This is not a baseball card blog. Josh Wilker writes a baseball card blog, and a very fine one at that. So I’m not intentionally treading into his end of the swimming pool. I just think this is interesting, and this space only exists for that reason, anyway. So here goes:
The Topps trading card company is, for all intents and purposes, the only game in town for baseball cards. They know this, and are very good at putting out multiple variations of the same product. The two cards above are an example of this. On the left, Matt Garza of the Chicago Cubs in the 2011 Cubs team set (I’m calling this the Fauxgarza because I like how it sounds). On the right, Matt Garza of the Tampa Bay Rays, from the 2011 Opening Day set (I’m calling this the Realgarza from here on). Matt Garza was actually on the Cubs’ roster on opening day, but never mind about that.
The runner leading off of first base was the giveaway that the same picture was used for both cards. The umpire was too, but I had to cover him up on the Realgarza card to make them both fit side by side. But you can see him on the left of the Fauxgarza card.
What Topps did–with the help of a computer program, I’m sure–is turn the Realgarza’s light blue jersey and cap (on the right) into the Fauxgarza’s dark blue jersey and cap (on the left), add a Cubs “C” on both places, and then (you can’t see this in the picture unless you look really close) add some blue stripes to the Fauxgarza’s pants (because the Realgarza’s pants are solid white). And nobody will ever know the difference, right?
This is the equivalent of green screen technology in the movies. Yes, I know dinosaurs weren’t really in Jurassic Park, and that Forrest Gump didn’t really meet JFK. They play visual tricks on the viewer all the time, and I have no problem with that. But the last Indiana Jones movie was just ridiculous, because I knew it was all greenscreened. I guess you just have to draw the line somewhere, even if it is on Matt Garza’s pants.