Saturday, October 11, 2014

When Magic Ruled the Air

"Leaves are falling all around, time I was on my way. Thanks to you, I'm much obliged for such a pleasant stay. But now it's time for me to go, the autumn moon lights my way. But now I smell the rain, and with it pain, and it's heading my way. Sometimes I grow so tired,  but I know I've got one thing I've got to do..." ~ Led Zeppelin's 'Ramble On'

We are well into October. The leaves have begun changing their colors (and, in some cases, falling), temperatures have been in the low-mid 70s and last night marked the opening of the league championship series. It is, without a doubt, one of my favorite times of year.

Recent years have seen a changing of the guard during October. Gone are the days of the Yankees and Braves perennial deep playoff-runs. Now we're stuck with viewing the Cardinals and Giants in the NLCS and, until this year, it seemed to be Detroit and Boston in the American League. Oh well; as a Braves fan, I'd rather see the current NL regimes than the Dodgers and gNats. Thankfully we have two strangers to the ALCS. And, for your information- I'm pulling for the Royals.

2007 Topps Update World Series Watch Braves

This card is a more recent addition to my Topps team sets. I was completely unaware of it until about a month ago and picked it up on a sportlots purchase. Coming off of an 79-83 season, in which they began September 20 games behind Philadelphia,  Atlanta turned things around during the 2007 season- going 84-78. As they entered the season's final month, the Braves were only 5.5 games back, giving fans the hope of October baseball. It wasn't meant to be, however, as the team finished in third place- 5 games back- and missing the playoffs for the second straight season after fourteen straight division titles.

2014 Stadium Club #23 John Smoltz

I have had absolutely no regrets about giving up on collecting complete sets. Until the past week and a half, that is. Perusing eBay for new Stadium Club singles has, at least for the time being, made me rethink that stance I took. Superb photographs and a quality that was top-notch always defined Stadium Club, making it my favorite release every year. The 2014 set is no different.

Topps use of this photo of Smoltzie makes it a 'must-have' in any Braves collection. The celebration taking place followed the Braves 15-0 ass-whooping of the Cardinals in the 7th game of the 1996 NLCS. It was the most unlikeliest of pennants, as St. Louis had taken a 3-games-to-1 series lead with game 5 at home. Unfortunately for Cards fans, their team ran up against 1996 Cy Young winner John Smoltz and an offense that broke out in a big way that night: 14 runs on 22 hits, while Smoltz and three relievers shutout the home team. I won't speak of Karma coming back to bite the Braves in the backside.

2014 Topps Update World Series Heroes
Topps' upcoming Series 3 release (also known as Update) will feature a 50-card insert set called "World Series Heroes." While I am thrilled to hear of the inclusion of the Big Three, I am somewhat disappointed with the exclusion of David Justice. I mean, the dude hit a huge homer to give the Braves a 1-0 win and Atlanta it's only championship. It is what it is- can't please all the people all the time. But still, I truly believe Justice belongs there before Maddux.

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