Fair warning: Most of the blog posts I'm linking to in this entry feature adult language.
Tonight's card choice represents both a beginning and an end. Radhames Liz had his first taste of the big time last year, and he got a rough welcome from opposing hitters. But he's got great stuff, and he'll get a fresh start tomorrow when he faces the Twins in his first major league game of 2008. Hopefully he will follow in the footsteps of former Norfolk Tides teammates Jim "Bandsaw" Johnson and Garrett Olson and his MLB performance this year will be leaps and bounds better than his previous try.
This card is an end because the recent release of Topps Series 2 is the final straw in my attempts to build current sets. Here's a news flash for Topps, and for Upper Deck while I'm at it. I like baseball cards. I want an affordable piece of cardboard with a picture and words and numbers. I don't want scraps of cloth and shards of wood and strands of hair and autographs from long-dead players and freaking politicians. And I don't want to pay more for packs of cards for a slight chance to get all of those other things. Forget relic and autograph inserts; now you've made it impossible to complete base sets, with your falsely scarce error cards and variations and short printed cards of freaking star players.
I am a fairly conscientious person when it comes to my own expenses. Lately, I've been fretting as my grocery bills slowly climb, to say nothing of the near-sixty dollars now required to fill my gas tank. Guess what, Topps. I have to drive my car, to get to my job and rehearsals and so forth. I have to eat. I want to buy nice gifts for my friends and family as they celebrate birthdays and weddings and other holidays (and probably should, lest word get out that I'm a cheapskate). I don't have to spend $3 or $4 on a damn pack of eight cards because you thought it would be cute to toss in an "ultra-rare" card of Al Gore or a fake Japanese pitching phenom.
I'm done giving Topps my money. I hope they enjoy the soulless big-hit "collectors" that they're counting on to make bucks. I'm going back to eBay to build my Orioles team sets and my vintage collection. That I can do it for less money than building brand-new sets is telling.
Somehow I'll bravely soldier on without paying $85 blankety-blank dollars for a box of cards featuring a guaranteed autograph that turns out to be a 27-year-old rookie on a lousy team who has five major league hits this year.
Shove off, Topps. It's been real.