Random Thoughts 6/30/14

-I’m BACK!!!  Sorry for being MIA.  Having a baby can put a damper on “free” time.  Anyway, I’ll start writing these again on a regular basis now that I’m a little more back into my schedule.

-So there’s been a lot going on over the last few weeks and I feel like I could make this post go on forever.  I’ll start with the NBA.  Free agency is set to begin tomorrow.  It sure will be an interesting few days/weeks in the NBA.  There’s been enough drama over the last few weeks.  First we had the Draft, which went very well.  I can’t wait to see so many of those guys play.  I really believe we’re going to see some amazing games from the the likes of Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Dante Exum, Aaron Gordon, Noah Vonleh, Julius Randle and more.  There was more talent at the 10th pick this year than there was in the first 3 or 4 picks from last year.  Then we had all the talk about the Miami Big 3 opting out and accepting pay cuts to make a new super team.  We have the Carmelo opt out situation as well.  So many teams are beginning to make their sales pitch and clear cap space in anticipation of trying to land one of these guys.  I’ll be positively shocked if LeBron leaves Miami.  I thought maybe there was a chance before.  But now that all of the Big 3 and Haslem have all opted out, I firmly believe they’ll all be back.  Carmelo is more up in the air.  I could see him returning to NY to give Phil Jackson a shot to turn things around.  I could also see him leaving for a team like Houston, Dallas or maybe even Miami.  He might not get a max contract, but he’d be on a good team with a true chance to win.  Then there are all the other free agents like Kyle Lowry, Luol Deng, Paul Pierce, Vince Carter, Shawn Marion, Lance Stephenson, Pau Gasol, Boris Diaw, Marcin Gortat and more who are getting no attention at all right now.  These guys may have to wait to see where the big boys end up.  The good news for them is that teams will have money to spend after they lose out on LeBron and Carmelo.  These teams are going to want to sign someone.  Next we have the whole Jason Kidd saga.  I was never a huge fan of Kidd’s, but I can honestly say I don’t care much for him at all now.  He’s a solid coach, who could end up being really good.  However, to do what he did to Brooklyn is a disgrace.  I would have loved to see the Nets say no to his demands.  Make him suck it up and either quit or get over yourself.  It’s ridiculous how much power some of these guys have.  With all this going on, it should continue to be a very exciting off-season for the NBA.  And in another 4 months we’ll have the season going again.

-The World Cup has been very exciting so far.  I must admit that I’ve never really bought in to all the soccer hype.  I’ve tried to get into the EPL or MLS.  I’ve tried to familiarize myself with all the players and teams.  I just haven’t ever been able to really sink my teeth into it.  The World Cup always seems to help that.  I don’t I’m alone in that.  All of the U.S. seems to be huge in soccer (or should I say futbol?) right now.  How much of this is truly here to stay?  Will the attention and interest dwindle again when/if the U.S. loses.  I do believe that if the U.S. were ever to win the World Cup, that might change the future of soccer forever.  I have told myself that I’m going to pay more attention to the EPL this year.  That I’m going to watch the Champions League games more this year.  Soccer is the biggest sport in the world, and I for one, want to be a part of it going forward.

-There have been several big releases during the last few weeks.  The one that has made the most news is 2014 Bowman Inception BB.  In case any of you missed it, Topps decided to insert the 2013 Bowman Draft Chrome Autographs of Kris Bryant into this product.  This opens up a whole new can of worms.  Will Topps go back and do an earlier year card of other players now or in the future?  What’s to stop them from doing a 2010 Bowman Draft Chrome Auto of Bryce Harper or a 2009 Bowman Draft Chrome Auto of Stephen Strasburg?  Was this an error that Topps never intended to happen or was this the plan all along?  Did Topps do all the parallels for this cards?  All we’ve seen is the base so far.  Are they saving those for 2014 Bowman Platinum or 2014 Bowman Chrome?  How will this impact Bryant’s 2014 Bowman Chrome Autographs that came out of Bowman?  These are all interesting questions.  I’ll give you my opinion.  I believe this was something Topps planned to do.  Had they wanted to insert these into 2013 Bowman Draft, they would have.  I’ve heard people saying they didn’t get them back in time from Bryant.  That didn’t stop them from putting him in 2014 Bowman.  I don’t think this is going to be something that Topps does again and again.  Bryant was so hot and this was a one time chance for Topps to really take advantage of that.  We may see this type of thing again at some point, but I don’t believe it’s going to become common practice for them.  I do not believe they’ll release the parallels of this card.  I will say this is the one aspect that I’m most unsure of in this whole ordeal.  I simply believe it would anger WAY too many people.  Topps already upset a good portion of collectors with this move.  However, all those people that spent thousands and thousands of dollars on all the 2014 Bowman Chrome parallels would be super upset if they find out he has a bunch of 2013 parallels.  We can debate all day about which cards would be considered his “first” cards.  However, I don’t think there is any question that putting out a bunch of parallels from a 2013 would hurt the value of the 2014 ones.  With all this being said I am a little surprised MLB let Topps do this.  Perhaps Topps didn’t even ask them and just did it.  However, the leagues are typically fairly strict on inserting cards from past and/or future products.  This prevents Topps from doing card of any player from any year and “updating” a bunch of products down the road.  It’ll be interesting to see where this story ends.  Will this move by Topps hurt the long term value of the Bowman products?  People always love that product because Topps saves 2-3 prospects out of Bowman Draft to use in this product.  However, if people believe Topps is just going to release these “saved” cards at a later date, what’s the point of buying Bowman?  What would Bowman have done this year if we knew that Topps was doing this with the Bryant cards?  Would it have impacted the price at all?  Time will tell.

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