Oh, hello there.
Happy fall to all who celebrate.
So I’m going to start with a hobby-adjacent topic to begin this column because I am writing this right after leaving Soldier Field following the Chicago Fire’s 4-1 win over Lionel Messi-less Inter Miami.
The match was a spectacle I won’t soon forget with over 62,124 in attendance at Soldier Field despite the fact that one of the biggest athletes in the world was a no-show despite Inter Miami listing him as questionable.
Regardless of the on-field product, the Chicago Fire and Adidas had a variety of match-specific items for sale that were attractive memorabilia items in this paper ticket-less society that we have found ourselves in.
The first, and more expensive, option was the match-specific scarf that had both team’s logos on it with the date and venue information in the middle. It was being sold for $45. A bit pricey for me but maybe it will be half off on Fanatics on Black Friday. The second option was a match-specific poster that had Lionel Messi (who didn’t play) and Xherdan Shaqiri on it. That was being sold for $20. I can’t imagine many of those were sold.
Regardless of whether a big-time athlete plays, it's crucial that fans can take something home with them from a match of this magnitude. A commemorative pin or patch would be a good, cheaper idea for clubs going forward because even $20 is a lot to ask on top of ticket prices.
My Topps MLS gripe
Apparently Topps is releasing its 2023 Major League Soccer Hobby boxes on October 27. Major League Soccer’s regular season ends on October 22. That cannot happen.
There is only one explanation that can make this acceptable and it’s that Topps has a large volume of Lionel Messi cards in this product.
Even if that is the case, releasing the flagship product of a league after its regular season has ended is embarrassing. The excitement surrounding the rookie card checklist is gone now that we know some of the young players that were hyped early in the season haven’t lived up to those standards. You can’t even sell the cards in the stadiums until 2024.
It simply makes no sense.
Random Memorabilia Item of the month: Rapinoe’s final USWNT match press pass
I won’t post a picture because I don’t want to get in trouble with US Soccer’s communications department but being able to cover major events like Megan Rapinoe’s final USWNT match is a true pleasure. Having the physical press pass ensures I’ll never forget that day at Soldier Field.
A non-soccer note: the Bears are terrible and are the reason why I advise people against buying products of their favorite teams. My best example comes with Tim Anderson and the White Sox. I love Anderson and have a massive collection of his but after the 2023 White Sox season I am just down on him as a player (he only hit one HR in 493 AB in ‘23). I’m not sure what to do with my collection because every time I look at it I get reminded of the terrible baseball season that just passed.
See y’all next month. We get to review my preseason MLB picks from my first column. Woohoo!