2016 TSR: Beltran, Vedder, And Thoughts On Top-Heavy Checklists

This is going to be something of a quickie post today… My custom-making feels like it’s winding down for the season, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop… Just that I will cut back on the ones I post. Fr’instance, I did a custom for Ichiro’s 3000th hit, but it wasn’t all that visually interesting so I didn’t post it.

As a semi-collector of Carlos Beltran, I was happy that he got traded away from the Bronx. It’s hard to root for anyone when they’re wearing those navy pinstripes.
2016 TSR #330 - Carlos Beltran traded
Texas may not have been my top choice, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Eddie Vedder recently threw out the first pitch at a Cubs game, and while I’m no fan of Pearl Jam, a recent motivational phrase I’ve latched on to is “Dare to pander”.
2016 TSR CFP-12 Eddie Vedder
Truth be told, Eddie Vedder doesn’t make me think of “Even Flow”, “Daughter” or “Better Man”… Eddie Vedder makes me think of the ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic song “My Baby’s In Love With Eddie Vedder”.

…But my girl can’t get enough of his sullen demeanor
Like he’s some big tortured genius and I’m some kind of wiener…

It does appear that Mr. Vedder is wearing a Seattle Raniers t-shirt, so he gets some bonus points for that.

Moving on….

Yesterday’s post from Off Hiatus Baseball got me thinking a little bit… Topps checklists are very much top-heavy and focus overly much on big names, hyped prospects and big cities… but making custom cards has given me a tiny little insight into some of the issues with photo availability.

Now back in the day, Topps would have their own photographers… or at least subcontractors that they hired… and if a photographer were going to a Braves game, they could say “Hey Frank… Get me some photos of Bruce Benedict and Biff Pocoroba!”

Now, however, Topps gets most, if not all, of their photos from services like Getty Images. Maybe Topps can still put in requests to get pictures of guys like Kevin Jepsen or Ramon Cabrera, but if they’re limited to what’s available through Getty, then that brings in a whole slew of issues if they want to get bigger checklists.

Now, guys like Ichiro… You could make a 750-card set out of the available Ichiro images, and I’m not being facetious on that. There must be a big demand for Ichiro pictures, because any time the Marlins play, there’s at least a couple of Ichiro photos taken, even if it’s just Ichiro sitting on the bench or Ichiro swinging a bat before the game or Ichiro trying to remember whether he locked his car when he got to the ballpark.

There also seems to be a significant difference between the number of photos generated from, let’s say, a Nationals/Dodgers game as opposed to an interleague Reds/Rays matchup.

After a while, you start to see that it’s the same 150-200 guys featured in the photos over and over again, and you just don’t see as much of the rest of the players.

And to make things worse, often when you see the players who aren’t in the top 20%, the photos are…

OK, before I get into this any further, I have to apologize in advance to Eric Campbell, Hansel Robles and Josh Edgin, but the following is being done to prove a point.

…For the other 80%, the photos are often taken to fill in the narrative of that day’s game, and not necessarily of those guys in particular.

As a result, you often get photos of guys reacting to striking out…
2016 TSRchives 90T-1 Eric Campbell

…or giving up a home run…
2016 TSRchives 90T-2 Hansel Robles

…Or being just barely visible in the photo.
2016 TSRchives 90T-3 Josh Edgin

So just to play “Topps Advocate” for a moment… Even if they wanted to do a set that represented a large percentage of Major Leaguers, their hands might be tied by the images available to them.

…MIGHT BE… I can’t emphasize enough that this is conjecture, for all I know Topps can do anything they want, but instead insist on inflicting us with countless cards of Clayton Kershaw and Bryce Harper, all while laughing manically and rolling around in big piles of cash.

OK, so that wasn’t as quickie as I thought, but I never know how much I have to say until I’ve said it.

Have a good Sunday, everybody! Get in your Olympics while you can…

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3 thoughts on “2016 TSR: Beltran, Vedder, And Thoughts On Top-Heavy Checklists

  1. I understand the image availability thing if they only use Getty Images and others like it. However, I still think it’s rather lazy on their part especially when they release so much product with the same exact photo.

    Really change won’t happen until people top buying. Until then they can continue to flood the market with Harper/Bryant, etc and count money.

  2. Similarly, I think of Eddie Vedder first as a comparison point in another song with a similar tone – Eddie Vedder by Local H: “If I was Eddie Vedder/Would you like me any better?”

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