WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nine-year-old baseball card collector Timothy “Timmy” Fitzsimmons on Tuesday appeared to have gotten the better of President Barack Obama in a swap of baseball cards that quickly drew the ire of Obama opponents and trading card industry professionals.
The trade, which insiders report was proposed by Obama, reportedly saw Fitzsimmons send the 44th President of the United States a 1989 Donruss Fred Manrique Chicago White Sox card and a 1986 Topps Ron Karkovice White Sox rookie card in exchange for an especially rare 1984 Fleer Update Dwight Gooden New York Mets rookie card, immediately set those within the trading card industry buzzing.
“If the rumors I’m hearing about this trade are true, then I would have to say this sets a dangerous precedent for the future of baseball card negotiations,” noted Topps President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Brandstaedter. “This is clearly a very one-sided swap in Timmy’s favor, and I think it sends a signal to other traders with relatively unimpressive collections that even powerful collectors with enviable assortments of cards are vulnerable if you simply wait them out and continue to make unrealistic demands.”
Brandstaedter is not the only one questioning the head of state’s decision to make the swap, the details of which were allegedly kept a mystery in recent weeks, further frustrating lawmakers on Capitol Hill who had been privy to the president’s negotiations with Fitzsimmons until the end of last month, when members of the House Trading Card Exchange Committee tasked with overseeing such deliberations insist they were informed the talks had stalled. The chairman of the committee, U.S. Representative Buck McKeon, R-Calif., notes that the lack of transparency from the Obama administration is nearly as troubling as the trade itself.
“Giving up a Doc Gooden rookie card for a Fred Manrique is unsettling in its own right,” McKeon said. “Everyone here recalls that Manrique was a light-hitting utility infielder who didn’t even finish the ’89 season in Chicago. And don’t get me started on Karkovice. President Obama put the entire trading card industry in harm’s way just so he could bring Manrique and Karkovice back into his fold. But that’s only half the story here. The other half is the Obama administration recognizing how questionable a transaction this was and concealing its details because the deal was so dubious. At least he’s instinctive enough to attempt to hide such a blunder from us.”
Even Fitzsimmons was incredulous when the former State Senator from Illinois proposed the deal, noting his initial insouciance when replying to the presidential proposal quickly transformed into excited disbelief upon realizing the trade was official.
“I still can’t believe I just pulled a fast one on the leader of the free world,” admitted Fitzsimmons in a brief press conference that was cut short by the soon-to-be fourth grader’s looming bedtime. “I can’t wait to ask Mrs. Dudzinski in Social Studies tomorrow how he got to be president.”
Political analysts predict the lopsided swap will tarnish Obama’s reputation for decades to come, though some insist the former community organizer turned Commander in Chief has plenty of time left in the Oval Office to regain the trust of the trading card industry.
“I think he can recover from this,” said CNN Senior Political Analyst David Gergen. “After all, as far as trades go, they can’t really get any worse than this one, right?”