Monday, September 14, 2009

Since When Was Mike Piazza the Godfather? or How Upper Deck Can Get Some Money Out of Me in 2010

Whether with the Dodgers or the Mets, Mike Piazza never seemed to shy away from the promotional side of the game. I can't count the times I saw a behind-the-scenes of the future Hall-of-Famer making a commercial or appearing at a photo shoot.

The above card comes from the artistically inclined Big Shots insert set from 1997 Collector's Choice Baseball. Here we have Piazza dressed like a young gun man for Don Corleone from The Godfather. A little bit odd but very cool in my books, it shows a different side of both the athlete and what baseball cards can be (minus the gawdy use of foil that comes this close to overpowering the entire card).

Perhaps more notable now is the fact that cards can indeed get around a lack of MLB license without having to opt for an airbrushed look. Other than the instantly recognizable player on the front and the unnecessary Dodgers logo on the top of the card, there's nothing that screams MLB.

Any sets that try to play it business as usual by airbrushing, distorting or skewing logos like Donruss has been doing I'm going to pass on from Upper Deck next year. It's as simple as that. My wish, and I've heard it from others too, is to get around the severed MLB relationship by simply acknowledging it. Don't try to hide the fact that they're not fully licensed by the teams. Baseball cards have always been a way for baseball fans to connect with the faces of the game. And that's exactly what this odd little card that holds little secondary value does for me.

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