Last week for my birthday, my wife was awesome and bought me toys. As I cracked open my Oyo (read: alternate-brand Lego) Astros set (image below), I excitedly anticipated playing Astros with my 2-year-old son. Perhaps I might even, you know, photograph a game recap using the set.
The logo is right, the uniforms are right, there are even two little guys with big ol' beards that I can pretend are Dallas Keuchel and Evan Gattis. Right on, OYO.
But then, as I casually glanced through the myriad of "BUY MORE STUFF!!!"-type advertisements that invariably come with toys to ensure that children (and 34-year-old nerds) nag their parents (wives) to spend more of their (my) hard-earned cash, I found a tidbit that I'd like to share with the loyal readers of The Crawfish Boxes.
An amusing tidbit. A somewhat baffling tidbit. I found the list of sixty collectible custom figures that represent MLB(TM) SUPERSTARS. How neat, I thought.
And then I realized that the person who chose what "superstars" to include in their collection must have been somebody who earned the sum total of their baseball knowledge via reading ESPN headlines and nothing else.
David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia for the Red Sox? Okay, that's pretty clear. Felix Hernandez and Robinson Cano for the Mariners? Yep, no-brainer. Miguel Cabrera and Max Scherzer? Sure. Then it starts getting weird.
I'm sure Padres fans will be clamoring over themselves to pick up collectible building-block figures of Cameron Maybin (only 329 plate appearances in the majors for 2013 and 2014 combined) and Everth Cabrera (served a 50-game PED suspension last year). Rays fans absolutely cannot wait to get their hands on a Yunel Escobar minifigure. And those Marco Scutaros are going to fly off the shelf, especially for a multiple-championship club that featured lesser players like Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval. But who's ever heard of those guys?
But the most egregious "derp" on this advertisement has to be the Astros (with the Padres being a distant runner-up).
I guess Jason Castro was as close to a star as the Astros had after the 2013 season, when this list was presumably assembled. Even so, the omission of Jose Altuve seems questionable. But...Max Stassi? We all hope that Stassi turns into a productive major league player (key word: hope), but let's list Stassi's qualifications to be included on an advertisement proclaiming MLB(TM) SUPERSTARS at the top:
- At the end of 2013, Max Stassi had stood at the plate and faced a major league pitcher a sum total of eight times.
- Max Stassi only did that because it was September, and prospects often get a taste of the big leagues, but at the time Stassi was fifth on the depth chart behind fellow superstars Castro, Carlos Corporan, Cody Clark, and Matt Pagnozzi, all of whom faced more pitchers than Stassi. Cody Clark hit a hall-of-fame-worthy .105/.128/.132 that season and Pagnozzi hit an even-more impressive .143/.182/.143.
- Max Stassi was hit in the face by a pitch. The pity vote had to count for something, I guess?
- Max Stassi was the 18th-ranked Astros prospect, according to MLB.com