Why We Might Start Buying Baseball Cards Again

Topps goes 3D

March 9, 2009

Twenty years. That’s how long it’s been, give or take, since Left Field bought a pack of baseball cards. What can we say? Even in middle school, the threat of a weak return on investment worked like a sugar-coated stick of gum to file the shine off of the hobby, and more pressing collectible concerns — like Star Wars action figures — took financial precedence.

But we started to reconsider that two-decade, self-imposed moratorium once we saw today that industry juggernaut Topps is selling 3D cards that kinda sorta come alive with the help of a webcam. Left Field’s painfully clunky work computer — and the complete lack of a webcam — made it impossible to test out the technology, but the basics are this: Download some software, hold one of the 32 3D Live cards (including the M’s Ichiro) in front of your camera, and a little video game version of the featured slugger or pitcher pops up. Turn the card, and the player turns with it, giving you a 360-degree view; you can even make your All-Star facsimile swing, pitch, or catch. Makes Sports Illustrated’s Michael Jordan hologram cover look even more dated than it already did, huh?

It’s a gimmick, sure, and it’s not like Xbox 360 and PS3 don’t already have the market cornered on interactive pro sports play, but damn if it doesn’t bring Left Field one step closer to the Indian in the Cupboard-inspired dream we once had of taking our Starting Lineup figures, putting them in our medicine cabinet, and watching them bust through the mirrored door to play an impromptu playoff game on our bathroom counter. Our "no more cards" policy will have to be broken today, and we’ll report back as soon as we track down Ichiro.

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