Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Of things balloons and baseball

I feel really guilty.

A couple weeks ago I felt bad about writing a baseball blog about the Super Bowl. One sport had nothing to do with the other and I had committed a major crime as a blogger...staying on topic.

Well today I AM going to talk about baseball...but again I feel guilty.

You see, over the last several posts, I have had a shocking lack of photographs in my blogs. Blogger rule #2, paste lots of pretty pictures to keep people from falling asleep! Between updating the medal counts in my Olympic contest, to keeping up with the scans for Topps-O-Cuffs, the Rip Off! (which, by the way, I am losing....horribly), I simply have not had to bandwidth (I HATE this expression, by the way) to scan any cards. I will make it up to you though with some pictures...

This is a balloon doggie. Did you know that when you google image "balloon animals" a vast majority of them feature balloon doggies? There are also a smattering of balloon animals engaged in dirty acts, but for the most part, it would seem that either doggies are the most popular balloon animal, or there is a shocking lack of ballooner talent out there to expand their portfolio. Most likely the same can be said about the origami crane.

This is a drawing of Jacoby and myself. This is the picture that we intend to send to Topps to use for our Allen and Ginter card in the next set. Most likely we will need to sell Phelps for a boatload in order to cover our legal expenses.

This is hungry going to town on some donuts. This represents me at the office today because I did not have enough time to eat a decent meal because...

Yup, I got to work this morning and was shot out of a cannon and it did not let up until semi-late afternoon. you always feel kinda guilty taking a super-late lunch. But there is me, sitting at my desk playing golf and doodle jump on my iTouch while people are wondering whether I am sluffing off or not.
So there are your pretty pictures!
Now lets talk some Topps baseball.
Last night I decided to take advantage of no new comedy Monday night to do some serious ripping. I decided to jump on my second hobby box of 2010 Topps Flagship Series 1. I did this for a couple of reasons...
  • I was not super-happy with my Cal Ripken pants relic from the first box...show me the autos!
  • I did not receive a SP card in the first box
  • I wanted some more Million Card crack cards to enter
  • I wanted to give a serious assessment of the product as a whole since only opening a couple packs a day really slowed the process and tainted my perspective.

With these goals in mind, I settled in from of the TV, turned on the Olympics and started to rip. Good Olympic coverage last night, by the way. Downhill skiing and snowboarding rip it up. The snowboarding reminds me of excitebike for those of you old enough to give a "hellllll yeah". Figure skating is just killing me though....and by the way, speaking of skating "Hey Shani Davis, thanks for quitting yesterday and making my Shani Davis card that much more useless...might as well be a Goodwin auto at this point". But I digress.

So I got to ripping. Goal number one got shot out the window. I pulled a Shin-Shoo-Choo-Choo jersey relic out of this box. I am feeling a lot better about those pants all of a sudden.

Goal number two DID get achieved as I pulled a very fancy Lou Gehrig SP. Nice looking card. I love these, even if they are Yankees.

Goal three also achieved as I entered six more million cards entries...though I have to say that the first six were much more entertaining results with a couple 1971 and 1972 cards.

So goal number four is assessing the product. Wanna hear it, here go!

Base Product: Not a big fan. Sorry Topps, but for the most part I think that the design with the arching color border and the enormous logo just seem to really botch up the effectiveness of a vast majority of these cards. Some of the landscape shots work nicely...I think my favorite goes to the Randy Johnson card, as well as the Prince Fielder "Bowling Pin" shot (card #1), but for the most part, the shots are crowded, sometimes blurry, and repetitive. And that Hunter Pence and Lance Berkman is just terrifying. Verdict: C

Cards Your Mother Threw Out: This set remains one of my favorites, even if they are not the original cards. I am a new collector and never had ANY of these card, so it is fun to pull a crazy Manny or a Johnny Bench, or last night I even pulled a Carl Yaz with original back! Yes it is still a reprint, but its as close to a Yaz rookie I have been and I'll take it. One of the reasons I wanted to bust another box was to see how these look side by side in a binder, and these look good together. A great idea (for a novice collector). Verdict: A-

Peak Performance: Speaking of cards that look good side by side, the peak performance really looks nice together in a binder. While some say that the facts on the back are retreads, I still think they are pretty interesting anyways, plus the mixture of new and old-timer players looks great. I am normally not a fan of computer generated backdrops, but these work pretty good. Verdict: A

Topps Turkey Red: Dammit, these look fantastic again. They have a nice soft quality to them this year that really enhances the most minute details. I am upset that I like these so much because I made such an effort to collect all of last years, and got tripped up in the Updates and Highlights, that I swore I would not go for a continuation set this time. Well...balls because I think I want them again. A perfect insert set! Verdict: A

Ticket to Toppstown: Probably one of the most laughable inserts last season actually looks kinda decent this year. Good enough to keep in a binder. I can't really explain why I like these. Maybe its because there is only one player from each team, so a fairly easy set to collect. Can't say I see the point of the gold variation, but they look decent as well. Its still a shabby promotional card, but way better than last year. Verdict: B-

When They Were Young: This is where it starts to get hairy. Initially when the product came out I thought this was a neat idea. And for the first few I pulled, I still thought that. But the problem is...Topps mostly used players you A)have never heard of, or B) don't care about. Yeah there are a few big name players in the bunch, but for the most part I am not impressed with a picture of a young player turned struggling middle-reliever. Verdict: D

Tales of the Game: Not a big fan, and I will tell you why. I like the concept and the stories, but I have to say that I don't like the whole "Ripleys Believe it or Not" (look it up, kiddos) font to the titles, and also in a binder the mixture of horizontal and verts don't jibe well. If you are going to do a mixture, thats fine, but at the very least when you at the stupid looking title, make it uniform in a corner so it lines up in a binder. Aesthetically, its garbage, content its decent, therefor: Verdict: C-

History of the Game: At least the title of the card is always at the top, but the problem with this series is that they are BLAND. The colors are dreary, and I swear that most of the "history" involves a shot of a stadium or baseball diamond. Very little variety here. There are a couple of exceptions in the bunch, but overall, sucko! Verdict: D+

Legendary Lineage: At risk of being too crude, these look bitchin' in a binder. All horizonal, awesome design that looks good side-to-side with another card, these cards are stylin. A slight deduction for having a couple questionable pairings (not nearly as bad as Upper Deck Ballpark though), but the subjects are all interesting and the photos are fantastic. Verdict : A-

Topps Attax (or whatever): Bottom line, these are dumb and a waste of a card. Nuff said. Verdict: F

Topps Million Card Giveaway: I don't know what else to say that has not already been said. This is a pretty nifty promotion, that allows you to swap cards online and get the thrill of the pull every time you enter a code. Who knows, you might win a Mantle card. I guess rumor is there is more than one being given away. Plus the card itself is pretty cool looking as well: Verdict: A

Finally, the "Hits". Yeah, I did not get an auto, or a hat relic, or a jumbo patch, or a silk, or a plate, or a sketch card. These are all out there to be had. I got a couple relics and you know how I feel about those. I have to say, the odds of pulling a group A auto are pretty ridiculous, and from what I have seen for sale online, most auto subjects tend to veer towards the garbage end of the spectrum Not to say that there are not total gems out there to be found, but will you get one? As for the use of them on the Peak Performance design...not a huge fan. While the design works on its own, it is a bit too drab to house a relic or a sticker auto. I loved the bright color contrast of last years relics and autos, the deep blues, reds, and greens in the U&H. These just don't pop and are pretty boring looking. I would have to say...Verdict: C- (unless you snag a jumbo patch or something cool).

So there you have it. Am I going to complete the base and several subsets? You bet, and I will post my needs list soon to get some trading going, but for the most part I am less-than-enamored with the base cards, but when 8 out of 1o cards are base, you might as well finish the set, right?

Well, time to settle in for some more Olympic fun, plus LOST tonight!

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