Okay, I’m finally getting around to this and I’ll try to keep it relatively short compared to my grading of the 2015 bobbleheads from last year. This is primarily because there are less bobblehead giveaways in 2016 than the last couple of seasons. I’m absolutely okay with this since it’s often the case that quantity beats out quality when there are 8-10 bobbleheads given away any given year. So let’s get into it – I’ll be reiterating a little of what I said in the comments on this recent FanShot about the week-long daily reveals from the Cait Covers the Bases blog and also speaking to how accurate my predictions were prior to the last week’s reveals (I won’t be counting the All-Kids giveaways or non-bobblehead giveaways, but I’ll be speaking briefly about them, as well).
Vintage Bobble in 1980’s Uniform
I accurately predicted this but am not thoroughly impressed by it. Since they’ve done the modern uniform and the 1970’s uniform versions the past two seasons, they need to do the short-lived 1990’s uniform (with the forest green) in 2017 to make this set of vintage bobbleheads worthy of adding to any true collector’s collection. Serviceable but not exciting.
Accurately predicted? Yes – 1/1
Ryan Braun Franchise Home Run Leader Bobble
Also accurately predicted and though there have been three other Braun bobbleheads in the past, this one does commemorate a historic feat in the Brewers franchise. There may be an asterisk associated with this bobblehead, but numbers don’t lie and it is the appropriate time to give this one away while it’s fresh on everyone’s minds.
Accurately predicted? Yes – 2/2
Barking Hank Bobblehead
Pretty disappointing. This is fine for really casual family-centric fans, but for the average fan and especially for bobblehead collectors, we’ve had enough of Hank. The first giveaway two years ago was clever. The second giveaway last year was okay for those who didn’t get one the previous year. But three years in a row? You’ve overstayed your bobble-welcome, mutt, and I own two dogs, so I have nothing against canines. I didn’t think the Brewers would actually be leaning on Hank so much still, so this was my first incorrect prediction.
Accurately predicted? No – 2/3
Greg Vaughn Bobble in 1990’s Uniform
Excellent! Very happy about this one. Glad they’re acknowledging that the 90’s weren’t 100% abysmal. There were definite fan favorites during that time period and Vaughn was one of them. And again, though the 90’s forest green uniform and logo were short-lived and not well-received, they are part of the organization’s history and should be recognized favorably. I threw in Vaughn’s name as one of my wish list picks, so I’ll count that as an accurate prediction.
Accurately predicted? Yes – 3/4
Jimmy Nelson Pitching Bobble
Another one I saw coming and rightfully so. With a rebuilding team, there isn’t a lot of star power, but Jimmy is part of the present and the future and has earned his bobble-stripes. Getting another young player like Domingo Santana in bobble-form would have been nice, too, but if you’re going to go with just one current player that’s being bobblized for the first time (unlike Braun, Lucroy, etc.), then Nelson is absolutely the right choice.
Accurately predicted? Yes – 4/5
Craig Counsell Player Bobble OR Craig Counsell Manager Bobble
This was a definite curveball. I correctly guessed that there would be a Counsell manager bobblehead, but I didn’t think they’d go with the 50/50 chance of getting Craiggers as either a manager or a retired player. Personally, my goal is getting the manager one since there has been a player one of him in the past (and a mini player bobblehead, as well), but there’s no doubt that I’ll be getting both of them. I like how they’re mixing it up a little here, so I’ll give it a straight-up A instead of a B+ or A-.
Accurately predicted? Yes – 5/6
So what else did I get wrong? Well, from the six "guaranteed" predictions, I got two wrong – David Stearns and the Bratwurst (German Heritage). Stearns has a lot of time to be bobblized, so I do expect to see that in the next few years. As for the German Heritage Bratwurst, collectors have been asking for this for quite some time to complete Phase 2 of the Racing Sausage bobbleheads and we still haven’t received it yet. Will it happen one day? Who knows, but bobblehead fanatics are definitely using Twitter and Facebook to voice their opinions about this (and other bobble-thoughts and concerns) to the Brewers marketing team. So adding in those two incorrect predictions, I am 5 for 8 with my guesses. Not a bad batting average.
As for the rest of the giveaways, they’re doing a bunch of t-shirts again, which is cool for people who don’t like to go topless. The Uecker alarm clock is a super-duper idea – I just hope it’s a quality piece of memorabilia and not a chintzy hunk of junk. It will probably be something in between.
And the three All-Kids giveaways may be a little divisive to some. Some fans might want those three days to be all-fan days to cater to, well, all the fans attending. This also might lead people to think that the Brewers are getting a little too family-oriented and are turning away from the hardcore baseball fans. I personally think the All-Kids giveaways are great – and not just because I’ll be getting two Paint-Your-Own Bernie bobbleheads when I take my two-year-old daughter and six-month old son to the game (and eating my boy’s free hot dog and apple). Baseball and family have always gone hand in hand for me and I’m sure it does for a lot of people. Plus, being a little more kid-centric is an additional sign that the Brewers are in a transitional period and getting more families to come out to Miller Park during what will most likely be losing seasons is always a win in my book.
But hey, no gnomes this year, so that’s awesome.