Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Monthly Box Break Club: April Showers (FULL)


Schedule: Tonight by 10 p.m. Team Randomization
Trades Open: Until Saturday at 10 p.m. central time
Break w/video post & scans: Sunday Afternoon by 6 p.m. central time

April Showers usually indicate May Flowers, but in this case they equal fun little bonuses. Nothing has baffled me more than the fluctuating prices of National Treasures for all years over the past few months. One month some are between $220-240 and then bam two weeks later they are $330 or almost $400. Well we caught a down swing and I couldn't pass it up for us, so for April we will be doing (2) Boxes of 2007 National Treasures with an added bonus.

***Added Bonus: Along with the two boxes of 2007 National Treasures will be one box of 2008 Donruss Threads. All those slots which do not get a "hit" from the National Treasures will get a pack from the 08 Threads Box (so everyone gets something for their money). So say only 9 teams are represented by the "hits" from NT, then that would mean 23 packs of the Threads box would be divided between the 23 non-hit slots. The extra packs will be broken on video and any "hits" would be given to the teams owned in the break.***

As usual slots are reserved for those participating the month before and they have until March 31st to get their payments in to keep their reservation. On April 1st any slots not paid for will be available on a first come, first served basis. Details below:

(1) (2) Boxes of 2007 National Treasures (with added Bonus Packs described above from (1) Box of 08 Threads)
(2) $15 per slot
(3) Slot = 1 random team (assigned via video of random.org)
(4) Payments sent to: justin.halbersma@gmail.com (via paypal)---**Make sure to include address and handle/screenname**
(5) Until April 1st only those people listed below should send payment. On April 1st (or before if someone says they are passing) slots can be paid for on a first come, first served basis.
(6) Once break is completely full, teams will be assigned and can be traded the next two days between participants.
(7) Break as usual will be videotaped and posted on here and youtube (and as usual everything is done on camera from opening boxes to pack to showing cards)

Hopefully this one will yield some nice rookies along with some nice veteran/legend cards.

1. Holy Hitter (paid)
2. wheeler (paid)
3. kickstand (paid)
4. houstoncardcollector (paid)
5. Wheeler (paid)
6. bdavid (paid)
7. cardman312 (paid)
8. I Am Joe Collector (paid)
9. I Am Joe Collector (paid)
10. scubasteve (paid)
11. scubasteve (paid)
12. Psad21 (paid)
13. Psad21 (paid)
14. Holy Hitter (paid)
15. kickstand (paid)
16. Groat (paid)
17. Groat (paid)
18. scubasteve (paid)
19. arfmax (paid)
20. arfmax (paid)
21. fatcat4262 (paid)
22. fatcat4262 (paid)
23. darkship (paid)
24. darkship (paid)
25. whitesoxcat(paid)
26. whitesoxcat(paid)
27. sonic (paid)
28. sonic (paid)
29. voluntarheel (paid)
30. voluntarheel (paid)
31. darkship (paid)
32. wheeler (paid)

Thus Completing My Peterson Purchasing For 2009

Barring an act of god or another set producing win, im done buying All Day autos for 2009. My Exquisite auto came in today, and I must say that I am pleased. It could have been smeared, it could have gone off the card, but all in all, its pretty nice. Its up next to my other Exquisite from 2007, and will remain there until I decide that AD is not my player of choice anymore. 

Funny enough, the scan is AWFUL, so bare that in mind, and the card itself has a nice gold border on the side of it. Pretty cool.

I Still Need Help Finding This Card

Around six months ago, I posted a plea for help because I needed a card that seemed to be ungettable. Since that time, it has only come up once on ebay, and that was from an overseas seller that I refused to trust due to poor feedback. I will offer a finders fee for anyone that can locate it for sale, patch or not, single color or not, it doesnt matter.

If you see it, please help me out and drop me an email, it will be worth your effort.

Here it is, 2005 Joe Mauer UD Artifacts Patch Auto /10:

Just Because The Card Is Worth $500, Doesnt Mean Someone Wont Destroy It

A few readers sent in this auction link of a seller who wanted to prove that a recently sold Peterson chest logo SPA Patch Auto was fake. See, of all the patches to fake, I would expect that this one would be the least likely to top the list due to the shear scope of the cost of the card. Then again, we have seen Exquisite Peterson fakes, and other fakes of this SPA card, so the lesson is this:


The too good to be true rules still apply, and basically it comes down to not taking a chance. Yes, it is a cool card, but why risk the fake patch? Why not buy a 3-color for a similar price and be sure it is real. SPAs are frequently faked, though UD has been good about removing the auctions they know to be fake. Some of them will continue to get through as I have mentioned here before, but its still something that needs to be planted in the minds of collectors. Nothing is safe anymore, and if someone can make a buck or two by switching out the patch, THEY WILL. They are fucking scum, and should be castrated to prevent more of them from entering the gene pool.

Listen people, dont be idiots out there, and though there are quite a few people who will continue to be idiots, it does not give you free reign on both ends of this scam.

ADDENDUM: Just because a card is slabbed does not mean it is real, just another way the scammers get you. See, even though Beckett may authenticate the card, there is nothing they will authenticate about a patch. Now, aside from the arbitrary and exceedingly stupid practice of authenticating cards (especially post 1995), the scammers use this available resource as a way to lure you into a dumb purchase. Even if Beckett were to say something is real, a la SPA NFL Logo patches from Tomlinson's RC year, why would it be in your best interest to believe them? Why are they the preeminent authenticators of patches, especially with all the fakes out there? Yes, yes, I know some are ridiculously obvious, but when it comes to others, they arent necessarily a green smurf in smurfville. I dont put any trust in Beckett either way, but some of you might when it comes to seeing the authentic slabs. In fact, if a card was in an authentic slab, I would AUTOMATICALLY stay away, as it waives red flags all over my alarm system.

Again, why even risk it?

New Addition To The Autolic HOF

I was going through a thread discussing bad autos, and Geronimo Gil came up as one of the worst. In terms of bad, this is beyond awful, even though there is twice as much ink as Mendenhall's, Johnson's, or Timmons'. Add in the fact that his auto looks like a big penis, and you have a new inductee into the Autolic Test Fail HOF.

This is the best auto of his I could find. There are ones that are MUCH worse.

Happy Belated Birthday SCU

So, a little over one year today, SCU was born of anger and retribution. I have to admit, even I didn’t even expect it to last this long. I mean, once I started, I found it quite hard to post things every day, sometimes more than once, and to continue to find relevant things to talk about. On top of all of that, I never expected to get any traffic, mainly because no one knew who I was, and the CBN (Card Blogger Network) was only a third of what it is today.

Once the CBN hit full stride, things really picked up, as for some reason, people enjoyed reading my rants, or hated them enough to come back and see what I would say next. Really, I was just looking for a place to have fun writing, and usually when its about something you love, its much easier to do. Funny enough, I found there was a lot of shit that goes down in the hobby that I really disliked. There was rampant problems with established institutions that no one wanted to question publicly, there were problems with the cards themselves, there was problems with the people who collected them, and most of all, there were a ton of really ignorant people who seemed to be multiplying by the second. With that, I decided to stake my flag and really show people what could possibly be behind the curtain.

Unfortunately the gap between the smart and the stupid continued to grow, and people continued to take advantage of the lack of information and transparency. Luckily for everyone, the CBN also continued to grow and continued to challenge the paradigms that have long plagued collectors in the industry. They also provided complete up to date info, a fresh perspective, and quite a bit of pizazz to boot. New people joined up every day, and I tried to help as many of them as I could to find their voices. SCU's blogroll continues to grow by the day, and I will never hesitate to add a friend, even if your views arent quite on point with mine.

As of today, over 100,000 unique visitors have seen the site, and most of them have come back multiple times for the same reasons as when this page first started. My biggest contribution, the Blog Bat Around is still running strong with a new person at the helm each month, something I love seeing. Hopefully the BBA will continue to be an awesome display of the might of the CBN.

As for SCU, well, I hope there are more years to come, more people to piss off, and more rantabulous posts to write. Really, the only people that deserve the credit are the guys from the SCU staff and you, the visitors. Thanks a ton guys and gals.

Now where is Matt Forte to jump out of my cake?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Rock Out With Your Cock Out!

I was out of town this weekend, my parents visited and we decided to do a bit of road tripping to Santa Barbara. When I got home and checked the mail, and found a package inside my mailbox. I opened it up and found some awesome stuff from Marcus Henderson of Guitar Hero fame. You may remember him from the amazingly done guitar pick cards from Allen and Ginter, and we have been trading emails after he let me know of some ridiculous fake autos on eBay.

Now, I love Guitar Hero. I absolutely love it. I play all the time with my wife, who has actually gotten pretty good, and I am going to buy the new Metallica version as soon as I have some money. So, Marcus is pretty much my hero for laying down many of the guitar tracks for the games I have played non-stop over the last few years. 

During our emails, I jokingly suggested he send an autographed copy of the new game, so I was surprised to find this inside the package alongside some Peterson refractors and other Vikings cards. 

Pretty fucking awesome:

Either way, thanks to Marcus for the sweet cards, but this is actually much cooler to me. Ill display it proudly!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Why God, Why?

So, I came across this thread on Blowout's forums about this guy who is happy he has all 20 of the Triple Suck relic books for their set of complete ass. These are the ones that have, wait for it, 24 different die cut windows per card, all spelling out some of the weirdest shit you could ever fucking think of.

Now, you all know how I feel about each year's JC Memorial Set, but this is absolutely fucking nuts! I cannot understand why anyone would want singles from this set, let alone ALL the fucking cards from the UGLIEST part of the years UGLIEST set.

Yeah yeah, to each his own, but hot damn, this is ridiculous. I do give him credit for finding a way to display these eye sores. Congrats for completing the worst of the worst, im not going to repeat the golden rule of topps collecting for the 8th time on here, you all know it.

Just to give you an idea of what these cards are capable of, I put TWO rows of them together. Yes, it only takes two rows of these steaming piles of watery goat turds to make you cry...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

NFL DRAFT: Vikings On The Clock

Im going to be focusing a lot on the draft coming up, mainly because there is nothing else. This time, I want to discuss who I think the Vikings should pick for their spot at 22. There is a lot of draft that happens before they get on the clock, and I think there is a lot of people that could be there when they pick. There are some players that I would consider to be a good investment for the team, and a bunch of others who arent. Again, let me state that I am in no way a draft guy, I just like reading about it.

Offensive Tackle - Eben Britton, Andre Smith, or a Plethora Of Others

I always think an offensive tackle is a great investment, especially when you can get top talent in the lower picks of the first round. As it stands right now, the line upgrade we would get from one of the tackles in the draft is invaluable, and would do nothing but help this team. We just lost Matt Birk, which I think was a horrible fucking decision to not throw cash at him for a few more years, and now this position is even more important.

On the other hand, I DO NOT WANT ANDRE SMITH. He may have talent and upside, but the attitude and work ethic has already been shown to be very very poor. If you cant get a good tackle here, there are plenty later in the draft.

Center - Max Unger, Alex Mack

Despite having the name of a long forgotten Nickelodeon character, Mack is a great pick to replace Matt Birk for years to come. He is just what they need, however, you don’t pick a center in the first round. Its not worth it. Center is not one of the positions that make or break a team, but it can definitely hurt if it is not addressed. Vikings need a center, but they need other things more. If they pick Mack or Unger, I wont be angry, I will just think there should have been more thought, as one of these guys should be around when the Vikings pick comes around again.

Wide Receiver - Percy Harvin, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Hakeem Nicks

Hobby wise, I hope they pick one of these guys so I have someone to collect. Team wise, I think Harvin is a great pick if he is there, but I would wait on the other players. See, when it comes to WRs, you either have a legit number 1 or you have a support guy. Sad thing is that the Vikings' receivers are all support guys. Harvin could be great, but he isnt Maclin or Crabtree who will both be #1 guys. Its very easy to be a good RB in this league, its not easy to be a good WR, especially when Sage or Tjack are throwing you the ball.

However, I think this is the best investment for the team based on Childress' current outlook. He doesn’t want a QB, he is also a complete jackass.

Quarterback - Mark Sanchez, Josh Freeman, Pat White

I don’t think there is any question in most of the fan's minds that this is the way the Vikings should go if any of them had a brain. They should have given up their draft for Cutler or at least try to trade up and get Sanchez or Freeman. Childress refuses, but he also has proven that his mind is complete crap when it comes to building an offense. There were two things that prevented the Vikes from going further into the playoffs, first is lack of a QB, and there is no way around it. If Jackson had been Cutler, that last drive against philly would not have been an excersize in futility. You cant deny that Jackson is not an NFL level talent, and both Sanchez and Freeman will be. Good QBs don’t come in the draft often, most other positions do. Next year will be rich in QBs, but it also prevents a year on the bench, something that is needed for most QB draft picks. Normally, I would say its not too much of a problem to wait, but I don’t think the Vikings have that luxury. Without a QB drafted in this round or signed/traded for, the Vikings will be doomed to continual first round mediocrity.

This is where I want them to go. They wont. I hate being a Vikings fan during the draft. Adrian Peterson as the exception, the fans pick never gets the nod, and most of the time, the fans have been right with who they wanted.

Cornerback - Vontae Davis, among others

I do not want them to go corner, but they probably will if not OT. Corners are a dime a dozen, and I actually think this is a better position addressed via free agency, but of course, they wont agree. Vontae Davis is great, he will be similar to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie from this past year, but honestly, there is one of them in every stage of the draft. First round corners are not as hard to find as first round WRs or QBs. I would avoid this pick as a way to improve the team. Its complete nonsense.

The only advantage to selecting someone like Davis, is you automatically upgrade your return game too. Davis would step in immediately at KR and PR, so that would be great. However, I still don’t support this type of pick.

Linebacker - James Laurinitis (sp?), Others

If they have the chance to draft a good linebacker, you can never have enough good people in this position. Although it is not a direct need, there may not be anyone else worth drafting at this spot by the time the picks come around. I wouldn’t necessarily support going this direction, but drafting best available - corner or not - may be a reality.

Personally, I think this years draft will be a lot of fun, with a lot of trades. Its going to be fast paced, and I think there will be a lot of surprises. Hopefully the Vikings can come out on top.

I Dont Go Off Topic Very Often, But This Was Pretty Interesting

Im sure a lot of you have seen this video before, there are actually quite a few versions of it, but I think its worth posting here. I think the subject matter is pretty interesting, and though some of it is alarmist in nature, it holds a lot of water here on the net. Plus, the technical presentation of the info is pretty cool too.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

When Stupidity Attacks

I am putting the scam pulled by MelbourneBrokebackCowboy at the same level as this ridiculous auction. This seller is selling his "UNCIRCULATED" Jonathan Stewart UD heroes auto, and I almost want to shoot anyone who even thinks of bidding on this card.

Here are his words:


Good story. Compelling, and rich. Despite all the caps, the stupid concept, and the ridiculous description, there is one simple problem with this auction that most people would spot in a second...

...the card is a UD card in a Topps uncirculated holder.

Good call there chief, really top notch work. On top of all this, the person brings forth a follow up to my post from yesterday, or more importantly brings forth the fucking stupid ass idea of grading an uncirculated card. Why in god's name would you de-case an already encased card, just so that you can get it into ANOTHER ugly holder with an obvious grade. Stupidity at its finest, I really love these.

I Hate Nostalgia In The Hobby, But This Is Too Good To Resist

Back when DLP was still in the baseball market, things were going well for the collectors that focus on the sport that started it all. There were good sets, there were nice cards, and the stuff that was put out every year was built on the foundation put in place from the year before. I loved a lot of what DLP put out, but I forgot what was possible until I saw a card on a message board.

See, normally, we just get a message on the back of each card that certifies the jersey was used in a game. That’s all we have to go on most of the time, and McWilliam has even removed some of the language on the back of the cards to prevent further liability. It’s a reality that millions have come to accept, that their jersey cards are wholly authentic because some president of a company leaves a message on the back of a card. Hell, even DLP has taken a step back along with Topps and the rest, because liability and transparency are thought of as the enemy. The less we know, the more we will buy. I have gotten countless emails from UD employees, Topps employees, and DLP employees, indicating to me that the stuff I have written about is a tame representation of what actually happens behind closed doors.

It wasn’t always this way. In fact, the card I saw actually had a picture of the jersey it came from on the back of the card. Amazing that these type of things never caught on. Of course, there is never a guarantee, as we have found out, that the jersey IS authentic, or that the swatch is from the pictured jersey, but it’s a step up from a stupid message on the back of the card.


It used to be that game used jerseys were the exception to the rule instead of the rule itself, and things have definitely changed in this hobby since 1996 when they first appeared. I really do like the way most of the cards are done today, but I cant help but feel like sometimes, the wool is pulled over our eyes, wrapped around our head, and painted black. One day, someone will have the balls to come out and tell me what I have always wanted to know, or in more simpler terms, what have we been missing?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Comment On Grading and Idiots

I just want to write a comment on grading, again. See, Im not sure people really get the concept of when to grade cards, especially cards that would have no reason to be compared in terms of condition. Besides the fact that grading is completely subjective and arbitrary, sometimes problematic ethically, and generally a crook's business, there are still a few reasons why you should and shouldn’t grade a card.

When you look back at grading, it was created FOR eBay. Despite what the official tag line is, grading was created for people who were buying in a marketplace where direct examination of the item they were buying was usually impossible. What that similarly created was a marketplace of cards that competed for the highest grade, and on top of all that, sold for hundreds if not thousands more than a raw version of the card would go. Add in the fact that Beckett single handedly created a new genre of condition with "gem mint" and number grades, instead of going with the condition guides of mint, near mint, blah blah blah, and you can see where the conflict of interest starts.

Rather than going into that long discussion of Beckett and their ethics, or lack there of, I want to discuss which cards should be graded in this day and age. There is quite a short list of cards that are worth your time, actually, and here it is:

1. generally mass produced rookie cards with or without autos (note the mass produced lingo)
2. vintage cards
3. bowman chrome cards or other prospecting ventures
4. certain numbered cards that would normally not be in good condition

That is it. There are certainly exceptions to the rule, but there are also cards that should never, ever, EEEEEVVVVER, be graded.

1. 1/1 cards
2. cards with extremely low print runs (excluding prospectors)
3. logo patch cards
4. printing plates
5. cards that would gain nothing from a high grade (junk)
6. cards that could never be replicated
7. condition sensitive cards that will SURELY get a horrible grade (IE sweet spot cards or absolute cards)

You may ask why this list is what it is, and well here is the basic explanation. If a card has a print run of 1, 10 or even 25, there is no reason to expect that grading would do anything for the card. Even if the card would get a good grade, the subjectivity of the process should discourage anyone. Usually if your card has a low print run, its worth a considerable amount of money. Also, cards with low print runs are not usually made with condition in mind for the sole reason that a gem mint grade would not do anything for them. This means that when you grade your card, you can only hurt it, not help it.

Ill give you an example:

You have a Tiger Woods patch auto from exquisite of this year. You inspect it, you look it over, and you decide to give it a shot with BGS. As far as we know, there are only 5 tigers, and this is one of those number two's from the list above. Most likely, the Tiger would get a 9 or below, and you would be stuck with a card in a ridiculous holder, a bad grade, and no ability to take the risk in cracking it for fear of damaging the card. You have damaged the value of your card for sale, and there is no way around that. Granted, Beckett would probably be selling the card for you anyways, because if you were stupid enough to grade it, you are definitely stupid enough to give it to Beckett to sell.

On the flip side, lets say you get a 9.5 out of it. Was it really worth the risk of shipping it to the facility, having the card in someone else's hands, sending the card back to you, and getting a bad grade, all for a few extra bucks? Probably not. Would it getting a good grade be that much of boost in price? Someone who wants this card, probably wouldn’t care about the grade, but may care about that awful holder. Since there are only 5 other tigers, is condition even that much of a factor? No, especially when Exqusites are more about the auto and the jersey than the condition of the card. In fact, the card stock is so thick, there are that many more places for dings to happen without being seen by the naked eye.

Here are a few eBay examples:

This card is a Tiger Woods buyback auto jersey /8. This card is worth a fuckload of money, and I am only using it to show what I mean from the above example. The person, unbeknownst to me, decided this card was worth grading. Im not sure why. That card is not worth the risk, for the sole reason that it came back the way it did. I know I would much rather have this card in a nice magnetic holder than in the holder it is in right now, most people would probably agree. Add in the fact that it came back a 9, and there is that much more reason to dislike this version of the card. If it had come back 9.5 would it have made that much of a difference? Probably not. Why take the risk, idiot?

The second card is a similar card in that it is a 1/1 that came back a 9. Why in the world would you expect a leaf limited card to come back with a good grade, let alone a grade that would help your sale? Total crap.

I encourage you to go on eBay and take a look around. Search for BGS 1/1 and see all the different idiots who graded their printing plates or other cards that are now ruined. You wont get any of the idiots who graded their sweet spot autos, or graded extremely rare cards, but you will get the point.

Monday, March 23, 2009

YouTube Scam Exposed

I kind of feel obligated to talk about this, as a public service, despite Mario already covering it. A lot of people have been talking about the group break scams that have been run by some douche named MelbourneCowboys. Apparently, he busts some boxes of Exquisite, but only shows 5 of the 6 packed out cards from the break. There is a pretty heated video analysis thread going on over at FCB, and I think everyone is pretty sure that this guy has stolen quite a bit from the people in his break. Its one thing to rig the team drawings, as that is much harder to track, but to actually leave a card out of the break, that is crazy, and fucking obvious.

See, if you had a link to the videos - they all have been taken down - you would see that he clearly has six cards from one of the breaks, but ends up only mentioning 5 (see screen cap below). The other card is then either kept, or sold under his eBay name. If you look at his completed auctions, he has some pretty nice stuff. However, its not ridiculous enough to draw attention. According to some people who have questioned him about the breaks, the cards were obtained when he "went to a shop" and "busted them."


Regardless of what is analysed by the people on his videos, this guy clearly has a lot of demons and youtubers to deal with. Im not sure which is worse. People may shit on ARPlatinum for participating in his own breaks, but at least he shows the cards in a clear camera with the pack IN FRONT of him. I think it bears repeating that you buy into the integrity of the breaker as well as the box itself, and I wouldnt have trusted this guy at all. Here's hoping the guys from the break can file claims and get their money back.

On another note, stay tuned for another SCU break coming up...


This Is What Boredom Does To A Football Collector

Last week, we had the first product of 2009 hit the shelves, which usually would be a happy day. However, this product is PRE draft and is only put out to cash in on something that many football collectors can identify with - BOREDOM.

2009 Sage is basically the brother of press poop, and this unlicensed product is the first in the brown wave of ugly cards with ugly foil stickers. For college collectors, this product is a wet dream because many of those people couldnt care less about which pro team they are on. For other people, this is a boring attempt to cure the boredom of a lack of affordable products since SPA in December. I hate these cards, and I cant understand the people who bust this shit because they want autos of the 2009 players before the draft even happens. Why couldnt you wait? No, instead, lets pay 30+ dollars for an auto of Mark Sanchez who may not even be a first rounder. Fucking ridiculous. Add in the fact that they will be paying triple to quadruple the value for cards that will bottom out as soon as a real product hits the shelves, and you see what I mean. Hell, even the college collectors, whom this product SHOULD be made for, wont even buy yet on the big guys. Why should they?

I know, I know, people will never learn. Its like they think this year's products will be different. They think that SAGE will hold its value for the first time EVER, and they will be able to cash in. Sure, why not.

This is pretty fucking easy: Dont be stupid, dont be that guy, dont buy this crap, and wait for the draft. There are a lot of question marks this year, and you could easily get screwed by buying this early. Its like having a baseball fantasy draft in february, you can only get hurt by not waiting.

Friday, March 20, 2009

When Prospecting Attacks...

From my experience, prospectors are the only people I have seen make money in this industry. It requires a lot of work and a ton of patience to REALLY make it worthwhile, but when you hit it big, it can be nuts. In order to accomplish the big buys, you have to monitor the MILB stat lines, scour the BA prospect reports, and make sound decisions on what cards to invest in. Its not easy in the slightest. I know that the term "invest" makes no sense in cards, because no one ever makes any money, but this is a little different. These people buy cards for the sole purpose of holding on to them until the MLB debut, and they always have money in mind. I don’t necessarily find that much wrong with the concept, only because its like stock investing in a long term scope.

Lately, things have gotten a little extreme with a few "prospects" that havent even reached pro level ball. They have not been drafted, and one is still a sophomore in high school, 2-4 years away from actual MLB service. Steven Strasburg, a pitcher, has been widely considered as the person who will be the top pick in the draft in the first year he is eligible. He recently played on Team USA and showed amazing potential as a future ace for any number of MLB teams. Bryce Harper is in a similar situation as a catcher for a Las Vegas high school. He also played on Team USA, and again, showed major potential just like Strasburg. His videos have become a sensation on YouTube, especially the HR derby one where he hit a few MLB sized bombs.

As a result of this hype and the buzz from the prospecting community, the auto cards that have been inserted into Sweet Spot and the Team USA box sets have been fetching hundreds of dollars on eBay. It seems as though people think that these guys will be the next superstars to really make a hobby impact a la Pujols, Wright, and Longoria. Although I agree that these are some incredibly talented players, I wont be investing THIS early. I think its pretty crazy that Harper's cards have eclipsed both Pujols and Jeter, two of the hobby's biggest names, and he has yet to even be drafted.

A lot of collectors think prospectors are idiots, and I am NOT one of those collectors. They cant understand why someone would pay for cards of players who havent even played a single pro game in the top levels of the league. Personally, I think that mentality is quite closed minded. See, I have seen quite a few people get rich off of a collection that cost them only a few hundred dollars, and they have used that money to build some of the most incredible collections of players you do know. Of course, there are flip sides to everything, but the smart ones don’t usually fail. However, I think paying $250 for either of these players takes that paradigm of collecting to an absolutely crazy level.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fake PSA 9 1952 Bowman Mantle On Ebay

A very hot button issue has come up lately on a number of different message boards around the net and I wanted to post about it here. Apparently, a douchebag from Southern California or Mexico has found a way to counterfeit the PSA holders and labels. He has a bunch of fake 1952 Mantle Bowman cards, and is using his "talent" for making the fake holders to sell them on eBay and Craigslist. It may not be easy to spot for the untrained eye, but many people have the cards in hand and know they are fake. Someone even compared bar codes and they all looked eerily similar.

The first time this was put up for auction, eBay removed it after a bunch of complaints came in. There were also four or five collectors from around the net who purchased similar cards from the guy but immediately realized they were fake. I mentioned a few days ago that its becoming very hard to trust any of these people any more, mainly because the scam level is so fucking high. I also mentioned that no matter what the technology is, someone will find a way to take advantage of it. The fucking idiots who throw ethics and the law out the window are the people that have made this hobby one of the least trustworthy pastimes there is.

According to the boards, PSA has been contacted a number of times, but has yet to do anything about it. Typical.

Guys, it comes down to the golden rule of collecting: IF IT SEEMS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS.

2009 NFL Mock Draft - SCU Version 1.0

This year's draft is one that I have been focusing on for a long, long time. Too long. The reason is that I think this draft could be one that shapes the future for a few teams more so than a lot of the drafts turn out to do. We are coming off of a season where, for the first time, a team went 0-16, and that means that the gap between the good teams and the bad teams is growing. At least from where I stand. Also, six of the ten teams in the first picks in the draft were there last year (not counting any trades), and with this being a draft heavy on good OTs, I assume this could be a good time to get in on the ground level. Now, I am no expert, and I barely know my stuff, but I have done some homework on this, and I think its time for me to list what I believe will happen now that the free agency picture is a little more clear.

1. Detroit Lions - OT Jason Smith, BAYLOR

I think that when everything is said and done, the Lions are going to realize that this isnt the year to pick a QB with the first pick. There are a number of good people coming down the pipeline next year, and this will give them a chance to anchor the line that gave up all those sacks last year. Plus, with another pick at #20, Josh Freeman or Mark Sanchez may be there to build the team around for a lot cheaper. Smith can start from day one, and should be a great player.

2. St Louis Rams - OT Eugene Monroe, UVA

The Rams need a guy that can take the place of Orlando Pace, and Eugene Monroe is that guy. He is a big dude, and may be the better of the two tackles that have emerged at the top of the list. As I said before, this is a tackle heavy draft, and Monroe is definitely one of the guys I would expect to have a very good career. These guys are starters from day one, as also said before, and the Rams will need that.

3. Kansas City Chiefs - LB Aaron Curry, WAKE FOREST

Man, Curry is a beast. The guy just has a ton of potential at linebacker for the Chiefs, especially on a defense that really needs the help. I originally thought Maybin would be here as the consensus pick, but the combine wasn’t as friendly to him as it could have been. Curry has as much upside as Patrick Willis, and should be quicker and and better at a key position.

4. Seattle Seahawks - QB Matthew Stafford, GEORGIA

We all know about Matt v2.0, he is still considered to be the consensus number 1 pick, but I see him dropping a bit now as things move forward. We can see that Hasslebeck is getting older and hasn’t necessarily produced the way the league demands as of late. Without Alexander in the backfield, the QB position becomes even more important than it already is. Too bad there isnt a good enough RB to take here, because the Seahawks could use one of them too. Now that Housh is the new seattle man, I think they want someone who will get him the ball.

5. Cleveland Browns - OLB, DE Aaron Maybin, PSU

Maybin was as high as number one on some boards, and I don’t think the Browns could pass up one of the best players in the draft, especially with their ailing defense. Maybin will be a star, and has put on some weight since the combine, so you can expect that many a big hits are in his future. He could be the next big name on defense, I would be shocked if he was a bust.

6. Cincinatti Bengals - WR Michael Crabtree, TX TECH

Crabtree is the best player in the draft in my opinion, and the foot injury isnt a bad enough thing to keep him out of the top 10. If he falls this far, he wont get past Cincy, who just lost their best receiver. The guy is a ridiculous talent, and may be on the same level of potential as Calvin Johnson was. I would think this guy could be a 100 catch 15TD player down the road, and boy does this team need him.

7. Oakland Raiders - WR Jeremy Maclin, MISSOURI

Wow, what a crapfest the Raiders have become. Thank you Al Davis. The Raiders have no one left in their receiving corps, and Maclin could be that big play guy they are looking for to help out Russell. God knows he needs it. They could also go OLine here, but im not sure if the Raiders draft people are that smart. Maclin is a rocket off the line with a 4.4 40, and you can expect that the upside on him will be enough for the Raiders to take him.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars - OT Michael Oher, OLE MISS

Jacksonville needs some playmakers to help Garrard, but they also need to protect him. Their line has been suspect over the years and Oher may be the guy to fix it. I would have put Smith here, but the guy is a washout, much to Oher's benefit. If Maclin makes it down here, the Jags will take him, but I would expect them to definitely want to shore up problems up front as well.

9. Green Bay Packers - DE Brian Orakpo, UT

The Packers may be switching to a 3-4 next year, and Orakpo should fit into that scheme from what I have seen. He has the speed and the know how to be a great OLB or DE, and you can believe that the Packers need the help with their awful rush defense from last year.

10. San Fransisco 49ers - DE BJ Raji, BC

Holy crap, this pick could be the most up in the air for the entire draft. The Niners have a huge amount of holes and a QB that hasn’t had a healthy season since he was drafted. I could say Sanchez would go here, but they may just say fuck it and go for the offensive line. They could use a DE as well, so Raji would make sense along with Everette Brown. Raji is a good player that can go inside at DT as well, so versatility could be his best asset.

That’s my picks for right now, I may do this again as the pro days shape up. Feel free to offer your ideas, but realize that I am not an expert on this stuff in any way. I really hope that things work out for these top picks because if they go as planned, the Vikings could end up with someone much better than I expected. Either way, April is a long time away, and things change daily with this. All I can say is that I am pumped.


***Due to lack of interest (which I can understand at the price point) I have to cancel this. I will be refunding the money of those who have already paid***

Thank you for all who showed interest and perhaps at another time when the economy isn't so far in the dumps it might work out.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Blog Bat Around: My Goofy Superfan Moment With My Favorite Player

During the summer of my senior year in college, I got some great info while listening to the radio in my car going to work. The announcer for KFAN, the sports talk station, announced that they would be sponsoring a signing of Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau on the Saturday before I went back to Washington. It was going to be at a Best Buy, one that was a reasonable distance from my house, but I was determined to get there.

I arrived at work with a huge grin on my face, hoping that the schedule would be forgiving enough that I could make the signing. I knew I would need an hour to get to the Best Buy, a few hours to beat the throngs of fans that would be showing up, and twenty minutes to go home and change. Luckily, I was not working until the evening shift, which gave me two hours after the signing to get there without a problem. Clutch, right?

According to my plans, I needed to get two baseballs for them to sign, and maybe a few cards that I didn’t mind ruining if they got screwed up. After work, I went to target and went straight to the sporting goods section, only to find that the official balls cost 15 bucks a piece. I dug in my pocket and pulled out the tips from the night before, praying that I would have enough for the balls and some tax. As I counted the ones, I came to a total of 36 bucks, plus money for gas. It couldn’t be any more key, at least not to me!

The day arrived and I could not even stay focused enough to pack my stuff that I needed for the long drive we would be taking the next weekend. I actually showed up about four hours before I needed to be there, just to make sure I had a good spot in line for the signing. I was number 5 in the line, and little did I know how important that would be later. After buying a lawn chair at target to chill in, I started talking with the other people in line. It was awesome to see the stuff they had brought. One guy had a complete set of the Twins Medallions, mounted, framed, and signed by every player and manager except for Mauer and Morneau. Another guy had some framed lithographs that looked absolutely amazing, and I wished that I had something similar. A lot of people came with the mini batting helmets, which I thought were awesome. Me? I just had my balls and a few cards. I knew it would be one auto per person, and I collect the signed baseballs. That’s what I came for. I figured Id have another chance at Twinsfest for the fun stuff.

As the hours past, we talked about collecting and the evil shops from around the Minneapolis area, just having a whole afternoon of talking about the Twins and their future. Around 4, they let us into the store through a back entrance (we were waiting outside), and I finally saw the magnitude of how many people showed up. The parking lot was jammed, filled with about 700-800 people all circling this Best Buy. It was a sea of people, and more showed up every minute.

I was still number five in line, and they brought us in to stand next to the podium and stage they had set up. After about ten minutes, we heard cheers coming from the back, which we knew were Joe and Justin coming into the store. They had a security escort through the back of the store, but you could tell they were just there to have fun. Justin asked me how long I had been waiting, and I said that I had been there since before noon. He thanked me for the support, shook my hand, and went to go sit down at his spot. I had brought along a blue ball point, but I saw that they had hundreds of pens on the table. I didn’t take any chances, so I had mine at the ready.

Joe was first and I put the ball, as instructed on the table for him to sign. He was signing on the sweet spot for the guy before me, so I was going to nicely ask for the same. I wasn’t going to sell the ball, but for display purposes, I needed a sweet spot sig for my collection. Before I had the chance to say anything, he picked up the ball and signed the loop, much to my surprise. My mouth kind of dropped open with a partial word, and he realized that I wanted something different. He said, "Oh, dude, im really sorry, I thought Justin AND I were going to sign this one." I (very nicely, considering my shock) said, "No, its cool, my fault, can you please sign it again on the sweet spot?" He laughed and sort of gave me the 'you sure about this?' look before doing it. He signed again, and we both laughed pretty hard. He hit Justin on the shoulder and showed him the ball, and the Justin laughed.

I handed Justin a fresh ball, and he said, "should I do this one three times?" but I just laughed and said that he should sign the sweet spot. He chuckled and happily obliged. He thanked me again for waiting in line, and I started to leave. Joe shouted that he was sorry again, and I gave him a signal that it was cool with me. I mean, how often do you have a story like that? I still have both the balls, and I still tell the story to the people who come over and see my display. They always laugh about it with me, because they know it was all a part of the chase.

Funny enough, I went to Twinsfest that year with my then girlfriend (now wife), who was madly in love with Justin. Mauer and him were signing together again, and I couldn’t resist the temptation to get more stuff signed. She had a few balls with her, and I advised her that she needs to TELL Joe to sign on the sweet spot, because otherwise it will end up like my other one. As we approached she got kind of scared, but eventually lightened up. Justin signed her ball and picture, but she couldn’t bring herself to confess her love, thank god. She did just as I had told her with Joe, and he happily did what she said. Joe took one look at me and said, "Man, I promise I wont screw yours up this time!" Justin laughed, I laughed, and I told him I didn’t bring a ball this time, because I didn’t trust him. He laughed again, and signed my mini batting helmet perfectly.

You know, its these types of stories that makes me feel good about being a fan. You know that players who have a good time have the best fans, and you can count me among that bunch. Mauer and Morneau are my favorites, even though my wife said she would divorce me to marry Justin.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ryan 1/1 Logo Pulled On Blowout Forums

I am sorry for the long string of Exquisite posts, but damn, this was a nice fucking pull by a guy who posts on the blowout forums. Of the big rookies, this one was the biggest, and I am glad that it went to a regular guy who buys his boxes from a shop, rather than a big corporation or hobby big wig.

Also, it looks much better than the Patch Auto because of the pic change and the design for the logos. For getting rid of the Rare Materials 1/1s and making them /10 and /35, UD did an awesome job with these 1/1 logos.

Lions and Bears are here, but no Tiger? OH MY!

So, looking at my calendar, we are coming up on 2 weeks since Exquisite has been released, and we have yet to see a Tiger Woods auto pulled. This is pretty crazy considering how much of the product has been probably been opened so far, and how many of the cards are supposed to be in the set.

Per Upper Deck's site, Tiger is supposed to have 14 cards in this set - 10 normal "patch" autos, 3 gold, and 1 platinum. With 14 cards, you would expect at least one to have made it onto youtube or onto eBay. Hell, even a story would have surfaced somewhere from someone right?

Just for kicks, lets take a look at the Rare Materials cards /10, a card with 4 less in the print run than all of the Tigers. Per my snooping on ebay and the forums, all of the players in the set have had at least 1 card pulled that has been posted for sale or as part of a break. Im not saying this proves anything, its just a comparison.

Lets say for instance, that Gregg's original count of 5 Tigers was correct and that the web is mistaken. If each of the 5 tigers was put into a different case, you would expect that 5/2500 cases would have a Tiger in it. You would expect that 1/500 cases would be your odds. Then, if you consider that 500-700 cases are probably opened in the first few weeks and as far as we know, no Tiger has been pulled, it would leave 5/2000 which lowers the odds even more to 1/350-400 cases. Add into it that almost every other card out of 10, and most the cards out of 5 have had at least one pulled, people are beginning to rumble as to where these cards are. We are already at the odds for one to be pulled, and moving further past every day.

As of right now, I am giving UD the benefit of the doubt, only because we saw one of the cards pictured during the course of the previews for the product. If it comes out that the cards are stashed away somewhere, and were mistakenly not included in the pack out, you can imagine what the backlash will be from the collector base. I hope that things are good, and that eventually someone will pull one of them so that we can see what they are going to sell for. At this point, with the bubbling needs of the Exquisite lovers out there, I would put the value at 4 or 5K minimum for the first, and a bit lower for the rest.

NOTE: Per Gregg, there are 5 Tigers in the cases, and he personally witnessed them being packed out into the product. That makes me feel a lot better, lets hope one surfaces soon, I am eager to see them.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Taking Set Collecting To The EXTREME!

Sometimes, when second worlders take a shot at set collecting, they set their sights very high. Every once in a great while, someone takes that to a whole new level. This auction is for every RC Patch Auto out of 2007 Exquisite Football, and I am not only jealous, but really fucking impressed. Not only does he have the complete set, but he has some nice ass patches on most of the cards, including a ridiculous 3-color on the Peterson. Of course, these patches are event used, but for the sake of this showcase, they are really nice. He even got a 3 color on the Russell, which is tough, considering that the home half of the jerseys are 2 colors for the whole jersey, and the away jerseys are only three colors on the front and back numbers.

I can imagine that this set took a long time to complete, and also took a shit ton of money. The sad thing is that he wants 14K for this lot, and I dont think he will come even close. Its just too much money for someone to pay, as most of the RCs in this set will never amount to much. As a set, thats a little different, but that may be a lot too much to ask.

Either way, its cool to see a guy that took the time to complete his set.

Info On Exquisite Black and Gold Redemptions

This year in exquisite's gold packs, there were quite a few people who pulled the black and gold redemption cards for a key member of all 6 of the Steelers' championships. I thought it was a cool idea, as it really hasnt happened before that Exquisite has had a set like this. It gives the team collector an amazing set to complete, and the player collectors get cards that are commemorating one of the Steelers proudest moments. If I were a Steelers fan, I would be really happy about this.

The problem is, the checklist doesnt include some of the most "key" members of the teams:

bg-br Ben Roethlisberger /25
bg-ds Donnie Shell /150
bg-fh Franco Harris /100
bg-ha James Harrison /101
bg-hw Hines Ward /32
bg-jg Joe Greene 150
bg-jh Jack Ham /150
bg-jl Jack Lambert /150
bg-lg L.C. Greenwood /150
bg-lw Lamarr Woodley /150
bg-rb Rockey Bleier /150
bg-tb Terry Bradshaw /25
bg-tp Troy Polamalu /44
bg-wp Willie Parker /100

Now, the question I have is, where is the Bus, and where is Santonio Holmes? Both were important parts of two of the championships, but are not included. I know that you cant necessarily have everyone, but those were key to me. Otherwise, the checklist looks pretty good, with Harrison's card being one of the only autos, if not the only, he has, and also Polamalu getting some love. You can tell these cards will be in pretty high demand once redeemed, due to the set builders, and the Steelers collectors. I know 2 or 3 people that would pay out the nose for the Roethlisberger and the Ward.

It will be interesting to see how these turn out.

h/t Card Informant

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Could Panini Ruin Everything?

Over the last 6-9 months, the blogs have made incredible progress with manufacturers to show that they are worthy of consideration in disseminating news. They have gotten sneak peaks, done box reviews, and even major interviews with the industry's big wigs. Could Panini's entrance into things be destructive to this progress?

Since the news first broke here on SCU and on the Sports Card File, all official statements from Panini have gone through the fuck faces over at Beckett. This includes  interviews, statements that disavowed everything said here and on SCF, and all exclusive info. What this fact says to me, is that Beckett has realized what our involvement means, and have jumped on these new people like kids jumping on candy from the pinata. It seems like beckett doesnt want any blog involvement because their arrogant nature forces them to work against that. They know that every exclusive that is broken by Mario, Chris, Dave or Steven could be extremely important in the war of words. Whoever has the exclusive can spin it for everyone. They want it all for themselves. They want to establish a relationship with Panini before everyone else so that the relationship wont echo what they have right now with UD. 

Sadly, with Panini being introduced into the US market, there  couldnt be a better foundation for Beckett to estabish a great realtionship on. They dont know as much about the past, from what I can see, and DLP really didnt want very much to do with the blogs either. Even when UD stopped sending boxes to Beckett, DLP continued with reckless abandon. Every set, Beckett got boxes early. It was the only company that still wanted to work with them after all the shit that was pulled the year before. Now, with Panini, im guessing they see beckett as the only legit news source in cards. That will be a problem for those of us who still want the companies to see them as the child that your mother forces you to play with out of pity. UD gets it, from the people I have spoken to. Topps, im sure is catching the drift. Panini seems like they are ready to give beckett the keys to the castle. 

Hopefully Panini will eventually sort through the bullshit and see the true douchebag demon behind Beckett's curtain.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Plight Of The Player Collector

Sometimes, players you love go through a pretty radical change, and you are forced to adapt collecting habits to fit it. Either they get traded, they go to jail, or in some cases they switch their auto or something about their allegiance to the collecting public. It really sucks for the player collector in many of these instances because you are either left with a player on a team you don’t like, or nothing if they go to jail. With the auto, a very important part of player collector's collection, you have to adapt, especially if it goes from one of the most expressive to a give up.

First I want to talk about a trade or free agency. With a trade, it wasn’t anything the player did directly (most of the time) that you have to deal with, and it can be tough to figure out what to do. Free agency is player directed, but the result is the same. If you are that player's collector, but didn’t live in the city he was from, or had no ties to the team, it should be easy to swtich things up. You may have to put up with mismatched swatches for a year or two, but generally things are fine. If you have a tie to the team AND the player, it’s a completely different story.

Lets use KG as an example, because I think he could fall into a few of these categories. KG was my favorite player on the Timberwolves, duh, and both free agency and a trade were possible at one point. There were probably a lot of KG fans outside of MN, so it wasn’t as big a deal for them. KG gets traded to one of my least favorite teams, and I am stuck with team allegiance to the wolves, but signed memorabilia from a Celtic. I ended up letting both player and team allegiances stand and kept my stuff, but that didn’t mean I didn’t try to get rid of it a few times out of anger.

With Jail, it’s the other side of the pillow altogether. With those types of situations, its tough to like or collect a guy that is a bad enough person to do something requiring jail time. At that point, you might be stuck, it may be time to fold it up and move on with your collection.

For this ill use Michael Vick, because he seems to be at the forefront of all of this, and he has a lot of people who collect him. If you look at his stuff, he went from being one of the more valuable players to someone with little to no value. The falcons quickly moved on to Matt Ryan, which gave falcons collectors someone to bank on from here on out. The Vick people, well, they are out of luck.

As for people and their auto, for us second worlders, this is key. I could love Chris Johnson all the live long day, but I am never going to get a card that is worth my time. For that matter alone, many people may avoid him. I know it would be tough for me to collect a guy with as much of a give up auto as that is. What makes it a slap in the face partially, is that he signs much more completely on the certified stuff I see on eBay. If you can sign for people face to face, but you cant do it on cards, I think it says something about what you think about collecting. Again, that isnt necessarily a bad thing, a la Dirk Nowitzki signing TTM, but its not necessarily a good thing either.

Peterson recently switched from a full auto to a give up, and for people like me, its tough collecting decision to make. My gut says that the give up isnt as good and I shouldn’t buy it, but my collecting tendencies make me want to go after new stuff. Funny enough, about six months ago, I got an email from someone saying this was going to happen, and I shrugged it off at the time. I think from now on, ill stay away from his give ups on stickers, but make an exception with on card shit. Sadly, he has also switched his IP auto as well, which makes me question what he was thinking.

Personally, its really about how much you are willing to tolerate. If Peterson wasn’t a Viking, I probably wouldn’t collect as much, but that is the nature of the NFL. Its become expected that players wont stay with their team their whole career. Its also pretty much expected that eventually players will develop a primadonna attitude and give up on the fans. There are always awesome stories, but more than a few times players have become enemies of the collector before becoming a sympathizer. Hopefully every door that the players close, somewhere they open a window.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

So Far, This Is Looking Pretty Good

A few days ago, I took a huge risk on a Peterson auto redemption from Exquisite. The good thing was that I had seen a number of ADs up on ebay, the bad thing was that Exquisite wasnt part of that. It was a new set, so it was kind of expected, but I was still quite weary of what may happen.  

Today, to my surprise, I found this under my redemptions on the UD site:

Im glad to see that not everything has been lost on UD customers. With this preliminary info, at least we know that the wheels are still turning somewhere, though customer service has been widely reported as greatly reduced. 

So far, things are looking pretty good, ill keep you up to date.

First Look: 2009 Upper Deck Philadelphia Football

(click to enlarge)

We got a new preview today, and to me its just Goudey in football terms. To everyone else who loves retro sets, this is guiding light from above. Not only do you get the Philadelphia football set with current players and other stuff, but you also get the 1935 National Chicle mini set that is one of the most recognizable sets ever produced.

Im glad this is coming out, not because I will buy any, but because Mayo was a complete disappointment in every way. I hate retro sets, but a lot of collectors out there have made them the most bankable venture in the industry. If UD can have success with this, I assume that more collectors will come to football and bring their money with them. If MLB goes Topps, this may be their only outlet for UD retro.

Regardless of my feelings on Retro sets in general, I think it looks pretty nice. There was so much more in the preview that I didnt have time to crop, please go view the slideshow at the normal place. I think UD may have found the next big thing.

Exclusive Does Not Mean Better

Exclusivity has been the talk lately, and I must say, everything about the stories has me pretty worried. The reason that I like the hobby is because there is a shit ton of products from every company that I can give a chance. Don’t like the latest DLP offering? That’s okay, there are a lot of other products out there that have the chance to be what you are looking for. With exclusivity on a player, or even now a sport, all of that goes away and that fucking sucks. Here is my previous post on it.

As we speak Baskeball has an exclusive company with Panini, and the MLBPA is looking towards Topps as its singular provider. When I see that, all I can think about is how badly I feel for those people who love collecting those sports. What sucks even more is that the people who collect exclusives from each company like Jordan, Jeter, Kobe, Grif, and LeBron, don’t have anything they can do any more. You basically fuck them out of their favorite player's stuff. If you look at those names, you can imagine how many people are going to have a problem with that. It brings in another question though, what happens when Topps products blow donkey balls one year for baseball, or what happens if Panini doesn’t live up to what they promise? Where else do you go? Unlicensed products will be made, but all that will trigger is lawsuit after lawsuit for the people who get screwed on the fact that UD Basketball could probably outsell Panini, even without a license.

For the collectors, exclusivity will not bring back 1990, or even 2000. It wont work like that. The only thing exclusivity will bring is problems with the collector base. People will get frustrated when topps produces somehthing they don’t like because they will have to wait until the next topps product to come out for vindication. What happens if that second product doesn’t live up to expectations? You keep waiting. Then, with exclusivity, Topps may not need to produce as many sets as they had to in the previous market to stay competitive. You would think they would focus on things more now that they have free reign to do as they please, but that doesn’t happen. It happens all the time: a company comes into a better situation, and makes a whole bunch of extra money. Instead of putting that extra money into making products better, they just pocket it. Im not saying that is what will happen, but you have to imagine that a lack of competition will turn things in the wrong direction.

People talk about exclusivity as good model because of what happened with UD and hockey cards. Well, see, when you have 1/8 as many collectors as baseball cards do, there isnt as much demand for variety. Hockey cards never reached the level that the big three sports did in competition, so it wasn’t a big deal to most people who only lost 1 or 2 major products from the calendar. Its much different with Baseball and Basketball, especially when the company that takes over is NOT one of the two biggest producers in the key market. With Baseball, there are quite a few people, myself included, that wont touch baseball cards anymore with Topps as a primary provider. Those are usually the people who collect many sports instead of just baseball, so higher end stuff is more important to them. When Topps Sterling and Triple Threads become the only option, things will get dicey for me and those people. I know I am not alone in that feeling.

Im not sure why the NBA and the MLBPA are playing with fire, or at least what seems like fire to me. Hopefully it works out, I really do hope that it does, but the little voice inside my head has been trained for disappointment.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Exquisite Cards Have Been Mailed

For those of you who participated in the Exquisite break, all of the cards have been mailed. The system should have emailed you with tracking info, so please let me know if you dont receive them.

Kickstand was the big winnah for this time around, I encourage you to join up with Holy Hitter's case break and hopefully you can have the same kind of luck.

Thanks again to everyone.

(Darkship, I realized that I never mentioned the base card, it was Derek Anderson. Its on the way)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Product Value Review: Cancelled

First, a huge thank you to "tasteslikedirt" for creating this awesome banner that is truly a photographic analogy to the endeavor we are about to partake in.

Due to lack of interest this idea will be shelved until a later time if at all.....

Is Panini Buying Donruss?

Well, looks like the football market just changed considerably. I dont have a legit source yet, but it is expected today that Panini will announce the acquisition of Donruss. If this is the case, the NBA card line should get a major boost with the facilities to produce both NBA cards, MLB cards, and NFL cards in the US. Up until now, it was pretty much expected that the NBA cards that Panini is producing would suck beyond belief.

If the announcement comes some time today or tomorrow, that idea goes out the window. Everything is fair game with the ability to continue to make the typical cards, as well as being able to cater to the people who collect high end basketball. That is probably the biggest problem I see that would be solved with this purchase of DLP. Basketball is pretty much a high end sport because of the international ties, and the way that people collect the players. Exquisite has a cult following of people all over the world, and it shows on eBay. When Panini bought the license, I saw the basketball card industry wither and die. Im not sure if that is the case anymore.

As for the football part of the hobby, I think I am done with Panini as a card brand unless there is something major to move me. I just dont see National Treasures being the same without DLP at the helm. If DLP continues to put their name on it and remains in power creatively, this could turn into a huge boost for a company that was slowly losing its grip on football.

I know I was hoping for DLP to get their baseball license back after the success of Prime Cuts this year, and with new ownership, it becomes a slightly better chance that it will happen. However, I think its still a longshot.

Overall, this couldnt be better for the industry, and promotes DLP's involvement in the hobby as much more likely to flourish with more money behind them. As always, time is the only true test of a company's staying power, but we will see what kind of chops they have if this goes down as expected.

Here is a very interesting look at the deal.

Exquisite Cards Going Out Tomorrow

I wanted to get these out on monday, but due to a hugely busy schedule, I havent been able to do it. I have everything ready to go, just need to get the labels printed and sent.

Ill keep you posted.

Monday, March 9, 2009

I Took A Huge Risk Today

Oh man, I am shaking about this. Here is what happened:

I saw that AD's redemptions from UD products started showing up on eBay. The problem was that the cards I wanted were not listed at a reasonable price, and I got really ancy about buying up an Exquisite redemption before some of the fufilled cards got through to the bay and jacked up the price on the ones that hadn't been redeemed. I had the money from the junk auction, and I started looking around the checklist on UD's exquisite site. I thought that the gold /10 was the best picture, and the gold marker would be awesome (even if the new sig isnt even close to the old one). Regardless, the issue remained: did he only sign a few cards, or did he sign them all? Will I get fucked again? I hope not. Remember, I already had to give up on an SPA redemption from last year, and that didnt necessarily work out in my favor with the LeBron Sweet Shot I got as a replacement.

So, despite my best intentions, I took a risk. I decided it was worth the shot, and I will use it as a testimonial for the readers. Rather than spending 200 on a box and getting crap, I will put some of that money towards the card I want. I figured at least I would end up with something worth my time.

I emailed Gregg and asked what had happened with the signing, as it seemed beofre like UD was just about done with waiting on AD to sign. He has yet to respond. Hopefully I will get positive results in a rough time for UD.  If not, you guys will hear about it.

Gregg, the ball is in your court now.

First Look: 2009 Donruss Classics Football

(Click To Enlarge)

Okay, this is where the meat and potatoes are, as this is the preview for the first post RC premier set of 2009. The problem is that it hasnt changed at all from last year, and is actually a downgrade in my opinion. The floating swatches are back, as we see here, and it seems like there just arent any resources to make these products good. Im hoping this is just sell sheet junk and that the actual cards are much better.

I think that this set has potential, but so did LCM last year. I am praying that football cards make it through 2009, as it doesnt look too good right now. Thats just my opinion though.

Super High End - A Rebuttle From A Collector Of It

Since there is so much hating on high end stuff, mainly the price tag for Exquisite and National Treasures, I wanted to add my opinion since I actually like them both. To me, offering your opinion on these things is acceptable when you understand that those products extend a little bit past the price tags. I know that 500 bucks seems like a lot of money for 7 cards, regardless, but for some people its not about busting it for money. A lot of the people I see bust NT and Exquisite have money to throw around regardless of the state of the economy. Its understood that you can get the big pull when busting high end stuff, but you can also end up with our box that we got a few days ago. Most people understand that. If they make unsound investments when they don’t have the money, it wouldn’t make a difference if exquisite was around or not. NT and Exquisite are two fucking products on a release calendar that has 45 products and more. Do you not think that they would find something else to buy and waste their money on? I doubt it.

As for the complaining, I think its more than acceptable in my opinion. If you spend 500+ on a box and you get crap, you have are buying the right to complain. Of course, its only acceptable if you understand that its just a venting process and nothing will come of it. You took a gamble and lost, you have every right to feel shitty about it. I gamble 50 bucks on chrome sometimes, get nothing, and I will not shut up until I have appeased my inner demons. It’s a way to let off steam and disappointment. It doesn’t mean the product is crap and bad for people.

However, busting these products is not the only reason that Exquisite and NT exists. I love the cards, they are the best designed of the year, and most of the time they also have the best cards of one's favorite player from the entire season. If these type of products didn’t exist, I wouldn’t be as happy in this hobby because there wouldn’t be anything to shoot for. The reason is this. I know that for at least one set each year, the best of the best will be on display. I know that if the rest of the year's products suck, these will make up for it. I know I will at least be able to find one or two cards to measure things by, and it brings the rest of things into perspective. You don’t just pay 500 bucks for the cards, you pay for the brand and the presitige. Trust me, that goes a long way in a lot of people's mind. Then, if the cards look amazing in addition (which they usually do) it only adds to the mystique. If I had the choice between spending 250 dollars on a topps heritage chrome refractor retro black 1/1 and an exquisite patch auto, I take the exquisite. It looks better on my shelf and I am more proud of it. When people come to my place and they see those cards, they ooooo and ahhh like fucking kids. Its because everyone can appreciate that kind of thing - its universally accepted that those pieces attract the attention from the buyer who gets it, as well as people who see it. Don’t think I am in the minority for pointing this out. You all have photobuckets and you all display shit on your blog. Its not a bad thing, its human nature, and I thrive on that rush.

Now, onto the sticker autos in NT. It seems to be a discrepency in certain people's mind that a product cant be good if it has stickers for autos. First, if the product isnt upper deck, it probably has stickers, it’s a standard of expectation. Secondly, not all the cards in the set are sticker autos. There are on card RC patch autos, and those are the focus of the product. Thirdly and more importantly, its nearly impossible to do what upper deck does without the resources. I don’t think its possible for DLP to get all on card sigs, and for what they do produce with what they have, its pretty good. I love the design, I love the ideas, I love NT cards. Its not Exquisite, but its worth what you pay if you buy it right. If you are an idiot about it, you will get what you pay for, just like any other product regardless of price. For the record, most of us don’t like the stickers, but when they are done right (unlike topps' effort) they look fine to the people who understand the process. NT is one of those products that is done right. Again, not exquisite, but still good enough to be considered among the best.

Lastly, to say that high end has ruined the hobby, is to look at things with blinders on. Its like saying the Rolls Royce ruined the car industry. Bullshit. People buy what they like, and if they like the hondas, they have a car to buy. If they like to throw their money around, they buy a bentley. Its that simple. Nothing has been ruined other than the idea that cards are more than just pictures on cardboard. Personally, if they were, id stop collecting. It would be fucking boring. I left cards originally because I realized that I was a sports collector and that autos were much cooler to have on the wall. When I came back and saw that cards have jerseys and autos in them, I almost jizzed in my pants because my love for sports memorabilia and autographs had come full circle. When I then found out that the best of the best had crazy looking patches and amazingly designed autos, I fell in love. Some times a Camry doesn’t do it for people. Those people bust exquisite and NT, and they complain when they don’t get shit, but deep down inside they wouldn’t have it any other way. There is always another box to bust, and another chance at greatness. Trust me, they are just as worthy of being called a collector as anyone else.

EDIT: I have noticed that on every post that talks about high end as the worst thing to happen to the hobby, it is always comparing the high end football products like NT and Exquisite to low end baseball products. I have said numerous times that baseball and football are vastly different and it isnt a good idea to apply baseball rules to the football market. Its completely different, if not only because it is the only sport with 3 competing brands. Add in a profitable RC class EVERY YEAR, in addition to the high priced current stars like Peterson, Favre, Roethlisberger, the Mannings, Tomlinson, Reggie Bush, and Tom Brady, and you have a product all by itself. Then you factor in that all the recent HOFers like Barry, Emmitt, Montana, Rice, and others like Franco Harris and Starr are still living and signing, and you have the ability to put out a high end product and have it be worth it.

You dont have that in baseball because its Pujols, Jeter, Grif, and A-Rod, and thats it. You cant make the retired players the focus per the MLBPA, so Ripken and the other recent retired guys who sign cant out number the current guys who arent worth anything. Add in that Aaron and Mays are DLP exclusive, and you dont have a very large pool of guys to work with. See, in the NFL, exclusive contracts dont exist yet. Its a much different situation.

This Is A Pure Example Of Ignorance

I cant even remember how many times I have told people that you dont grade low numbered cards, if not only because most of them never come in good condition in the first place. On top of all of that, is a 9.5 really going to do anything to the value of a 1/1? Probably not enough to justify those ridiculous cases. Then, if you consider that your card will probably end up like this idiot's, it becomes a completely ridiculous idea.

Secondly, who titles the auction like that? You didnt think that putting Peyton Manning's full was not the most important thing? I guess it only goes to show that if you are stupid enough to grade this card, you would be stupid enough to title your auction that way.

Lastly, its kind of a bad statement when Exquisite cards arent up to par with condition. I doubt that this card has ever left a holder except when going to the douches at beckett, and from personal experience, Exquisite cards are never perfect when coming out of the box. I have said before that they need to encase the cards, but I was informed that the cost in dollars and time would make it pretty much impossible. Either way, lets hope whoever gets this has the smarts to crack it, because right now I wouldnt even want it like that.

h/t Wheeler for the auction link.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

New Feature: Product Value Review

I once saw this concept on a message board and thought that it would be a great “feature” for the content of SportsCardsUncensored. Have you ever wondered exactly what the return value of a purchase of cards is? Have you ever really wanted to see a breakdown of Beckett’s Inflated Value vs. Ebay Real Value of a random case of cards? Have you ever wanted to see if a certain product was worth a large investment of your own money? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you should love this new feature.

The new feature is heavily dependant on the “collective” readership of SCU. Here is what happens. We sell 50 “shares” in a case (think of it as an investment) in order to purchase the case. Then we break the case on video (just like we do for our group breaks posted on here and on YouTube). After the break, I will list all of the cards from the break on Ebay and sell them (7 day auctions with no reserve…have to push the free market idea). After all of the sales have been finalized (delivered to customer via tracking, etc.) we will then do a breakdown in 2 ways.

First, we will do a breakdown of sale value vs. purchase value. In other words how much of your original investment could you expect to get back if you were to sell all of the cards (assuming that the case is an indication of an “average” case).

Second, we will do a breakdown of “Beckett” book value vs. Ebay sale value. What percentage of the Beckett value can you expect to actually get out of your cards? Hopefully this will give some concrete evidence of how disconnected “book” can be for collectors.

Finally, the best part about the feature. After taking all of the expenses (case cost, paypal fees, ebay fees, shipping fees) and subtracting them from the income (share income, sale income) the money left over will then be refunded to each “share” holder. Of course if the sale values are very good (think a huge hit, etc.) then there is a chance each share holder could make a profit. However, odds are that we could expect to make roughly 50% of our money back at a minimum (hopefully). I will be keeping a spreadsheet of all income/expenses that would be emailed out to each “share” holder in the interest of transparency.

For example say we have $32 per share. That is a total income of $1533 (1600-1.34 per share Paypal Fees). We buy a case of Exquisite from Blowout or some other dealer at $1475. We then sell the cards on Ebay and get $1000 profit (sales – fees and shipping cost). So 1533-1475 = 58 + 1000 = $1058/50 = $21.16 per share refunded to shareholders.

Obviously this is not a money making adventure for participants, but rather it is a chance for the readership of SCU to come together to hopefully see some sweet cards pulled and to help educate the wider collecting world of the value of certain products (while of course continuing to debunk the “Gospel of Beckett Values”).

Up first will be a case of 2008 Upper Deck Exquisite. Look for the official “shareholder” sign-up tomorrow at some time. It will be a lot of work for me, but I think well worth it to continue educating the collecting world. Plus at worst I figure we maybe lose $15 per share on a product like Exquisite so it is a great starter.

Let me know what you all think.

P.S. If anyone wanted to design a sweet banner for this feature it would be greatly appreciated (I am not artistically gifted and so it would just look horrible if I did it).

March Box Breakers Club Break

SP Rookie Edition

Upper Deck Premier

Quad Random

Cards will be shipping on Monday. Here are the "Highlights" or "Lowlights" you decide!