Friday, April 23, 2010

Owe you all another Finest rip!

Hey Folks, As I am sitting around watching Lincecum and the Giants wrap up a solid performance against a Cardinals rookie, I remembered that I never did post the contents for pack #2 of my Topps Finest box. After the triple-threads debocle, I look at these cards with a lot more fondly. At the very least you get a nice rookie letter patch and several very smooth looking refractors from the set. I may or may not be tempted into another box or two of these, but I would mostly be fishin for a Posey Letterman, so not sure if it is worth the effort. Regardless, here is the results of box 2. Feel free to contact me if any of the base jump out at you.

Refractor scans absolutely crack me up. This Longoria refractor looks like a cross between Goudey and Bowman Heritage, but IRL looks like a typical #/599 refractor. The Cabrera and Reyes are blue and #/299 and light up a little bit more on the ol scanner. Again, I cannot emphasize enough that if you like refractors, these are really beautiful and smooth and definitely worth purchasing a box for. And of course another rookie redemption card. I have not redeemed this one yet and might put it out there for sale or trade. Might be Strasberg, you never know.

And the rookie autograph refractor patch is of Mets rookie Tobi Stoner. Tobi was my first official rookie pull from Topps Flagship, so he is going to be rookie of the year, right?

Going Jumbo shopping...need base?

I am going to be headed to the shop tomorrow and have my eyes on a 2009 Topps Series 2 jumbo. I actually already have two full sets of Topps series 2 (one is for trade, by the way) so why the heck am I about to load up on a ton of series 2 base? And come to think of it, what is up with the crazy new logo up top. What in haiti is going on here?

All in time.

Anyways, if you have base needs, please leave a comment below along with your email addr if not connected to your account. Make sure not to name players or say "all yankees", actually know the numbers and input them so those who leave comments after you will know which are already spoken for. All I ask for in return is a couple cards from my soon to be reinvented needs list that is not yet even posted....what???

Leave your message after the beep!

Yep, I was slapped, and other news....

SLAP! Congratulations to those of you who were on to my wily ways yesterday. I was indeed slapped by Joe as a part of the Topps-O-Cuffs rip-off punishment and directed to specifically praise the benefits of our friends at Beckett. Slap posts are actually kinda fun because I can have the artistic freedom to make up anything and everything actually make it sound plausible!

Truth be told, I do read the occasional Beckett and do use it as a reference for value, but mostly to determine what I have and what set it comes from. I am willing to stick my neck out there and say 95% of you do the same, whether you will admit it or not, Beckett is at least partially ingrained in your collection and trading decisions, and I bet either you have a secret online membership, or have a magazine laying around by your card stash at this very moment.

But no, I have not suddenly flown off the wagon and become a Beckett henchman...though if they offered me a job I would probably take it, and so would the 95% of you! Is that like accepting a job at Phillip-Morris?

But back to regular posting. There is actually a lot going on to discuss today. I want to start off by talking a bit about Allen and Ginter 2010. has a very thorough and well done checklist for this year's set. I don't know if they created it or it was pulled from elsewhere, but I have posted the link right here. It is a MASSIVE checklist to be sure and I can see myself jumping in to several boxes of this set and being satisified with it.

I do have a bit of bad news to report regarding this set. None of this is confirmed yet...well, part is confirmed, but Topps may or may not be hesitating on including a card of Nick and I in this year's set. What is confirmed is that, unfortunately, having Jacoby on a card is out, period. Topps has instructed Nick and I to each send in a photo and some verbiage (which I did name drop Jacoby at least), but we have not heard back from them and they seemed skeptical to be able to fit two people onto one card. I guess come to think of it I have never seen it happen before, but why not use landscape or just create two cards? I am going to be a bit sad if it does not work out, because it really is the most rewarding part of the contest, so cross your fingers and hope it all works out.

Today is also a Lincecum Log Friday! It is going to be a tough lil contest tonight, and I dare say probably the biggest challenge yet for the Freak. Speaking of Big Time Timmy-Jim, he got a chance to star in his own "This is Sportscenter" commercial. Click here and scroll down a's not the funniest ad, not really funny at all, but it is Lincecum. Every time I see Albert Pujols come to the plate, I gotta recite "guys, I am not a machine, I am just Albert". Check it out though and root for Big Time Timmy-Jim tonight!

Also, post 400 is looming and a few changes are in store for the blog. I had a bit of an epiphany the last several days about my collection goals and how to make things exciting again. I think I have a pretty good plan and tested it out last night with some Target rack packs and was satisfied. Stay tuned for that in a couple will change the face of trading FOREVER! Ba-Da-Bummmmmmmmmmmmm.

Go Beckett.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I Pledge Allegiance to Beckett

The blogosphere has a lot of passion about a great variety of subjects. Whether it be Upper Deck vs Topps, gimmick cards versus million junk card redemptions, or Bip Roberts vs Boof Bonser, there is a very polarizing aspect to bloggers and their beliefs.

I have held back far too long and I feel that it is time to reveal to you a very solid belief of mine about the great hobby of baseball card collecting...I am a big-time believer in the Beckett magazine and its pricing system.

I have bought a Beckett with every new release. I remember reading it as a kid, and when I started collecting again last spring I wanted to see whether the material was still relevant to the hobby as a whole. I was not disappointed.

I find the material invaluable in helping me plot the course of JD's collection. In my opinion, Beckett is right on the money with their product reviews and is able to provide invaluable insight about product contents, flaws, strengths, and pricing. I rarely, if ever, have disagreed with a Beckett review and I have continually thought about posting them in this blog as a reference for you all to aid you in your decisions.

I also very much enjoy the articles, especially those pertaining to top-selling and sought-after prospects. Beckett magazine lets me know who is out there, where to find them, how much I should pay for them, as well as who to avoid and who is overpriced. Any collector can easily benefit for the vast amount of effort and knowledge that Beckett puts forth each and every issue. It is a tool to maintain balance in the collecting universe, and one that I am proud to say I use religiously.

So why all the hatred? Well, being devil's advocate I can certainly see how many are put off by the assumed "value" placed on each card. I know it can be hard to stomach this some times, but realistically about 99% of all cards produced are crap. They are of sentimental value at best. Worst case scenario, Beckett will be able to confirm that indeed your card is crap and that you should either throw it away because it just takes up space, and you would be doing everybody else a favor by making their crap slightly more valuable do to increased scarcity.

As for the pricing itself, how incredible is it to find an all-comprehensive guide covering all products and all subsets of those products? And the low-high pricing in ingenious in that it gives you that range that you are looking for. Everybody always complains about not being able to gauge a true value of cards...well thanks to the high/low figures, a good spectrum of averages becomes possible, thus allowing the collector to protect themselves against a lopsided trade or a shorted sale price.

Beckett also is very generous to all of you relic collectors, by offering generous estimates of a relic card's value. While I personally find relics to be a total waste of time, at least if I do pull a relic, Beckett is there to protect me and give me trade value for a card that I really do want.

One difficulty with Beckett is the "no pricing due to scarcity" on many short printed and low serial-numbered products. While many find this to be a detriment to the hobby, I believe it is extremely useful because it lets you know that something that you have pulled is very special and should make you feel good about yourself. Isn't that part of the joy of collecting, to feel good about your collection?

What else can I possibly say? Again, I know this is a touchy subject and everybody has an opinion, but at the end of the day, we all use Beckett in one form or another, and we all rely on their expertise in the baseball card collecting business to aid us in our decisions. We should all be thankful that they are here to help.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ballpark stories

Since I am still reeling a bit from my lousy box of triple-threads, I have not really felt like blogging about cards that much. I had a post all ready to go about Edinson Volquez, but never pulled the trigger. I was going to do a nice little write-up on Jason Varitek and his surprising season thus far, but never have gotten around to it, and I have thought about posting my second box of Topps Finest, but have not felt like scanning. I got the baseball card blues, baby.

So for giggles, I thought I would toss around to my five readers a question, just to learn a little bit about your teams and their stadiums.

I was listening to our local sports affiliate that has some crews down in Arizona for the Blazers/Suns series. The radio announcer had the chance to go take in an Arizona Diamondbacks game the other night and was completely taken aback to know that the Diamondbacks have a major concession problem...they sell out of hotdogs by the second inning...every night! He says he has never been in any stadium, in any sport that has such a dysfunctional concession stand situation. I was wondering if any of you are Arizona fans and can confirm this oddity.

Then I started thinking of stadiums that I have been to and my favorite and least favorite features about them. I would have to say that Safeco Field brings memories of garlic fries, seagulls, and a train that passes by outside the stadium each game. The stadium features a mostly seafood affair, from clam chowder to fish and chips, as well as all the standard stadium fair.

By far the oddest concession stand I have visited is in the Rose Garden in Portland, where there is a popcorn/espresso stand. An odd combination to say the least, and each time that I have been there the stand employee does not seem to have a clue how to use the espresso maker and once even had a patron come behind the counter and make his own espresso!

Kind of a disjointed post, but your assignment is to tell me about your team's stadiums and your favorite/least favorite features about the concessions of the stadium.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bday break box 2

Sorry for the delay. I am having an irritating experience with a new Comcast HD DVR box that they sent me. It does not appear to want to pick up a signal, so according to them it takes about 1/2 hour for the system to download all of my channels. It's totally F'd at the moment because I cannot even pull up the guide screen, which I have never seen that happen either. They tell me that it takes 1/2 hour too. I think I need to call and get another representative.

Anyways, box two is a little better, but nothing overwhelming...
Again, I like the old timers Cy Young and Lou Gehrig and the Helton is to 99 for what it is worth.

Sorry to say that no 1/1 or white whale or HOF relic this time (or any time in the future for that matter). Still though, not a bad little hit...
3 time silver slugger Chase Utley #/18! I am completely perplexed by the "3", so this time around I will guess "Rastafarian beanie, Eddie Bauer cargo shorts, and puzzle piece". And of course it glows Hulk Green as well.
Well, there you have it. Nothing other-worldly to report, but at it was different and exciting to open.
Well, off to watch LOTR. The Red Sox mailed it in early, and now my TV is royally messed up as well, though a tech will be out some time today between 12-4. whoopee. Not going to let it ruin my day though.

Let's get this party started!

Alright, it's Bday rip time. I am definitely feeling that luck will be in my favor. It has been a fantastic weekend and the latest greatness was the Blazers playing SOLID last night and stealing one from the Phoenix Suns. The Suns can say all they want about being a different club than year's past, but I still see the same carbon copy team that runs n guns and can't play a lick of D. Does not translate well into the playoffs.

This box break will be done in real time. To prove it, the Red Sox are currently down 6-0 in the bottom of the third and are displaying a decent amount of suckage to start the season. I snagged LOTR Blu-Ray for a Bday gift, so my conflict between watching a game and stretching out the speakers is getting easier to decide on.

A brief note on box-breakers. As I have been sitting here eating my delicious Burger King breakfast, I have been watching some more box rips online. I am sitting here thinking...what a great job! You basically get to open high end product all day and ship it out to people. I guess what I want to know is, who are these people who can't wait to have it shipped to them to open themselves. They either A) are wanted by the law and can't risk anybody knowing where they live 2) live on some remote Aleutian island and all of the sled dogs are rented out for season, or 3) are so addicted to cards that they literally CANNOT WAIT to get them in the mail, and thus let somebody else do the dirty work.

Well, I tell you, this boy is very respectful of how much this box cost and I am going to enjoy every feature, starting with the boxes. They are pretty cool in themselves...

by the way, because I am doing this real-time and adding images as I type, the HTML may add some funky spacing to this post as I go along. Be warned. Bwa-a-a-a-ahhhh.

Alright, so first thing I notice is that there is a skinnier box and a thicker box. Because I know that the thicker box contains either a book card or the world's thickest dummy card (or will that honor be saved for my Ginter card (ba-du-bum)... I am going to open the thin box first...

I also so a you-tuber slide the bottom base to the top so the base hit is last...I will do the same...

Alrighty, so each base card has a completely useless serial number (well, practically useless), I mean, really anything above 100 is pretty pointless to bring to anybody's attention. I do like the look of the base, though they are quite thick and would not fit in a regular top-loader. I dig the Felix and the Campanella and Ott.

And here is your autograph hit!

Right on! Bison....I have no idea what that means. You Dooger fans out there know what it means, but I certainly do not. Also, I think its funny in the videos how somebody can glance at the fabrics and ramble off "bat, bat, pants, jersey, batting jersey". I have no idea what these are. I am going to say "boxers, Hanes workout shirt, jersey, pants, necktie". I am pretty curious about the "BI" material, but feel kinda funny touching Kemp's boxers, so I will let it go. As my buddy Joe pointed out, these cards look pretty nice in person and have a 'fractor quality going on. The auto is a nice one, and while sticker autos are a bit impersonal in a product such as this, It is engrained into the cardboard, which is a nice touch. The card itself is numbered to /99, which I BELIEVE is as high as it gets with these cards, therefore I am going to make a bold prediction that my relic hit in box two is going to be pretty sweet. Stay tuned...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lincecum Log and Bday Box Break News!

Hey folks,

I am in the middle of an amazing birthday weekend and thought that I would drop in a quick post. Got the Sox rolling right now on TBS and the Blazers kick off their playoffs against the Suns tonight at 7:30, and the Patriot Day tomorrow, so life is REALLY GOOD!

Life was good yesterday as well, as I continued my dedication to watch every Tim Lincecum game. Luckily this one made national tv, so I was able to watch in HD as Lincecum made the Dodgers look silly.

The breakdown is basically this...from the moment I saw Timmy drop down a bunt up towards first base, and nobody was even close to making a play on it, I knew this game was in the bag. Lincecum went on to go 4-4 for the day with 3 RBI! Did I mention he pitches as well? I mean, there were at least two occasions where the ball went into the triangle and just dropped between three guys.

Pitching-wise, Lincecum was in total control and relaxed, which it's hard not to be when you team spots you several runs early, and then you spot yourself a few as well! Cruise control

The Line: 6 IP, 4 hits, 2 BB, 7K's and 0 ER. He now has a ridiculous 0.90 ERA through three games and has only walked three batters.

Next Up: By my figurin', it looks to be a home matchup against St Louis on Friday

Alright, now on the big announcement.

All week long I have been seeking advice on something special to rip on my birthday. I have done exhaustive research and pricing, but what it really came down to is availability. Here is what I will be ripping tomorrow...

2009 Topps Triple Threads! I believe I just heard a collective groan from my five readers. Why? Because I have been warned and warned and warned again against buying this product. And I have to say, that from the several box breaks I have watched, I have not seen (much) to write home about. Though there certainly have been a few 1-1's in the bunch.

So why did I snag it? Well here is the deal, firstly, my lucky hobby shop cut me a killer deal because he knew it was my birthday and was being really crazy nice to me. Secondly...everything I open from this shop is pure gold, and third, really I just would like to have a couple cards that are completely different from anything that I currently have in my collection. This stuff is way outta my typical price range and certainly will not result in the need to purchase more boxes down the road. So while I am a bit nervous about what the results may be, I am definitely excited as well...

But it will all have to wait until tomorrow. Gotta be on my lucky day, same as buying my lottery ticket tomorrow. All the moons will have to align.

Whether they do, or whether they don't, you will see it all tomorrow, so stay tuned! Send me some MOJO.