Sunday, June 7, 2009

The worst card of 2009, contestant #7

I never expected to find seven worthy candidates for the Worst Card of 2009 by early June, but those card companies are up to the challenge, aren't they?

I also never expected to find a card that could top the first candidate for "Worst Card," the Topps Ryan Braun card. But I do believe we have a very appropriate contender here. And you might be surprised to know that this card also is connected to Ryan Braun.

What we have here is an official 2009 Bowman scout card, autographed by the scout in question, Larry Pardo. As the esteemed motherscratcher would say, "I crap you negative."

The first time I saw one of these cards was during a Bowman break on Crackin' Wax. My comment on that post was the following:

"Scout? Auto? Mind. Just. Blown. To. Smithereens."

Seriously, what bowling ball thought inserting autographed cards of scouts was a smashing idea?

But surprisingly, after reading that post and a similar one on Wax Heaven, I forgot about the whole sordid affair. A week or two later I stood in front of the bountiful card aisle at Target and decided to cherry-pick a pack here and a pack there. I like to sample everything. I love salad bars, buffets, all that stuff. I should be 400 pounds. Anyway. I grabbed a pack of Bowman because it was new.

Then shuffling through the pack, I caught something shiny-silvery about the third or fourth card in. I knew immediately what it was -- a sticker autograph. I couldn't believe it. I have found autographed cards in retail purchases several times in rack packs, and a few times in blasters. But I have never found an autographed card in a loose pack. Never. This was going to be one for the blog.

Turns out it was, but not in the way I had handicapped. If I had not seen the Crackin' Wax post, I probably would have stared at it for a good 5 minutes before my brain could comprehend what it was. But I knew immediately. And it bothered me that I was even holding the card.

What on earth did the scouts say when Topps asked them to autograph a stack of stickers? I hope some of them refused to do it. I'm sure there's some kid out there who wants to be a scout some day. Well, 2009 is his lucky year. For the rest of us? We've got another card we can throw in the compost pile with the cards of political figures and animals and other non-baseball-playing-people-who-are-the-sole-reason-why-I-spend-money-on-this-stuff (Allen & Ginter is the exception. But you can't duplicate A&G. So stop it).

You know what this means now, don't you? We are going to get autographed cards of anyone who has anything to do with a major league team or player. Autographed cards of agents, accountants, bat boys, ball girls, cotton candy salesmen, groundskeepers, trainers, parking attendants, massage therapists, ticket scalpers, assistants to the traveling secretary, groupies in the hotel lobby. There could even be autographed cards of (*gasp*) sportswriters. You could have an autographed card of ME. Oh, this is madness. Madness! Make it stop!

The thing that I noticed about this card, other than that Larry signs his last name on top of his first name, is that nowhere on this card does it say that this guy is a scout. If you didn't know that Bowman was inserting "scout cards" in its set, you'd be even more befuddled than you should be.

Here is what it says on the back:

Note the connection to Ryan Braun that I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

Also note that it says for the title "Worked With Ryan Braun." You can pretty much gather from the copy that he scouted the player and said he was someone the Brewers should draft. But why couldn't they mention this guy is a scout? I mean "worked with Ryan Braun" could mean anything. If Braun ever worked at a McDonald's as a teenager, some pimply-faced kid could say, "Hey, I worked with Ryan Braun. Where's my card?"

Don't worry, kid. Your time is coming. Soon.


  1. ha! i pulled that same card last week and was completely perplexed.

  2. No one should have to pull that garbage out of a pack. I'd be embarrassed to have my "card" in a set as a scout. Embarrassed.

  3. If they make a card of Art Stewart in the set, I may be interested in that one. Otherwise they are stupid.

    My word verification is: thmets
    The Mets?

  4. Weird yes, but I don't hate it, though I'm not sure if I legitimately like it or if it's the wrestlecraptastic absurdity of it. The dual scout/player they scouted ones in Co-Signers were highly underrated. The bulletin board design is cool.

  5. Am I missing something or is that card's write-up all messed up?

    How would Juan Pierre be hitting against Braun's team in college?

    By the time Braun got to college, Pierre was an established MLB veteran.

  6. Yeah, Laurens something doesn't seem right there. I noticed that, too.

    Pierre didn't go to UAB, he went to South Alabama. I even looked at UAB's 2005 roster to see if they meant a different Juan Pierre (and confused it with the one on the Dodgers) and there wasn't one.

  7. They didn't even put a picture of the player on the back like last year? Weak.

    Oh, did you say autographed cards of sportswriters?

  8. Good candidate for the "award." Yuck.

  9. Yeah, Ryan Braun was 15 years old when Juan Pierre was drafted. WTF?

  10. I can see why the card companies would think scouts would be good subjects. Joe Collectors probably revere scouts because they are the ones who decide who the next Future Draft Pick Platinum 1 of 1 supersplatofractor autograph patch MEGA-MOJO is going to be.

  11. Maybe Larry is related to DON PARDO.
    I would vote it as WORST CARD EVER but surely there has to be more crappy, useless cards coming out in the future. My only reasoning for having these types of cards in a set is, Topps had a certain total number of cards for that set, and ran out of ideas and needed filler to reach that number....

  12. I didn't ask for this card nor did I know what was going to be written on this card, to clear things up: The University of Miami was playing the Marlins in an exhibition game in Spring Training of 2005.And about the Scout in Question here is your answer, No I didn't work with Ryan but YES I did get him Drafted and Signed. Only an ignorant moron like yourself would relate a scout to a ticket scalper or a groundskeeper. You need to research before making comments about other people to have CREDIBILITY. Its about time Scouts get some sort of recognition and I'm not saying this for myself but for all the other guys that have gotten up and left their families for long periods of time, and have driven and flown all over the Country looking for ballplayers, and besides, If not for the Scouts, Morons like you wouldn't be able to have useless blogs about players on cards! My whole life has been in PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL I have played, coached, and scouted, the same as many other Scouts. Unbeknownst to you it is an honor to be recognized for an achievement, and it is nice that after all the years in PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL, spent playing , coaching and scouting, someone shows some sort of appreciation.
    and by the way its a good photo!!

    Larry Pardo

  13. Mr. Pardo,

    I fully respect the scouting profession and have actually talked to scouts before. It's an admirable, overlooked profession, and they truly love the game, as we all do. I do not need to research what scouts do, I know all about it. I have read about scouts from the time I was a pre-teen. That was 30 years ago.

    My criticism is SOLELY with the card company's decision to put scouts or non-ballplayers on cards. As a collector, I, like many collectors, are only interested in cards of those who play the game (a manager is one of the few exceptions). That is the way it was for years until card companies starting adding other people who did not play, or even worse, celebrities, political figures, etc. We're consumers. We're merely voicing what we like and do not like when it comes to cards. My comparison to others connected to the game was exaggeration for effect, an attempt at humor, which apparently you didn't like. That's OK. Perhaps if card companies added scout cards BEFORE they started featuring cards of Al Bundy and squirrels, then there wouldn't be such angst over non-player cards that came after the fact.

    I did not mean to insinuate that you did not get him drafted and signed; I'm saying the text was unclear. Again, a criticism of the card company, not you or your profession.

    I do plenty of research for this blog, more than I should as I don't get paid one cent for it. And I know all about doing research because I do loads of it for the job I do get paid for, as a sportwriter/editor, another profession that is overlooked and overcriticized.

    Thank you for clearing up the confusion over why Braun might have been playing Pierre. That makes sense (I'm still confused as to why it says "UAB's Juan Pierre). We have run into many careless errors on cards and it's good to know this wasn't one of them.

    You believe it is an honor to have your photo featured in a card set. It's nice to hear a different perspective. You have obviously heard mine.

    Thanks for reading this "useless" blog.

  14. Thank you for your response.
    To clear things up a bit further, someone took a bit of my report and added a story. No where in my report does it say UAB.
    Second of all, I also thought it would have a picture of Braun,so I am a bit disappointed in that as well.
    Out of all the Scouts that have signed Hall of Famers and Great Players, yes I consider it an Honor that I was one of the Scouts chosen for this year. Also, from what I understand, this is to be an ongoing thing in conjunction with the Scouts Hall of Fame.

    Thank You

    Larry Pardo