March 13, 2007

Sportflics Division: 5. 2006 Astros vs. 12. 1974 Pirates

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

2006 Astros (5) vs. 1974 Pirates (12)

Teamwork: The Astros get a point for fighting the urge to spread out across that mammoth expanse of empty seats. I’ll give them a point for an inventive use of symmetry, since the guy on either end of the third row looks out of place…but only until you realize that they both look out of place, and then it works. The Pirates get a point for looking rag-taggish and tough. They don’t get anything beyond that, though, because two guys in the back didn’t get the memo to cross their arms (Christ, even the batboy was in on it), and it doesn’t take a genius to line up your two gigantic guys on either end of the back row, like pillars. Instead they stick out like afterthoughts. 2006 Astros: 2 points | 1974 Pirates: 1 point

Coach Attire: Phil Garner looks about as spry as he did in his playing days, so I don’t even know if I should award the Astros a point for that. The Pirates clean up on this one, with Fredo from The Godfather without a cap all the way to the left, Elton John in a snazzy sportsuit all the way to the right, and a Red Auerbach wannabe, balding with hornrims in amongst the players. 2006 Astros: 1 point | 1974 Pirates: 3 points

Uniforms: Neither uniform is really all that inspiring. Oh, sure, the Pirates is a classic, and they get a point for that. I’ll also give them a point for the yellow hats, but that’s where this category ends. 2006 Astros: 1 point | 1974 Pirates: 2 points

Background: The Pirates are posed in Three Rivers Stadium, which sucks turf. And I don’t even think that’s a real phrase, but it’s quite descriptive in this instance. They might as well be out in a parking lot behind a warehouse. The Astros are caught somewhere between the ‘Real World’ and ‘The Matrix’. You know that scene where Neo and Trinity need to find machine guns and all these guns come zooming out of nowhere? Well, that’s where the Astros are, only replace ‘guns’ with ‘seats’. 2006 Astros: 2 points | 1974 Pirates: 0 points (nostalgia for 3 Rivers be damned)

Personnel: 2006 Astros: Clemens, Berkman, Biggio, Bagwell, Oswalt, Pettitte, Ensberg… 1974 Pirates: Stargell (HOF), Oliver, Sanguillen, Zisk, Hebner, Reuss, Murtaugh... 2006 Astros: 2 points | 1974 Pirates: 2 points

Card Design: Neither card excels in terms of design. In fact, I think both these cards succeed in their own ways despite their designs. If I had to choose a winner though, I’d go with the Pirates card. As much as I dislike the 1974 look, it is clean, to the point and not marred by various logos, foil-stamping and fake ill-begotten walls protecting the identity of whoever it is down there. 2006 Astros: 0 points | 1974 Pirates: 1 point

Photo Quality: Both get the job done. The Astros photo is obviously professional. The Pirates photo looks a professional lined them up and then hit the timer on his Instamatic. 2006 Astros: 1 point | 1974 Pirates: 1 point

Number of Players: I count 34 Astros, though again, because of the fake wall, that can’t stand as the official count. They could have fifty kids down there, or stacks and stacks of stolen dvd players, for all we know. For the Pirates, I count 33, and that’s including the hangers-on and the cross-legged batboy up front. 2006 Astros: 1 point | 1974 Pirates: 1 point

Total Score: 2006 Astros: 10 points
1974 Pirates: 11 points

It’s another first-round upset in the Sportflics Division as the 12th Ranked 1974 Pirates pull out a squeaker!

No comments: