Luis Gonzales? He's just a nodding acquaintance

SPORT PLUS

Bobbled bobblehead leaves Diamondbacks shaking their heads

May 05, 2002|By Andy Knobel | Andy Knobel,SUN STAFF

As Luis Gonzalez accumulated his unexpected 57 home runs and 142 RBIs last season, people needed a thesaurus to find ways to describe his hitting exploits.

They needed a dictionary to define his greatness.

And apparently some of them need a roster to spell his name.

"A lot of people still think there's an `s' at the end of my last name, rather than a `z,' " the Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder said.

"It happens a lot more than people would think."

The latest blunder hit a little close to home for club officials.

Bank One Ballpark's main Team Shop is selling a set of 12 limited-edition Diamondbacks bobblehead dolls exclusively at its stores this season.

The likeness, according to the East Valley Tribune of Mesa, Ariz., is the best of any of the Gonzalez bobbleheads available. There's only one problem:

His surname on the back of his jersey is spelled "Gonzales."

Oops.

"The company we bought it from [Team Beans] had it right, and we saw it and signed off on it," said Bob Nanberg, the Diamondbacks' vice president of merchandising. "It looks like the people in China who made it switched it after it was all ready."

The $18 "Gonzales" figurines were on the shelves for three days. About 100 of the 3,000 hand-numbered retro toys were sold before Team Shop employees spotted the mistake and pulled the product.

What will happen to the other 2,900 dolls?

"We're donating them to the Salvation Army for gifts for kids," Nanberg said. "That's about $60,000 in retail."

As the Diamondbacks suffer a financial loss, early buyers of the "Gonzales" doll could be in the money.

One person is listing the bobblehead on eBay with a minimum bid of $100 and a buy-it-now price of $300. His description and item heading say the piece was recalled.

Can you spell windfall?

Owl has a few springs loose

Temple gave away bobbleheads of men's basketball coach John Chaney this past season.

Don't expect the school to repeat the promotion.

"I'm suing everybody who's got one," Chaney, 69, said. "I know I'm old, but by God, they should have done something with that. ...

"My clothes are drooping on me. I wear the most expensive clothes in the whole wide world, and they make me look like a dog. Whoever designed this, I'm going to get the guy, and I'm suing everybody who did this to me."

More bobblehead news

The Florida Marlins' Cliff Floyd last season joined Jim Thome, Sammy Sosa and Jason Giambi in an exclusive club: players who have homered in games in which their bobblehead dolls were given out.

Floyd's doll was the first sanctioned by Major League Baseball to feature a player not wearing a cap. Instead, it depicts the shaven-headed Floyd, his cap in his hand. Fans who shaved their heads outside Pro Player Stadium that night got free tickets.

Last season, the Double-A New Britain Rock Cats honored manager Stan Cliburn and pitching coach Stew Cliburn, his twin, with a two-faced bobblehead.

Dave Winfield allowed the Minnesota Twins to do a Hall of Fame bobblehead promotion with Kirby Puckett last year but with the provision that his doll be an inch taller than Puckett's.

Seattle SuperSonics forward Rashard Lewis was ejected this season on his bobblehead doll day.

Lisa Leslie of the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks sent her prototype bobblehead back to the manufacturer so that her eyes could be lightened.

The next craze?

The Philadelphia 76ers gave away Allen Iverson rubber duckies this season. The Iverson duck - complete with cornrows, tattoos, black elbow band and earring - is made by California-based Celebriducks.

That really quacks us up.

Compiled from wire reports and Web sites.

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