Sunday, May 31, 2009

Unopened Wax Packs Banned By Ebay?

Per new policy, unopened and ungraded wax packs are no longer allowed to be listed on eBay. Thank god. I guess after the massive amounts of pre-searched and resealed wax, eBay has decided it would be best to stop that from happening. So far, this is only for true WAX packs, which is like plugging a hole in the bottom of the sinking ship, so its not the complete ban on single packs altogether that should be enforced. However, with so many one hit per pack products out there, that would be pretty tough.

Of course, this is only ONE of the thousands of scams out there in the sports card section of eBay, but at least its a start. I hope this continues and is not reversed by the douchebags out there who make their poor man's living off this shit. 

At least the people who buy the opened wrappers of 1986 Fleer Basketball and insert 15 commons instead of that possible Jordan RC they advertise, wont be able to continue scamming. 

One scam down, one million to go.

Im So Glad That Beckett Has Taken The Time To Talk About Us...

I was at the mall today waiting for my wife to do her shopping when I stumbled into borders to grab a cup of coffee. While I was enjoying myself, I heard a large chuckle coming from one of the other patrons. I look in his hands and see he is reading the latest issue of Beckett and typing on a computer. Funny enough, he is a student at California State and is writing a paper on the poor effect that price guides are having on hobbies, including looking at Wizard Magazine for comics and Kelly Blue Book for Cars.

I went over and started up a conversation, and he started feeding me lots of economic models about the ill effects that price guides have on collectibles as well as reasons that advertisers make money off the contributions to the mags. When I told him who I was, he recognized my name from the blog. He even said that they made reference to card blogs in the recent issue of Beckett as good, but basically just a fun place to go to talk to other collectors, as long as you still get all the info from the "true" hobby reporters.

As I read what he was referring to, I saw it was a little more drastic. First, in an article from recently laid off David Lee, I saw that he had taken a good five inches to explain how the rumors of the Panini sale were exploited on the blogs before it was considered "confirmed." He took a classic sports reporter approach and said that blogs were something he "liked," but should basically be written off as credible news sources due to speculating about events before they are reported on by the big dogs. This is coming from the former editor of a magazine who hasnt published a REAL expectation of card value EVER, and used half the magazine giving a printed blow job to their boyfriends at Panini. Oh, but wait, it gets better!

Later in the magazine, they published "30 reasons to smile" about card collecting. Number 17 was about the blogs, though it was said that some of them could be "cesspools of misinformation" and full of "uneducated ranting." Really? So its something to "smile" about even though its been "reported" that the 90% of the total blogosphere who bash Beckett like a job are loathed by the evil empire. Im so glad that the blogs are making a mark on a magazine headed for the recycle bin so much that they need to trash us as reporters for the hobby. Yeah, if you are getting your ass fucking kicked by amateurs who do it for free, I would take every chance to discredit them too.

Mike at Borders, thanks for the fun hour we had.

Dammit!! This Is Now A Freaking Epidemic

Ewensel emailed this auction for a Reggie Bush Bowman Chrome Auto that sold for 70 dollars. Notice anything a little off from one like this one?

The first card was not an auto card to begin with, dont let the refractor throw you. Notice the off sig, the missing ghost box where the sticker needs to be put, and im sure the missing cert sticker on the back. Looks like someone either found a way to rub off the auto on another crap sticker and put it on this card with a fake bush sig, or got their hands on a blank sheet of Topps stickers and started signing for dollars. 

See, guys, it was only a matter of time before the sticker system was taken advantage of buy douchebags who love to drink sun dried period blood for sustenance. This guy is one of those douchebags, and must have taken some pointers from the genius who put not one, not two, but THREE NFL logo patches in this Eli Manning card. The sticker there is not real either, Manning's card was never autoed to start.

EDIT: This is quickly becoming an epidemic. Guys, please watch out for these obviously fake auto stickers that are being applied to non-auto cards.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Is Nostalgia The Only Thing The Hobby Has Left?

After seeing a preview for Goodwin Champions baseball, as well as the success of Allen and Ginter, Heritage (Topps and Bowman), Goudey, Mayo football, and Philadelphia football, I am beginning to wonder if nostalgia is the only thing left in the minds of the manufactures looking to produce a successful set. With Baseball, its become all but super apparent, Football is getting there quick.

Listen, I know we all love to see the past successes of our favorite sets be repeated with updated players, but when is enough, well, enough? Right now, in the Baseball industry, its tough to produce a successful set if you are not producing Bowman Chrome or base Topps. Maybe that is why you wont have the popularity unless it is a retro product based on a popular vintage set - a la the future Upper Deck offering. Why have we allowed the Manufacturers to resort to laziness rather than coming up with new examples of wonderful products?

In football, the tide is starting to turn towards a retro dominated market, though the number of sets to choose from is greatly reduced. Philadelphia is coming out soon, and it looks great, only because it includes elements of two great looking sets, 1935 National Chicle and the Philadelphia set the product is based on. I credit Upper Deck football with their recent design work, as most of the time, the new products do show a lot of creativity. Although for the other companies, there is nothing but sheer boredom. I hope that things pick up, as there is no reason lately for me to go and spend more than 100 bucks on a box anymore. Its not because of content, its because every time I spend the 100 bucks, its on a product that looks exactly the same as last year's and the year before that, and the year before that, and the year before that.

As consumers, we would not buy any other form of a product if there were no improvements year to year - with Madden Football as the one exception. Look at every set and the components of what is offered each year. Gridiron Gear has not changed in 5 years, there are not any additions, just minor design changes. The only set that changes outside of the ones offered by UD are National Treasures and minor changes to Triple Turds, both of which cost over 150 dollars per box and one of which that sucks beyond belief.

I do not have a sky falling attitude about things that will kill the industry, however I am so fucking bored that I may not buy a single box this year. That's how bad it has gotten for me.

Testing The Waters...

A few days ago I posted about Joe Mauer and his recent explosion, and how I didnt want to sell any of my prized possessions just because he was hot at the moment. Well, I found two cards that I coundnt give two shits about, that are actually worth quite a bit from recent auction sales, so I thought I would give it a try.

The first, a 2006 Triple Threads Auto /18, I bought in 2006 for 18 dollars as part of a bigger deal. Triple Turds never really struck me quite right, and back in 2006 I never really knew the full extent of its sucktitude. Hell, this card is numbered to 18. Who fucking numbers a card to 18? Either way, its over the amount I paid for it, so hopefully that will continue to rise. Put a few bids in on my behalf, huh? I write for you, now you help me out...

...kidding, please dont.

Second is a 2004 Ultimate Collection jersey auto out of 50. These were actually pretty tough pulls in 2004, and I bought it a 40 bucks a few years ago. There is another card from the same set at 50 bucks already, so ill see what happens with this one.

Let me reinterate that I dont care what happens with either of these cards, they are both ugly beyond hell's deepest caverns, and really have no value to me anymore. I paid a total of 58 dollars for both, lets see what they end up at. Im hoping that they reach at least 58 so I can save up for the coming storm of Harvin stuff, or any number of Petersons I dont have from previous years. Hell, I might even hold the money for that Mauer Artifacts Patch Auto /10 that never surfaces.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Is Beckett FINALLY Going Under?

Man, if the news I received from John is true, color me fucking elated. He sent me some inside news that said that Beckett had not only gone through MASSIVE layoffs in recent weeks, but that the layoffs will continue very soon. Much like SCD, the magazine's content will shrink considerably in coming months, mainly due to a lack of money. There is also rumblings among the Beckett employees that the number of publications will drop, as well as circulation, so that the money hemorrhaging from the Beckett accounts may slow as much as possible.

John basically said that he doesnt predict the magazine to be around much longer as readership, subscriptions, and basically everything has hit a massive downturn. Although I feel bad for the innocent employees who will ultimately lose their jobs, I do not have anything but contempt and hatred for the people who have basically destroyed any semblance of ethics that may or may not have been present at the company.

Certain practices at Beckett have already spawned a blog that was started by former employees affected by the layoffs, as well as garnered widespread hatred among the many people who still take stock in the grossly outdated and outclassed magazine. Considering how many ridiculous fucking things they have done over the last year, I am beyond goddamn happy this is so close to happening.

Finally there will be no more sham box breaks of product hand picked and hand delivered by people at the manufacturers to the asshats who open them. No more incoherent prices that are drawn from the pricing hat with no ties to actual value at all. No more cry babies at the Beckett blog who run to their secret lovers at Panini and Topps to give them exclusives so that the blogs wont get more traffic than they do. No more blatant stupidity in the grading service BUSINESS that shows how much of a sham it really is. No more underhanded, unethical, unprofessional actions that damage the expectations of people who dont know any better.

The time to stop the lies is now, and I will be there to piss all over the burnt ashes of a company that deserved to go more than any single entity in the history of the hobby. There are still so many people with the wool pulled so far over their face, that I am continually sickened by them. Maybe, once the sheep have no leader, things will change for the better. However, if Beckett miraculously stays afloat, the hobby will never be free from the evil grasp of the magazine riddled with conflicts of interest.

Plus, after numerous examples of douchebaggery by the hobby media, why would anyone want to further support the people who only care about making money, rather than the responsibility of proving truthful coverage to the collectors out there? You may think its great and wonderful that every product gets nothing but kind words in the shit stained pages of Beckett, but with that kind of crap polluting the minds of people out there, no inspiration for change will ever provoke creativity. I know you feel the creeping boredom of the latest products, please dont take it for the only possible outcome. With people out there who give honest reviews, without worrying about backlash from advertisers, there is no reason to read anything from tainted meatpuppets other than for comedic purposes.

Its your dollars that spark change, so please keep that in mind. I may only reach a few people, nothing in the grand scheme of things, but with word of mouth, I have found that an idea can change more than one would expect.

The Sixth Blog Bat Around

Thanks again to everyone who participated in this edition of the Blog Bat Around, it is always awesome to read the collective posts of everyone involved. This time I messed up completely, this should have been up two days ago, my fault completely. Either way, this time was still cool to read inspiration for the blogs you read on a daily basis. I know I learned quite a bit of stuff about some of you that I didn’t know, and it was quite fun to do so.

Here was the topic for this time through the order:

All of the people who are participating in this have a blog, or at least something similar. For this question, I just want to know about the reasons you do what you do. Why do you blog? What made you choose Sports Cards as your topic of choice? What got you started? What has been your favorite post from your own work?

Here are the responses from around the Card Blogger Network.

Sports Cards Uncensored - My post as I am host.

Sports Card Info - SCI was started as a resource to collectors on which cards not to buy, and has turned into a resource on everything cards. He loves the interaction from the collectors who read the blog, and I agree that is a great part of being involved. Plus, he said, that its always nice to catch a scammer, one of the best things in the CBN for sure.

White Sox Cards - Steve started blogging after reading about a site in a magazine, but became addicted to the community aspect of it, and quickly met a lot like minded people who helped him out. Of course, the joy of writing about something you love is a huge part of it for Steve, but as a White Sox fan, that has to be pretty tough to endure, haha.

Night Owl Cards - Night Owl is a writer who likes to blog just like myself, only he does a much better job of it. He mentions that it was the newest innovation in writing that got him to start to pass time by blogging, and it’s the craziness of some of the weird cards of the 70s and 80s that inspire him to keep going. The examples provided are hilarious. Airbrushing is not our friend indeed!

Beardy's Card Blog - For a NKOTB, Beardy wrote a novel on his inspiration for blogging, totally mirroring a lot of the great reasons many of us blog. He talks about something that has become commonplace on the CBN - trading - and I think that has been a great add on to being a blogger. His credo of "If you write it, and have decent pictures, they will come", is pretty much 100% correct. He also has a love affair with a person we all tend to put on a petestal, ourselves, and that explains many of the things you read here too.

Capewoods Collections - Capewood has a cool top ten, just the way we like it, with pictures! I think he has great reasons for blogging, opinion giving, highlighting his collections, lack of shops in the area, all of which are things that people experience quite a bit. I think that the pictures were distracting at first because I wanted to play where's waldo with the numbers, but a great post when you stop looking at the cards.

Blue Heaven - For Ernest, like some of you, blogging was a stumbled upon utopia of online diaries. He saw how easy it was to do and was determined to write about his favorite team. He has been a different type of blogger than some of the other team sites out there, someone who focuses on the sport aspect as much as the card aspect, and he has highlighted some great posts to check out as well.

The Other World - Dan is a lurker, something I love to be too, and finally started frequently updating his blog earlier this year. He says he can go through site evolution with subject matter changes, defintely something I want to hear about. Dan also mentions being shy, a trait I would never attribute to a blogger, but he did want a place to share his interests. I agree.

Thoughts And Sox - Another person who stumbled on the blogs through links, and has started a site based on his Red Sox fandom. He is a trader blogger, so if you have some Red Sox, Im sure he will take them off your hands. I never knew how big of a practice it was to trade with the other bloggers, but that is a great idea.

Paul's Random Stuff - Like SCU, Paul's blog was started due to message board participation, his was originally about autos TTM back in 2004. He has branched out lately, im sure because the message board he started from is no longer in existence, and because he likes to associate with other people in the hobby.

Mark's Ephemera - Mark blogs for the people, and loves those comments. He likes writing and definitely has a passion for the subject matter he covers. He may not be the best wordsmith (his own words) but he is always happy to offer his opinion. I felt the same way when SCU first started, so here's to keep pluggin along Mark, its never bad to add your voice to the fray.

Wax Heaven - If there is a blog out there we all read, its Mario's, but I was surprised to learn why he does some of the things he does. After being spurned by the big evil, he has found new goals in making the execs at the big three notice his criticisms, as well as hopefully taking heed. He also wants to inform as well as show his distaste for fugly ideas for cards.

Cardboard Junkie - Dayf rushed to get his post in at the last minute, a week before it was due. Thank god for preparation huh? Funny enough, his current blog was not the first one, and he sure seems to be self depricating about his past posts. We all love Cardboard Junkie, even though sometimes he weirds us out with Spongebob references. Dayf has had some personal setbacks, as many of us have lately, and we are glad he didn’t let it affect one of my favorite blogs.

bdj610's Topps Baseball Card Blog - JayBee started as another lurker on a message board over at Topps. He started the blog as a way to enjoy his collection and to share his "stars" with other people. It doesn’t hurt that his Sports Card Blogroll has been great for many fledgeling blogs, and that the cards arent the only star of his site.

Card Buzz - Laurens blogs about cards being the last link to a past childhood, and I feel that this is a reason that many people blog as well. Although the site started per a now defunct board, it has now become a reflective way for Laurens to share a love a collecting. Of course, other sites have played a part in shaping the blog, but the favorites on Card Buzz are always the reflective posts.

Acheiver Card Blog - Motherscratcher loves weird movies, and also loves weird cards. His dad made him get his cards out of the basement one day, and he wanted to know something about a hobby that had long passed him by. After googling the current state of the hobby, he had some originally negative experiences but eventually started blogging to get answers to his questions as a returning collector.

Shot Not Taken - This blog was originally started as political/current events site, but that idea was canned due to boredom. Since then, blogging has been like joining the conversation, and the current topics are a result of that. An enjoyment of collecting has taken the blog past the original limits of the previous topic, and we are glad it has.

Wrigley Wax - As another team collector and returnee to the hobby after being away, its always nice to see people who decide to get on the blogs and start writing. He understands that people have unfavorable opinions about Cubs fans, but he still enjoys sharing his opinions. He originally started after answering that little voice in his head, and the ability to write from work is a plus without a doubt!

Houston Card Collector - Mr. Astro has been a person that has been very involved in the comments of many blogs and even stopped collecting for a period. Now that he is back, he has had some great success and continues to write because of his love for all things houston sports and the hobby.

Indians Baseball Cards - I got lost in the story of the many incarnations of this site, but his story from back in the beginning of the internet's history was interesting to read. I had a Tripod page too, but it was dedicated to stuff totally unrelated, I think its always a triumph when card blogging extends so far back in one's life.

Okay, thats all I see for right now, if I missed your link, please let me know so I can add it. As always, I am looking for someone to host next month's venture, preferrably someone with a larger readership. If you have the means, please let me know. Thanks again to all the people who participated.

Blog Bat Around Up Soon

Sorry, I totally forgot to post it. I almost have it done, ill have it up ASAP.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

First Look: 2009 Topps Chrome Football


Topps Chrome, the last existing Topps set I even consider purchasing has release sell sheet info. After last years worthless calendar of products like Lettermen and Triple Suck, I have lost complete faith in anything with a Topps brand name on it. When the sell sheet was posted on FCB, I took a long hard look, and was hopeful for the first time in a while. I think the cards have the possibility to look great, a huge improvement over 2008. 2007 was still the best in recent memory, but if these turn out as good as they look on the sell sheet, it could come close. Last year, the price was lowered as well, which made this product affordable again, and I bought my fair share. If that continues, I will continue to buy, much like the rest of the poor people like me.

On to more important things, mainly, if the Rookie Autos are on card autographs, I may poop myself. I have been waiting for on card chrome autos for so long that it hurts. If Topps were smart, they would get these on card, because the curved auto space will be AWFUL with a huge straight foil sticker. Think about how that will look, the corners protruding out into the player picture. Gross. Maybe we will get lucky and Topps will actually do something right for once. I know, not likely.

Also, the RC Patch autos are back too, and out of 25 as they were last year. I found this completely unnecessary, but people seemed to like them. In a product like this, pulling one of those is like pulling a 1/1 out of base Topps, but it is worth mentioning.

(Just in case you were wondering, the cards pictured here are mock-ups, airbrushed pictures, and OTA pictures. These are not the actual pics from the product.)

A Comment On Extreme Price Jumps

Over the last few weeks, Joe Mauer has been the best hitter on the Twins and possibly in the league, after returning from his injured back. I never really expected to see Joe have a good season, but when you are batting over .400, you have ECLIPSED your homerun total from last year, and have played brilliantly behind the plate, it requires some sort of attaboy from me and others around the league. What's even better is that Morneau is having just as great of a season so far as well, more than I ever expected to see from him. Hitting behind Mauer helps quite a bit, but I will give credit when credit is due, these guys are having cloverfield sized seasons this early.

That’s not the issue I have, however. My biggest thing is now Mauer's cards are so fucking expensive that I cant afford them anymore. As recent as two months ago, you could get his cards for close to nothing, and I did. Now, the cards are triple what I was used to paying for them, and I am quickly being priced out of the market. So, what do I do now? I have so much Mauer stuff that I could easily sell for a small fortune, but as a die-hard fan, I don’t think I could do it! My bat I got last year is going for over 300 in regular auctions, and my Bowman RC Auto is back over $100 for the first time in a while. For the first time since Peterson's 296 yard record game, I am in a prospector's dream position - I bought low and can sell high, but should I?

If it were any other player but my favorite, the stuff would be on eBay as we speak. My two baseballs, my bat, my mini helmet, my 40 auto cards, everything. However, I did not buy this stuff to sell it. I bought it for my own enjoyment, so that’s where it will stay. My advice to the rest of you who may find yourself in this position one day is to really determine what the stuff means to you. If you have something you could live without, sell it. If you cant, then don’t, pretty simple stuff. That’s the rules I live by, and I encourage you to take advantage of good prices when you can/want to.

There is still another pressing question, one that I may not have the answer to. When, during an epic price run, should you sell? You don’t want to hold it for too long until the player cools off and you miss your chance, but you also don’t want to sell too early and miss out on higher prices still. I have always had a rule in gambling, and I think it should factor in here as well, because prospecting a price of a card is like gambling in this industry. If I ever sit down at a Black Jack table or something similar, I will never risk anything past doubling my money, the odds are never in your favor that you will do much better than that. So why not just take the money and run? Sure, you could win more, but its more likely that you will lose everything back. With cards, I would never hold something longer than a 75% rise in value (100 rising to 175 dollars and such) unless there is an extenuating circumstance like I have with Mauer and Peterson. In football, do it as soon as possible, maybe even at 50% or less because the season is shorter and injuries are more likely.

Listen, when you have a bird in hand, don’t wait for it to become the two birds in the bush. Just take it, risk is never good in a hobby like this one, especially with the economy where it is. Why even take the chance if its something you are willing to dump? 99% of the time, you will be able to rebuy what you sell at a lower price. Then again, with a hobby also full of wax breakers who risk hundreds weekly, its not surprising to see someone try to hold something for value. Remember, and I have said this a million times, cards are not and never will be a good investment.

With Mauer, I am going to stay put, the stuff I have is too important to me, and most of it is personally obtained. I would say the same stuff about my AD collection, though the rest I would sell in a second if the price jumped. There is no reason for me to think any other way as Tom Brady and Albert Pujols were once in a lifetime opportunities, and I am not disturbed by the fact that I missed out on both.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

More Douchebaggery From The Mainstream Hobby Media

Most of you probably know all about Sports Collector Digest, its one of those news sources that I cant fathom people reading for info, but many still do.


Rob over at VOTC has posted a link to some pretty damning stuff about SCD and their relationship with Coaches Corner Auctions, who seem to be allowing awful fakes, shill bidded items, and all sorts of big no-no's to be auctioned off to unsuspecting people.

The link Rob provided is from Frozen Pond, another auction related website, who did a huge write up on these incidents, and from this article, you can imagine that many collectors have much more of a knowledge of most items than the auction houses that sell them. This shows quite a horrible track record for SCD and CCA.

See, for those of you who think the mainstream hobby media has any reason to provide reasonable coverage, you are wrong. They only care about one thing and it isnt which set is the best of the year. Its green, and they need it to function. I will say that even though the post is from a site that specializes in auctions, it still doesnt make it wrong.

Its situations like this that make me continue to support a mainstream hobby media boycott, as it is just ridiculous the conflicts of interest that plague it. At least, with most if not all bloggers, you know we are collectors who care enough to write about the hobby for free.

Thanks Rob for uncovering the Douchebaggery at its finest.

First Look: 2009 Score Inscriptions Football

All you have to do to make a product relevant is include a rehash of an iconic set. If it has autographed parallels, it will be that much more relevant. The problem is that the product that is re-doing the iconic 1989 Score set is, well, Score. In 1989, Score was one of the main producers of football cards and the Barry Sanders from that set is still one of the most well known cards ever. Add in Troy Aikman, and the set becomes one of the most recognizable ever.

This year, Donini has apparently done away with Score Select, and replaced it with Score Inscriptions. Really, if they called it Score "1 Top Auto In Every Pack" I wouldn’t care. Score is the lowest of the low end, and I laughed heartily at the people who paid the ridiculous retail price on Score Select. This year, they decided they wanted to use graffiti as their inspiration, and made the design based on that. It looks pretty bad, and I would much rather have Punk Rock Paint do it than put up with this junk (now we are even for the MS Paint Comment). The 1989 set is good, but you and I both know that they will be numbered quite low for the auto versions, and most likely wont be that valuable regardless. Its kind of novelty item that only goes so far. Either way, do not even think of buying a box of this stuff until it hits rock bottom. It will be one of the lowest end sets of the year, and I havent touched a score product for a long time with that knowledge.

Thats all im going to say, there are the cards, dont waste your time.

Product Review: 2009 Upper Deck Draft Edition Football

This year, we have had two duds as our 1 and 2 hitters for the football card season schedule. UD Draft, Upper Deck's first product of the year, comes out this week and many people have been waiting what the product has to offer. 5 autos per box, most of them on card, and a good design to boot for the masher in the 3 hole. Most of the time, being late to the party is a bad thing, unless the first two guests are Bowman Draft and Prestige. The only thing I could forsee being a problem is the Bowman brand being attached to the Topps product, as that will always draw more people. Either way, I am so glad my favorite part of the card year is coming up. Im going to need it.


Last year the design made Topps Rookie Progression seem like it was done on MS Paint, but that wasn’t hard. This year the design is much improved (nice job Lindsey), and I even like the horizontal orientation with the slanty auto placement. It doesn’t interfere with the player's picture, and even without the auto, the design looks complete - unlike many of the cards in Prestige. The granite look seems to fit well, and the parallels seem to blend better than they did last year.

The only complaint is a lack of NFL presence on the cards, as the college logo makes me think that UD put this set together a long, long time ago. Obviously, to get the signatures on card, you need to do that, so Im not too put up about it considering that the set's checklist looks about right.Also, UD used the same RC Logo on the card as last year, which I hate, and it looks completely unnecessary on this design. There is no reason for any company to use a stupid logo to signify a rookie card anymore, especially with the amount of information people can get from the internet. I remember it was an issue in baseball because the league forces it to be on the card, due to the confusion over the number of sets. Really, if you need an outdated logo to tell you which card is THE rookie card, you need to learn how to use google more effectively.

Lastly, you can tell this set is put out by UD and that is a good thing. Prestige and Bowman lacked the pizzazz of a well designed set, looking thrown together at the last minute, while this looks themed and nicely put together. Shows you what preparation can do for you, as Prestige seemed like they just threw some twists on last year. This set looks new and fresh (again, nice job Lindsey), and I would choose this over the other two any day. Even the pictures they chose for the cards look intimidating and fit well.

Rating =

Relic Cards

This set does not have any relic cards as far as I know.


Autograph Cards

I really, really like the autographs in this set, as they use a concept that you don’t usually see in the placement of the sigs. Normally I would say that you shouldn’t break something that aint broken, but they look quite good. As the first on card offering of the year, I put this down as a win for UD in terms of the looks of the cards with the hard signed sigs. They just look so much better than throwing a sticker on a pre-designed spot for the autograph to go. This gives players more room to sign, and you can see where it benefitted players like Stafford and Moreno who have loopy and large autos.

The duals fit the theme of the set well, and the alumni association cards are a college team collector's wet dream. It seemed as though UD knew the type of collectors that would value this set, and included elements of what they want in a set of this type. Considering that no other set has a Stafford and Moreno dual, or anything close to it, you have to give props to UD for beating them to the punch with such cool looking cards.

The problem I see is that the duals seem to be stickers, which is understandable considering the time needed to get two college players to sign a card during the end of the season. I didn’t get to see any of the Vet sigs during the few boxes I saw broken in Vegas, but I assume they will be stickers too. If not, then this product will be THAT much better.

Rating =

Value To The Collector

These sets never hold their value, and for good reason. College cards are a waste of space for anyone BUT the college collectors, who are a ridiculously small portion of the hobby. Stupid people always come on here and try to say that Press Poop and Sage are good sets for those type of people and I have said on numerous occasions that I agree. They must miss that for anyone who doesn’t care that Kenny Britt played for Rutgers, all of this is just a placeholder until the post premiere sets. Personally, I would like to see them shift the card season back a while, even though it would mean more time I would have to wait without cards. Offer post-premiere sets with ELEMENTS of this stuff instead of getting it out there just to get it out there.

I would expect that once an NFL based UD set comes out with the players in their new uniforms, this set will drop 10-20% in value. Once the season gets to SPA, this stuff will be at 40 dollars a box. At 85 dollars for a box, the price delivers ten fold over Bowman Draft's 2 autos for 110, and Prestige's 1-2 for 120. That means that at least if you buy this out of boredom, you will get something out of it. Having 5 autos a box never a bad thing.

Rating =

Overall Impressions

If I had the past three products to choose from for the entire year, I would buy 100 boxes of draft before the thought even entered my mind to buy another early 2009 product, but I would still choose to wait for a post premiere product in any other situation. UD did better than I thought they would with this set, so a kudos is due on that. However, when a product gets delayed by as much as draft did, people get frustrated, especially when there is nothing else to buy. Hopefully the sets continue to be new and fresh, something that would make me happier than I could ever imagine in such a boring plethora of bad products.

Average Rating =

2009 Product Leaderboard (SO FAR)

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

Monday, May 25, 2009

Karma Is A Bitch

This past weekend, I spent some time in Las Vegas with my wife for a well deserved mini-honeymoon. While I was there, walking around the forum shops at Caesar's Palace, I walked by Field Of Dreams. There, on a huge banner, the shop proclaimed that Pete Rose was signing there today. Stupidity got the best of me, and I walked in thinking that I would have a shot at a free autograph from one of baseball's greats.

Before I move on, let me tell you a little about Field of Dreams. The shop chain was started back when people were still buying 1987 donruss under the assumption that they would be worth something 20 years down the road. That meant that these mall based stores could buy up tons of product and autographs and sell them to investment craved consumers who had no fucking clue that they were being ripped off. 20 years later, the cards are worth less than the cardboard they are printed on, and the autographs are more expensive than ever. Ill give you an example, to purchase a signed jersey and autographed helmet from Adrian Peterson, you would need just under $5000 at field of dreams. On eBay, you could purchase both for under $600. Considering that most shops have a markup of 10-20%, it still doesnt come close - for unauthenticated stuff, at that.

Back to my story, I walk into the store and look around. NO ONE is in line for Pete, and I think its my lucky day. Then I see the prices. $100 for a ball, more for other stuff, no inscriptions. The store is covered in Rose signed memorabilia, and Pete is sitting at his table eating a sandwich and watching horse racing on closed circuit from the casino. I immediately walked over to the counter and inquired about the situation. To my amazement, Rose was there every thursday through sunday signing whatever people want for exhorbitant prices. How nice.

I guess when you fuck over every single one of your fans, your team, and your sport, its only fitting that you end up in Vegas at a mall signing to keep the lights on. Karma is vengeful whore, and you better bet that things are going to come around eventually. Kind of makes you wonder though. Pete Rose was the best hitter ever. Period. Bonds is the best home run hitter, but he did it by cheating. Rodriguez is cut from the same cloth. Where will they end up? Hopefully it will be a similar situation.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Due to some housing issues (along with a broken down car) related to my transition into a new job I will be unable to due the June Box Busters Club.

If anyone (ahem...Joe Collector) would like to take over ASAP please contact Gellman.

A New PLATINUM Look At The Hobby Media

Yesterday, amongst all the bonanza at Wax Heaven, Mario has hit his 1,000,000th visitor making him the most visited card blog on the net. It wasnt anything surprising as Mario has worked his ass off for the last year and a half to get there, but what does that mean for the rest of the hobby media?

This blog has never hesitated to tout that because of the CBN, Beckett is no longer the hobby's number one source on anything but Wrestling cards. Thanks to people like Mario, who have tirelessly promoted his brethren, there are more people coming to the blogs than Beckett's monthly readership. Of course that really doesnt matter all that much these days, because more people use Beckett for checklisting than price and news anyways, something evidenced in their declining constituency, massive layoffs, and outsourcing of jobs.

Where do we go from here, now that Mario has hit platinum? Well, considering that all the bloggers do what they do for free, working outside of any responsibility to a manufacturer buying ads in their publications, and dont have to worry about pissing people off, Id say we are well on our way to bigger things. It used to be that people had very few places to go when they needed card news, and they were forced to use places that couldnt say anything real about the news they needed. This is no longer an issue, as more commentary is offered daily on the blogs than in all the major publications combined for the month.

On top of all of this, with growing dissension amongst the masses about conflicts of interest, I would say the hobby media has more X's than blank days on their calendar to extinction. Hell, more people at the Beanie Wells event had seen my site than I ever expected.

Lets face it people, though things seem to be struggling in an industry with major ethical and financial problems, Bloggers are going stronger than ever. Congrats Mario, you deserve all the hoopla you get. Be sure to go check out all contests over there and get entered for boxes, cards and even a $50 gift certificate to DA Cardworld.

Due To Act Of God - One More Day For The Bat Around

Luckily for those of you who have not posted your Bat Around, an act of God smote my internet last night, and I was unable to get the Bat Around put together. This means that ill give you until tonight to get your posts in, and the Bat Around will be posted first thing on Tuesday.

Please post your links in comments somewhere if you havent already, I will unfortunately not have the time to go track them down.

Thanks for your participation!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Product Review: 2009 Bowman Draft Picks Football

Bowman Draft has hit stores today and I was hoping that it would take Playoff Prestige and blow it out of the water. I went to the shop by my house over lunch today to watch some of the people there who love to bust new wax, and I must say their reviews and mine were quite less than extraordinary. With Jumbo boxes, you do get quite a few parallels per pack, but the overall aura of the product seems to be very, VERY low end.


I like the design of the base cards for the set, and the auto cards arent bad either. The 2 or 3 insert sets look pretty good for what they are, but that’s pretty much all there is. The first base parallel is "Orange" and it looks awfully weird with most of the pictures they used. As a color, you really gotta stick with gold and silver, as otherwise there are going to be some major color clashes.

The auto manupatches look SOOOOO much better than the last time they had this crap, think of the letter ones from finest rather than the disguting vomit that was Lettermen, and you have your ones from this. The college logo patches in this set have sticker autos, and on the white background they don’t look too bad. I saw Donald Brown and Clay Matthews, not bad in terms of looks.

I cant tell you how disappointed I am that there are no chrome parallels in this stuff, as I cant see a reason not to do it. The guys will be in NFL unis for the regular chrome, so why not give us chrome college unis while we wait. If there was nothing else that was done to this set, adding chrome would have made it 10x better. Otherwise, paying $110 a box for gloss base cards of players in their college unis is highway robbery.

Rating =

Relic Cards

There are no relic cards in this set as far as I know.


Autograph Cards

Ill tell you, I had no idea that the base autograph cards in this set were on card. That improves these by about a million percent for that reason alone. At least when you get an auto, you know you wont have to put up with those awful stickers. The college logo cards are stickers, but as I said before the stickers on the white background look so much better than normal.

The auto cards also have normal Bowman parallels, going all the way down to the platinum 1/1s, but just think about how amazing these would be in chrome. That much better, right?

As for the checklist, the list goes VERY deep, and the group A autos are at astronomical odds. Mainly, if you are going to pull an auto, it is going to be Ian Johnson or the like. Granted, if you manage to pull Stafford, Moreno, or someone similar, you will be rolling in dough. So, a double edged sword there.

Mainly, these autos leave quite a bit to be desired, but at least are better than the normal expectations for Topps Rookie Progression and the other visual abortions Topps has had in this slot. It wasn’t too hard to do better than Rookie Progression, but this did do better, thank god. Who will be this year's De'cody Fagg? Im hoping to find out soon.

Also, there is not a single veteran autograph in this set, unlike Prestige and UD Draft, so you are definitely not going to get anything out of your hits unless you hit a biggie at 1:900+ packs.

Rating =

Value To The Collector

If these boxes cost 50 bucks for the jumbos and 30 for hobby (which they will later this year), I would say this is such a better deal. At a gross $110 fucking dollars for 2 autos and a bunch of penny base cards, you are going to go home crying if you buy these boxes. I cannot believe anyone would even think of buying a box of this product, let alone paying the price tag on a pack for 10 dollars at this point in the season. Even the top of the top rookie PARALLELS wont break 5 dollars, and your autos wont break 10 TOGETHER unless you are balls to the walls lucky.

If it were me, I would wait a week, spend 30 dollars less, and buy UD draft for the 5 autos you get out of that box. At least then you have a shot at some veteran autographs, dual autographs, and a MUCH better shot at the top guys. This is as close to goddamn insanity prices as you are going to get. Topps made a huge fucking blunder here, I feel bad for anyone that is enough of a sucker to buy in.

Rating =

Overall Impressions

Although the set looks nice in pictures, buy the cheap ass singles rather than even thinking about a box. You can go on ebay and probably buy the whole freaking thing for 10 bucks, some 100 dollars off the box price if you are a set collector with Bowman Draft aspirations. Stay about as far away from this on your shop's shelves as you can, that is until about 70 dollars falls off the price tag. Come October, Blowout will practically be giving these fuckers away, so watch out for that instead of busting your wallet. Need more proof? SPA, one of the best and most valuable sets of the year costs 120 dollars for a box, this costs 110 and you get NOTHING out of it. Barf and a half.

Average Rating:

2009 Product Leaderboard (SO FAR)

1(t). 2009 Playoff Prestige (2/5 GELLMANS)
1(t). 2009 Bowman Draft Picks (2/5 GELLMANS)

Have We Reached A New Level Of Douchebaggery?

Well, we now have something completely different to worry about in the fakes department. Instead of just ripping out a swatch and replacing it with something completely ridiculous, the donkey fuckers are now removing stickers from other cards, rubbing off the auto, signing a new auto and reaffixing it to another card they have faked. Here is an example done by newcomer to the drippy ass licker club T. Wall.

This card IS "numbered" 1/1, but that is not a real patch, and that is definitely not a real auto. If this weren't stupid enough, the auction is a private listing, and the guy has about 5 other fakes on his auction page, including this "Worst Fake Of The Decade" Eli Manning.

Guys, keep your head on your shoulders and don't be stupid enough to buy the cardboard diarrhea this guy seems to emanate from every orifice.

h/t FCB board

Jumping The Shark and Its Relation To The Industry

Since 1996 its been all memorabilia all the time, sometimes to the point of annoyance. However, with some of today's relic cards, there are many more reasons that they are as relevant as ever. Over the last few weeks, the NFL Rookie Premiere has taken center stage due to what happens at the event, which has lead many to say that the jersey card has jumped the shark. I want to look at both sides of the argument.

First, I can remember back to the late nineties when people would go diving for those thick packs, enough that a decoy system had to be instituted. It was like a whole new hobby had sprung, and of course, the manufacturers were loving it. However, there are large differences between those cards and the cards you have today, mainly in the quality of the production and the possibilities of what can be inserted. This has led to major developments, many of which I would not collect without.

The Patch Card

Since 1996, the focus has shifted from having a swatch period, to having the best possible swatch you can. This means that the crazier the patch, the crazier the value of the card. Because the technology to create the cards has evolved, so has the card itself. The good thing about this is that the manufacturers have seen what is valuable and seen what we like, and created products to make sure we get those things. Exquisite, National Treasures, and other products of the sort have more crazy patches than you could shake a stick at, even going so far as inserting ENTIRE letters into a card. That is awesome, no doubt, and is great for player collectors who want a little more than a quarter sized jersey piece.

Without a doubt, the league logo is at the top of the ladder for desired patches, and some people pay the price of a car to have the card of their favorite player. This was not a possibility in 1996, but all of the companies have incorporated it into the reservoir in the years since. Most now consider it to be the pinnacle of a player's year of cards, even going so far as buying cards that don’t have player pictures on them. Yet, the logos only go so far, so the manufacturers have also included the team chest stamp as a substitute, which I think is 10 times cooler than the league logo. I will say that its now gotten to the point where patches are becoming as common as the jersey card, but for most people, having a ridiculous patch is just as cool as ever. I am one of those people.

Now, with every success comes the drawback, as patches definitely have created their share. The monster known as the manufactured patch, or as I call it, the manupatch, has become as much of a standard as anything due to the success of the patch card. Most of the time I couldn’t care less, as the cards will also contain an auto, but when you have Topps Lettermen, it all goes out the window. This set, the highest treason of modern cards and one fugly set, has actually resorted to sticker autos ON TOP of fucking manuletters. I almost barfed on my keyboard when I saw the result.

Also, we have a number of people who like to replace the 1 color swatches with logo patches or team logo patches, and it has led to a general feeling of suspicion with every cool patch. Most of the time these people are so fucking stupid that its actually funny, which balances it out, but the question is still there in the back of our minds.

The Auto Relic Card

I love the auto relic cards, they are my bread and butter. Why buy the tiny swatch when you can have the auto to match? Add in the above, where patches are getting larger and crazier, and I am like a pig in shit. As an auto collector above a card collector, you can imagine why this part of the industry is so important to me, and many others like me. Most old school collectors criticize the move towards high end, but I am definitely in support of creating the most mind blowing cards you can - no matter the budget. I wouldn’t be around anymore without the auto relic, or the auto for that matter, and most people are following suit with that. You can yell and scream all you want about the way the industry is heading, but having a signed card from your player with a piece of his game in there will ALWAYS make you happy to have it.

Draw backs are a plenty, as it has become more expensive to produce the cards than to buy them off eBay. Players want exorbitant prices for their signatures, and it has led to a lot of problems with production. This has led to deeper and deeper checklists, and more problems for people like me who hate pulling Jerome Simpson as our box hit. Because people wont buy without this element, manufacturers are forced to comply to meet those expectations.

Personally, of all the elements, the auto cards and the auto relic cards need to stay to keep as many people as you can. It’s the other parts that most of us could probably live without.

The Event Used Relic Card

If anything is a testament to the direction of the hobby, its this type of card. Players who havent worn jerseys in a game put the jerseys on to give the companies the ability to fulfill everything above. I have come to terms with this type of card, and after this past weekend, I can see that players feel similarly to the way we feel. Add in a public that is craving rookie relics, and possibly one or two jerseys per year TOTAL for the players that actually make it on the field, and you can see where the problem lies. You wont see me buying singles of cards like this without autos on them, but I am not going to poo-poo them as long as the hobby is what it is.

Yet, we cant help but feel a little cheated that these types of cards are being produced, especially with the fucking stupid ass "event used football" cards. I think that if I could do without non-game worn cards, I would, so I just stay away. As Gregg said, we have the power of choice, and we should use it.

The Single Color Swatch Card

This is the bread and butter of just about every product out there. Buy a few jerseys and use them for 3000-4000 swatches, most of which are just the plain color part of the shirt. If anything could go, it would be these, but Im not sure how many people would consider a product to be worth it without 3-4 hits per box. Of course, there are those players who played so long ago, that the rules are a little different, thus leading to a jumbled existence of what is a good pull and what is not.

However, as long as products like Topps Triple Suck and Topps Suckling dress up the swatches with awful diecut windows, there will be people to buy products and cards that make use of them. Its almost like a drug you cant get off of, sadly. If anything has jumped the shark, its this, but still the wonderful people at Topps have made this a staple of every high end product they do. There are also those cards you get as a high end box hit in Exquisite that are the one color demon, but at least you still get other hits right?

Overall, much to the chagrin of most nostalgic collectors, these cards are never going to die. They have become the rule rather than the exception. I know I am probably going to get a condescending comment from Mario on this post, but I don’t think I want to be a part of an industry that doesn’t provide me with some sort of connection to a player. We could go back to 4 all base products a year, but where is the fun in that? It would be boring. Its gotten to the point now where its not just a collecting hobby anymore, and not many people are willing to admit that. It’s an auto hound hobby, a game used collector's hobby, it’s a hobby based on rarity not quantity. Most people say things are worse now than they ever have been, I think there are many more reasons to stick around thanks to many of the reasons I discussed in this post. There will always be people saying that jersey cards ruined everything, but I am one of the people who say that they wouldn’t be here without them.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Handicapping the Next Few Weeks

Tomorrow, the 2nd product of the year is released in Bowman Draft, with UD Draft not far down the pipeline. I have gotten a few emails over the last weeks wondering which is a better product to buy, that is, IF you must buy one. I think at this time in the year, buying these type of products is completely stupid, unless you are a college collector or are going to flip everything right away. Regardless of current value, im going to break down pros and cons of each with the idea of answering as many of the questions I got as possible.

Bowman Draft Picks (Release 5/21/2009)

Format: Hobby and Jumbo boxes
Content: 1 auto per box in hobby, 2 in jumbo
Highlights: Signed auto patches and letters, guaranteed 1 per box in jumbo.
Price: $65 Hobby, $110 Jumbo

After opening a few packs last week at the Beanie Wells signing, the cards don’t look bad at all. The problem with Bowman Draft is that the content of this product is one base set with auto parallels, and the auto patches and that’s it. There are not any chrome, there are not any duals, and there are not even other auto sets with veterans in them based on what I saw and the checklist. On the other hand, the manuletters are signed on the letter this time, and base parallels have some real potential for early flips. If you are planning on getting a group A auto, better buy a lot as this product is loaded with no-namers, inserted at an alarming rate. But, if you do pull an A auto, you have hit the Jackpot at 1:900+ odds.

The pics on the cards are very good action shots, and I believe they do have draft day variations from my shotty memory of other people's pulls at the party. The base inserts, which you shouldn’t really care that much about, also have some nice graphics, which is nice. Here is what I would have liked, however, as this set would be perfect for OTA and Camp TTMs. Instead of the ultra gloss coating on the cards, make them semi gloss so they don’t turn out like my Wells sig. If you see my Prestige sigs from the Premiere, they signed THAT much better for that reason.

Lastly, the pack format for hobby looks like you get 1 orange un-numbered parallel per pack, and then two to three base parallels per box. Again, these are not refractors - you will have to wait on that until july. May not be a big deal now, but with a gigantic price tag on the jumbos, it will be important.

Upper Deck Draft (Release Scheduled 5/26/2009)

Format: Hobby Boxes Only
Content: 5 autos per box
Highlights: On card autos, and many multisigned cards.
Price: $85 Hobby

When the preview for UD draft came out earlier this year, I thought the design was ten times better than last year. The main issue with UD draft will always be that it will be succeeded by other UD products that far outshine this offering, so the content was upped this time from last year's 4 autos per box. The good news is that most of the time you have MUCH better odds at pulling nice sigs, and with 5 chances, most likely one should be a better guy from the Preimere. Of course, these cards have parallels that go all the way down to 1/1, naturally, so you may get luckier still if you manage to pull one. You also have quite a few multisigned cards from the top guys, and I believe there may even be some veteran sigs in there too - something that makes this product better 100%.

The product is not without drawbacks, as a hobby box of Draft will cost you much more than a hobby box of Bowman, so you do need to be careful. Also, the auto checklist is pretty deep, so you could end up with 5 scrubs and be down 90 bucks. I think that the potential with Draft is much better than the potential with Bowman, but the Draft Picks name with Bowman attached may be detremental to the success of this product based on Baseball's offerings. Collectors recognize Bowman in baseball as THE rookie card to have, and I have a feeling it may transfer to draft more than it ever did before. That could hurt overall lasting value of this set.

Lastly, as the year progresses, this set will be forgotten, which puts an expiration date on your pulls. Yet, if you want a cheap way to get your player's auto THIS is the set to buy it from. Bowman top guys will cost too much due to the shear ridiculous odds, and this set will have enough parallels to keep the price low enough for the commoners like me. I will be buying singles from this set for that reason along with the hard signed cards, and I may even splurge on a box if I can get a good deal.

Here is my verdict: If you are a set collector, buy the Bowman, it is right in your wheelhouse. If you like autos, buy the Draft, as it will provide you more bang for your buck with hard signed cards. If you have the patience, wait on both - as Heroes will be better, Icons will be better, and Classics is less than 2 months away for the first cards with rookies in their NFL jerseys. If you don’t fit into any of these categories, just buy the draft, you will be happier without a doubt. Design + 5 autos + hard signed cards + potential = Positive Stance on UD Draft.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Another View From The NFL Rookie Premiere

Over the last few days I have had the pleasure of working with Mike and Mitch of Extra Innings Sports Cards for coverage of the NFL Rookie Premiere. Mike was nice enough to sit down with me for a few minutes on Sunday and discuss the goings on from the weekend, and just like with my impressions after talking to Gregg Kohn, it seems like the weekend was a huge success.

I am going to focus on a few things, mainly the players’ interaction with the people there, as well as some neat tidbits from Mike. Before I move on, I want to talk about how great Mike and Mitch are, and give them another plug for their shop. Upon reading SCU for the first time, Mike emailed me and wanted to see if I wanted to attend his shop's event and possibly win a spot at the Premiere yesterday. He wasnt sure if he could get me in any other way, but thought he would try. Both Mike and Mitch were sympathetic to SCU's situation, and were out to help. I honestly couldnt believe they wanted to help, but thats the kind of guys they are. Eventually they just tried to get me on their team's list, but were told I was not allowed on the Premises. So, despite their best intentions, I couldnt be there, so they did the next best thing. Mike offered to take some stuff to the event on my behalf, and I came back with autos from the three guys I am targeting from this class (pics are included in the post). Ill say right now, these two gentlemen have made my year so far, its nice to see there are people out there who actually care.

Moving on to the event, Mike said he couldnt have had a better time. He and his shop's employees were there as part of the Panini team, and had on field access to the players there. The first words out of his mouth when asked about the players there, were "for 22 year old millionaires, they were some of the nicest guys there." He talked about how much fun the players were having this year, especially with the different articles they had to make “used.” If you asked them to run a few steps, they ran a route, if you asked them to wear in a jersey they went and tackled a friend across the field. “It was a very positive atmosphere, and you could feel it,” he said.

Most of us who have a negative view of this event probably think that the jerseys are slipped on and off, and most of the time that is true. This year, for people like Mark Sanchez and others, a few second werent enough to designate something as used by the players. Mike specifically recalled Sanchez’s objection to calling something ‘event used’ unless it was dirtied some how. He would drag cleats across the grass, spike footballs and really get the props broken in. I was glad to hear that, and so was Mike to see it first hand.

Mike also specifically remembered guys like Jason Smith and Tyson Jackson, saying that they were some of the best players to be around at the event, cracking jokes and talking shit. At one point, Smith actually went at it with Tyson Jackson of the Chiefs at mid field as a "preview of 2009." Nice.

The event was done in shifts, where four or five rookies came to the station at a time, and went through the requests of the company. For Panini, most of the players had ten or so jerseys to put on, seven footballs to play with and 3 pairs of cleats. For the top guys there, it was 10 home and 10 away jerseys, plus having to sign all the on card offerings like the NT Pen Pals set, and the manupatches. I am glad to hear that Panini is focusing a lot on hard signed products just like Upper Deck. They also signed nameplates and helmets according to the Panini schedule I obtained from Jeff (not associated with EI Sports Cards), another person who was there, as well as many other personal autos for the workers at the tent. Per the schedule, each player wore around 30-50 articles of clothing, and signed about 600-650 cards and stickers. Mike made it a point to say that even the last group, who had been there all day in the heat, signed beautifully without objection.

Mike also talked about Matt Stafford, as Mitch had mentioned how out of place he seemed at all the events of the weekend, including the pre-party at the hotel, and the nights at the bars. Per the people around him at the event, he was just too nice a guy, a southern gent, even when asked about a Georgia Tech loss during the last season and last game of his college career.

So, all politics aside, I am beyond happy with Mike's report. I will put that much more of a stake into this year knowing that the players actually question why their shoes are being cut up instead of given to needy families, knowing that they want to make sure that the stuff is "used," and knowing that even at the end of the day, they still wanted to be there for the fans.

One thing stuck out to me, as Mike talked about a special guest of the shop. He was a younger kid, and was a child of a person they knew. He was a huge SC fan, and was unfortunately stuck in the stands for most of the day due to security. Luckily for him, Mark Sanchez and Patrick Turner didn’t hesitate to go sit and talk to him and make him feel important for a full half hour. Kudos to them on that.

With that, ill end it there. However, if you are anywhere close to LA and looking for a shop, PLEASE go check out Extra Innings Sports Cards on Washington Blvd in Culver City. It is worth any trip you make, as Mike could be the nicest shop owner I have ever meant. After hearing some stories, Mitch is cut from the same cloth, even driving product out to customers who cant or wont make the drive. Tell them you read about their store here, so at least I know that I can somehow pay them back for the amazing opportunities this past weekend.

Bat Around Reminder and New Blog Participation Idea

This will serve as your reminder to get those posts up over the next two days. If you have already written your post and not included the link in a comment somewhere on the blog, please do so immediately.

Hopefully the participation will climb, and we can get a good survey of the blogs. This is really our chance to shine, as I have seen first hand what the rest of the industry thinks of people who write based on their love for the hobby rather than for money, and for some reason it isnt pretty. Considering the topic at hand, this should be a great show.

On another note, it may be in our best interest to start thinking about creating a publication distributed via email list in a possible PDF format. It has been successful in some of the hobbies I also participate in, and could help us get traffic and messages out to the public domain in a one stop shop each month. Because we do what we do without the interests of our ad providers in mind, we could be as objective with our reviews and our commentary as possible. Because there are no examples in the mainstream hobby media of a realistic depiction of the hobby being presented, this could be the chance for people to get the info they are looking for.

If you have experience and would like to help out, let me know via the link above. All are welcome, just an idea I have been tossing around.

Monday, May 18, 2009

There Are Still Nice People Left In This Hobby - WOW!

I want to thank Flightposite over at Freedom Card Board for his giveaway contest, as I cannot believe he would even think of doing something like this. He emailed me a week or so ago and said I had won something, but I could not fathom what that meant until today. 

So, if you ever have the chance, take a gander at Freedom Card Board and see the community they have built there. Football is still growing, so I encourage you to post and add to the discussion. Flightposite is a mod, and he is a VERY generous guy. Thanks again for the jersey and the two low numbered Santana Moss cards.

How Long Until The Whole Player Is Covered?

Good god Donini, this is just ridiculous.

Next time think about it before you actually produce it.

SCU Reports: The 2009 NFL Rookie Premiere With Gregg Kohn Of Upper Deck

Over the last few days, I have spent a lot of time covering the politics of the Rookie Premiere access, but now I have some info on the goings on of the event itself. Gregg Kohn, product manager of UD Football, graciously spent some time informing me of what happened, and based on our conversation, my respect for the 2009 class has gone through the roof.

First some background. Since the early part of the decade, the top NFL rookies have gathered each year in Los Angeles to run through the routes for the first time in their full gear. Also since the early part of the decade, there have been swatches from jerseys obtained at the event put into the cards we buy throughout the card season. Most people automatically assume that the jerseys they get are one of two things: game used (they are not) or the jersey in the picture (they are not). In reality, the jerseys are worn for a matter of seconds, and the jerseys in the picture are kept by people at the event. Really, as long as you know this, there wont be any surprises, so I wont talk about it much more. What you may not know, is that the event is the sole reason we have cards for the year at all, so its a big give and take with the collectors. Again, I am not going to focus on this, the NFL had their chance for that and epically failed.

Instead, I am going to focus on a few other things, mainly the players, and some great stuff that is coming down the pipeline for UD. Before I move on, I want to thank Gregg again for the wonderful help he has given to this blog. He is one of the only people I have met that appreciates the role blogs play in the hobby media.

Moving on to the event, Gregg said he had a great time with a great class. He said that it was one of the best classes they had invited to event, and there was not a primadonna in the group. He mentioned that EVERYONE was happy to be there, and more than willing to overparticipate on what was asked. He also mentioned that a lot of the players were very happy to sign their stuff, and most wanted some of the cards to take home with them. They brought quite a bit of product with them to get hard signed for the sets, and that will include 10 of 12 sets with elements of hard signed cards, and more than half at ALL on card.

Mainly, they were trying to focus on getting more for you, the collector, which includes things like player inscriptions, as well as other newer ideas that really havent had a place in the past days of the hobby. He also commented that the many of the guys, including Darrius Heyward-Bey in particular, were determined to sign their full name regardless of how they felt about signing cards. As a kid, Heyward-Bey hated give up autos and told Gregg he would be signing everything the same.

Many of you also wanted to know about throwbacks and other jerseys that players may have worn, and there were players that needed to wear them due to depleated inventory at the jersey manufacturers, or for a nice touch in general. So, for instance, Crabtree wore some Jerry Rice stuff, Tyson Jackson wore some Derrick Thomas stuff, and a few of the Giants even got to wear some Mark Bavaro stuff. Gregg said that they players actually like this a lot, and Josh Freeman even wanted to keep the awesome Warren Sapp throwback they used. Of course, that means if you see a weird letter in your card, don’t worry.

Gregg specifically remembered Jason Smith and his wonderful and addictive personality, saying that he was one of the best players to be around at the event, cracking jokes and talking shit. He also mentioned that Brandon Pettigrew of the Lions was great, and that he may have been the biggest tight end ever. People like Aaron Curry were also gigantic, but somewhat reserved as well, which was funny to hear. Gregg even agreed that Beanie Wells was surprisingly big for his stature, and would not like to take a hit from that tank at full speed.

Gregg explained that the event was done in shifts, where four or five rookies came to the station at a time, and went through the requests of the company. For Upper Deck, they tried to keep them in teams or at least with their buddies, at least to keep things easy. They wore around the expected amount of jerseys, enough to fill the 2009 products, but it was definitely not as many as you would expect.

So, all politics with the NFL aside, I am thouroughly impressed with Gregg's report. I will put that much more of a stake into this year knowing that the players have fun doing the events of the weekend, even the Touchdown Dance competition and the trampoline jumps for pictures. After we finished talking about the event, Gregg and I were in agreement that it was tough to think ahead a few years and know that a few of these guys wont be playing anymore. He said they were a great group of guys to spend a weekend with, and wished them the best in 2009.

As for UD products, it looks like it is going to be another banner year. SPA will be back and better than ever with an unprecedented 10 auto rookie patches per case. For the other boxes, you will either get a jumbo signed patch of a rookie or possibly veteran, or one of the new authentic dynasties cards that focus on the teams of each decade. Gregg didnt mention the letters, but they could still be included.

Philadelphia looks like it is going to be a huge success, as we have seen in the galleries from the weekend, and you can imagine that the cards are going to be beautiful. He specifically mentioned jumbo inserts that were hard signed, as well as the mini signatures we would come to expect as a staple of many retro products. There will also be a National Chicle insert set with autographed parallels, many of which were signed during the weekend.

When it comes to 2009 Ultimate Collection Football, Gregg said that they were going to go back to the non-relic versions of the RC Autos. He also said they are tossing around an idea similar to USA baseball where the players will be asked a question to answer along with their sig. That should be interesting, as the USA cards were immensely popular.

These products will accompany Heroes and Draft which should be on shelves very shortly, both of which look great. Heroes will have all hard signed cards, and you can thank the weekend for those.

With that I want to give ANOTHER special thanks to Gregg and to Brandon Miller for their work on this blog and the rookie premiere, their participation is always a treat for me. Both have a standing invitation to come back whenever he wants. Also, sorry to Lindsey who is the brains behind UD design work. I referred to her in a previous as a guy, she is actually quite the contrary. Thanks!

Where Do We Stand For 2009?

After this weekend, all I have heard is that this year, the card companies are going to be coming at us with all they have. On card autos, player inscriptions, new and wonderous patch ideas, everything. Since the rookies are always the focus of each card year, and secondary values holding at more than expectations on early products, are we seeing a bounce back that no one had predicted would come this early? I mean, Percy Harvin's prestige auto sold for 62 dollars! 62! That is crazy talk for a late first round WR, even though he was touted as one of the most talented in the draft. Either way, some of the new trends seem to be helping us rather than hurting us, as maybe this will give the companies some steam to move through the year.

So far, all we have right now is Prestige, with UD Draft and Bowman DP nipping at its heels on the calendar. Donini's offering was quite less than stellar in my opinion as the value for the collector just didn’t seem to have lasting power. Although it has its plusses, it was mostly a disappointing start to the 09 season. Bowman DP has a nice design, but in all honesty, I don’t see it ever being worth more than the Topps Draft Picks and Prospects sets of years past. UD draft looks ten times better than last year's, but doesn’t have the bang I am looking for. However, with 5 autos per box, Im hoping it will be great, but as with all early products, I am not holding my breath. This begs the question in my mind of how they could just throw these products to the wolves and wait for the dog fight? In an economy that is depleating the necessary disposable income at record rates, why even waste your time with a sub par product? Prestige was definitely that, a throw away to cash in on early hype. It may have gotten some money in the door, but it did nothing but water down the strength of my desire to stick around for the blockbusters like SPA at the end of the year. At least, that’s the way I feel, maybe its different for others who are out there.

From the "coverage" of the premiere, it seems like player inscriptions are the new go to schtick for the companies to draw you in. Ill agree that cool extras like Sanchez writing "El Matador" on a card or "go Jets" has its appeal, but after awhile, that will go away. Im not going to argue and say its not worth it now, because it is. I love the idea of the casual inscription, but as with every good thing, it will become the standard rather than the exception that made it special. Eventually we will long for a regular auto because "See you next year Tebow!" will have been on every card. You know it will happen.

In my interview with two different shop owners that I will post later this week, both said that the market is spread too thin for anyone to have any semblance of a way to collect what they need, let alone what they want. I stand by the fact that I do not agree that there should be 4 products a year, but I will say that maybe its time to rethink the strategy for the year at a time. Both owners said that the kids have been lost and that there is no way to get them back, which makes me think that there could be a large, large problem coming down the road. Matt from the Beverly Hills Card Shop mentioned that in today's hobby, most of the kids that come in only want the 20 dollar packs, or if they don’t, they are left with VERY few choices that still provide them a chance at the stuff they came for. Where does that leave us?

Elaborate patches and unique player signatures only go so far, but you also have to consider that there isnt much money in the industry to take things to a different level either. This is where the stale ideas come in, and I am one of the people they are losing, for sure. Im not saying that I am going to stop collecting right this second, but I am bored beyond belief, despite my enthusiasm in the last post. I am more excited now after hearing reports from the weekend, but I am far from my excitement in 06 and 07. I hope that the companies do not think of autos inscriptions as the out pitch, it needs to be the setup outside. We need something better, and I hope they can find a way to do it. I want them to find a way to do it. Its been 13 years since the hobby has been reinvented, I don’t think I want to go through the innovations that have hit other industries in that time.