Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Oh, Those Wacky Topps Guys

Just when you thought baseball cards had plummeted from the interest level of all Americans, comes the news that Derek Jeter's Topps 2007 card has photoshopped images of Mickey Mantle and George Bush in the crowd.

NEW YORK -- As President Bush smiled and waved from the stands and Mickey Mantle looked on from the dugout, Derek Jeter swung his bat. Talk about pressure.

The game never happened, though. It was just someone's idea of a visual gag -- pulled off in a recent Topps baseball card through digital manipulation.

"Somewhere in between the final proofing and its printing, someone at our company -- and we won't name names -- thought it would be funny to put in Bush and Mantle," said Clay Luraschi, a spokesman for Topps in Tuesday's edition of the New York Daily News.

The president's image is superimposed on the picture, while whoever played the trick took some time blending Mantle into the background of Jeter's card, No. 40 in the set.

Luraschi said that the gag was discovered during proofing of the card, but that it was already in the set. "We couldn't do anything but laugh," he said.

As if anyone collected baseball cards anymore (a fate the industry brought on itself after rampant proliferation of cards and inserts and subsets and chrome versions and other cheap gimmicks). The fact that Topps knew about this issue months ago and only released the information now (as the cards are being released) seems to indicate it was a deliberate move to garner publicity. Couldn't they have photshopped someone more appealing?

And yes, I'm a jealous unskilled Photoshop hack.