Up until this year, it was rare to lose a company in a sport, either by choice or by force. This past year, it has happened twice in football, with one company luckily getting another shot at making football cards. Upper Deck, obviously wasnt so lucky with the ability to produce licensed NFL cards, and we have yet to see how their NCAA products turn out. With that in mind, there are some spots that Panini and Topps will be looking to fill (hopefully effectively), and that is what I want to go over here.
Monday, May 31, 2010
What a week, that is all I have to say right now. First we have to pack up our stuff and move halfway across the nation, and then we have to take our 5 week old son on his first plane ride in order to make it in time to meet our stuff. Luckily for us, he was a complete gentleman for the move and on the plane, no crying, no fussing, nothing. It was as good as it could be. I couldnt ask for a better situation with him.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
When the Strasburg superfractor was first listed at the $20,000 buy it now, I couldnt believe that it would even come close. I have always said that when it comes to normal cards from normal packs, there is a ceiling of 10,000 that is almost impossible to break, barring unusual circumstances. Obviously, after all the attention that this card has gotten, the modern card ceiling has been shattered and then some. I literally cannot believe how much this card sold for. It is practically unfathomable.
Although you could easily buy any other card from any other set along with an autograph of any living or dead player, plus a down payment on a nice car for this price, someone still thought it was a good idea. I completely disagree, and here is why. In 2010 Bowman Chrome, Strasburg will have an autographed Superfractor, and at the point of release, the price of this card will drop - DRASTICALLY. The first autographs out of Chrome are always more important than the non-autographs (see Jason Heyward), and this will be no different. Try reselling this card at the price it sold for come october and it will almost be impossible to get half.
My theory has been that its okay to spend a couple hundred on an untested guy, because its only a couple hundred. Its not going to make or break someone. 16,000 bucks can easily mean the difference between financial success and failure for a good part of this country, and to risk it on the arm of a guy with no big league experience is ludicrous, no matter how good his numbers are.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Previews for Topps Platinum hit the web while I was out, and I am a little shocked by what I see. Although the design does look a lot better than last year, it still has a lot of the same flaws as 2009 Platinum, including some I was not hoping to see.
First off, I have been told for the last few months that Topps Platinum would be this year's answer to the loss of a licensed SPA product. On card autographs, great design, and huge content in the box for a great price. Obviously that is not the case as the stickers are still built into the design, and your eye is drawn to the fact that some of the box will again cover up the player. I have never understood Topps' reason for making the sticker the focus of the product, especially considering that stickers were invented to hide the fact that the cards werent handled by the atheletes.
Secondly, the way the players are silhouetted on the cards doesn’t lend very well to the chrome style stock. I mentioned last year that the cards themselves looked weird because of the solid silver, black, or red background. The reason the Chromes are so successful is because of how great the field pictures look on a chrome stock. It has always been an industry success story of how great chrome is, and when you take one of the elements out of it, things don’t look right. Its why foilboard always looks ridiculous, straight pics with no scenery don’t work. If it were flat stock it would be different a la SPA, National Treasures and Exquisite, but this doesn’t work.
Lastly, I do think this set looks better than last year, as some of the cards make last year's look like they were designed by an amateur. However, this set is far from the level it should be at, despite the fact that it is a welcome January level product in September. I think Topps will no doubt have lots of success with it.
Wow, the last week has been a virtual nightmare. Let me just put it that way. On top of a brand new baby, we have had to begin the process of moving to Texas, which makes things infinitely more complicated than they normally would be. I have also begun interviewing for a promotion at work, so the stress level of everything going on has been through the roof, to boot. I sincerely hope that after next week, the only thing going on will be everything with the baby, but we all know that is a pipe dream.
Honestly, some of the most complicated stuff was how to get my card and memorabilia collection to the new place in one piece. Yes, everything is in holders and cases, but I don’t know if I could ever trust anyone with the amount of money that it is worth. So many of those things are irreplaceable, so to find out after the fact that they are missing upon arrival would be devastating. Since we are shipping the cars and no one will be entering the vehicles after we drop them off, I decided to lock everything up in the trunk. Hopefully it all makes it there in one piece, I took extra steps and miles of bubble wrap to ensure safe travel. Who knows, anything is possible though, right?
After yesterday and seeing the complete clusterfuck that the movers perpetuated, I am very glad to be taking that approach. They basically threw everything into boxes, and to think that the same would have happened with my treasured pieces would have been ridiculous. At least the baby was good while they packed everything up, he slept or kept quiet the whole time, despite all the noise and packing tape pulling sounds.
Personally, I cannot wait to get started in San Antonio, as it looks to be a midwestern style town in the south instead of a concrete jungle in the west like LA. I have already gotten a few great suggestions on card shops to make my own, though im not sure how much time I will be able to spend searching them out now. I am a little sad to leave LA, as the opportunities here have been tremendous, but the nature of the city takes my sadness and throws four hours of traffic on it to make me happy I am leaving again.
Although there are no major sports other than basketball in San Antonio, college football is not far away in Austin, which is a whole new world of fandom for me. Im not sure if we will ever make it to a game, but the football culture in Texas is almost as zealous as the religious culture there. Then again, the Trojans were just down the road here and we never went to one of those games, so... yeah.
Lastly, I am looking at this move as a new start to the life of my family, and hopefully it will be a positive one. My new place in San Antonio makes my current one look like the ghetto, so that will be amazing for both me, and my wife who has to stay home all day until the baby gets to be a little older. Regardless, Im trading in my fast paced life in a laid back area for family life in a family oriented mecca, which cant be a bad thing. Here's to hoping everything works out.
Monday, May 24, 2010
I just posted about how ridiculous the sale of the Strasburg superfractor was getting, but this completed auction is almost that much more ridiculous. Starlin Castro is the shortstop for the Cubs that started off hot and is probably in contention to be ROY if Heyward slips. Despite his hot start (21 hits in 60 ABs), its only a small sample size. That small sample size obviously has done nothing but spark hype in his cards, with this one topping the astounding list. Seriously, the money spent on this card is so out of touch, that I dont actually understand how someone could pay that amount for it, even if they had the money to spare.
I just saw these full sized Kobe items start to show up on eBay, which is a new direction that is exactly what I have been talking about for months. Panini has started to go the right way with these redemptions, and I hope that they continue to be a part of products in the future. From what I have heard, they did get full sized jerseys signed at the NFL rookie premiere, so that could be a signal that these will be a part of football products too.
There are certain things that I could understand spending an exorbitant amount of money on, especially if you make a ton of it. When I saw the price that the Strasburg superfractor is going for, it had past the point of sanity by at least 7,000 dollars. I mean, this card is now eclipsing the cost of a mid size car, all for a guy that has not pitched a single pitch in pro ball. It would be one thing if it were a hundred bucks, or even two hundred, but when you get up into this price range, it becomes investment suicide.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Today was the second time I had a chance to interact with the attendees of the 2010 Rookie Premiere, and though it wasnt as epic as Friday night, today was still a very fun time. I arrived at Santa Monica High School around 11:45 and made my way over to the event. Panini was set up there with a booth next to the merch tent from NFLPA, as well as a DJ from 102.7 KIIS FM. The music from the field was already blaring, so I couldnt really see the point of an extra place for music, but whatever. They also had Coffee Bean stuff there for sale, but they looked bored without anyone coming to buy.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Just from living here in Los Angeles, I have had the opportunity to do things that I never would have thought possible. In 2008 I was able to attend the red carpet premiere of Guitar Hero III, where Poison played a spectacular show for less than 500 people. There were celebrities, there was great food, open bar, the works. That was nothing compared to what I got to do last night.
The main event is happening as we speak here in LA, with most of the top rookies suiting up their full pro uniforms for the first time. Upper Deck, Topps, and Panini are all there, and they will be taking pictures, getting cards signed, and setting up their 2010 products all day long. Because of the advent of social media, many pictures will be posted all day long.
Friday, May 21, 2010
As per tweets from the NFL, the rookies are slowly arriving in LA yesterday and today, to start their journey to the field for the upcoming season. This is where it starts, as for most of them, it will be the first time they have ever put on their full pro uniform. Although the event breeds event used jersey cards for the whole season, I have come to embrace the weekend as an opportunity to get cards of the rookies that I desire. See, without this premiere, at least this year, there would be helmet off head shots of rookies up until September, and that just aint alright with me. I get that the event used jerseys complicate things for most of the year despite my need for pro uniform cards, but I would much rather put up with a necessary evil than be forced to wait on rookie cards in full game garb.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
I saw on Blowout that Beckett had opened some early boxes of Topps series two, and found that they were offering a program for people to create their own sketch cards. I think the program is cool, but I want to respond to the first part of their article, not the merits of the program. Their lead in touched on a few things that were obviously directed at the Card Blogger Network, and more specifically my April Fools Prank, I suspect. I think I need to say some stuff as a result.
Collectors often clamor for more interaction with trading card companies — feeling the need to tell them their demands while also telling them what they don’t like, telling them what they do like and more.
This is complete bullshit. Beckett is the only group of people I would expect this kind of arrogance from. Are they actually implying that we post "demands" on the companies themselves? I don’t think that could be any further from the truth. How about all those whining emails that were sent back when Mario got some exclusives for his site? Those don’t count? Cmon, don’t throw stones when you live in a glass house, boys.
The reason I say this is because for 99% of the blog posts out there, bloggers just post what they think and feel about different news items from the day. That's what blogging is. No one is demanding changes, we are just expressing that we feel there are changes that need to be made, IN OUR OPINIONS. I mean, I think this is a pretty necessary interaction, especially considering the fluff pieces that Beckett usually writes on products. If there isnt anyone to challenge the status quo reporting, how will any feedback ever be exchanged.
Although Beckett has started to change a few of their ways thanks to constant and never ending badgering from people on the net, they are still far from offering any real opinions or commentary on things that need to be spoken about. So to criticize card blogs for "clamoring" for more interaction is the equivalent of saying "stay off our territory." Well, fuck you. Fuck you, and the horse you rode in on. Card blogs are exploring all sorts of new territory, most of which Beckett wouldn’t touch out of fear of retribution. Beckett may be able to hold readership over the heads of their advertisers, but that doesn’t give them a pass for looking over the things that hurt the general hobby collector base.
Listen, my history with Beckett and their damage to the hobby has been well documented. They have even taken it upon themselves to come on this site and make aloof comments in response to my criticism. I have laid off lately, mainy because I have been bored with their path. Its basically SSDD with them all the time, and I don’t have the energy any more to respond like I once wanted to. There are more important things now, and yet, Beckett still shows how they loathe the existence of people who do what they do, and do it better. Not only do they do it better, but they do it without looking to pad their bottom line or please their advertisers. All opinion, all the time, no reason to pull any punches. Panini may use my posts as toilet paper, but that isnt going to force me to try to bring them on as an advertiser.
I do understand that most bloggers crave more interaction, but that interaction expands way beyond just the card companies. Its why there are trades, awards, and collector blog bat arounds, not just emails to Clay Luraschi, Scott Prusha, and Chris Carlin crying about lack of exclusive content for the site. We crave community, and if the card manufacturers want to be a part of it, any of us will welcome them with open arms.
I mean, did Beckett even care to think that maybe the companies crave more interaction with us? Why the fuck would they get on Twitter and Facebook the way they did if we hadnt pioneered it first? Think about it. It’s the same reason why collectors are starting to email us rather than looking at a Beckett, because they know we are going to give them a straight answer, no BS.
Beckett's statements go on:
Sometimes, for varying ego-related reasons, individuals insist they should appear on a card inside a Topps wrapper, too.
Obviously Beckett didn’t get the memo on April 1st. Typical. I seriously want to know who is insisting that they should appear on a card. I don’t think anyone has even "demanded" that type of "interaction" even once. We would all love the honor of being on our very own Allen and Ginter card, but we arent offended by it not happening. We don’t think it’s a good idea to force collectors of those products into collecting cards of people that barely matter in the grand scheme of things. Yet, we are a fun bunch, and its easy to see why a prank like what we pulled resonated with so many people (both positively and negatively). The bottom line is that bloggers are gaining notoriety among collectors, which is further evidence of why the companies probably crave our attention as well as us theirs.
Also, I don’t really get these "ego-related reasons," as I don’t think any blogger over estimates their worth to the hobby. I reach 1200 people a day TOPS, how is that even gum on the sidewalk to the overall number of people that collect? I was actually surprised how far my posts could reach back when I announced the rumors that Upper Deck had lost their NFL license. I think just about everyone else felt the same way, including Upper Deck. Does that mean I don’t matter? No, but it does mean that I (and we) have a long way to go before we actually have the power to make a huge difference.
Well, blogs may be the equivalent of Kick-Ass right now, but like his rise to fame, ours is coming via other channels. We may not have the super powers or the history that Beckett does, but we have a lot of unconventional ways to make ourselves known. Beckett can rest on their laurels from the pre-internet days of collecting, but their days are numbered due to the trends of the world. You know what I lose if I shut down this blog today? Nothing. I don’t lose a single thing. Beckett loses everything. Maybe they should keep that in mind before launching molotov cocktails from their crumbling pedestal.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
A few of you probably remember the hoopla surrounding the Strasburg superfractor that was pulled back around the release of 2010. The person originally listed the card at 20K, only to decline over 30 offers for the card. Now its up without a BIN, without a reserve, and its already at a ridiculous price with more than 9 days to go.
On Friday, the biggest public event of the weekend will be taking place, and I just got some details through some simple detective work. The event will be taking place at the Wal-mart in Oxnard, and it looks like Panini will be the people responsible for putting it on.
Sometimes its tough to pick a target for the year, especially when your team doesn’t have a discernable rookie that will be a huge factor during the season. Last year, I was lucky to be able to chase Percy Harvin on his way to eventually being named rookie of the year, but this year it isnt so cut an dry without a Vikings first round pick. I know that most of you out there are starting to begin your chase for cards, so here is who I would chase and who I would stay away from.
The Top Offensive Picks
Sam Bradford - I wouldn’t touch Sam Bradford right now, as he is not worth the money that some people are paying. He may eventually be a great QB, but the Rams are so terrible, he should end up very much like Stafford. That is, he should end up like Stafford if he gets signed in time. Because he may not start from day one, and because he will most like have a myriad of problems without a good receiving corps, he is a no go.
Tim Tebow - If you buy Tim Tebow right now, you must have a few screws loose. His value is so ridiculous based on his college career, that I don’t even think I would spend someone else's money on him. In fact, if I go to the rookie premiere events this week, I wont even bother looking for him because there are much better uses for my time. Per early reports he is number 4 on the depth chart, and though Denver wont be able to keep him there for long, he isnt going to play for a long time. If he does end up on the field in the distant future, I am almost positive he will not be effective.
CJ Spiller - Spiller has the biggest opportunity of anyone at the top of the draft, mainly because of how much he will play. The problem is that Buffalo's offensive line has the effectiveness equal to Marshawn Lynch's english speaking skills. This will hinder Spiller tremendously, and he will most likely end up more like Laurence Maroney than Maurice Jones-Drew when all is said and done. Watch out.
Dez Bryant - Its tough to deny that Bryant has the skills to be a great receiver, and playing in Dallas sure helps that cause. His prices are astronomical right now, and he easily could live up to them after being surrounded by Romo, Austin, and Williams. I would give him a good shot at the ROY if he can keep his head on straight, but then again, who wants a WR that isnt all about themselves? Their job is to be a ball hawk, so a me-first attitude can help in a lot of situations.
Demaryous Thomas - I have this gut feeling that he will turn out to be this year's Hey-Bey. He was a big reach over both Benn and Bryant, so Im not sure if I would even waste any time on him. Orton really has a lot of expectations to fufill, which could work in his favor without a true number one in Denver anymore. However, with the additions of him and Eric Decker, they may end up battling for reps if production falters for either one.
Ryan Mathews - This is a guy I would chase, he looks like he is going to have a great situation in San Diego when he gets there. A good QB, a good offensive line, and Darren Sproles. If you are a charger fan, you are happy they picked him, though you are sad that his prices are inflated due to the Peterson effect. Ryan Mathews is a sleeper for ROY, and as time moves on, he should end up being the best RB in the class. That’s my prediction.
Jahvid Best - See CJ Spiller's predicament, because Best is going to have a similar challenge. The Lions are just a terrible team and their offensive line is not where it needs to be. However, he will have more reps due to Kevin Smith's injury, but im not sure if it will matter all that much. Its tough to be a good running back when your team has more three and outs than anyone else in the league.
Jimmy Clausen - I like Clausen a lot, and I was pissed when the Vikings passed on him TWICE. He was projected as a top 5 pick, but teams didn’t think it was worth passing on a lot of the amazing defensive talents in the draft. I think Clausen will have the biggest impact of any of the rookie QBs in the first few years, only because Carolina is the best team with a new QB. The Panthers tore it up the last few weeks of the season and I think they will have a better year this year despite losing Julius Peppers. They play in a weaker division than I would expect, and Matt Moore doesn’t look like he is primed for a long run as their QB. Clausen could get on the field this year, and I have a feeling he will be effective as soon as he is handed the reigns.
Colt McCoy - McCoy is more NFL ready than Tebow in my opinion, but like St Louis, the Browns are horrid. He has nobody to throw to even if they let him play, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Browns pick number 1 next year and take a QB again. Stay away from McCoy for that reason.
Sleeper Offensive Players to Watch
Toby Gerhart - As a Vikings player, he will have a huge following. As a Vikings player he will also be limited in his carries and role in the offense. He was selected to replace Chester Taylor, but I think a combination of Percy Harvin and Peterson will fill the role initially. He will get touches, but not a major amount until next year. Gerhart was a beast in college, but lost stock because of a less than stellar 40 time and because he didn’t have a big program on jersey. He may have been second in the Heisman voting, but im not sure what kind of success he will have, especially if Favre retires.
Jonathan Dwyer - Same situation, but in Pittsburgh. Dwyer has Rashard Mendenhall to compete with, and as a later round pick, they don’t have much invested in him. Yet, with all Steelers guys, they always find a way to be good, so don’t count him out. His stuff will probably be cheap, so its not going to be a big investment to buy in.
Eric Decker - I like Decker a lot, and think he can be a good number 2 receiver in the pros. I definitely think he could end up being better than Thomas, but it will all depend on who plays QB. Decker's stuff wont go for shit, so again, it may be worth it to buy a few cards just because.
Ben Tate - Slaton has fumblitis, and was hurt last year, which means that Tate will get some reps. I mean, look at who they ran with last year. Brown? Cmon. Tate has a lot of upside, but his stuff is high because of where he played in college. I think if he shows initial promise, it’s a good idea to buy in. He plays for a good team with a good line, so he may be this year's LeSean McCoy.
Golden Tate - WRs always have a shot, but they are never worth very much unless they are named Jerry Rice. Tate will have a great shot in Seattle, mainly because of lack of options not named Houshmanzadeh. Tate showed flashes of brilliance in College and was a projected first rounder. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up being Carroll's number 2.
Ill be doing the normal Rookie Battle Royales again this year with focus on these guys, so check in as we get closer to the season for more updates.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
I just got a bunch of details on the event that is going down this Sunday at Santa Monica High School. Basically, there will be a celebrity flag football game that has a mix of California celebs and retired players. The list of people is below, some are guys I would like to get signatures from. Tickets are free and are open to the public, the event is 12-3pm.
Arlen Escarpeta (We Are Marshall, Friday the 13th)
Bill Bellamy (Any Given Sunday, How to be a Player)
Brandon Routh (Superman Returns, The Take)
Brian White (Stomp the Yard, This Christmas)
Christopher Mintz Plasse (Superbad, Role Models)
Clark Gregg (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, New Adventures of Old Christine)
Columbus Short (Losers, Accepted, Stomp they Yard)
Dean Cain (Lois & Clark, Superman, Ripley’s Believe it or Not)
Frankie Delgado (The Hills, Bromance)
Geoff Stults (Happytown, She’s Out of My League, Wedding Crashers)
Jay Harrington (Better Off Ted, Desperate Housewives, Summerland)
Joel David Moore (Avatar, Grandma’s Boy)
Josh Hutcherson (Bridge to Terabithia, Center of the Universe)
Ryan McPartlin (Chuck)
Ryan Rottman (Gigantic)
Sam Page (Desperate Housewives, Shark, Mad Men)
Stephen Colletti (One Tree Hill, Laguna Beach)
Steve Harris (Minority Report, The Practice)
Thad Luckinbill (Young and the Restless)
Travis Van Winkle (90210, Friday the 13th)
Wood Harris (Remember the Titans, The Wire)
Over the last few years, its rare that I bought into base Topps over a product like Topps Chrome. I am not a set collector, and I do not collect Topps products because of the brand, and most of the time the Rookie Premiere autos are the only draw. This year is different. This year, Topps is adding more content to their flagship product that is proving to make buying a case of jumbos worth my (and everyone's) while.
Ive gotten a few emails over the last day or so explaining that there is going to be a very public focus to the rookie premiere this year, mostly centered on spreading word on the hobby. I assume that between now and friday, each company will make an announcement that reveals their event that is open to the public.
Monday, May 17, 2010
I just saw this posted on FCB, and I believe this price on the Dustin Ackley Superfractor auto 1/1 is totally and utterly insane. Even if this guy turns out to be a perennial all star, maybe winning a few MVPs, there is no way this price has anywhere to go but down. Look at what Ryan Braun sold for, and then consider the price on this guy. I mean think of all you could have instead of dropping this kind of coin on a guy who may OR may not pan out. I can understand spending 100 bucks, maybe 200 if you are a huge Mariners fan who wants to get some cards of the highly touted prospect. But that kind of money? Cmon.