With football season right around the corner, and the local alleged major league baseball team still residing in first place, barely, I might add, I thought the timing was right for a brief blog about every sports fans favorite collectible, the bobblehead.
Personally I have amassed around 40 of these creatures, most of them sporting various versions of Milwaukee Brewers uniforms, some resembling alligators decked in beads (Bourbon Street score), sit-com promo throwaways, (The Office), a very bad John Stockton model, mini-bobbles(Ray Allen), and my all-time favorite, the Hooters girl (pictured).
Although, when it comes to the Hooters girl, you would have thought the marketing geniuses in Florida would have had her jiggling something else besides her blonde head, but I guess you can't win 'em all.
Pictured along with the orange shorts clad Hooter's bobble is my version of the Aaron Rodgers bobblehead, a vintage Favre model that was easily allowed to stay in the office by simply taping a number 12 over the numeral 4. C'mon, how else could I continue to look at what used to represent an all-time favorite Packer turned Viking traitor and now the proud holder of the NFL's all-time interception record?
All this nonsense of a blog burst into my head last night when Twitter lit up with photo's of the Vin Scully microphone given away last night at the Dodgers game in LA. Instead of another bobble, the LA promo department outdid itself with a great idea, a retro microphone, that, when one presses a button, plays six of Vin's vintage play-by-play calls! It was distributed in honor of Scully's 65th season calling Dodger games, he announced later that he'll return for number 66 next year.
Let's just hope that the promotional guru's currently residing in the Brewers creative think tank (Hank The Dog, barf), take note and pay a similar homage to Hall Of Fame broadcaster Bob Uecker. Rest assured I have the Uecker bobble, I also have a Harry Caray bobble that I picked up on Clark street after a Cubs game several years ago. One cannot have enough radio guy bobble heads, but, fortunately, I don't own a Ryan Seacrest or Rush Limbaugh model, just in case you were wondering.
Thus we move on to more serious matters. I firmly believe, that along with the steroid abuse that fueled the Sammy Sosa, Mark McGuire and Barry Bonds slugfest, bobbleheads are a key contributor to the resurrection of attendance at major league ball parks, or any ball park for that matter. The local Northwoods League baseball affiliate, the Madison Mallards, featured no less than six bobblehead giveaways among its 32 game home schedule this summer. Yes, for the record, bobbleheads, like the bastardized version of Favre pictured above, rose to a height of popularity in the 60's and 70's and then basically disappeared from the promotional arsenal. Heck, even the Beatles had bobbles in the 60's, but it was not until a new manufacturing process replaced the old porcelain versions that the collectibles really took off.
The watershed moment was allegedly in 1999 when San Francisco gave away 35,000 Wille Mays new era bobbles to honor the legendary Hall Of Famer. The rest, the say, is history. Now the bobbles are so darn lifelike it is downright scary. Gone are the far away, pale faced eyes of the old retro bobbles, smiling like a Stepford wife. Now you can see the scraggly, bum-like beard on homeless John Axford, and the new Ryan Braun bobble even has a syringe sticking out of his back pocket (well, maybe not).
Anyway, when your team is in first place and the lead story in the sports section reads, "Jim Henderson bobblehead shipment might be delayed", you realize that the bobblehead craze is still in full force. Henderson, of the Brewers, is currently on the DL, yet the mere mention of his bobble giveaway sold out Miller Park last Sunday in a game featuring the Mighty Mets. (The bobbleheads arrived in time, by the way, promotional nightmare averted).
Yes, carry on sports fans, keep stuffing your office and rec rooms with awkwardly intimidating replicas of your favorite sports heroes, celebrities, religious figures, or maybe, if you're in to that sort of thing, strippers. Hey, as luck would have it (pun intended) I'll be in Vegas in three weeks, so let's just say I'll keep an eye out for one of those for you. That indeed, would be a bobblehead or bust situation, right?
Long live the bobblehead!
And For What