This is something new I've been meaning to try: a feature where I cover three positive and negative events in the hobby and my favorite sports. Let's see how it goes. Look, I even did up an MSPaint for the occasion:
I'll start with the negative first since it's nicer to end on a positive note.
1. Panini comes out on Topps: Looks like football cards will be a Panini-opoly starting in 2016. For those of you who know how much I bash Topps, don't assume I'm in favor of this--less competition is always bad (coughISPscough), and you would think the NFLPA would have learned from the massive mistake made by the MLBPA to hand Topps the keys to the kingdom. Good luck finding any positives here, other than maybe some laughs when Topps inevitably posts some hypocritical comments about the ills of exclusive licenses!
2. Repack products are re-ripoffs: This Blowout thread from a few weeks ago showed a break of yet another repack product, this one called "Super Deluxe Box Breaker Edition." The discussion centered on the breaker pulling pretty much the best hit in the product, a Jose Abreu Superfractor, and how much of a hit to the wallet collectors take when purchasing the product and not pulling that winning lottery ticket, especially with the exorbitant price of the box (apparently around $7000 for 10 hits with lots of other useless gimmicks). These products really don't add anything to the hobby, at least not for collectors, but I'm sure the manufacturers are laughing all the way to the bank while breakers chase a few extremely high-end hits.
3. Tony Dungy avoids distractions, except when they're convenient: Jeez, what's the deal with the NFL right now? Ray Rice gets a slap on the wrist from the league for assaulting his wife while comparatively minor drug offenders suffer much harsher penalties, and then previously-respected coach and commentator Tony Dungy says he wouldn't have drafted Missouri DL Michael Sam, the All-American SEC DPOY, because he could be a "distraction." "Things will happen," he explained. "Things" such as an openly gay player being part of the league, causing an uptick in purchases of fainting couches, apparently. Is he worried about the locker room, maybe? I don't think he should--this excellent piece from ESPN's Body Issue makes sports locker rooms sound extremely homoerotic in a frat boy sort of way. No, this is obviously Dungy's sour grapes because the GayRoller is coming for him and the rest of America. You may as well just come out and say what you mean--that's what's so great about free speech. Also, for people who aren't backwards-thinking hypocrites (that "distraction" theme seems awfully familiar when it comes to sports...), it makes it easier to identify people you can safely tune out.
1. Gint-a-cuffs II: The Second One: I know this isn't really the second year of Gint-a-cuffs, I just wanted to make what will soon be a dated reference to the Sharknado sequel. I have exactly zero interest in Topps' A&G product for a multitude of reasons, but I recognize how great this blog national holiday is for the hobby, so I welcome it with open arms, even if I'll never participate. Enjoy, guys, and good luck!
2. Baseball Hall of Fame lives up to its name: This year, Cooperstown welcomed six new plaques to its famed Hall, and the list of names is mind-boggling: Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, and Greg Maddux, as well as manager trio Bobby Cox, Tony LaRussa, and Joe Torre. Other deserving names aren't on that list, but hopefully those wrongs will be righted next year, and for now we should enjoy this impressive sextet. I don't know that collectors needed any further incentive to collect any of the three star players, but Hall entry usually provides a nice boost, and those guys clearly deserved it. As a child of the 90s, I applaud this monumental induction enthusiastically--congratulations to all!
3. The Tigers pay a low price for a high Price!: This is probably the one you knew was coming. 2014 proved to be one of the more exciting trade deadlines (and months of July) in recent memory, especially with the A's making multiple blockbuster trades. Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski appears to have skunked everyone else, though, with an amazingly bold deal that brings Rays ace and #1 deadline prize David Price to Detroit in exchange for Austin Jackson, Drew Smyly, and a minor league SS prospect. I came to admire Jackson when I finally came around on the Granderson trade years ago, and I'll fondly remember him, but I won't necessarily miss his maddeningly inconsistent bat, plus he's a free agent after 2015 and likely wouldn't have fit in the budget anyway. Smyly's a bigger long-term loss since he's so cheap and under control for several more years. But the immediate fact is that Detroit's rotation is scarier than standing between Prince Fielder and a buffet, and the team was able to be creative in landing Price despite a dearth of quality prospects. I'll likely continue to collect at least Jackson's Tigers hits, and I don't know about Price because he may be gone after 2015 (or sooner?), but in terms of the on-field team, I'm very excited about the playoffs now!