Saturday, August 30, 2008

2008 Upper Deck First Edition Update (Target Blaster)

Pack 1

Varitek318 - Jason Varitek
393 - Ryan Braun
364 - Andrew Miller
373 - Mark Teahen
479 - Cliff Floyd
425 - Bobby Abreu
434 - Ryan Howard
443 - Matt Morris
404 - Justin Morneau
SQ-49 - Joe Mauer

This pack is a great example of what Upper Deck excels in.  You've got a great picture of Jason Varitek with the World Series trophy.  Even without the gloss and foil, these are great cards because of the exceptional photography.

Pack 2

OrtizUDFEU356 - Ivan Rodriguez
365 - Jorge Cantu
319 - David Ortiz
374 - Alex Gordon
336 - Paul Konerko
470 - Chris Carpenter
497 - Wily Mo Peña
407 - Delmon Young
452 - Khalil Greene
SQ-58 - Troy Tulowitzki

Here's another great Red Sox action shot.  Big Papi swung so hard that he shattered his puny bat.  It's sad that this is one of the last Pudge cards that I'll get before his joining the Evil Empire.

Pack 3

Youk337 - Nick Swisher
328 - Geovany Soto
383 - Jon Garland
323 - Kevin Youkilis
417 - Brian Schneider
471 - Mark Mulder
488 - B.J. Ryan
416 - Mike Pelfrey
461 - Ray Durham
SQ-42 - Derek Jeter

As a Red Sox fan, I'm really enjoying this box so far.  This is the first season that Youk hasn't tired out after the All-Star Break and it has been a break through season.  No Sox fan would have predicted that this team would be led by Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis and Jon Lester in 2008.

Pack 4

347 - C.C. Sabathia
394 - Rickie Weeks
403 - Adam Everett
301 - Dan Haren
310 - Jeremy Guthrie
426 - Shelley Duncan
480 - Matt Garza
453 - Trevor Hoffman
462 - Brian Wilson
SQ-31 - Adam Dunn

Pack 5

357 - Miguel Cabrera
311 - Nick Markakis
384 - Chone Figgins
395 - Bill Hall
444 - Tom Gorzelanny
489 - David Eckstein
498 - Elijah Dukes
408 - Oliver Perez
435 - Jimmy Rollins
SQ-46 - Ichiro

Pack 6

Fukudome302 - Randy Johnson
329 - Kosuke Fukudome
338 - Carlos Quentin
366 - Kazuo Matsui
348 - Troy Tulowitzki
481 - Edwin Jackson
490 - Alex Rios
445 - Jason Bay
499 - Ronnie Belliard
SQ-55 - Pedro Martinez

Here's my very first Kosuke Fukudome rookie card.  He has started to struggle in the second half, but had proven that he can hit Major League pitching.  He should continue to improve next season as he adjusts even more to American Baseball.

Pack 7

EllsburyUDFE303 - Justin Upton
320 - Jacoby Ellsbury
375 - Tony Peña
427 - Hideki Matsui
436 - Pedro Feliz
463 - Adrian Beltre
454 - Mark Prior
409 - Jose Reyes
YSL2239 - Joe DiMaggio
SQ-39 - Curtis Granderson

Pack 8

396 - Tony Gwynn Jr.
385 - Andruw Jones
312 - Brian Roberts
340 - Johnny Cueto
376 - Jose Guillen
473 - Troy Glaus
339 - Alexei Ramirez
418 - Ramon Castro
472 - Skip Schumaker
SQ-37 - Carlos Peña

Pack 9

Lugo321 - Julio Lugo
330 - Gavin Floyd
358 - Carlos Guillen
367 - Lance Berkman
464 - Jarrod Washburn
491 - Lyle Overbay
482 - Vicente Padilla
410 - Moises Alou
437 - Adam Eaton
SQ-35 - C.C. Sabathia

I'm not a big fan of Julio Lugo, but this is a great picture even though this looks like yet another ground ball that Lugo won't get to.

Pack 10

Holliday370 - Michael Bourn
379 - Francisco Rodriguez
333 - A.J. Pierzynski
388 - Rafael Furcal
349 - Matt Holliday
500 - Nick Johnson
419 - Kei Igawa
428 - Joe Blanton
455 - Randy Wolf
SQ-54 - Paul Konerko

I really like this photo of Matt Holliday in his NL All-Star Jersey.  I'm guessing that this shot is from the Home Run Derby.

Target Bonus Starquest Pack

DiceKSQSQ-58 - Troy Tulowitzki
SQ-49 - Joe Mauer
SQ-40 - Daisuke Matsuzaka
SQ-44 - Eric Byrnes

I've got to say that I had a lot of fun opening this box.  Getting a few of my favorite Red Sox helped of course, but this box also helped remind me why I love Upper Deck.  Last year, I got caught up a little in the retro sets put out by Topps.  I think in the future I'd be better off buying a set of the base cards and leaving the boxes alone since the inserts end up driving the prices up.  The majority of the inserts end up being nothing to get excited about.  I'd rather just have the great looking base cards and be done with it and put the extra money towards adding cards that I want to my collection.

The only negative aspect of this box was the bonus pack.  It's just bad collation, but I got two Starquest cards in the bonus pack that I had already gotten in my regular packs.  I'd rather get something different like you get in most other blaster boxes.

Great box to break open for $10 and now I've got my first Fukudome RC.  I'll give it an A.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

2008 Topps Football

Topps has really been catering to Boston sports fans with the Target inserts in their base product over the past couple of years.  I bought 2007 Topps and got Ted Williams inserts.  Bill Russell inserts were included in 2007-08 Topps Basketball and the chance at Tom Brady inserts in 2008 football were enough to get me to try a couple of packs.

Pack 1

Vrabel298 - Adrian Peterson - Pro Bowl
181 - Jeremy Shockey
174 - Antonio Gates
309 - Ben Roethlisberger - Pro Bowl
82 - Laurence Maroney
190 - Randy McMichael
49 - Todd Collins
253 - Antrel Rolle
138 - Reggie Wayne
28 - Kyle Boller
80 - Selvin Young
AFF-PL - Sgt. Philip LaBonte

At the risk of sounding unpatriotic, I'm not a fan of the Armed Forces Fan of the Game cards.  It seems like card companies want to put everyone but athletes on cards these days in an attempt to bloat the size of sets  Lots of stars in this pack including a Patriot.

Pack 2

313 - Devin Hester - Pro Bowl
292 - Reggie Wayne - Rec Yds Leader
37 - Kurt Warner
100 - Najeh Davenport
20 - Ben Roethlisberger
199 - Tommie Harris
231 - Mike Vrabel
280 - Jonathan Ogden
219 - Michael Strahan
68 - Thomas Jones
1 - Drew Brees
259 - Al Harris - Gold parallel 0311/2008

Another pack, another Patriot.  Mike Vrabel had a monster season with 12½ sacks last season for the Patriots.  Football is a sport where it is really tough to determine contributions from statistics.  If you watched the Patriots play last season then you saw Vrabel single-handedly disrupt offenses.  It was almost as beautiful as Tom Brady throwing all of those touchdown passes to Randy Moss.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tim Lincecum

Lincecum I did a good amount of research this year for fantasy baseball.  My friend asked me to rejoin a league that I had previously participated in with his uncles and their friends.  It was a prize money league and so I wanted to make a good showing and possibly walk away with some cash.

With one week to go in the fantasy regular season, I'm in second place in the league.  While I had a very good draft overall, the two main reasons that my team performed as well as it did were the selections of Josh Hamilton and Tim Lincecum.

It is amazing what Lincecum has done on a bad team.  The Giants are 15 games under .500.  The pathetic offense that has killed Matt Cain last season and this hasn't been a big problem for Lincecum who so far is 14 - 3 with a 2.48 ERA.  He's struck out an impressive 200 batters in 177.2 IP.  All this in just his second season in the big leagues.

Pictured here is a Tim Lincecum rookie card from 2007 Topps Baseball.  It won't be worth a ton of money even after Lincecum wins the NL Cy Young Award, but it's now an important part of my collection because of what he's done for my fantasy team this season.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Big Baby who can write (and play basketball)

BigBabySweetShot One of the best things about watching the Celtics win the 2007-08 NBA Championship was the emergence of Glen "Big Baby" Davis as an important contributor to the team.

When the season started, weight and conditioning issues had many concerned about whether or not Davis would be able to compete in the NBA during his rookie season.

Big Baby didn't get too much playing time early in the season because the team already had Brian Scalabrine and had also brought in Scott Pollard for some veteran leadership.  While Pollard was entertaining all season, he was injured more than he was healthy.  That led to the emergence of Leon Powe who was now another player in front of Davis on the depth chart.

Injuries throughout the course of the season to Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, Scott Pollard and Brian Scalabrine led to more playing time for Davis and he made the most of his opportunity.  He brought a high level of energy into the game off of the bench.  He fought hard for rebounds and had a natural scoring touch.

Once Davis started making a name for himself out on the parquet, he started getting interviewed and people got to see his playful, goofy side.  He had the kind of personality that paired with his tough playing style quickly made him a fan favorite.  His rookie season culminated with an NBA Championship that he was a key factor in winning and then a shirtless ride through Boston on the back of a Duckboat.

Big Baby quickly became a favorite of mine and I picked up this autographed rookie card on eBay for my collection.  The part that is signed has the look and feel of an NBA Basketball and the card is a nice looking one.  The future looks bright for Big Baby and here's hoping that he'll be as entertaining to watch next season.