Sunday, May 28, 2023

Baseball in French, Lesson 6: Le Sabotage

Welcome to Baseball in French, Lesson 6. Previous lessons can be found here.
Today's term is le sabotage.
You won't be surprised that in English, it translates to "sabotage". What's the baseball translation?

Blown save.

Here's Tim Wallach of the Expos, sizing up a pitcher on his 1984 O-Pee-Chee card. 

I feel like playing in the shadow of all those other fantastic Expos of the era like Raines, Carter, Dawson, and Reardon places Wallach in the "underrated/underappreciated" category. The guy amassed over 2,000 hits in his career, was a 3x Gold Glover and 2x Silver Slugger at third base, and was an all-star five times from 1984 through 1990. He had a monster year in 1987, setting career highs in hits (177), doubles (42, led majors), RBI (123), runs scored (89), slugging percentage (.514), and stolen bases (9). I'd bet he sabotaged the save attempts of a few opposing relief pitchers along the way.

And I like the French terminology here. The word "sabotage" adds some intrigue and suspense and drama into the story.
Now here's Tim Wallach to the plate. Expos down to the Reds by one run in the bottom of the ninth. Two outs, Hubie Brooks on second. The pitch... base hit into right field! Brooks is going to round third and head for home... here's the throw... not in time! And Wallach has sabotaged the Reds!
As a hitter, would you walk up to the plate in a similar situation with a little bit of extra mojo if you knew you had the chance to sabotage the game for the other team? 
I think I would.
Leave your thoughts below, and thanks for reading!

Sunday, May 21, 2023

My Contribution to the WRIPP (Warhol Rose Infinite Parallels Project)

Back in April, Gavin from Baseball Card Breakdown introduced us to the Warhol Rose Infinite Parallels Project, or "WRIPP" for short.
As you can see from that blog post, Gavin took Andy Warhol's original Pete Rose screenprint from 1985, pared it down to a basic template in baseball card size, and began creating some variations—or parallels, as we know them in the hobby.

These parallels would be special one-of-ones, completely unique, designed to be sent out to friends, fellow collectors, and fellow bloggers as part of trade packages. And the coolest part?

Gavin has encouraged all of us to create our own one-of-one parallels to add to the project! (Hence the "infinite" portion of the WRIPP acronym.)

Well that was enough for me. I downloaded the template from Gavin's blog post and soon got to work.

Here's my first contribution to the WRIPP:

I call it the "Victorian Wallpaper" variation. The wallpaper design behind Mr. Rose features roses. Cheesy, but effective.

As for the card back, I kept it simple.

I wanted to get Gavin's branding in there, so I placed the WRIPP logo he designed on the top of the card. Other than that, I just listed the name of the parallel, wrote my blog name and the "1/1" mark in red ink, and added a great quote from Mr. Rose himself at the bottom. Done.
But wait. There's more!
I created a second parallel. If you collected cards at any point during the late 1980s or early 1990s, you'll know exactly what I decided to call this one:

Yep, it's a reverse-negative version!

I'm sure something like this could have theoretically gotten by the quality control team at the WRIPP production facility, because Rose was a switch-hitter.
But nostalgia and printing errors aside, now that I had two parallels completed, the next question was what to do with them.
Well, being that these were my first two designs, I thought it would only be right if they went to Gavin himself. It wasn't long before he and I agreed on a trade. I sent Gavin the two parallels, along with a few of my other custom cards of his choice. In return, I received these beauties:
First, this sweet 1/1 created by Gavin himself.


It's hard to tell from the photo, but there's mixed media involved there, and the card has more than one level of texture. Pretty cool!
Here's the back of the card:

Got to love that "CONFIDENTIAL" stamp.
Also included were these six cards:


I'm a big fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000, and Gavin happened to have some "movie poster" inserts that were released as part of an MST3K card set just a few years ago. The particular movies featured on the cards above are from some of my all-time favorite episodes. (If you've never seen the show, I highly recommend it.)

But before I start quoting lines from The Pumaman or Diabolik, let's get back to the WRIPP.

I encourage all of you to go to Gavin's original post again, download the card template, and get to work on your own one-of-one parallels. You can create your designs digitally, or use any physical medium you'd like: colored pencils, crayons, markers, ink, you name it.
And if you do create some and send them out to your collecting buddies, be sure to share a photo.

Hope you'll join the fun!

Sunday, May 14, 2023

This Custom Card is Sending Out an S.O.S.

How many of you can already hear that repeated line from the song Message in a Bottle?

That's always the sign of a big hit: You hear someone speak a few words from it, and suddenly the entire song—vocals, guitar, drums, and bass—is in your head.
The Police certainly had a few of those hits; those songs that were a little different.
And if you're a three-man band, you need to be different. Well, actually, you're already different because there are only three of you. But I guess what I'm trying to say is that difference makes you stand out, so you'd better bring something special to the table. Power, speed, quirkiness, a new sound. Something.

And The Police did that. They were a sensation back in the early '80s. They had such good energy. Such a cool sound.

Cool enough, in fact, to inspire me to put them on a custom card.

Why the 1980 Topps template?  
Well, in 1979, just a year or two after Copeland, Sumner, and Summers formed The Police, they released Message in a Bottle as well as another super hit, Walking on the Moon. Both songs went to #1 on the charts in the UK. If the three guys were baseball players, I'd bet Topps would have issued them a Future Stars card the following year. It would have been great timing, too, as the band embarked on their first world tour in 1980.

The Police grew so popular that they even touched the trading card realm, having a handful of cards issued in some little-known music sets of the 1980s. And coolest of all, a 7-Eleven Slurpee Disc in 1984 and 1985!
Remarkably, though, as those Slurpee discs were being released, the three guys were getting ready to go their separate ways to pursue individual careers. Copeland began producing movie and TV soundtracks, Summers recorded numerous albums, and Sting reached the stratosphere with his solo work.
Still, the five albums they released from 1978 to 1983 were, and continue to be, outrageously popular. The trio was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility, 2003. 
And for all their success and good energy they put out, I felt a custom card was in order.
Speaking of good energy, have a look at this video from their early days:

Here's to one of the mega-bands of the '80s. And to another custom card.

Any Police fans out there? Favorite song?

Share in the comment section, and thanks for reading!

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Four Dudes Wearin' Hockey Jerseys

Who doesn't love looking through vintage photos? And what I mean by vintage photos is "film from a camera that was developed by photo labs and printed on actual paper".
Well, recently I was looking through some of these types of images, and I found a few that featured dudes wearing hockey jerseys.
Check 'em out.

Here's Rogie. He drives a 1970 Buick LeSabre—green with a white hardtop. Doesn't smoke except for after a meal, and even then, only after a good frankfurter cooked and eaten out of doors. He's a Canadian through and through, but last winter his brother-in-law got him a Red Wings jersey. He took one look at it, thought for a few seconds, and said "good enough". Now he wears it every weekend. He's not worried about the future of rock music. He knows it's hit its zenith already, and he's fine with that. There are more than enough rock and roll gems out there to keep him satisfied.

Born in Montreal, Bob relocated across the border to Buffalo six years ago
to work in the up-and-coming computer sales field. He finally got promoted to middle management this year, but after the first month he's not sure it's for him. Had his first luxury box experience at a Sabres game with some company bigwigs last week. Didn't like it. He'll take the cheap seats over that stuff any day. Figures that his freedom and happiness will outweigh any demotion or pay cut he incurs if he goes back to the trenches as a sales assistant. He's also heard about this thing called a sauna. Going to have a good sit and steam. Thinks it might help him reach a decision about the job.

Gerry is sole proprietor of Gerry's Auto Shop, just a few minutes outside of Boston. He'd rather be farther out in the suburbs, but knows Boston is where the business is. Taught his 10-year-old son how to change an oil filter last weekend. Can't wait for the boy to be old enough to work in the shop. The kid has a better attitude and work ethic than most of the adults Gerry employs now. Knows New England clam chowder is better than Manhattan, but doesn't really get the whole big deal about the debate. Says you should eat what you want and don't worry about the rest.

Tony keeps this fact mainly to himself, but he actually doesn't mind disco. There are some good nightclubs in the Chicago area, but he's too old for that crowd now. He's in that weird spot—too old for disco, too young for bocce. His dad plays bocce all the time, and although Tony has never understood why anyone does, he knows one day he'll try it and like it. Loves a good hot beef sandwich with giardiniera for lunch on Wednesdays. Helps get him over the hump.
Those were mere fables, of course.
The truth about Rogie, Bob, Gerry, and Tony is that they're not just any old dudes wearing hockey jerseys. They're professional hockey goalies. And their photos aren't just any old photos. All four have been printed and preserved on a single hockey card. 
Don't believe it? Here's the proof.

Even if you're not much of a hockey fan and the photos and first names weren't familiar to you, the last names of a couple of those guys might do the trick.
Here's the card back.

Just think: If Michel Larocque and Chico Resch had put up one more shutout each, the front of this card would have had even more photos of cool dudes wearing hockey jerseys.

Still, it's great that Topps/OPC went with four images that showed each goalie's face, sans mask. And I think there's a pretty good chance that Rogie Vachon did drive a 1970s-era Buick LeSabre at some point. Just look at that guy.