Friday, April 30, 2010

Move Along Mr. Tebow, Nothing To See Here

Tim Tebow and I are not going to be collecting BFFs this year, but for a lot of people, he is the hottest player to come out of school since Danny Wuerffle. Because of this, a guy who probably wont do a single thing well in the pros has cards that are selling for astronomical values. When I say astronomical, I mean, he is frequently outselling top picks and players who are slated to do very well in the NFL.

Although some of his current autographed cards are selling off the chart, there is one of them that has made some waves lately. This card shouldnt have sold for more than 150-200 bucks, but for some reason, it sold close to 700. Obviously this should set off some big red flags, and more importantly, it is a good teaching tool to show people how bad shill bidding can get.

Basically, a guy has a card that he doesnt want to sell low, so he either creates an account or gets a friend to bid on his own item. Sometimes, this fraudulent account bids countless times in the minimum amount until it gets higher than the seller wants. Other times, its two accounts, one setting a huge high bid, and another bidding it up to a high amount. This Tebow is a pretty good example of both. If the fraudulent account wins, the original seller just puts it back up under a different name, or if the scammer is stupid enough, under the same name.

The easiest way to check is to open the bid history from the item page, and start clicking on the hidden names. It displays a record of how many times each person has bid with a certain seller, and most importantly, how many items they have won. This is one thing that eBay takes VERY seriously, so dont hesitate to report it if you see it.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

First Look: 2010 Topps Football

After getting wind of a recent deal stating that Topps is back in the football game, I also got the press release and first pics of 2010 Topps Football to help spread the good news. This should be official in the coming hours or days, and here is the proof.

Its basically the same design as the 2010 baseball set, which is great, and after seeing this I am that much more excited for Topps Chrome. Cards like this is one of the reasons I am extremely happy Topps is back, lets hope they learn from past mistakes when moving on in the calendar.

After reading a little more closely, it also looks like the Million Card giveaway will have a sister program in 2010 Topps football. Considering the success of the first giveaway, this is something that will be great news for collectors who loved collecting the codes and redeeming the cards. Im sure more details will become available as we get closer to the rookie premiere, but either way, I am pumped.


Multi-Year Deal Begins with the 2010 NFL Season and the Release of

Topps Football

New York, April 29, 2010 – The Topps Company, a leading creator and marketer of sports cards, today announced a multi-year trading card licensing agreement with the National Football League and NFL PLAYERS (the marketing and licensing arm of the NFLPA). This deal will allow Topps to continue its strong history of offering collectors the industry’s most sought-after football cards.

“We are excited to continue our deep, long standing partnership with the NFL and the NFLPA,” said Ryan O’Hara, CEO of The Topps Company. “Topps will bring innovative, exciting and fun products to the marketplace to serve consumers and customers well.”

“For more than a half century, football fans have been able to connect with the NFL and their favorite players through Topps football cards,” said Leo Kane VP of consumer products at the NFL. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with Topps, bringing our fans collectibles for many years to come.”

“Topps has been instrumental in establishing the player-fan connection for more than 50 years,” said Keith Gordon, President of NFL PLAYERS. “We’re excited about the direction Topps is headed and are eager to see new products that will further enable football collectors to connect with our players.”

Topps is set to unveil its first product of the season, Topps Football, just prior to the start of the 2010 NFL season. “This year’s Topps Football will be our best ever as it will be loaded with amazing content and truly deliver NFL rookies and stars,“ said Warren Friss, Topps’ GM of Sports and Entertainment. “It will also include a special Gridiron Giveaway promotion, which will allow collectors to unlock vintage Topps football cards and win various football prizes.”

About The Topps Company, Inc.

Founded in 1938, Topps is the leading creator and marketer of sports and related cards, entertainment products, and distinctive confectionery. Topps entertainment products include the National Football League, MLB, UFC, WWE and other trading cards, sticker album collections, and collectible games. The Company's confectionery brands include "Bazooka" bubble gum, "Ring Pop," "Push Pop," "Baby Bottle Pop" and "Juicy Drop Pop" lollipops. For additional information, visit

Formed in 1994, NFL PLAYERS is the licensing and marketing subsidiary of the NFL Players Association. Representing more than 1,800 active and many memorable former NFL players, NFL PLAYERS "takes the helmets off" the players and markets them as personalities as well as professional athletes. Through an exclusive sponsorship agreement between the organization and the NFL, players are integrated into NFL sponsor activation programs. In addition, under an exclusive agreement between NFL PLAYERS and the NFL, NFLPLAYERS.COM, the company's official website is part of the part of the NFL Internet Network. Each year, NFL PLAYERS negotiates and facilitates extensive player marketing opportunities for players. NFL PLAYERS activities include retail licensing, corporate sponsorships and promotions, special events, radio and television projects, publishing and internet. For more information, please visit NFLPLAYERS.COM.

© 2010 NFL Properties LLC. Team names/logos are trademarks of the teams indicated. All other trademarks are trademarks of the National Football league.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Press Pass Does Something Right

I have never put any stock into anything that is released from Press Pass or SAGE. They are unlicensed products focused on players in their college uniforms that rarely hold any value once the real sets come out. This year things are going to be a little different with Upper Deck's lack of a football license, and after seeing this, I think Press Pass is doing something I have wanted to see ever since Fleer went under.

In my Topps roundtable discussion, I talked about using redemptions for full sized items as the next logical step in the game, and here is Press Pass doing the exact thing I said was a great idea. If Panini or Topps were able to get some of the player worn jerseys at the premiere signed instead of cut up, those redemptions for the full sized items would go for much, much higher than stuff out of Press Pass.

Either way, I hope more companies latch on to this idea, maybe even paving the way for some of the coolest inscribed items ever made.

The Best 1 of 1 a Person Could Ever Get

Im sure that everyone has noticed lately that SCU has been kind of quiet. The reason is that over the weekend, I pulled a 1 of 1 that made me the happiest person in the world:

Noah William Gellman is 8 lbs even and was 19 and a half inches long. He is doing very well now and mom is following suit. Ill have more pictures to post later on, most likely on my facebook page, but I did want everyone to know that the hiatus was for a VERY good reason.

Im also very glad to get the pregnancy over with as it was definitely taking a toll on my wife. She was a trooper though, did everything better than I could have expected, and I am so happy that Noah is finally a part of our small family.

He is available for Adrian Peterson autos, Joe Mauer, former and current Minnesota Vikings and Twins. I only go by sell value, so please come strong.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Oh Partially Happy Day: Topps Gets Football Back

While sitting around at the hospital and reading twitter, I saw that Topps looks to have re-negotiated a new football license. Personally, I think this is some of the better news I have heard about football cards in a long time.

In addition to having some of my favorite products back in the mix, it takes away an exclusive from panini. Hopefully it will force better products thanks to new competition that was not available previously.

All is not the greatest though as it will now pave the way for the return of the terrible high end products that topps is infamous for. Hopefully new ground will be broken and both topps and panini will improve their lines for the benefit of the industry.

Yet, as we have seen so far with previews, things are not looking good one the panini side of things, we have see about Topps. I have high hopes.

EDIT: Sorry for lack of a link yesterday, I wrote this on my phone while waiting for lab results.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

NFL Draft: 2nd and 3rd Day Reactions, My Rookie Premiere

Now back to your regularly scheduled football nothingness. Ugh.

The second and third day of the draft are over, and that means its another few months until the season officially starts. I didnt watch most of the third day, but the second day proved to be pretty interesting. The Panthers came out to be the winners of Day 2, drafting Clausen as late as they did, and adding Tony Pike in the later rounds wasnt bad either. Outside of Clausen going to the Panthers and McCoy going to the Browns, there wasnt much going on - draft wise.

Then when you bring up the trade page on its pretty much a complete 180. Campbell goes to the Raiders, Bryant McFadden goes to Pittsburgh and Leon Washington and Lendale White go to Seattle. I dont remember a draft like that in a while. If Seattle can get Washington back on the field, I think they are vastly improved in a running attack that was terrible last year, especially if Forsett gets part of that. Campbell should continue to be Campbell in Oakland, though this may light a fire under Russell's ass, a win-win for a team that has drafted terribly over the last 4-5 years. Campbell isnt a bad QB, and I think with new surroundings there is a possibility that he could do better than he did in Washington. The problem is that the OLine is still bad and there isnt much of a running game to speak of.

Lastly, the rookie premiere will be held sometime in the next few months, as usual, even though it looks like Panini will be the only company there. Here is my list of people who should be there, at least if Panini wants to keep collectors interested in their cards. I dont think they have the luxury of inviting Ramses Barden and similar players this year, so they are going to have to keep it thin and powerful.

Rams - Sam Bradford, Mardy Gilyard
Lions - Ndamukong Suh, Jahvid Best
Tampa Bay - Gerald McCoy, Arrelious Benn
Bills - CJ Spiller
Panthers - Jimmy Clausen, Brandon LaFell, Tony Pike
Chargers - Ryan Matthews
Broncos - Tim Tebow, Demaryius Thomas
Cowboys - Dez Bryant
Browns - Colt McCoy, Joe Haden, Montario Hardesty
Seahawks - Golden Tate,
Vikings - Toby Gerhart
Chiefs - Dexter McCluster, Eric Berry
Bengals - Jermaine Gresham
Raiders - Rolando McClain
Ravens - Sergio Kindle
Texans - Ben Tate
Niners - Taylor Mays
Patriots - Brandon Spikes

With this list, you get all the top round Running Backs and Receivers, you get the top QBs, and the top defensive players from the big schools. If you go outside the list, get ready for Andre Brown and Derrick Williams from this year.

And thus, let the rookie signing period begin.

Friday, April 23, 2010

NFL Draft: Panini Finally Has A Great Idea, But Poor Execution Abounds

Panini posted these pics on their facebook page earlier today, and I must applaud them for a great way to get the rookies onto cards with the teams that just drafted them. These look to be hard signed, which will be good for their early sets, I just hate the way these cards look. I have always hated the plastic helmets, and these dont really do much for someone like me. The design and the player pics look awful as well, but Im guessing these are pretty hastily made. Great idea, poor execution as usual.

We also got a new preview of Tim Tebow's first cards in prestige, and I think that they are a complete downgrade over last year's design. Although they feature a team logo and will most likely be SPed to death, the design isnt as good looking as last year. For base cards, the 2009 Prestige rookies werent terrible looking, and I actually had some of them signed at the rookie premiere over the ones from UD draft or Bowman DP & P. This year's look awful.

Where The Hell Did This Card Come From?

Recently on blowout, a card came to my attention that has a lot of people questioning what is going on. This Chris Johnson national treasures auto is up on eBay, slabbed from BGS, thus begging the question of where it came from and if it is real. See, the reason there is a question about this card stems from the fact that Panini did not release any Chris Johnson national treasures cards, let alone one that has been around long enough to have it graded.

Chris Johnson's lack of available stickers did not allow for an inclusion in Contenders or National Treasures, and its rare that a card like this just pops up out of no where. Even when seeing the card, there are questions I have for sure, mainly having to do with the autograph on the card itself. Its hard to fuck up a fake autograph of one of the NFL's worst signers, but this one managed to do it. Im just wondering if someone got a blank card by accident and slapped a fake sticker on it. Because the card said autograph on the back, and the missing sticker had been replaced with a real one, Beckett's people werent smart enough to reject it (typical). I also think that the card was slabbed to begin with in order to fend off questions of authenticity, as most people arent smart enough to believe that BGS is as falliable as they are.

Bascially, someone at Panini has some explaining to do, more so if more of these cards show up.

NFL Draft: First Round Reactions

Oh, the NFL draft. My football oasis in a desert of Basketball and Baseball, how I love you. The intrigue, the anticipation, the surprises. You make my April awesome. Luckily for me, this year was no exception to the rule and last night was awesome. I got to see every pick and waited over three hours for the Vikings to….

…trade their pick to the Lions. Well, the wait begins for tonight.

I think there were definitely some ridiculous picks last night, especially in the top half of the first round, and ill get to those, including my winners and losers of the night. The winners were few and the losers were, well losers, but overall it was pretty damn exciting.


The first surprise was really the redskins going with Williams over Okung, but that pales in comparison to the Jaguars drafting Alualu at ten. Let me explain my reaction with three letters: W. T. F. Seriously, I hadnt even heard of this guy, and I don’t think he was even on the list of the top 100 prospects. This was coming after a Raiders reach of Rolando McClain at 9, and when you overshadow a Raiders reach with a more ridiculous reach, someone needs to get fired. If the Jags liked Alualu so much, and he was going to be a 3rd rounder, they needed to trade down like normal people and stockpile picks rather than giving a guy like that the money a 10 pick gets. Holy shit.

The second surprise was definitely the Chargers moving up to get Ryan Matthews, a player who looks good but I don’t think was worth a 12 pick. Spiller was gone at nine to Buffalo, which left Matthews as the only good RB pick left deserving of first round status, thus putting Seattle in a position to get him. This must have scared San Diego enough to jump, and they did. Matthews should be good, but with Sproles there too, he should be better. The Chargers are a great team, and this could be a nice pick for them, even if it is way too high.

Speaking of Spiller to Buffalo, I would guess this spells the end of Beast Mode in the wing capital of the world. Lynch has had his share of off the field problems, 'natch, and adding Spiller is definitely an upgrade. However, when you have an O-Line like they do and a QB like they do, there are other options they should have considered. Almost all of the 300+ mocks I read had Bulaga going to Buffalo, and I think they will be sad they missed out.

Lastly, I think its surprising to see that all the top CBs went in the first round, many before 30 when I thought the Vikings would have their pick of the litter. Kyle Wilson's stock had jumped so much that a few of the beat reporters were saying that Cleveland was thinking about choosing him as early as 7. Wilson is good, but that good? I don’t think so.

Tim Tebow

My feelings on Tim Tebow, both as a person and as a player, are widely known around the net. But they focused on him so much that I almost had a stroke. Not just that, but every paper and every website did too. Never in the history of the draft had I ever seen a projected second round pick get more face time than the number 1 pick. When I saw that Denver was posturing again to pick him, and his family started putting on the Broncos hats, I let out a sigh of relief big enough to set off some car alarms in the street outside my apartment. Obviously Denver thought his intangibles were enough to burn a valuable pick on him, rather than focusing on measurables that show exactly why he is such a reach at 25 even. Whether it’s the motion, the accuracy, the offense, the track record of Gator QBs, the deck is way too stacked against him to even consider doing what they did. Do I think Tebow should have been considered a 2nd or 3rd rounder? Of course, because in those rounds, you can pick to develop. In the first round, you pick to better your team immediately. Tebow is not that pick.

Then, when you factor in Denver's recent past, there are even more questions. First you trade away a pro-bowl QB who is young and has a lot of upside. Then you trade away your best receiver, arguably one of the best in the league. You draft Demaryius Thomas who is a raw, unpolished and uproven version of Marshall, and Tebow, who cant even hold a candle to Cutler's jock in terms of skill. Does anyone see the issue with that? I would be rioting in the streets if I was a Denver fan. Add in that they just traded for Brady Quinn and the equation's variables are just ridiculous. Your team blew it worse than any team in NFL history last year, minus the Vikings in 05, and you are downgrading across the board? Like the Jags, someone needs to be fired, and I think when all is said and done, McDaniels is going to be the one getting Tim Te-boned.

Hobby Impact

With Press Pass and Sage on the market already, there should be a lot of movement in prices, especially with Tebow's stuff. Since last night, there have been over 50 auctions posted for his Press Pass cards, with some ending over 150 dollars. Im not sure why people arent getting that once Prestige and Sweet Spot hit (if it ever does), these cards will be worth pennies on the dollar. Press Pass never holds value, and its pretty crazy that these are selling for as high as they are.

Clausen's stuff, on the other end of things, is starting its drop now that he wasnt picked last night, and I expect that to continue unless the Vikings draft him at #34. Clausen's cards used to end around 75-80 for the base autos, and now they have slid to 65 and below. Here, his base parallel auto ended at 67, way below where I would expect it to. Not a good thing for people buying into these cards. They wont be worth 15 bucks come 2011, and not because of Clausen's projected production.

Dez Bryant's stuff is also jumping like crazy, as most Dallas rookies do. This redemption ended way above where they were ending the previous week, a testament to how many people love Big D. Bryant's cards will continue to spike as long as he is on the field, and I would expect him to be one of the top valued rookies come the start of the season.

Rookie Value Rankings: 1. Tebow 2. Bradford 3. Bryant 4. McCoy 5. Clausen

What All This Means For Tonight

Because the Vikings have basically said that they arent sold on Clausen and there are a lot of teams who are, expect a lot of action at the top of tonight's round two. I think the Vikings will shop their pick they got from the lions to beef up later picks, or just end up taking Cody or Price with number 34. Although I think Clausen would be a great move for the Vikings, considering that he would have a year under Favre before needing to play, it doesn’t look like he is the answer. This is one of the weakest drafts in the last few years, and I think they may even want to try to build for next year's class if they don’t need to pick someone at the current slot. I would expect both Clausen and McCoy to be picked very close to the beginning of the show tomorrow, probably to Cleveland or Buffalo. Unlike Tebow, both Clausen and McCoy are much more NFL ready, and arent a project like Tebow will most definitely be. When you look at who else is available, these guys should become coveted picks early on.

Another guy I would watch for is Golden Tate, who looks to be slotted right now at Tampa Bay with the 3rd pick. Tate is a beast of a receiver and should be on the field from day one. I expected him to go to Denver or Dallas in the first round, but when Denver chose a less upside-y style guy in Thomas, Dallas jumped at the opportunity that Denver threw into their lap.


Its obvious that teams like Detroit made themselves a lot better by drafting Suh and Best, but that kind of stuff was expected. Haden and Berry were great pickups for Cleveland and KC, but again, those were no surprises and had been projected. I think the true winners of this first round came later on, mainly thanks to WTF picks from Oakland, San Fransisco and Jacksonville.

The first winner was Green Bay who managed to snag a ridiculous player in Bryan Bulaga at 23. Bulaga is the player they needed to shore up their pourous offensive line that got destroyed last year, and I am shocked that Bulaga fell all that way. Instead of settling for a guy like Anthony Davis or even Iupati, they got one of the best Tackles in the draft. This is bad for the NFC north, and I think Green Bay could end up being a Super Bowl team pretty quickly here.

The second winner was Dallas, and it was only because other teams were too stupid. Dez Bryant is the best receiver in the draft, and I would expect his off the field issues wont be a factor early on enough for teams to pass him up like they did. I remember last year, he was widely expected to be the top pick, and for Dallas to add him to their corps as late as they did is criminal. Jerry Jones had a chip on his shoulder after passing on Randy Moss, and the announcers even made light of it during the broadcast. This one is a great pick, and Dallas should be extremely happy.


The biggest loser of the night was definitely Jacksonville who may have had the biggest draft reach I have ever seen. Top ten picks are always coveted items, and for them to not trade down or even out of the ten pick is inexcusable. At ten, you expect your picks to be NFL ready and impactful, and I don’t think Alualu is either of those. Jacksonville just showed the entire league why they need to be moved to another city that can actually sell those tickets.

Denver is a huge loser after last night, mainly from the reasons I explained above. They spent most of the night working trades, and ended up with two players that probably wont help this season, if ever. I am a person who is rooting against Tebow from the beginning, and to think that he was taken in such a reach pick makes my feelings even stronger. I think this is going to come down to the Derek Jeter argument, as Jeter is beloved because of those same intangibles that Tebow is projected to have. Like Jeter, Tebow is thought of as a winner, but being a winner has nothing to do with actually producing anything measurable. When you factor in that Florida's system is likely to be more of a contribution to Tebow's intangibles than his skill, Denver just banked a good portion of their future on a guy who cant throw, cant hit his receivers and probably cant function, all because he won games with a great system in college. Give me a fucking break - losers.

I also think that Oakland surprised everyone by drafting the way they did as well, although McClain will not be a terrible player. The question is not about his skill as a linebacker, but more about why the Raiders chose to address that need over others they obviously are in desparate need of. I think one of the ESPN guys put it best last night:

You drafted a QB in 2007, you need a QB. You drafted a RB in 2008, you need a RB. You drafted a WR in 2009, you need a WR.

The Raiders have become the new Jets of the draft. Thanks for playing.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Live Blogging the NFL Draft

Showtime is less than an hour away, and I thought this would be a good chance to do my first every live blog of the draft. Since the Vikings are picking at thirty, and I will have to type out a very long and drawn out equivalent of "NOOOOOOOO!" if they draft Tebow, I think I should maybe have some fun along the way.

Check back for updates, reactions and everything in between. If you have thoughts on picks and predictions, go ahead and comment and ill add them to the post. This way, we can get more of a complete picture.

[7:15] Introducing the prospects? Really? Some of these guys arent going until tomorrow! Kind of interesting that some of them are going to be sitting for awhile today. Not like previous years.

[7:29] Here we go. I dont think there will be any surprises at number 1. Not sure if they will even take the full time. Bradford goes 1, no doubt.

[7:36] Bradford on the phone, how many of these types of shots tonight?

[7:39] ESPN just spoiled that pick. Hope that doesnt happen again. Lions up next - I say Suh for sure.

[7:44] Suh it is, he will be the star of this draft, even if Tebow's cards go for 100 dollars more. Suh is just too much of a beast, and it sucks that the Vikings and their OLine are going to have to deal with him for a decade plus. Tampa is next, McCoy off the board.

[7:51] McCoy is a great player and will do some damage, but lately, a lot of these types of players are busts. McCoy and Suh are a different breed, but its worth mentioning. Skins up next, they take Okung, even though they should take Williams.

[7:58] First surprise! Redskins take Williams who looks to be the better prospect than Okung. I think this is going to work out better in their favor, and I Okung will end up being this year's Jason Smith. KC is next, they take Okung for their third draft bust in as many years.

[8:05] Looks like Eric Berry is going to the Chiefs, muuuuuuch better pick than Okung. Interesting to see what Seattle does now that Okung is still there. They could go Spiller, but I think he will be there for their next pick, they could go Clausen. Im not sure on this one.

[8:14]Okung on the phone, he goes to Seattle. Cleveland easily could go with Clausen, but I have a feeling that they will actually go with Haden or someone similar.

[8:21] The Browns are thinking about Kyle Wilson? This high? Wow, his stock really has risen over the last week.

[8:23] Browns are going with Haden, Raiders are next. How funny would it be if Tebow gets picked to these guys. Pure Al Davis right there. I say they take Pierre-Paul because their talent evaluators look at weird things when considering draft picks (a la speed and Hey-Bey).

[8:30] Raiders pick is in quickly, they take McClain in a semi-reach. When looking up the word "reach" in the dictionary, there is a picture of Al Davis' phone. Buffalo is next, they go with Clausen or Bulaga. I think its so funny that the Raiders never do what any one expects them to do. They never have anything work out, and they wonder why.

[8:31] Wait what? Spiller? That was fucking quick. Guess that says how much faith they have in Beast Mode. They should have gone with Bulaga, no doubt there. Secondly, if they werent going with Bulaga, they should have gone with Clausen as Edwards is not the answer. Holy crap. Too bad Seahawks, but I guess that means they go with Clausen for their second pick.

[8:34] I say the Jags go with Morgan, they really need some D-Line help. Though they may have some questions if they dont take the hometown Jesus.

[8:38] Jags go with, fuck the heck? Alualu? Who the fuck is that? Welcome to the NFL Hey-bey 2010. What a piece of shit. Niners take Clausen, otherwise im not sure why they would trade up. Bulaga maybe?

[8:43] Anthony Davis? Over Bulaga? Wow. Well, im not sure what that was about. Miami takes Morgan next, Denver takes Bryant.

[8:45] Chargers now on the board, this is getting nuts. You wanna get nuts? LETS GET NUTS. Not sure what this is about. Bulaga maybe?

[8:50] Ryan Mathews goes at 12, way above where I had him. A lot of great talent still on the board, this isnt anything like what I expected tonight to be. Mathews should be pretty good, especially on a team like San Diego.

[8:51] ANOTHER TRADE. Holy crap. Who is Philly going after? This is gonna be good.

[8:53] Earl Thomas is their guy, good pickup for them. They are a strong team, but only if Kolb comes through. Who knows, but Thomas should be a good DB.

[8:57] Okay, I fell for ESPN's smoke screen, Brandon Graham surprises the hell out of me, but who fucking knows anymore. Im stumped. I read over 300 mock drafts, and none of them are even close.

[12:50] I got to finish watching the rest of the first round, my wife needed some help. Im absolutely shocked that Denver took their number 25 pick, put it in a small receptacle and set it aflame, but I guess I am more shocked that Clausen should be available when the Vikings pick at 34. I think they did an awesome job trading out of that spot, gathering another couple picks and still having a shot at whatever guy they want. Hopefully its Clausen, though who knows. Because the Rams have the first pick in the second round, I could easily see a team offering a ton to move up before the Vikes if they want Clausen bad enough. Either way, I would expect the second round to be as crazy as the first.

Gotta head to bed right now before I lose sleep that I will need over the next few days, so more commentary on the first round will be posted tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Arguing Against The Arguers

When it comes to normal people ranting about the state of hobby, its usually about a small group of topics that I cannot stand. Kids need to be brought back to the collecting ranks, the hobby needs to go back to the way it was, and box prices are too high for what is inside are the three I cant stand the most of any of them. There are other things like redemptions, and other crap, but the explanations of those are easy and short. These three I hate seem to pop up everywhere, and they burrow deep down inside my brain to ninja slice my patience gland.

The first one I want to address is the kids argument, mainly because I just got a long email blast from the Vegas summit who's sole focus was on using kids as the solution to dwindling sales and numbers. My face was in my palm at just about every word in the email, mainly because I know that the stupidity they expressed is common in just about every corner of every nook in our favorite past time. Kids are not the answer, and personally, I think it’s a stupid idea to even focus on them as a target demographic. I realize that I have said this a million and a half times, but its completely the truth. First off, targeting male children to collect cards is going to lose out to video games and other entertainment providers almost every time. Cards arent relevant to them any more because the way they get their sports fix is through Madden and MLB the Show. Back 25-30 years ago, those mediums werent around, therefore other less technical hobbies were kind. Now that the technological age is here, technology like video games and television will have a ten fold advantage over tangible collecting like cards, stamps, or coins.

For the kids you do hook at a young age, due to their parents or by random luck, they arent going to want junk. They will want high end autographs and game used cards because that is the generally accepted collecting tendency around the hobby. Kids arent going to be want to be treated like kids, they are going to want the best cards and the highest cost product. Not only that, but most of them are going to find a way to get it. This means they will use eBay and the internet just like everyone else, and when they get on the internet and eBay, they are going to become more solidified in the tendencies of everyone else they see. Manufacturers need to stop trying to cater to them, because it wont work. Then, when the hobby media and manufacturers blow smoke up the ass of the people who are hurting in the industry, saying that they are the ones that will make the jump, those downtrodden people will latch on, because that is the way it was 30 years ago. 30 years ago, kids were the lifeblood of the hobby, today they are gum on the bottom of the shoe of the big market demographic: adults.

Adults are the people who have the money and they have the means to spend it on cards. The reason that numbers are down is not because of kids, its because of two other unrelated things. Obviously, the economy is one, as less disposable income means less people that are able to drop coin on cards. The second is because card design and concept have become stale and boring in most cases, something I was discussing yesterday. If a manufacturer is going to come out with the same shit year after year, people are going to get bored. I have become so bored with most of the releases, that even I can relate to people who have thrown up their hands and left. If manufacturers are going to sit on their laurels and expect people to buy no matter what, they will lose business. If those manufacturers continue to ignore ethical business practices, it will get worse, and Im not just talking about Upper Deck.

Don’t tell me that kids grow into adults either, because that is a shitty argument to begin with. Of course kids create longevity, but its become obvious that hooking them as kids is practically impossible. Hook them as younger adults when money and value start to mean stuff to them. Most young adults are casual sports fans, and casual sports fans are the gateway to bigger participation. If the manufacturers switched all their marketing focus to grasping what casual sports fans are looking for, it would bolster the ranks more effectively. This also means that Joe Shop Owner should not be the face of the hobby, nor should Beckett even be in the picture. Both present a completely unrealistic view of collecting itself, and the manufacturers should do everything in their power to overshadow the diarrhea they spew daily.

Then you have the people who say that the hobby needs to go back to the way it was and everything will be peachy keen again. That is complete crap, especially when you consider what it meant to have 4 sets a year back then versus having a similar calendar now. The hobby was a niche area back then, and it was easy to use existing resources in order to keep that smaller amount of people happy. When the collecting boom of the late 80s and 90s hit, more products needed to be produced for more people. Then, when the jersey and memorabilia cards were released, it brought a ton of new people who wanted to be closer to the athletes they root for. Autographs furthered that obsession, and it continues to this day. People say that we need to go back to the cardboard dark ages, but to strike the progress made would be a death blow to a struggling industry. Nothing would be fixed, nothing would be okay, it would be worse than it is now. Then, when media sources say that fewer cards would be less confusing to kids, we circle back to the original argument. People arent stupid, and variety is exactly what is needed. Plus, when you add in the amount of dud products to the amount of good products, there is nothing in my mind that suggests that manufacturers would be successful only releasing one to four products per year. This is a different era, and it’s a result of a bigger demand for cards. Sacrificing variety will not create more demand, bolstering design and creativity will do more than any of that.

Lastly is this argument that people are touting box prices and their relation to content as a reason why things need to change. The main argument centers around the amount of scrubs and junk cards in products that cost a lot of money as a reason why it’s a bad idea to continue down that path. I agree that having products filled with Adrian Peterson, LeBron James, and Albert Pujols would be great, however, I don’t think people understand the cost of what it takes to get those players into a product. We hate pulling scrubs as a box hit, I get that, but there is no way around it due to the amount of money everyone charges for their signature. Players at the top of the ranks charge so much money, that it sometimes prices them out of a product. Pujols, Peterson, Emmitt Smith, Montana, all are notorious for the cost of their inclusion, especially when you factor in the astronomical licensing costs. Even the rookies charge a complete shit ton for their autos, as evidenced by the Football Jesus, Tim Tebow's, recent signing in Florida. If you think their autographs are easy to pay for, you are sadly mistaken. We complain that our box of Exquisite didn’t return our investment, but that has been the way it is since forever. Boxes have always been a gamble, but now its easy to see that they have taken that gambling to people who can afford to spend more money. If you don’t like the high end products, don’t buy them, its that simple. You have the choice over what you buy, so stop complaining when the manufacturers want to market to the people with a ton of money to spend.

In all reality, if all products looked good, there would be less complaining over box content. Ill give you the example of Topps and Bowman Chrome. The amount of money usually returned on a box of Chrome is much less than the cost of the box itself. People don’t complain as much because the cards they do get look great, and there is enough to keep them interested in the bust. If Panini actually took the time to think out their products the way Topps does with their low end releases, I can tell you that I would not blast them as much as I do. Instead they charge 120 dollars for boxes like Elite and Prestige which look like donkey poop and hold their value like an AMC Pacer. If those sets looked much better, delivered on card content like we know is possible, not as many people would complain. Design is the gateway, not price. Instead we get foilboard bore-fests with those idiotic signed cloth patches, and I walk away wondering who would actually want that junk.

Guys, the main factor here is that the mainstream media wants you to think its everyone's fault but their own, and are directing your gaze away from the laziness and corrupt practices that every company deals with. Stop falling for their "LOOK OVER THERE!" technique and actually get on the right track in terms of how you feel. Its not the kids, its not the changes from thirty years ago, its them. Its our job as consumers to let them know that, and I expect that when the doors at the plant are being locked for the final time, they will finally start to see exactly what the fuck I am talking about.

Ignore The Uncirculated Holders

Just because you come across an item in a Topps uncirculated holder, doesnt mean its real. Ever since Topps started using them back in the earlier part of the decade, scammers have used them as a way to legitimize a fake card.

These holders are no longer used, obviously for football, but also for Baseball. In football, they werent even used for the entire 2009 season. That didnt stop this guy from trying to pass this off as real. See, the sticker is so easily peeled off and reapplied, that anyone can take out the crap uncirculated card and replace it with a different one. Not sure why he chose that Moreno, but scammers usually arent the smartest people.

Then there is the buybacks, as I posted about last week. For the buybacks in 2005 and 2006, many of them came in these holders. Usually, that meant that every fake buyback from Topps came in one. There were also a few Upper Deck ones that came in topps holders too, and as soon as I see one, ill laugh and post it here. This Mauer is one of my new favorites, as the guy doesnt even have the confidence to show the actual auto in his scan. Nice pic dude.

Either way, dont be fooled by an uncirculated holder. They rarely prove anything and have actually become more of a red flag than an authenticator.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Comment 2010 Score Football and the Future Of Panini Football

Score football isnt worth a post on here, mainly because of its complete lack of anything worth buying the product for. In fact, I think it is THE most worthless product of the year, but I feel like I need to say something about an observation here.

When it comes to 2010 Licensed Football, Panini is pretty much it for the time being. If they are going to continue putting out stuff like Score, looking almost identical to 2009 Score, we are going to have a major problem here. I have always stood by the fact that exclusivity is a terrible thing that could lead to sweeping instances of uninspired junk and rehashed sets, but this, Prestige and Elite are taking it to a whole new level. Based on their first few previews, there has been little proof that the design team at Panini is taking their newfound exclusivity seriously. Prestige hasnt changed minus a few tweaks to the base design. Elite (Prestige Chrome) hasnt either. Score is pretty much a tweaked version of 2009 Score. Why the fuck arent they getting off their ass and earning the respect of the people who loved UD football with new designs and cool concepts? A revamped Prestige and a vastly different Elite would have definitely garnered excitement. Instead its the same old shit with different players. Those same auto Manu-patches, boring subsets, a million parallels of every card, rainbow foil, NOTHING IS FUCKING DIFFERENT. I am tired of this bullshit.

Truthfully, I am hoping for good things out of Panini Football this year, because otherwise Im stuck buying a complete slate of 2009 products instead. From what I have seen, things are not looking very good for my collecting in the foreseeable future. Also, if they continue to think that boring shit like Panini Platinum basketball converted for the NFL is going to fly with me, they are sadly mistaken. You cant just take Classics and redo it ten times for a full calendar and expect me to buy it. But, with an exclusive license (practically) I guess you dont need good shit anymore to be viable, all you need is cards for people to buy. Then again, that was the point I have been touting for the last few months anyways.

In fact, I am so certain that there will be nothing new, that I will make my predictions now. Absolute will have the exact same set up, the RPMs will have ZERO difference from 2007, 2008, and 2009, the Tools of the Trade will be back and looking like they were made for last year's set, and the whole goddamn thing will be in foil. Classics will have a tweaked base design with a different background than 2009 (still just as terrible), the same subsets with a million parallels, and the school colors signatures will be done in paint pen despite the fact that it looks amateur. Limited will be a good set again, but not much will change other than the design of the rookie phenoms. The Threads letters will spread to other products because Panini cant think up anything else. When Threads actually comes out, the letters wont be any different, and the design will continue to puzzle just about everyone. Rookies and Stars will continue to look like it was created under a bridge while viewing murals spray painted on a wall. Gridiron Gear will continue to look like someone raided the stock background vault on Adobe Photoshop, and will still have hot boxes that 12 year olds will love to get thanks to the eight $2 jersey cards you get in them. National Treasures will be as visually disappointing as this years and will not go back to the way it was when we actually liked the concept. They will tout the on card autographs of the rookies, but the rest will still be stickers.

Total number of 2010 veteran on card autos? Zero. Total number of 2010 rookie on card autos? 3 subsets in different products. Total innovations or creative ideas? None. Total packs of 2010 product I will buy? Goose egg. Times I will rant about rehashed sets from them? Incalculable.

The Blog Bat Around Returns With a Vengence

After a week of deliberating and posting, here is the latest blog bat around. This time, the stakes were a little higher considering that the blogs actually had to get on to ebay with a time limit, but I think everyone's turned out awesome. Even I will be the first to admit that this one wasn’t easy, especially due to how much money was actually available to "spend." As always there were a few that were off the wall, but those are never discouraged with a forum like this.

This Bat Around's Topic:

Remember those days on Nickelodeon where they would hold contests for their version of a kids' ultimate shopping spree? They would let the winner loose in a Toys R Us for however long and let them keep what they could fit in the cart, right? Well, if you were given $50,000 and 15 minutes on ebay, what cards/memorabilia would you buy with the money? Break it down card by card, and give us a price and a reason for what you are buying. Not everyone would go out there and buy a Joe Jackson cracker jack, but some people would. So, with that, what would you spend the mother lode on? Happy buying.

With that, here is the list of blogs that participated and the links to their posts. Each of these sites is great and I would encourage you to start following as many of them as you can stomach in one day. Each blog is unique enough to provide a different perspective on the hobby, and I think that is the main reason why the card blogger network is so fun to be a part of. There will be more opportunities like this as the months move forward, and if you havent started your own place to get your own viewpoints out there, now is your chance. If I forgot to include yours, or you havent gotten it done, please post in the comments here and I will fix it right away.

Sports Cards Uncensored - My Auto-Riffic Shopping Spree
Great Sports Name HOF - The Ultimate Shopping Spree
First and Goal - 50,000 Shopping Spree
Baseball Cards Come To Life - The 50,000 Challenge
Balk Four - 50K in 15 mins
Voice of the Collector - My 50K Shopping Spree
Dodgers Blue Heaven - Bat Around Shopping Spree
Heartbreaking Cards of Staggering Genius - 50K is Burning a Hole
Mark's Ephemera - Blog Bat Around
Sports Card Info - My 50,000 eBay Loot
Sports Card Design - Shopping Spree
Padrographs - My Shopping Cart
Priceless Pursuit - 50,000 on eBay
Emerald City Diamond Gems - Blog Bat Around
BABenny's Baseball Card Buffet - If I had 50000 Dollars
Wrigley Wax - Im Going Shopping
Cardboard Junkie - REA Shopping Spree
Field Level View - Can I Spend 50K in 15 mins?
bdj610's Topps Baseball Card Blog - If I Had 50K, Id Buy...
Play At The Plate - Ebay Shopping Spree
Thoughts and Sox - Spending 50K
Drop the Gloves - BBA: Vintage Hockey Edition
Stale Gum - Spending 50 Large

Thanks to everyone who participated, you guys all did a great job. Next time I think I may do a topic that lends more to commentary on the hobby, but I will take suggestions. Also, if you want to host a future one down the road, shoot me an email and we can work it out. If you havent posted yet, dont worry, I can always add you later.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Topps is About To Have MAJOR Trouble on Their Hands

Ever since the sell sheet was released for 2009 Triple Threads baseball, I have posted on here how much of a horrid abomination the set looked like. From what I have been reading on the net, this card is a little bit more than just a bright blue booklet eyesore from one of the least visually appealing sets ever made. Its fake.

Here is the article posted about it when it was pulled a while ago. Since that timeframe, there has been nothing but skepticism over the authenticity of the Babe Ruth signature used for that card. I posted about it at that time, but now it looks like things are getting a little more hairy.

The person who pulled it, after reading about said skepticism, advised that he was going to send it for authentication with PSA. Not the best way to do it, but its better than nothing. After some time passed, the card was put up on eBay with no authenticating statement from PSA. The seller claims that he could not afford it. Whatever. Within a few days, the auction had been pulled under questionable authenticity from eBay, and no updates from Topps or anyone related to the production of the card or the pulling of the auction has been issued.

If you remember what happened when a similar thing happened to Upper Deck with a quad cut pulled out of EPIC, they had a lot of 'splainin to do. They also made up for it with three (or possibly more) uncirculated 1/1s of the original HOF class, a Jordan/Lebron and a Tiger Woods. I think Topps may be on the same path if they do not own up to what happened with that Ruth signature that has been deemed fake by just about everyone.

Blog Bat Around - My Auto-riffic Shopping Spree

For this Blog Bat Around I had a ton of fun with my shopping spree on eBay. I basically ran through as many big named autographs that I wanted, picked the one I liked, and moved on as quickly as possible. 15 minutes can easily fly by, so I had to decide in lightning round fashion. I included my favorites from just about every sport, and didn’t spend more than 10.5K on any one card. I would have been excited to do this in real life, and wasn’t even able to get to the 50 K in 15 minutes.

Here are the final stats:

Total Items - 22
Total Amount Spent - $48948
Percentage of Autographed Items - 100%
Percentage of Non-Autographed Items - 0%
Percentage of Memorabilia Items - 13%
Percentage of Sticker Autos - 4.5% (1 of 22)
Number of Football Items - 10 of 22 (45%)
Number of Baseball Items - 7 of 22 (31%)
Number of Basketball Items - 2 of 22 (9%)
Number of Golf Items - 2 of 22 (9%)
Number of Boxing Items - 1 of 22 (4.5%)
Number of Hockey Items - 0 of 22
Highest Cost Item - $10,500 (Lebron Exquisite)
Lowest Cost Item - $160 (Justin Morneau Finest)

Here is what I came away with, I was mostly looking for stuff that would look good and had staying power for my final collection. Basically, I wasn’t going to buy something that I wouldn’t want for the rest of my life. I kind of wanted a few more baseballs, but I didn’t have time to search them out.

2007 Adrian Peterson Exquisite Auto - 1499

2001 Bowman Chrome Joe Mauer Gold Refractor Auto - 2650

Adrian Peterson Painted Autographed Jersey - 2500

2000 Donruss Preferred Steve Young/Jerry Rice Dual Auto - 300

2000 Playoff Contenders Tom Brady Auto - 1495

1998 Bowman Peyton Manning Auto - 1400

1999 Upper Deck Ovation Walter Payton Jersey Auto - 1900

2007 Upper Deck Exquisite Emmitt Smith Logo Auto - 2500

2009 Upper Deck Exquisite Emmitt Smith/Barry Sanders/Thurman Thomas Auto - 800

2005 LCM Fabric of The Game Barry Sanders Auto - 450

2005 Kirby Puckett Game Used Patch Autograph - 400

2001 Topps Finest Justin Morneau Auto - 160

2003 Upper Deck Legendary Cuts Mickey Mantle Auto - 5950

Ted Williams Custom Cut Auto Jersey - 900

2003 Topps Heritage Hank Aaron Auto - 800

2003 Topps Stadium Club Hank Aaron/Willie Mays Auto - 1195

Muhammad Ali Painted Autographed Boxing Glove - 2499

2001 SP Authentic Tiger Woods Auto - 5000

2006 Upper Deck Exquisite Michael Jordan Patch Auto - 3000

03-04 Upper Deck Exquisite Lebron James Auto - 10500

2005 Upper Deck Exquisite Dan Marino Auto Equipment - 800

UDA Woods/Nicklaus/Palmer Auto Framed Picture - 2250

Im eager to read through what everyone else decided to buy, obiviously mine was focused around autographs more than iconic or memorable cards. Im sure there are others out there who went crazy through vintage and everything, but Im an autograph collector more than a card collector. Obviously that shows. Be sure to check out the bat around tomrrow to see how everyone else went through their shopping spree.