Monday, June 2, 2014

#M-22 Swinging Friar (San Diego Padres)

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:


Information I’ll be tracking:

Card Number: #M-22
Player Name: Swinging Friar
Team: San Diego Padres
Position: Mascot
Game Date: July 14, 2013
Opponent: N/A
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
Bats/Throws: 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.  

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