Wednesday, March 31, 2010

An update

Sorry for the delay in the last part of the contest.  I held it up a little bit because two people still hadn’t replied, but then my daughter got sick on my day off, there was more rain and flooding and my free time has all but disappeared.  I’ve got Friday off before what will be a very busy Saturday and hope to get caught up on a lot of things that day.

I finally did some research and found out how simple it is to schedule posts with Windows Live Writer.  So, I’m going to take advantage of that in the future.

Thanks to everyone for reading.  I fit this in when I can around work and family.  It’s one more way to enjoy my cards since collecting on a budget limits the amount and type of cards that I can add to my collection.

I’ve got box breaks, trades, purchases, room updates and all kinds of other stuff coming.  I want to continue to celebrate the fun parts of the hobby and collecting in general.

Box Break: 2010 Rittenhouse Lost Seasons 1 Thru 5

Hurley Base

Rittenhouse is the second company to have the Lost license with the first being Inkworks.  I wasn’t a big fan of the Inkworks products as the boxes seemed too expensive to me for what you got.  Rittenhouse took over the license and they seem to have gotten things right.  For just about the same price per box, you get three autographs instead of just one and there aren’t any redemption cards.

Rittenhouse as a company puzzles the heck out of me.  They don’t take advantage of new media at all.  They barely have a website.  You won’t find Rittenhouse Archives or on Twitter or Facebook.  You won’t find any sponsored breaks to check out before you buy.  The company does have a rewards program, but the amount of points needed to get any of the rewards are ridiculous.  You have to buy 6 boxes and some loose packs just to qualify for one rewards.  They may as well not even have the program since it’ll really only benefit dealers and case breakers.  Just put that money towards some nice box toppers and you’re all set.  That’ll save the postage on mailing in the wrappers and reward normal collectors.

Rittenhouse makes some high quality cards.  They aren’t glossy, but once you’ve held them in your hands and looked at them, you won’t mind at all.  The pictures look great on the sturdy, bright white card stock.  The fact that there’s no gloss makes them perfect for autographs.  I wish that I had the Hurley card pictured above when I sent my autograph request to Jorge Garcia because I would love to have this card signed and in my collection.

The set consists of 108 cards (kudos Rittenhouse for that little detail) with one card for every episode of the first 5 seasons.  Header cards for each season that double as checklists fill out the rest of the set.  This set makes me wish that Rittenhouse had this license from the beginning and had done 108-card sets of each season as they aired.  Those sets would have been beautiful.


There are insert card for another ABC show to be found in packs.  While I am watching FlashForward, I wouldn’t be extremely upset if it were to be cancelled.  It has taken what could be a very interesting concept and gone almost nowhere with it.  It started off well, but the hiatus killed it and it hasn’t regained the momentum since coming back.  I would have much rather seen promo cards for another show that J.J. Abrams helped create and that’s Fringe.  That’s quickly become one of my favorite shows and I look forward to seeing what ridiculousness Walter Bishop is going to do and see each week.

LenticularThere are some fun inserts to be found in these packs.  There’s a six card set of the Oceanic Six printed on acetate with clear sections.  It looks like there’s a picture of the character off of the island in color with a picture of them on the island ghosted in the background.

The other two cards pictured here are lenticular cards.  They really don’t scan well, but they look good in person.

The middle card pictured here is of the Smoke Monster.  This season, the Smoke Monster aka The Man in Black is spending most of his time in the form of John Locke.  Popular theory says that in the past the Smoke Monster took on various forms such as Christian Sheppard, Dave and possibly even a black horse.  Hopefully they’ll explain why it could do that then, but is unable to now.

The bottom card shows Hurley’s Mr. Cluck’s Chicken Shack restaurant as it is struck by a meteor and destroyed.  The explosion killed reporter Tricia Tanaka who was covering the grand opening.  This was just another example of the terrible luck that followed Hurley around off of the island after winning the lottery with the cursed numbers muttered repeatedly by another patient in the mental hospital Hurley spent time in.

PaintingsRittenhouse jumps aboard the painted card bandwagon with their own insert set.  These cards would definitely appeal to fans of Topps Gallery, Turkey Red or Upper Deck Masterpieces.

You won’t find any gloss on these cards either and these would be beautiful cards to get signed.  This is a set that I could definitely see myself tracking down if some of them show up online at a decent price.

The theme for my box seemed to be deceased characters as three of the four characters are no longer on the show.  Shannon was shot by Ana Lucia.  Boone died after being crushed by a plane while tagging along with Locke.  Juliet died due to injuries suffered while detonating a hydrogen bomb back in the 70s.

Enough about these cards though.  The main reason that people buy these boxes is for the autographs.  Who did I pull?  Let’s find out…

FischlerMy first autograph card is of Patrick Fischler as Phil.  Phil was a member of the Dharma Initiative back in the 70s.  I can’t say that I was too impressed with this autograph, but these autograph cards are great.

All of the autographs are on-card and there’s a nice, big, white area for the actors and actresses to sign in.  The front of the cards are not glossy, but the backs of the cards are.  I like this decision because it prevents things like eBay idiots adding a “1/1” notation to a card and then trying to find a sucker to buy it.

Before I go any further, I have to warn you not to buy these Lost cards by the pack.  These packs are extremely searchable.  In my box, packs without an insert contained 6 cards and packs with an insert only contained 5.  You might not be able to tell the difference by holding them or looking at them, but anyone with a caliper could easily tell the difference.

RothMy next autograph was of Andrea Roth as Harper Stanhope in “The Other Woman.”  They had to include the episode title for this autograph card because otherwise no one would have any clue who this character was.  She appeared in one episode as Juliet’s therapist

It’s nice to see that crappy autographs aren’t confined to athletes.  Actors and actresses can have terrible autographs as well.  Seriously, what the heck is that supposed to be?  Was she drawing a picture?  Getting an autograph of a minor character is even more disappointing when the autograph looks like this.

So, I had pulled two out of my three autographs and wasn’t feeling all that great about the box.  The autograph cards are easy to pick out when you open a pick due to the borderless design.  So, when I saw the next borderless card I slid the card above it aside slowly.  I saw a cursive T and then a printed T and then a familiar bald head.

OQuinnTerry O’Quinn autograph!  My second favorite character on the show behind Hurley.  This card totally saved the box in my opinion as I think this is the best autograph there is to pull out of the box.

This set has a great design and the insert sets give you a little bit of variety as you open the packs.  I got a complete set out of my box which should always be the case with a non-sports box.

You can’t beat the value since you get a handful of inserts, a complete set and three autographs per box.  Even if you get three of the lesser autographs the box is worth it.  If you pull one of the bigger stars, they go for close to the cost of a box.  This Terry O’Quinn has sold on eBay from anywhere between $35 and $50, but this one won’t be making it’s way to eBay as it will find a permanent spot in my collection.

I would give this set an A- just because the autograph checklist is a little weak and you could very possibly get three clunkers who have each only been in one episode of the show.  The set itself is beautiful and the inserts add a lot of fun.  I have no choice but to give my box an A+ for a grade.  The only way that it could have been better was if I had pulled O’Quinn, Michael Emerson and Nestor Carbonell in the same box.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Panini Adrenalyn: The Game


I’ve got to toss out a couple of disclaimers before I start this part of my Panini Adrenalyn review.  First off, this game is designed for kids ages 6-11.  It’s been a long time since I fell in that age range.  (Paul Pierce and David Ortiz could tell you how old I am.)  Also, I spent a little over a year working at an online WWE collectible card game.  I picked up a little bit about game design during my time there just from sitting in on the design meetings.  So, that being said, here we go.

Each Adrenalyn card has two ratings on it.  There’s an offensive rating and a defensive rating.  There’s also a superstar rating, but that’s only used to settle ties.  The cards are nice and simple for younger kids.  If your offensive player’s stat is higher than the defensive player’s rating then you score two points.  If you selected one of the other player’s guards then the shot counts for three points.  You play your starting five in the first and third quarters and your bench in the second and fourth.  You can switch players from one to the other at halftime if you’d like.  I think that’s all of the rules.  It’s a slightly more complicated, better looking version of War.

That leads to my main beef with the game.  There’s no limit to the cards that you can play with.  Unlike MLB Showdown which used a point system and had a cap for your team, there’s nothing stopping you from playing with the 10 best Adrenalyn cards in the game and dominating.  I’ve never been a fan of games that favor deep pockets over strategies.  I understand that this game is being kept simple for kids, but if one friend ends up with more of the big stars or Ultimate Signature cards then the rest of their friends aren’t going to have fun anymore.  Limiting the number of superstar points you can use on a team or something like that which brought a little more strategy into the game would have been cool.  Right now this is a 300 card base set where the majority of the card would never be used.  That wouldn’t be the case if there was some sort of “salary” for the players.

Each card has a code on the back so that you can also use it in the online version of the game.  The online game is still in Beta testing and there are still bugs that pop up.  The website also allows you to trade cards and will eventually reward player as they accumulate points by playing games and entering codes.

My daughter is too young to really get into the game.  She did have fun opening the packs that we got at the Basketball Hall of Fame.  We just used the first number of each card to see who won since she doesn’t know all of the numbers up to 100 yet.  While we were playing, she declared that '”if I get a Big Baby card then I win!”  We didn’t get a Big Baby card, but we did have fun.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

You Make the Call

I'm still waiting to hear from some people in regards to the contest. If I'm not contacted by the winners by the end of the week, I'll have to go to the back-up plan which will most likely involve the people who ended up second on the list.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

TNA 2010: The New Era


TRISTAR will be releasing their next TNA set on April 28th and it looks like they’ve got a big winner here.  They were already doing a good job with the TNA sets and it looks like the quality continues to improve while the TNA roster gets better by leaps and bounds.  In fact, this past weekend I ordered my very first TNA Pay Per View and was very happy with what I saw.  The Ultimate X match featuring the Motor City Machine Guns and Generation ME was easily the match of the year so far in any federation.

One of the big selling points for this set is that there are over 30 different Hulk Hogan cards available.  This includes the base cards, relic cards, autograph cards, autographed relic cards and an Obak insert.  This set definitely has Hulkamania.

09 The base cards look great with excellent photography.  I count 11 cards in the base set with Hulk Hogan’s name on them so if you are a fan of the Hulkster then this is the set for you.  There’s a lot more than that though.  This set has content as recent as TNA’s big move to Monday night which included the return to wrestling of “Mr. Monday Night,” Rob Van Dam.  That’s a huge coup for TNA as the WWE had been trying to lure RVD back for a while now.  He did rejoin them for one night, but that would be it.  Jeff Hardy’s first TNA card is in this set as well with a picture from the Monday Night Special where he made a brief appearance.  Some other notable new additions are Scott Hall and Syxx-Pac, Shannon Moore, Mr. Anderson, Generation Me, The Pope, Desmond Wolfe and THE Brian Kendrick.

The two per box Obak cards should be very popular.  I loved the Obak set and can’t wait for these cards.  Hopefully they don’t prove to be too popular since this is a set that I’ll want to chase.

M11_f Each box contains one memorabilia card numbered to 1, 25, 50 or 199.  There aren’t any bums in the relic set.  The single relic set includes Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Mick Foley, Sting, Kurt Angle, Rob Van Dam, Mr. Anderson and Syxx-Pac.  There’s a dual relic card of Beer Money Inc.  Triple relic cards feature three Hogan swatches; Hogan, Flair and Sting (pictured) or the members of The Beautiful People.


Who wouldn’t love pulling a Hulk Hogan autograph out of one of these boxes?  Autographed cards are numbered to 1, 5, 25 or 50.  There are single signed cards of just about every member of the TNA roster.  Some of the highlights are Hogan, Sting, Angle, Kevin Nash, AJ Styles, RVD, Samoa Joe, Velvet Sky, Christy Hemme, Daniels, Daffney, Jeff Hardy and Ric Flair.

There are some nice dual autographed cards highlighting business partners such as Hogan and Dixie Carter, allies like Hogan and Abyss or bitter enemies like Kurt Angle and Mr. Anderson.  The Hogan/Angle and Hogan/Flair cards should be two of the more sought after cards from this set.

There are also triple signed cards as well.  There are four different cards with one featuring former nWo members Hogan, Nash and Syxx-Pac another with the current members of The Beautiful People, the third features The British Invasion and the last one features some of the more popular ladies of TNA (Tara, Christy Hemme and Traci Brooks).


Last, but certainly not least are the quad signed cards.  There are five different cards including the one pictured here that Beckett called the greatest wrestling card ever produced.  I think I’ve got to agree.

The other quads feature the current members of The Beautiful People along with former member Angelina Love.  The Hogan/Jarrett/Angle/Foley card should be popular as well, but not as popular as the pictured card.  There’s a card of TNA Knockouts Taylor Wilde, Sarita, Hamada and Awesome Kong and the final quad is of Hulk Hogan, Abyss, Ric Flair and AJ Styles who have been the subject of many main events lately.


There are 6 different single event-used, autographed cards.  Along with the pictures Ric Flair, you can also pull Hulk Hogan, Mick Foley, Sting, AJ Styles and Velvet Sky.  No bums there and these cards look great.

You can find the checklist and more details about the set on the official website.  Thanks to the generosity of TRISTAR, you can expect to see a preview of the set right here on the blog close to the release day.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Panini Adrenalyn: The Cards


For the second part of my Adrenalyn report, I’m going to look at the card themselves strictly in a collectible point of view.

To be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of too many of Panini’s basketball releases.  Normally, I’d spend a decent amount on Topps and Upper Deck basketball, but I didn’t spend a thing on Panini basketball until the flagship set came out.  I like the Adrenalyn cards a lot and they were my favorite cards from Panini (until Studio was released).

The design is a little busy, but these are cards designed for kids from ages 6-11 so that’s understandable.  The cards don’t go overboard though.  There’s a nice, big picture of the player right in the middle of the card with a ghosted head shot of the player in the background.  The player ratings aren’t obtrusive and blend into the overall design of the card.

The only other difference that you’ll see in the design of the Evans base cards is in the rookie cards which have the word “rookie” vertically, reading top to bottom in the background.  From what I’ve seen, the rookies don’t rate all that well in the game so those were definitely added to appeal to collectors.

Back when the game was popular, foil inserts from Wizards of the Coast’s MLB Showdown were fairly popular with collectors.  Cards from recent games such as Topps Attax and Adrenalyn haven’t caught on with collectors.  It’s a shame that’s not the case with Adrenalyn because they’re nice looking cards and there are some nice chase cards as well.  What chase cards, you may ask.  Well, I’m glad that you did.


The most common inserts fall one in every other pack and are called “Special Cards.”  Two players from each team get this treatment.  The cards are printed on rainbow foil with holographic gold foil stamping on the player’s name.  These cards have increased stats compared to the player’s base card.

You can’t really see the rainbow foil in this scan, but it’s there.  These cards look very nice in person and the rainbow reflection lets your opponent know that he’s in trouble when you turn that card over.


“Extra Cards” fall one in every eight packs.  One player from each team gets this special treatment.  The cards are printed on metalized foil with micro-etching.  The etching is in the design of a swirl behind the player with an embossed NBA logo floating behind he player along with holographic gold foil on the player name.  These cards also have increased stats.

The next level of card is “Extra Signature Cards” and those also fall one in every 8 packs.  These cards look the same as the “Special Cards” with the addition of a foil printed signature on the front of the card.  You can find one player from each team done in this style with increased stats.

The final insert type is “Ultimate Cards” and those fall one in every 23 packs.  These cards look like the “Extra Cards” with the addition of holographic gold foil signatures and “unbeatable stats.”  These cards are really nice looking and are tough to find even when you consider that these packs only cost a dollar a piece.

All things considered, I like this set a lot.  I don’t think I’ll play the game all that often, but the dollar price tag makes it easy to pick up a handful of packs whenever you see them available.  I’m definitely going to track down the 10 Celtics base cards and 5 inserts for my collection.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Contest Results

I’ll keep updating this post with the results as I finish off the randomizations.  There’s a bit of typing for each of those so they might take a while.  If you are listed as a winner, please contact me with your first and second (and even a third if you’d like) choices from the prize pool.

Contest 1: Guess the Number

I guess I made the range of numbers to guess from a little large, but there was a reason for that.  I wanted to try and give people a chance to figure out the number that I had selected.  I was always a big fan of the contests that The Mojo Hand where there was some brain work involved and that’s what I was trying to do here.

I’m a huge fan of the TV show Lost and the number 108 is big in the mythology of that show.  That’s why the contest was to select a number from 1 – 108.  The number that I selected had to do with the Lost cast member who has posted in this bog, Jorge Garcia.  I won’t go into spoilers in case someone is behind in their viewing, but the nature of the numbers has been revealed this season and the number 8 from “The List” of numbers (4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42) is associated with Garcia’s character, Hugo Reyes.  So, the number to guess was number 8.  The only problem is that no one guessed that number.  So, in an executive decision, I’m going to give entries to the two people who bookended the number.  Drew guessed 7 (which was also later guessed by BA Benny on the second guess post) and SamL guessed 9.  Congratulations, you are the first two winners.  Start thinking of your choices.

Contest 2: Random Comment

There were 31 entrants. They were all entered into and randomized once, I positioned my mouse, turned off the monitor and clicked the randomize button three more times before turning my monitor back on.  This is what I saw:

Contest 2 
Congratulations FanOfReds!  You are the third entrant into the prize pool.  Let me know which prizes you are interested in.

Contest 3: Secret Entry

The means for entering this part of the contest wasn’t exactly secret, but I didn’t spell it out in the contest instructions either.  The key was the line “it shouldn’t be too difficult to follow.”  All of the people following this blog will be entered into, randomized three times just like in the previous part of the contest and out will come a winner.  After removing my wife, there were 36 entrants (in spite of the fact that Blogger says I have 38 followers, there are only 37 that show up.)  Drum roll please…

Contest 3

Congratulations Wax Wombat!  You are the 4th entrant into the prize pool.  Let me know your selections.

Contest 4: Site Pimping

The final contest carries the best odds of winning for those who entered.  I know that publicizing a contest seems to be the last thing that you want to do at times since it means more entries and lessens the chance of you winning, but in helping the site’s readership you help guarantee that there will be future contests such as this one.  So, thank you to those who promoted these contests.  There were 10 of you and after randomizing one final time…

Contest 4

Congratulations handcollated!  You are the 5th and final entrant into the prize pool.

That’s all for this one folks.  Thanks to everyone who entered.  As I dig through the cards that I’ve had in storage and if there’s any future sponsorship, I hope to have many more future contests.  I hope this one was fun for those who participated.  I know that I had fun reading the random comments in the random comment entry thread.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Guess again

Since it is early Saturday morning and no one has yet to guess the secret number, I’m going to let everyone who has guessed take a second guess.  I’ll also give you a couple of hints as to how I selected the number.  First off, look at the range of numbers that I had people pick from.  The high number in that range in significant.  How is it significant?  That number, in relation to a recent brush with fame I had on the blog, is the key to the secret number.

Make sure to make your guesses back on the original post and remember to be logged in.

Good luck!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Panini Adrenalyn: The Tour


I was invited, along with the rest of the people on Panini’s blog mailing list, to check out the Panini Adrenalyn Tour if it was coming to a location near me.  While the bus was coming to Boston, it wasn’t making any publicized stops for the public.  So, we had to make a 2 hour drive to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield to see the bus and the Adrenalyn promotion.  On the way there we beat most of the bad weather that was to drench Massachusetts over the weekend.


There was a small court set up inside the lobby of the Hall where kids could take shots for packs of Adrenalyn cards.  My daughter made a shot with the assistance of one of the Panini employees running the shoot-around and got her first pack of cards.

There were CYO teams playing on the court in the Hall which must have been a thrill for them.  There was a good sized crowd watching the games and when the kids weren’t playing they made their way upstairs to a room where Panini had the rest of their promotion set up.


I thought this was the coolest thing in the room.  There’s got to be something you can rent that combines this with the traditional bounce castle.  Imagine bouncing on one of those things to dunk.  That would be awesome.

This was also my daughter’s favorite thing in the room, but she couldn’t even come close to making a basket so she got frustrated quickly.  To be fair, she’s a little younger that the target audience for the game so they weren’t really marketing to 4 year-old kids other than making them smile by receiving free packs of cards.


This display explained the basics of how to play the game.  It was standing next to kiosks set up to play the game online.  I attempted to play a couple of games with the demo accounts that were set up, but the cards that the demo accounts had were as bad as the cards that I have in my own account and I kept getting creamed by other players with lineups full of special cards.

Speaking of special cards, the promotions for this event touted special cards of Hall of Famers that could only be uploaded to accounts from the Hall of Fame, but I didn’t see any sign of that going on while I was there.  It’s possible that those cards were special prizes or had all been given out already, but in the over two hours that I was at the event I didn’t see any sign of those cards.  The only thing that I was looking to pick up for myself at the event was the Larry Bird card so not seeing one was a little disappointing.


Here are the aforementioned game kiosks.  There were slots in the front of the kiosks made to dispense something, but nothing popped out while I was playing.

On the other side of the floor were kiosks set up for registering to play the game.  Packs of cards were given to you if you registered.  I already had an account, but I still got some packs.  I logged into my account to see if the special cards would pop into it, but no such luck.


One very cool thing about the tour is that Panini has been bringing out NBA Legends to play the game with kids coming out to the events.  Sam Jones, one of the NBA’s 50 greatest players and 10-time champion with the Celtics looked to be having a blast playing the game.  He was joking around with everyone and was really enjoying giving away Panini’s cards.

A few lucky kids won autographed Adrenalyn cards.  I was hoping that my daughter would want to play and win, but she remembered our last trip to the Hall and only wanted to see “the other upstairs” and the Michael Jordan movie.


While at the Hall of Fame, Panini presented the Hall with the Guinness World Record largest trading card.  Unfortunately, the subject of the card was Kobe Bryant since he’s the spokesman for Panini basketball.  I’m not sure how well received anything Lakers will be by Celtics fans, but the card is extremely cool even if it does have a Laker on it.  The card has a giant 15-inch by 15-inch swatch in it and is also hard signed by Kobe himself.


After the presentation, the card was moved upstairs where the rest of the Adrenalyn stuff was located.

Once the card was presented, we decided that it was time to hit the road.  The weather was going to get worse as it got later and we had another 2 hour drive back home.

Panini is hoping to make this a yearly event at the Hall of Fame, but if they are going to do that they’re going to have to make it part of the Enshrinement Weekend or some other big event.  The Hall doesn’t draw a lot of people and is out of the way for most collectors to head to.  The kids that were at the Hall were having a good time, but I would guess that there were fewer kids seen by Panini at the Hall than most of the other stops on the tour.  The kids that did go were getting huge stacks of cards though so they were pretty happy.  Next time, Panini just needs to park the bus at the beginning of the Rose Kennedy Greenway on a Celtics game night and their cards will be seen by a lot more people.

For now, I leave you with some pictures of the bus.  Upcoming are posts with my thoughts on the cards and on the game play.






Topps Customer Service Comes Through Again

Topps fairly takes a lot of abuse for their redemption card process.  They take far too long and give way too little information about the cards both as you wait and when they are shipped.  Topps’ customer service department on the other hand is spectacular.  I’ve dealt with them a handful of times and each time they’ve gone above and beyond what I expected.  Here’s the latest example of them doing just that.

A few weeks ago, I finally got around to sending in some 2009 Ginter cards that came out of packs damaged.  I was also shorted a hit on my box and wanted to get that third hit.  So, I sent off my cards and waited.  A couple of weeks ago, I got an envelope in the mail from Topps.  I opened it up and found… someone else’s cards.  I contacted Topps to see what was up.  They asked me to ship the cards back and they would ship out the cards that I needed to be replaced.  I later got a letter in the mail from Topps asking me to send the cards back stating that they’d send some packs in return for my inconvenience.  I figured, it cost me a couple of bucks to send the first package and a couple of bucks to send the second package so some packs of Topps or even Opening Day would be nice.


This is what I found in the package: 2 packs of 2009 Finest, 2 packs of 2009 Allen & Ginter, a pack of 2009 Ticket to Stardom and a pack of 2009 Unique.  Wow, that’s around $30 - $40 retail price on this packs if I’m adding correctly.  That’s a lot more than I expected in return for doing something that I would have done anyway.  I was especially happy to see the pack of Unique since it will most likely be the only pack of Unique that I ever open since it’s not something that I can afford.

I ripped open the packs and here’s the best of what I found:


I still can’t stand the microscopic autographs on the Finest letter patches so if there are any Brewers fans out there or anyone else interested in that card, please drop me a line.  The two blue refractors were in the pack that didn’t contain the autographed card.  The two Finest packs were great.  Ginter gave me an extra Ortiz card as well as The Turk hoax card.  Ticket to Stardom was all base cards, but I’ll hang on to the Ellsbury and Pujols.  The Unique cards are really nice looking and I’m going to have to pick up some base card singles.  The Lopez is numbered to 99 and the Reimold is numbered to 1199.  While they are great looking cards, they’re a little expensive for what you get in a pack if you don’t get a hit.  It’s definitely something where you are better off buying it by the box.

Here are some of the cards that I got back from Topps.  There were a lot of National Pride, but I completed most of that set and no longer need the cards that were damaged.  At least I still need the Nique for my set so I’m one SP closer to completion.

Topps is now shipping cards in these cool little boxes to keep them from getting damaged in shipment.  I was very impressed with how the cards were packaged.  Overall, I was extremely impressed with this package from Topps.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A quick heads up

Just a quick heads up to those of you interested in the fantasy league. These auction drafts tend to take a bit longer than a typical snake draft since there's time given to nominate the next player and then time spent on the bidding process. I just did a 12 team draft that took around two and a half hours. So, once we get to the point that the league is ready to set a draft time, I'll work really hard to make sure that we can find a time that works for the majority of those involved and if anyone wants to bail due to the time constraint of the auction draft, I understand completely.

That being said, I had a blast in the draft last night. Auction drafts have a level of strategy not just in how much money you spend, but in who you nominate when your turn comes around. Hope to see some more people step up the the challenge.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Fantasy Baseball Challenge

I know some other people have fantasy baseball leagues going, but I wanted to try something a little different.  Yahoo is now offering auction style drafts which I think bring a whole other level of strategy to fantasy baseball.  If Yahoo only allowed keeper leagues, this would be perfect.  If anyone wants to check out the league and see if it is something that they’d be interested in, here’s the info:

The League ID# is 291445 and the Password is Wally – Click on “Join a League” button.

I created this league and then forgot about it.  So, I’ll set the draft time to something that works for the majority of people once it fills up.  I think the league has a maximum of 20 teams, but I’d like to get at least 16 for the way that I have the league formatted.  If fewer teams than that are interested then I’ll see if I can change it to two divisions or get rid of them completely.

At the end of the year, I’ll send out some cards for your player collection or of your favorite team to the top 2 or three teams.  Hope to see you there!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Contest 4: Site Pimping

I’m not a huge fan of doing this, but it is a good way to get the blog out there to more people.  More readers means the ability to do more contests.  If you’d like to publicize these contests on your blog, post a link to it here and you’ll gain an entry into contest 4 where the winner will be selected once again by  Make sure that you are logged in when you post your reply.


Contest 3: Secret Entry

For contest three, I’m not going to tell you how to enter.  There will be a condition and at the end of the week, all those who meet that condition will be entered into a drawing for the third spot.  Once I explain it all, it shouldn’t be too difficult to follow.

Contest 2: Random Comment

This contest is simple.  Just leave a comment below.  One comment per person please and make sure that you are logged in when you comment.  I’ll enter all of the commenters into and it’ll spit out the winner.

Have at it!

Contest 1: Guess the number

Guess a number between 1 – 108.  The first person to guess the number correctly wins.  One guess per person and make sure to remember to log into Google/Blogger/Gmail when you leave your comment.

Guess away!


This post got a little delayed due to flooded basement related craziness, but here it is.  I’ll be putting up 4 posts with different contests within them.  Enter as many as you’d like, but make sure that you are logged into Google/Blogger/Gmail when you make a reply.  There will be 6 prizes available in this contest.  Each of the four winners will submit a first and second choice for their prize selection from the prize pool.  If you are the only person to select one of the prizes as your first choice then it’s yours.  If you miss out on your first choice then it goes to your second choice.  If someone happened to miss out on their first and second choices they can pick from what’s remaining.  The prizes?

NorworthFor Obak fans, a pair of numbered minis:

Jack Norworth wrote “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”  The regular-sized card is numbered 16/25 and the mini is numbered 14/25.


Also from Obak, we’ve got a Gary Redus autograph numbered 008/200.  Redus hit .462 at Billings in 1978 which is the highest average for a season in MiLB history.


For my TRISTAR sponsored box break, we’ve got the Tony Sanchez gold parallel of the red background variant.  This card is numbered 15/50.  Sanchez was the #4 overall draft pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates.


Next up is another card from the TRISTAR sponsored break.  This Allen Pollock autograph is the green parallel and it is numbered 23/25.  Pollock was the 17th overall draft pick and was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks.


Next up are a couple of cards for wrestling fans.  The first is an autographed memorabilia card of Sheik Abdul Bashir.  It contains piece of an Agal worn in a TNA Event, Hard Justice to be exact.  This card is numbered 73/99.


The final card is another wrestling card.  This Abyss autograph is numbered 02/50.  Abyss is currently getting a huge push in TNA and tag teamed with Hulk Hogan against Ric Flair and AJ Styles.  Abyss will face Styles at the next Pay Per View for a shot at the TNA Championship.

There you go, good luck everyone!  These contests will remain open until Midnight PST next Saturday the 20th.  I’ll announce the winners on Sunday.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Weekend Update

In celebration of TRISTAR sponsoring a box break on the site, look for a bunch of TRISTAR related giveaways starting over the weekend.  Details regarding the prizes and how to enter will be posted this weekend.

Also, I will be making a trip on Saturday to the Basketball Hall of Fame to check out the Panini Adrenalyn tour bus.  In Springfield, Panini will be presenting the Hall of Fame with the World’s Largest Signed Game-Used Jersey Card.  The card is 7-feet tall with a 15-inch by 15-inch jersey swatch inside of it.  Actually, this is way more than a swatch.  In eBay terms it would be a “SICK MOJO!!!!!1 4 Color Patch with 50 breaks! 1/1”

Other things going on at the Hall of Fame will be the distribution of more than 10,000 packs of Adrenalyn Cards and Game Boards to Hall of Fame visitors, Appearances by former Celtics Sam Jones, Satch Sanders and Jo Jo White who will be playing the game and coaching kids in basketball skills activities, kiosks to play Adrenalyn online, the ability to upload exclusive Hall of Fame cards of Kareem, Larry Legend, Clyde the Glide, Magic and Scottie Pippen as well as youth basketball games.  Panini also posted pictures of some autographed cards that they’ve been giving away during this tour including a Rajon Rondo.  I’m hoping that my daughter wins one of those.  That way she’ll be all set for Father’s Day, my birthday and Christmas.

More posts!  I’ve got a notebook full of drafts and piles of cards from trades and eBay purchases to post.  I’ve also got some packages to get ready this weekend to go out.  First, and most importantly, date night with my wife on Friday to celebrate meeting each other six years ago.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sponsored Box Break: 2009 TRISTAR Prospects+



This box break is brought to you by the fine folks at TRISTAR.  I apologize for not getting this box break posted earlier, but it was the perfect storm of construction and illness that kept me from pulling this together.  Now that everything is done except for the painting, I can get back into the swing of things.

Enough about me, lets get to the cards.  My first impression of these cards when I opened the first pack was that they were really nice.  TRISTAR used a really nice, thick card stock with a nice gloss on them.  The only other TRISTAR baseball product that I had opened prior to this was Obak and there was a huge difference between the two sets.  The Obak cards felt like old minor league cards and these cards feel like modern cards.

You don’t notice right away that these cards are unlicensed.  TRISTAR did a great job of selecting nice photos that show the player and when necessary, the airbrushing is well done.  The only card that feels a little strange is the sketch of Stephen Strasburg, but I’d rather a sketch card of a player in the set than no card at all.

Boston The set consists of many of the top 2009 draft picks, a couple of minor league free agent signings and some veterans on the multiplayer cards.  The base cards are nicely designed with a nice large area for the picture with foil on the top and bottom.  The cards look really nice in person.  Unfortunately, my scanner seems to highlight my fingerprints on the foil more than anything else, but that’s not the case when you are holding the cards in your hand.

Each box of Prospects+ guarantees 11 hits.  I got the 11 hits that were promised, but my breakdown was a little different than what is listed on the sell sheet, but I’m not complaining because in my opinion it was an error in my favor.


Serial numbered cards are a staple of TRISTAR releases.  The sell sheet states that each box will contain 2 parallel cards, but my box only contained one; this gold parallel of Tony Sanchez numbered 15/50.

Sanchez played his college ball right here in Massachusetts for Boston College.  The Eagle was drafted 4th by the Pittsburgh Pirates after setting the B.C. single season record for runs scored with 63.  If Ryan Doumit can’t recapture 2008’s glory, his time behind the plate might be running out.  Pittsburgh usually has a good number of their draft picks pan out, it’s just a shame that the don’t end up playing in Pittsburgh for long.  They’ve traded away an All-Star team over the past 5 or so years.


This Matthew Hobgood card is one of the short print portrait cards.  The sell sheet states that there should also be two of these per box, but this one was the only one that I received.  There are also short printed color variations.  The above Tony Sanchez is actually a numbered version of the color variation as the regular version of the card has a yellow background.

Although variations get under the skin of some collectors, I don’t see any problem with them.  If it is a card that you like then you keep it and if not then you sell it.  As long as it isn’t a card that was supposedly pulled that “accidentally” made its way into packs, I have no problems with variations.


I love the Obak set.  I love that there are Obak update cards as inserts in this set and I will definitely be tracking these down.  My box contained the #2 draft pick Dustin Ackley who was overshadowed by the immense hype surrounding Stephen Strasberg.  I don’t think Seattle minded too much being able to select him with the second pick in the draft.

It’s tough to go wrong with the Obak update cards since there are only 5 of them so you’re either going to get Strasburg, Ackley, Donovan Tate, Sanchez or Hobgood.  There are back variations just like in the rest of the Obak set and these cards will complete that set beautifully.

CrystalThe reason why I didn’t mind getting only one each of the short print and parallel cards is that I ended up with 4 of the Crystal Ballers insert cards.  I like these cards a lot.  They’ve got a really nice design and the backs are interesting.  Each card back has three statements about the player with the first starting with the letter P, the second with the letter R and the last one with the letter O.  My box contained Matthew Hobgood, Michael Leake, Jared Mitchell and Slade Heathcott.

BarkleyThe final four hits in each box are serial numbered autographs.  Prospects+ contains autographs of all of the top 40 signed 2009 draft picks including Strasburg so you’ve got a shot at some great cards.  The highest serial number you’ll find on the autograph cards is 199 which is very good.  In many other sets you’d have to find a rarer parallel for it to be numbered that low, but not in Prospects+.  In this set, it’s either that or better.

This card here is a fun autograph to pull out of the box.  Alibay Barkley was the 1521st overall pick in the 2009 draft.  For those of you counting at home, that was the final pick in the draft.  Yes, Barkley is 2009’s Mr. Irrelevant.  That’s a fun card.


Jeffrey Kobernus was the 50th pick overall by the Washington Nationals.  In 2009 at the University of Washington, Kobernus batted .341 with 14 2B, 3 3B,  8 HR, 40 RBI and had a .544 slugging percentage.  If he can continue that success in the minors, it shouldn’t be too long because he’s playing for the Nationals.


Next up is an autographed card of Randal Grichuk.  Grichuk was the 24th pick in the draft and will be joining the Los Angeles California Angels of Anaheim organization.

Grichuk was drafted out of high school were he batted .613 with 21 HR, 23 walks and 46 RBI in 28 games.  He continued to hit well in the Arizona League as a .322 clip with 53 RBI in 53 games.

PollockMy one parallel autograph was also the one of the highest draft pick in my box.  This is a green parallel numbered to 25 copies.  Allen Pollock was drafted 17th overall by the Diamondbacks.  A Notre Dame alum, Pollock hit .365 with a .443 on-base percentage during the 2009 season.  Pollock is said to have above-average speed and has played in the middle infield as well as the outfield.  That versatility could help him reach the majors more quickly.

Final Thoughts:
: I like the design a lot.  The fronts of the cards are a little busy, but it doesn’t intrude on the picture at all.  4/5
Collation: My box contained 12 duplicates and while it did have 11 hits, it didn’t contain the right assortment of 11 hits according to the sell sheet.  3/5
Condition: There were some cards with slightly dinged corners and you might be able to see a white spot along the bottom of the Sanchez card, but overall the cards were in good condition. 4/5
Value: These boxes look to be selling for around $60.  When you are getting 4 autographs numbered to 199 or less of potential future superstars, that’s a great deal.  When you also get some nice base cards and the other inserts, in my opinion you’re getting a great deal.  5/5

Total Score: 16/20