Disclaimer #1: Everything that follows is one man’s biased opinion based on his sick obsession that won’t go away anytime soon…
During the fall/winter, I’m a Green Bay Packers fan. During the fall/winter/early spring, I’m a Milwaukee Admirals fan. But YEAR-ROUND, I’m a Milwaukee Brewers fan. When the offseason begins – even during the excruciatingly slow times like right now – I’m counting down the days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training and I’m always on the edge of my seat, waiting to hear news on the player/coaching moves the team has made, updates being planned for Miller Park, events (like Brewers On Deck) that will help alleviate the pain of a grueling winter, and the reveal of the all-fan giveaways for the upcoming season. Specifically, the bobbleheads.
Disclaimer #2: The aforementioned sick obsession is my bobblehead collection. The current total is 360 (with that number growing soon, what with Christmas being just around the corner) and over 90 of those are Brewer bobbleheads. So….. my perspective is slightly skewed.
I cannot express how much I love the all-fan bobblehead giveaway reveal every offseason. Each year, it seems like they’ve been revealing it earlier and earlier. This year’s was crazy – it was done almost immediately after the World Series ended! You also gotta love the quantity of bobbleheads the Brewers put out every year. Only the San Francisco Giants compete with the sheer number that Brewers give away on an annually basis. That being said, the Brewers aren’t perfect with their bobblehead giveaway program.
Disclaimer #3: I am well aware that I am critiquing free toys being handed out by Major League Baseball’s most fan-friendly team (another bias) and this definitely falls into the category of "first world problems". Alas, I’m doing this anyways, but don’t worry – I’ll try not to be too harsh.
Now that I’ve let the full list of 2015 Brewers bobblehead giveaways settle into psyche and stew within my soul (in addition to recently hearing the news of the upcoming Bobblehead Museum and Hall of Fall in Milwaukee!), I feel now is the appropriate time to grade the all-fan bobblehead giveaways for the 2015 Brewers season:
HOLY CRAP! Talk about starting out strong! Coming completely out of left field (even though he was mainly a right fielder) is Rob Deer. The Mark Reynolds of the 80’s was a fan favorite and is definitely the #1 nostalgic pick on the list. It’s nice to see that this is a non-Yount/Molitor/Gantner/Cooper/Thomas classic Brewer choice and gives me hope that more off-the-wall picks like this (Teddy Higuera, Greg Vaughn, Dan Plesac, Jeromy Burnitz, Pete Vuckovich, Darryl Hamilton, Juan Nieves, etc.) can pop up in the years to come. My main concern is that they’re just going to use old Yount heads from previous giveaways and slap a "Rob Deer" label on it. Nevertheless, still an outstanding choice out of the gate!
Disclaimer #4: More a note than a disclaimer – there was a Pete Vuckovich bobblehead given away, but it was a mini one that was part of the ’82 World Series miniature series in 2007. I want a regular-sized Clu Haywood!
A solid pick and one that I foresaw happening in 2015. Wily was one of the three choices for last year’s Fan Vote (alongside Matt Garza and the winner Jim Henderson), so I figured he was guaranteed one this upcoming season. And I was right. Peralta took a big step forward this year as a player and definitely deserves immortality in the form of bobble. Not a surprising pick but a good one.
This was the first reveal where my initial response was "Really?". Don’t get me wrong – I love the adorable unofficial mascot of the Brewers as much as the next person, but they did just give away a "bobbleHank" last season. It does get some points for 1.) still being a unique bobblehead concept – how many times are you going to see an MLB bobblehead giveaway based on an actual living dog? – and 2.) accommodating the fans who weren’t able to get a "bobbleHank" last year – the demand for that cute little mutt was huge. But I still have an issue with the same giveaway multiple years in a row (even if he is probably going to be wearing a pink shirt and/or collar for Mother’s Day), so it’s getting knocked down a few notches because of that.
Another surprising one at first, but then I thought about it – why hasn’t there been a Selig bobblehead before? I mean, the timing is perfect with his retirement and all, but in retrospect, it seems like he should have been one of the first giveaways of its kind when they started doing them in 2001. Though he is a divisive personality, Bud is the man who brought baseball back to Milwaukee, so I will always have a special place in my heart for him (his daughter, on the other hand…). Nicely done.
Remember how I said I have an issue with the same giveaway multiple years in a row? This is the most glaring example of this crime against bobblehood. Like Hank, I love me some Gomez. Out of all the live games I went to last year, my favorite moment was when Go-Go struck out for the third time (with the two previous times ending with him swinging so hard, he fell on his ass) and got so mad at himself that he beat his helmet, which flew off his head, with his bat. I’m amazed he didn’t shatter it into pieces. But this giveaway just comes off as lazy. The regular one two years ago was nice – he had a breakout season. The Gold Glove one last year was awesome – he ended the drought! An All-Star one this year? Uninspired. I’ll still get it (because I get all of them, hence the sick obsession), but I’ll still hold my ho-hum feelings toward it.
The Ignitor has had two bobblehead giveaways – the mini one from 2007 and a regular-sized one… from 2003. He was one of the first ones ever given away. Twelve years will have passed since his last regular-sized bobblehead giveaway and I don’t know if you know this, but bobble technology has changed quite substantially. The early bobbleheads all had the body type of Carlos Lee and the faces only slightly resembled the actual player. Since the late 2000’s, bobblebodies are a better quality and the faces are more reminiscent of the actual player (not every contemporary bobble is great, though – I’m pretty sure the Craig Counsell and Zach Greinke are the same head mold except for a slight nose pinch for CC’s snozz). That being said, Molly is overdue for an update, especially since there have been multiple Younts, Coopers, Thomases, Aarons, and Ueckers over the years. So I’m down with this one, but it’s nothing too exciting.
Like Peralta, I saw this one coming from a mile away. Khrush was given the chance for a full-time role in 2014 and he did an admirable job. Not every bobblehead has to be a current All-Star, a budding All-Star, or a classic All-Star. Maybe Davis will bust it open at some point and become a superstar, but even if that doesn’t happen, he’s an important cog in the Brewers machine and he’s earned his bobblehead-worthy status.
As I mentioned before, Garza was one of the three choices for last year’s Fan Vote bobblehead, so I’m happy to see him get his own bobble this… wait, what? The Garza giveaway isn’t a bobblehead? It’s a frickin’ GNOME??? You gotta be kiddin’ me!
Disclaimer #5: I hate gnomes and find them completely worthless. If you like gnomes, then I apologize, but the gnome hate has only just started.
BACK TO GARZA…
WHY? Why are they even bothering with this? Does anyone actually want a Matt Garza gnome? Does anyone want a gnome at all? Apparently people do, because they’re giving away a Scooter gnome on 9/20, as well! At least they gave away an actual bobblehead of Scoots last year (but that barely happened since he replaced Aoki only AFTER he was traded to the Royals). I don’t recall reading one of those surveys the Brewers put out to fans that asked "Would you like the Brewers organization to offer stupid, lame, waste-of-space gnomes as an all-fan giveaway?". And if they did and you said "Yeah, I’d like a gnome", then SHAME ON YOU! The only way that I’m getting a Garza gnome is if I’m able to chop off its head, attach a spring to the neck, and create a makeshift bobblehead out of it. But gnomes usually have thick, impenetrable necks, so this seems unlikely (also it would be a total waste of time, but then again, as some of you would argue, so is this blog entry). I was pretty excited when I saw Matt "The Count" Garza’s name get revealed, but then the small fine print said "Gnome" instead of "Bobble". A sad day in Milwaukee Brewers history.
Grade: Not applicable, but I would love to give it an F
Bob "Harry Doyle" Uecker is the grandpa I always wanted. I pray that Mr. Belvedere served him a magic elixir back in the 80’s that will allow him to live forever because I cannot imagine Brewers baseball without him. I even rocked my baby girl to sleep this past season to the sounds of Ueck’s color commentary/off-topic stories just as my parents’ did to me back in the day. I also have a sweet set of four Uecker bobbleheads – two Brewer giveaways (leather jacket-wearing, microphone-holding Ueck and old school, Braves catcher Ueck), one Admirals giveaway (plaid jacket-wearing, Admirals spokesman Ueck), and one Chinooks giveaway (sunglasses/windbreaker/gold chain-wearing, first pitch-throwing Ueck). It’s a sexy quartet, deserving of its very own shelf.
But when I saw that the Crew was giving away another Uecker, I wasn’t impressed. I mean, you can’t go wrong with Bob, but again, it’s been done before. I’m curious how they’re going to make it different than the other "BOB"bleheads out there, so that’s the main reason why I’m grading it as high as I am.
When I heard about the Gomez All-Star giveaway, my first thought was "If they’re doing a Gomez, they HAVE to do a Lucroy or I’m going to be irate". Luc, as many have said before, is the face of the franchise now and he had a career year. Since Gomez was going to be wearing All-Star garb, I figured they wouldn’t do the same for Lucroy, so my money was on one that commemorated his catcher doubles record. Unfortunately, I didn’t actually bet any money on this because I would have come out a winner. This was the right call, Brewers. Nothing wrong with this pick at all.
See my "issue with the same giveaway multiple years in a row" comments from above. Disappointing. At least Gomez will be wearing a cool All-Star uniform.
See "GNOMES SUCK!" rant from Matt Garza’s section above.
Grade: Not applicable again
Now this one isn’t guaranteed to be a bobblehead – it could be another cheaply-made T-shirt, godforsaken gnome, or something completely different – but…. it better be a bobblehead. And one of the choices better be Matt Garza. Initially, I thought that maybe the real-life Garza prefers gnomes to bobbleheads and would only allow his image to be used on a gnome, but then I remembered last year’s bobblehead Fan Vote, and as previously mentioned, he was one of the choices. He apparently didn’t have a problem with it last year. So I don’t think it’s a matter of image likeness copyright.
So make up for error, Brewers. Make one of this upcoming season’s Fan Vote options the Matt Garza bobblehead. Milwaukee will love you more for it. Or at least I will.
Grade: A+, if a Garza bobblehead is a choice. B+, if not because it’s still pretty cool that they have a fan vote option.
So there you have it. This post had it all – terrifying lows, dizzying highs, creamy middles. I imagine that a lot of you have differing opinions on the bobblehead choices for 2015. I also think that even more of you don’t really care. But I feel that most of you are just happy that the Brewers organization is willing to give out a wide variety of 100% free collectibles just for coming out to a ballgame and supporting the team (and that are often worth a good amount of money – just check out the pricing for some of these bobbleheads on eBay or Craigslist). In the end, there’s really nothing to complain about, but I do have to admit it was fun to get my thoughts out in somewhat-cohesive paragraphs for a small online population to see.
Final Disclaimer: These grades are just based on my sight-unseen reactions to the upcoming bobblehead giveaways. Once I actually see what they look like on the Promotions page on the Brewers website, I might be changing my tune quite a bit. Maybe the All-Star Gomez looks outstanding! Maybe the Bud Selig looks awkward. Who knows? But I’m really looking forward to it (as well as a competitive 2015 Brewers season!).
BONUS ROUND: How many times do I use the word "bobble" in this post?