Miami Mega Powers?

This post is inspired by a tweet by Steve of White Sox Cards fame.


LeBron James


Dwyane Wade

Chris Bosh

The Miami Heat have gotten three of the top 10 players in the league together (and two of the top five), and a collection of inexpensive but pretty talented also-rans and young’uns to back them up.  The expectations are enormous, and there’s no reason to think they can’t run roughshod over the league once they manage get on the same page.  But this reminds me of another seemingly unstoppable force that got together back in the late ’80s.

The Mega Powers: Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and Miss Elizabeth

Yes, back in the latter half of 1987, when the Miami Heat franchise was just preparing to come into being, the two biggest stars in the World Wrestling Federation, Hulk Hogan and the “Macho Man” Randy Savage, along with Savage’s universally beloved valet, Miss Elizabeth, joined forces to become The Mega Powers.

For awhile, all was well.  Savage became World Heavyweight Champion with an assist from Hogan in the tournament final after the whole Andre/Million Dollar Man/evil twin Hebner referee shenanigans.  And they eventually beat the so-called Mega Bucks in tag team action to end the feud.  The alliance was an uneasy one, however, as one would expect with the egos and personalities involved.  Savage was always pretty unstable, and Hogan… well, he tended to be oblivious to his closest allies to extreme degree, making him come off as a pretty big jerk in some instances, and making his former friends look fairly sympathetic when they turned on him.

Such was the case here, with the Hulkster being a little too friendly with Savage’s lady, likely being too dumb to realize it, as well as accidentally knocking Savage out of the Royal Rumble.  It would take an unlikely tag team of misfit toys to ultimately bring down their house of cards though.  Enter: The Twin Towers…

The Twin Towers: The Big Bossman, "The Doctor of Style" Slick, and Akeem The African Dream (aka One Man Gang; don't ask)

So yeah, these three oddly mismatched guys would be the final straw that destroyed the greatest team up in the history of professional wrestling.  But what does all of this have to do with the Miami Heat?  Well, let’s break it down:

The Mega Powers, two of the biggest stars in the history of professional wrestling, as well as the most beloved valet/manager ever.  Let’s start with Hulk Hogan, who had proven almost invincible in the ring and was front & center in the whole Rock & Wrestling thing.  He had a reputation for being immature though.  Hulkster’s obliviousness caused Orndorff to turn on him, his kinda-sorta glory hounding making it easy for Heenan to get in Andre The Giant’s ear helped that turn along, and overstepping his bounds with Elizabeth caused Savage to turn on him.

Now on to Savage.  He was always the better worker (by a long shot), and every bit as charismatic, but never quite got the respect he deserved, and was in Hogan’s shadow his entire career, despite arguably being an overall better talent.

True, Hogan would have done something to make him flip out eventually anyway, but they wouldn’t have lasted a week without Miss Elizabeth keeping the peace, which is of hugely underrated importance.

And then there’s the Miami Heat, three of the brightest stars in the NBA, at least two of which are well on their way to becoming all-time greats, and third is not far behind.  LeBron James is embattled a bit now, but he was pretty well loved by the fans until this past summer, and his skill is unquestionable, like Scottie Pippen and Magic Johnson combined.  He too had a rep as being immature (and perhaps a little mentally soft) behind the scenes/under the radar, though it wasn’t until “The Decision” where it came to a head, and those who questioned him appeared to be right.

Dwyane Wade is arguably LeBron’s equal, for what he lacks in distribution skills, he makes up for in being a go-to guy late in the game, the one thing LeBron has proven not to be that great at.  As well, he is the guy that brought in James and Bosh to HIS team, but he is still overshadowed by LeBron, and likely will continue to be no matter what he does.  Wade seems to be a pretty humble guy, but how will that work out over the long haul?

Bosh is almost forgotten in all of this, but his success is essential to the team, being the only proven power forward or center that is still young enough to play serious minutes.

~~~~

Now let’s have a closer look at The Twin Towers.  They were comprised of former prison guard-turned pro wrestler The Big Bossman, a big random goof that never really got to do a whole lot in his time in the WWF in Akeem/One Man Gang, and Slick, their second-tier manager mostly known for being comedy relief of the stereotypical type.  Though OMG would have his moments, and Slick might have if he hung around the business past 1992, only Bossman would go on to be a significant mainstream star.

How is this important?  Well, there’s a certain team out east that has a very similar dynamic going for them on their team.  And that team is the defending Eastern Conference Champion Boston Celtics.  On their second unit is a certain super-heavyweight reserve officer of the law by the name of Shaquille O’Neal, a megastar making one last run at glory.  He is flanked by a random big guy that’s been known to have his occasional moments in Glen “Big Baby” Davis, and tiny hilarious (though not stereotypically, unless we’re talking stereotypical college student or 3rd grader) prankster Nate Robinson.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glen_Davis_(basketball)

Shrekeem, The Bostonian Dream


The Shaq Bossman

“The Doctor of Style” Nate Robinson

Twin Towers 2.0?

So you had better get your act together, Miami.  Get everyone healthy and on the same page in a hurry, lest you repeat the unfortunate history of wrestling’s Mega Powers.  You never know when a mish-mashed team of 2nd-stringers will come along and brutally exploit the cracks in your seemingly indestructible juggernaut and tear all your grand plans asunder.

Then again, with all the money they’re making, maybe Miami’s Big 3 are really the Mega Bucks, which would make head coach Erik Spoelstra evil twin referee Earl Hebner and Pat Riley WWF President Jack Tunney!  Oww, my brain…

♫ Money Money Money Money Moneyyyyy ♫

I’ll shut up now…

Advertisements

Trading Day Pt. 2: The Search for Curly’s Gold

Here is the other package I received (last) Monday.  These are from Too Many Grandersons hisself.  Behold!

Suh-weet Walter Payton reprints, Gold Hester, base blue Manning parallel /500, Urlacher (foil and thus poorly scanned) insert from rookie year, and more Urlachers (have at that code)! How much better does that blue parallel look than the boring black borders that they've trotted out most of the last 10 or so years?? A set that looks that good I might actually consider collecting, as I once did the the '02 Gridiron Kings (even picked up about half the Legend SPs in a lot once upon a midnight's dreary).

More Bears! Greg Olsen, Bernard Barrien black parallel from one of the single greatest set designs in the history of cards, Cutler, some rookies, and my personal favorite, my first and Julius Peppers as a Bear.

Last of the Bears... The more I think about, the more I think Rex' dad was right about the Bears mismanagement of QBs, especially in the Super Bowl. Fortunately, in getting Martz, they seemed to have wised up to some degree. Not sure I like the total abandonment of the running game though. Somehow Bronko was the only card I already had amongst the Bears.

Moving on to baseball now…

Vladdy! I may have the Own the Game & one of ToppsTownies, but the rest are new to me, three I've never even seen before. The Diamond King is the gold parallel version #'ed to /2500.

Ichiro! Don't get a lot of him in trades. The '04 Own the Game in the middle just insane. And a rookie of the BEST catcher in baseball. Well, he's in that elite group with Mauer, McCann, and Victor Martinez (and maybe Posey in a year or two) at the very top anyway.

And a few of my favorite Cubs to finish it off. I really hope Big Z sticks around if it's between keeping him or Dempster. In fact, I think I'd just rather Dempster leave regardless. Something bothers me about him.

Thanks for the great cards!  I’ll get together something worthwhile to send in return… eventually. *sigh*

.::~Outtro~::.

Why We Do

So I happened across The Real DFG‘s blog earlier tonight.  It’s a nice blog, I hope to trade with him sometime.  My cards of Pittsburgh teams need a good home.  Anyway, he happened across a random card-related blog post far beyond the reaches of our known card blogging universe.  It read pretty negative and bitter, regardless of the intended tone.  It bothered me, so I signed up there just to leave a comment.  It turned out to be pretty long, long enough to be it’s own blog post.  So here is my response, in it’s entirety.  What do you think?  Am I on point or no?:

Wow, way to miss the point there, dude.  However one collects, it’s supposed to be about HAVING FUN.  Period.  You sound bitter over sinking so much money into this HOBBY and not getting a return on it.  That’s fine and I won’t begrudge you for being upset with that mindset, but there’s no reason to crap all over us that do enjoy collecting cards, and it still remains a respectable number.  There are many active forums and hundreds of blogs dedicated to collecting, so calling what we do “dead” is woefully inaccurate.  It may not be what it once was, but I’d argue the boom is the anomaly, and where we’re at now is pretty similar to where we were before things blew up, just with adults making up a considerably larger percentage of the market.

The thing is, most of us aren’t deluded enough to think we will actually make any money on it at this point, and when we can make a bit of cash back on a big pull, it’s just a little bonus.  We collect what we collect because, first and foremost, WE ENJOY IT.  And those that are in it for the money have to be hella dedicated and lucky to actually be profitable, so I imagine they must derive some degree of enjoyment from it as well.  After all, there are much easier ways to squeak by than buying and selling baseball cards, even (or perhaps especially) in this crap economy.

So things don’t look good at all compared to where they were at it’s peak, but duh, things never look good compared to the absolute highest of highs.  So don’t look down on us, don’t mock us or pity us.  We don’t care that business isn’t booming right now, mocking is just rude in any situation, and we don’t need pitied for our choice of hobby.  We know who we are, we know what we have gotten into, we understand it and we are fine with it.  We collect because we enjoy it.  You don’t seem to understand that the only destination, whether it’s collecting cards or any other hobby, is the amount of enjoyment you get out of it.  That is the entire point of a hobby.  However you go about it, it’s supposed to be about doing something you enjoy.  And if you can’t find the fun in it, then maybe it’s not the right hobby for you.

It’s a shame you weren’t able to enjoy this hobby, that somehow it rolled you bad enough to feel this bitter over it all these years later.  Like virtually everything in life, it can be a frustrating hobby at times, no collector would deny that.  But there is enough good in it for us to keep at it, and as long as that is the case, who are you or anyone else to judge?

Until our next…

All I Can Do is Smile…

For you see, someone out there has painstakingly taken all those little incomplete, fractured thoughts and misgivings that I can’t quite properly express or factually back up on my own, that gnaw at me when my mind comes to rest on the thought of performance enhancing drugs in baseball.  I have mentioned before that I’m “over it” as far as steroid/PED drama was concerned, and (I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this).  Please check out the link I’m dropping at the end of this post (will also be permanently linked on the side of my blog), and maybe have your mind blown.

I will say that if your mind is so thoroughly made up against PEDs, rational thought may not be able to reach you.  Disappointing, but it happens.  Regardless of how deep your bias runs, I ask you this: Of all the anti-PED sentiment out there, what/who has actually backed up their rhetoric with anything more than hearsay and vague stories/claims/etc?  Who has ever presented scientifically-tested data and the words of noted experts to back up their often vitriolic anti-PED stances?

This is one of the key problems I have always had with this subject.  I just cannot seem to find more than, at best, anecdotal evidence to support the dangers of performance enhancers (in adults).  And as far as the moral and ethical reasons I’ve heard for how PEDs damage the credibility of the game, I don’t really buy into them all that much.  At the very least they are infinitely debatable, and it really ticks me off when writers and politicians and even common fans shout from their soapboxes like they have any kind moral highground here, when they can’t back it up with anything but a chorus of people saying the exact same thing, nobody providing a good reason for it.  It’s just a vicious cycle of BS, and to me it all rings hollow.  And that’s a real good way to turn me off of what your selling in a big way real fast.

So we find ourselves here today.  I happened upon this great lil website that has taken it upon itself to look at all the reasons performance enhancing drugs are being taken to task, and thoughtfully break every last one of them down into the quivering mass of lies, misconception, ignorance, and logical fallacies that ultimately rest at the heart of each issue.  And glory be, does it ever cite it’s sources, they really did their homework, quite ably discrediting the misconceptions and lies surrounding steroids and PEDs and their negative effect on baseball and a person’s physical wellbeing, not to mention giving some useful opinions from people who have the background to give said opinions real weight on the ethical quagmire that performance enhancers in sports create.

As an added bonus, it also nicely illustrates just how incredibly screwed up our society is. 🙂

So yeah, if you see me smiling a little more wryly than usual, I might be feeling a little validated right now.

With that all tediously (depending on where you fall on the issue and what you think of my writing) said, here’s the link: Steroids, Other “Drugs”, and Baseball

Note of caution, there is a TON of stuff to take in over there.

If you give it a fair shot (or even if you don’t), please let me know what you think.  I most definitely want to hear what y’all have to say about this.  Like I said, I was basically reading my own personal thoughts on the subject and getting the proof for my misgivings that I didn’t have within me to seek out on my own.  Agree or disagree, let’s get some intelligent discourse going.

You’re not going crazy, chum.  You’re going sane in a crazy world!

Big Z No-Hitter Thoughts

So, yesterday I heard Skip Bayless say there should be an asterisk by Carlos Zambrano’s no-hitter.  I understand where he’s coming from, even being the huge Cub fan that I am.  It really wasn’t fair to play the games in Milwaukee, and the away uniform protest by the Astros was… warranted.  The problem is this though…

While deciding to play the two games at Miller Park in Milwaukee was pretty shady on Commisioner Selig’s part, the problem is that the Houston Astros were primed to be no-hit ANYWHERE outside the state of Texas.  Their hearts were clearly not in the game, as I believe it was Hunter Pence suggested on Cold Pizza (which will NEVER be First Take to me).  They could have played in Atlanta as Dayf mentioned being under consideration.  They could have played in my idea of Kansas City, even if the Royals were at home at the time, which I don’t know for sure.  KC is about as close to right in between Chi-Town and Hous-uhh… Town, as it gets.  Hell, they could have played at Gerald Field from Hey Arnold!, but the Astros’ hearts would still be back home staring down the hurricane.  Their one hit in game two proves that.

And pretty much no matter where they went outside of Texas, the Cubs fans would still be outnumbering the Astros fans at least 60/40.  There are Cubs fans literally everywhere in this country, and I think the majority of them are legit, and not bandwagon jumpers, though I’m positive there are plenty of them too.  Regardless, no matter where the Cubs go in recent years, the crowds seem to be made up of no less than 30% Cubs fans.  No way a neutral site outside of Texas will produce a crowd with a Houston Astros bias, unless about 10,000-15,000 Astros fans are flown in for the games.

Even though the Commish (who is only an Interleague Play and World Baseball Classic above George W. on the competence scale of people in positions of power) couldn’t have chosen a worse place for the games to be played, I could still see the no-hitter happening just about anywhere.  No matter where they played, the Astros hearts never left the state of Texas, and they weren’t going to get a pro-Houston crowd regardless of where they went in this country.

As they say, it is what it is, and what it is was a no win situation that the Astros were put in.  Everything possible seemed to be working against them, including the league itself.  The Cubs just happened to be in the right place at the right time to capatalize and did so spectacularly.  It’s unfortunate, but if the Astros are strong enough mentally, they can use this whole situation as motivation for their wild card push.