9.03.2009

Bring on the S100 Baseball Cards!

Will it be possible for Topps to design decent baseball cards depicting players wearing the unwieldy S100 batting helmets? It won't be easy, because a) the helmets aren't just unphotogenic, they are downright distracting and b) there is no way to incorporate the S100 look into retro designs. Even when cool David Wright wears the new super duper batting helmet he looks like he's sporting an oversized bulletproof lamp shade. Good luck Allen & Ginterizing that!

Don't be bashful, David. Chicago Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster wears one too.

In fact, he became the first player to game-test the S100 in Saturday's game at Wrigley Field against the Mets. It's not a party wearing one of those babies. "It felt like my own bobblehead day," Dempster said after wearing the thing in the batter's box and also on the bases. "I have a big enough head as it is." Maybe Ryan and David will be seen as pioneers, like Ron Santo, the first player to wear a batting helmet with an ear flap. But how to gracefully put a Rawlings Superpadded Behemoth on a card?

The relevant fact here is that the S100 withstands 100 mph pitches. Cincinnati third baseman Scott Rolen and Marco Scutaro of the Toronto Blue Jays have also been recently sidelined with concussions resulting from being hit in the head by pitched baseballs. Under current testing standards, helmets must withstand the impact of baseballs delivered at 60 m.p.h. from two feet.

The company has shipped six to each of the 30 Major League clubs for immediate field testings. One only wonders why Rawlings can't make the helmet look a bit sleeker. Minor leaguers will soon wear them; Arizona Fall League players, too. But the cards. What will become of the cards?

For in the realm of baseball card design, these helmets shall be eyesores. And by the way. Is the hoopla medical miracle implication that with the S100s, instead of the old-style ones,players absolutely won't get concussions when they are hit by a pitch? They'll just tip their helmets and move on? If that is true, then it's probably worth making player heads look like BBs in boxcars. But how to make that thing look good on a baseball card....truly, this must be contemplated.

1 comment:

Grand Cards said...

Complicated indeed! I'm legitimately curious as to how the card companies will handle these, and whether we will see the balance tilt towards fielding shots and the like until we're used to the change.