Saturday, March 28, 2009

Hit me baby one more time.

One of the best things about having a little bit of extra cash has been finding a baseball card shop near work and being about to go there regularly.  On my first trip to Kenmore Collectibles, I bought a couple of packs of Upper Deck Basketball and Chrome Basketball.  I beat the odds with each and got “hits.”  My Upper Deck hit was a Yao Ming jersey card and my Chrome hit was a Javale McGee autographed rookie.  Jersey cards are a dime a dozen these days so the Ming isn’t anything special.  McGee could develop into something special, but at the moment you can buy the card that I pulled on eBay for a buck or two.

2009UDOrtizJersey On another trip, I purchased 3 packs of 2009 Upper Deck.  My only hit was a David Ortiz triple swatch, but this was a rarity for me.  Not only was this a quality card or a star that is numbered to 99, but it is someone that I collect.  This card went right into my collection.

I’m not sure what the fascination is with having jersey cards spell out things, but this one isn’t too bad.  The single swatches from this year’s Upper Deck are absolutely terrible.


I purchased 4 packs of 2009 Upper Deck on my next trip and pulled “hits” in half of the packs.  If I lived in Minnesota and were a Twins fan, I would have loved these hits.  Since I live in Boston and am a Red Sox Fan, these cards didn’t excite me at all.  Here’s one of those ugly jersey cards that I was just talking about.  JN-J?  It’s obvious that these were an afterthought once the fancier jersey cards were designed.  At least I hope they are because if they came up with these first it is a huge mistake.


An autograph of a career .269 hitter?  This guy isn’t even a starter and only got playing time last season due to injuries if I remember correctly.  Apologies to any Brendan Harris fans out there, but this card has no business existing.  Why would any collector that isn’t a Twins fan want to pull an autograph of a weak hitting middle infielder?  Upper Deck proclaims that there’s one autographed card per box, but if this is the quality of the autographs then why bother?  Autographs just for the sake of having autographs is no good.  Get those junk autographs out of there.


Of all of the insert cards that I pulled out of those 4 packs, my favorite would be the Tim Lincecum Stars of the Game card.  It’s a nice looking card of a star player.  I was much happier when the insert cards that you pulled out of packs were fancy cards of star players.  The bat, jersey, patch, ball, base, autograph, jock strap cards have gotten out of hand.  Card companies have tried saving these cards by serial numbering them, but that only gives them value due to player collectors fighting over them.  That little number on the card really doesn’t make them all that different.

One thing that you might have noticed about my recent collecting purchases is that I buy boxes of Topps product and just packs of Upper Deck product.  I try Upper Deck, but when I get four packs and pull a card of a female general that looks like a man with a bad wig (the second that I’ve pulled), a sign from a gas station and even more Yankee Stadium cards, I get turned off from the product.


I’ve seen a lot of annoyance over pulling cards of basketball players, hockey players, football players and golfers in the 20th Anniversary Retrospective set, but I’d rather have any of those than this.  I guess this is the Periodic Table’s rookie card, but it sat out most of last year with injuries so the value is pretty low right now.  Anyone out there want to send this card off to Germany so that the scientists that created Ununbium can sign it?  Why do card companies think that collectors want ridiculous cards like this?

I pulled this card out of a pack of 2009 Upper Deck SPx Baseball.  Normally I would avoid a 4 card pack that cost $8 like the plague, but I had won some money the previous night at bowling and it was the only new product available so I decided to take a shot on a couple of packs.


Here’s something else that card companies rely on way too much these days.  I’m not a big fan of redemption cards.  At least it is a rookie redemption which makes a little bit of sense since they’re trying to make a card available of a player which may not be eligible yet.  If you believe eBay auctions, this is packed out one per case.  Then again, eBay auctions are also incorrectly saying that this card could potentially be Yu Darvish who will be exclusive to Topps unless he gets posted, but at the moment Darvish has said that he has no intention of coming to the United States.  It'll be interesting to see what happens if his team posts him looking for the insane posting fee that he’ll command when Darvish doesn’t want to leave Japan.

These redemption cards are selling for between $40 and $50 at the moment on eBay.  If I had checked that first, I may not have been so quick to redeem the card, but redeem it I did.  I’ve got card #6 and it should be here in 3 to 4 months if the website can be believed.  Big names like Price and Wieters are starting the season down in the minors.  Price can be on a card even if he’s still down in the minors, but I’ll be hoping that Wieters is called up before Upper Deck starts producing these cards.


I’m calling BS on these cards.  I’ve seen some on eBay that have colored swatches which are impossible given the team that they are supposed to be from.  There are swatches with pinstripes on them from teams that have never had pinstripes on their uniforms.  Then there’s too many ridiculously stupid cards like this Delgado here.  Why even bother with this card if you are going to put two grey swatches in it?  I’m starting to jump on the No Upper Deck Baseball in 2010 bandwagon based on uninspired cards like this.


I shouldn’t be complaining about the contents of my two packs given that I got all kinds of “hits” in them, but I will.  Here’s a Brewers team quad jersey that I pulled.  It’s nice, but where’s Ryan Braun?  This card would be awesome if Braun were on it.  He could easily bump either Sheets or Hall.  Even without Braun, this is still a good card, but is there anyone out there that would rather have this card without Braun?  It is these kinds of stupid decisions that will end up costing Upper Deck their MLB license if that does indeed happen.


Again, I’m happier with a plain, basic card.  I like the design on the DiMaggio cards.  I won’t be collecting the set and this card probably won’t stay in my collection for long since I’m sure many people will be chasing them, but I do like the card.

According to the card companies, I should be thrilled with all of those hits that I pulled, but that’s not the case.  The Ortiz is great, but the rest of the relic and auto cards leave something to be desired.  The rookie redemption is probably the best of the bunch, but I won’t know how good until the card arrives months from now.

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