Imagine that you're right-hander Daniel Hudson of the Arizona Diamondbacks, in the midst of rehabbing from Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery, and you take a break. You head over to the drug store where you find a pack of Topps baseball cards, buy them and open them — just like when you were a kid. Except now you're a major leaguer, and there's your card! A head shot. And ... the pained expression on your face looks all too familiar. You remember what day this is from: June 26, the day you tore the UCL in your right elbow. No wonder you look like you want to throw up:
— Daniel Hudson (@DHuddy41) March 24, 2013
I'm not sure Hudson was being grateful when he said thank you to Topps (Twitter should get a universal sarcasm font), but let's look at it from their viewpoint for a moment. It's authentic. It's certainly the most important moment of the season for Hudson, who otherwise is one of the up-and-coming pitchers in the NL. And it's not that different — obviously — than the photos taken by USA Today at the moment of truth.
But I get what Hudson (might be) saying. Newspapers and websites are one thing; They run upsetting or even disturbing photos all of the time because that's what happened. Your baseball card is like your school yearbook photo. It's one thing to have that wacky photo of you making that regrettable face in shop class, but that's not going to be your class portrait. That's of you in the sky blue ruffled tux and parted-down-the-middle-and-feathered hair.
But it's OK, because the Hudson card in question is No. 141 from the Heritage set, a grouping of cards done in the retro style of the 1964 Topps line. Hudson's regular card is of him about to deliver a pitch. That's the one you want anyway (although some of the Heritages are pretty cool).
No pained expression.
No sweating through the uniform.
No elbow in disarray.
Think of this card like your school portrait, Daniel. Except no bad tuxedo.