If Baseball Cards Could Talk...
July 29, 2014
by William Szczepanek
This concept of baseball cards talking can be thought of in a couple of different ways. The first would be akin to a new kind of card, one that may have one of those chips in it like you see in greeting cards. Each player could have a recorded message that they could deliver to their owners like, ”You better eat your Wheaties.” Or, maybe they could talk about some of their favorite moments. That’s kind of old time and doesn’t quite take it far enough, though. Baseball cards of today should be totally digital with video and sound and data so that you could form a team and play against another set of cards. Each Derek Jeter card, for example, would have a probability algorithm and would therefore play differently than another of the same card.
That’s not really what I meant by posing the question, “What if baseball cards could talk?” I really was thinking more of the “fly on the wall thing.” If baseball cards of today or the past could speak, then what would they say?
I’m sure some would say, “Help! Get me out of this plastic. I can’t breathe.” Or, maybe they would talk to each other while still in their respective shoe boxes like people in a city. “I don’t wish to complain, but these rubber bands are killing me.”
Some cards could talk about how their owners handled them gently and kept them in pristine condition, while others would give out a scream of terror and pain as the spokes of a bicycle whipped their flesh.I could hear a card like a Ted Williams from the past mixed with cards of today bragging, “After all of these decades. I’m still the best hitter in baseball. Can’t you guys do anything? I’ve explained it to you a million times. Only swing at strikes.”
Cards of today probably shouldn’t be kept in shoeboxes. They keep stepping out of the box every few seconds to make sure they still look good.
Then there are those cards that just can’t seem to stay clean, like Ron Santo rubbing dirt on his hands or Pete Rose, whose goal every game was to get as dirty as possible. Those dirty cards would exclaim. “That’s how you’re supposed to play the game.”
I can hear the “Wheeee!!!” of the cards flying end over end during a game of flip.
And again, mixing cards from the current and past could stir things up, like Barry Bonds taunting Mickey Mantle, “I’ve made a lot more money in my career than you did.” And Mickey’s retort. “People like me made it possible for you to make so much money, but have you checked out the value of my cards lately.”
Yes, if cards could talk they would have some great stories to tell about the culture of the times and the thrill of being a part of so many people’s lives. I’ve talked to my baseball cards ever since I was a kid. My sister thought there was something wrong with me. I’m sure many of you have done the same. If you’re one of those who never heard your cards talk, then maybe you just haven’t been listening well enough.