The images were first released on Beckett's blog on Friday. Last night, Beckett baseball editor Chris Olds posted reaction from the artists in the set who created the cards in question. Here's a link to the post.
Please read it. I'm serious. Pretty please. For me? :)
Now, that we are all caught up, first, I want to commend Olds for doing a good job with this story. From a journalistic standpoint, I appreciate the way he has kept on top of it and didn't just let it die with the attention this set has received. He gave it a spin that not many others, including myself, would have gotten.
Paul Lempa is the artist who created the Babe Ruth card depicted in an Atlanta Braves uniform. While I still don't like the card, I certainly appreciate the artist more. His response to Beckett was mature and classy.
“I am flattered that my artwork could cause such an uproar," he told Beckett. "I would rather my paintings be discussed and deliberated, than skipped over, that’s for sure.”
I love that quote because that's what being an artist is about. Whether people love your work or hate it, you just want to be talked about. This work is subjective and certainly there are people who enjoyed the Ruth card. I love that Lempa didn't blast the people who didn't like the card.
This is someone who understands the difficult life of an artist.
However, the same couldn't be said for one of the other artists who had a hand in the set.
Monty Sheldon, whose work is widely acclaimed and who is one artist that Lempa and others acknowledge as influential to them in the sports realm, also made cards for the set.
“It really sucks to hear all of the negative things being said when I know all too well the time spent in creating the art pieces,” Sheldon said via email. “I think some people just think and speak from a dark place all of the time and have no clue as to how they sound to the majority of folks.”
Personally, what I think 'sucks' is categorizing a group of people that you have never met and assuming the worst because they did not appreciate your work. We're not dark, but shining, happy people who love baseball cards.
While these artists have different perspectives because they may not be collectors, they are creating cards for an opinionated and passionate group. There is no way anyone who paints, writes or does anything creatively could not expect different opinions.
I understand this concept and I know how tough it is to put yourself out there on a daily basis. It's not easy, but that's the life you choose.
There are certain topics I write about and know without a doubt someone is going to call or email me because they did not like a quote or my depiction. And, all I can say to them is I did my best. I understand your concerns and hope in the future to alleviate them, but this is how I see it.
Like Lempa, I would rather someone want to talk about my writing rather than not read it at all.
It's a tricky business and you need thick skin.
If you're creating a card that thousands, potentially even millions worldwide, are going to possibly own, you have to think there are going to be negative comments. It's not from a dark place, but rather a passionate one that I will not relinquish anytime soon.