Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The curious case of Scott Kazmir


I received my latest order from Just Commons Card Barrel this afternoon, and the card you see above was one of the most anticipated pieces of my purchase.

On the surface, it doesn't look like anything special -- nothing more than a new base card of an aging pitcher in Scott Kazmir. But if you dig a little deeper, I'd say that this one seemingly insignificant piece of cardboard sums up almost everything that has gone haywire at Topps HQ as of late.

First off, there is absolutely no reason Scott Kazmir should be getting a card in Series 2. He didn't pitch at all in 2017 due to injury and was released by the Braves in spring training of this year (he's still unsigned). It's even more strange when you consider the fact that Kazmir never played a game for the Braves. So in other words, Topps photoshopped a guy into a uniform which he never actually wore (and not a particularly good photoshop job, to boot).

Now, I admit I wanted this card, but that's because I'm a weirdo who collects things like this. I'll be the first to acknowledge that this isn't something that should exist in the first place. Series 2 was plagued with guys who hadn't played in a single game in 2018. You know I love my sunset cards, but those should be for Series 1, if anything. Series 2 should chronicle big-league rosters as they stand at the beginning of each respective season.

There are several possibilities as to how this card came into existence at all, none of which are particularly pleasing. Perhaps, a) Topps finalized their Series 2 checklist too early to remove Kazmir. My answer to that would be to push back the set's release date so you don't have screw-ups like this. Or maybe, b) Topps knew Kazmir was in the checklist and neglected to do anything about it, which I don't think I have to explain why that's scary.

And just when you thought the madness ended there...




...we have the back of this fascinating piece.

Check out that 2017 stat line: "Did Not Player -- Injured." Wait: Did Not Player?  PLAYER? If you need a proofreader, Topps, I'm open to job offers. (Only half kidding.)

From what I've seen, 2018 seems to be an especially horrid year for Topps typos. I've seen many discussed thus far, though none as egregious as the back of Brandon Marrow's (sic) Living Set card. Quality control in general seems to be way down this year, sacrificed for the need of getting the cards to the streets ASAP (and that's saying nothing about the fact that Topps still hasn't fixed the collation issues I've had in years past).

I'm not saying any of these problems are new. Of course Topps has had typos, odd player choices, etc. sprinkled throughout their sets in years past. I've just never seen it all so (im)perfectly coalesce into one card before. And it doesn't look particularly good given Topps's recent charges of laziness and apathy.

Especially when that laziness comes while you have a monopoly on the industry.

12 comments:

Mike said...

They need you on the case,boy!

The Shlabotnik Report said...

I have dutifully flagged this card as a "want", if only because I took a look at the photoshop job and said "Hell, I can do better than that".

The 2017 Stat line text is obviously a reference to the Joe Walsh album "The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get".

John Miller said...

You're right, and in addition to the "over-sights" above, there are "2" #365's, and 564's for the missing 364 and 565. There are no Correct versions. I will commend Topps on putting in the Glyber Torres and Ronald Acuna photo variations in the complete base set (I needed them).

P-town Tom said...

If someone wanted to build a case to persuade MLB to hand out another license, then Topps is making it easy on them.
Unfortunately, I read somewhere that there was an under the table type agreement made and Topps has secured the only MLB license for the foreseeable future. Sigh.

night owl said...

gcrl posted about this card on "cards as I see them" a couple of weeks ago. Mistakes happen. But the sheer number over the last decade or so shows where Topps believes its bread is buttered and it sure ain't buttered on the back of a baseball card.

RAZ said...

I was thinking for sure that Scoot Kazmir had been playing this year. Turns out I was thinking of James Shields. They did play together for a few years with Tampa Bay, but I don't know why that would make me mix them up. Maybe I should get a job producing baseball cards.

Fuji said...

Topps should pump the breaks. Reduce the number of product releases and insert sets among those products. And release quality products. I will always be a Topps fanboy... but it's they're traveling down a slippery slope that might end up chasing people away.

GCA said...

Well at least the two missing numbers aren't as bad as the total botch job on three of the insert sets last year. Not that I've even tried to see any of the inserts this year (nor will I) but I'm guessing there aren't such huge glitches...
This is your innovation from exclusive contracts....wooo

Brett Alan said...

As Calvin once said, verbing weirds language.

Amy said...

I know no one on here probably cares about MLS but if you want to see a particularly ridiculous amount of Topps negligence, pick up a pack of Topps MLS 2018. Multiple teams had blank boxes where their crests were supposed to be on the front of the cards. Not even with any rhyme or reason. Some teams had some cards where the players had the crest and some where they had no crests. Zach Loyd was photshopped (poorly) into an Atlanta United Uniform despite literally playing one game for the team in 2017. (Did I mention this was a 2018 set)? They clearly did this to use up excess sticker auto inventory they had for Loyd (who is also no longer in the league) from 2015. The most egregious card though was a "Josef Villareal Orlando City" card. First off, there isn't a player named Josef Villareal - his name is Jamie and he barely plays for Orlando at all. The picture was of Jamie Villareal, but interestingly he has an autograph card that is affixed with the sticker of his brother JOSE Villareal (not Josef) who never played for Orlando and isn't in the MLS. So they put a picture of Jamie on a card and gave him his brother's name...except they screwed up his brother's name as Josef instead of JOSE.

Chris said...

I was just going to leave an all-caps shout comment THIS IS WHY WE NEED COMPETITION but then I read your last sentence. Monopolies cause good companies to make bad products. Errors happen (Topps made them when they weren't a monopoly) but this is just laziness.

Rosenort said...

This still isn't as bad as Lucroy with the Rockies for me, he already had a Topps Now card with the A's. Series 2 is just Series 1 part two, and Series one is just the final set of the previous year more or less. I wish Topps cared more about keeping up with current teams and less about cramming Omar Vizquel into very set.