Player: Robin Yount
Card: 1992 Fleer #708
Errors: The player appears in this painting to have the neck of the giraffe, the hair of the lion and the flat brim of the elderly grandfather. Beware, Mr. Yount there are a lot of balls coming your way.
Comments: Ladies and gentlemen, readers of all ages, we here at Uglee Card Industries (subsidiary of Uglee Card Inc., wholly distributed by Uglee LTD.) would like to take you behind the scenes of our operation, so you can know better some of the people who put our fine quality Uglee products, including Uglee mustache combs, Uglee painting kits and Uglee brand hot pants.
Pretty much every Thursday, Uglee readers are treated to some of the best in ugly baseball card analysis, insight and overreaching metaphors. But the finished product that appears magically through the American Internet is actually the end result of an intense, seven-day process of evaluating inventory, plotting scripts and screening for accuracy.
To help you understand the process, some of the Uglee upper management agreed to a behind-the-scenes look at this week's selection of the Robin Yount 1992 Fleer card.
We started at the Uglee World Headquarters, located on a street probably much like your street, in a building probably very much like your building or at least like one you've seen on TV. Just minutes after last week's difficult work on the Len Randle Project was completed, a company-wide meeting was called to scan the Uglee inventory.
From this stock, the 14 project managers each made his or her pitch for next week's feature, outlining the pros and cons.
Line editor Herb Moford was behind a 1980 Topps Gene Richards card - accenting Richards' unusual hair and batting stance. He was ultimately voted down.
"There's a lot of give and take here," Moford said. "Although I haven't gotten a card through since the February John Smiley Edition, my editors encourage me to keep trying. I won't let them down."
By Saturday, the team had narrowed the choices to two promising cards: the Fleer Yount and a 1991 Donruss Carlos Quintana.
Teams were then sent out to research the player's backgrounds, contact former lovers and root through legal records, trying to dig up anything that can be used in the final piece. Design specialist Bob Moorhead was on the Quintana team, which focused primarily on the player's unusual positioning and a chain that dangled out of his jersey.
"This is stressful work, but very rewarding," Moorhead said. "We can get into some pretty nasty fights. But it makes the final product stronger and not just a bunch of jokes about cup size."
Monday morning, managing editor Joe Ginsberg called both teams into the Uglee board room/cafetorium to hear arguments from both teams. Many times, the pitches made at these meetings become the focus for the final product. Other times, they are simply the launching point for more involved oeuvres or homages. Once, there was a pastiche.
This week, Ginsberg ultimately went with the Yount Team.
"They brought a lot more to the table," Ginsberg said from his desk, as he snacked on some Big League Chew provided for free in Uglee vending machines. "The Yount card gave us a lot more to work with. You can go (with the) hippie thing. You can make him part of the first outer space baseball league. We've got room to roam."
The next 48 hours were the most intense for the Uglee Editorial Dept. A round-the-clock team of 18 writers worked tirelessly on drafts of cards. Willard Hunter is the veteran of the group. Hunter, a former Marine and writer for the Caroline in the City, is known affectionately by the other writers as "Cow Butt." But despite the nickname, Hunter is not known to pull punches when it comes to quality. At a recent meeting, he attacked another writer's first draft.
"You call this work!" Hunter screamed. "I could write better Yount material on my death bed! Think, you moron!"
This week's inclusion of a Hall of Fame player left several writers intimidated by the scope and breadth of their project. Still, the best writers seemed to thrive under the adversity. At one point, the power went out in the building and two writers retreated to their cars, using cigarette lighters to power their lap tops.
By Wednesday, a draft was ready to be turned over to the Uglee Standards, Ethics and Quality Department. The copy editors gathered in a room that seems small, but is actually quite large. Here, former New York Times columnists and ex-novelists went over, line by line, each word of the Yount Project. At the same time, in a rather large but tiny room, Uglee ethicists debated the merits of certain aspects of the copy. While it may seem trivial, this can be one of the most crucial parts of the process. In the past, the ethicists were responsible for the controversial, though ultimately successful, no-big-ear-jokes push, which some experts believe may have saved Uglee industries somewhere in the vicinity of $10 billion in just three months.
This week, a heated debate broke out on the Yount Project, centered around the centerfielder's unusual hair. In the end, Chief Ethicist Sammy Taylor argued powerfully that Kant's theories on dependent beauty (which presupposes what beauty should be) validated the basic theory behind the criticism of the card, but not the critique of Yount's hair.
"If we allow ourselves to stick solely to examinations of locks, I feel that we will post nothing but 1970s Atlanta Braves epics and Jeff Reardon tomes," Taylor argued. "We're all better than that, I believe."
Finally, at 11:59 a.m. Thursday, the Yount Project is ready to go to print. A monkey trained by former major leaguer Danny Tartabull pushes the button, and the post is published to the waiting world.
We hope you enjoyed your glimpse behind the curtain at Uglee Card Industries (subsidiary of Uglee Card Inc., wholly distributed by Uglee LTD.). The future seems bright for the company, which hopes to open copyright infringement and proof reading departments in the next six months.
In the meantime, enjoy this week's Uglee card analysis. As they say at the world headquarters: "It may be Uglee, but it's still a home run to us!"
Scoring: PO 8-3