Thursday, December 18, 2008

pencils down

Players: Larry Walker, Darren Daulton
Card: 1993 Fleer #715
Errors: Why aren't investigative reporters looking into the proliferation beer ads on baseball cards? Also, what is the connection between these two players? Marl...Marl...Marl-what?
You will have sixteen (16) minutes to complete the following questions. Each question will have only one correct answer. Be sure to color in the oval completely, without going outside the borders. Proctors cannot answer questions about this section of the exam.
You may begin.

1. Larry Walker's head is to Darren Daulton's head; as a golf ball is to:
a) A tennis ball
b) The Earth
c) A cement block
d) Domingo Ramos

2. Expos are to pterodactyls; as Seattle Pilots are to:
a) Bump Wills
b) The Kingdome
c) Washington (state)
d) The Colt .45's

3. Gold chains are to totally awesome; as Super Star Specials are to:
a) monolithic
b) dudical
c) inaccurate
d) Domingo Ramos

4. Darren Daulton's mullet is to business in the front, party in the back; as Darren Daulton's Robocop jaw is to:
a) I'll be back.
b) Holy cow!
c) The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!
d) All of the above.

5. Fleer is to gray borders; as MLB logos are to:
a) Script writing
b) Dotting i's with stars
c) Pinstripes do not make you look thinner
d) Misdirected Canadian patriotism

6. Larry Walker is to Darren Daulton; as Bert is to:
a) Ernie
b) Blyleven
c) rubber duckie
d) Domingo Ramos

Scoring: CS1-2

Thursday, December 11, 2008

see attached affidavit

Player: Fernando Valenzuela
Card: 1989 Upper Deck #656
Errors: Elvis lives! Is that a windshield on your face, or are you just happy to have corrected vision?
Count one: From on or about April 1989 to October 1989, the defendant FERNANDO VALENZUELA, did conspire to participate in a scheme to spread Fernandomania through means of Interstate Traffic, in violation of U.S. Codes 1345, 1886
Count two: From on or about April 1989 to October 1989, the defendant FERNANDO VALENZUELA did conspire or collude to highlight his package by wearing tighter than necessary pants, in violation of U.S. Code 36
Count three: From on or about April 1989 to October 1989, the defendant FERNANDO VALENZUELA attempted to received benefits of more than $13.88 in exchange for performing neighborhood acts including - but not limited to - performing as a Michael Jackson impersonator, rockin' the sweatband hardcore and Air Guitar tribute band, in violation of many, many U.S. Codes
I, Carl Willey, being a trained detective for the Federal Bureau of Baseball Card Investigations swear the following is a true and accurate depiction of events, as captured in a federal overhear.
On April 23, 1989, in a recorded conversation, VALENZUELA spoke with Dodgers Second Baseman 3 about the team's pitching rotation, which VALENZUELA was concerned about losing his spot on. VALENZUELA was concerned that he might be sent to the minor leagues or "some totally [redacted]-up [redacted] like that." Dodger Second Baseman 3 asked VALENZUELA how far he was willing to go secure his spot in the rotation. VALENZUELA assured Dodger Second Baseman 3 he would "not hesitate to [redacted] drop a [redacted]ing [redacted] bomb on his [redacted] [redacted] [redacted]."
In the background, Valenzuela Wife 3 can be heard, "[redacted] that (Dodger Manager 1). He's dead. [Redacted]ing dead."
Later in the conversation, VALENZUELA threatens to release a "can of Fernandomania" in Dodger stadium during the Air Guitar finals which he plans to compete in later that night. VALENZUELA said he knows that Dodger Manager 1 wants Minor Leaguer 8 for the spot in the rotation and he is upset because the team "is not willing to give me anything but appreciation. I believe this to be a supreme injustice after all that I have done for this organization through the years. It is simply unfair. Oh yes, and also [redacted] [redacted] [redacted]."
Scoring: 1-2

Thursday, December 4, 2008

reach out and touch someone

Players: (left to right) Tony Fernandez, Cal Ripken Jr., Alan Trammell
Card: 1988 Score #651
Errors: Good thing you mentioned that's Ripken Jr. - I thought it was his dad. What, no love for Kurt Stillwell? Alan Trammell's hand appears to be both behind and in front of Ripken - defying the laws of physics. Where's Tony Fernandez's left hand headed?
CV for Joe Pignatno
To integrate consumers' passion for America's past time with "underground" advertising that will increase exposure for high-quality brands with profit margins greater than 23 percent or a annual revenue projection in the top 14 percent of U.S. companies
Work experience
Integrated product technician, Score Baseball Card Co., 1987-1989
- As part of the design team, I helped to coordinate and select the set's trademark random color scheme which led collectors to increase time spent with each card by 45 percent in the first 3 months. Design also encouraged cross collecting that manifested in a 1.2 percent increase in pack sales.
- Assisted with the developed Score's "Super" collection which included multiple stars on one card (a 300 percent increase), with players posed in random manner that was non-threatening to consumers.
- Worked on Score's bubble gum transition team that moved the company from sugar-based inserts to small, collectible cards that included trivia and subliminal messages, leading to a 73.4 percent increase in sales to ADA-backed vendors.
- Implemented a lucrative contract with several Fortune 500 advertisers to sell space behind the heads of Major League baseball players. Ads reached target audiences with long-term growth potential and led to an 2.3 percent increase in brand visibility within the first 18 months.
- Served as lead negotiator with Winston Salem Tobacco Co., Budweiser and Hilltop Machine Gun Co., to integrate product messaging onto cards, increasing brand awareness by 16 percent in target demographic, young males 4-12.
- Other duties as assigned.

Unemployed 1986-1987
- Working on novel about Spanish American War's impact on the immigration of the American Tern. (unpublished)

High-value target interrogator, CIA, 1983-1985
- Worked to elicit information from individuals identified by the American government as enemy combatants.
- Assigned to Private Sector Partnering Team that infused pamphlets dropped on foreign soil with brand-based suggestions.
- Other duties as assigned.

Eastern Illinois University, lab assistant, 1982-1983
- Worked in English Composition tutoring labs, with a focus on 16th French poetry and the works of Emily Dickinson.

References available upon request.
Scoring: F6

Thursday, November 27, 2008

give thanks

Player: Mark Carreon
Card: 1991 Fleer #142
Errors: Players is In Action! Don't forget, card owners, to watch SportsChannel! Do you know why he's running to fast? He's being chased by Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones!
Stuff I Am Thankful For
an essay by That Guy in the Circle
I am thankful for baseball, the grand old game. It inspires me and comforts me. It keeps my summers full of happiness and joy. It gives me something to look forward to in the long, cold winters.
I am thankful for the Arizona sun, which keeps my ripped, bodacious body tanned and smoking - something the ladies are very thankful for. Thank you, ladies.
I am thankful for white shorts, which not only show off my buns and my Satchel Paige, but keep me cool and relaxed. Thank you, white shorts.
I am thankful for late inning blowouts in spring training and lazy ushers, who allow me to slip up to the front row, into the $22 seats. Suh-weet. Thank you, ushers.
I am thankful that I was there. I was there to witness Mark Carreon scoring a meaningless spring training run when some not-ready-for-the-big-leagues outfielder momentarily bobbled the ball. Thank you, outfielder.
But, most of all, I am thankful that Fleer hired photographers with deep focus lenses who could perfectly capture This Place, This Event, This Moment. How would my many, many future children believe it happened without you, Fleer photographer? Thank you, future kids.
So, yes, I am thankful for a lot of stuff.
Scoring: 3U

Thursday, November 20, 2008

a word from our sponsors

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