SBD/July 12, 2017/Marketing and Sponsorship

Topps Quickly Sells Out Of Commemorative Aaron Judge Home Run Derby Cards

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Topps cards including pieces of event-used baseballs were cheaper than other cards
Topps yesterday afternoon "sold out of cards commemorating" Yankees RF Aaron Judge's Home Run Derby title, with prices of autographed cards ranging "from $280 to $3,000 each," according to Darren Rovell of ESPN.com. Other Topps cards had "pieces of the socks that Judge wore during the contest," which "sold for as little as $99 and as much as $1,500." Both "sold out in minutes, including a short period of time" where the Topps website crashed. Topps Dir of New Product Development & E-Commerce Jeff Heckman said of Judge's popularity, "I haven't seen anything like this. We thought the Cubs winning it all was the biggest deal. More people were trying to get on our site today than Game 7 of last year's World Series" (ESPN.com, 7/11). In N.Y., Zachary Ripple noted there are also other variants of Judge Topps cards that "include pieces of event-used baseballs, although those are a bit cheaper comparatively" to the sock-included cards (NYDAILYNEWS.com, 7/11).

GET READY FOR WHITE HOT SPOTLIGHT: ESPN.com's David Schoenfield writes after his win in the Home Run Derby Monday night, life for Judge in the immediate future will be "everyone wanting a piece of his time" (ESPN.com, 7/12). In N.Y., Joel Sherman writes Judge at the Home Run Derby was "like John and Paul, George and Ringo boarding that Pan Am flight for America."  Sherman: "The secret was out. This was not spin. This was not the publicity machine gone amok" (N.Y. POST, 7/12). In Boston, Michael Silverman writes, "Judge’s winning smile and genuine, nice-guy demeanor will play so, so well in the city that never sleeps." Even before he "demolished the field and dented the support beams of Marlins Park, Judge already was on his way to being crowned the face of the game" (BOSTON HERALD, 7/12). ESPN's Mark Teixeira said of Judge, "Being in New York and putting up the numbers he's putting up, hitting home runs 500 feet -- he can be called the face of baseball, and it's exciting" ("Baseball Tonight," ESPN, 7/11). In Honolulu, Dave Reardon writes under the header, "Judge May Be The Thrill Baseball Has Been Lacking" (HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER, 7/12). SiriusXM Radio's Evan Cohen said, “It's time to go all in on Aaron Judge." Cohen: "Have him do some sort of funny commercial with ... all the judges. Get him in a car with James Corden on CBS and let him do ‘Carpool Karaoke.’ Baseball, he is your guy, make him into something. Your sport absolutely needs him” (“Time to Schein,” CBSSN, 7/11).

COMMISSIONER'S SEAL OF APPROVAL? On Long Island, David Lennon writes Judge is the "readymade candidate" to become the face of MLB. Commissioner Rob Manfred yesterday said Judge is a "tremendous talent on the field, a really appealing off-the-field personality, the kind of player that can become the face of the game.” Lennon: "And just like that, Manfred swiped left on Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Mookie Betts, Buster Posey, Manny Machado and whomever else you might want to add to the debate" (NEWSDAY, 7/12). Manfred later in the day seemed to double down a bit, saying, "I don't think it's so important that people have a consensus that a particular player is the face of the game. I think the best thing we have going for us right now is the number and depth of young players that we have that can step up and bring excitement to an event like you saw (Monday) night” ("Baseball Tonight," ESPN, 7/11).

FISH OUT OF WATER: ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan said Trout is "still the best player in baseball" and asked, "Why have we forgotten him?" The Colorado Springs Gazette's Woody Paige noted Trout plays in Anaheim so "nobody sees him." Paige: "Judge is on the world stage in New York." ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne said if Trout played in N.Y., “he’d be the face of baseball” ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 7/11). ESPN's Bomani Jones said, "If Aaron Judge is the biggest star in baseball today, Mike Trout has to be furious." The N.Y. Daily News' Frank Isola replied, “He's on the West Coast, it doesn’t matter." Jones noted Judge is the "face of right now" and asked, "Is he going to be the face of anything by the time August comes around?" (“PTI,” ESPN, 7/11).

MANY FACES OF BASEBALL: In S.F., Bruce Jenkins writes MLB "seems desperate to revive its reputation as the 'national pastime,' and it’s looking for one face? That’s precisely the wrong path." Nothing "captures a fan’s attention like the long ball, and now we have Judge," who leads MLB with 30 home runs. He is "certainly the game’s hottest ticket at the moment." However, people do not need to "diminish the talents" of players like Trout, Harper, Marlins RF Giancarlo Stanton, Dodgers P Clayton Kershaw and Rockies 3B Nolan Arenado (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/12). Harper said, "Everybody talks about the face of baseball, but there are about 20 faces. This game is just growing and growing more and more, and if we as a unit -- as a team, as a union -- if we can spread this game on all continents,  all countries, everything like that, then we're doing just fine" ("MLB All-Star Game," Fox, 7/11).
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