Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Range of Emotions

Yesterday was a test for my Pirates fandom.  Starling Marte, star outfielder for the Pirates, was suspended 80 games for using a performance enhancing drug known as Nandrolone.  At first I was upset, thinking that Starling was innocent and somehow something must have been slipped in a protein shake or something and he didn't know about it.

In terms of the Pirates season, I wasn't too worried because Adam Frazier has been hitting great lately and needs a place in the everyday lineup.  When Marte got hurt in 2014, Josh Harrison came out of nowhere to become an All Star and help get the Pirates back to the postseason.  Maybe Frazier can do the same thing this year.

My feelings towards Starling and his innocence changed when I realized that the substance he took is an injection drug.  That doesn't happen accidentally.

I wish nothing bad to happen to Starling's career, but am hoping that this gets the front office to recognize the importance of Andrew McCutchen and the role he played to get this franchise to become a respectable baseball team again.

It seems like because of a sub par season, the marketing of the Pirates changed from being Cutch's team to being Starling as the franchise face.  Even the Topps Team Sets sold at PNC Park had Starling as the cover this year.

If the Pirates struggle during Marte's absence we could see a fire sale at the trade deadline with several players only having a few years left of control (Cutch, Cole, Jaso, Harrison, Watson, Hudson, Bastardo to name a few).  The next 80 games will certainly be interesting.

Here are my Cutch cards with Starling Marte.  Last year I decided to purge a few of my high end Marte cards to solely focus on Cutch.  I still have almost 200 unique cards of Starling, but his recent actions make me wish I had gotten rid of more to pick up more Cutch cards.

This card arrived yesterday just a few hours after the news broke.  It's my only 2017 relic of Marte and Cutch together as I missed out on a handful of the Quad Relics from Heritage featuring Cutch, Marte, Polanco, and Stargell.

The Cutch relic is from a 10-0 victory over the Marlins on 5/30/16 in which he batted 1 for 5 and scored a run.

The Marte relic is from an 8-7 Pirates victory over the Angels on 6/4/16. Marte raked at the plate going 3 for 4 with a single, double, triple, and his 18th Stolen Base of the year. He also scored 2 Runs in the game.

This is another fairly recent pickup and features two guys who will likely miss half the season (or more) in Marte and Kang.  The card features awesome patches for everyone except Jung Ho.

My very first relic featuring RunPMC together is an unlicensed Panini card

I included a scan of the back because it actually has a writeup

A pair of Triple Threads "Guarding the Alleys" featuring Polanco, Marte, and Cutch

I wish this card had better jersey pieces like the 2017 versions had.

And finally some more standard Museum cards with boring jersey swatches except the Alvarez patch

This one provides us with a nice Cutch patch and ....Gregory Polanco's pants?

Before Topps started to put the authentication stickers on items regularly (Strata, Tribute to name a few) these cards that featured authentication stickers were highly sought after cause it proved they were game used.
The above Gregory Polanco swatch is from his Pittsburgh Crawfords pants worn on June 28th which was a 5-3 Loss to the Royal Giants (NY Mets) as part of a Negro League Heritage game.  Polanco went 0-5 with 2 strikeouts


  1. Supposedly he tested positive at the beginning of spring training, but was able to play because of the appeal process. Like you said above this could have a huge trickle down effect the rest of the season. It will be close to impossible to get the kind of production Marte provided so we will need other guys to step up. Frazier can hit, but his defense will need to come along a ton for him to be a plus player. Watching him field is a scary thing. Maybe some combination of Frazier, healthy Cervelli and Bell can add enough to keep us afloat until he comes back.

    1. Although I've seen a few reports now that says Marte didn't even appeal....

    2. I think he knew what he was doing and just took the suspension. It's a shame and really hurts the way this season will progress.

  2. Love those Tribute relics. There's just something cool about being able to track down the exact date the piece of uniform was used.

    P.S. Sweet cards as usual.

    1. Thanks Fuji. I always like having a way to see how well a player did in a uniform he wore that I own a small swatch from.

  3. Never good to see a player get suspended for PEDs. Nice cards though!