Friday, March 13, 2015

If There's a Will, There's a Way

Surely by now everyone on the planet has heard about Will Ferrell's publicity stunt yesterday, playing all 10 different positions (DH as a position is weird to this NL fan) for 10 different teams in the Cactus League to raise money for cancer research.  Thankfully for me, one of those teams was the Cubs:

Courtesy of the official MLB Facebook account

MLB has made a few of these card mockups for when players change teams and so they used it to create virtual cardboard for each one of Ron Burgundy's 10 stops.  I really wish that MLB would release physical copies of these, even if they were severely small print runs and extremely over-priced.

Obviously, since this was only spring training, I don't need to add MegaMind to my CATRC.  They just need to exist in real life; I want to be able to hold this in my hand!

Also - Topps - we know how much you love insert sets.  I'm just sayin', this might be good source material for Series 2.  We collectors would go absolutely crazy for a set like that.

Take a lesson from Strat-O-Matic - they have their act together.  Strats has gone ahead and already produced their own card for Jackie Moon:

 Courtesy of the Strat-O-Matic Twitter feed

Your move Topps!  Or Panini, I guess, but I'd much rather see these with actual MLB logos.

Regardless, it was an absolute riot watching Buddy play first base, take an at-bat and even coach third base for the North Siders:

 I think they might pick up on that Lord Business...

Now, this isn't actually Ricky Bobby's first dalliance with professional baseball.  In 2010, Will unofficially took the mound for the Round Rock Express "incognito" as one Rojo Johnson.  It was quite the riot:

With the state of the Astro's roster at the time, it's a wonder they didn't try this sort of stunt at the MLB level to try and get butts in the seats.

Now, of course, Minor League Baseball wasn't going to let a gimmick like this go without some memorabilia to peddle; i.e. a bobblehead and this baseball card produced by Multi-Ad:

Courtesy of Beckett Online; I'm not nearly lucky enough to land this slice of awesome

This gem appeared in the their PCL Top Prospect set.  Unfortunately, this blue-chipper never got the call and this card is rather rare.  I have not seen this card pop up on any of the normal sources.

Nothing about this or yesterday's stunt was normal.  That said, it's not unprecedented to have a celebrity make official appearances in spring training games.

Garth Brooks (or was it Chris Gaines?) was a recurring character in training camps, making extended appearances with the Padres, Mets and Royals from 1999 - 2004.  Tom Selleck took an at-bat with the Tigers when filming Mr. Baseball in 1991.  Kevin Costner played shortstop, went 0-3 and even made an appearance on the mound for the single A affiliate of the Mariners when they played their parent club in 2002, etc. etc..... it's not nearly as rare as one might think.

One of these indulgences was even immortalized on card-stock, a card I was lucky enough to pick up from a local garage sale:

 I actually own this one!

On March 13, 2008, the Yankees signed the 60 year old, lifelong Yankee fanatic to a one-day contract and let him lead off a game against the Pirates as the DH.  Facing future Cub Paul Maholm, Billy managed to make contact once (a foul ball up the first base line), but eventually struck out on six pitches.

It didn't take a Crystal ball to predict that Billy wouldn't make the team.... Zing!

Thankfully, TriStar realized that something as fun as this needed to have a baseball card and included the above beauty in their 2008 Projections set.

I bet Paul never thought he'd have to face Mitch Robbins at the plate

This is why baseball is so much fun; anyone can play.  After all, Will didn't look so bad fielding the ball in the outfield or on the mound.  Garth Brooks actually got a legit base-hit or two.  Rick Reuschel was actually considered a professional athlete!  Ok, that last one might have been a cheap shot on my part.

Plus, regardless of NFL (No Fun League) legend John Madden's opinion, baseball doesn't take itself too seriously.  What's the harm of letting personalities on the field for good causes or even just for good entertainment?  They've been pulling these sorts of publicity stunts since the days of Eddie Gaedel and Pete Gray.

In summation, here's hoping that Chazz Michael Michaels' exploits raises a truckload of money for cancer research and also gets the attention of the good people at Topps.  Such quirks are weaved into the fabric that is America's pastime and should thusly be represented on baseball's unofficial historical records.

Again, your move Topps!

1 comment:

  1. Ooooh! I must own a copy of that Will Ferrell PCL Prospects card!