Tuesday, May 1, 2018

West coast to the rescue

Trying to live a life as a Dodgers fan on the east coast is stupid. I admit it.

My team's game scores don't make the paper half the time and if I follow the Dodgers online, it requires staying up to 1 or 2 in the morning (this is not a problem for a night owl, but can you imagine if I was one of those unfortunate early risers?).

Almost nobody cares about the Dodgers here and there's no one to talk to about them (the biggest Dodger fan I knew in person passed away last year). If you want to express the latest, greatest thing to happen to the Dodgers, you're met with dead silence. Yet, if the exact same thing had happened to the Yankees, the whole town would practically shut down and work would be a nonstop sickening conversation on the glory of pinstripes.

You can imagine how lonely it felt when the Dodgers were in the World Series last year.

But I picked my favorite team a long time ago and it's too late to change (people who switch allegiance in midstream I regard as borderline insane). So I suffer without many of the conveniences that west coast fans of the Dodgers possibly take for granted.

For example:

This season the Dodgers are celebrating their 60th anniversary in Los Angeles. They are recognizing that milestone in the best way possible -- issuing special baseball card giveaways at the ballpark. Did you hear what I said? SPECIAL BASEBALL CARD GIVEAWAYS!!!!!!

😡😡😡 Why do I live on the east coast???? Why? WHY???? 😡😡😡

The Dodgers are holding five giveaways this season, recognizing the current Dodger team with sets that celebrate the Dodgers teams of the '50s/'60s, '70s, '80s, '90s and '00s (I think that's how it goes anyway -- I'm 3,000 miles away).

Each set is seven cards strong and uses a Topps design that matches the era being celebrated. The first giveaway focused on the '50s/'60s and the second on the '70s.

However, there was no need for me to fret about living on the east coast in freakin' Yankee territory because my west coast blogger buds are looking out for me!

Andy of Stadium Fantasium recently sent me the first two giveaway sets after taking in games at Dodger Stadium!

The first card giveaway took place on April 10th during the Dodgers' interleague series with Oakland.

Here are the cards:

The player choices are six current team members and Dodgers legend Sandy Koufax. You'll note that they are fairly faithful representations of the 1965 Topps design. It's a solid choice as the Dodgers won the World Series in '65.

Each card features the Dodgers' 60th anniversary logo.

The back continues the '65 theme and adds the card sponsor, 76 gas stations, which has been a Dodger sponsor, I believe, since the team first arrived in L.A. It's a no-frills back, no stats, no cartoon, but that's what you expect with special-issue oddballs. It's pretty impressive that the '65 look is retained.

The cards are super-glossy, front and back. The card stock reminds me of the 2001 Sunoco Dream Team cards that you could find at gas stations, although it's not quite as flimsy as those.

The second card giveaway was on April 23 during a game against the Marlins. I notice that the first two giveaways came against opponents that don't exactly draw crowds. I'm sure that's by design.

And speaking of design, here is the set that is directly in my wheelhouse!

The player choices are the same for the current roster and former Dodger Don Sutton replaces Koufax. But never mind that, it's the 1977 Topps design!!

I'll say that these look a lot better than the upcoming Archives design for the '77 design. The team font is much more faithful to the original. Topps, though, is still going with spelling out the position names, which didn't happen in '77.

Also, Sutton was in full perm mode by 1977 so the photo used is only as recent as 1973 or 1974. (That Kenley Jansen pic is not current either).

Here is the very 1977 back. The blank green space where the cartoon goes looks quite naked but I will not quibble with this for a stadium giveaway set. You can see that the set is numbered across each issue so you can collect them as a complete set.

I'm very happy that Chris Taylor was included in both sets since there's been a dearth of Taylor cards in Topps' sets. I'm curious as to why Clayton Kershaw and Yasiel Puig have been left out, but I'm guessing they might show up in future giveaways.

The next giveaway -- the 1980s -- is slated for May 8th against the Diamondbacks. A promotional video shows those cards will showcase the 1985 design.

Following that is the '90s giveaway during a game against the Rangers on June 12, using the 1994 design, and then the 2000s giveaway in a game against the Brewers on Aug. 2, featuring the 2001 design. There may or may not be a card giveaway in September, too. I wasn't able to figure that out.

Andy said he would try to get the rest of the sets and send them to me!!

This makes up for all those times that I've gone to the local big box store and seen rows upon rows of Yankees or Red Sox team sets, the general assumption from people who first find out that I'm a baseball fan that I must like the Yankees or Mets, the nonstop babble about Gary Sanchez or Aaron Hicks or Luis Severino -- players that I care about even less than whoever is playing for the Twins these days.

OK, it doesn't quite make up for all of that. But it certainly helps.

There's a whole world of Dodgers fans out there. And they've got cards for me. Pretty cool.


  1. Oh crap now I need to check to see if the Giants are doing this as well. Also yeah, following West Coast ball out here sucks.

  2. I’ve always wanted to do away with the time zones just so people on the East coast could see every game, even the ones on the West.

    This is a good idea for a stadium giveaway set. Wish the rest of the teams in MLB followed suit.

    Hopefully you will get a Kershaw for your all-time Topps set collection out of these sets that you need.

  3. "Yet, if the exact same thing had happened to the Yankees, the whole town would practically shut down and work would be a nonstop sickening conversation on the glory of pinstripes."

    I see no problem here.

  4. I was just reminded of the Cubs set they similarly released a couple of years ago when I did my Two Random Rynos post this weekend. I need to track down the rest of those. It is kind of weird that the Dodgers used the same 6 current players in each set.

    I've had to learn to talk Nats to have a decent baseball conversation around here.

    1. I hit one of those games while at the National that year. I have some extras of those. Email at QAPLAGCA at yahoo.

  5. Glad he got those for you. It went to the Marlins game myself but my kid wanted to keep her cards so I didn't have any extras.

  6. It would be great if Topps would release cards for every team in the same year. At least they seem to put a decent amount of thought into the giveaways that are made

  7. A shame there are no Kershaws...would have helped you make progress on the idea of getting a card of him on every Topps flagship design. Pretty sweet cards though.

  8. Cool cards. The A's are celebrating their 50th Anniversary. Don't think they're celebrating with 5 different card giveaways... but I'm hoping they have at least one.

  9. Always nice to see a baseball card giveaway. I like the design choice and player selection, even if the photos are recycled. It's funny how corporate sponsors can be so closely identified with a team. I can't imagine Fenway Park without the Citgo sign, and I can't imagine Dodger Stadium without 76.

    Can't wait to see the rest of these. Good on Andy for picking these up for you!

  10. This has got to be my favorite blog post of all-time and its from my favorite blogger! Thanks for a great read, Greg! Love the comments too! Sorry I didn't comment earlier but work is taking up much more of my time. Good news! I did go to the 3rd stadium giveaway game and got a pack (the 80's) for you. http://stadiumfantasium.com/at-the-game-dodgers-vs-diamondbacks/ And it looks like I'm on target to get the fourth set too on June 12th.

    btw there is a 6th giveaway set of Dodger cards the '10's) to be given away on Sept. 4 (vs. the Mets).