March 13, 2007
Sportflics Division: 7. 2007 Reds
vs. 10. 2006 Cubs
Scoring: The two cards go head-to-head in each of the eleven categories, with the victor of each category winning a point. Extra points available where noted.
• Teamwork Extra points for symmetry (even if entirely coincidental)
• Coach Attire Extra points for eccentricity and/or coordination
• Floating Heads Extra points if heads constitute borderline religious experience
• Card Design
• Photo Quality
• Number of Players
• Special Notation of Futility
• World Champions
2007 Reds (7) vs. 2006 Cubs (10)
Teamwork: The 2007 Reds are almost the ultimate in symmetry. They may present themselves like a wall of big red meanies, but there’s a hole—and it’s right in the front row. Everyone got the memo to clasp their hands in their lap, except the guy up in the right corner. Whoops. Jesus, even the sunlight is symmetrical. And I thought Marge Schott was in Hell… The Cubs aren’t symmetrical, but what the hell. At least they could’ve worked together to bribe the photographer to come a little closer. 2007 Reds: 3 points | 2006 Cubs: 1 point
Coach Attire: These newer team cards are really lacking in the Coach Attire department. Seeing as how most of the managers and coaches were once former players, and how there’s some policy against including trainers, batboys, front office, hot dog hawkers and men’s room attendants in the photos now, it’s hard to pick out who’s the bullpen catcher and who’s calling the shots. 2007 Reds: 0 points | 2006 Cubs: 0 points
Uniforms: If I’ve got one problem with the newer Reds home uniforms, it’s that they’re harking back to too many different eras. Why can’t they just be white with red sleeves and a red cap? Why do they have to have red pinstripes? And numbers on the front? At least with the Cubs you know what you’re getting: white home unis with a red and blue C. 2007 Reds: 1 point | 2006 Cubs: 2 points
Background: The Cubs are almost one with the background in this shot. They do score 2 points for the bleachers and ivy of Wrigley. As for the Reds, The Great American Ballpark is nice, though you’d never know it in this shot. It’s pretty stock and standard. But I’ll be damned about that symmetrical sunlight. That’s almost too good to be true. 2007 Reds: 3 points | 2006 Cubs: 2 points
Personnel: 2007 Reds: Arroyo, Dunn, Smilin’ Ken Griffey, Jr.… 2006 Cubs: Baker, Alou, Nomar, Maddux, Wood, A-Ram... 2007 Reds: 2 points | 2006 Cubs: 2 points (where’s Mark Prior?)
Card Design: The new 2007 Topps cards really don’t do too much for me, but the black borders and little boxes work well for this team card. I’m a fan of black and red. 2 points awarded. The Cubs card is from the 2006 Heritage set and is based on the 1957 Topps design. 3 points awarded. I like the players’ names on the front, and the lack of a black band anywhere. 2007 Reds: 2 points | 2006 Cubs: 3 points
Photo Quality: The Reds photo is thoroughly professional. I can almost see five or six photo assistants with light diffusers standing behind the camera. I don’t know what to say about the Cubs photo, except that the photographer probably won’t be back next year. 2007 Reds: 2 points | 2006 Cubs: 1 point
Number of Players: I count 37 Reds and 43 Cubs…holy crap. 43 Cubs! Now I see why they were photographed so far away. Cubs in a landslide. 2007 Reds: 1 point | 2006 Cubs: 3 points
Total Score: 2007 Reds: 14 points
2006 Cubs: 14 points
After regulation, it looks like we’ll have to decide this one on the Intangibles once again. Each card has something about them that, upon closer examination, makes them what they are. The Cubs have won the coin toss and they elect to go first.
Because the team was photographed so goddamn far away means no black band across the front row to block out the batboy. So that means that either the fella crouching off to the left is a honest-to-goodness Cubs batboy (one of Baker’s eldest?), a bullpen catcher, or just a guy who likes to crouch. I’m not sure, but for hope’s sake I’m going with batboy. And that’s what’s most awesome about this card: the world couldn’t enjoy another incompetent Topps design because of the work of an incompetent photographer.
The Cincinnati Reds have been a facial hair-less team since before the ice age. And despite them constructing a near-perfect cheerleader pyramid of symmetry, I can count more than one face with facial hair. And while it doesn’t exactly make me like the card less, I feel like if the team wants to abandon the straight-laced conservativeness that is Cincinnati, they ought to either all have huge beards or they can just forget it. So the intangible for this card is actually a negative, because the more you look at the perfect trapezoid of Cincinnati Reds, the more problems you notice. Too bad.
2006 Cubs: 3 points | 2007 Reds: -1 point
I was really pulling for the Reds, but you can’t deny a little thing called sheer incompetence.
Total Score: 2007 Reds: 13 points
2006 Cubs: 17 points