Sunday, September 28, 2008

They Did It!

These men, and many more, erased 26 years of suffering.




Thank you.

Brewers Fortune Telling Pack #5


I don't know if I can get this pack in on time for the 9th, but I'll try.

2006 Upper Deck Ovation

Let's tear in.

Top to Bottom:
55 Bobby Abreu

ST-MP Mark Prior Superstar Theatre (Oh, Jesus, God, No! That has to be worth 2 points. Fuck!)
18 J.J. Hardy (Yes! That erases the Cubs card. Plus 2!)

34 Travis Hafner

10 Vernon Wells

And you all thought I was kidding about the destruction of cards.


Update. Yeah, I was a little late. Brewers 3 - Cubs 1. Still watching the Mets score.

Game Update

Ryan Braun just hit a home run.







!

Brewers Fortune Telling Pack #4


So far this game of cards is going marginally in favor of my Brewers. Let's hope we can add to the total with this hobby pack of 2006 Upper Deck Future Stars.

Let's tear in.

Top to Bottom:
32 Reggie Sanders

72 Vernon Wells

143 Carlos Quentin Clear Path to Greatness AUTO

WBC-25 Chase Utley World Future Stars

Score: Neutral, leaving the total at +1.5
Grade: A
Thanks goodness we're not playing the Philies, as close to 100% of the cards I have pulled have been from players from Philly. The idea of a clear card is interesting. The transparency allows me to bust packs and watch the game simultaneously.

Let's break this tie, Brewers!

Brewers Fortune Telling Pack #3

Another Flair pack. Ho-hum.

35 Mike Lieberthal
10 Pat Burrell (Aw, jeez, a double in two 5-card packs?!?!)
73 Ben Grieve (Come onnnnnnnnnnnnn!!! This is ridiculous!)
42 Josh Beckett (Hey, a Marlin who's not on the Marlins anymore. That's worth a measly half-point.)

2 Derek Jeter

Score: +1.5 (I'm pulling cards from the right teams, but these packs are too old to have any lasting effect on today's games.)
Grade: F
Two doubles and no inserts or anything in two packs is inexcusable. Boo!

Let's go Brewers! Play like you want it!

Brewers Fortune Telling Pack #2


So far I haven't gotten any cards of players on teams playing in games that affect the NL Wild Card race today. Perhaps this pack of 2003 Flair will change the trend. It's interesting to see a a wrapper with no players on it. Some might call it downright ballsy. We'll see if that pack has any sack.

Let's tear in.

Top to Bottom:
10 Pat Burrell (Already clinched the East.)

73 Ben Grieve (Payed a little bit for the Brewers and Cubs, but this is a Devil Rays card.)
56 Alfonso Soriano (Not a Cub yet here, so no negative points assessed.)

26 Mike Sweeney
75 Geoff Jenkins (Huzzah, we have a Brewer. He's no longer a Brewer, but he's in the playoffs in 2008. I can only give myself 1 point for that.)

(Update: Brewers get fucked in the ass as I'm writing this. A fuck-up by an umpire turns a double play into a Cubs run.)

Score: +1
Grade: C
I'm trying hard not to get upset, but I've already unleashed a long string of profanities that are currently echoing across the Midwest, and I probably won't be able to talk tomorrow. This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass!

Brewers Fortune Telling

For my second pack from the Prime Paks box (You can read the rationale here.), I'm choosing the other one that was visible from the outside of the box (not to mention adhering to the inner box cardboard via some sort of illegal-strength bonding agent), 2006 UD Special F/X. Does this pack practice the "deadly art of illusion?" You'll know the answer to that if I pull a Brian Dennehey insert.

Let's tear in.

Top to Bottom:
721 Mike Myers Parallel (60/99)
No, not that one.

Not him either.

There you go.

457 Gary Matthews
210 Dan Wheeler

PH-9 Player Highlights: Varitek Shines as All-Star

Score: Neutral
Grade: C
Upper Deck tried to recreate Topps Chrome, but it just doesn't work. The wrapper touts "a 1,000 card plus regular set." That's a bad idea. Best-case scenario: You open 250 packs and don't pull any doubles. A quick search of Serillusion found that the trademark owner is a Wisconsin printing company. Too bad, the effect went over worse than Smell-O-Vision.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Correction!

The blog's previous post was a positive story outlining the successful sports day enjoyed by the state of Wisconsin on Friday, September 26, 2008. This was a misprint.

Our editorial staff should have run the story," The First Noble Truth: Life is Suffering" by Siddhārtha Gautama.

Tomorrow, this blog will run either a story highlighting the Milwaukee Brewers' seizure of the National League Wild Card spot, or the article, "Things I Have Broken in Reaction to Sports Outcomes: 1994-2008." The dedicated staff at Thorzul Will Rule apologize for the inconvenience and thank the dedicated readers for their patience.

The Greatest Brewer Game of My Young Life


Last night I attended the greatest baseball game I have ever witnessed in person. That might sound like an overstatement, but it's true. Prior to Friday's game, I have never attended a meaningful baseball game. Sure, all the games mean something, have the potential for greatness or importance, the start of a rally or the beginning of a losing streak that pushes the playoffs out of sight, but never has one game been so important. The fact that it was against the Cubs made it all the more meaningful.

With the late-inning drama of the Pittsburgh series a day or more behind us, the focus was on keeping pace with the Mets. The parking lot tailgating was measurably subdued, as if all of the Milwaukee fans knew something great was just over the horizon, but care had to be taken not to scare that something away. Brats were cooked and beer was consumed, the ritual respected and followed to the letter. My buddy and I shared some of our extra Polish with the carload of guys next to us, an offering of goodwill to fellow ticketholders. With no way of paying us back, we shrugged and just hoped they could enjoy the game.
The inkling that this game was going to be something special came with a loud crack off the bat of Jim Edmonds in the second inning. There was a cheer, but nowhere near as loud as we were told to expect. That was the best you could muster? The Brewers shook off this first blow, weathered a few tense moments with Suppan on the mound, played some great defense, and eventually overtook the Cubs. A polite roar erupted some time in the seventh inning in agreement with the outcome of the Marlins game. This night, magic was possible.

I think part of it has something to do with this:

What you are looking at is what I believe to be a genuine San Diego Padres NLCS Cub-Busters T-shirt, circa 1984. I am warning you: Do not try to acquire one of these. An eBay search will end badly for you. You might come across this one, a little more official looking, somewhere on the Web, but it's not the same. You will not find it. (Of course, I'm sure someone will prove me wrong within a matter of minutes, but let me have my moment.)
The story of this shirt goes back, and this is a guess here, about five years. I came into possession of this classified item in a way I will not reveal here. The Brewers had been in the National League long enough to establish the new rivalry with their neighbors to the south. The sizing of the shirt, at least at the time of sale, was far too small for me. It remained in my novelty shirt pile for a few years, hovering above my typical cycle of T-shirts that were in heavy rotation. And then, I found myself having to move. The shirt got packed into a box, joining others destined to become part of one of those T-shirt quilts a few years down the road. The box went through another move, and was then placed on a high shelf in my closet.

The high shelf in my closet is where it rested until yesterday afternoon. The Brewers needed a good omen to erase the damage done here at the end of July. This shirt, undisputedly, has magical powers, dark majicks that cannot be controlled by even the strongest mage. The powers are not to be wasted, however, which is why I decided against unearthing this relic until now. I dared not wear this Cloak of San-De-Ye-Goh. Too much power for one man. For the time being, I will do everything in my power to keep this garment and the Sankara Stones away from Mola Ram, so its powers can be used again.

The term "magic number" is in my vocabulary for the first time. What a great time to be alive!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My House is Full of Hidden Treasure

This past weekend I found out that my new house (purchased last March) has the capability of impersonating the underside of a Christmas tree. Confused yet? That's fine, I'll explain fully.

While the previous owner left behind a few unexpected choice items (an aging Weber grill, some semi-functional tiki torches, and a garden hose with a hole in it, among others), it took us six months to discover the best the house had to offer. While preparing for an evening outing, my fiancee dropped an earring behind the radiator in her room. (I say her room because of our home's current set-up. The three bedrooms upstairs are obviously too many for a childless couple. The two spare bedrooms currently act as hobby rooms, with mine holding spillover from my DVD collection, several boxes of comic books, and, of course, cards. Her room is a sanctuary within which she designs beaded jewelry, and which also holds beauty products. So there you have it.)

Anyways, the wayward earring disappeared somewhere behind the fancy radiator covers. This thing was almost as lost as Oceanic flight 815, so she had to pull out a flashlight. After a little Reed Richards arm action, she snagged the earring...and this.

The pennant she found is actually a replica of a pennant that originally hung in my family's basement rec room when I was younger. The corporate branding (Mastercard, Northwest Airlines...) is absent from the original, as is the 2002 date. The complete roster on the magnificent scroll remains unchanged. I can remember being a young fan and trying to figure out what the rationale for the name order was. It certainly wasn't alphabetical, nor was the list arranged by popularity.

One might think that the players are listed in numerical jersey order, especially with Molitor (4) so near the top, but Rob Picciolo (8), and recently exorcized manager Ned Yost (5) shoot holes in that theory. Even the tail end of the list gets a little goofy. General Manager Harry Dalton is last, and there are a bunch of coaches before him (Dobson, McLish, Warner, Haney, and Hansen), but players Larry Hisle and Randy Lerch have elbowed their way into that group. I guess the order of the list will remain a mystery.

There are still some nooks and crannies that have yet to be explored in my home, so who knows what other treasures await discovery.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Anything But Baseball

After opening the few 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter cards I'll be buying this year, I was pleasantly surprised to receive the following card.

2008 Topps Allen & Ginter #92 Dan Jansen

It was nice to see Topps pick Dan as one of this year's non-baseball athletes. The image used for the card is one familiar to me, Jansen with his hood removed and suit partially unzipped, hands held to his head in disbelief of his world record time in the 1,000 meters. As a Wisconsin resident, news of his victory spread through my high school within minutes, so I didn't get to see the race live. If I remember correctly, Jansen was not the favorite at this distance, and at the time portrayed by this picture, he didn't have the gold medal yet. His finals heat was one of the earlier ones, and he had to wait for several other pairs to finish before he could truly claim gold.

To accompany this card is one of my favorite pieces of sports memorabilia, an Olympic issue of Sports Illustrated that Dan Jansen and Bonnie Blair both personally signed for me. I'm not sure of the year, but my family went to the Vince Lombardi Classic, a pro-am golf tournament that allows fans to have access to celebrities and athletes as they come off the greens and walk to the next hole. As a teenager, I demonstrated unprecedented foresight by bringing the magazine along. I had gotten into a war of words with the SI subscription department, who had decided willy-nilly to add the Golf Plus feature to my issues, which explains the ugly green circle on an otherwise pristine cover. Despite that cover blemish, this remains one of my most treasured items.

Signing Factoid: When Dan Jansen was signing my magazine, the Sharpie I had brought with me had begun to run a little low. Therefore, the one sentence he spoke to me was, "You're gonna need a new Sharpie there, buddy." Awesome.

Enjoy this video (in Norwegian?) of his 1994 gold medal race and his delightfully tacky Carolina Panthers hat.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Robin's Back, Now We Just Need the Batman!

Now I might be mistaken, but part of me thinks I overheard something about a managerial change in the Brewers organization. This might all be speculation and conjecture regarding...er...um...Yost, I think his name is. But the news that is one hundred percent fact and just music to the ears is that of "The Kid," two-time MVP, 3,000 Hit Club member, and all-around great guy (not to mention lemonade proprietor) Robin Yount has been named Brewers dugout coach. This Robin Yount Super Collector is happy.

2005 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes 1982 Wins Gold Glove Award Gold AUTO (Game-Worn White) #62 (08/15)

To paraphrase Romans 8:31, "If Yount is for us, who can be against us?"

2004 Topps Finest Moments AUTO #FMA-RY

To paraphrase De La Soul's "Patti Dooke," "Yount's not the one to f--- with. He's just not the one to f---with."

2004 Upper Deck SP Legendary Cuts "3,000th Hit" (Game-Worn Stripe) #101 (1/1)

If nothing else comes of this season, it's just reassuring knowing he's down below us in the dugout. He is the security blanket to my inner Linus.

Monday, September 15, 2008

David Foster Wallace: 1962-2008

This was not the way I wanted to get bumped up a notch. Over this past weekend, America lost its greatest living writer, David Foster Wallace. He left behind, among other works, Infinite Jest, the novel against which all others can only be judged "wimpy." Before hanging himself last Friday night, Wallace had the foresight to send me a handwritten manuscript detailing the contents of and process behind a retail pack of 2008 Goudey. A transcript and some hastily-assembled scans appear below.


08 Sept., Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment
And but so then appeared a red concentric ring, humming with life, a sick buzz cutting through a sub-suburban evening, joisting with jiggeredoo, atrocities on the horizon involving motorized cart-return machinery, the in-and-out journey speculatively lasting less than the amount of time required to disconnect flange A from duct B on an upright, 22.6 cubic foot Frigidaire PowerBox Elite Series, a pre-post-doubleyou-doubleyou-eye-eye paquette by the nomenclature Goudey entering my purview, hoping against hope that the status of B.P.O.A.T. (Best Pack of All Time (a theoretical impossibility involving the calculation of a staggering amount of matrices)) would be achieved. From a bird's eye view, a gargantuan winked at me first, reminding me of the smells wafting in from the bay, the stench of walrus hide mixing with the ghostly aftersheen of Mays and McCovey, the buried, blissful, against-all-odds memory of a madman, thumping, spitting, enraged frenzy, a roiling, boiling ball of intimidation, a smile in spite of the fourteen stitches in the head of Johnny Roseboro, this Marichal fellow, near the close of the Year of the Necco Wafer. His tipped collar juts out of the top of his uniform. Underneath, mouth agape, an identical brother from the mouth of the St. Croix, a former demonic sunbeam, Delmon Young craves post-season glory that might never come.


As the third eighth is revealed the plight of Native Americans (1) struts to the forefront, a knight in shining eye-black, a Grady in the time when there were no Gradys, when parents were naming their offspring with random syllables or geographical points of interest, a son of Cleveland fighting the good fight, leading off and propelling the Tribe to the basement, no better than former Texas ball-man Mark Texas, a stout, rotund, brave man who marks on a calendar his days remaining in the eastern national quadrant, eschewer of Sherman's march to the sea, not even born yet on the day the two guys circled the four bases with H.H. Erin the day he then but tried the brush-off, trotting number 715. More tears are shed for the fifth in the stack, shed for failure to recycle, or, perhaps, in some way, at the very least, somehow, but maybe attempt surreptitiously to clean a public park in a very public service announcement, another Indian addicted to his current handle, nameaholic unable to shed the moniker of Travis Hafner, short-a'd first syllables causing the announcer to tingle as the ring of sweat gathers around the bottom of a complimentary Sprite, followed by my dream boy, capable of hurling the Haitian export with even red stitches the better part of 135 miles per hour, Max Scherzer, R.C.I.D. (2), western reptile mascotted, Mizuno glove sporting, brandishing a young smile, playing a bit of the pitch and catch in the humid desert. Then there's #188, David Murphy, outfielder for the Texas Rangers.

Succumbing below the weight of all that pulpy, inked-up future landfill corporate excellence, a throwback, a Zenith lacking the color pallatte and remote switching capabilities, I do believe this could be your hometown hero Thor, the best of the firsties the year before this one, measured as the Y.R.F.A.C.C.S. (3), he of stretched bodily material, core-centric, bruised and hollow, hallowed in Brew Town, Brawny Ryan, paper towel magnate, moustache-free, ever adjusting between every pitched pitch (4), short printed, strong. But so then rounding it out, all in all not a bad pack.

Notes:
(1) The most interesting of which have not popped up in the Hollywood filmed entertainments such as Wolf Dancer, pushed aside and forced to live on reserved land mostly but not all south of the Great Concavity, militant in their grammar.
(2) Rookie Card Insignia Denotee
(3) Year of the Robitussin Fast-Acting Children's Cough Syrup
(4) Set down bat at crotch, adjust gloves, tighten, pick up bat, strong exhalation, batting helmet touch, cup, pants leg, chest of shirt, shoulder touch, helmet again, jersey again, step into batter's box.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Well, Hello There...


Fred is lonely and needs a friend. Please stop by and say hello, or just leave a message I can pass along to him.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

1978 Brewers Schedule

Last week my parents were doing some end-of-summer cleaning, and they saw fit to bestow upon me some interesting memorabilia, the best piece of which I'd like to show you now.

Now, I realize that any Milwaukee-area card show worth its salt will have a table with a guy selling boxes full of this stuff, but I think it's more fun to get one that was actually used by someone who cared about the team's 1978 fortunes. The most interesting part of the front of this schedule is the Pabst branding. At this point, PBR was still being brewed a few miles away from County Stadium, and Pabst commercials dominated radio broadcasts. Feelings of wonderment fill my head when I think that we could be sitting in Pabst Park watching the crew had things gone differently. Heck, we could even have had Blue Velvet's Frank come onto the scoreboard urging the team on to a late-inning rally.

Mmmmyeah, I guess that's not too family friendly.

The highlight of the interior is he inclusion of several twinight doubleheaders. Check out June, where the Brewers hosted the Jays for a Sunday doubler, hopped on a train to Detroit for two, then took a bus across the border for two in a rare one-day series. There are also a staggering amount of two-game series on the schedule. I think it would be cool to return to something like this, but I'm sure there are reasons not to anymore.

On the rear we get a full list of promo days.

Here are some of the highlights:
Considering the year, I'd wager that these were nut-huggers to the extreme. Did fans take the time to put these shorts on during the game, and if so, were they discreet enough to go to the restroom to do so?



Polacks, stay home.



Catholics, remain the the parking lot and trade holy cards.



Easily the best promotion of the year. People still bring these to games, even ones with the original Barrel Man logo.


Oh, and if you're having second thoughts about venturing out on a weeknight...

Good times, though I wasn't born until a week after the World Series ended.