First, my own baseball pursuits have been taking a lot of time away from collecting lately. Our team win loss record is 2 and 4 right now. I'm currently batting .357. Three losses came in a row against the 3 best teams in the league. We were mercy ruled in all 3 games. Yours truly had the only hit in one of the games. There is a serious competition issue in the league where 3 teams dominate because all of the players played in college and or in the minors. The other 6 teams are made up of guys who play for love of the game, weren't quite good enough to play at the next level, or thought that going to school and getting a decent paying job was a better idea. I feel I fit into the latter category and I guess I am better for it.
Secondly, the current state of the hobby has really gotten me down recently. The whole Topps monopoly really has me miffed. Monopolies are never good no matter what industry, or hobby you are in. The Baseball card monopoly has lead to laziness and total lack of innovation this year. I will say that Topps has been extremely lazy this year in their releases. How many truly new ideas have been released this year? One might argue that the National Chicle release was a new idea but they released a Football set last year by the same name so I say it's a borrowed idea. In my opinion, I thought that National Chicle was a total crap anyways. It was just Topps Gallery with much, much worse artwork. Looking forward to the next few releases there is nothing new. Just rehashing of the same old stuff from Topps. Topps Tribute and Topps Triple Threads is way out of my price range. Then comes T206, Topps Chrome, Bowman Chrome, Topps Update Series (as it is now known), the inevitable Bowman Draft Picks, Overpriced Bowman Sterling and Overpriced Topp$ Sterling.
Don't get me started on the Topp$ marketing of Strasburg either. It has been one Fuck up after another on Topp$' part by trying to rush him into its newest products. The whole Bowman Thing is not Topp$' fault by any means because that is just a supply and demand issue. That aside, the first screw up was putting him into the Million Card Giveaway bingo ball machine that was already horribly flawed. Next is the speculation on which Finest Redemption and Red Hot Rookies Redemption he will be featured on. In my opinion the only reason he is Finest Redemption #6 is because of so much out cry from the public Topp$ felt the pressure to save face and not hold out until Redemption #10. Who knows which Red Hot Rookie he'll be. Then we get the A+G mini card fiasco. People have ripped cases and cases and come up empty. Topp$ purposely was quiet on which iteration he was going to be featured on until after the release. They finally come out at say that he is a nearly impossible mini card pull. Topp$ is really got us all by the balls. So now there are going to be 2 different 2010 Topps #661's floating around causing even more confusion among casual collectors. Adding to the confusion is there is going to be autographed copies of the card too! You can get this card signed for a measly $350 bucks. What a great deal. I wonder which marketing ploy Topp$ will use next?
To top it all off Strasburg is struggling with his control and is actually looking human. Teams have figured him out. He's good but not All-Star worthy. Thank You Charlie Manuel for leaving him off of the All-Star roster and giving the spot to a deserving player like Omar Infante...? Really? This brings me to my next rant.
The "ALL-Star(-Inclusive) Game". What a joke. I have did not vote, and haven't for years. With Yankee and Red Sox fans stuffing the ballot box for league average players I see no point in casting 1 ballot for players that truly deserve being there ( Joey Votto, anyone?) Not every team needs a representative. This just cheapens the term All Star. Do you associate All-Star more with Roberto Clemente or Ty Wigginton? Ty Wigginton is a good player but he is NOT an All Star. I haven't watched the All Star game since 2001 (Cal's last) or the Homerun Derby since I was 11 or 12.
I really think that giving home field advantage to the AS game winner is the biggest joke of all. I really don't think when Wigginton comes off the bench to pinch hit (because God knows he's not going to go in for defensive purposes) in the 5th inning he is thinking "Man I really need to do something great here so that the American League can HFA in the WS". It just feels like MLB is trying to create a soap opera like the Lebron James Circus in the NBA or the Terrible Owens Ass-Clown show in the NFL. It doesn't create buzz for the game, it just cheapens the image of the sport.
Well now that I have probably angered every single one of my blog readers I think that I will go out on my front porch and yell at kids to get off my lawn.