Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What Can Brown Do For You?

Hide your signature?

Nice call on that one. Glad my grandmother's dining room chair could make an appearance.

Two Updates On Classics

First off, I cant stand that Donini decided to use college number signature stickers for a few of the players. So far, Percy Harvin (pictured below) and Chris Wells have their college number signed on those stickers, but im sure there are more players with the similar bush league treatment of their first pro uni autographs. If Crabtree can have stickers with his pro number signed, albeit poorly, there was no reason that this error couldn't have been fixed before release. I thought the purpose of getting stickers was to avoid shit like this. Fucking losers over there in Donini QC.

Secondly, why is there no name on the front of the cut autos? Dont you think that is a vital piece of the puzzle? Seriously, you have already edited out the picture of the person who's cut the card belongs to, but why not include a fucking name?!? Stupid motherfuckers.

I already have major problems with the fugly school colors sig cards, due to the silver paint pens, but adding this to the list is idiotic. Stupid errors that should have never been included. Yeah, no redemptions maybe, but a product full of crap like this wont fly with me.

If we get to Absolute and the same shit is happening, Im not even going to waste my time anymore. Donini has continually asserted themselves as fucking amateurs, these are great examples.

Classics Is Live

Donini Classics is live and here are some images from a case break on blowout.

The only thing I want to comment on is how crappy these cards turned out without the original background. The brown really doesnt fit right, especially with some of the uniform colors, where as the actual field background would have been sooooo much better. Otherwise the results are the best of the year for Donini.

This Is Awesome - Thank You Harry Douglas

Just read this at NFL.com re the Rookie Symposium:

"The 250-plus players at the symposium are getting a non-stop dose of information from league and union officials, psychologists, NFL security as well as current and former players. The one piece of advice that seems to have really resonated was offered by Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas as part of a wide-ranging panel discussion Sunday night.

Douglas told a packed ballroom audience that some of the biggest transitions from college to the pros is keeping hangers-on at a distance and being mindful of money. As an example, he tugged at the gaudy earrings in each lobe and told players that even though it looked like he was sporting major blingage he actually bought the faux jewelry at “Claire’s in the mall.”

He later confirmed that the earrings are fake diamonds, but because he plays in the NFL people think they’re authentic."

Some players just have their head on straight. Obviously, Chad Ochostinko needs to take heed and stop being such a jackass.

Although this quote could be taken out of context, it says a lot. There are a lot of players in the NFL who come from very underprivileged backgrounds, and they are very succeptable to "the life." However, some people realize that success in the NFL is fleeting, and they are the ones that dont have problems keeping money in perspective. Harry Douglas may or may not be one of those people, but the idea stands.

A Band Of Theives May Be Materializing...

Ever since the fake patch industry exploded, there have been a few people that have always been at the center of it. One of them, shoelessjoejackson has evaded every bit of retiribution, and has continued to process fake after fake after fake. We now know that they are also in cahoots, as the fake rookie premiere autos that have made their way around eBay have popped up on the seller list of just about every single one of these people.

Shoelessjoejackson has since changed his name to peopleschoice7373, and continues to run scams aplenty. He has been known to sell fake patches, trimmed cards, and just about every other scam there is. Wolverine24 is part of this group, selling similar fake patches, as well as the fake Rookie Premiere Autos, which could be being produced by either person, or one of the other six to seven that are involved in the scam. Ebay has expressed NO want to help us take down these assholes, mainly because they are sellers who do thousands in revenue each month.

The one defense we have against these people is pretty huge though: ALL OF THEM are dumb as rocks stupid. Check this out:

See, they try to throw you with the whole "sample" label, but im sure this was either a blank card with no swatches, or it was a card that had this sample label printed on it. Hell, the sample lable could be on the holder. We don’t know. What we do know is that no one in their right mind would ever pay for this card.

I cant really think of any other way to bring these people down other than going straight to the card companies. However, they may not be able to do anything either. I encourage you to contact Topps and Donruss (they are prime targets for both sellers) so that all of these guys can be IP banned from eBay for processing fraudulent items.

The one thing I am worried about is that someone had a list of all of the scammers somewhere and has utilized that list to start the RPA fakes. If they continue to band together, the rule of multiples will always hurt people more than we can counteract here. Think about it, if one person is selling the fakes, its an obvious fake to most people because that ONE guy is the one who is making the cards. If ten people are selling the fakes, not only do they become more attractive to idiot buyers because more people have them, but it is harder to pin down who is perpetuating this scam.

Watch your ass people.

h/t Joe from the D

Monday, June 29, 2009

Dont Bet These Ponies Just Yet...

Coming up this week, we are going to get our first taste of the rookies in their NFL uniforms. Usually this is a big week for me, as I am not a college collector in any way. Yet, as I look around, I see the value drastically skewed in favor of people prospecting on the rookie QBs, despite not knowing whether or not their college resumes will translate to Sundays.

Last year was a fluke. Im going to say that more so than anything else I will say in this post. Ryan put up great numbers with an okay team, and made them better. Flacco put up okay numbers on a great team and basically didn’t fuck things up enough for them to falter. This never happens with two rookie QBs doing great with their teams, in fact, it really hasn’t happened since Roethlisberger did great with the Steelers in his rookie year. Most of the time, though its becoming less common, the QBs will sit for a year to brush up on their league knowledge, or to give the existing starter a chance to set the table. Funny enough, even Peyton Manning had some ridiculously awful first few years, and his bad team was better than Stafford's.

So, before you go out and buy handfuls of Stafford, Sanchez, and Freeman cards, you should realize that this will probably be the peak of their value for the next year, if not ever. Prospecting is all about buying low and selling high, so there is zero reason to "invest" now, especially when these guys are not exemplary college QBs. Stafford wouldn’t have been the #1 pick if Bradford and Tebow had decided to come out, and Sanchez declared for the draft for that very reason. Freeman was just a Flacco style risk for the Bucs, though he looks like he has the tools to be good. The question still remains, even with all of this, even if you are a huge Georgia, SC, or KSU fan, why are people buying now?

Im guessing that Stafford has the height because he was a highly publicized number one pick from the worst team in NFL history. However, he will have that team to deal with when he comes to play. He is going to have many more interceptions than TDs, because the Lions just arent that good. The offensive line was as bad as you could get last year, and that hasn’t changed all that much. Stafford will be on his back more than Paris Hilton in front of a camera, and I am not kidding. For a rookie QB, this causes bad mistakes and even worse confidence issues. Ryan was different because his team had more pieces than the Lions do, but also because he had a few targets to play with, in addition to a great running back. It helps when you have someone to take the pressure off when you need it. Stafford wont have that.

At this point in the year, its better to invest in later round guys that could be standouts once the pre-season rolls around. They will have very small prices for cards that are numbered pretty high, and buying now at nothing and then selling later at something is much better than paying astronomical prices for Stafford and Sanchez and holding them through long droughts of low prices. If you must buy, wait until week 8 when it sets in that these guys arent living up to the amazing seasons that Ryan and Roethlisberger had. You can buy their cards for half the price they are now, and all you have to have is a little fucking patience.

Though all the JCs on eBay are pooping themselves each time a new Stafford card is released, they probably don’t have the smarts to realize what is going on. They are pretty much bidding against themselves, while all the smart people sit back and laugh. Take this as your hint to sell while prices are high, right JaMarcus Russell?

You may be asking what I will say if one or both of these guys end up with stellar first seasons? I will congratulate them for beating the odds, and extend my willingness to take an "I told you so" those people who took those odds to the bank. I am willing to do this because the feat is so rare. My prospect-wang may be small, but im not stupid.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sometimes You Find People That Are Awesome On Boards

I think that being a part of Freedom Card Board has had its benefits, no doubt. A few weeks ago, I posted about the autographed jersey that moderator Flightposite sent to me for winning a contest over there, and now I have something that is just as awesome to report.

Ryo1549 had organized a group of us to participate in a blind trade, where we all sent the players or teams we collected to the host, who would distribute them randomly to other people involved. The assignment was to buy a card for this "victim" that was at least 50 dollars sell value, and send it to them as our part of the "deal." We would receive something similar from another person according to our list we made originally.

Here is what Deceptikon sent me to match my list:

I am stunned, as this is clearly a ridiculous card. As part of the deal we all contributed to a pot for the users, to be awarded for the best card of the bunch. I think this one has a good shot, it has my vote.

Thank you Craig, aka Deceptikon 1978!


Although Im sure you are all happy to see Lindsey, one of the creative people behind UD's products, I am little more interested on what is on her screen. I believe that would be an Exquisite or Ultimate Knowshon Moreno card, though my guess is Exquisite inscriptions from the black bottom.

Just thought you may want to see.

A Result Of Collective Stupidity

One of the more awesome trends in the industry is that regular cards can have amazing patches. What this means is that you dont need to face astronomical retail type odds to get a team logo or something amazing in terms of a patch. This also means that products like Triple Threads, and other products that rely on contrived scarcity to bolster value, no longer can justify the fact that 1/1s are special in any way from the rest of the product. Right now, more than a giant handful of Topps 1/1 cards are either printing plates or paralleled cards that share nothing more than a different finish on the stock.

Of course, this has led to a major devaluing of the 1/1s, because they arent worth the chase anymore. I can get a Topps Sterling 1/1 and have it look WORSE than the card out of ten. Shouldn't we just let the cards showcase what makes them special instead of forcing me to stomach a whole product's worth of cards numbered to 3, even though its really something like 103?

A while ago I said that they should get rid of inserting the print plates into packs, as they are worthless, fugly pieces of scrap metal that are marketed as a chase for people who dont know any better. Im saying now that we should abolish the non-special 1/1s for all non-chrome products. If they want to put a logo on a card and number it 1/1, be my guest, but if they are just going to say the card is arbitrarily a 1/1 because of a different color on the card, a different die cut swatch, or even if there is NOTHING different, I wont support it.

Parallels are ridiculous in this hobby and I think that Topps high end and Donini mid and low end are the worst possible offenders. Donini parallels each SUBSET card at least fifteen times, you have the regular, numbered parallel, jersey parallel, second lower numbered parallel, auto parallel, etc, etc. That sucks, there is no reason to do this at all, other than accounting for laziness in filling the needs of a product.

Im now a supporter of letting the card's features speak for themselves. If you get a great looking card with a ridiculous patch, it should be worth more because of that, not because its numbered to 7 or whatever. If you get an auto'ed version of a card rather than a regular one, that should be the reason that its worth more, not because its red rather than green.

Its become apparent that this hobby has thrived on greed and ego for many, many years. Someone needs to feel good that they have the ONLY ONE of that one card, someone has to know EXACTLY how many of a said card there are, they need to be the biggest shit out there. No longer are we focused on buying the cards we like or the cards that make us happy, we have to have the most of the rare, the most of the special, and we need parallels to tell us that we do. That is crap.

This fact has allowed the manufacturers to exploit our need to feel special by numbering things lower and lower, yet in reality just letting design quality slip so that the number on the card is the only thing we care about. Look at Upper Deck SP Authentic Baseball, there is so much confusion over the numbering on the letters, that people have literally freaked out. Upper Deck makes it worse by numbering each letter rather than the total number of autos to make the cards seem rarer, and we eat it up. Is your signed G numbered to 5 different than my signed G numbered to 25? NO! Its the same fucking card with lower numbering.

Ill give you this, the collective stupidity of the normal people in this hobby will prevent any semblance of a different hobby from ever surfacing. Collectors are generally so fucking stupid, that companies are even forced use numbering as a way to deter fakes. How absurd is that? People cannot survive in this industry without it BLATANTLY spelled out for them, no one is capable of thinking for themselves. This is why jersey cards have become so overdone, and why parallels are everywhere, because the idiots shit themselves with anticipation over whatever is the latest marketing ploy. It would be one thing if they were clever, but really these ploys are always mind numbingly stale.

It may be a problem in every industry, mainly because Americans are intrinsically stupid, but I get the aura of simpletons more from sports cards than from any other consumer group I follow.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Donini/Beckett Love Affair Continues: How Far Does It Go?

So, Donini sent over another box to Beckett, again a week early. Im sure it was for all the "favors" to be named later, but this one gave us some indication of how deep the love affair really runs. Not only was it a week early, fresh from the factory, but it contained an auto that Donini has been publicizing non-stop since the Premiere last month.

They managed to "pull" (being a subjective term) a Percy Harvin School Colors fugly silver paint pen auto, which in itself isnt that big of a deal. The reason I am mentioning this is solely because of the sheer fuckload of marketing they have done on these cards. They have released digital galleries - twice - as well as provided extremely visible coverage from the premiere signing of the cards.

After seeing all of this marketing crap, I guessed that it was happening because when Donini releases an on card auto subset, its a holiday! No matter that they are fugly beyond belief, they are just happy to be a waiter at the on card auto dinner table, right?

Obviously, post-beckett break, its making a little more sense to me. Considering that Beckett was delivered a box with a top of the class auto from this set, we are now seeing the purpose of the Beckett box break. Its no longer about setting unrealistic expectations for the box breaks that are done by real collectors, but now its about pimping your ugly ass subsets to draw up needless buzz. My uncle, an emmy award winning writer, once said that hollywood only advertises early when its a dog, otherwise they let the stuff speak for itself - then blow it up. Here we clearly have the dog, being blown up as long ago as the fucking rookie premiere. Then you send a fresh box to Beckett with a "great" example of that target? Cmon, im not that dumb.

Im not even going to talk about the 2 patch cards they received in the same box, something that NEVER happens in boxes of Classics.

Lastly, on an unrelated note, Im happy that Donini has sort of solved their floating swatch problems, as some of the jersey cards look good. However, they majorly fucked up the base formula by editing out the field and replacing it with a weird ass brown background. Im not sure why, as I think the field is ABSOLUTELY necessary to do a picture it's due justice. Without it, you just have overdone photoshop abortions with no character.

Today I Am A Wolves Fan Again For 10 Minutes

Last year I claimed that due to the OJ Mayo trade, I was no longer a Timberwolves fan. I have held true to that claim throughout the year, pretty much ignoring the NBA altogether. When the night ended last june, McHale had me by drafting the best player available, and then crushed my dreams when he traded the pick to Memphis the next morning for Love. Keving Love has worked out, though he will never be like Mayo, especially when they have already threatened to trade him to get at the number 2 pick.

Today, as with every sport's draft, I am a true Minnesota sports fan. I will watch intently as Blake Griffin and others come off the board en route to the Wolves FOUR fucking first round picks. Yes, its the worst draft in years and they have more draft picks than they have EVER had.

Here is my take on things after doing a little research, so by no means am I an expert. We all know that Griffin will go #1, rightfully so, but then its a crap shoot. Thabeet could go number 2, but so could Rubio, especially if the Wolves are trading up. Then its Tyreke (yes, Tyreke) Evans, Harden, Hill, Curry and a few others that could go in any order. The problem is that both Rubio and Thabeet have GIMUNGOUS holes in their games, and both will probably end up as busts in my opinion. Thabeet is just a shot blocker who is tall, but so was Mutombo, who had a long and fruitful career. Rubio is pretty much skin and bones, who struggled in Europe, but he is also only 18. I dont like either one.

Some wild card lottery picks that may end up in the later half are Jrue (seriously, Jrue? What torture...) Holliday and Psycho T Hansbrough. Hansbrough is destined to fufill Mark Madsen's legacy of being the guy who comes off the bench to draw fouls on Yao, Shaq, and Howard, so he would be an awful pick so high. He may turn out to be a great bench cheerleader a la Madsen, but he is a wasted lottery pick. As for Jrue, picking him would be completely jridiculous as his upside is not worth the jrisk at this point.

Brandon Jennings may sneak into the top ten, despite the fact he has struggled more than Rubio has in Europe. Again, he is very young, so Jennings may actually turn out to be more than a 1989 spike lee movie cliche. Both were thought of as top talent, but have yet to show how much they really have.

What I would like to see: the Twolves stay where they are and draft Evans and Curry. If one comes off the board ahead of time, trade like they always do. As long as we dont take Thabeet, thats all I care about.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

SCU: Tuff Stuff's New Hobby Watchdog

I may not be able to change the pricing practices of the hobby, or really accomplish anything close to getting rid of the massive conflicts of interest present in many of the hobby publications, but through Tuff Stuff, I can educate a few people on looking out for fake cards, patches, and autos.

Recently, a number of readers have emailed me their own successes in finding fakes, many of which I have reported on, and Tuff Stuff wanted to publish some of that information for its readers.

I have been working with Scott, an editor, to help clue in the clueless on some of the many scams that are out there, and the first of my articles has been posted on the Tuff Stuff site. Im not expecting anything to come out of my participation other than the information being made public, but who knows.

Either way, we will see how far this goes.

NOTE: Right now, the formatting of the pictures - all web issues with Tuff Stuff's site - have made the article text seem weird. This should be fixed soon.

Here is the missing 4th picture of the Peterson/Johnson fake:

Here is the numbered list that got messed up:

1. The pen used to sign the cards is much thicker than usual
2. The autos look very different than ones signed by the players (check authenticated or graded ones for reference)
3. The seller has many of the same type of card for sale
4. The colors on the card look somewhat different from the other RPAs
5. The price is oddly low for a card of this caliber

Spoilers on Donini's "Big" Announcement

Yesterday, Donini said they had a big announcement to make via facebook, and I have gotten some information that it is to announce some NBA exclusive contracts from tomorrow's draft. Blake Griffin will be one of these people, which begs the question of why the fuck are they making such a big deal out of this WHEN THEY OWN THE EXCLUSIVE LICENSE? More importantly, without LeBron James, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant, should they be wasting money on exclusive contracts when they should be figuring out how to overcome the obsticles that Topps faced when producing their basketball cards.

I am guessing that UD made no attempt to gain exclusivity with the top draft picks from this year's class, and that Donini was probably negotiating against themselves. This will mean that there will be a few things they have grossly overpaid for, instead of just one. Im guessing that they already lost many fans when UD leaves, as they are the only ones who produce cards of three of the only people who are worth anything in Basketball. Seriously, all UD has to do is put out a product with Bryant, Jordan and LeBron, and it will automatically sell more than any Donini product rookies or no rookies, team logos or no team logos.

I think its fucking hilarious that Donini thinks this announcement is worth a press conference from NYC the day before the draft, especially now that their products have about as much clout as Topps Opening Day. In fact, maybe Topps and Donini should have a sit down to discuss the level in which the basketball products will fail. Shall we talk about Eschelon, Lettermen, and Triple Threads? They definitely did not live up anywhere close to their price.

Is There A Solution To The Jersey Card Problem?

I have been talking about design a lot lately, mainly because of the sheer crap that is being churned out at record paces this year. However, this is not going to be one of those posts. An interesting thought crossed my mind, and it made me wonder if we should just do away with Jersey cards that don’t have autos on them. Keep it to patch cards and auto jersey cards, so that the staleness of the plain swatch cards starts to go away.

Here is the situation that led me to this, many of you are already clued in. When it comes to jersey cards, just the plain ones, they don’t sell for more than a buck or two, even if its Tom Brady or Albert Pujols. Most of the time they are just clumsily placed swatches on parallel cards that make my eyes burn, especially when done by Donini. Despite being practically worthless due to the numbers in which they are produced, these are still considered to be "hits" and count towards the normal allotment of the box. Personally, I am bored with these cards, and it seems as though the general buying public is too. Of course, that doesn’t stop Topps from releasing ass loads of "relics" from practice sessions and old timer games, slapping the name sterling or triple threads on it and trying to market it as a high end product.

What is the solution, especially if the companies continue to use the hits per box ratio as a way to draw in buyers? Well, UD has used the non-auto manupatch letters in the past, and that will continue with Icons this year. The letters go for about the same amount as the crap jerseys, so they thought it was a reasonable switch to sway from the monotony. I applaud the creativity, but the cards don’t live up to the status of THE solution to this overwhelming issue.

When you look back and see that 10 years ago, jersey cards were still going for $15-$20 each, you can tell that things have gone in the wrong direction when some don’t even get .10 these days. It used to be that getting a Jersey card meant you had a good box, now it means you have a bad one. I think that we need to address now that those plain swatches arent going to cut it anymore.

If this means that we get boxes with less guaranteed hits per box, I think that’s fine. Maybe guarantee one or two autos, and have the jerseys be an added bonus. Low number them, design them as stand alones, and make sure all of them are patches. I think that may be a start, see where it takes us.

The problem with implementing a solution in this respect is that you need to get all the companies to do it at once, which will never happen, especially in football with 3 competing companies. The minute that one company does away with plain swatch cards, the other will market that they are offering more for the money, no matter the fact that what they are doing is actually worse. Hell, Donini still thinks they have the most on card autos for the market, even though they are the sticker label capital of the industry. They even marketed a product with no redemptions, not mentioning the fact that BOTH competitors have on card autos as their offering.

Guys, its pretty simple. We have become complacent in our tastes. Companies continually exploit the fact that collectors are fucking sheep, and it grinds my gears to no end. I told UD yesterday that all you have to do is slap 38 "relics" onto a card and all of a sudden you have the product of the fucking year. That’s all it takes these days! Seriously! Design doesn’t matter, content doesn’t matter, all that matters is that people feel like they are moving away from the normal swatch card. What they don’t care about is that most of the products that try to do that, only accomplish it by piling more wood on the fire, not putting out the fire all together. That does not fly with me. The solution stays true to the idea "less is more" rather than "A FUCKLOAD MORE is more."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

First Look: 2009 Upper Deck SP Threads

Last year, SP Rookie Threads was VASTLY improved over 2007. This time, im not so sure, even though they dropped "rookie" from the title. UD posted a few images via facebook, and some parts of the set look great, but others look like a downgrade. Personally, I liked the theme of the product last year, with every card looking like it was stitched together like a jersey, but it seems like that idea was only somewhat carried over to 2009.

At least the letters look much improved over last year, as they are always a point of contention for me. We all know that without letters, this product probably wouldnt make a dent in the industry, so its a good thing that they were put in again. I really like the way they look this time around, especially with all the team color elements (an underrated part of card design to me).

As for the Stafford card they showed here, I think they need to take another look, as it looks awfully uninspired. However, on the other end of the spectrum, I really like the Manning, as it should be team colored and representative of the "threads" theme.

Lastly, I am wondering whether or not we may get star letters as well as rookie letters in this product. When referencing SP Authentic last time we talked, Gregg did not mention the return of the Letter autos, could this be it for lettermen this year?

List Of NFL Series 22 For McFarlane Toys

A few places have started taking pre-orders on NFL Sports Picks series 22, which normally wouldnt be big news for me. However, this series will include Adrian Peterson again, and I have high hopes for this figure. The previous AD figure is one of my all time favorites, and I hope they dont fuck up the second one.

Here is the list of figures, pictures not yet released:

Adrian Peterson 2
Tom Brady 3
Matt Cassel
Matt Forte
Matt Ryan
Brandon Marshall

Haha, three Matts in one series! The variants have yet to be announced, but they have been very underwhelming as of late.

Series 22 should ship in December.

One Last Twitter Plug

Its been fun on Twitter the last couple of weeks, I really encourage you to join up. I really had a bunch of horrible things in my mind once the Twitter boom happened, mostly stemming from my annoyance with CNN and others using it as a news source. Either way, many of the people in the CBN have joined up, and its starting to be a second place to check for card news.

Click on the sidebar to follow me on Twitter or you can check out my page.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Favre Signs With Vikings?

Wow, looks like one of the most hated people in Minnesota sports history has decided to start sleeping with the enemy. Although this is still in the "unofficial" stage, I have a feeling this is going to become official quite soon.

I already voiced my thoughts on Bretty Madonna, though I am happy to have a QB that can actually work a two minute drive, let alone a whole game.

This does make me question, who will be the first to get a Favre/Peterson dual on the market? How about those lettermen that Icons had last year, are we going to get "Frozen Favre" this time?

If this is going to be as big of a shitstorm as it was last year, count me out. Ill stick with my Harvin and Peterson targets.

One More Comment On Design and Keeping It Simple

Lately, design has become my biggest pet peeve. This is mainly because of the fact that in lieu of actually putting out a set that features nicely thought out cards, manufacturers are instead just packing in all the swatches they can. Its gotten bad, really fucking bad. For example, we saw with Prestige and Prestige Chrome that Donini just recycled designs and added more busy design elements to draw our eyes away from the fact that the set was essentially the same as last year. The same thing has happened with a lot of different sets, mostly in previews for upcoming products like Absolute, LCM, and a few others.

In fact, I was just looking over the previews again for Bowman Sterling, and I couldn’t help but think ahead to how awful those designs will look on an actual card. Those lines criss-crossing all over the background is not going to help things, even though the player is much larger than on other products. See, it seems to me that elegant simplicity has been forgotten so that some amateur photoshopper can prove their chops in making grossly overstated cards with crazy lines and needless off-colored backgrounds.

The reason products like SPA have been so successful and widely supported by many card gurus is because cards like the patch autos never blast your eyes like you see in many other products. More proof: in LCM, Donini packs 4 separate swatches on some of the cards, as well as a sticker, all in addition to the crazy foilboard background you see. Why is this necessary?

Its time to set down the adobe stylus and let the photography speak for itself. No more disruptive crap on my cards, no more floating swatches, no more ridiculous color schemes, no more tiny player pictures. If you cant fit most of the player onto a card, you shouldn’t be releasing that design. We used to buy cards to see the players, not the 35 jersey pieces you can stuff onto a foldout card.

I will admit, that over the course of my design ranting, I have questioned if it is just my tastes that wretch at the complicated designs of recent Donini and Topps high end. Then I asked a few outsiders, who have never looked at cards before, and they could not believe that people liked some of the recent designs. One of the people I spoke with, a PR rep for a very prestigious car company, said that if he were running his car ads like the manufacturers were running their product designs, he would lose his job. He said that a few years ago, the good car companies started to shy away from packing shit into an ad, as well as overstating their designs. This helped out tremendously, and he was much more proud of the final product. The companies who didn’t follow suit have had many more problems generating revenue from their ads - moreso with the recession now. He confirmed that elegant simplicity is the way to go, and that I was not certifiable for saying the product designs looked awful. Lastly, he said the foilboard needs to be destroyed. I agree 100%.

I know translating the car industry to the sports card hobby isnt too great an analogy, but I do feel that there are way too many mistakes being made in terms of designing products. The bottom line is that we shouldn’t need to settle for crap, because that is no doubt what is being fed to us. They may say it is filet mignon, but its easy to see when dog food is on the plate. You can bet there will be many more rants coming down the pipeline, as there should be no shortage of fucking gross ideas as long as Donini keeps it up, and Topps takes no warning. I mean, we still havent seen anything on Triple Threads football, right?

Shameless Plug: Matt Lange Photography

Hey guys, I wanted to take a quick break and help plug somebody who has been following the blog from the very beginning, and is just a good guy in general. You may have seen his blog in the side bar from time to time, but Mr. Lange has decided to take his business to the next level and quit his fulltime job to go at photography 100%. Right now the main bread and butter of his site is portrait work, but his goal is to do commercial photography ideally for sports companies, schools, etc. Matt really does it all, from design and video editing to basic photography. He has also done some design work for this blog and has even helped with designs for Chris Cooley's blog.

Here is the coolest part: his photography has also been used by both Sports Illustrated and ESPN. His game work is awesome, I would love to see on some cards in the future, maybe the companies should check it out.

So if you get a chance, stop by his site, tell your friends about it and even add him on facebook if you want. He said he wants to eventually be doing work all over the country so a group of national readers couldn't hurt.

If you want to get in contact with him, go to MattLange.com or visit him on facebook here.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Autograph Update

Got some autograph happenings yesterday that I want to share, especially the one from poker last night at Extra Innings. Mike and Mitch hosted their second tourney, and this time I decided on a guaranteed dual auto instead of a box for my entry fee. Guys, again, if you live in the Los Angeles area and you are looking for a shop, Extra Innings in Culver City (by LAX) could not be a better choice. Check it out and tell them I sent you.

To have these two autos on a display worthy football, and knowing that they are real was definitely more attractive to me than buying a box of Heroes or UD Draft and getting nothing. I think you guys will agree with my decision, especially if both Stafford and Moreno have good careers.

Secondly, got my first TTM back of the four I sent out a few weeks ago, and it is a fucking beaut! Laurinaitis is from Minnesota and even though he played for OSU, he is still a target of mine. This card I sent turned out great with his well done signature. So, one down, three to go!

Ill be sure to post on the other three if, or when, I get them. Right now Im just crossing my fingers.

SCU FF: One Person Missing

I checked the league this morning, and one of the 10 people who had a spot did not sign their team up. I will give them 24 hours before I relinquish the spot and give it to one of the people who missed the email cut.

Im still not sure who it is because of all the names being different. If anyone in the league can figure it out, let me know so I can email them.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

I LOVE Being Right

Last year, I posted on this card, saying there was no question that it was fake. Now this guy, who obviously didnt follow the golden rule of patches, is FINALLY catching on. Glad to see some people do eventually see the light, despite it being about a year too late.

In the auction, the guy has basically come out and said it was fake, which is good. Thank you for that. However what is really funny, is that he has a reserve on the card, and he is actually looking for people to bid on it. Yes, he even had to send it into Beckett just to get that last bit of confirmation. You know, because its not completely fucking obvious already. For fuck's sake, he could have sent me 20 bucks just to reiterate everything I posted on last year.

This is where I say I told you so and laugh, because some people are so fucking stupid that it makes my head hurt.

Fantasy Football Deposit Requests Are OUT

If you made the list in the post below this one, you have a deposit request, please send the money for your team. You can then sign up. For those of you who emailed but did not get in, there will most likely be another league that you will get a spot in without having to worry about it.

If you are on the list below and did not get a deposit request, please email me.

FYI: The league password was in that deposit request email. The LEAGUE ID IS 131568

Friday, June 19, 2009

SCU Fantasy Football 2009 (FILLED)

Last year fantasy football was fun, especially during the stretch when things got really competitive. Our champion from last year, Abnsyper, and a few others said they were waiting for the Fantasy Football announcement, so here it is. If you want in, you can have in. All you have to do is email me via the link above, and I will email you the league's password. There are 10 teams, so this will fill up fast, be sure to email me as quickly as possible. Only the first emailers will get in.

STIPULATION 1: Since the league was prone to people joining and being inactive last year, there will be a 10.50 deposit for your spot. If you stay active, you will get everything back, minus paypal fees at the end of the season, unless we decide as a league to use it for a prize.

STIPULATION 2: If you have no idea about a good strategy for fantasy football, please do not join this league. I do not want someone coming in and drafting their team full of Seattle Seahawks because they are from Seattle. This is a man's league and we play for pride.

PRIZE: Ill find some way to get someone to sponsor a box of cards or two for the winner. If I end up winning, we can hold a drawing or something for it. Hell, I might just buy one straight out and offer it myself, unless you guys want the 10.50 deposit to go towards a box.

The league page can be viewed at:


You will need a password to join.

Send your requests to sportscardsuncensored@gmail.com. BE SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR PAYPAL ADDRESS AS WELL. I will use it to get your deposit request to you.

1. Gellman
2. Snyper (champ)
3. Thomas W
4. Suki7474
5. Voluntarheel
6. Wheeler
7. Bailey Z
8. Jason H
9. Matt M.
10. Matt F.

Thats it. I may do league 2, but not sure yet. Deposit requests will go out soon.

Do They Really Think We Are THAT Stupid?

Mario posted some more images from Triple Threads to "convince" us that this will be an amazing product. When I first gazed upon the "glory," every single bone in my body lurched with a burning urge to barf through my eyes. Thanks to these wonderful new images, I am now convinced that this will be the worst product of 2009, that is, until Topps Sterling comes out.

Here is more proof of how ugly triple threads will be. Imagine this card on bright red rainbow foilboard, exactly the way it will come.

First, try to read what it says, second try to find out which player its for, third, try to find the player among the "relics" plastered across this card. Its really fucking scary to think that people love this shit as much as Donini loves Beckett.

Wait, you still arent convinced?

Okay, burn your eyes out with this:

What the fuck? Is this Topps Triple Threads of the Knights of the Round Table? Again, im not sure why people think that spelling out David Ortiz's former last name in diecut shields is attractive. I know when I think about a cool card, I want a card featuring a shrunken picture of the player in order to stuff five die cut windows and a huge foil sticker onto the card. Oh, great, Im so glad they got a small banner in there with the player's name on it.

I sincerely hope that none of you out there are going to be buying any of this.

The Fake Rookie Premiere Autos Have Spread

If you remember a few days ago, I commented on the fake 2007 Topps rookie premiere autos that have been circulating around ebay. Not only are they some of the worst fakes out there, but they have spread. In fact, many people are questioning if they are actually real, despite my assurance they are fake.

Unfortunately, as of today, one of the more prominent sellers in the eBay world, Wolverine24 has also started selling them. In case you dont know who I am talking about, he is a seller of many high end cards, as well as many fake patches, trimmed cards, and now fake autos.

So, when you are out there buying, watch your ass with these. If it looks fake, dont bother.

Here is a comparison:

If I Had A Million Dollars...

If you look around eBay, there are probably things you wish you had added every minute of every day. Well, what would you do if you had all the money to spend, and nothing else to spend it on? Personally, if I had a lot of disposable income, cards would be the last thing I would buy, but if I couldnt buy anything else, I would have a few things to buy. Here are some (in no particular order):

2007 Adrian Peterson Exquisite Gold RC Patch Auto (3 Color)

If you have a favorite player, you need their Exquisite RC Patch Auto if they have one. If they dont have one, you need some sort of Exquisite auto. Its a status symbol, just like a Caddy. For me, thats pretty tough because I dont have 1500 to drop on one /99, let alone the gold parallel.

1997 Walter Payton UD Legends Auto

This card is from the set of sets, and it is the one player that everyone wants. It has a great design, a great picture, and its on card. It could be the best auto set in the history of the football industry. Eventhough it was recently redone in 2008 Ultimate, this particular card will always be the best of them all. I want one.

2001 Topps Archives Johnny Unitas Auto

Johnny Unitas' RC card is one of the most Iconic cards in the hobby. Everyone has the two tone card in their minds everytime they see a top 10. In 2001, Topps put out a set that had on card autos of many of these cards, and I would love to have the Johnny U. I wish that companies would do this more often, go back and have some of the most recognizable cards signed on reprints, especially now that retro sets are so popular.

2003-04 Lebron James Exquisite RC Patch Auto

If there were any basketball card I would want, it would be this one. I think when things are all said and done, LeBron will have every record in the book, be recognized on the same level as Jordan, and this card will be the card of his to have. Right now it tops out at a few thousand, but that should go up a bit when, not if, he wins his first championship. Being a small print run, you can imagine that there arent many chances to own one at a reasonable price now, but as part of the beginning of super high end, it will always be recognizable.

1986 Fleer Michael Jordan RC

This is probably the most iconic basketball card ever. I dont need to say much else on why I want this card in my collection somehow.

2000 Playoff Contenders Tom Brady RC Auto

No matter how much you hate him, Brady is one of the best QBs ever to play on the gridiron. It also just so happens that he came in at the beginning of the auto era of football cards. Granted, he is the reason you get undrafted free agent signatures in those products, but it doesnt make this card any less desirable for me.

1998 Playoff Contenders Peyton Manning RC Auto

Manning has already established his place in history, and this card is his best. It was released during a time where autos were still more rare, and to pull a Manning was the pinnacle of one's existance as a box buster. I am a Peyton Manning fan, if not only for his mastercard commercials and his SNL hillarity. Too bad this card costs so much, otherwise I would have already invested.

2006 Reggie Bush Exquisite RC Patch Auto

Holy fuck, I can still remember all the Reggie Bush hype in 2006. It was a machine, and this card rode it all the way to the bank. Now, it has dropped considerably as Bush's career has not lived up to the hype, but it would still be fun to have.

1994 Mickey Mantle/Ken Griffey Upper Deck Dual Auto

I think this may be the first dual signed card ever, but regardless, its one that every baseball fan should appreciate. The painted card has always impressed me, and to have it signed by two of the greatest players in baseball history is worth the chase to get one. 15 years later and its still one of the most sought after UD cards.

2005 Babe Ruth Absolute Memorabilia Jumbo Jersey

I just spoke of the Ruth effect, and this is a prime example of what happens when people flip their shit over the Bambino. However, unlike most cards, I like the way this one looks, especially with the giant fucking swatch that happens to be a part of the card.

2001 Joe Mauer Bowman Chrome Gold Refractor Auto

Mauer is my favorite baseball player, and its only fitting that we end with him. The gold refractors were the hottest RC auto back in 2001, and Mauer was the most expensive at the time. The highly graded ones still go for a ton, and so far, I have only been able to get the regular auto. This card would be a great centerpiece to my Mauer collection.

There are definitely more cards that I have wanted to have over the years, but these ones are at the top of my list right now. I know I didnt mention the 52 Mantle, or even the Wagner, but really, those cards are not of interest to me. So, which ones are on your list?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Ruth Effect

As we saw today, when people see Babe Ruth, they go fucking banana sandwich. Ruth is the most valuable player there is in this hobby, and whenever given the chance, he will be exploited for that reason. See, when Ruth is on a card that contains any type of relic - even if it is not game used - the card's value skyrockets. Obviously, Ruth cut sigs are the top of the mountain, despite being the least rare of many of that era's players.

Combine a Ruth Sig, a Ruth Relic or two, with Lou Gherig's stuff, and all of a sudden you have the approval of 95% of the hobby. The problem is that we should be voicing our opinions in opposition to horrid designs as well as cards that focus on stuffing the most possible crap into a card, that a second connected card is required.

When you talk about the Ruth effect, you also have to refer to collectors like some of the people who posted on the Triple Turds thread over on FCB. In addition to the few of us who told it like it is, there were just as many people who drool over the ugliest cards, as long as Ruth or someone similar graces the front. In fact, 08 Triple Turds cards were submitted as rebuttles to my onslaught against the product, ONLY because they had Ruth Relics in them. Fugly designs? Who fucking cares when you get six fucking bat relics that spell out "714 HRS," right? No one seems to care that the blurb on the back says they are not necessarily from any season or game, they just care that they have as many relics as possible. Fuck, I cant even call them GU's because of this. Topps has us referring to them as "relics" now.

Listen, I know I have put way too much coverage into the worst set so far this year, but sometimes you have to get rid of that vomit taste in your mouth. So dont fucking tell me that just because someone thought to combine Ruth and Gherig, I should sing the praises of the new "card of the year." It doesnt work like that for me.

I dont care about anything if it looks like poop, and these cuts, embedded in blue fucking rainbow foilboard will look like a toilet after a chipotle challenge. The fact that its just some cut out paper that happens to be numbered 1/1 by the company who ruined the best cards you can pull, does NOT mean you should break the golden rule. That also means that just because Topps can find a way to cram 24 hard to read windows onto a card, does NOT give justifacation for you to break the rule if you subscribe to it.

Stop congratulating and praising shotty work, dont let the Ruth Effect overtake you. It sets a bad precedent for everyone.

Constipation Relieved: We Now Have Triple Turds

Wow, the baseball card industry must feel better after the recent Triple Threads Turds preview. I know I always feel great after a big shit, dont you?

Well, in case you were wondering, the cards are up on Wax Heaven and FCB, and yes, they look exactly the same as last year. It still has stupid shit spelled out in die cut form, still has foldout stupidity with 132 different relic pieces in the card, NOW HAS TRI-FOLD Cards from player's all star practice jerseys, still the same goddamn price point, still has all the poop it always has had.

I cannot even begin to think why people love this stale ass product. Bottom line, it is complete diarrhea in card form. The design has and always will suck, the content of a box is worth maybe 50 bucks TOPS, and yet Topps always sells it for 170. Even if you hit Albert Fucking Pujols as your auto, you may not make back the price of the box. Thats how much this product sucks. On top of all that, you have 5 bajillion 1/1s that make all the JCs out there blow their loads, but makes the rest of the brain having hobby cringe.

Then you have the Ruth/Gherig dual cut, already being hailed as the card of the year. Im not sure why, as it is still a foldout, it is still stupidly designed, and it still has triple threads plastered all over it. Remember, this is the same product that took a signed Mickey Mantle ball, ripped off the hide, had A-Rod and David Wright sign the sweet spot on either side of the Mick, and put it in the card as a 1/1. Grossest abomination ever created. This could be worse.

The golden rule stands: if a Topps product costs more than 100 bucks, DO NOT BUY IT. This product takes it a little further with the massive design fails. Basically Triple Turds was created to clean out the jersey room, clean out the sticker room, and flood the market with illegitamate 1/1s. FUCK THAT.

A boycott of this product would be a great idea.

This Could Be The Worst Fake In The History Of Fakes

Ebay seller Blackberrycards has pissed me off. I get emails from eBay every day with Peterson stuff, and I didnt read any of them in the last few days. When I looked this morning, this one was right on top of one of the emails. Its so bad that I actually laughed pretty hard.

In fact, I dont think that many people are falling for these, but its the principle of the matter. If you are a big enough douchebag to do this type of thing, you deserve to be castrated to prevent you from reproducing. Its just bad, no other way around it.

Now that I think about it, someone should start a fake card hall of fame. His Topps RPAs that he sells would definitely be a part of the inaugural class with the TRIPLE NFL logo Eli Manning fake patch/fake auto card.

On Favre and the Vikings

God, I never thought Favre would ever come close to a place where he could be making the decision on whether or not to play for the Purple. I hate Favre for all the crap he has pulled over the last few years. For fuck's sake, he has been worse than Jordan when he retired. Not only that, but he drags the teams along until the last possible moments and then expects to be welcome back with open arms.

Listen, if you retire, you fucking retire. Its that simple. If you dont want to go, dont. No reason to be a primadonna.

Now, I will admit that a Vikings team with Favre presents two favorable situations that cannot be passed over. First, he is better at 80% than both of our QBs who are at 100%. He makes the team better, regardless of what condition he is in. In my opinion, our other two options suck.

Secondly, I want him to sign up just so I can see what happens when he goes to Green Bay to play in the Jersey that every fan in that stadium hates. I would consider flying to Green Bay just to see that. Nothing would make me happier to see those little children cry for their savior. Just to see the look on the faces of the people who have worn a Favre jersey for every day for 5 years. I would cackle with evil intensity. I think John Madden may explode if it happens.

However, with that second opportunity, comes remorse, as I would only be cheering for Favre to make the Packer fans mad. I would be lowering the standards of my love for the Vikings, because I had accepted the greatest Packer of all time as one of my own. I dont know if I could do that. Fuck Madden, I might explode.

Personally, I want the Vikings to win, but I dont want to cheer for my least favorite player. What to do... What to do...

Product Review: 2009 Upper Deck Heroes Football

UD heroes is live now, everywhere, and I even had a chance to buy some myself. I think the set has a lot to offer in terms of all the aspects of the hobby, and I think its one of the better products, so far, that has been put out. Its still not going to be on the same level as some of the post-premiere products, though this particular offering has many things that people will love.


I really like the base design, as the cards feature an unbalanced photo area that works well with how the players are put into those boxes. They kind of run out of the card design, the borders not holding them in. Considering that design has been a MAJOR fail this year for many products, its good to see that when you take a set that has been around since 1991 or earlier and give it an "injection" as some may say, it still works.

Another part of heroes is the subsets, and this year's are improved over last year. The painted cards are an extreme improvement, as last year I thought the whole set looked miscut. With Masterpieces being discontinued, these may be some of the only painted style cards we get, and im glad they werent ditched. Im a fan of sports art, all the way through to Leroy Neimann's golf prints, and I love seeing cards that feature artistic representations of the players.

As I learned from my pack breaks, guitar and music heroes were not the only non-sports part of these sets. I dislike this anytime that it is put into a set, though it seems to be a very popular part of many other sets that are out there. When I see that Vincent Van Gogh and company are added as parts to this product, it seems as though it was an attempt to extend the collectibility of the base set for the same type of people who build the retro sets. Considering that Philadelphia is next on the calendar, it should have been in that product instead. Im not a fan.

When it comes to the hometown heroes set, I love it. I think it’s a great idea for collectors to have the opportunity to pull combined cards of people from multiple sports. Considering that it is a city by city theme, I love it even more. I know there are dual autos and dual jerseys from both of the parallels, and I think that many of us would love to have either. I know if I was a person from Detroit and I saw a Gordie Howe/Barry Sanders dual, I would go nuts. I know there are people out there who really dislike this type of subset because of the multiple sports, but I also think that many people out there will love it.

Rating =

Autograph Cards

I think that having on card autos in this set make it more relevant than it normally would be. I also think that its great to see that the players used quite a bit of the signing area on some of the cards, as that is ALWAYS a plus. Also, considering that many of this year's class have big autos to sign, this could not have been a better situation.

The one problem I did see with some of the auto pulls, including my own, is that some of the sigs turned out kind of streaky instead of being bold. I think it has to do with a lot of things, not necessarily anything that UD could have prevented, but its worth mentioning.

As for the Painted cards being signed, as well as the hometown heroes, it adds some variety to the normal set. Most products just have signed parallels of their subsets, but the stickers don’t normally fit onto a paralleled card. Most of the time with the stuff I saw from heroes, the autos looked very good on the subset cards. It didn’t look forced. It also wasn’t in big giant silver paint pens, so that’s good too.

Lastly, as I have explained before, I collect autos more than cards. For a period of my life, I collected a lot of music autos, and it makes me happy to pad that collection with some of the music autos in this set. However, as a non-supporter of non-sports in sports sets, a lot of the music cards seem out of place. I think in Baseball's Spectrum of the 80's hair metal stars, the idea was a fail and a half. Here, there are actually some autos worth your time, right Tom Morello?

Rating =

Relic Cards

For some reason, there just arent many Relic Cards that look good to me any more. The ones in heroes look much, much, MUCH better than Prestige Chrome or Prestige itself, but they still don’t look right. I think the parallelogram windows stay out of the way enough, but they still look like they are wierdly forced into the design. Its like UD knew they HAD to have them, and did their best to put them in without looking like the designers were complete idiots. I think they accomplished that, however this may be the time where we let the jersey parallels die. If a card doesn’t have a jersey all the time, just don’t make it. Enough with the parallels, we arent buying it. Save it for retail.

On the dual jersey cards, I did see that some of the players had to be covered up out of necessity. When it gets to that point, we need to re-evaluate our need for relic cards altogether. Again, these cards are no where near as much of a fail as Donini's horrid attempt, but its still something that needs to be addressed.

Rating =

Value To The Collector

Every time you have on card autos of a player, its going to hold value - especially with every single Donini product being mostly on stickers. I think at this point even I would rather have a college uni on card auto of a player rather than an NFL uni sticker auto of a player. That goes against every bone in my body, but I have NO FAITH in Donini's design team. That fact alone raises the value of this set in my mind.

Still, as many early products do, this will fall as the year drags on. Because Donini uses the middle of the year as their toilet, products like the stale LCM will still overshadow this product. The one product that I will predict to be immune is Philadelphia, because retro sells. ALWAYS. Unfortunately, heroes will not be immune despite the fact it features things that retro sets thrive on with non-sports inclusions.

Price is another major factor, because when other mid end products like Gridiron Gear and the rest of Donini's mid year "show up and throw up" have the same price point, this will look very expensive for what you get. At least you get a guaranteed 2 autos per box, as it would be pretty awful to pay 100 bucks and end up with one auto.

People, its pretty simple. When there are many products on the shelf, many of which have been around and in our hearts for years, sets like Heroes wont be your first choice. That's all I have to say about the value of this set. However, the on card autos and some of the other autos may buoy the ship a little.

Rating =

Overall Impressions

This set was a horrible edition to the late year calendar last year, but this year, it holds some water. I like the ideas they used for this set, though it will not have the clout of something like SPX or Limited. Considering that, it’s a good spot for it right here, though something like Masterpieces would have been SOOOOO much better.

I would have liked to see 3 or 4 autos in a box and forget the jersey additions to the set, or at least a lower price point. I may buy some singles from this set to add to the 10 packs or so that I opened personally, as the RC autos do look very good.

My take is this, it’s the best of the year so far, but it’s a minor league set in the major league of post-premiere products. When you compare it to Prestige Chrome, it seems great, but when compared to SPA and others, it falls short. I think that’s understood, but a good filler until we get to the later products.

Average Rating =

2009 Product Leaderboard (SO FAR)

1(t). 2009 UD Heroes Football (3/5 GELLMANS)
1(t). 2009 UD Draft Edition (3/5 GELLMANS)
3(t). 2009 Donruss Elite (2/5 GELLMANS)
3(t). 2009 Playoff Prestige (2/5 GELLMANS)
3(t). 2009 Bowman Draft Picks (2/5 GELLMANS)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Monday, June 15, 2009

First Look: 2009 Donruss Certified Football

Ok, big preview day today thanks to the boys over at Freedom Card Board. Either way, looks like Donini decided the only change to the LCM set from last year would be a name change. Im not kidding, the rest of the cards (minus FOTG) looks exactly the same as last year. This is such a fucking cop out from the way the previews look, that I am surprised they can even submit these mock ups without leaving them on someone's doorstep and running away to hide. The stamps havent changed, the frosh fabrics havent changed, and the whole set looks AS ridiculous as it did last year. Fuck them. Seriously. They have to think we are fucking mental to buy into their laziness and lack of work ethic.

On the other hand, this specific Fabric of the Game card looks fucking great. AS IT SHOULD. These cards are the flagship collector set of every Donini card year, and I think there may be a mutiny if the preview for FOTG sucked as much as the rest of the preview. I do see a problem for the rest of this set fitting in for the lower parallels with single swatches, as this particular card will probably be the one /5. I hope they dont fuck the rest of it up. Im not holding my breath.

I loved 2007 LCM, I fucking detested 2008 LCM, and now 2009 looks like someone just changed the gradients on the foilboard and said they were done. Message to Donini: Hire some fucking professionals rather than letting the idiots who produced the early 2009 sets continue.

I cant fucking believe I have to make these posts. They shouldnt be necessary.

First Look: 2009 Bowman Sterling Football

Well, Voluntarheel is going to be very happy with this preview. Personally, I think Bowman Sterling is a ridiculously priced Topps High End set, though people think it is still worth their time to break. This year, it looks like they ditched the horizontal, helmet off, foil sticker cards and made them vertical, helmet on, foil sticker cards.

The cards may look better this year, but the price will still be fucking astronomical for what you get. Basically, it breaks the golden rule of Topps products, so just buy the good looking singles.

The update to the design does look BETTER, ill give them that. However, it does remind me of those ruler designs you do in highschool during boring classes. The bottom looks like spirograph. Not much else to say for me.

h/t FCB

Twitter Bloggers

Man, Twitter has picked up some steam on the blogs. If you have a twitter page and a blog, list it here so people can follow us in as many ways as possible, right?

Here is mine: http://twitter.com/SCUncensored
Here is Mario's: http://twitter.com/Wax_Heaven
Here is VOTC's: http://twitter.com/VOTC
Here is Paul's Random Stuff: http://twitter.com/PaulsRandomStuf
Here is Dinged Corners: http://twitter.com/Dinged_Corners
Here is Matt Lange's: http://twitter.com/mattjlange
Here is Sports Locker's: http://twitter.com/jamesryanj

Also, Im putting a bet that it takes Chris Olds 5 seconds to read this, facebite the story, and create a Beckett twitter for their blog. Thats about standard time for his blog story thefts, im thinking.

If you want to be added to the above list, or if I missed you, let me know.

2009 UD Heroes Is Live

I was just looking over some of my saved searches and saw that UD Heroes has hit eBay. Personally, I love on card autos where the players have a lot of room to sign. I only wish this set had come later so we could get NFL Unis on these cards. I dig the design of the base cards a lot, and although Heroes proabably wont hold much long term value in the auto RCs, the set may be worth a try if you do those things.

I think this is also the first time they redid the heroes design completely. In 2007 Chirography (the horror!) it was the same as always, as it was in Heroes last year. This year, its completely different, and I like what they did. See, when you play with balance and oblong shapes, it can work if you know how to do things right. Donini has major problems with that.

Review will be up around or on the release day. Ill be heading to my usual haunts to watch some breaks.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

First Look: 2009 SPX Football

Well, we finally get to see what's up with SPX, and I am still waiting to find out the exact details of the Shadow Box Card. From this preview I have two guesses. Either it will be a regular and plexiglass card put together, or the card will be like an actual shadow box with the auto area being recessed from the top of the card with some sort of acetate or glass covering it.

The rookie auto cards dont look all that great in this preview, though I am very glad that they dont spell out "SPX" anymore. Not really sure how these will turn out, but based on this Crabtree, color me underwhelmed.

The true star of this preview is the "Rookie Materials" card, which I think looks awesome. Im just hoping they dont all contain the goofy "helmet off" pics that I hate.

Lastly, doesnt look like the triple material cards look any better than last year's, with the odd balance of the swatch windows. I wish they would all be on the same side, or balanced a little better.

This product has some potential, but I will have to see final products of the shadow boxes and the RC autos before I make a final judgement.

Donini's Recent Fails

I have been saying for a long time that Donini has no idea how to design a jersey card. After the ugly display in Elite, I want to go over a few things that I just cant understand.

Here are 5 cards that I think are very, very poorly designed. The swatches are all over the fucking place, and half of them just shouldnt be there. See, Donini really needs to understand that not every card should be jersified. That means that you may need to create more cards, god forbid, but thats your job, and I am fucking sick of having sets built around these pieces of shit.


Match the letter above to the letter below:

A - I am not sure why they decided this was a good place for the swatch. This card is so fucking busy there really isnt ANY place for a swatch, it needs to be more simple.

B - Why put the Pats logo on a helmet? It looks fucking wierd and fucking stupid. Logos were designed so that they could be displayed as solo standing items, no reason to show it this way without explanation. It doesnt fit.

C - The script "elite" and the swatch should be in different spots. Im not really sure why they decided to do it this way, probably because they were too fucking lazy to switch the card around. Either way, the whole card looks ridiculous, not sure what is up with those assymetrical lines.

D - This swatch is placed well, but it is the wrong shape. The whole card is an ill fitting combination of straight edges and circles, but this card would look much better with a circular swatch and inward curving edges to the box that approaches either side of it. Considering that this card is about targets, not sure why they chose a design similar to that of the universal symbol for atoms.

E - More logos on helmets, completely unnecessary.

F - This swatch is completely in no mans land, but it fits the design of the card. Yet, because the card is split into quadrants in such a weird way, im not sure why they thought it would make a good fit for a swatch. Another floating window, another fail.

G - Another card that has no room for a swatch, despite the out of place presence of the one they forced in there. When you cover up the player, something done on many of Donini's awful designs, you takes everything out of the card that it was created for.

H - Brady's name just looked so ridiculous in that spot to me. Im not sure why it was done in that font in that allignment. They should have done a different font and had it cover the whole box. Get some better designers, my 5 year old cousin could do better with a crayon.

Now, its pretty simple to solve all of this freaky deaky ugly design work. Either design cards around the swatches and find places for the rest of the stuff later, or maybe dont shove the swatches down our throats at all. UD and even Topps have come up with some other filler ideas besides sets crammed full of relics, some good, some epic fails, but at least they are trying. This is complete fucking laziness in action.

Friday, June 12, 2009

SCU On Twitter

I hate that people talk about Twitter like its a fucking life choice, but I figured that I might as well get with the times.

Follow me on Twitter, a place where I can be even more annoying than I already am. If you have an account as a blogger, let me know so I can follow.

2009 SPX Football: What Are Shadow Box Cards?

Per the info that has been released for 2009 SPX Football, there will be a new technology that has never been seen before in the cards. Per the release, they are called "Shadow Box Cards" which bring in flooding visions of cards that look like recessed display cases.

Could we have a new thing where you have a mini display put into a pack of cards? Even if they dont contain pieces of jersey or autographs, its a cool concept to say the least.

The info also states that these cards will be one per case, meaning that they will be tougher pulls, and that auto versions are included.

I have put in a request to Gregg to give me an idea of what to expect. I will let you know if I hear anything, SPX is looking jam packed...

From the new presells:

2009 SPx Football (09/15/09 Release)
4 Cards per Pack/10 Packs per Box.

Look for a rare new technology that has never been seen before, the SPx Shadow Box Card, 1 per case!Search for Autographed variations too!Up to Four (4) Signatures in every box!Including one Rookie Signature Triple Memorabilia Card. Six (6) Memorabilia cards per box!All Memorabilia cards are foil numbered! At least 3 Autographed Memorabilia or Multi-Signed cards per case!

Product Review: 2009 Donruss Elite Football

We are four products into 2009, and Elite is the first product that actually holds some value for the collector in the long run. However, while looking at the final product, there were a few major questions looming that I may not have been able to get past. I was able to view a whole case broken by my friend, with disasterous results, but I am not going to focus on the pulls. Just the cards.

Design / Creativity

This year's Elite is basically Prestige Chrome, and from my review of Prestige, you can pretty much get the feelings I have about this product. First, the set looks eerily familiar, or rather very close to last year. There is also an ugly addition to the base cards with the electrical storm that seemed to be present at the printing of these cards. In the words of my friend "What the fuck is this? Are they on the set of Crank?" Ha.

The subsets have also dropped considerably in terms of looks from last year. The throwback threads is a perfect example of how bad this has gotten. Last year, the cards were so good looking, I actually went out and bought my first non-auto jersey card in a year. This year, they look stupid to me, mainly because the jersey looks like an add on piece rather than part of the design like last year.

The staple of this set, Passing the Torch, has been updated - I guess for the better. It is no longer a front and back card, making it much easier to display. I don’t think the design is awful, but I don’t think it lives up to being THE cards from this product. Plus, when you look at every other company, not many have their crown jewel cards available in millions of parallels, unless you look at Topps High End. But that doesn’t count.

Also, im not sold on this mirrorfoil they have coating each card. In previous years it has become extremely succeptible to pack fresh damage, and my friend's case definitely felt the brunt of it. Many of his cards were damaged, and though they werent too important, its frustrating. I think they need to get rid of this practice of using condition senstive materials to produce their cards. That is the one thing Topps has down with chrome and finest.

Lastly is the diecuts, something I used to like a lot. However, as a result of the coating on the cards, I saw a lot of damaged diecuts in my friend's case. Some people love these cards, but I am indifferent, something you could attibute to my lack of love for the base cards. I don’t think it’s a win on these, but its not a fail either.

Rating =

Relic Cards

The floating swatches are back, and Donini fails to incorporate the windows into the product with any sort of good ideas. Most of the time the windows look like add ons, as said before, Im guessing because of how many parallels they have of each card. See, with UD, most jersey cards are designed to avoid the floating windows, most likely because the jersey window is incorporated into the design, and the sticker is added later. With Donini, it seems like they just try to fit everything onto a pre designed card. This leads to cards that have floating and out of place jersey windows that don’t fit into the overall feel of the design.

I am continually disappointed with Donini relic cards, they never do favors for my eyes. After the Prestige debacle where cards were designed that covered up the players with swatch windows, I thought things would get better. They didn’t.

I mentioned above that I didn’t like this year's throwback threads set. Chain reaction and Prime Targets are worse than those, and you have to look hard to find a good looking relic card in this product.

Rating =

Autograph Cards

I am a big fan of paralleling the base cards with auto'ed versions, but its tough to find the autos in this set with the time travel residue, the dark cards, and the black marker that was used. I think when it comes to designing auto cards, you have to figure that a special light space needs to be present. On Bowman chrome last year, Topps did a higher half circle. On many other cards from last year, a light picture with a background included is used so that the stickers don’t blend in. None of this consideration was used for Elite.

As for the College ties autos, the cards look completely unbalanced. The autos weigh down the cards completely on the bottom and things look out of place when you throw a sticker on card designed as a base insert. Same thing tends to happen with many of the other subsets with auto parallels, and I think its scary that people think this shit is "cool." Have we gotten that complacent?

As said above, I liked the PTT autos not being front and back this year, but I still hate all the parallels. I didn’t like that they switched to two tiny pics on the side, however, when you get into duals on one card, its tough to avoid. The PTTs are still the best cards of the product, but for this set, its not saying much. I sincerely hope Classics is much better. Yet, with that school colors preview we got, I am very, very scared.

Rating =

Value to the Collector

This is the first set of the year that minimally holds its value, especially in the low numbered diecuts and autos. I think its possible to make some money on a break of this stuff if you get lucky, but if you are looking to keep what you pull - wait for later sets. The PTT autos are some of the more valuable Donini duals, and have been the focus of many collectors who have liked the set.

The rookies arent going to hold too much value unless they are low numbered, but the diecuts and status cards should hold well over the months. I call this set Prestige Chrome, and its funny that the parallels of the RCs really fit this mold.

Lastly, I think its within your best interest to buy the singles as the price of the box is most likely not going to be eclipsed by what you pull. Still not an awful product to buy if you are looking for cards that wont be hurt by the release of the post premiere sets.

Rating =

Overall Impressions

I am very disappointed by Elite, I think this could have been done a lot better, especially if they had thrown in a few new concepts. See, with many other products, creativity factors into new subsets and better designs on the existing cards they are remaking. When you don’t change a thing and you throw it out there just to throw it out there, I am going chide you for your laziness. SP Authentic is the set to buy each year because they do a great job of combining the old with the amazing ideas they have for the new. This does absolutely nothing of the sort, and to me that is very frustrating. At that rate, you should just update your set each year with new cards, a "living set" as I saw someone suggest on one of the boards, mainly because I am so bored with stale concepts.

Average Rating =

2009 Product Leaderboard (SO FAR)

1. 2009 UD Draft Edition (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t) 2009 Donruss Elite (2/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). 2009 Playoff Prestige (2/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). 2009 Bowman Draft Picks (2/5 GELLMANS)