Friday, September 15, 2017

Hidden Gems: Back it up

Sometimes, a hidden gem is obvious to me. One glance and it's earned a spot in the binder. Others become gems because of a change of circumstance, while a 3rd just grow on you. All gems, though, have that chance to solidify their gem status the more you look at them. And you find a new reason what makes a gem so wonderful. This installment of Hidden Gems started with the first, and found new status because of something other than the main subject.

What more can I really say about this? The white of Lilly's uniform just pops on this card and becomes the focus. But then the whole card forms this amazing view with the coordinated colors of the design, the well blended green of the grass and bushes, the two patches of dirt and the soft blue fence with contrasting blue ad of Merrill Lynch. And while the perfect framing of Ted Lilly makes it an immediate gem, it's the background of the card that really gives it a brighter shine.

Now, I'm going to break rules a bit here. The idea of Hidden Gems is to showcase those cards that look great, as well as amazing music you may have missed. This week's video, though, is by no means a lesser known song. For the artist, it would be his signature song. It spent weeks at the top of charts around the world. It won Grammys and MTV awards. And you know you want to hit "play" below.

So, Jeff - how is this a Hidden Gem? You must admit this is an infectious song, which samples one of the greatest bass lines ever. The reason I have tied this song with the above card is the background. Specifically, if you play the video starting at 3:26 . I love those background dancing fly girls. But the two on the left - they are the best. It's obvious this section of the video focuses on Stanley Burrell, but the beat of the song doesn't let their feet remain still, and they each bust out a few moves while Hammer is hurting us. I wonder how many takes were rejected and they just got tired and cut this one into the song.

Also, if you are the girl on the far right reading this, call me.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Fat pack wars

At Walmart the other day, and they had restocked their clearance cards. Lots of blasters of 2016 Topps (ick), Score football (yuck), hanger boxes of 2016 Topps (see: ick) and other none interesting discounted items. There was a fat pack of 2016 Allen and Ginter, and since they also refilled the current product, I picked up a pack of the 2017 offering.

So let's pit them head to head and see who wins the battle. Each pack comes with 14 cards, so we can have a pretty even fight. The scoring will just be subjective to my whim on each head to head match up.

Right out of the pack we have the late Jose Fernandez up against Joey Bats. When you put the sets side by side, I am reminded that 2016 looks better. 2017 isn't horrible, but a step down from last year. And man, that Fernandez is riding high. Is that......

YES!!!!! Just like the Gravitational Waves card, Jose is miscut!!!! Holy moley what a nice start. Jose was going to get the win anyway, but sealed it being miscut. Ditto with science over Andrew Miller. So current score is '16 with two and '17 with zero.

Hmmm. Tough one here. Papelbon is also miscut, but gotta love the specs on Urias. Ok, the Dodger puts 2017 on the board.

Side note: here is the backs of those three cards. Only I can be this excited over crappy cards.

In a battle of who has a better left side of the face, I think I'll give the nod to Healy. The seriousness of his expression beats out Steinberg. Plus, I never liked that goofy logo Topps put on the non-baseball players in 2016. Had potential, but never really worked. All tied up 2-2.

Rookie card of former White Sox Frankie Montas against Jonathan Villar. Both players are Dominican, by the way. I think Villar's not looking at the camera is a bit unsettling, so 2016 goes back into the lead.

Adam Jones against a fence loaded with locks. Jones was a lock for a while as an All Star, but has had a couple bad years. The locks take it, tying the score back at 3.

First inserts have Josh Donaldson against Anthony Rizzo. Still hate the Cubs. 2016 back in the lead.

The other inserts put parrots against fish. The Mascots insert is fun, but the fish cards scream Allen and Ginter. Hard to bypass those, so we are tied yet again.

All the minis go into battle at the same time to get an odd number so we will have a winner in this war. I needed the mayor and the Molitor. 2017's are meh. 2016 noses back in front.

Franenset or not, buybacks that are NOT A&G do not belong in A&G!!!! Also, that Trea Turner was one of three cards I need to finish 2016. Down to two cards needed, which is also the same size as the lead 2016 has in this war.

Easiest battle:a mustache that grand trumps all. 7-4 is the lead now. By math, this war is finished, but let's play it out.

Ex White Sox Marcus Semien against Maikel Franco. Now unlike the Villar card, Franco looking away is far less creepy, plus I needed the Franco for the set build. 7-5.

Final cards pit Chris Archer against Brooke Hogan. Now, I can't stand the Hogans. Sure, Hulk was the man at one time, but I use that is the VERY past tense. He was a jerk worker in wrestling and a bigger jerk away from it. And I have to admit, the feud Archer has with the Astros Orbit is brilliantly funny. But I am going to give the nod to Hogan for two reasons. First, I needed the card and second - #feminism.

And there you have i......wait, what?

2017 BONUS CARD!!!! Yup, I think the buyback landed me a 15th card in the 2017 pack. And it's a White Sox. So that brings the final score to 7-7 and DAMMIT!!!!

(goes to Walmart for 2 more packs)