Welcome to a special edition of Football Friday. This week, I asked those of you who follow me on Twitter to send me a picture and story of the weirdest Rockies memorabilia you own, and you answered with some really great stuff.
Memorabilia is weird. I'm not saying it's bad—it is most certainly good—but a lot of it is fantastically odd. From attempting to capture current fads and trends to pairing famous movies with Rockies logos, memorabilia is more than just an attempt to create product based memories; it's a time capsule into the life and times of the era it was made.
The All-Star Game has sprouted some of the weirdest memorabilia throughout its history, including a bottle of wine, commemorative seat cushions, and a Mr. Potato Head. The Rockies All-Star Game was no different, and I received multiple submissions from that time.
The game was perfectly timed for some weird memorabilia to come out. Not only was it in the prime era of weird products, the late 90s, it was also placed at the pinnacle of Denver's coming out party to the world. Coors Field had been built for three years and the downtown reclamation had begun, the city was finding its legs as a real destination for many people in the country. Beyond that, the Broncos were defending Super Bowl champions, the Avalanche were two years removed from a title of their own, and all of the sudden the city of Denver was working to become a legitimate star on any road map. Flyover state, no more.
Take this from Purple Row staffer Tim Boettcher, a Beanie Baby acquired from the 1998 All-Star Game named "Glory".
Beanie Babies, for those that are 9-years-old and are too young to know, were one of several ridiculous product based fads in the 90's that promised collectability and future value. The hope in Beanie Babies wasn't that they'd be cool to look at or a good product, but that in 30 years collectors would search the Earth for their beautiful bear faces.
That didn't happen (At least not yet, so hold on to your Smudges the Dog for now.)
The trend created some funny stories and memories, such as this time a divorced couple went to court to determine how to split their bears, or this guy who sunk 100 thousand dollars into the fad hoping it would be a sound investment. Turns out, he could've spent $100k on 1999 Toyota Camrys and gotten off with at least a little less negative ROI.
The Rockies, who were hosting the All-Star Game for the first time, hopped right on the fad to give fans an extra reason to attend festivities with Glory. Glory is apparently USA themed and comes with a certificate of authenticity (so don't try and make your own).
Speaking of the All-Star game, loyal reader and follower Kyle Bishop sent me a picture of his brother's staff jacket from the All-Star Game.
Kyle's story is that his dad found it for his brother because his brother loves the color green, and the Rockies, and, hey, this worked. It's weird to think green used to be a widely used color around Coors Field. It was in the official logo of the stadium, even.
Inspired by these All-Star game catches, I found some more whacky crap from the '98 Midsummer Classic. Here's an envelope with the all-star logo on it, some all-star game earrings, a nylon Velcro wallet, and a coin bank shaped like a helmet. These are all things you would find in an abandoned house today and think to yourself, "how did this person convince the people they loved that they needed to purchase this? Did they buy it in secret and hide it for so long they forgot about it like I did when I bought the 98 Degrees album ‘And Rising'?"
But I'm so glad someone did buy it. I look at this stuff that should've probably found a massive fire in a landfill somewhere and I'm eternally grateful to the person that bought it. Without that Beanie Baby, without that jacket, without that freaking envelope, we'd be hard pressed to jostle loose the memories of that time.
Next up is one of my favorite things I received. Purple Dino Podcast host Tyler Maun sent me this, a poster from 1992 of the "Rockies first player" Ryan Turner.
What I know about Ryan is limited to two things: The email from Tyler and a piece Bryan Kilpatrick wrote here in 2013. I had never heard of Ryan Turner before I received this email and had long thought to myself that David Nied was the first Rockie. Obviously, I'm still technically right. Nied was the first Major League player the Rockies acquired, as they drafted him first overall in the 1992 expansion draft. But Turner is forever memorialized here in this poster:
Turner was signed out of Independent Bend shortly after the 1991 season after hitting over .300 that year, but he flamed out in Double-A, as so many prospects do, hitting only .195 in 1994.
Here in this poster is an image that never actually occurred, which might be why I like it so much. It's of Turner smashing a 400 foot YAWK out of Mile High Stadium with the title "Rockies First Player" below him. Turner never got to hit a ball with the Rockies, he never got to recreate this cool drawing, but he forever gets to live on this poster on Tyler's wall. It's funny how sports work sometimes, how cool a poster of a scene that never happened can be.
Purple Row editor Bryan Kilpatrick sent in a piece of memorabilia that I like a lot because, well, it's not your traditional memorabilia.
That's a bag of sunflower seeds—just a regular normal bag of sunflower seeds. Except these seeds are signed by former Rockies closer Huston Street. Here's Bryan's telling on how he acquired these seeds:
I attended a game in Salt Lake City in 2010 or 2011 when Huston Street was rehabbing with Triple-A Colorado Springs. I always sat by the visiting bullpen when the Sky Sox came to town because in the minors, it's really easy to converse with players during the game (though it's mostly between innings).
Anyway, during one of the between-inning breaks, Street was tossing bags of sunflower seeds out of a bucket to his bullpen teammates. The bag intended for, I believe, Edgmer Escalona sailed on Street, deflecting off of Escalona's hands and into mine (I was sitting in the front row, pretty much right next to Escalona, who was just on the other side of the waist-high wall). Everyone involved had a hearty chuckle.
After the game, I wished Street good luck, as he was heading back to the majors after that series. He replied, "enjoy the seeds," to which I responded "I'll probably enjoy them more if you sign them for me."
I tossed them back to him, and he obliged.
See, that's what is cool about sports. Bryan went to a game and took home a lifelong memory. He looks up at those sunflower seeds and gets to remind himself every day that cool moment when Huston Street signed a normal bag of sunflower seeds.
Street might not remember it, and that's okay. In the thousands of days Huston has spent playing professional baseball, the one time he signed a bag of sunflower seeds probably doesn't stick out. But that's really not what this is about, is it?
Memorabilia is to remember the small moments. Where you were when you bought it, the line you waited in to be one of the first 10,000 fans to get it, your dad having it on his desk before giving it to you, these aren't big moments in our lives but they're part of the journey. Sports aren't always about winning, at least not for fans, it's about the emotions, the memories, and the times the game made us happy. Memorabilia, especially weird and goofy memorabilia, helps us keep those times close.
Kyle and Tim sent me more cool stuff that I'll throw in here, including a brick from Coors Field that is white (I've never seen a white brick in Coors Field so this appears to be rare), a replica ring from the Rockies lone pennant in 2007, and a small knockoff neon sign that is Kyle's desk lamp, which of course requires a follow-up question: "Is there a Rockies knockoff market?" and if so, uhh why?
Thanks for sending me your goofy stuff, guys. If anyone has more, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and if it's weird enough, I'll put it in the column.
Please join the movement with me. Sports are weird, emotional, fun things. Let's have fun. Sports Are Fun 2016.
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With the memorabilia part taking up so much space, Good Opinion and Club Status are taking a week off, we've skipped to reader mailbag where I received one non-memorabilia relevant email this week.
Is Delaware real? Or is it a government conspiracy?
Jeff, I'm glad you asked.
Inspired by Greg Howard's Deadspin piece on conspiracy theories, I would like to bring forth my personal conspiracy theory that I created and believe in.
Delaware isn't real.
In 1765, the British passed the Stamp Act, an act that imposed a direct tax on the colonies that allowed the British to collect a great amount of money off the backs of the hard work of the American colonists. It can be argued that this act, along with many others leading up to it, was a direct cause of the American Revolution and the creation of the United States.
But by the time 1776 rolled around and the war was in full swing, American leaders realized they needed something to use against the British psychologically, a perceived strength and unity that could be used to to deceive British leaders into thinking the country was stronger than it was. This perceived unity could also help colonists who maybe were losing faith in the revolution and were maybe getting used to the Stamp Act. Like the way you get used to a 7:15 AM class in college.
The colonies on the Delaware River weren't as engaged in the revolution as much as some of the northern colonies like Massachusetts or New York. In fact, southern Pennsylvania still had many British loyalists running businesses and operating with an anti-revolution agenda.
So, it was simple, pretend there was another colony next to Pennsylvania. Unify the colonies behind this fake ass thing and scare the British into thinking there's another group of people ready to blow up their ships.
They called it Delaware. They even made it "the first state to ratify the Constitution" in 1783 to have a good laugh about their ruse. But now the prank had taken hold, people were proud of Delaware, some people even claimed to be from there to impress girls at bars.
Ever since, the United States has operated as though a state lies between Pennsylvania and Maryland, separating Philadelphia and the coast. We even claim our NFL stars went to school there, or that our Vice President served as a senator there.
But I don't believe the lies.
Have you ever actually met anyone from Delaware? I once rode a bus from New York City to Washington D.C. and they said we went through Delaware but to be honest, it just looked like another hour of south Jersey before we hit Baltimore. They could've easily lied.
Nobody I know can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt they were in Delaware. They can't create any physical evidence that I will believe is Delaware based. They simply can't do it.
Delaware isn't real.
Thank you, Jeff.
Has Connor Been Owned?
Each week, our team of investigators and officials here at Connor, Inc. will look into whether or not Connor was the victim of an "own". For the uneducated, an own is often a comeback or put down that renders the person speechless and unable to turn the conversation around. It's also described as a "serve" or "savage." I'm a medical miracle in that at no point in my life have I been owned by anyone online or in real life.
Here is what is being brought forth to the Committee of Owns this week as alleged evidence of my owning:
Twitter user azelt90 attempts to own me by attacking my good and correct opinion on Oreos here, but it is unsuccessful. We'll get to the committees ruling in a second, I just want to address the undeniable fact that Double Stuf Oreos are overrated and not as good as regular Oreos.
Regular Oreos are cookie perfection, the ultimate combination of crunchy chocolate exterior and fluffy delicious frosting, it's a perfect balance that tastes incredible when dunked in milk or even just eating dry. I had to stop purchasing Oreos because I would eat the entire bag in a night and ruin my week of workouts in one fell swoop. Satirical news site The Onion even once had a story about how a poor man from the fake state of Delaware lost half a sleeve of Oreos in a fire.
Double Stufs, on the other hand, upset the balance of crunchy cookie to soft frosting. There's a ridiculous amount of frosting in a double stuff. It's saying: "The cookie isn't as important as frosting." Total crap. The cookie and frosting share a 50/50 balance because of their equal importance. Double Stuf makes it about the frosting and forgets the true reason Oreos are good.
OG Oreos for life. Do not attempt to disagree.
Also the committee determined I was not owned in this instance. Thank you.