It doesn't seem that long ago that I was sitting in my room as a 10-year-old kid, surrounded by piles and piles of baseball cards. I spent hours on end organizing the cards by team/player/value/ and putting them neatly into sleeves and hard cases. I still recall when Upper Deck came out in 1989--it was kind of like the Bentley of baseball cards; its cards were glossier, better-looking, more expensive and more valuable. They were the new top-of-the-line.
While the baseball card market has had its ups and downs since then, Upper Deck continues to offer high-end collector's cards. The company has made cards with pieces of memorabilia--slivers of actual baseball bats, for instance--integrated into its cards.
And now the company is turning the traditional collector's card on its head. It's introducing what could be considered Baseball Card v2.0. It's the video card.
Fittingly, called the "Evolution" series, the new video cards will be introduced in a very limited series of just four cards. They will launch on April 12 as part of the 2011 Upper Deck Football series. The four players who will get video cards are Adrian Peterson, DeSean Jackson, Patrick Willis and Tony Romo.
At first, I thought it was a little weird that they'd launch such a big innovation in the form of football cards, rather than the more timeless, paradigm-defining baseball cards, but the company explains that they were able to launch the cards under an exclusive agreement with the Collegiate Licensing Company, signed in 2009. As such, each card will feature the player's collegiate attire and footage, rather than NFL.
Each card measures the same length and width as a standard card, but is about half an inch thick to accommodate the video monitor, which is inside the booklet. Open the front cover, hit play and you'll be treated to 60 seconds of highlight-reel footage of the player.
"From the onset, it was important to us that this new insert was a
trading card first, otherwise it would just be a video player," Jason Masherah,
Upper Deck's vice president of Marketing said in a statement. "The cards are built like our
premium booklet trading cards with a video monitor built into the card.
The beauty behind these cards is that they are self-contained. You
don't need any other gadgets or a computer to play them. You simply open
the cover and press play. A video screen with 60 seconds' worth of
highlight reel footage of the player immediately starts playing. The
card also has a port so it can be recharged as well."
Pretty damn cool. I may just jump back into card collecting.