Harris is a well-known polling company here in the United States. They take America's pulse on a variety of subjects too -- everything from people really not trying to become more energy efficient at home to an increasing sentiment that some books should be banned completely (which is terrifying to me) to the still-strong belief (61% of people) that the death penalty should be used in some circumstances.
But I am not here to talk about politics. Frankly, I have strong opinions on a lot of issues, but most of those opinions relate to sports and our hobby. In particular, I have been pretty strong in my calling out Topps for its abominable distribution of cards within sets. In particular, I have railed in the past about how Topps will jam as many Yankees as it can into a particular year's cards -- whether in inserts, parallels, or straight-up base cards -- at the cost of ignoring the "smaller" markets or teams such as the Tigers, the Twins, the Indians, and my Brewers. Note that all of those teams are Centrally located...there's a theme there too.
Harris, though, has been tracking America's Favorite Major League Baseball teams among all adults who follow baseball since 1999. Yes, the Yankees always do well in this poll, and the Red Sox have finished second every year since 2009.
But here's the thing that is interesting: check out number 9 both this year and last year: the Minnesota Twins. Who's that in 13th place in 2013 and 2014 and now in 10th? The Cleveland Indians. Looking at 5th in 2013, 6th in 2014, and 5th again in 2015? There's the Detroit Tigers. And, look at #8 last year and #13 this year -- the Milwaukee Brewers. Ahead of the Mets, ahead of the Orioles, and ahead of the Nationals too.
How did the card world look from Topps's perspective last year? According to Beckett, there were 6918 Yankees cards from Topps last year, 6546 cards of the illegally snooping St. Louis Cardinals, 4984 cards of the Mets, and 3517 cards of the Washington Nationals....and 3318 Milwaukee Brewers cards. To be fair, that's still a lot, but when there are literally more than twice as many Yankees cards as Brewers cards -- indeed, of current teams, only the Marlins, the Twins, and the Padres had fewer (and, if you add the Florida Marlins to the Miami Marlins, then the Marlins move ahead of Milwaukee also).
This is not a one-year fluke, either. In 2013, Topps issued 6726 cards with Yankees players on them, 5282 with Cardinals, 3232 with Twins, and 2670 with Brewers. Of active teams, only the Houston Astros had fewer cards issued in 2013, as their players appeared on 2226.
2012 was different, as the Brewers were coming off a first place finish in the NL Central and an NLCS loss in 6 games to Satan's Messengers on Earth. That year, Milwaukee appeared on 3068 cards issued by Topps -- good enough for 12th overall and about 100 behind the 3rd-place-in-the-Central-finishing Cincinnati Reds. The Yankees stood at 6014.
But come on, Topps -- look at which teams are supported by their fans and create cards accordingly. Just because you are in the Yankees backyard shouldn't mean that you only serve the East Coast or that you should only print cards of teams you perceive to be popular. I get that you are a business, but you are also a monopoly in terms of licensed products. In that position, you need give up some autonomy and serve the greater good.
And, I don't mean that you should compensate with more "wall art" money grabs. People from Milwaukee are smarter than that. No, really -- we know grammar and everything, unlike your New York-based staff, apparently:
Seriously, though, that's a low blow. But, we are not ones to want to feel taken advantage of or, worse, being ignored.
And that's where we are, really -- Topps puts Brewers cards in packs because it is contractually obligated to do so. But if Topps wants to grow sales, shouldn't it be tracking who the popular teams are and issue cards accordingly?
One would think that should be the case.
Thanks for reading. After being away from the blog for a few days with sorting and organizing and, then, networking, for some reason I felt it was time for my yearly bitching about Topps post.
Fun stuff will return tomorrow (or over the weekend)!