4/30 Update: WE HAVE A WINNAH!!!
As expected, Topps, predictably, will add Harper as a 661st card and SP the shit out of it. And yes, the cynically-timed press release from the desk of Clay Luraschi arrived in my e-mail box just a few moments later. We all knew they were going to do something. Their staleness and stupidity is now beyond cliche, almost to the point of self-parody.
I'll have more on this later.
As you've by now heard, Bryce Harper was called up to the Bigs, and makes his MLB debut tomorrow in LA. Well isn't that special? It's like the Nats actually think they're a Big League team now!
But I digress.
We all know Topps has a need to fuck-up their flagship product with gimmicks, especially when it comes to a "hot" rookie (See Stephen Strasburg in 2010, and Kosuke Fukudome in 2008) -- something they, curiously do not do with some of their other base-level products (i.e. Bowman).
With 2012 Series Two only five weeks away, this give Topps more than enough time to produce the inevitable gimmick. And what better way to ridicule Topps than turning said inevitable gimmick into a money grab for me. Yes, I'm taking some action on this. Place your bets folks, the pari-mutuel windows are open!
Here's the Morning Line...
5:1 A "late addition" of a 661st base card short-printed to the bejesus that not even Brent and Becca will find it in 100 cases. This is what they did with the Albert Pujols and Jose Reyes "331" and "332" cards in this year's Series One. Topps had about seven weeks between the time Pujols signed for Anaheim and the street date of S1, which gave them plenty of time to include this card in the base set. With S2 scheduled for release in only five weeks, the turnaround time would be cutting it close, but I have complete faith in Topps with pulling this one off. In fact, it would not surprise me if Clay Luraschi is hacking out the cynically-timed press release now.
25:1 A "Golden Giveaway" exclusive card. I don't think Topps would do something like what they did with Strasburg in 2010; but since they've done it once, you can't discount the possibility that they'll do it again. For the uninitiated, the day before his debut, Topps announced that Stephen Strasburg's "rookie" card would be made available the exact moment he stepped onto the field on their Million Card Giveaway website. Most of the MCG cards had already been redeemed long before this promotion announced, and had collectors known about it, would have waited. Topps has done some pretty stupid things the last five years, but they're not dumb enough to repeat this debacle.
8:1 A 661st card thrown into the factory sets that will be different from his Updates & Highlights base card. This assumes that the pack out is already so far along and there's nothing Topps can do to include Harper, even if it wanted to. So, they'll add Harper as a bonus in the factory sets and save his "real" RC for Updates & Highlights.
999:1 A regular, un-gimmicked, non-short-printed base card. And only a base card. Pfft! Yeah, right. Remember who were dealing with.
5:2 A pie-in-the-face, or other similar non-squirrel-related gimmick. Look, we're all expecting Topps to do this. They've become so predictable, nothing they do surprises anyone anymore.
50:1 Bryce Harper in a Squirrel Costume. If Topps wants to destroy any credibility they had left with The Hobby, they'd go for the squirrel. Then again, this assumes that Topps has any credibility left.
12:1 Bryuzo Harpuzki: Japanese Mega-Prospect. Of all the bets on the board, this might be the best "value bet." It's been a while since Topps did something borderline racist as Kazuo Uzuki, and quite frankly, they're due.
9:1 Harper with Obama and Dmitri Young Photoshopped in the background. OK, so Meat Hook might be a but of a stretch. But who else qualifies as the "Greatest Washington National of All Time?"