Mystery

I got a letter in the mail on Saturday addressed to “Craig Calcaterra, Shysterball.” Inside was a mint condition 1978 Topps Bucky Dent card. No return address. No note, no nothing else accompanying it. New York City postmark. Typewritten address label. Hurm.

I haven’t died in the last 48 hours, so I’m ruling out anthrax attack. Bucky Dent hasn’t died in that time either, so, for the time being at least, I’m (sadly) ruling out a baseball-themed serial killer tipping me off to his victims as part of an elaborate cat-and-mouse game. It could be some kind of occult thing in which someone has substituted the Cardboard Gods for the traditional tarot deck with Bucky Dent as the Death Card, but anyone who would take the time to do that would probably not have used a business envelope and probably would have sealed it with wax because that’s just kind of how those people roll. Out of an abundance of caution, however, I have sent the police to Josh Wilker’s house.

I appreciate the card, actually. It’s kind of cool, and if whoever sent it intended it as a gift, thank you. I worry, however, that someone sent it to me in an effort to anger me, mistakenly thinking that I’m a Red Sox fan. If that was the intent, you have failed. I met Bucky Dent at spring training in 1982 and he was really nice to my brother and I. He also spent some time in Columbus managing the Clippers, and by all accounts was a nice addition to the community. I’ve got no ill-will towards Dent, so I do hope no one’s deviousness was wasted.

Part of me doesn’t want to find out who sent it because mysteries are fun. But I must admit that I remain perplexed this morning.

UPDATE: Pinto got a George Scott the other day. The folks at Purple Row got a Bucky Dent too. As David mentions in the comments, this smells like viral marketing. Without looking it up, I wonder if a book is coming out about the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry.

UPDATE II: Will Carroll got a Steve Swisher. Maybe this is viral marketing for Wilker’s book?

UPDATE III: Add Rich Lederer and Jon Wiesman to the list of card recipients.

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Comments

  1. Brandi_Griffin said...

    My co-blogger at Purple Row got one of those, too. He’s still alive, as far as I can tell, but I suspect the card might have had alien spores and replaced him with a doppelganger. I don’t think I’m going to trust you’re really Craig Calcaterra anymore.

  2. The Common Man said...

    Hmmm…bloggers getting baseball cards, eh?  If you, Neyer, Jason @IIATMS, Josh, Dave Cameron, Joe Pos, et al start dropping like flies, we promise a full investigation.  We will round up the usual suspects: Bissenger, Rosenthal, Chass, and Baker.  And Ibanez.

  3. David said...

    Pretty interesting.  If commentator Brandi wasn’t joking or lying and others are receiving similar items, then I’d guess that it’s a “viral” marketing campaign by MLB (via some contracted viral marketing company, of which, here in post-production America, there are plenty). 

    It could be a bunch of things – the guess that somebody was trying to irritate the recipient with the wrong notion that he’s a Red Sox fan was a good one – but if it’s happened to others in the media, then this is a system.  If it’s a system, it’s got money behind it.  If it’s got money behind it, it’s probably to generate even more money.  If it’s to generate money, it’s from a business.

    (As far as it being an “Anthrax attack”, you needn’t worry unless you’re a famous media broadcaster or Democratic politician, and even then it’d still have to come with some hilariously bogus confession letter supposedly written by evil Arabs.)

  4. YankeesfanLen said...

    Maybe it’s Dan Brown sowing the seeds for a new novel.  Cloak and dagger at the Vatican isn’t a slam dunk at the box office or book store any more.
    Would have to include the Cubs though, Red Sox broke their curse.

  5. Jason B said...

    May as well disperse the ol’ baseball card collection to folks who might enjoy and appreciate it.  Jason @ IIATMS, I don’t wanna ruin the surprise, but Junior Felix is headed your way!  Lar, that’s Jeff King peeking out from that envelope at you!  Neyer seems like the kinda fella who might like some John Jaha action…

    …not *that* kinda John Jaha action.  Mrs. Jaha doesn’t even enjoy that anymore.

  6. Richard in Dallas said...

    Since you’ve recieved this card, Craig, have you noticed a reduction in your testosterone level?

  7. The Common Man said...

    No, Jason, you don’t get to choose.  You’ll take your Ruben Rivera or Roberto Kelly card and like it.

  8. Craig Calcaterra said...

    I’ve decided that it was a benevolent gesture. If someone really wanted to get my goat they would have sent me a Livan Hernandez, Jim Leyritz, Jeff Francouer, or any of my many other baseball enemies.

  9. David said...

    If they would’ve sent you players who’ve hurt the Indians as a (playfully) malevolent gesture, then doesn’t that mean they’d have had to send you players who’ve helped the Indians as a benevolent gesture?  What does Bucky Dent have to do with your work in baseball or your fandom? 

    It seems too crude and secretive to be a benevolent gesture.  For instance, a fan would probably write you an accompanying letter explaining the gift, and he certainly would have no cause to give it anonymously.  Again, if other commentators are receiving these – as was claimed before – then my guess is that pretty soon there’ll be some unifying theme amongst them and it’ll turn out to be a viral marketing gimmick.  This happens quite a bit in another entertainment medium, movies.  It worked quite well for ‘The Dark Knight’ and some other flicks, and it’s very possible that MLB is simply copying that formula.

  10. Grant said...

    I suppose the New york postmark supports the “viral marketing” angle. Lots of goofy media companies in this city.

  11. Craig Calcaterra said...

    You’re probably right, David.  What, connected to Dent, could justify viral marketing I have no idea, but it will be interesting to find out.

    And very disappointing for whoever sent the cards when I go off with about 1700 words about how lame viral marketing is.

  12. Drew said...

    Craig, I assume you realize that writing 1700 words about getting this baseball card, whether positive or otherwise, is exactly the point of the campaign.  So hate it or not, it would be impactful.  It’s possible you were being clever when you said that, though, and I totally missed it.  Either way, if you find the viral thing lame, then the only way to succeed is to ignore it.

  13. David said...

    I was involved with a tech start-up for a little over a year and let me tell you, there are more viral marketing “gurus” in the business world then there are aspiring starlets waiting tables in Los Angeles.  These people (a) have no ability to create anything substantive and (b) fancy themselves as clairvoyant judges of human behavior.  So, instead of building something (which, again, they haven’t the ability to do), they just dupe idiot businessmen into giving them money to run around and play. 

    I was instructed to attend all of these idiotic panel discussions by “experts” who could not even remotely fathom our technology but who were assured us that if we gave them some of our precious few dollars, they could “generate buzz” and “monetize eyeballs” to the point where we’d be billionaires.  I thought….if you know how to make us all this money….why don’t you just go make it for yourself? 

    But whatever.  The mainstream media plays along with this foolishness (look at their fanboy-ish lionizing of Borat) and, again, it can be pretty effective in the entertainment biz, of which MLB is most certainly a part.

  14. David Pinto said...

    Yes, I received a George Scott card.  I don’t quite understand why people don’t believe I no longer root for a particular team, I root for good organizations.  When I was at ESPN, all the Yankees fans thought I was a Red Sox fan, and all the Red Sox fans thought I was a Yankees fan.  That told me I got it right.

  15. Brandi_Griffin said...

    Why would they send a Rockies blogger Bucky Dent, though? Wouldn’t Jonathan Papelbon or Tacoby Bellsbury make more sense? Some 1995 Braves member? Lance Painter? Our collective memory doesn’t even remember 1978…

  16. Matt M said...

    @David,

    Didn’t mean to offend. I thought I remembered reading somewhere that you were a Yankees fan. I know you don’t give an impression of bias on your site. Keep up the good work.

  17. David said...

    ‘Kay, now we have confirmed (via Brandi and Matt M) that it’s a pattern.  This is not a grateful fan – who’d be sending them out over erratic periods.  They were sent simultaneously.

    Yes, this is nothing more “mysterious” than another lame viral marketing campaign by retarded American businessmorons.

    What a waste of capital – human and economic.  Only modern, effeminate Americans.  Meanwhile, in India, Saudi Arabia, and China….

    Ah, no worries….we have a bigger military than all of them combined, yay!!!

  18. Matt M said...

    “Without looking it up, I wonder if a book is coming out about the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry.”

    Um, yeah, you just nailed it. I saw an entire book the other day dedicated to the ‘78 one game playoff. I’m not gonna link to the Amazon page out of annoyance that these guys wasted a lot of people’s time with their little trick. Seems open and shut now that you mention it.

  19. Brandon Tingley said...

    If they had REALLY wanted to annoy you, they would have sent one of those famous Billy Ripken “error” (how did anyone ever miss that??) cards.

    Of course, those are actually worth money. Although less than I thought—looks less than $10 on ebay.

  20. David said...

    Feels good to be right.  Good thought about the book by Craig and follow-up by Matt M. 

    When this was first written, it had the tint of a slightly exotic mystery (as the post’s title says).  Heck, Craig was even thinking it might’ve been yet another government false-flag attack where they murder people with Anthrax, just like in 2001.  (Okay, okay, I actually elaborated on Craig’s comment about anthrax.) 

    But now, how underwhelming does it feel to learn that it’s just more desperate corporate crap?  Clearly, the progenitors of the “viral” marketing are reading this, so I have a message: get a real job.  You’re utterly worthless to civilization. 

    I’m sure that I had a affected them very profoundly.

  21. Jason @ IIATMS said...

    I have no idea if there’s a card waiting for me at home, but I doubt it.  I will continue to strive to be part of a “utterly worthless to civilization” viral marketers’ scheme.

  22. Richard in Dallas said...

    @ Jason
    I think if we ignore him, he will realize that he’s only an annoyance when he’s here and a punchline when he’s not.

  23. David said...

    ‘I will continue to strive to be part of a “utterly worthless to civilization” viral marketers’ scheme.’

    Cool, you’re so contrarian!  What a rebel you are!

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