle was brewmaster at Miller for many, many years. While we won't get into whether that should qualify him to speak as to what good beer should taste like, he make a very good point with respect to hoppy beers. You see, the reason that many brewers like to make super hoppy beers is simple: if you make mistakes in how you brew the beer, the hop flavor will cover up the mistakes. It's much more difficult to make a good ale that tastes great, isn't so bitter that it makes you cringe, and isn't so hoppy that the consumer feels like they have fell into a vat of hops.
I realize that many folks love hoppy beers. I have my moments when I like them too. But the bitterness is occasionally overwhelming.
3. Funky Buddha Beers. If any of y'all are heading to Florida for spring training, you owe it to yourself to look for Funky Buddha beers. It's a brewery with a brewpub near Boca Raton, and its beers are excellent. I went there two years ago, and I still think about the "Morning Wood" beer -- a maple bacon coffee porter aged in bourbon barrels. Crazy good, if a little sweet, but so damn tasty it's crazy. Their hoppy beers are also quite good too.
Thanks for stopping by for random thoughts from me and great cards from Peter and Tom!