Friday, January 24, 2020

A Moral Dilemma of Sorts...

For the last week or so the Houston Astros scandal has been all over my Twitter feed. Lately even Braves fans are getting in on the discussion with Brian McCann's continued silence of his involvement. I've watched a lot of different YouTube videos on this topic as well as read several different articles and I still don't know what to believe. It's sad. It's frustrating.

I feel as if baseball's reputation continues to be soiled with scandals like this. The 90's strike didn't help the image of baseball, then there was the steroids scandal. I thought that baseball was gaining steam and getting to a better place and then the news of the Astros hits. Oy vey.

How this affects me. One of the guys I passively collect is Jose Altuve. He's part of my "Faith Brothers" sub-collection of Christian athletes. I've read some very cool interviews with Jose where he publically talks about his faith and relationship with Jesus Christ. I love adding new guys to the collection when I read things like you can imagine my frustration w/ Altuve over this cheating scandal...especially with him being one of the players at the heart of all the discussions.

Now please hear me out...I'm no way perfect and I fall short of Jesus every day air fills my lungs. It's not my place to judge...period. However I've been thinking if Altuve's cards should stay in my collection with this whole cheating scandal going on.

This also got me thinking about other players I have cardboard of that have done egregious things. I ultimately kept the cardboard of those guys in my team collections...guys like the Carolina Panther's Rae Carruth. This dude killed his pregnant girlfriend and hid in the trunk of a car...and I still have his RCs and base cards in my Panthers collection. 

Hector Olivera was accused of beating a woman shortly after the Braves acquired him from the Dodgers...and I still have cards of him in my larger Braves collection.

In some ways I would feel hypocritical if I were to kick Altuve out of my collection and in other ways I would feel my actions would be justified. I only have Altuve cards because of the faith he and I share where as the other guys I mentioned are part of my collection because of the team they play(ed) for. Make sense? 

I know this is my choice and my choice alone to make. I also understand that to some my "dilemma" may seem silly...but don't we collect teams and players for certain reasons. Plenty of collector's may drop a collecting a player if they are traded or leave their favorite team. To me this is the same thing. This whole cheating scandal has been a good reminder that these guys are human just like the rest of us and that we really should place them on a pedestal like some may do. They are going to make mistakes like the rest of us...for me it just hits a little harder when certain guys I follow/collect make mistakes that contradict the things they profess.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Pack Break: 2019 Panini Optic Football

We are just hours away from the NFL AFC and NFC title games today so I splurged and picked up a rack pack of 2019 Panini Optic football cards. I cringed a little at the price when I scanned the pack as these are nearly a dollar per card. I don’t usually go for the higher priced stuff so let’s hope I picked a good pack!

First card out of the pack is Houston’s #1 WR, DeAndre Hopkins, followed by former Carolina Panthers corner, Josh Norman and Miami’s soon to be released (?) QB, Josh Rosen.

Ok, now we’re talking...Cam Newton. Here in Carolina it looks like our new owner (David Tepper) is going to tear it all down and start over so Cam may not be in a Panthers uniform much longer.

Bobby Wagner’s name came up a lot here recently in Carolina with Luke Kuechly announcing his surprise retirement. The two beasts on the field have often been compared. Four Bette is a beast on a bad team. “Matty Ice” I just can’t stand. He’s part of the Panthers I-85 rivals, but I just don’t like the guy. I think is a good QB, but not as great as the media makes him out to be. Next!

I respect what the Patriots can do for players, but that organization isn’t very high on my list. Despite that Edelman has emerged as a pretty darn good wideout. Not sure who this Homer kid is, but it’s his RC.

The one like Green High Velocity parallel exclusive to rack packs is none other than a rookie RB from Jacksonville, Ryque Armstead. Who?!

While I do love shiny chrome cards like Optic, Prizm and Chrome, I don’t believe these retail packs are always worth their asking price. In this case I felt like my back was a little of a bust and just backs up my reasoning for not going down this path very often.

The Cam Newton is a keeper, but I do believe the rest of this packs’ contents will be listed for trade on my Trading Card Database profile. Hit me up if your interested in forming a trade.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

A Punch to the Gut

Excuse me while I cry over some bad news that hit me today like a 1-2 punch. While this isn't exactly a trading card post, as of today I learned that two great players for my teams will no longer be appearing on cardboard as one player signed with another team and the other retired from the NFL.

Today was a long day at work and by the time I got home my family had already finished eating dinner. I sat at the table by myself eating a great plate of spaghetti, thumbing through various social media accounts. I've been expecting news of where Josh Donaldson was going to land every day and again...nothing. By the time I got my girls tucked in bed and gave them good night kisses, I could feel the effects of the day wearing on me. I laid in bed, again playing around on my phone when I got the breaking news notification from the At Bat app...Josh Donaldson was no longer a Brave.

While I can't say that I'm shocked at the news, it's still disappointing. I loved watching the guy play last season. I loved his umbrella/bringer of rain gimmick and how he seemed to have so much fun playing the game of baseball and interacting with his Braves teammates. However the longer the hold out continued the less I thought he would return.

As @FakeDanUggla posted on Twitter this evening, "I feel like we dated Josh Donaldson when he was broke and unemployed, living in a van. We supported him emotionally and financially until he was back on his feet. Then he one day after all that growth decided he's better than us (Braves) and hooks up with some flooy in Minnesota". Well said @FakeDanUggla!!

I'm not sure what the future holds for the Braves now. Reports are they will platoon Johan Camargo and Austin Riley at the hot corner as they don't want to give up on their prospects for a rental of a player like Nolan Arenado or Kris Bryant. I have faith Riley can turn his offense around and be the stud that many Braves fans hope he can be. Only time will tell. Still sucks loosing JD's bat though. Let's be honest, Freddie Freeman had one his best years with JD batting behind him in the line up. Oughta be an interesting rest of the off season to see what AA and the Braves do next.

Oh yeah, the Braves also revealed the new name of their ballpark...Truist Park. Yeah, I hate it too.

While lying in bed, talking to my wife about the Josh Donaldson news I then see a video on Twitter posted by my hometown Carolina Panthers that Linebacker Luke Kuechly was retiring after 9 seasons. What?! Where did this come from? This was like Andrew Luck part 2!!!

The video was emotional and it was clear that Luke didn't want to walk away from the game, but he knew he had to...for his own health. While he didn't bring up his health as the reason, we know that is the case. He's suffered 3 concussions that we know of between 2015 and 2017. I stress the "we know of" portion of that statement because their could be more. Luke did say that he didn't feel he could play with the intensity and speed that he wants to. While he did gather All-Pro 2nd Team honors this season, fans here in Carolina could tell that Luke wasn't his normal self. However I don't think anyone saw this coming...especially so soon in his career.

While this isn't a good look for the NFL, I respect his decision to move on while he still can. He's only 28 and I imagine his long standing girlfriend may want him around for a little bit longer. Quality of life is something that you can't put a price tag on so kudos for him for knowing his body and when it's time to walk away and do something else.

The 2020 season will be a rebuilding year for the Panthers and it sucks that we have lost one of our cornerstones. I wish Luke all the best in the next chapter of his life and hope that one day we'll see him standing on the sidelines of the Panthers as a coach in some capacity.

Needless to say it's been a rough day in my household...