Cal Ripken, Jr. is really stepping into his swing, and it looks like he's making solid contact. The barrel of the bat is meeting the sweet spot of the ball, most likely. They say that when a baseball player is locked in at the plate, the baseball looks as big as a beach ball as it soars toward home. I think this card offers up an amusing take on that notion, as a giant wooden orb closes in on Cal. Just as bat meets ball, Upper Deck has taken a ball-shaped piece of one of his bats and slapped it on the card.
Maybe this bat was actually used by Junior in the previous season: 2001, his swan song. His efforts brought a somewhat unsatisfying and uncharacteristic end to his career (.239 AVG, .276 OBP, .361 SLG), but I'd like to believe that this piece of lumber was used on one of the fleeting good days. Maybe on July 14, when he found the sweet spot twice and nearly beat the Braves single-handedly.