My friend Laura manages bands that travel the globe, so more often than not she finds herself leaving her New York home and finding herself in a strange, foreign land. As she travels, she snaps pictures, and thanks to the wonders of Facebook, last night I saw the fantastic photograph at the top of this post.
The photo was taken in Russia…Zheleznodorozhny, Moscow Oblast, to be more precise. And what you see are Matryoshka, more commonly known as Russian nesting dolls, bearing the unmistakable likenesses of American sports teams and players. Even better: inside each doll are more players for that team. So it’s sort of like the big guy ate the other members of his team. Which, I assume, is how athletes get their power. Right?
If you take a close look, you’ll be able to spot some familiar faces–though I could only positively identify Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals in the one on the bottom row, on the left. But, as surprising as it was to suddenly see scads of Americana on something so iconically Russian, I was even more surprised to discover that this isn’t quite as odd as it seems.
Preliminary searches on Google turned up a couple different sites that sell these, though I haven’t yet found the ones in the photo snapped by Laura. One site, gr8russianstuff.com, offers a selection of a few different matryoshka, with some featuring teams and players from seasons as recent as 2010. The selection isn’t too big, but they’ve got the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks to commemorate their Stanley Cup win, the National League Champions Colorado Rockies from 2007, and the New Orleans Saints from 2010′s Super Bowl XLIV win, among a few others.
Each set runs around $45, give or take a few bucks, and not including shipping, but it seems to me that’s a small price to pay for the utter weirdness and conversation-starter value these things might bring. I asked Laura if she could grab me a set, but sadly my message got to her after she’d already left the city. Hopefully she’ll come across some more before she leaves the Eastern Bloc.