Welcome to another installment of Imperative Baseball Debate, in which you and I will discuss the pressing baseball matters of our day. The questions we ask here are staggeringly important and carry with them enormous consequences. As such, the debate can sometimes become heated and even turn violent. I urge you to remember that we share the same objective: to find an answer.
In the early 1990s, the Fleer baseball card company issued a subset of cards known as "ProVisions." Aesthetically, they're among my favorite baseball cards of all time -- they were like Donruss' Diamond Kings, only instead of painting a dude just standing there, they painted him holding a baseball that was on fire, or holding a bat that was on fire, or holding a glove that was on fire. That was so 1990s of them, wasn't it?
Illustrator. "Hey, this guy is pretty good at baseball. How do I convey how neat it is via this illustration?"
Boss. "SET IT ON FIRE IMMEDIATELY"
Illustrator. "That doesn't make sense, though."
Boss. "THERE'S SO MUCH AWESOME ENERGY HAPPENING THAT THE BASEBALL JUST BURSTS INTO FLAMES"
Illustrator. "It's a fire. Fires are dangerous. People die in fires."
Boss. "YEEEEAARGH" [thrusts crotch]
Occasionally, the Fleer artist(s) would take a break from drawing baseball equipment on fire so that they could focus on their secondary passion of drawing baseball equipment that was about to explode.
This is 1992 Fleer #712, the ProVisions card that features Frank Thomas. I have so many questions.
- Why does Frank Thomas only have one arm?
- Is Frank Thomas really tall, or is he simply standing on some sort of spacecraft?
- He has The Stare going on, but he's holding three bats. Is he actually at bat or just on the on-base circle?
- In either case, why is he doing baseball things in space?
- Is that the Moon behind him? Why doesn't it have any craters? Is it because this is supposed to have happened billions of years ago, when the Moon was newly formed and it hadn't yet been struck with meteors?
- Does he know that he has a time bomb inside of his bat?
- If not, was the bomb installed with malicious intent, or by a well-intentioned idiot who actually thought it would help him to hit the ball further?
- If so, why did he set the timer so high? Is he really going to stand there for nine minutes and 18 seconds before swinging at a pitch? Granted, he was a very patient hitter, but that is bananas, you guys.
So, to recap, this is the conclusion I draw: Frank Thomas is a 25-mile-high one-armed man from two billion years ago who is determined to explode a baseball even at cost of severe injury or death to his person.
Is this right? Have I drawn the right conclusion? Am I asking the proper questions? Help me to speculate, friends. If you have a question about this illustration that you think needs to be answered, or if you believe you can explain any of this, either leave a comment below or tweet me at @jon_bois.
Together, as always, we will find an answer.