Saturday, October 29, 2022

There Is NOW a Bird on the Field

I haven't been particularly interested in any 2022 product, beyond of course Stadium Club, whenever that hits shelves, and Opening Day. However, Topps has managed to extract some money from me by printing up a couple Topps NOW cards that caught my attention.

Early in this crazy 2022 Postseason, while the 111-win Dodgers were hosting the San Diego Padres, a member of the avian community decided to pay Dodger Stadium a visit.

2022 Topps NOW #1066 Goose On The Loose /2889

In the 8th inning of NLDS Game 2, a Greater White-fronted Goose, initially misidentified on the broadcast as a duck, took up a position in shallow right-center field. Play continued for a bit until the grounds crew managed to trap the exhausted animal in a recycling bin and carry it off the field.

This is right up my alley. I've become quite the avid birder these past couple years (in case you're wanting an explanation for my dramatic drop-off in posting frequency), so of course I bought the Topps NOW card showing the goose as it flew around the infield. I must admit a touch of envy, as the only photograph I've ever managed to capture of this species was far less sharp.

The goose became a mascot of sorts for the Padres during the remainder of their run in the Postseason. They managed to upend the Dodgers to eliminate one of several heavily-favored teams that had an early exit this season. Perhaps their feathered friend helped them out a bit.

All kidding aside, this poor goose was in all likelihood scared out of its wits. Mid-October is roughly the tail end of the fall migration season, and its journey south was probably disoriented and interrupted by the bright beacons of light at Dodger Stadium. Most bird migration happens at night, which is better for the birds to avoid predators and take advantage of cooler, calmer air. But our well-lit cityscapes play havoc on their migration paths.

This bird ended up being lucky, all things considered. A frightening but brief visit to Dodger Stadium is a lot better than flying into a window, which sadly is how up to a billion birds each year meet their untimely demise.

Fortunately, many cities in the busiest migration paths, or "flyways", have recently implemented initiatives to encourage businesses and residents to turn out the lights during the busiest times of migration season. This is also done at the 9/11 memorial in New York, where they turn off the upward-facing shafts of light for several minutes to allow disoriented birds to scatter and continue on their way.

Maybe playing Postseason games at 1:30pm on a Wednesday isn't so bad after all.

2022 Topps NOW #699 Wynton Bernard /787

I did pick up a second Topps NOW card this year, this one of longtime Minor League player Wynton Bernard, who finally got his long-awaited call up in mid-August. He had been toiling away in the minors for a decade before making his Big League debut at the age of 31.

The Athletic did a great story on him, detailing how he leaned on his mentors, including Ken Griffey, Jr., in his long, winding journey to The Show. His FaceTime call with his mother where he shared the good news was a bright spot in the social media world.

His debut game was August 12th, and he tallied his first hit (following a replay review), stolen base, and run that day. It was a real heartwarming highlight of the Rockies season, one in which they contributed mightily to the 111-win count of the Dodgers.

Topps didn't miss a beat, giving Bernard his first Major League card. Prior to that, he only had a few minor league cards dating back to 2014, although I'm not sure if Topps Now cards count as true Rookie Cards. The goose made an impression on oddball-loving collectors, earning a print run of 2,889, but only 787 collectors like myself picked up Wynton Bernard's quasi-Rookie Card.

So there you have it, those are the two most important highlights of the 2022 season according to Infield Fly Rule.


  1. I've gotta try and add the Goose card to my SD Padres collection. The only other Topps Now baseball card I purchased this year was the Timmy the Trumpet card.

  2. Too bad Topps Now wasn't around for that Rally Squirrel...