Saturday, October 31, 2009

UD Black Is Shaping Up To Be Utterly Ridiculous

Earlier on friday, Upper Deck released a pretty shocking statement about a product that features completely hard signed signatures. UD Black will have no redemptions. Let me repeat that, because it definitely bears repeating. In a product year where Panini is issuing redemptions for signed stickers of fucking rookies AT THE ROOKIE PREMIERE, Upper Deck is going to release a completely hard signed product with no fucking redemptions. This is also the same year that Panini touted their no redemption product for Prestige, but this is a set that features the same unprecedented claim for a hard signed product. Amazing.

As we saw in previews, the look of UD Black looks amazing, and the content looks to be the best so far this year. I have a feeling that when all is said and done, this could be one of the best boxes to buy around, as you know you are not going to have to wait for any of the cards you pull.

Here are some more of the preview images, count me in for at least one box. Man, those Lustrous cards look fucking awesome.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Product Review: 2009 Bowman Chrome Football

Im not going to do a regular review here because Bowman Chrome's format is so similar to Bowman DP and Topps Chrome. However, there are a few great parts of the set, and a few bad parts.

The Good

I like the design they chose this year for Bowman Chrome, it fits well. The design also lends itself quite well to the parallels that Chrome is known for, and they dont have to frankenstein the card for the autographs like last year. I think that if we are going to have to endure as many base sets that are turned into chrome as we do, this is a good trade off.

I am a big fan of the parallel structure in chrome, and I think it works well when you can bust a box and do well even if you pull a shitty auto. Bowman chrome is that and more, as the low numbered refractors ALWAYS sell well. Of course, you also have the superfractor chase, which definitely doesnt hurt the product's goals.

Lastly, the photography for some of the players in Chrome is 10 times as good as in Topps Chrome. Although they moved away from game style shots that I love, they made it so you cant see the empty LA Coliseum behind them. Also, having the holo-sticker on the ball for the Sanchez Topps Chrome card was pretty bush league.

The Bad

The rookie jersey auto parallels are some of the worst ideas in chrome history, both Topps and Bowman alike. The swatches cover up more than half of the player and continue to be a useless addition to a product known for keeping it real. Topps was horrible at designing these cards last year, and this year is no different. Bowman Sterling, Topps Chrome, and now Bowman Chrome, all put the swatches in horrible places, yet, Bowman seems to be the worst placement all around.

Also, im not sure why they went with the ribbing on the background of the card. I liked it much better when it was a flat chrome, no need to fix something that aint broken.

Lastly, the autograph cards in the set do not make it obvious enough that they are autograph cards. They are now printing "Topps Certified Auto" on the cards, which is good, but an amateur would still be stupid enough not to miss it on a fake. I think they need different ways of doing it.


I think Bowman Chrome is good but forgettable. It may be the way to go in Baseball, but Football continues to be Topps Chrome territory. Its not a horrible product, and looks to be a fun and cheap rip, so I may actually go buy a box or two. Maybe ill get lucky.

Rating =

2009 Product Leaderboard (SO FAR)

1. Topps Chrome (4/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). Bowman Chrome (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). Donruss Certified (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). Upper Deck Football (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). UD Philadelphia (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). Topps Football (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). UD Icons (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). UD Heroes (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). UD Draft Edition (3/5 GELLMANS)
9(t). Upper Deck SP Threads (2/5 GELLMANS)
9(t). Upper Deck SPX (2/5 GELLMANS)
9(t). Playoff Absolute Memorabilia (2/5 GELLMANS)
9(t). Bowman Sterling Football (2/5 GELLMANS)
9(t). Donruss Threads (2/5 GELLMANS)
9(t). Donruss Classics (2/5 GELLMANS)
9(t). Donruss Elite (2/5 GELLMANS)
9(t). Playoff Prestige (2/5 GELLMANS)
9(t). Bowman Draft Picks (2/5 GELLMANS)
18. Score Inscriptions (1/5 GELLMANS)
19. Leaf Rookies and Stars (0/5 GELLMANS - NR)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Beckett Announces That They Have Pulled ANOTHER 1of1 From Finest

Jim emailed me today with some very interesting news. He said that Beckett has announced that they have pulled ANOTHER 1 of 1 from their EARLY box of Topps Finest football. Regardless if this card is a printing plate, or a superfractor, the principle of the matter is that it is still a 1/1 that a collector will not be able to get in their box they BUY.

Just for shits and giggles, Im going to run down the list of cards they have pulled since they first started video taping their boxes. Remember, Beckett is not the only ones to blame, but they sure do like to pander to the card companies looking for more opportunities. Yes, multiple sources have told me that they have been approached by Beckett to provide a more active role in their box breaking episodes. On top of all of that, Beckett also doesnt show every box they break, only the ones they feel appropriate. Glad they are committed to providing a realistic picture of what is actually happening when you break a box of cards.

Here is the list:

1. 2006 Vince Young Exquisite Rookie Auto Patch /99 - The most valuable rookie at the time it was pulled. Worth more than $1,000.

2. Adrian Peterson Exquisite Rookie Auto Patch 1/1 - The most valuable Exqusite rookie auto patch of all time.

3. Walter Payton/Brian Piccolo Exquisite Dual Ledenary Cut 1/1 - A truly amazing card.

4. Ladanian Tomlinson 1/1 Exquisite Base Card

5. Joe Dimaggio Topps Sterling 1/1 cut auto jersey - The only one in 2007 Topps sterling

6. Brady Quinn 2007 National Treasures 1/1 Patch auto - Just a ridiculous patch

7. Topps Ticket To Stardom 1/1 Ticket Stub - not a horribly expensive card, but still a 1/1

8. Lucille Ball 1/1 Razor Cut Signature

9. Ryan Howard Topps Triple Threads Letter Fold out 1/1

10. Alex Rodriguez Topps Sterling Jersey Auto /10

11. Shoeless Joe Jackson Dual Bat /25

12. Matt Ryan Topps Rookie Progression Triple Auto - again, not worth much, but a ridiculous pull from a shitty product.

13. 2009 Topps Finest Football 1/1 - ???

So far thats more cards than could be counted on two hands. Again, the manufacturers are just as much to blame here, but the fact that Beckett runs it out there like a prized pig is getting to be one of the most disgusting displays in the hobby. I have said hundreds of times that each time Beckett pulls a "Beckett" it presents a horrible unrealistic expectation for the uniformed somebody who watches it, and I am encouraging the manufacturers to stop. As one blogger who commented on facebook said, "each time I see a box broken by Beckett, I lose respect for the people who send it." From that, maybe marketing your product this way is not a good idea, especially when people only watch it to see them to fuck it up.

These breaks, hobby wide, are considered scams by most of the informed collectors. Of course, there are apologists, but walk into any store, and ask them what they think of Beckett's string of "good luck." In fact, I know the manufacturers are aware of our feelings, and either refuse to comment on it, or just say that they have a job to do to market their products effectively. Although I do understand that Beckett does get lots of viewers that will see the products, when do you start to question the fact that there is more negative feelings generated than positive? Personally, I had received handfuls of emails congratulating Upper Deck from ceasing their Beckett shipments, only to have the same people email me later in anger once they started up again.

I have also received emails from five or six shops saying that they had stopped carrying Beckett in their store, including one that had instead put a laptop on the counter with a place for collectors to look up their pulls on eBay. Of course, being the arrogant people that they are, Beckett will continue to force their prowess as the "number one source" down your throat, but fail to see the turn in the collecting culture over the last few years. Remember, hating Beckett used to be the exception to the rule, now supporting them is taking its place.

I mean, if they were really going to present a realistic picture, how hard is it to form a partnership with Blowout or DA? Show your receipt, buy your boxes like everyone else, and then there isnt a need to have to find the time to go to a shop and buy the boxes. They can be shipped overnight right to Dallas. That way, if Beckett actually does pull a 1/1, it will be with the same chances that everyone else had, and Blowout or DA gets a little publicity along the way.

Yet, Beckett doesnt think like that, they are above the plebes down here in the mud. They want their thousands of dollars worth of product to be free, and they dont give a fuck what we think. Maybe they should keep on doing what they are doing, because I also run this site for free, and I have no staffers to pay. I can keep on writing, and do it for the love of the game without fear of money. Beckett, on the other hand, cannot. Its all about green for them, and eventually that green will dry up. When it does, ill be there to laugh a great big fat belly laugh at them.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

2009 Bowman Chrome Is Live!

2009 Bowman Chrome is live, something that I have been waiting for a long time. I really like the design this year, and I think that as long as things look the way they did from the original set, this could be as good as Topps Chrome was.

I also see that they are using a weird almost ribbed look for her pleasure, not really sure why they didnt just go with the flat chrome. Regardless, these cards do look like a fun rip.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Panini Gives Us All A Good Laugh With Limited

So far, the cards out of Limited are showing strong on both ends of the spectrum. They range from amazing and really cool to complete and utter fucking shit that we are used to from amateur cards inc. Hailing from the definite cool end of the spectrum, the rookie phenom patch autos look AMAZING. The problem is, some of the checklist seems to be redemptions. Normally, that wouldnt be a problem if the cards were hard signed, but these are all fucking stickers from players who were present at the rookie premiere.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the NFL rookie premiere, let me enlighten you. For an entire day, you have the players at your disposal to take your photos, do your intereviews, and MOST importantly, sign their goddamn shit. As we are slowly starting to realize, Panini had one of the biggest and most EPIC fails with their planning, as obviously they did not get the stuff signed that they needed to. Hell, maybe the players didnt have enough fucking time to sign Panini's complete slate of sticker auto cards. There may just have been that many. This is of course, after they had over 50 helmets to sign for different friends of the company, hundreds of cards for the attendees, and football after football for other people in attendance. Again, not out of the ordinary in terms of what usually happens for every company, but when you force yourself into redemptions because of it, you become a quintessential bush league player. Then again, when you see stuff like these bubbly autos in other products, it becomes clearer why things look like they are being run by monkeys.

You see, this isnt the first time Panini, or DLP at that point, has failed to get their shit signed. Back in 2007, 99% of the Adrian Peterson auto stickers in limited were redemptions as well. He was even the guy on the fucking packaging for half the products. This was also the case with Troy Smith, and Chris Johnson, as well as others. Of course, if these were hard signed cards, it would be completely different, let me reiterate that point. However, Panini is more focused on inserting 2008 hard signed cards into their 2009 packs than really doing it the right way.

So far, here is the list of redemptions for their 2009 stickers:

Hakeem Nicks
Tyson Jackson
(Among others, surely)

This begs the question, if they couldnt sign all their stickers at the premiere, just how many labels is Panini actually using? It has to be above the number humanly possible to be signed, which then makes me laugh even more, especially with all the "We are moving towards hard signed stuff" marketing that they are shitting out their ass.

Considering this is a set that again features smoke and mirrors with the event used pro-bowl jerseys, and ball and pylon stuff from the super bowl that may not even be game used, a black eye has started to develop for 2009 Limited. Its really too bad, because this set definitely had potential, even though their cuts dont have pictures on them.


Its Possible That The NFL May Be Down To 2 Next Year

Earlier on Twitter today, Steven Judd, of former Sports Card File fame, commented that he had heard the NFL was cutting a license from one of its three manufacturers for 2010. Considering that all three licenses are up for renewal next year, that isnt a stretch. Now, none of this is confirmed, and it could just be rabble-rousing, but after reviewing the situation, its definitely plausible.

Im sure a lot of you would expect me to say that getting rid of Panini would be a great idea for the NFL, but actually I would hate it if they left. Cutting the choices of collectors in any way is a completely ass backwards fucking idea, even if that means that my hatred for Panini football would no longer be required. See, thats the beauty of it all, as more choices equals more hobby variety, so that if someone like me hates Panini, I still have more to fall back on.

Everyone knows that Upper Deck football is my favorite, because in my opinion, their quality of products (design, content, hard signed cards) is absolutely and utterly unmatched by either of the other two brands. There just is no substitute for me. However, other collectors disagree completely, and they have just as much at stake in this. The actual reality of this type of situation is that no-one wins, and every collector loses. I may despise Prestige, Absolute, and others, but I do like some of Panini's stuff. If Panini is forced out, for example, I would lose out on those products, as well as the notion that my hatred could change with the design evolution that each brand goes through.

Then again, if Upper Deck is forced out, I will be too. At that point, there is no reason for me to continue collecting new stuff, as I buy 90% UD with the exception of the Topps Chrome and Bowman Chrome stuff. Theunfortunate part remains that I wont be the only one in this situation. The Gellman haters out there would love to see me squirm at a future without licensed UD football, but its not just me. There thousands out there just like me, if not more hardcore for Exquisite, SPA, and the rest of the UD slate.

I commented before that there NEVER should have been an exclusive license in Basketball, and there NEVER should have been an exclusive license in Baseball. To think that the one place where exclusivity is NON-EXISTANT, they are cutting back on stuff, is a completely fucking asinine notion. All politics aside, limiting exposure of any commodity is a horrible idea, which leads me to believe that there is another agenda at work.

Guys, this is bad if its true, very fucking bad, no matter which brand gets the axe. The industry part of this hobby will be in worse shape than it already is with this crap, and its sad to see it come to this point. Personally, I see one of two outcomes: 1) UD is forced out of yet another sport, and resorts to unlicensed and college branded football products. 2) Panini realizes that they cant support an NBA and NFL brand, so they focus everything on Basketball and drop the license without being forced out. Either way, I see Topps as safe, as for some reason they are thought of as never expendable, despite producing abominations like Sterling, Triple Threads, and Lettermen.

Hopefully, none of this comes to fruition and we are back at square one come 2010.

2009 Limited Is Live!

Over on the blowout forums, there is already a six box break of limited that has been posted. Although the base cards look like they were produced on set during the Empire Strikes Back, the limited patch autos that are always the focus of the set look AWESOME. At least, as long as most of them look like these:

HOW FUCKING COOL ARE THOSE TEAM NAME CUT OUTS? I will stand by the fact that the NFL word variant logos are some of the best logos in sports, and I applaud Panini for using them as a diecut pattern. So awesome.

Also, the Limited Slideshows look good as well, busy as hell, but defintely better than last year. Here are a few that were posted:

Yet, for every good looking card in the set, there are ones that look like pure Panini poop. And when I say poop, I mean nasty ass mudbutt shit. The kind that just reeks up the whole house.

I still wouldnt buy any boxes of it, but I definitely will be looking for some singles. Here's hoping that there arent any more Harvin redemptions.

EDIT: Hakeem Nicks is a redemption. Now seriously, you had these rookies at the premiere for one sole reason: TO SIGN THEIR FUCKING STUFF. Extremely poor planning that you dont have the ROOKIE sigs all ready to go after that. You know the needs you will have, you know that they will be a captive audience to sign everything, so why didnt they sign? The fact that there are redemptions for these STICKERS is absolutely fucking ridiculous.


EDIT 2: Percy Harvin is also a redemption. What the fuck? How poor of planning can it get? EPIC FAIL.

EDIT 3: Tyson Jackson is the third player AT THE FUCKING PREMIERE to have redemptions in Limited. HO-LEE-SHIT. LEGENDARY FAIL.

Monday, October 26, 2009

National Treasures: How The Mighty Have Fallen

I just received some of the National Treasures images posted by Panini from a member over on FCB. Sadly, Panini has taken a product that once looked elegant and clean, and turned it into a high end version of Donruss Threads. Panini lovers will love this new direction, but to me, it takes everything that National Treasures used to be and takes a huge dump on it. Its gotten to a point beyond disappointment, more anger than anything now.

First, I want to start with the one card that I think looks awesome.

I absolutely love this card. Love it. The idea of the card is great, the design is great, and although its still a sticker auto in a $500 MSRP set, its still awesome. I would buy cards from this set in a heartbeat, this is the one thing that made me optimistic.

This card features a great group of players, but the design is straight out of a low end set. Busy, small pictures, and floating swatch windows. The card is also incredibly top heavy, and I cant believe this is going to be one of the subsets in NT.

This one isnt bad, except for the fact that the lines and blobs in the back look weird and the text on the side is all strung together like a run on sentence. Not bad, but not NT worthy to me.

I think this card may be straight out of Playoff Prestige. It just looks awfully conceived with odd placements of borders and lines that make absolutely no sense. Also, not really sure why there are two cowboy logos on here when the player pictures are less than an inch big.

This card looks better than the Emmitt/Aikman card, but the background draws so much away from this card. One of the things that made previous incarnations of NT so cool, was that it had an old fashioned type feel to match the focus on retired and star players. This looks like photoshop barfed on the legacy of these two players and I am extremely turned off by it. Why is it like this set has turned into National Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen?

Again, I am sad because of what Panini's horrid design team has done to this once amazing set. 2006-2008 National Treasures was awesome, I have a lot of those cards, I would buy more of those cards. I would never in a million years spend $500 on a box of cards that look like this, when I can spend less than a fifth of the money and get the same thing out of early season Panini crapfests.

I sincerely hope the rest of this set looks better.

Tuff Stuff Wants To Discover What's Wrong With The Hobby

Recently, Tuff Stuff has taken it upon themselves to go over what readers think is wrong with the hobby and to look for possible solutions. I think its a bold step, but in my opinion, a generally horrible idea in this format. First, the average reader has no fucking clue as to what is truly the more IMPORTANT bad things, and that will lead to a pretty boring list. Second, half the major problems in the hobby stem from things the magazine does themselves. Anyways, here is what their list will probably be, followed by mine.

TUFF STUFF PROJECTED LIST (not in order of importance):

1) Redemptions - I have said it before, its more the players than the companies that have problems with redemptions. If the players dont sign, the cards cant go out. I think the expectations set by the company, replacements for unsigned cards as well as lack of updates are the bigger problems. I will give kudos to Topps for publicizing their redemption updates via twitter.

2) Number of products - I cant tell you how much I hate it when people say that product variety is a problem. There are five million car companies, but no one ever complains that they have too many choices. Number of products as a complaint is shit. Just buy what you want and shut up.

3) Lack of kids/cost of boxes - Again kids havent been the primary focus of the hobby since the late 80s, and yet people think they are the answer to everyone's problems. Complete crap. As that relates to the cost of boxes, its easy to blame the companies again, but the players are just as much to blame. There are still a lot of lower end products that are good, and yet the variety thing comes into play again. Yes, there are very costly products, but they dont account for everything.

4) Fake patches/cards/autos - I agree with this one, but the only solution is a photo database that is easily accessible to everyone. There are a few users who have taken it upon themselves to take care of this themselves, but it isnt perfect.

5) Some sort of eBay complaint - eBay sucks at doing some things, but is great about others. I will say that I would take eBay the way it is any day than having to buy singles at shows or at stores.

MY LIST (not in order of importance):

1) Price Guides - There is no reason for a price guide, especially one that is run by people making money off the hobby. The guides out there present unrealistic expectations of value, and cause more problems than they solve. Their existence continues to show that this hobby is more about vanity and money than about fun.

2) Boring concepts / Gimmicks - This hobby has spiraled into a snoozefest of products that are not designed well and feature horrible concepts and themes. Its time to get a better design team in there that focuses more about a good looking product. No more rehashes, no more copycatting.

3) Beckett - Their arrogance of their place in the hobby, as well as the fact that they serve more as an ad vehicle rather than an objective source is detrimental to the people that still follow them. Beckett as a group is underhanded, vindictive, and ethically objectionable, and has yet to provide a worthwhile contribution to the hobby. They also have a public relationship with a card company that breaks all sorts of moral rules.

4) Grading/Authentication - there is no need for it, especially by humans. Besides being completely subjective and arbitrary, it is commonly used as a publicity machine as well as a way to please large customers. On top of all of this, Beckett sells their own graded cards. As for the authentication, there are so many stories of people sending in IP autos they themselves have gotten and not getting auth. Just shows that humans are just that, human.

5) Complacency of the companies towards Fake autos/Fake Patches - There hasnt been much done to counteract the criminal empire created by thieves on eBay. Ebay wont do anything, the card companies wont do anything, and the collectors only have so much of a voice. Until a bigger focus is made policy, we will continue to be victims of the great douches of the hobby.

6) Boxes for Review - Again, this whole practice solves absolutely nothing, and creates a ton of problems. There are currently more than 50 different groups of people who receive free product the companies. More than half hold a vested interest in the product's success. That means, ad money, publicity, reviews, etc. This is not just for highly produced stuff, but also the very limited products too. Beckett received 4 boxes of 2009-10 Exquisite Basketball. That is close to 2400 retail dollars of swag. Completely unacceptable considering that they price cards for over 50% of the uniformed hobby.

7) Lack of communication - Card companies are about as transparent as a lead door in this industry. There is rarely any info transmitted that actually gives collectors what they want, and that needs to stop. There needs to be better websites, more feedback, and more involvement with the collecting public. Talk to the boards instead of with Beckett.

8) Brand/Player/Sport exclusive contracts - there is nothing worse for collectors than exclusive anything. This should be at the top of everyone's list. The fact that there is only one NBA license and only one MLB license is ridiculous. It is also ridiculous that players like Jordan, Kobe, Lebron, Jeter, Griffey, A-Rod, Pujols and company are only able to sign for one brand. That is a poor situation. Look at the NFL, there is no exclusives and it is one of the best places to start a player collection. So many choices, and that is a great thing!

In all reality, there could be a huge economic disaster, worse than the last few years, and the hobby would still survive. People like to collect shit. That will always be a given. The industry part may fall by the wayside, but cards will always be a commodity. So, to put together a list like this is easy, but pretty much ineffective. The effective part comes from the buying public, as they need to put their money where their mouth is. I have been practicing this for the last few years, only buying the stuff I like, instead of wasting my money on stuff that is just there, or buying because I am bored. As a result, I have a collection to be proud of, rather than a hoarded mess of cards I have no connection to. Hopefully others will follow suit and not give their money to products and company that shouldnt get it.

NFL Rookie Battle Royale: Week 7

For this week, I missed most of the action from being in San Diego for work, but after going through each game, looks like the rookies had a good week. Too bad my Vikings did not. Regardless, we also had a debut we had waited almost half a season for, and a few performances that impressed beyond expectations.

Mark Sanchez

Dirty finally shook off the interception bug, even though it was against one of the worst teams around. He threw for only 143, but had 2 TDs to offset that. Im guessing a lot of Jets fans were just happy they pitched a shutout, but I expected a little more from the rookie that is fixing to be the top value guy for the year.

Shonn Greene

For the first time, Sanchez wasn’t the focus of the rookie lens this week, as Shonn Greene had a ridiculous game at 144 and 2 TDs. One TD came after it was already decided, but he is the front runner right now for the rookie of the week. Leon Washington must have had an injury, and Greene did a great job filling in. Best game of any rookie RB so far, crazy that it came against the Raiders, right?

Michael Crabtree

Im not going to take him out of the graveyard quite yet, but he had a respectable debut with 5 catches for 56 yards. At least he showed he can be somewhat productive, though I think he will get better as he shakes off the rust. He didn’t explode, but definitely was the namesake for a few creative jerseys I saw in the 49er bar in San Diego.

Mike Wallace

Its tough for any Pittsburgh rookie to fly under the radar, but in terms of talk, Wallace is putting up one hell of a rookie campaign without much coverage. His values were high to begin with because he plays for the Steelers, but 72 and a TD will definitely help you out. Wallace's TD was a good showing as to why the Vikings pass defense may cost them a trip deep in the playoffs, but he played a great game either way.

Hakeem Nicks

Nicks showed AGAIN why he is probably going to be the rookie WR of the year. Another TD, 80 yards, and a league lead in receiving TDs after a Knox mediocre game. Nicks has become a key cog in the NY passing offense, even though they got beat by the Cardinals.

Percy Harvin

Harvin was back returning kicks again after he aggravated his shoulder last week, and I was surprised to see him fly. Harvin ran back his second TD of the year, giving him 4 total TDs so far, as well as a few that set the Vikings up near the 50. He also caught 3 for 42, so a great game for a guy who is banged up.

Brian Hartline

Hartline caught 3 for 94 in a Dolphins game that they should have won, but they played like crap in the 4th quarter. He is a guy that I didnt know much about coming into the year, but he went to OSU, so you know he is going to get a bump this week in value. He does have a TD from week 4 against Buffalo, but hasnt done much else besides this game (10 for 157). I also dont believe he was a Rookie Premiere guy.

Austin Collie

This guy had another TD this week (though the game was over when he did), and continues to make me scratch my head as to where he is coming from. It helps when Peyton Manning is throwing you the ball, but still is impressive when you are pretty much unknown.

Beanie Wells

He finally got into the action with a TD, and against a good rush defense to boot. He ended up with 67 yards, so it wasn’t a stellar performance, but rushing is not the focus of his team with Fitz and Boldin around. Hightower is still getting all the goal line carries, which means that Beainie is not going to have many TDs. Im still not sold on him.

The Rookie Graveyard

Darrius Heyward-Bey - Its really too bad that he was drafted to the Raiders so high, as I think he could have been much better in a place that isnt a graveyard for the whole team.

Beanie Wells - had a TD, but still in the midst of a disappointing year.

Michael Crabtree - After holding out for the first 6 games, he needs to do better than 56 yards before getting out of here.

Brandon Pettigrew - Bye week.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Why 2006 Exquisite Baseball Makes Me Excited For 2010 Exquisite

Back in 2006, there was about as much demand for a high end baseball product as there is now for another version of Topps Moments and Milestones. So, instead of producing a standalone product to meet the small demand of a hobby geared more towards traditional collecting, UD produced the now infamous 2006 redemptions for the Exquisite baseball set inventory in their products for the year.

I absolutely loved 2006 Exquisite Baseball, if not only because I completely avoided the unredeemed redemptions until I saw the actual cards. I know there were as many people who were pissed about the cards they got, but for those of us who stuck to buying singles, it was a fucking blast. Still, to this day, the cards I purchased from the set are still my favorite baseball cards in my collection. They may have been stickers (the norm at the time), but the cards looked better than anything else on the market.

To this day, I still have a bunch of the Twins cards that were part of the set, my favorite being the two Mauer patch autos that I obtained when the product was released. At the time, I spent more money than I had ever spent on a card to get both, and since that date, they have not left my shelf. I still am pretty much in the school that believes the cards are some of the best looking cards of the decade, especially the ones based on the iconic 2006 Exquisite football set. Dont get me wrong, there were a lot of drawbacks to doing it the way it was done, but the results are sure impressive by 2006's standards.

Today, looking back on these cards, I am definitely glad to see them take another shot at Exquisite, this time with on card sigs and live cards in the packs. Chris Carlin said that card previews should be coming later this year, and I cannot fucking wait to see what they have in store. So far, it looks like they are going to be sticking with the formula they had for 2006, a good mix of vets, HOFers, and rookies, as well as cuts and stuff. Considering that all of the cards will be available right away, this could get ridiculous very quickly. If you see the Jumbo patch cards from the first set, as well as some of the retired player relic cards, they have a lot to live up to even with the bottom part of this set. Then, since they are also going to have to fill the shoes of the autograph cards of last time, UD better be aiming to please.

The only hope I have is that they dont overload this with dual rookie autos and other crap, which poisoned a lot of people's view of the last set. Then, when the random redemptions started to be assigned, and people waited months for a dual Brian Bannister auto with some other junk rookie, those opinions headed further south. However, after reading the press release and getting some preliminary explanations from UD, this seems like they have addressed all of the problems that plagued them the first time around.

Its been made pretty obvious here that I live for High End autos, and Exquisite is the granddaddy of them all. After constant disappointment from Triple Threads and Sterling, I hope this ends up more in the direction of a better looking, on card auto version of Prime Cuts, rather than a rehashed stale product that has no legs or inspiration. It cannot be all action and no substance. It has to be what we have come to expect of the Exquisite brand, complete and utter awesomeness. If it cant play ball, its going to be a VERY long year for UD baseball.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

New National Treasures Pics From Panini

I do think that after seeing these pics, National Treasures has gained some potential. Yet, despite a good preview, there are enough questions dogging Panini that im pretty sure its going to end up like all the other products they have crapped out this year. They posted some preview photos, and when you venture outside of the McGee that was released a month ago, the cards dont look that bad.

However for every card that starts like this:


It will end up like this:


Panini needs to get their heads out of their asses and fix this pen issue. It makes a card go from cool to questionable very quickly. Why would I want to pay 200 for a card out NT with bubbly sigs, when I can get on card bold sigs on SPA, Ultimate, Exquisite, and Black? Then when you add in that the ENTIRE set is on card for UD's high end sets, NT looks even further away from perfection.

Anyways, ill be waiting on a sell sheet before we can make a final judgement.

GAI Has Made A Deal With The Devil

A few weeks ago, I posted on Kevin Burge and his fake Pujols Bowman Chrome Autos being shopped around and denied authentication by the big three. Unfortunately, after seeing some recent sales on his shoeless-joejackson account, it seems as though douchebag 1 himself has found a partner in crime. Per some unconfirmed inside sources, Global Authencators (GAI) has made a deal with Burge that allows him free reign over his slabs, in exchange for a lot of money that they are hurting for. I cant say if the context of my source is correct, but the end results speak for themselves:

These autographs are 100% fake, signed by Burge and his band of thieves. Though GAI may not be in direct cahoots with him, they are definitely enabling his criminal douchebaggery. Guys, Burge is as much of a devil as anyone in this hobby, and it scares me to think that he is gaining favor among those companies that are being destroyed by the economy. He has already made a small fortune on his criminal empire, and his money is something they need desperately. This only creates a huge problem for the uniformed people out there, especially those who trust shitty authenticators like GAI.

Here is a list of completed auctions from his Shoeless screen name, you can see its not just autos. He has also tried to do the perfect 10 thing too. If anyone knows how to get operation bullpen involved, this would be the place to start. I have Burge's personal address from my sources if needed. We know eBay wont do anything, and its become obvious that Burge will find every crack he can to begin the flood of fakes into the market.

Watch your ass before Burge sticks his tiny dick in it.

EDIT: Here is a card that makes me lean towards them being in bed together. Its a Jay Bruce auto card that is authenticated with a fake Johnny Gomes signature. Not even the dumbest of authenticators would do something like that, especially with the facsimile auto right below it. EPIC FAIL.

Triple Threads and What It Says About Us

To me, triple threads is that dreaded shit after a night of Mexican food. You know its coming, you prepare yourself for the pain, but in the end, it gets you all the same. This year is no different, and really, its says a lot about what Topps thinks about the collecting base. What I mean, is that by structuring the set the way that they have, it shows how little confidence Topps has in how people view each part of the card. Instead of focusing on putting together a top notch design, they thought that jam packing needless junk and gimmicks were more important than a good looking set. From the reaction I have seen, it worked.

The most talked about part of the product is always the "OMG SIKX MOJOS!" that supposedly litter this set. They have about a thousand different 1/1s, each one more ridiculous than the next. Before this year, it was only limited to single and bifold cards, but Topps felt that two entire cards were NOT enough for the junk they had in store, thus leading to the first tri-folds. Stupidly, the tri-fold cards feature little more than a border to encompass the jumbo patches of the card, and that’s pretty much all they have to offer. Topps has basically implied that collectors only want the biggest possible patches with the most colors, and that putting a good looking card together is meaningless. This means there is only a dime-sized player pic, no autograph, and zero concept. What you have to replace that is just the biggest, gaudiest, most ridiculous looking patches that I have ever seen. Never before have I thought to myself how shitty a whole Marlin patch looks when its next to two other similar patches. Its almost like Topps said, "Well, these cards are going to look like crap, make sure there are whole patches on there to shut them up. They are like babies with shiny or glittery things, this will be like crack to them."

Moving on, the design is almost identical with previous years. There has been ZERO update to the concept of what normal people will get in each pack. You get a tri relic card with some shit spelled out in confusing die cut windows, and an auto tri relic of some guy with some shit spelled out in confusing die cut windows. Aside from the checklist being complete poop, and aside from the fact that there are very few baseball players who can carry a high end set, there isn't anything in this set that hasn’t been done before. They also went with a stupid partial medieval theme this year with scrolls and shields and crap like that. I say partial because the other cards have a completely clashing identity of linear boxes and junk. Of course, none of this means anything to the people who buy Triple Threads, mainly because they only care about how many windows are on the card. No matter that there is barely a player picture, or a cohesive thought to bring the card together, all they want is relic. Relic, relic and more relic. I say relic, because Topps doesn’t always use game pieces for this set, instead using old timer game jerseys, event jerseys, and practice jerseys. Again, none of this matters because the people who buy this junk have no concept of what should matter.

When you move away from the horrid relic cards, you see that there is still no on card autographs for this set. Even though Topps has the resources to do it, they care more about stocking their storeroom when they meet with a player rather than doing something for you the collector. Not only that, but the stickers bring your focus on the card because they are cut into the fucking design. Each auto card has a cut out spot for the sticker, instead of disguising it like it should be. Why do I want a card that blatantly shows everyone that the prized auto is just a label stuck on by someone in China? That makes no sense to me.

Triple Threads is also single handedly responsible for the parallel hell that so many of us hate. Each of the 300 or so cards has at least 10 parallels, including 5 1/1s - FOR EACH CARD. That’s 4 printing plates and a regular platinum parallel. Seriously, how does anyone think this is okay? Its worse than Panini, and I cringe each time some idiot screams "MOJOOOOOOOO!" when he pulls a Adam Lind 1/1 triple relic printing plate that he can sell for five dollars. Give me a fucking break.

Lastly, the price point continues to be a complete joke. For 170+ dollars, all you get is one autograph and one crappy one color jersey card. If you are lucky you can pull one of the hundreds of worthless players on the checklist, who have up to four cards each in some cases. Then, there is a one per case triple auto that has three players that are drawn out of a hat, and sells for ten bucks, or a 1/1 card that may or may not make you have a seizure from looking at it. The fact is, 95% of the time, you are going to pull less than 20 dollars worth of cards from your box, and even if you pull a 1/1 "REDICOLOUS MOJO" card, its going to look like poop.

I cant say enough bad things about Triple Threads and Topps Sterling, because they are like the Michael Bay movies of the card collecting world. There is a lot of needless action, but when standing alone on a concept, everything falls apart. Right, Transformers 2? Triple Threads is like that, and its an insult to my intelligence that it is always shoved down our throats for 3 sports each fucking year. In fact, my golden rule of Topps was created around this product. In the future, I would hope that collectors realize that supporting Michael Bay Threads means that more of it will come, just like every goddamn needless sequel in Hollywood. Please don’t give them that satisfaction.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Product Review: 2009 Upper Deck SP Threads Football

Last year, I really like SP Rookie Threads' theme of having cards that looked like they were sewn together like patches. However, the product still had an absolutely ridiculous price point at over 200 dollars. This year, the configuration has changed, the price has changed, and so has the overall set.


There are a few parts of this set that I like, and others that look pretty boring. Unlike last year's set, there is no real theme to this product, and I think it really detracts from the feel of it. I think that the patchworks style really worked for the SP Threads brand, and I am disappointed that it was only brought back for two of the subsets.

The first thing that I like is the use of the acetate photos in the rookie jersey cards. Without the acetate, these cards could easily have been a disaster. First, the swatches are no longer the focus of the card, but more the full color player pic that looks really cool in a solid stock. When I was able to buy some of this, I pulled a Robiskie jersey card that I thought looked really cool compared to being a complete throwaway without the acetate.

Secondly, I LOVE the die cut throwback cards that they brought back. I cant tell you how much I loved this design as a kid, and I have been waiting for them to do an entire higher end throwback product with the original SP, SPX and SPA designs. There is also an auto parallel that looks even better, which has a few cards I may have to go after.

Also, I really like what they did with the letters in this product. Because they couldnt go with a pro design because of the amount of time they had to get the cards signed, Im glad they went with a college theme instead. It prevents non-team built letters like 2007, and non-colored boring letters like in Donruss Threads. Instead you have a set that actually makes sense, as there are a lot of people who like the letters, a few people that collect the college players, and a good number of people who appreciate good designs. They arent perfect, but for a box hit, it isnt bad.

As for what I dont like, there are still a lot of college number stickers floating around in many different products with pro jerseys. I cant explain how much of a turn off this is, and sadly SP Threads is pretty much a dumping ground for what seems to be the last of them.

This set also has a lot of cards that just seem like they are uninspired. The dual and quad relic cards, the non-letter dump autos, and the base set itself. The trade off, though, is that the price point is completely different from last year, and that brings us back to a worthwhile product. Icons has become a collector favorite because of what you can get per box for the price, and I feel like this could have a similar following. Its affordable, and you get two autos with one being a letter. Not half bad.

Rating =

Autograph Cards

First off, I love the diecut SP parallel autos, mainly because it brings me back to when SP was it, rather than an umbrella. Back when I started collecting, you saved for the SP packs, and to see that they have adapted them for now is amazing. If only they could bring back the holoview autos, right?

I also like the scripted in time autos in some cases, because it reminds me of the patchwork theme from last year. The cards are well conceived, and look good, but the checklist looks very weak.

As for the letters, they do what they are supposed to do. They are there to garner interest in a cheaper product, and should carry value until Black hits like a nuclear bomb. After that, they are going to be pretty much forgotten, but will still give people a reason to buy this product for a cheap thrill.

When you add in the chance to pull duals, triples and up from a box, the product gets a little boost. They look good, but have proven to be exceedingly rare. I would say that if you are lucky enough to pull a triple, go buy a lottery ticket.

Basically, this SP Threads product is not going to turn any heads, or have people rushing to buy cases, but at least it has a good enough content value in the autographs to convince people to buy a few boxes.

Rating =

Relic Cards

As usual, the basic relic cards are pretty boring, at least outside of the acetate rookies. They are continuing to be a needless addition to any product, and really have become completely monotonous. At least with the acetate rookies, the relics are part of a cool idea. The plain swatch cards could be removed and I dont think many people would notice.

The basic patch cards do look really well designed, if not only because they are the other cards that have carried over from last year. They are low numbered, but arent anything special, and really just blend in with the rest of the set. Its really too bad.

Rating =

Value To The Collector

The value in this product stems from the fact that you can buy a 60-80 dollar box and get an auto letter, an auto, and a jersey. None of the cards are going to blow your socks off, but it seems to be a fun rip.

When Black hits next month, all of the big whales are going to drop this like a Panini on card auto. There just isnt enough to sustain interest for people who like the chance at good looking, high value cards. Its not going to compete with Limited either, but the cost may lure mid range collectors away. Considering that Limited is going back to a one pack box for 100 bucks, it will quickly price itself out of the mid range menu. Thats where SP Threads will succeed.

Rating =

Overall Impressions

As much as I hated the price point of the last product, this left me wondering if it were better. At least before, you had the opportunity for some amazingly cool cards, of which I own a few, where with the current set, those have disappeared.

All I can think is how bored I am with these filler sets. SP Threads, Topps National Chicle, Icons, Elite, blah blah blah. Im pretty sure that its time to rethink the ideas of what consists the middle of the card year.

Average Rating =

2009 Product Leaderboard (SO FAR)

1. Topps Chrome (4/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). Donruss Certified (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). Upper Deck Football (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). UD Philadelphia (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). Topps Football (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). UD Icons (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). UD Heroes (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). UD Draft Edition (3/5 GELLMANS)
9(t). Upper Deck SP Threads (2/5 GELLMANS)
9(t). Upper Deck SPX (2/5 GELLMANS)
9(t). Playoff Absolute Memorabilia (2/5 GELLMANS)
9(t). Bowman Sterling Football (2/5 GELLMANS)
9(t). Donruss Threads (2/5 GELLMANS)
9(t). Donruss Classics (2/5 GELLMANS)
9(t). Donruss Elite (2/5 GELLMANS)
9(t). Playoff Prestige (2/5 GELLMANS)
9(t). Bowman Draft Picks (2/5 GELLMANS)
18. Score Inscriptions (1/5 GELLMANS)
19. Leaf Rookies and Stars (0/5 GELLMANS - NR)