I would apologize for the pun, but as you’ll soon see, there is no pun.
The baseball internet exploded this morning when it was revealed that Justin Verlander had his very own cereal, Fastball Flakes, and people nearly lost it when it was revealed that the proceeds would go to charity. Here is that box:
Sadly, there’s nothing special about the box. Sure, Justin Verlander’s adorable face can now stare at you from your breakfast table, but after that, all that’s left is the standard baseball font, boring flakes, and a generic ballcap. Wouldn’t the cereal taste better if it was personalized with grandfather clocks to symbolize his 12-6 curve or if the flakes were shaped like tacos?
The box doesn’t even stand up against Kendall’s Krunch which has the benefit of those late-90s splashes of color:
(via PLB Sports)
Nor does it match up against Ken Griffey Jr’s Frosted Wheaties which features Jr, midswing, hammering a wheatie (is that the right phrase?) for a sure home run.
(image via Really Cool Collectibles)
None of these match up to the true king of the baseball cereals: General Mills’ Major League Grand Slams. Released at the height of the home run craze, I have no idea how I missed this one. A natural fit for their Marshmallow Madness line, this one is a doozy:
Not only does the box feature Mark McGwire, Frank Thomas, and Mike Piazza in action poses, but the back features cartoons of Barry Bonds, Jeff Bagwell, and Tino Martinez among others. Did you know Tino Martinez was a cereal legend? Now you do.
Even better, the cereal takes their baseball theme and shoves it down your throat. Literally. The cornballs are shaped like tiny baseballs complete with red seams and there are marshmallows in the shapes of bats, gloves, diamonds, pennants, and all-stars.
General Mills had some great market research too, as Richard White, then-general manager of the Players Association reveals:
“General Mills believes home runs are hot with kids.”
You’re telling me that kids don’t pretend to lay down sacrifice bunts in the top of the sixth inning during recess? I’m shocked.
They didn’t stop there as General Mills even included an interactive CD-Rom that:
“lets kids play virtual baseball with the Trix Rabbit and other characters.”
Whoa, move over MLB: The Show, I’m busy pitching a three-hitter as the Lucky Charms leprechaun on my Gateway computer.
So, yes, Justin Verlander’s cereal is fun, but until a player endorses a cereal that can be used in a Strat-o-matic game, Grand Slam cereal will remain the greatest of the baseball-themed breakfast foods.