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My Very Short Career as a Topps Trading Card Star

As you may recall, back in December I told you the exciting news that I was going to be enshrined on my very own Topps trading card (the photos shown above were the ones I sent them for potential use on the card), and then in February I had an update on how things were coming along.

But all of that was before the world turned upside-down. As the pandemic has unfolded, some of you have gotten in touch to ask me if my card would still be happening. As I explained to those who inquired, I had no idea what the status of the project was, and I figured the folks at Topps, like everyone else, had enough things to worry about, so I didn’t want to bug them about my card. I assumed I’d find out soon enough, one way or another, if they were still going ahead with the product line.

Sure enough, I recently heard from my Topps contact. Unfortunately, it turns out that they’re not going to be doing my card — but that development has nothing to do with the pandemic.

You see, Topps is still going ahead with the card set that I was going to be a part of — they’re just not going to include my card. That’s because their licensor asked for my card to be removed from the set.

Their licensor, of course, is Major League Baseball.

Am I disappointed? Sure — who wouldn’t be? It was exciting to think I was getting my own official Topps trading card, and it’s a bit of a letdown to know that it won’t be happening after all.

Mostly, though, I think it’s funny. Here’s Major League Baseball — this gigantic, bizillion-dollar empire — and apparently a solitary gadfly of a writer covering a niche beat has gotten so far under their skin that they feel the need to swat him (in the midst of a global emergency, no less!).

They’re completely within their rights to do that, of course. I’ve stuck it to them a bunch of times, so now they’re sticking it to me — fair enough. But my gripes with them have to do with their shameful behavior (selling the chest of the jersey to Nike; selling the side of the cap to New Era; pandering to cheap rah-rah-ism; distorting the meaning of Memorial Day; not knowing the difference between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution; coming up with brutal-looking “holiday uniforms” that are really just merch dumps; the long-running lack of transparency about their supposed support for veterans; and so on), while their gripes with me are, well, that I’ve pointed out their shameful behavior. Apparently the truth hurt, so now they’ve chosen to hurt me back.

That’s absolutely their prerogative — what’s good for the goose and all that. But again, considering the context, I find it more amusing than upsetting.

So that’s the end of that — or is it?

As you may recall, some of my cards were going to be “relic” cards, so I had sent Topps the Uni Watch tequila sunrise shirt I wore during the photo shoot for my card, and they were going to chop it up into little pieces for inclusion in the relic cards.

When my Topps contact told me the bad news about my card, I asked if my shirt had already been chopped up and, if so, if I could have the pieces. I thought it would be an interesting memento of the experience. He said he wasn’t sure but promised to look into it.

Two days later a FedEx package arrived at Uni Watch HQ. Inside was a plastic bag with the pieces of my shirt (for this and all subsequent photos, you can click to enlarge):

Isn’t that cool? Each swatch is 7/8″ square (I included the nickel for scale). And that’s just the tip of the ’berg — I have at least several hundred of these swatches, maybe even a thousand.

Some sort of white backing has been applied to the underside of each swatch. It’s flexible, but stiff enough to transform each swatch from a flimsy piece of fabric into a semi-rigid chip:

The backing was apparently applied to the inside of the shirt before it was cut into swatches, because they also sent me some scraps and larger pieces, all of which had the backing already in place:

It’s all so interesting, it’s almost worth it to have had my card nixed by MLB, because it ended up providing me with this inside peek at the relic process.

And that got me thinking. Now that I had all the relic swatches, I figured I should probably do something with them. They’d be good for some sort of art project, right? Like they always say: When life hands you lemons, make a really good cocktail.

Here’s the cocktail I’ve decided to make:

1. I have hired the great illustrator and longtime Uni Watch pal Rob Ullman to design a new Paul Lukas / Uni Watch trading card that will feature a caricature of me in a classic-looking trading card setting. I will have several hundred of these cards printed at the standard trading card size and offer them for sale.

2a. Each card will include one of the shirt swatches that were originally intended for the Topps card. So these swatches will become relics of this entire experience — the experience of Topps inviting me to be part of their card set, of my backyard photo shoot, of my Topps card going into production, of MLB nixing that card, and of this new card being created. In short: Every card in this set will be a relic card.

2b. Topps relic cards have a little window where the relic is displayed. We can’t go to those lengths, but Rob’s card design will include a dedicated spot for the relic swatch to be affixed to each card. Once the cards are printed, I’ll apply the swatches to them myself, probably with adhesive dots (although I’m open to other methods, if anyone has suggestions).

2c. I’m thinking I may number each of the relic swatches by writing on the white backing. Or maybe not, since you wouldn’t be able to see the number unless you removed the swatch from the card. Haven’t decided about that yet.

3. I will sign one of the cards in purple ink (it will be numbered “1/1”) and another 10 in green ink (they will be numbered “1/10,” “2/10,” and so on), just as I was going to do for Topps. These signed cards will be randomly scattered in the set.

4. In honor of MLB’s key role in this storyline, I’d like to call this the “MLB Project” or the “MLB Card,” or something like that. I just need a good term that reduces to those three letters. In keeping with the spirit of the whole affair, I’m leaning toward My Little Brouhaha, although there are certainly other possibilities (Making Lockdown Better, Manfred/Lukas Bitterness, etc.). Once I settle on the term, I’ll have Rob turn it into a logo for the project.

———

So that’s what I have in the works. Not sure when it’ll be available, how much it’ll cost, etc., but it will definitely happen. I’ll keep you posted.

Finally, I want to say that Topps has been awesome throughout this whole experience. Great people, great company. They were really apologetic about how things turned out, although of course it wasn’t their fault. I wish them nothing but the best, and I’m grateful to them for the opportunity and the experience, even though it didn’t turn out the way either of us had hoped.

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Culinary Corner: Tomorrow is the first Saturday in May. Ordinarily, that would make it Kentucky Derby day, but we are not living in ordinary times.

Despite this year’s Derby being postponed until Sept. 5, I’ve gone ahead and made myself a derby pie, and I encourage you to do so as well — not only because it’s delicious, but because sports culture isn’t just about the live events themselves. It’s also about the rituals and traditions associated with those events, and for me that means I always make this pie for the first Saturday in May.

I’ve written a short piece about this for today’s edition of The Boston Globe (my first time ever writing for them, whoop-whoop!). Here’s the print version; the web version, which should be available around noon Eastern, will include several links, so I’ll swap that in once it’s available.

Meanwhile, if you want to make your own derby pie, it’s easy:

1. If you know how to make pie crust, make some dough and position it in a 9-inch pie pan; if you don’t know how or just can’t be bothered, get yourself a frozen 9-inch pie shell or some refrigerated pie dough (that’s what I used this year).

2. Set your oven to 350 degrees. While it’s heating up, get a big mixing bowl and use a hand mixer to beat together four eggs, a cup of light corn syrup, 3/4 cup of light brown sugar. and 1/3 cup of melted butter. Then add 3 tablespoons of decent bourbon (or maybe a smidge more than that, if you’re so inclined), a tablespoon of vanilla extract, a tablespoon of flour, 6 ounces of chocolate chips, and a cup of chopped walnuts.

3. Mix all of that together, pour it into your dough-lined pie plate or frozen pie shell, and pop it into the oven for an hour. It’ll puff up high like a soufflé, but it’ll settle back down while it cools, which you should allow it to do for an hour or so.

The resulting pie can be a bit free-form when you slice it and serve it, so it’s not a bad idea to pop it in the fridge for a bit to help it firm up. But whether chilled, heated, or at room temp, it’s a runaway winner, even if there’s no horse race this weekend.

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Click to enlarge

ITEM! May pin launch: Today is the first day of May, and I’m happy to announce that the Uni Watch Pin Club’s design for the month is now available.

Todd Radom and I designed this pin right around the beginning of March, before the world went bonkers. Since the Indy 500 takes place in May, we thought that would be a fun theme for the pin. As it turns out, the Indy 500 won’t be taking place in May this year (it’s currently scheduled for late August, although I have my doubts about that), but the pin still looks totally boss — I love the car, I love the pin shape, and the blue sky is a nice addition to our usual color palette.

This is a numbered edition of 250 pins. As usual, the numbering and the month are laser-etched on the back:

I launched this pin at midnight on Twitter, and as of 8:30am we had already sold 42 of them. That’s a fast sales pace out of the gate — it means this pin will likely sell out, just like the April design did, so move fast if you want to get in on this one. (Meanwhile, if you need to get caught up, the January, February, and March pins are still available.)

Again, the new May pin is available here. And like everything in the Uni Watch Shop, it qualifies for a 15% discount if you use the checkout code COMMUNITY.

As an aside: June’s pin is really, really good, and the July pin is going to blow your minds — really. You’ll see!

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• • • • •

LAST CALL for the hockey jersey: Today is the final day to get in on the next batch of Uni Watch hockey jerseys. Available in three color options, two tailoring options, and with your choice of number and NOB — full details here.

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Click for maximum cuteness

Membership update: Reader Christopher Jones, who’s a professor at BYU in Utah, recently ordered two Utah Stars-themed membership cards — one for himself and one for his seven-year-old son, Joaquin, with first initials as part of the NOBs. As you can see above, Joaquin was very excited to receive his card yesterday!

Christopher says:

He just happened to go get the mail today and couldn’t figure out what might be in the envelope addressed to both of us. He was ecstatic when he opened it, and after showing it off to his mom and siblings, placed it in his basketball card binder, where not just cards but all of his most prized possessions go for safekeeping.

Oh, and he went and changed into that Nets hat before I took his picture, explaining it was because he noticed the return address was in Brooklyn.

How great is that?

And there’s more. It turns out that Joaquin likes to draw jerseys — and is following in his father’s footsteps in that regard:

Oh, man — this family definitely Gets It™!

If you’d like to help support Uni Watch by ordering a membership card for yourself and/or your completely adorable uni-obsessed kid, this is a good time to do so, because price has been reduced from $25 to $20 until further notice.

As always, you can sign up for your own custom-designed card here, you can see all the cards we’ve designed so far here (now more than 2,600 of them!), and you can see how we produce the cards here.

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• • • • •

The Ticker
By Anthony Emerson

Baseball News: An old newspaper clipping tells us that A’s P John “Blue Moon” Odom switched from his usual No. 13 to No. 10 on Aug. 10, 1968, when he was going for his 10th win of the season. A’s C Dave Duncan, who was wearing No. 10 that year, was on two weeks duty with the Marine Corps Reserves at the time. Interestingly, Baseball-Reference.com does not show Odom’s number switch (from Roger Faso). … A Cardinals blog has taken a look at the 1899 uniforms that inspired the team’s name. That same blog also has a twopart list of the Cardinals’ best players by uni number (all from Kary Klismet). … Tony Gwynn’s flip shades had a “19” label back in the day (from Brady Phelps and @comish4lif). … Five years ago, Wayne A. Jones found what appeared to be a 1997 Pirates road jersey prototype in a thrift store. The Pirates ultimately ended up sticking with their pre-1997 road uniforms, but added pinstripes. … I believe the Rockies have just become the first team to make Turn Ahead the Clock jerseys available at retail (from Aidan, who did not give his last name). … We may have covered this before, but just in case: Expos owner Charles Bronfman reportedly designed the team’s ’80s unis himself. He did an excellent job — perhaps he missed his true calling (from Andreas Papadopoulos). … MLB.com has a retrospective on the Hawaiian Winter League, with some great shots of unis and logos (from Ray P.) … Michael J. Miller caught some screengrabs of Lloyd Moseby wearing what appears to be a makeshift ascot while taking BP. … The Akron RubberDucks are still moving forward with their “Conetown” promotion.

NFL News: Why is wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin wearing a 1995-99 Patriots jersey with the number “3:16“? Well, judging by the Massachusetts State Trooper immediately behind him, he’s in Massachusetts. And Austin adopted “3:16” as his own after taunting Jake Roberts, who is a born-again Christian, in 1996. Whoever made that jersey even went the extra mile with the TV numbers (from Kyle Coppola). … At the 1:03 mark in the latest Pat McAfee Show, McAfee and his guest AJ Hawk discuss how they got their numbers in college and the NFL (from @Pftsponge). … Browns coach Marty Schottenheimer must’ve decided that one turtleneck wasn’t enough (from @CLEVELOVE1). … Nancy Reagan once received a Washington jersey at midfield from Doug Williams with “Just Say No” on the back. Find me a more 1980s picture, I dare you (from David Versel).

College Football News: Wisconsin has released renderings on what an updated Camp Randall Stadium will look like (from Kary Klismet). … The Campbell’s Soup cans are instantly recognizable — it’s hard to imagine them in any other color scheme, except maybe in an Andy Warhol painting. But they were originally orange and blue when they first launched in the late 19th century, and only switched to the red/white scheme after the company’s general manager and treasurer, Herberton L. Williams, watched a Cornell/Penn football game and was impressed by the Big Red’s unis (from Mike Wilson).

Hockey News: Here’s a cool picture, and not just because of the gorgeous sweater the usher at Maple Leaf Gardens is wearing. All ushers wore those sweaters at MLG in the 1980s (from Andreas Papadopoulos). … The Athletic had a “draft” (paywalled) of the best NHL jerseys of all time (from Kary Klismet).

Hoops News: The Continental Basketball Association has been getting some attention since Phil Jackson mentioned briefly coaching in the league in the the most recent episode of The Last Dance, so Jorge Cruz dug up an old Beckett Basketball magazine which featured a map of CBA teams, with logos. … This article tries to work out how the sneaker-verse would be different if Michael Jordan had signed with Spot-Bilt rather than Nike (from LaHoi G. Lover). … LeBron James revealed the logo for the new Space Jam movie. Here’s a much better look (from Jakob Fox, Timmy Donahue, and @OVOBeachBum). … A USA Today columnist listed his picks for the top 24 NBA throwback jerseys of all time (from Kary Klismet).

Soccer News: Premier League side Brighton and Hove Albion are selling kits with “Thank You NHS” in place of the chest ad and “Thank You Kind Workers” in place of the sleeve ad. All proceeds will go to charities related to the UK’s National Health Service (from multiple readers). … The Chicago Red Stars’ gorgeous new change kit features the names of every Chicago neighborhood sublimated into the two blue stripes, forming the Chicago flag (from multiple readers). … New away kit for Scottish side Dundee (from our own Jamie Rathjen).

Grab Bag: New logo for Caribbean Airlines (from Timmy Donahue). … Longtime reader and Ticker contributor @PhillyPartTwo, who works in direct care, was provided with a mask made from Phillies jersey fabric. … Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has custom Vans with “Madam” on the heel of the left foot and “Mayor” on the heel of the right foot (from @VerbDC). … SB Nation’s Syracuse blog ranked the Orange’s top five unis across all sports (from Kary Klismet). … New logo set for Wayne State College (from Jay Wright).

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Click to enlarge

What Paul did last night: Uni Watch HQ is just a few houses from the end of our block. If we walk to the corner and turn left, it’s a short three-block walk to the subway.

It has now been nearly two months since we made that walk, or since we even turned left. The subway — such a big part of New York life, such a big part of being a New Yorker — is right there, visible from the corner, but it’s no longer part of our lives.

That feels very weird. It’s not so much that I miss it; it’s more that it feels like something’s missing, if that makes sense. Yesterday the Tugboat Captain even said she’s tempted to spend a fare just to go through the turnstile and hang out on our station’s platform for a bit, just so she can see what’s it’s like up there these days. I agreed that there’s something very appealing about that idea, although I can’t quite explain why.

That’s it for this week. Enjoy Phil’s weekend content and I’ll see you back here on Monday. Stay well. — Paul

78 comments to My Very Short Career as a Topps Trading Card Star

  • Tubby | May 1, 2020 at 8:44 am |

    What kind of card set was your card going to be included in? Would it be that your card just didn’t fit in with the rest of the set, and that’s why MLB nixed it? I’m not trying to defend MLB, I’m obviously very disappointed for you (and I would’ve liked a card as well), but I’m wondering if there was another reason.

    • Paul Lukas | May 1, 2020 at 8:52 am |

      As explained in the blog posts that are linked in the first graf of today’s piece, I was going to be one of the many “celebrities” included in an Allen and Ginter set.

      The nixing had nothing to do with “fit”; it had to do with MLB sticking it to me — which, as I said, is absolutely their prerogative.

      • DRR | May 1, 2020 at 9:37 am |

        It is interesting that Topps was willing to tell you that MLB did this because of MLB wanting to stick it to you. I am surprised that they would be that open about their reasoning.

        • Paul Lukas | May 1, 2020 at 9:47 am |

          Well, they didn’t use those words. But it was clear that the decision was personal.

        • wittnesss | May 1, 2020 at 11:12 am |

          Bummers, but having the story is always a good consolation in my book.

          It may be unknowable, but I wonder if any other individual cards were nixed and for what reasons…

          And, some conspiratorial speculation, I wonder if this tracks back to Nike. As the cliches go, “follow the money” and “this thing goes straight to the top!”

      • Ben Miller | May 1, 2020 at 1:27 pm |

        1) It could just be that MLB didn’t want a huge Uni Watch ad on one of their cards. (The irony!)

        2) Even if the huge Uni Watch ad had nothing to do with it, I am not buying that criticism was the reason. Far more likely, the reason is activism. You’re essentially promoting the idea of tearing off the New Era cap logo (despite your protestations to the contrary).

        • Paul Lukas | May 1, 2020 at 1:52 pm |

          Actually, no, it nothing to do with the shirt.

          You can believe what you choose to believe. Back here on planet Earth, I’ve already explained why it happend.

  • Alan | May 1, 2020 at 8:46 am |

    I am curious how much was that Pirates Prototype jersey from the thrift store?Even with it being 5 years ago what an awesome find.

    • Nestor Chylak | May 1, 2020 at 9:01 am |

      They definitely should have worn that prototype. It’s one of the best Pirates jerseys I’ve ever seen.

  • Julien A Marques | May 1, 2020 at 8:50 am |

    Wow, I never thought I would see an Indycar related pin! This is so awesome, thanks so much Paul and Todd for giving a nod to the Greatest Spectacle in Racing

    • Marcus Ramsey | May 1, 2020 at 10:34 am |

      The greatest day in motorsports. Monaco, Indy, and Charlotte all in one day.

    • Andy Moeschberger | May 1, 2020 at 10:43 am |

      Agreed! The last two months have been really great. The content has been spot on.

      Also, these two have been symmetrical, which is SO appealing to me.

  • Rich | May 1, 2020 at 8:56 am |

    No link on the Cousy ticker item.

    • Paul Lukas | May 1, 2020 at 8:59 am |

      Busy, don’t have time to hunt it down, so I’ve removed it from the Ticker for now. Sorry.

  • T Sherm | May 1, 2020 at 8:59 am |

    Doing the little windows might not be out of the question. You might talk to this guy https://tanmanbaseballfan.com/custom-card-gallery and see if he has any ideas for you and Rob. He makes these kind of custom cards just as a hobby and does a really good job of it.

  • Taha | May 1, 2020 at 9:00 am |

    Austin 3:16 “I just whipped your ass” was an integral part of the attitude era of the then WWF. It started as a taunt to Jake the Snake Roberts and evolved into a phenomenon in wrestling circles. Austin 3:16 shirts and signs were ubiquitous at wrestling events, still popular.

  • Lou | May 1, 2020 at 9:00 am |

    Mitchell and Ness is who has made the Turn Ahead the Clock jerseys. The Rockies are just also selling theirs, They made them for several teams, the Mercury Mets have already sold out,

  • Johnny O | May 1, 2020 at 9:02 am |

    I am not sure, but I think I am more disappointed in MLB scraping your card than you. As a huge card collector, and an even bigger fan of Allen and Ginter, I cannot tell you how excited I was to have you included in their 2020 set.

    It’s just so weird that Topps reached out to you, had you sign a contract, had you turn in your shirt/relic for their cards, but then MLB swooped in to nix it. Do they not approach MLB prior to getting a list of their celebrities/non-sports personnel?

    I knew someone that worked in Topps for a while and they would always say how long the process was to create a set of cards. At least a year in advance. Curious that MLB would kibosh this at in the 11th hour.

    I am glad you will be able to do something with this though. I am looking forward to going auto-hunting whenever your set is released.

    • Paul Lukas | May 1, 2020 at 9:15 am |

      Thanks, John. You’ve been super-enthusiastic throughout this experience, and I’ve learned a lot from you about the card scene as a result. Sorry it won’t turn out the way we initially envisioned, but I’m still excited about the new project!

    • Boo MLB | May 1, 2020 at 10:43 am |

      “Curious that MLB would kibosh this at in the 11th hour.”

      My two best guesses on an explanation: spite or incompetence. IF someone at MLB really wanted to stick it to Paul, what better way than to wait till the 11th hour to pull the plug on the project, when hopes are at their highest?

      But the more likely explanation is that Topps did let them know who was in the card set and MLB sat on that information without paying attention to it, and only at the last minute bothered to look over the list before production. Regardless, neither of these scenarios reflects well on MLB.

  • Joel Keller | May 1, 2020 at 9:02 am |

    Did the shirt have anything to do with MLB asking for your card to be removed?

    • Paul Lukas | May 1, 2020 at 9:07 am |

      Was not about the shirt. Was about me.

  • Matt Beahan | May 1, 2020 at 9:03 am |

    There’s no link to the Bob Cousy uniform in the hoops section.

  • Graf Zeppelin | May 1, 2020 at 9:06 am |

    I believe that “JUST SAY NO” jersey is on display at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, CA. It’s a great place to visit regardless of one’s politics (the plane in particular is deeply cool), although the book section of the gift shop is … um, somewhat political.

    • Eric | May 1, 2020 at 10:29 am |

      Agree completely – it’s an amazing place. The surrounding area is some of the most beautiful surroundings I’ve ever experienced.

  • Skott S. | May 1, 2020 at 9:21 am |

    Making Lemonade, Boys!

    Most Loved Beat-writer

    My Longest Battle

    My Long-awaited Bubblegum card

  • John Springer | May 1, 2020 at 9:26 am |

    I think this is so petty of MLB; they should be ashamed, not that they will be.

    I mean, these are the folks who want to kill the minor leagues, who make every move (especially since Manford became commissioner) in the name of money, who care less about promoting long-term growth or success.

    I’m reminded of that quote about baseball being a success in spite of the people who run it.

    Of course, this is also a bigger problem than just MLB: most people and institutions these days have close to no empathy, and there’s nothing the same people and institution can do that will make them ashamed.

    So, Paul, if it helps at all, I’m sorry for your disappointment; and I’ll be interested when you do make lemonade out of this lemon.

    • Paul Lukas | May 1, 2020 at 9:39 am |

      Thanks, John!

  • Chris | May 1, 2020 at 9:27 am |

    Are you going to have your new card designed after your favorite year of a Topps design? ex 1952, 1960 1985 etc?

  • Ron Ruelle | May 1, 2020 at 9:28 am |

    I used to pretend I was Joe Shlabotnik as a kid. Nobody knew what I was talking about.

  • Tim Fogarty | May 1, 2020 at 9:33 am |

    Free merch idea: I’d 100% buy a card set of the great designers / players in the history of athletic aesthetics

  • BurghFan | May 1, 2020 at 9:34 am |

    More Like Bottoms? Or Bottomms?

    Even if it doesn’t accurately represent your feelings about Topps.

    • Paul Lukas | May 1, 2020 at 9:41 am |

      Actually thought about Bottomms! But (a) it sounds kinda sexual, and (b) as you point out, I have no gripe with Topps. So nope.

  • Russell | May 1, 2020 at 9:48 am |

    Thinking of buying an MLB Nike Jersey and affixing the Lukas card directly over the swoosh.

    • RS Rogers | May 1, 2020 at 10:18 am |

      Oh man, a UW patch sized to cover the swoosh would be amazing! Possibly also sized to cover NBA jersey ads.

    • Skott S. | May 1, 2020 at 10:47 am |

      It’s a nice gesture, but handing them $100 for a replica, or $350 for an Authentic jersey isn’t really sticking it to them regardless of what you do with it afterward.

      If you want to protest, the best way is to keep your money in your pocket. Don’t buy jerseys, shirts, caps etc. Don’t subscribe to MLB Network. Don’t tune in to coverage on TV.

      Hitting them in the wallet will hurt much more than covering an advertising patch on their jersey from a third party.

      • Chance Michaels | May 1, 2020 at 2:06 pm |

        If you want to protest, the best way is to keep your money in your pocket. Don’t buy jerseys, shirts, caps etc.

        Amen.

        And let them know why.

  • Ron S. | May 1, 2020 at 9:52 am |

    Down where I live in Virginia we have the Gold Cup the first Saturday in May and last year I made Derby Pie for the event and it was all gone in less than 5 minutes…thank again for posting the recipe again Paul!

  • J | May 1, 2020 at 9:56 am |

    My membership card certifies, “[He] Gets It.” It’s a fun phrase, and it’s consistent with the posture of this site. It suggests that we come in to the community with an understanding that sports aesthetics matter. “Sports aesthetics” and “DH rule sucks” are probably my top two things to talk about with baseball fans.

    “[She/He] Gets It” is somewhat a humble posture for the site itself. And, sure, we all do appreciate how a sport looks on the field, even without Uni-Watch. But, we’ve learned so much from this site. Interest in this topic has only grown. It is not glamorous, or “cool”, but your work and the work of those who put so much time in this site is outstanding.

    So MLB can block you from being on a Topps card, but that doesn’t stop you from being a journalist that deserved to be on a card. An institution is angry at you and try to get back at you because of your reporting? You are in excellent company.

    • Paul Lukas | May 1, 2020 at 9:59 am |

      Thanks for the thoughtful post, James — appreciated. You definitely Get It™!

  • Greg | May 1, 2020 at 9:56 am |

    Not a fan of auto racing, but the new pin is great, looking forward to adding it. I was guessing it was going to be horse racing related for the usual start of the triple crown. Perhaps that is being saved for the end of the triple crown in June?
    Really sucks that your card was axed, but it almost feels like a point of pride, that your commentary on all of MLB’s shameful behavior has actually gotten to them to the point they are now holding a grudge. You have their attention, and I would think that is the first step in making an impact.

    • Paul Lukas | May 1, 2020 at 9:59 am |

      Thanks, Greg!

      • Ron Ruelle | May 1, 2020 at 10:32 am |

        Fantastic choice for a pin that highlights that it’s not just about the outfits, but the overall aesthestics. Up until the mid-90s, the Indy 500 RULED the May sports calendar. Such a great choice. Interesing that green is often cited as bad luck in auto racing, though British Racing Green seems to have held its own over the years. And with the shift towards sponsor-heavy schemes, color choices aren’t up for debate much by teams anymore.

  • LI Matt | May 1, 2020 at 10:00 am |

    When Andy Warhol made his picture of the Campbells Soup can, he was trying to make a point:

    This thing doesn’t look like this for no reason. Someone designed this. Someone thought about what it should look like, and made an artistic decision. Art is everywhere.

  • jacket18 | May 1, 2020 at 10:22 am |

    “Find me a more 1980s picture, I dare you.”

    Challenge accepted. I present Nancy Reagan, sitting in Mr. T’s lap (who is dressed as Santa Claus), while holding Mr. T merchandise.

    https://imagesvc.meredithcorp.io/v3/mm/image?url=https%3A%2F%2Fstatic.onecms.io%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2Fsites%2F20%2F2016%2F03%2Fnancy-mr-t-435.jpg

    • Mpls Mike | May 1, 2020 at 12:11 pm |

      Yep. That picture would have broken the internet had there been such a thing at the time. (I know there was, but not as we think of it today.)

  • Christopher | May 1, 2020 at 10:37 am |

    Thanks again for making Joaquin’s day, Paul. That membership card is perfect.

  • Marcus Ramsey | May 1, 2020 at 10:40 am |

    Sadly, I can’t make the pie for my new co-workers this year. It was always a “What kind of pie? Darby??” from people trying it for the first time.

    I think I will make one at home, though, it’s so delicious!

    It’s odd that in the realm of baseball there are so many things that MLB needs to address, but going after the uni-guy gets attention.

  • walter | May 1, 2020 at 10:42 am |

    My parents made annual trips to Hawaii between 1984 and 2009. In the ’90s they brought me back a couple of souvenirs: Caps for the Hilo Stars and Kauai Emeralds. I still have them.

    Sorry for your experience with your trading card. But you seem well on your way to turning a sow’s ear into a silk purse.

  • ML | May 1, 2020 at 11:05 am |

    MLB (Manfred) may be the most tone deaf of all sports organizations, and that is saying something. The sport seems to rapidly be losing interest, and he’s doing all he can to speed that along. Pettiness with his own umpires, pettiness with a journalist on a trading card. Time for a change at MLB if they really care about the game.

  • Will Shoken | May 1, 2020 at 11:27 am |

    Paul,
    Have you tried to reassemble your shirt from the pieces they sent to confirm that they actually returned the whole thing to you?
    (just kidding)

    • Paulio | May 1, 2020 at 4:17 pm |

      LOL

  • Brendan Armstrong | May 1, 2020 at 11:36 am |

    Paul, have you ever considered writing a book about your travels? I always enjoy your writing about people and places and food and unique little corners of life. I think of Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck. In all honesty, I found Steinbeck’s book a little dry, but I think you could do a great job at something like this. I always appreciate how you make the reader feel like they are there with you, enjoying the one-of-a-kind coasters at this little hole-in-the-wall in Wisconsin as much as you are. I’d love to read your take on the fictional (or non-fictional) American road trip. Anyway, just a thought, and I’m curious if you’ve ever played with that idea.

    • Mpls Mike | May 1, 2020 at 12:14 pm |

      I’m thinking more in the Bill Bryson mode. You notice different things than he does, but you both notice THINGS.

    • Chance Michaels | May 1, 2020 at 2:08 pm |

      I would gladly buy that book.

    • mike 2 | May 1, 2020 at 2:30 pm |

      I agree, and I would suggest the Jonathan Raban mode. Setting out with a purpose, but allowing the purpose to be completely overtaken by interesting things discovered along the way.

  • aboynamedart | May 1, 2020 at 11:37 am |

    Hey, speaking of the CBA — with prospects apparently opting to go there instead of the college route and the NBA apparently giving the CBA more attention, would a contest to upgrade the CBA’s uniforms be fun for the designer crowd here?

  • TomInNJ | May 1, 2020 at 12:10 pm |

    Wow, how amazingly petty of MLB. Then again, I really shouldn’t be surprised.

    • Matthew Butch | May 1, 2020 at 12:28 pm |

      My thoughts exactly. So incredibly petty. MLB should grow up

  • Dustin | May 1, 2020 at 12:16 pm |

    If the reason is as you say, (I don’t see any other reasonable option) it seems so incredibly petty. Maybe MLB needs to read your piece on what a critic is.

  • Jerg | May 1, 2020 at 12:57 pm |

    I’d like to say that this is unbelievably petty, but I’m starting to believe that just about anything is possible in the upper levels of sports leagues these days.

    Glad to hear that Topps acted on the up-and-up. I certainly spent a great deal of my lawn mowing earnings on their cards in my youth.

  • Steven | May 1, 2020 at 1:21 pm |

    In case anyone is interested, that Maple Leaf Gardens photo is from Jan. 11, 1986, the only day that the Nordiques played in Toronto and both the Islanders and the Flyers scored 8 goals.

  • Brian | May 1, 2020 at 1:33 pm |

    The beautiful irony of MLB’s petty move is the ad that appeared to the left of the post as I was reading it was… The MLB/Nike ad.

    I know those are based on all the various data mining factors that determine personalized ads for all of us, but it made me laugh out loud.

  • DAF | May 1, 2020 at 1:40 pm |

    Disappointing and petty on MLB’s part, as others have said. But “Manfred/Lukas Bitterness” gave me a laugh.

  • Jon | May 1, 2020 at 1:53 pm |

    I’m really sorry you don’t get to be on a baseball card Paul. That’s really petty by MLB.

    An item from the ticker today really got me thinking.. The Akron RubberDucks post shows an Akron skyline that seems odd to me. The view is from the Northwest looking Southeast and I realized that in my mental image of the skyline, it’s from the South since I grew up on the south side of town.

    Along those lines, most skyline images from Cleveland are shot from the lake, since it’s an unobstructed view, but my mental image is from the Southeast as that’s the first way you see it when you drive into town from I77.

    It really made me think about city skylines and how the perception of a city can be thrown completely off. I’ve never been to NYC but I can imagine that the way I see it in person will be very different than most of the pictures. So, how do we decide on what makes up the official skyline of a city (if we even could)? Just an interesting thought project to distract myself today.

    I also love the pin! Though I’m not as big of a race fan as I was in the 90’s, I make it a point to watch the Indy 500 every year to remember my dad. Honestly, CART racing is probably where I first started noticing uniforms and different color schemes/designs.

  • Rick M | May 1, 2020 at 2:10 pm |

    I can totally relate to the subway thing, but on a different level. I live in Denver, and haven’t used public transit since mid-March, since I’m working from home. More jarring to me was that last week, I patronized a local pizza joint, and had to hop on the highway to go pick up the pizza… and it was the first time I’d been on the highway since March 24, when I had to pick up my mom from the airport. I started thinking about it, and it turns out I have spent the bulk of my last two months in an area of about 40 north-south blocks by 28 east-west ones. Out here, that’s a pretty small area.
    On another note, bummer about the Topps card, but I will totally buy one when you offer them up!

  • Tenz | May 1, 2020 at 3:00 pm |

    I’m a first-time pin buyer, but having attended 37 Indy 500s, this was a good one to start with. As a prior commenter noted, for many years green was considered a bad-luck color, though that superstition I believe was generally limited to U.S. racing. And I think it pretty much ended in the mid 1960s when the Lotuses in British Racing Green showed up and did just fine despite the supposedly cursed color.

    It’s a vivid memory that by 1971, the Sprite-sponsored team of Lindsey Hopkins chose to paint their cars a bright lime green and one of the American drivers, when asked if the color bothered him, answered, “Not as long as the money they pay me in is green.”

  • Bill Schaefer | May 1, 2020 at 3:29 pm |

    I’m not a Browns fan but I always liked that square Browns helmet patch that Marty S always wore on his winter coats.

  • David G. Firestone | May 1, 2020 at 3:33 pm |

    Fun fact about Stone Cold Steve Austin: The name Stone Cold originated because of tea. When Steve Austin joined WWF/E in 1995, he was given “The Ringmaster” as a persona. This was doomed to failure, and it did. After it failed, Austin was trying to come up with a new personal based on Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski. His wife made him a cup of tea, and told him to “drink your tea before it becomes stone cold.”

    • ThatRodneyGuy | May 5, 2020 at 9:24 am |

      I still call it the WWF

  • Pmo | May 1, 2020 at 5:03 pm |

    Yeah my guess for the Austin photo is 98 probably post wrestlemania which was in Boston that year. You can also tell by the title as it is the early version of the “big eagle” title since it has a block wwf logo instead of the scratch one that they were changing to. This was introduced the night after mania and it’s probably April/may (Patriots day?) as they swapped the belt for the scratch logo during the summer.

  • BvK1126 | May 1, 2020 at 6:05 pm |

    My favorite part about today’s entry is the spot about Chris and Joaquin Jones’ membership cards. Super cool!

    I have a four-year-old son who has become rather uni-obsessed himself. (He always spots college and pro sports team logos when we’re out and about that I didn’t even notice and wants to wear his favorite teams’ shirts all the time.) Here’s hping he Gets It(TM) just as well as Juoquin does when he’s his age!

    • Paul Lukas | May 1, 2020 at 7:42 pm |

      I can’t believe it took until now for someone to comment on Chris and Joaquin. That photo of the kid — oh man, it’s the best!!

  • Al Gruwell | May 1, 2020 at 9:41 pm |

    Put me down for a card, Paulie!

  • FreddyGotFigured | May 1, 2020 at 9:55 pm |

    MLB (and I would imagine other leagues) probably aren’t in love with the way that you rip off their intellectual property and profit off of it. Just a thought.