Here are two true yet opposite statements:
Baseball games are incredibly entertaining.
Baseball games are excruciatingly boring.
Which of those statements you apply at any given time is a result of what happens on the field, of course, especially if you're one of the fortunate forty of fifty thousand people who happen to be in the stadium on game day.
But what about the millions of others watching on television?
Well, much of the entertainment—or boredom—is a direct result of how the broadcast team calls the game. And if you're a baseball fan, you're probably thinking of some examples on both ends of the spectrum right now. I know there are some broadcasters I sorely miss, while there are others whose play-by-play style makes me wonder how they've held their position for so long.
One current broadcast team on the positive end of the spectrum is based in Queens, New York, calling games for the New York Mets: Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling. (Also known as GKR.)
If you aren't familiar with the trio and their brand of commentary and humor, here's a video that you might enjoy:
Keith: Well I either gotta have the almond milk or the coconut milk, because it's non-dairy.
Gary: You have a lactose issue?
Keith: No, I do not. I just don't do dairy anymore unless it's a half-pint of ice cream...
Although I am a native New Yorker, I don't claim allegiance to the Mets or Yankees. But I will say that I enjoy the way Gary, Keith, and Ron call games. And recently a Mets fan named Josh (imccards on instagram) contacted me with a request to design a custom card featuring the trio. I told him I'd be up for it, and over the next few weeks we emailed back and forth, discussing and collaborating as I worked on the design. Here's the result:
I think the marquee style of the 1972 Topps design works very well for a TV broadcaster card. Additionally, one of the color combinations in the 1972 set was that same blue and orange, which works perfectly for the Mets.
The card back features a brief informational section for each member of the broadcast team, also done in similar style to the original 1972s. But note the "1a" designation at the end of the card number.
It's there because Josh had an idea to do a few short-printed parallels using some of the other color combinations from the 1972 Topps set. He asked if I could design a different card back for each short print, as well. Here's what I came up with:
First we've got the orange SP, hand-numbered /30. The card back features some information about the three stadiums the Mets have called home since their beginnings in 1962. I reversed the colors on the card back to help set the short prints apart from the base card. (Also, check out the center field depth at the Polo Grounds. Wow.)
Next on the scarcity scale is the green SP, hand-numbered /20. Fan favorite Mr. Met appears on the back. This one is my favorite of all the card backs.
And finally we've got the mint SP, scarcest of all, hand-numbered /10. The card back is done in the style of a vintage Mets advertisement sponsored by Rheingold Beer, which for quite a while was the official beer of the New York Mets.
The most exciting news, as you can see by the photos, is that these cards are not just digital. I've already had them printed out, and they're listed in my eBay store.
I wasn't sure how the short prints would do, but so far Mets fans and card collectors have responded favorably. Here's the rundown at the time of this writing:
Orange SP: 4 sold, 26 remaining
Green SP: 6 sold, 14 remaining
Mint SP: 3 sold, 7 remaining
Hopefully they continue to do well. Thus far, two collectors have even purchased the whole rainbow in one shot!
So here's to Gary, Keith, and Ron. May they continue to entertain Mets fans for years to come.
Now here are two questions for you:
(1) How do you feel about your favorite baseball team's current group of broadcasters? Thumbs up or thumbs down?
(2) If I were to create an all-time broadcaster version of this card, who would be on it? My first idea for the trio is Vin Scully, Mel Allen, and Harry Caray. But there are quite a few legends to choose from. Bob Uecker, Joe Garagiola, Phil Rizzuto, and Jack Buck are just some examples.
Share your answers in the comment section, and thanks as always for reading!