While I wanted to raise awareness about the Jose Veras card, I never intended to take this long of a break from the blog. I think I made my point although now it’s up to Topps if they want to fix it. Moving forward, since it’s Monday, I’m going to throw another mascot out at you.
|#M-22 Swinging Friar|
First impression of what’s going on: I knew the San Diego Chicken wasn't the San Diego Padres mascot. And I knew the Padres had a monk/friar swinging a bat in their logo. And I've seen the “live” mascot before. But I don’t think I ever knew he went by the Swinging Friar moniker. The photo itself is pretty good, as is the crop job. The guy in the background is probably a mascot escort or chaperon or event staff or whatever it is they call them at Petco Park.
But wait. Are they in Petco Park? I think I see the top of another mascot right behind the Friar. It’s a little tough to tell, and if I hadn't just seen a card of his as well I wouldn't know it, but I think that is TC, the Minnesota Twins mascot behind him. Usually the Mascots don't travel to road games. Maybe the source photo will give me more info.
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 14: San Diego Padres Mascot, Friar, walks around during the 2013 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Citi Field on July 14, 2013 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Tim Clayton/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
The Reality of the Photo: My suspicions are correct, at least as far as Petco Park goes. The photo was taken at Citi Field (home of the New York Mets) during the All-Star Futures Game. A quick search on Getty Images for “mascot padres 2013’ netted more results for Mr. Met than our Swinging Friar. There seems to be a pre-game (hopefully, based on the empty stands) photoshoot for Mr. Met during a Mets/Padres series.
For those unfamiliar with the All-Star Futures game, it pits minor league prospects from the USA against minor league prospects from all of the other countries. It is played during the All-Star weekend. Check out the Wiki for more information. Team USA leads the overall series 9-6 since its inception in 1999, including the last four in a row. No word on who the Swinging Friar was rooting for.
There’s no conclusive proof of the trailing mascot being TC, but I think in the source photo, I can make out the Twins logo on his hat. Bernie Brewer’s mustache/hair make a cropped cameo in the source photo too. Here’s another photo proving that TC was there that day.
|Only the Phillie Phanatic has perfected the "Facebook Duckface" look.|
On to the back:
There’s no Rookie Fact on these as it has been replaced by the Identifying Feature.
Identifying Feature: Humble Attire
I guess tonsure is too much for a “kids” card? The blurb does refer to him as a holy man, but there aren’t any other religious references. No history lesson from Topps here.
This was all I could find on the Friar on the Padres official website and it was buried in the A-Z Guide:
"The Swinging Friar" is the official mascot of the San Diego Padres. This fun-loving character pre-dates the Major League Padres, first serving as the mascot for the Pacific Coast League Padres. He was chosen as the mascot in 1961 and has become a Padres fixture.
Information I’ll be tracking:
Card Number: #M-22
Player Name: Swinging Friar
Team: San Diego Padres
Game Date: July 14, 2013
Stadium: Citi Field (but normally Petco Park)
Division: National League West
Home/Away: Away (but almost always otherwise home)
Outcome of the game: 4-0, USA over World
Alternate/Throwback Jersey: N/A
Birthdate: Inanimately, 1961. Live action, 1996.
Birthplace: San Diego
Cameos by: Stadium Staff, TC (Twins Mascot)
Photographer: Tim Clayton
Niche collections this card could fit into: Cameos, Mascots, Awesome Hair
My Grade: Although you can’t see it in this picture, you know the awesome hair is there, so he gets credit. I think Topps did pretty well with the photo selection, especially given the lack of options. I wonder why there is a shortage of mascot photos on Getty Images?
I think 99% of the time you’ll see the mascot at their home stadium. I think it’s kind of cool that the Friar made the cross country trip for a special occasion. I’m going to give this card an A.