The hosts of "The View" TV show just told us so this morning.
Everyone seems to be talking about these new toasters at the MLB.com Shop. They are hot. They toast your bread, your English Muffin, your frozen waffle -- and the best part is that it produces your favorite Major League Baseball team's logo on one side.
"You don't have to be a fan to love this," said Josh Fink, CEO of Pangea Brands, but since we are all fans here and we eat, sleep and breathe baseball, we had to know more about the latest rage. So we bought one of our own, tried it out at home, and found it to be a little too ... fun. We made more toast than we really had appetite to eat, because, frankly, we were just having a great time putting a particular team's logo on food.
"What a great way to wake up on Saturday morning and your favorite team is emblazoned on your bread," Fink said. "It's comedy. We are taking this to the next level, too. This is the lower model. We have one $60 or $70 coming out, chrome. It's kind of hard not to say it's a fun item."
Fink sold 350 units in five minutes recently on Home Shopping Network. On Friday, the ProToast toasters will fly out of the MLB.com Shop like burnt baseball-branded bread.
"The market is saturated, all the same stuff -- enough T-shirts and caps," Fink said, referring to the popular standards at the Shop. "When it comes to the novelty market, we are all looking for the most creative thing. You look at the Silly Bandz and think, 'Why?' It makes no sense to parents. But things hit. This is utilitarian, yet whimsical. It's a product that can live and breathe in any house. You don't necessarily have to be a fan to love this. It's not the most expensive toaster in the world, and in some ways, it's a toaster, but not a toaster; it's fun."
Some people have speculated that the idea came from that infamous eBay auction of the toast that supposedly bore a likeness of the Virgin Mary. Bidding hit the $22,000 mark before eBay ultimately removed the item as a prank. Fink said that wasn't it.
The Japanese line of "Hello Kitty" merchandise was the inspiration.
"The way we came about this was seeing a 'Hello Kitty' verse on a toaster," Fink explained. "I was looking for cool new products, and I had seen this 'Hello Kitty' toaster for years while on visits to Japan. I was like, 'Hello Kitty?' It should have Red Sox on it. It should have Yankees.
"In the back of my mind, I always thought we should do this. One day it clicked. I thought someone already had done this, but they hadn't. I approached Major League Baseball and they were excited about it. It took us nine months to get it made and we're still learning."
MLB Licensing is constantly approached with ideas for items that should bear the familiar MLB or team logo, and some of them are hits and some are swings and misses. On Thursday, MLB announced that it just entered into agreements with three new elite brands, Robert Graham, Tokens & Icons, and Team Grill -- all in time for unique Father's Day items.
Robert Graham will be introducing a collection devoted to baseball through specially woven sport shirts; no two shirts are the same. Tokens & Icons make those cool cufflinks, wallets and other items that are transformed through recycled nostalgia such as baseball hides. Team Grill extended its line of professional-grade gas grills to include the National Pastime, featuring the logos as you barbecue.