Finding baseball’s connection with tea is not too interesting a project. At MLB (Major League Baseball) stadiums, craft beers and specialty wines are served. Tea is unlikely to receive a spotlight even if it is infused with alcohol. Ballpark food menus’ beverage sections don’t even list iced tea separately from carbonated drinks. In 2018, Snapple began a two-year partnership, becoming the Official Tea and Juice Drink of MLB. Didn’t Lipton score a similar deal a few years earlier? I could not resist connecting baseball with tea because my local baseball team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, won the 2020 World Series, after a 32-year drought!
Decades ago, tea companies published their own baseball cards, very few of which attained collectible status. Tetley Tea Collectors’ Edition disc cards first surfaced in 1980s. Each set features two players. Exactly how these cards were distributed and obtained is unknown to me. Some eBay sellers disclose that their discs are stained, only slightly, by tea.
The 1952 National Tea Labels cards fetch much higher prices. National Tea Labels, however, did not specialize in tea production. Internet is far from omniscient after all. I ended my research when unable to verify if the Midwestern grocery chain National Tea Company, acquired by another entity in 1955, manufactured all National Tea Labels products.
Several factors contribute to baseball’s success as the nation’s beloved pastime. It is the least violent team sport when cheating and performance enhancement drug use aren’t considered violent. Clubs with unlimited funding to sign the most coveted players are not guaranteed World Series championship – serendipity and unpredictability beautify the game (FIVE home runs delighted fans at the last Dodgers game I attended!) Be it to purchase a snack or to roam the stadium, I enjoy leaving my seat, usually on the aisle, anytime during a match. Dearth of strained intensity is one of baseball’s many virtues.
Forever adorning Dodgers’ World Series victory is a symbolic “asterisk” denoting the season’s reduced 60 games, which is far less an imperfection than my favorite player Justin Turner’s mask removal during championship celebration. Reoccurring thoughts teleport me to a reverie in which I replace Dodgers’ general manager. What have disenchanted the fans for years are not the multiple failed attempts to win the World Series but the management’s lack of imaginative, innovative ploys at critical moments.
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