CLASSIC GRIT WEEKEND PLAYLIST 09
We're back with our first Classic Grit Weekend Playlist in a while, and we're super psyched! Joining us for this edition is our friend Jeremy Fullerton, a lifelong card collector and Brand Team Leader for roughly 50% of Topps' MLB releases (including the OG Topps Flagship Baseball, Allen and Ginter Baseball, Stadium Club, and many other high-end releases) as well as some of the brand's other sports releases like US Olympic Team, Athletes Unlimited, Premiere Lacrosse League, and more.
Jeremy's an amazing person with an unbelievably cool job, and he's a huge baseball and music fan to boot. Below is a quick chat with him about all things baseball cards, Mets, music, and more, as well as links to stream a playlist featuring a handful of Jeremy's favorite jams of late.
A Q&A WITH JEREMY FULLERTON OF TOPPS
1. Has baseball always had a presence in your life, or was it something you picked up down the road a bit? What about it drew you in? Have you always been a Mets guy?
My mother was born and raised in the suburbs of Baltimore in the 1950s-60s and grew up going to Orioles games with her dad. She was a HUGE O’s fan, and a big fan of Brooks Robinson, in particular. She and my father moved up to the NYC area in the 70’s and once I started showing an interest in baseball she started pushing me towards the Mets and following them as well, because in her words “I wasn’t going to raise a f**king Yankees fan.” Luckily for me I was 10 in 1986 and got to witness the greatness that was The Amazin’ Mets and their World Series run. After that, I was hooked on baseball and the Mets.
2. You live just outside NYC. Do you have a favorite music venue in the city? What’s the best gig you’ve ever attended?
There are so many great venues in NYC, from the smaller ones like The Bowery Ballroom to the greatness that is MSG, and everything in-between, but my favorite is Irving Plaza. It’s in a great location, the perfect size, and has a great balcony with perfect view of the stage and out of the fray (which has become more important as I have gotten older).
Picking one is tough, but if I need to pick JUST ONE, it has to be seeing Ben Harper and the Relentless 7 at Kenny’s Castaway in Greenwich Village in NYC. I had seen Ben Harper and his other band, The Innocent Criminals, several times before and in much larger venues, but here he was debuting some all-new tunes with a new band in a tiny bar . We were one of the few lucky people that day.
3. You’ve had the opportunity to meet some amazing current and retired ball players at the events that Topps hosts. Can you give us an experience with a player that has always stood out to you?
It’s top of mind because it was very recent, but in July 2022, I had the opportunity to sit down with Darryl Strawberry and interview him for the Topps YouTube page while opening packs of cards. This was my childhood baseball hero! I had his poster on my bedroom wall and pages of his cards in my album, and I was going to get to sit down with him for 20 minutes, talk baseball, and open packs of cards. He was great. He signed my 1984 Topps Strawberry card, and even better, spent a few minutes talking with my kids about baseball and the Mets. I told them “This guy was like my Pete Alonso. I think he was better.” Darryl didn’t disagree. ;) (pic attached)
4. Baseball cards — Do you have a favorite year? If so, what’s your favorite card from it? I assume the perks of the job are that you’ve opened a TON of packs, what’s the best pull you’re ever reeled in?
This one is easy. The 1987 Topps Baseball Bo Jackson Future Stars card. I had started collecting pretty seriously late in 1986 as my love for the Mets and all things baseball was really growing. The 1987 set was one I remember saving money up to go and buy packs of whenever there was an opportunity to do so. The Bo card was the key card out of the set for me and my group of friends. That design still resonates for so many collectors of that era.
Opening packs of cards is just part of the job here at Topps, but rarely does it feel like work. 15 years of “professionally” opening packs of cards it gets hard to narrow down. The COOLEST baseball card I have ever pulled out of a pack of cards is a 2018 Topps Triple Threads Bat Nameplate card from Cal Ripken, Jr. The card has 2 pieces of a game-worn uniform and the bat nameplate from one of his game-used bats. These cards are so unique and to get one from a legend like Cal is pretty special.
5. Last one — You’re batting leadoff for the Mets, it’s the Subway Series, and you want to send a message to all the fans in attendance who aren’t repping the blue and orange. What song is blaring over the Citi Field speakers as you walk to the plate and why?
This would need to be a “radio edit” of Devil in Jersey City, from Coheed and Cambria. Been a huge fan of theirs for years and a resident of Jersey City for just about as long.
6- Bonus question (this is written as of 12-22-22)- This has been a wild offseason for the Mets. First DeGrom leaves, so Steve Cohen (Mets GM) replaces him with the three-headed monster of Verlander/ Senga /Quintana. And then, in the wildest of 3AM moves, Correa (apparently) inks a deal after he blows a physical for the Giants. The Mets have spent a literal BILLION dollars this offseason. Where’s your head at amidst this absolute madness?
I am writing this at 2:35pm EST on 1/3/23, just hours after a cryptic IG story from Correa’s team has set Mets fans hearts racing and heads spinning once again. When we lost deGrom, I was really bummed at the loss of what could have been. When he was healthy there was not a better pitcher in the game today (if not ever). I was chatting with several baseball fans (Arthur included) and mentioned, “well if we can get Verlander for 2 years I’d be thrilled” and that is exactly what happened. In “replacing” deGrom with Verlander and adding Senga and Quintana, plus resigning Nimmo and Diaz, I have never been more hopeful for a Mets season in my entire life. Being a Mets fan for my entire life, I am also acutely aware of what is possible come April through October.
Phoebe Bridgers - “So Much Wine”
I have a special place in my heart for Xmas music, especially the more non-traditional types. Bridgers is an amazing artist and has been putting out Xmas themed covers for several years now. This year’s is a cover of The Handsome Family’s tune and has been in my December rotation (and added to my annual Xmas playlist).
Mercy Union - “Prussian Blue”
This song hit me while seeing them live in 2019 and have been waiting for them to release it ever since. I finally got my wish when it made it on to their latest album, White Tiger (one of my top albums of 2022). Just a great rock song and love the dual vocal leads here between Jared Hart and Rocky Catanese.
Vandoliers - “Every Saturday Night”
They refer to themselves as “Your Favorite Punk Band’s Favorite Country Band” and I would say that is quite accurate. Great tune reminiscing about nights out with friends.
The Menzingers - “The Obituaries”
I recently saw them at LPR in NYC with some fellow Topps employees and the aforementioned Mr. Hart where they performed the entire “On The Impossible Pass” album. This song was always one of my favs from the album and creeped back into my regular rotation.
TROOKO’s Version” Run The Jewels - “yankee y el valiente"
I have loved every RTJ album and this one is no exception. They took all the songs from their 2020 album “RTJ 4” and remixed them with various Latin artists. These songs get a new life with all new beats and some reimagined lyrics translated to Spanish. This song kicks off the album and it doesn’t let up.
The Wonder Years - “You’re the Reason I Don’t want the World to End”
This is “Emo Kids singing about having kids of their own”, and damn it if it didn’t wreck me while I walked down Hudson Street one recent morning while walking to my office.
First Aid Kit - “Out of My Head”
This sister duo out of Sweden came across my radar from Matt Besser’s (Upright Citizens Brigade Founder, improv4humans podcast host) best of 2022 playlist. I would have sworn it was a new song from Fleetwood Mac.
The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die - “January 10th, 2014 – Live”
This song just has sprawling sounds and the dueling singers are even more emotional here on this live recording. This is by far my favorite song of all time inspired by a real-life vigilante.
Hardcore Superstar - “You Can’t Kill My Rock ‘n Roll”
I binged Peacemaker on HBOMax while laid up in bed with covid in November and it is filled with “glam rock” tunes from the 80s and some new modern ones. This song is one of many from the “Peacemaker Official Playlist” on Spotify that has made it into my regular rotation.
various TikTok contributors - Bonus – “A Scorpion Fell On My Head”
I need a full version of this song in the worst way.
- Coilguns - "Shunners"
- Colonial Wound - "Handcuff Trick"
- thrown - "grayout"
- Lamb of God - "Vanishing"
- Sleep Token - "The Summoning"
- Soul Blind - "Stuck In A Loop"
- Inclination - "Thoughts and Prayers"
- ✝️✝️✝️ - "One More Try"
- Lee Fields - "Faithful Man"
- High Vis- "Talk For Hours"