For all the gas about the Jeter card in the past week, the verifying of its existence is nothing new. In fact, if you’ll allow me to go all crazy-conspiracy-theorist for a second like I’m prone to do, you could even say it’s the best thing that could’ve happened to Topps since Alex Gordon slipped into those Wal-Mart boxes last year.
Think about it: if you’re Topps, you announce your new design in November, then hear it from the critics and fans for a few months until you announce the release date (originally early February). Then, when the release date is inevitably pushed back and the world is suddenly gung-ho about Spring Training—and you still haven’t put your product into wide release--a great big ol’ bouquet of fun PR breaks through. One of the cards in your set may actually be fun (imagine that!).
So while it reads to the public that your card designers wanted to add to the irreverent nature of the pursuit of baseball cards (and/or were smoking peyote on the job and hate your corporate boardroom culture), you at Topps see a PR bonanza, a way of keeping the public eye on the product just in time for wide release. Plus two great bonuses, if you’re Topps: a chase card within the regular set and nobody’s talking about Upper Deck.
I find this whole thing fascinating. I want baseball cards to be fun, but the purist in me, who appreciates the time and effort that goes into allowing a card to truly slip through as an ‘error’, thinks what the Topps designers did on the Jeter card is awful. Baseball cards are not their glistening white subway cars, waiting for their spray paint…unless that spray paint is going to do some poorly-done airbrushing. Then I’m all for that.