Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Completion ... after a word from our sponsors

I completed my 2009 Topps base set today, thanks to a card from Jim and two cards from Chris. They also sent several other fine cards that I'll show some other time.

I'm also going to delay showing those final three '09 cards until the end of the post, so that I can focus on one notable aspect of this year's Topps cards. The large space for photos and the plentiful action shots means there are a number of cards with advertisements noticeable in the background. The Waldimir Balentien card here is an obvious example.

Once upon a time, this would only happen occasionally with spring training photos. Spring training and minor league facilities have been filled with billboard advertising for ages. And if a Coke ad found its way into the card photo, you were amused, because you never saw that in major league parks. In the big leagues, the outfield walls were barren. All of the walls in the stadium were barren. Well, except for that "no pepper allowed" sign.

Of course, that's all changed. I think the Yankees and Mets built new parks solely so they could squeeze advertisers into every inch of their new real estate. You cannot help but see an ad everywhere you turn.

And so it is with cards. Let's have a look:

Here is Corey Hart advertising a nice, tall glass of OJ. There are too many juicing references I could make here, but that's not fair to Corey, so I'll stop.

Coke and a smile? More like "Coke and a staredown."

Even with all the ads, it seems Topps went out of its way to make sure the advertising was cut off, or blurred out, or just made so it was difficult to see. But some advertisers' logos are too recognizable. Here, Brad Penny pitches in front of the 84 Lumber sign. Penny looks like he could build a few houses after his career is over.

Sometimes, you just need a letter -- and half of two other letters -- to figure out the advertiser. "I can name that logo in one and two-thirds letters." Do you think Billy Butler ate a "pizza, pizza" from Little Caesar's after this blast?

W.B. Mason is everywhere on cards this year. And if you watch a game at Yankee Stadium, either in person or on TV, you can't avoid the office supply business. I wonder how many times Michael Kay has uttered "W.B. Mason" during his play-calling career?

W.B. Mason is a Northeast-based company. Meanwhile, I am unfamiliar with a lot of companies in the western U.S. I should know what this company is, given the amount of space Topps devotes to the advertisement, but I have no idea.

I could swear this is the Dairy Queen logo behind Ian Snell's hand. But I think the "logo" is on someone's shirt. I haven't heard of people wearing Dairy Queen T-shirts, so I'm going to guess it's something else.

The advertiser that is featured on more Topps cards this year than any other is New Era. If you look at all the cards that feature the ad, you can read only the partial web address on them. This is probably the card that features the address the most prominently. Only the "c" in "cap" is missing behind Joey Votto's head.
Here is Oliver Perez, brought to you by Delta Dental Insurance. How are those teeth, Oliver? Better than your pitching, I hope.

Small-time businesses that advertise on billboards at spring training sites must dance a jig when they find themselves displayed on a baseball card. I can't make out the three advertisers behind Adam Kennedy, but I know one of them almost got very lucky by having its entire phone number featured on a card. Its very own business card, in the form of a baseball card!

Can't forget out about The Mick. I wonder if the Cash Sullivan Cross Insurance Agency still exists?

But Jason Bay is my personal favorite. Topps is advertising everyone's favorite online garage sale! Get it? "e-Bay?" Yeah, I'm probably the last one to figure that out. But humor me. I think it's cool.

OK, onto the business at hand, the last three cards I needed to complete the set:
The first two -- Chris Carpenter and Brendan Ryan -- played a huge part in the Cardinals' win over the Dodgers on Monday on ESPN. Not loving either of these two guys right now.

If you watched the game on TV, you know that ESPN positioned Orel Hershiser down one baseline and Steve Phillips down another. They broadcasted the entire game from their respective positions. I hate gimmicks like that. It lent absolutely nothing. If the broadcasters are bored doing games the regular way, find someone else. Because doing goofy stuff like that isn't helping me any.
Oh, and here's Jose Lopez. Needed this card, too. But he's as Mariner. So I have nothing to say about him, except, my 2009 Topps set is complete!

Thanks to Jim, Chris and everyone else who helped me complete the set in a matter of 5 1/2 months. That's pretty good for me.


  1. Congratulations on completing the set.

  2. The Scott Hairston card features an advertisment for Casino Arizona. Maybe the photo was taken during Spring Training, cause it is not at Chase Field.

  3. Definitely a DQ shirt. You can see the person's neck and head in the pic if you look closely... Maybe too closely... :-)

  4. Now I'm even more glad that I chose to tape and watch the FSN Midwest broadcast instead of ESPN. Sometimes I prefer to watch national broadcasts just to get the "national" perspective, but after two straight days of being force fed national broadcasts in the Phillies series, I wanted to hear what the St. Louis guys had to say about the recent trades (all glowing stuff, of course.)

    There is never any reason to have more than two announcers call a game. And Vin Scully would tell you even that is a bit much...

  5. Hopefully you don't hate me too much----nice to see Kershaw got "Lit Up" versus my fish last friday.


  6. I never noticed that before, but you're right. And that's just the tip of the iceburg, half the cards in the set are like that. One has to wonder how much money topps is making off that

  7. it's awesome that the C from Votto's helmet replaces the c in

  8. I googled Cash Sullivan Cross - they still exist -