Saturday, January 30, 2010

Topps Unique Box Bust!

One of my favorite things to look for on blogs is box reviews. They are invaluable in helping me decide how to blow my life's savings. I have always been a little envious of those who purchase a box, sit down, and tear like the wind and bust the whole box in one sitting. I have always wanted to do that, and thanks to the snail-mail of Joe's Topps 2010, I have two boxes of Albert staring me in the face and nothing I can do about it 'til Tuesday. So I decided to grab Jacoby and head down to my new lucky card shop to see what jumped out at me.

The truth was...not much. Besides the Topps 2010, there has not been a ton released lately. I did have the option of purchasing that soon to be confiscated Upper Deck "2009" release with illegal logos...but decided to steer clear of that. Topps unique jumped out at me. Three hits per box, one auto. The store owner showed me some base and also a Gordan Beckham auto that was I figured "what the hell, let's take home this box and bust the whole thing"!

What a great product! I'll go ahead and break it down for you first.

Product: 24 packs, 7 cards a pack

Base Cards: 118 (zero duplicates)

Red Parallel (numbered to 1199) Rowand, Teixeira,Michael Saunders RC, Corey Hart, Masterson, Tejada, Shields, Gordon, Anthony Swarzak RC, Vernon Wells, Guillen, Huff, McClouth, Cliff Lee, Cueto, Hamels, Rick Porcello RC, Dan Uggla, Kershaw, Matt LaPorta RC, Neftali Feliz RC (See below).

Regular Rookie (numerered to 2699) Trevor Cahill, Bud Norris, Colby Rasmus, David Price, Nolan Reimold, Rick Porcello, Kenshin Kawakami, Mat Gamel, Matt LaPorta

Bronze Parallel (#/99) Josh Johnson

Gold Parallel (#/25) AJ Burnett (dinged right top corner, a bit put out by that, but it is only a Yankee after all)

Topps Unique Unis: Granderson, Fielder, Braun, Wright (see below)

Topps Unparalled Performances: Kinsler, Cueto, Johnson, Hudson (see below)

Topps Alone At the Top: Ryan Howard, Tim Lincecum (see below)

Topps Solo Shot Game Used Bat Relic: Vlad Guerrero #/275 (see Below)

Topps Prime Time Patches: Pedro Martinez #/99 (see below)

Topps Solo Shot Relic/Auto: Evan Longoria bat auto! #/25! (see below)

Product breakdown: This break was a lot of fun. I admit to a bit of buyers remorse initially after drop a close to a Benjamin for this box. I figured there was no way that I would get the value that I was hoping for. I had seen some of the base cards in the shop and was less than impressed. They looked like a similar dark bordered Bowman card that I did not really care for. But upon opening the first pack I realized that there were many depths to the card depending on how it shined in lighting. It is actually a really nice design.
Also nice were the parallels. No, the numbering is nothing to write home about for the red parallels and the rookie serial numbered cards, but the one bronze and gold were a nice surprise, even if one of them is dinged a tad.
The insert sets are interesting enough, although very similar to one-another and have a bit of a Ticket To Stardom feel to them. I think I like the alternate uni's subset the best of them all.
Obviously I cannot complain a bit about the hits. What was impressive is the variety of hits in the box. I pulled the Pedro patch first. It is about 1/4 inch thick with a nice Mets swatch. you can't tell from the image, but the blue patch also contains an orange-lettering border section to the patch as well. I don't like relics, but patches are sweet.
Vlad consistently finds a way into my house. I pull Vlad stuff left and right. This bat relic is well designed and is serial-numbered to only 275.
And of course, the best for last...and it just happened to be in the last pack of the very first relic/auto, and it's of Evan Longoria to boot...and its numbered to only 25, which is even better! I knew the auto was coming last and slid the card away very slowly, revealing Mr Longoria's autograph. The piece of bat was just a nice bonus! I am thrilled to put this away in the treasure chest.
Impressions: Wow, that was fun! This product far exceeded my expectations. I expected a couple standard relics (see Sweet Spot 2009) and a sub-par auto, and instead got a nice little variety of hits, and a great many rookie cards to put away in the prospecting box. The base are really nice with clear photographs and thick card stock, and the parallels are nice as well. The inserts are a bit shaky, but still nice quality as well.
Plus, 24 packs at 7 cards a pack, with none of those dummy cardboards, 20th anniversary retrospectives, or any other advertising cards, this is a nice, clean product. Tons of fun and I would definitely be tempted to grab another, though I would probably just let myself down after this box.
MOST of these cards are available for trade, especially the base. So please let me know if you are interested!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Jacoby's Treasure Chest

It's time for the Friday dip into the ol' treasure chest.

This week is a bit of an oddball selection. Whaddaya gunna do when you pull at random? Here are this weeks three...

Yee-haa, let's go prospecting! I don't even remember pulling this auto, to tell you the truth, nor do I remember buying any Bowman Chrome for that matter. I am guessing that I got this card very early on in my collecting days and slapped it into a toploader and put it away. Not that there is anything wrong with having a Bowman Chrome Rookie First Year auto. Should Josh Lindbloom erupt into superstar status, then this could be the next Lincecum Rookie card sensation. For the record, I am not a big fan of Lincecums rookie card. It is not that attractive of a card, but since it is his official rookie, it books at over two bills. I don't expect the same for Lindbloom, but I guess you never know. Lets see how he fared in 2009? Hmm...not stellar. But I will say this, his stats, IP and progression from A to AAA show that he is moving the right direction, though it appears to all be in relief. Not that there is anything wrong with relievers, but I don't expect a huge value boost in his card any time soon.

Ahh, this one I do remember pulling. I loved the autographs out of Topps 2009 chrome. In fact, I pulled two of these...this version is the refractor auto numbered to 499. I have taken quite a shine to Mr Romero, and have several of his cards at this point. I expect big things out of could start to see it last season, and I fully expect this year to be a break-out year for the fella.

We finish up today with a bit of an oddball card in the collection. This is a 2009 Goodwin Champions Magician #8/8 hand-numbered mini.

I really don't know what the market value is for these. It certainly would help if it were of a more (currently) popular player. The one special thing about this card is that I have collected his base card, three of four mini-backed versions, and the relic to boot. The only card short of the "Vlad Cycle" is the foil version. I thought it would be cool to line them all up and frame it or something, should the foil ever find its way here. Since only 7 other people could (potentially) own this card, THAT would certainly be a unique set of cards. Anybody have that foil?
Thus ends another treasure chest Friday!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Package from Nico

I have a bit of catching up to do on package thanks. While receiving packages are the best part of being a blogger and card enthusiast, 'round our place torn open envelopes can tend to pile up quickly. It goes kinda like this.

My wife and I (who carpool) go pick up Jacoby from day care and get home at roughly 5:40 or so. At this point, Jacoby has been up since 6 am and is definitely ready for his evening meal and a LONG sleep.

The daily ritual now that Jacoby has a legitimate pair of outdoor shoes, is for us to venture down to the mail box and see if any treasure is inside. Lately there has been and we happily carry the mail inside.

Unfortunately, JD and my enthusiasm is not always met equally by Mom. She stares warily at the yellow envelope and says something to the effect of "you are not opening that until you vacuum, or feed Jacoby, or empty the dishwasher (one of these days I am going to make Jacoby the dishwasher guy). So typically an envelope is opened during a diaper changing or bath time! Then once we put the kid to bed between 7 and 8, that leaves very little time for us to hang out before off to bed to start all over again the next day.

The beauty of it is, that during weekends Jacoby sleeps...A catch up for all of the naps he is not getting in daycare because of all the excitement going on. He likes his sleep, and I like it too because it gives me the time to get caught up on card stuff, like thanks to the awesome bloggers who send us cards!

While I promise to get all the spoils posted over the next couple of days, I do want to start with a great dual package from Nico at Nr Mt and Nico's mom! Now typically I would not go a drag a young college students mother into a trade conversation and embarrass the lad, but something was very striking about this two-package deal, one sent from college and the other sent from home. Both packages were IMMACULATELY packed with care and precision, so much that a stray bullet could not rip through the letter and damage the card. It is very appreciated when people spend the time on this detail. I am guilty of having a different looking package every time, and those of you who have received them know exactly what I am talking about. Anyways, on to the cards!

Now Nico send a very generous helping of cards, and try as I might to include them all, I was forced to make some cuts. We start out (above) with some classic Sox cards. Without a doubt, Gedman takes the trophy on these cards. Looks kinda like Clark Kent holding some sort of mystic hookah or something. I love this card so much that it has already been featured twice on this blog in a matter of days!

These are fascinating! Being a still very-green collector, I am constantly amazed by the variety of cards out in the world. Judging from the 1990 copyright, these come from the Junk Wax era. I love em though, especially the Luke Appling. Each card reserves a healthy amount of space on the back to tell a good story about the player featured. A very cool set.

The above is a tribute to the 2004 champs. Immediately when I saw Wake, I thought "Goodwin Champions". Hmm. Nomar is a bit out of place, but he has a ring too, so it counts.

Yaz is a bit out of place in this group, but I wanted to throw his card in here somewhere. It's a beauty. I am always happy to include Varitek, and of course Jacoby and Dustin are always welcome as well! I love having Dustin's WBC card, but I will be honest...MAN am I glad there is no WBC this year!

Two new Lester's for the set. The goofy scan to the right is an X-Fractor.

Nico also included several phenoms and several more Sox. A great package with a lot of variety. Thanks Nico.
For the second part of the transaction, Nico offered up a great Rookie Auto of Clay Buccholz from the Heroes set.

Clay is the man, and this card is fantastic for so many is numbered to 50, it represents his no-hitter (one of my favorite Red Sox moments in history) and his signature is legendary. He no doubt subscribes to the Jon Papelbon school of autograph signings!
Thanks again Nico, always a pleasure trading with you. Your final piece to this puzzle will be in the mail tomorrow!

Scoring the Rip Off

Every game has to have a set of rules...without rules, what the hell are we doing anyways????

For those of you scoring at home, here is how the game is going to be played. Joe and I will bust three packs a day and report the results to you on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. This will all begin next Tuesday when Slowpoke finally gets his boxes from Blowout. In the meantime I will stare at my two perfect, unopened boxes of goodness and try to determine a scientific method of choosing WHICH to open for the break.

First posting of results will be next Thursday and we will keep a tally in our sidebars to keep you updated on the latest score. We played up our Yankee/Red Sox rivalry in many of the categories, but you will also see some pretty random cats just for fun. There are also game breaking categories such as a patch card hit and the multipliers (Example, if Joe pulls a black variation Red Sox...say goodnight, Gracie). Also, the relic vs auto will come into play as well.

So, Joe and I humbly submit our rules for the 2010 Topps-O-Cuffs Rip Off. A link to these will also be posted in the sidebar for referral!

Corey Hart( Player wearing sunglasses) +5
Ed Rooney (player wearing flipped up sunglasses +10
Ticket to Toppstown First class ticket parallel +5
Turkey Red Old Timer +10
Turkey Red current player +5
Joe: Yankees base = +5
Mike: Red Sox base= +5
Joe: Red Sox base = -10
Mike: Yankees base =

Team/uniform mismatch = +5 (i.e. Roy Halladay says he's on Phillies, but pictured in Blue Jays gear)

Bonus Shot! Two players, one card: +5 action, +10 posed (does NOT include league leader type card)

That's strange: +5 (Pitcher batting, slugger bunting, etc)

I think you dropped something: +5 (flying helmet, hat, glove, etc)

Game changer: +5 (umpire in the shot)

BOOM! +50 (jumbo patch, silk, cut auto, hat logo, logo man, etc.)

Gold base = 5x, Black base = 10x
Joe: Relic = +20
Joe: Autograph = -30
Mike: Autograph = +20
Mike: Relic =

"For Love of the Landscape”(horizontal images, including all inserts) +5

"Best of Both Worlds" Autograph-Relic card +30

Pie in the face variation. WHAMMY!

Ticket to Toppstown -

"Leaders of the Pack" (Yanks, Twins, Angels, Phillies, Cards, Dodgers) +5

"Cellar Dwellars" (O's, Royals, A's, Nats, Pirates, Diamondbacks) - 5

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It's Here!

OH YEAH! Throughout history there has been some great rivalries...Army vs Navy, Celtics vs Lakers, Red Sox vs Yankees, Harry Potter vs Voldemort, Gargamel vs Papa Smurf. Now, Joe vs Mike.

Joe, of Priceless Pursuit infamy is the polar opposite of myself. Joe is a Yankees fan, I am a Red Sox fan. Joe loves (LOVES) relic cards, I find them to be useless pieces of fabric compared to autographs. Joe supports blowout cards, I support Atlanta Sportscards. Joe is a little bit country, I am a little bit rock. What better way to go toe-to-toe, mano y mano than a little friendly pack ripping competition featuring the hot-off-the-press (and apparently extremely polarizing) 2010 Topps Flagship series 1. Ooooh yeah!

The "Topps-O-Cuff Rip Off " is truly that, a blatant rip-off of Beardy's famed Gint-O-Cuffs annual point tallying competition. We pay homage to you, oh bearded wonder, with a "Topps-O-Cuff" version with our own special scoring system and twist.

Here is how it is going to go down...

Joe and I have each ordered two boxes of 2010 Flagship from our respective wholesalers. Luck on our side we should box have our boxes by this Friday. We plan to rip three packs a day and post the results of our rips on Tuesday/Thursday/and Saturday for the next two weeks. Throughout the competition we both hope to give you our thoughts on the product as well as share images of base and subsets for your viewing pleasure. While the rules of scoring are still being passed through House and Congress, we should have them posted before the competition begins.

What's at stake?

While Joe and I have agreed to a bountiful Red Sox or Yankees memorabilia package, we have also added a twist...

In true rip off fashion, we will also be borrowing from "How I Met Your Mother" and SLAPsgiving. In this particular contest, the winner gets four "slaps" in which Joe or I get to play God on four occasions and command the other on what to write about on four blogs, at any random point, for the rest of the year. If I want Joe to review a pack of Pokemon, so be it, if I want him to write a love ballad about Kevin Youkilis, make it so. Anything is game.

So there you have it. Let the games of the 1st Rip Off begin!


Tune back in today at 12:00 PM Pacific for and earth-shattering announcement...well, maybe it is not "earth-shattering", but it is certain astounding, amazing, and will change the way you look at baseball cards...FOREVER........okay, maybe it is actually none of those things either.....but it is an announcement!
Until then....I give you Gedman.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Joy of a Completed (Varitek) Page

Ha! What do you know? "Dirty Water" kicks on the iPod just as I am writing this post. Nice touch.

It is with equal part joy and sadness that Jason Varitek will be a Red Sox this year. Probably of all the Red Sox that I have cheered on over the years, Tek will go down as my all-time favorite. You would be hard-pressed to find a lot (if any) negative sentiment toward the Captain, who has been the steady anchor of the Boston pitching staff for his entire career.

I am happy to have Victor Martinez on the team...I am, but in my mind this is still Varitek's team. This year is definitely going to be a transition year for Tek, but I have a feeling that he will still find a way to contribute by catching the occasional game, and passing on his knowledge to the young'ns. Tek is in his final year of a two-year contract, so likely this is the end of the road. What better way to send him off than with another ring for that finger! Go Sox!

Welcome back, Miguel Tejada!

Today, the Baltimore Orioles officially welcomed back the lovable Miguel Tejada into the family.

"I am happy to return to Baltimore, it's like my home," Tejada told ESPN. "We have great young talent, and I think many good things could happen with the club in 2010."

Tejada received a warm ovation from his press conference. Below are some of the photos of the event released just moments ago....

Miguel Tejada officially donning the Baltimore jersey once again.

In attendance were some of Miguel's most trusted "inner-circle"

Barry Bonds...

Mark McGwire...

Jason "clownboy" Giambi

Sammy Sooser

Also in attendance was Tejada's closest confidant and friend, future HOF and beloved friend, and former mate...

Rafael Palmeiro! Still pointing fingers, I see...
Welcome back Miggy!