Then I saw this on Deadspin this afternoon. Someone from Topps offered Rinku and Dinesh the traditional $5 "Steak Dinner" checks they give to (literally) every Minor League prospect. For those of you that don't know, for decades Topps has doled out the token $5 contracts to as many minor leaguers as they can possibly sign. While the original idea was to keep as many players away from their 1950s competitor Bowman, they've keep the practice alive as it allows Topps to include minor leaguers and top prospects in "Major League" sets. The Steak Dinner Check is the reason why for years, Topps was able to load up its Bowman brands with scores of minor league players.
As it turns out, Rinku and Dinesh both thought Topps was trying to pull a fast one. Both players has already spoken to (and may have already signed contracts with) representatives of Upper Deck and Playoff and had no clue of the practice. But, this being 2009, they wrote about their escapade on their blog.
I cannot paraphrase their post and do it justice. So, for your entertainment, I reprint it in its entirety.
Yesterday locker room man coming to us from company Topps. He saying we sign contract. We telling him we not reading this english. we say he have talking JB (Jeff Bernstein, the players' agent) sir. He saying he talking JB sir and JB sir say OK signing.
So we signing this thing and he give me and Dinesh $5.00. Then we finding out JB sir not knowing this. Man from company Topps lying to us. he very bad man. This very bad company. We having good deals with upper Deck and Playoff. We not liking Topps. We never be Topps if they ask us signing again. They bad man and say lying to us.
We hoping no people buying Topps cards. Peoples who liking us only buying Upper Deck and Playoff.
But wait. It turns out it was all just a big misunderstanding.
Topps man sir. We sorry. JB explaining that he knowing this man and he not believe man doing these things. he say we not understanding right. Dinesh and i all things new being to us. we wishing many time we just being pitcher, but we also knowing all other things too needed.
This big mistake by me and dinesh. we always sending JB first so no more mistakes. We sorry if we causing any problem. We wanting everyone forget this thing please.
... And everything worked out in the end.
No word on when we'll be seeing The Indian Pirates on cardboard, yet.