Monday, November 29, 2010

Something To Be Thankful For

I know this is a few days late, but I work retail and didn’t have a heck of a lot of free time over Thanksgiving weekend.  I am thankful for those who have followed me to the new blog and are actively participating.  I originally stated that I would have seven winners for the contest, but since there were only eight entries in total… everyone is a winner.

So, BA Benny, night owl, longlivethewho, Fuji, Section 36, joe, Steve D and AdamE, please send me the following information at so that I can get you your prizes:

Favorite Team:
Favorite Player:
Mailing address:

It might take a little while to get things together and sent out, but you should have your winnings before the holidays.

Thanks again for participating!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Collectors Proof

Has anyone else out there on Facebook seen the ad for  It’s another website that lets you enter your collection.  I haven’t joined yet because I’m wary due to the Facebook integration and the sometimes lacking security in regards to Facebook apps and their access to your information.  If I do join, it will probably be without linking it to Facebook and Twitter at first.  Although, if you remove that functionality form this site, it’s not really anything of note.  Maybe it’ll look really cool once I sign up, don’t know.  Has anyone out there signed up for this site and if so, how do you like it?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fantasy Baseball: Keeper Time – Outfield

My outfield is a little crowded at the moment due to some late season signings.  Since I was out of the running, I started looking at players who had been injured to see if I could find any potential bargains for 2011.  Here’s who I have on the roster:

  • Bobby Abreu
  • Nick Markakis
  • Grady Sizemore
  • Coco Crisp
  • Felix Pie
  • Domonic Brown
  • Chevez Clarke
  • Bryce Harper
  • A.J. Pollock

Abreu was actually the last outfielder that I signed before last season started.  I’m not a huge fan, but he ended up being my best outfielder last season.  His salary dropped from 4786 to 3797 and I could see his production dropping yet again as he gets older.  I’m not sure if I want to spend a keeper pick on him.

My outfield was full of underachievers last season.  Nick Markakis saw his salary drop from 4634 to 3750.  After drops is both homers and RBIs, hopefully Markakis can rebound in 2011 and be a little bit of a bargain.

Right now, Grady Sizemore is set to return to action during spring training.  If he can put up anything close to his 2008 numbers then he’s going to be a huge steal at his 2011 salary of 1120.  Hopefully he hasn’t lost any of his speed when he returns.

Coco Crisp was another late season addition, but he saw some playing time late last season when he was red hot and stealing bases right and left.  If he can stay healthy and put up numbers like he did when healthy in 2010 then he’s going to be a steal at a salary of 749.

Felix Pie seemed like he might actually be putting it all together in Baltimore late last season so I took a chance and added him to my roster.  His salary of 570 isn’t much so he can start the season as a fourth outfielder with potential to move into the starting lineup.

I’ve got some very nice outfield prospects that will be earning 100 this season: Domonic Brown, Chevez Clarke, Bryce Harper and A.J. Pollock.  I’m curious as to how quickly the Nationals will call up Harper especially now that Strasburg is injured.  They’ve got to sell tickets somehow.

So, which outfielders do you bring back to start the season?  Is Abreu in decline?  Will Markakis rebound?  Should I be excited about Sizemore?  What kind of deal would it take to pry Harper away from you?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fantasy Baseball: Keeper Time – Catcher

The catcher position is a little crowded for me.  When Victor Martinez went down with an injury last season, I ended up grabbing John Buck who ended up being one of last season’s nice surprises.  He signed a nice deal with the Marlins and may see his numbers increase with more games played.  Here’s the current catching situation:

  • Victor Martinez
  • John Buck
  • Taylor Teagarden
  • Jesus Flores
  • Tony Sanchez

Victor Martinez is another player whose salary is lower this season due to an injury.  His numbers also dropped a little bit in 2010 and so his 2011 salary is 2525 after earning 3519 for his 2009 season.  Unfortunately, I don’t think he’ll end up sticking around in Boston, but I will definitely keep Martinez around here.  Having first base eligibility is also a big plus.

I may try to shop Buck around since he’s a little pricey to keep around as a backup catcher.  His 2011 salary will be 1113.  If I’m not able to trade him then I think I have to keep him since I don’t really want another team snatching him up.  It all comes down to what I’ve got available for salary.

I think that Taylor Teagarden is currently penciled in as the opening day catcher for the Rangers, but right now I think that I’d rather have Max Ramirez on my roster.  Not that either one of them did anything of note last season.  Teagarden’s 2011 salary is 146.

Jesus Flores might end up being healthy for the 2011 season, but I’m not sure if there will even be a roster spot for him with the Nationals if he is.  If healthy, he could end up being a nice bargain with a salary of 158 if he sees a decent amount of playing time.  There’s no guarantee that will be the case though.

Tony Sanchez is the Pirates super prospect.  For 100 there’s no way he’s going anywhere.

What do you think I should try and do with Buck?  Any thoughts on Teagarden or Flores?  What would you do with these five players?

Fantasy Baseball: Keeper Time – Third Base

What’s up next?  I don’t know… third base.  Here who was manning the hot corner for my team when the season ended:

  • Chase Headley
  • Kevin Kouzmanoff
  • Alberto Callaspo
  • Kaleb Cowart

Last season, I was able to slot Chase Headley into the outfield, but he isn’t eligible there this season.  Right now, he’s the favorite to win the position.  His 2011 salary will be 2446.

Last year’s starter, Kevin Kouzmanoff had a very disappointing 2010 season and saw his salary drop from 2076 to 1891.  Right now, there’s no guarantee that I keep Kouz around.  He is eligible to play both second and third which is a bonus, but even if he bounces back it isn’t to a stat line to get excited about.

Callaspo actually ended up outperforming Kouzmanoff and saw some time at third base later in the season.  Both Callaspo and Kouzmanoff suffer from low averages, not a lot of power and no speed.  Even though they are both eligible for both second and third, there isn’t much of a reason to keep them around.

Kaleb Cowert is another prospect and will stick around for 100.

So, what moves do you make here?  I like opening the season with Headley.  Anyone out there think that Kouzmanoff or Callaspo are worth keeping around?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fantasy Baseball: Keeper Time – Second Base

Next up in the fantasy baseball discussion is second base.  Here are the players currently on my roster:

  • Brian Roberts
  • Kolbrin Vitek
  • Willy Aybar
  • Jamey Carroll

After suffering through Brian Roberts’ injury plagued season in 2010, I have to keep him around this year.  I’ll be getting him at a huge discount this season at 1682 down from 4293.  If Roberts puts up his usual numbers then that’s going to be a huge bargain for me.

Kolbrin Vitek is last year’s first round pick by the Red Sox so he’s sticking around at a salary of 100.

Willy Aybar is interesting only because he qualifies for three positions: 2B, 3B and 1B.  His salary next season will be 536.

Jamey Carroll also qualifies for three positions: 2B, SS, and 3B.  If I keep these two guys on my bench then I’ve got my whole infield covered as long as they’re playing.  Carroll’s salary will be 799.  I’m not sure if a couple of utility infielders are worthy of keeper picks though.

What are your thoughts?  Do I roll the dice and see what’s out there for utility players in the redistribution draft?  Should I feel secure going into the season with Roberts as my starting second sacker?

Fantasy Baseball: Keeper Time – First Base

Those of you who have been reading the blog for a while have probably seen previous mentions of my Benchwarmer Baseball fantasy team.  They’ve just released preliminary salary information for the upcoming season and so it is time to decide on keepers and maybe do some early trading.  My team’s coffers currently contain $45738 (in millions) and I can keep up to 28 players (on a roster that can consist of up to 40 players).  I’m going to go through my team position by position to get some feedback on what all of you think that I should do.

Here are the first basemen that are currently on my roster:

  • Joey Votto
  • James Loney
  • Yonder Alonso
  • Lars Anderson

Votto is a no-brainer.  For one, he’s easily the best hitter on my team.  In fact, he won the MVP award for the league.  I also don’t have to pay anything to Votto this season since I extended his contract for two more years during last season.  Votto’s salary would have been 4133 up from 2200 last season so I saved a big chunk of cash with that move.

I’m leaning towards keeping James Loney around as my DH.  The only problem that I have with that is he puts up solid, but not spectacular numbers.  I’d like a little more out of the DH position.  I don’t want to just let Loney walk though so maybe I’ll shop him around a little bit.  Loney’s salary for 2011 will be 3039.

Alonso and Anderson are prospects that will be on my minor league roster.  I may look to shop some of my prospects since I’ll be opening the season with a full minor league roster and you don’t want to have to release any of those guys if you can help it.  The salary for both of these guys will be the league minimum of 100.

So, what do you do in this position?  I’m loaded at the C and OF positions so a DH might come out of those positions if I don’t retain Loney.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Contest Reminder

Just a reminder to enter the contest.  There hasn’t been a lot of activity since the original post so I’m leaning towards closing it up on Sunday.  So, if you’ve been putting it off it is now the time to reply and take a shot at a nice stack of cards for your collection.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Welcome Back Delonte


When I first got back into collecting cards around the beginning of this decade, I was a little put off by wax boxes, especially basketball wax boxes.  Suddenly, rookie cards were short printed and serial numbered.  Sure, it temporarily added a little more value to the cards, but it also meant that you now only got a handful of rookies in a box instead of most or all of them.  There’s nothing worse than opening a box of hoops, getting only 4 rookies and having them all be late second round picks.

Through most of 2004 and 2005, I bought lots and lots of singles and mostly basketball cards.  I put together nice collections of Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes and Delonte West rookies.  A few years later, none of those players remained on the Celtics roster.  Big Al and Gomes went to the Timberwolves in the deal that brought The Big Ticket to Boston while Delonte left town with Wally Szczerbiak in the deal that brought Ray Allen and Big Baby to the Garden.

As a brief aside, while most of the press was about the Garnett trade we had to give up a huge talent in Jefferson and a big role player in Gomes to acquire KG.  We gave up next to nothing in return for both Ray Allen and Big Baby.  West was the most valuable piece of that trade, but he was expendable because of what Rajon Rondo had shown the team and was given the keys to drive Boston’s new Big Three.  This trade, especially since it provided a player that may be a part of Boston’s future after the Big Three Part Two, might be remembered years from now as the better of the two.

Tonight, after serving out a ten game suspension to start the season, Delonte West played his first game back in a Boston uniform.  He’s now the back-up point guard behind Rondo, but with his addition to the Celtics second unit, they’re got a bench squad that could beat some of the starting fives in the league.  If Kendrick Perkins, Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’neal are ever all healthy at the same time and you’ve got the O’Neal twins playing as part of the second unit, this team is going to be scary.  Favorites to win it all scary.

So, in Delonte’s first game back in Boston he played 21 minutes and scored 12 points with 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and 3 turnovers.  Some of that was in garbage time at the end of the game, but it was definitely a successful return to Boston for Delonte.  Hopefully he finds happiness here in Boston and can the problems that plagued him in Cleveland behind him.

As far as cards go, it’s nice to take some of the cards in the “Former Celtic” section of my collection and move them back into the “Current Celtic” section of my binder.  Hopefully I will be doing the same with Big Al’s cards when KG is ready to call it a career.


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Monday, November 15, 2010

Music Syzygy: The Push Stars/Chris Trapper

PushStarsThe main passions in my life are my family, sports and music.  From time to time on this new blog, I’ll write a little bit about what I love musically.

The Push Stars are a local band formed in Cambridge, Massachusetts back in 1996.  Their Wikipedia page is kind of lacking, but I’ll share with you what is on the back of this trading card:

Won the 1999 Boston Music Award’s “Rising Star” category; Won ‘98 BMA’s “Outstanding Rock Band” & songwriter Chris Trapper won “Outstanding song/songwriter”; Named “Best Unsigned Band in America” in EMI Music Publishing’s Radio & Records ‘zine competition in ‘97.

The film “There’s Something About Mary” features The Push Stars song “Everything Shines” & their music was on a Feb 99 episode of “ER” [which I’m pretty sure was George Clooney’s final one] and is played on MTV’s “Singled Out” & “The Real World” shows.

Even though they’re a local band, it took someone living in Texas to introduce me to the band.  My first Push Stars show was on October 11th, 1998 where I was literally introduced to the band after the show.  The friendship with the person who brought me to the show didn’t last all that long, but my love of The Push Stars’ music has.  Without that brief friendship though, who knows if I ever would have discovered this band.

When the Boston Band Cards set was produced in 1999 by Kaos Kards (see card from set above), The Push Stars were newly signed with Capitol Records and poised to takeover the airwaves.  So, why aren’t they a household name?  Not long after the release of the first major label album After the Party, Capitol Records decided to change their focus to R&B and Hip Hop.  Suddenly, bands such as The Push Stars and Marcy Playground weren’t getting the attention of the label any longer.  Having developed a strong fan base through constant touring, the Push Stars decided to ask for their release from Capitol and released their next album, Opening Time, through Tower Records’ Co-op Pop label.  Their final album of all-new material, Paint the Town, was released in 2004 on 33rd Street Records.  In 2005, the band released a live album before slowly winding down as a threesome.

Even though The Push Stars never became households names, they had a very successful career.  The band had lots of devoted fans who would fill up nice sized venues whenever the band came to town.  You may have heard their songs in “The Devil Wears Prada” or Farrelly Brothers’ movies “There’s Something About Mary” and “Me, Myself & Irene.”  Push Stars songs have also been used on TV shows such as “All My Children,” “Malcolm in the Middle” and “ER.”  Additionally, you might have seen the band performing with Matchbox 20, Morphine, Guster, Vertical Horizon, G Love and Special Sauce, Train, Great Big Sea, Live and Better Than Ezra to name a few.  So, it’s very possible that you’ve heard a Push Stars song without even knowing it.

Here I am singing with The Push Stars at Harper’s Ferry in 2005

The end of the Push Stars wasn’t all bad as the lead singer, Chris Trapper, started doing more and more solo gigs.  Chris released his first solo album in 2002, but that was sold mainly at Push Stars shows to people looking for a copy of Chris’ funny and much improved version of The Birthday Song.

I found something in Chris’ solo work that wasn’t there as much in the songs that he wrote for The Push Stars.  Chris wrote amazing pop songs for The Push Stars, but many times they were just songs.  Chris’ solo work is much more personal and heartfelt.  While Chris’ current music is most often classified as folk, a genre that I didn’t really listen to before this, his is far and away my favorite musical artist.  (I prefer Chris’ website’s classifications of roots-pop and alt-acoustic.)  Chris’ shows have gotten even better as of late with the addition of stories about his life and the songs that he is playing added to the performance.


My wife and I enjoy Chris’ music so much that we had him sing at our wedding which made a special day so much more so.  Seeing Chris perform has become a family event (even if my daughter sometimes doesn’t stay awake all the way through a show) and it’s just as much fun talking to Chris about our families as it is the music.

Chris’ strong songwriting has earned him two SOCAN awards for collaborations with the band Great Big Sea including the song “Sea of No Cares.”  Chris was chosen to write an original song for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and performed it at The United Nations.  Chris’ solo work has appeared as the theme song for The WB’s Pepper Dennis, in the movie “August Rush” (performed by Jonathan Rhys Meyes), as the theme song for NESN’s Sox Appeal and ABC’s All My Children.

Chris did something interesting with his latest LP release, Into the Bright Lights.  He released it in a “pay what you can” format.  If you think the album is worth $5 then pay that.  If you think the album is worth $100 then you can pay that price.  If you really want to put the songs on your iTunes at work and left your iPod at home then you could pay nothing.  (Totally hypothetical situation not at all drawn from my life.)  Check out the songs and download the album if you dig it.

For those of you who didn’t run for the hills when you saw this post (and I’d understand if you did since this is a sports card blog after all) and read through it, I’ve got something special for you.  I actually have an extra copy of what I think is Chris’ best album, Til the Last Leaf Falls, up for grabs.  All that you have to do is check out some of Chris’ music and if you like it and think you’d enjoy this CD, reply to this post with the song that you liked best.


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Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Mini Contest

Hey everyone,

I’m looking for a little help in getting readership back up to where it was at the old site.  Between a lack of posts and then changing to the new site, readership has trailed off and I’d like to get it back up again.  This isn’t the type of contest that’s going to bring all kinds of new readers to the blog and that’s not what I’m trying to do there.  That will be another contest for another time.  I’m just looking to make sure that everyone that was reading is still reading and have a little fun whilst sending some stuff out to those people.  (New readers will, of course, be welcomed with open arms and welcome to participate in everything.)

There are six ways to earn entries to this contest.  Everything will be done in this post with the exception final method of entry.

  1. Follow the blog.  If you like it, please follow it.  If not, then don’t.  There are plenty of other ways to obtain entries so please don’t feel obligated to click the follow button.
  2. Add Sports Syzygy to your Blogroll.  Also, if you notice that your blog isn’t in mine, let me know and I will add it.
  3. Feedback on the new site. I know there weren’t huge changes, but what do you think of the new blog.  I’m interested in things like the look, name, theme, etc.
  4. Feedback on my box break videos. What do you think of box break videos and how do you like mine in comparison? I’m definitely not looking for blind praise.  How can I make these better.  I dug out an old mic to try and address the issue with my voice being so soft.  I may add a webcam to my Christmas list if people are enjoying these since it will improve the quality greatly over using the built-in iSight cam.
  5. Feedback in general. What do I do on this blog that you like?  What do you dislike?  How can I improve things?  Are posts too image heavy?  Do you like/dislike having inline images rather than images between paragraphs?
  6. Follow sportssyzygy on Twitter.  I’ll pull the list of followers from there and add them to the mix.

To make things a little easier on me, try to put as many of the first five entries into one post as you can.  This will be open until next Sunday at the very least so you’ve got plenty of time.  Just post that you’ve completed the first two, if you have, and then put your feedback in that same post.

I’m going to have a random drawing for each of the methods of entry as well as one big final drawing from all of the entries.  You can only win once to ensure that things get spread around as much as possible.  There wouldn’t be any benefit to winning multiple times anyway.  Each of the seven winners will receive a nice stack of cards consisting of their favorite player(s) and team(s).  I’ve been busting a lot of stuff lately and need to send some of it away.  There may be some fun surprises in there as well.  Once this contest is done, I’ll be posting a lot of trade bait from what’s left over so stay tuned for that.

P.S. For those of you with basketball card blogs, if you could mention this blog to some of the other hoops bloggers out there it would be greatly appreciated.  With less people interested, the hoops stuff piles up ever more than the baseball stuff.  I’ve got all kinds of fun stuff there to trade and send off to better homes.

Thanks to everyone!

Mike Piazza: Trifecta and More

Borrowing a little bit from a post on DrewsCards, I’m going to post a recentlt completed Trifecta with a little extra sauce.  It’s great to be back up and running on Windows Live Writer.  There is absolutely no good blogging software for the Mac so now I’ve got Windows running virtually on my Mac.


This right here is the card that started it all.  I first read about Mike Piazza while doing research for my Robot Baseball fantasy league.  He was listed as one of the top prospects in the book that I had and so I grabbed him for my team.  By the time 1992 Bowman was released, Piazza was in the midst of his Rookie of the Year season and most dealers had his card hidden away.  I was lucky enough to find one person willing to sell it for the first Beckett listing of $3.  It wouldn’t stay there for long as the whole set shot up in popularity and this soon became a $60 card.  Even thought the price or both the complete set and this card have dropped since the 90s, this still remains one of the few sets from that era which is still worth a 92Fleergood amount of money.  This is also one of the best looking cards of all time in my opinion.

Piazza’s other rookie, form the 1992 Fleer Update set eluded me up until this year.  This set carried a high price tag from the day it was released due to Piazza tearing things up his rookie year.  There also didn’t seem to be nearly as many sets out there in 1992 as there are these days.  I was finally able to pick up the whole set for a great price on eBay which also allowed me to add the Tim Wakefield from this set to my collection at the same time.

PiazzaSwatchI’ve picked up a decent assortment of Piazza relic cards over the years.  I like these kinds of cards, but I don’t love them.  I pick up the ones that I like, but by no means do I have to have all of them.

This jumbo swatch is something that you don’t see every day.  Most swatches are tiny little things, but the Super Sweet Swatches from 2006 Upper Deck Sweet Spot are great looking cards.  Only 299 of these cards exist.

PiazzaGinterOf all of the Piazza bat cards that I have, I think that this one would have to be my favorite.  The framed minis from Topps always look pretty good and this card is no exception.  The bat chip is a little small, but then again so is the mini that it is encased in.  This was an eBay acquisition back in 2007 for a whopping dollar plus shipping.

In second place is my 2005 Bowman Sterling shiny refractor bat card numbered to 199.

Back in the year 2005, I had a little more disposable income than I do now.  I had also soured on opening wax because of all of the short prints and other annoying things that were going on at the time.  So, I bought a lot of singles on eBay.  There was one card that I kept buying and buying and buying even though I already had a copy in my collection.


That card is Donruss 2005 Prime Patches PP-20.  While they all have the same card number, there are different variations and even different looks within the same variations.

This first card here is one of the most plain variations that you can get.  This card is numbered to 150 and should contain jersey swatches from a Dodgers jersey and a Mets jersey.  There are even corresponding pictures on the card.  This is something that Upper Deck would fail to master right up until the day they lost their baseball license.


This next version has more relics, but it is still numbered to 150 copies.  From the top and proceeding clockwise, this card contains a white jersey swatch, black show swatch, gray jersey swatch and a white pants swatch.  You can’t really tell which swatches are from which team’s uniform, but I don’t think it’s really all that important.  It would be more of an issue if I was only a fan of Piazza while he was with a certain team.

The next card is where things start to get interesting.  This card is now numbered to 88 so you know that it must be almost twice as good as the 2005-1cprevious card.  This card starts out similarly to the previous Piazza card, but then it ends with a bang.  The first three relics are black shoe, white jersey and black show.  The final windows contains a three color prime jersey patch.  I know this is above the Dodgers logo, but I think this most likely is from a Mets jersey.  I could be wrong though since it is tough to keep track with all of the jersey variations that exist.

I forget exactly what order I purchased these cards in, but after acquiring one, I would see another one with a nicer looking patch piece and would purchase that one as well.  I’m now cornering the market with three of the 88 copies of this card.


I’m guessing that this might have been the first version of this card that I purchased since the patch leaves a little to be desired.  There are three colors again, but this time there’s orange instead of black.

I would have liked more variety on the other relic pieces in these cards.  I don’t understand the need for two shoe swatches.  I would have loved a piece of bat or even pants just to have something different in there.


Here’s the final version of PP-20 in my collection.  This one isn’t as nice as the first patch, but looks like it is probably taken from the same section of the jersey.I like this one a lot because it has a different colored swatch in the second shoe window.  The white jersey swatch isn’t quite big enough for the window which is a little disappointing.  The card still looks good though.

These days with limited funds, I don’t think I’ll ever go crazy grabbing multiple variations of a card like that.  The closest that I’ve come is probably the Topps Tek cards or the awesome Polo Grounds inserts.


This Tools of the Trade card from 2005 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia is an example of what I was talking about in regards to variety in the types of relics in a card.  Here you’ve got little swatches from a jersey, pants, a bat and a shoe.  What else do you need?  Oh yeah, there is one more thing.


Here’s the Piazza Sweet Spot card that I just picked up on eBay.  Luckily this is from the 2006 set so the ink won’t fade into Bolivia. /miketyson  It’s not the lowest numbered Piazza autograph out there and it’s technically not an on-card auto like I was searching for, but it’s an awesome card and I’m so excited to add this to my collection.


One more card for good measure before I go.  Here's the Topps Update Bat Barrel card that I picked up at the big Shriners Card Show.  I may have a hard time picking up the regular version of this card for the same price that I picked this one up for.

My take on manufactured cards: All cards are manufactured.  If they decided to stick a patch or bat barrel in there doesn’t matter to me as long as it looks good.  All of these manufactured cards look much better than any of the millions of boring, plain jersey swatch cards out there.

So, there you go.  A little glimpse into the highlights of my Mike Piazza collection.  Hope you enjoyed!

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Box Break: 2010 Topps WWE

This past Friday night was the biannual Greater Boston Sports Collectors Club show at the Aleppo Shriners Hall in Wilmington. While this show is heavily weighted towards vintage cards, there are usually enough modern product there for me to have a good time. Heck, I could have a good time just walking through the show looking at all of the amazing cards for sale. There's tobacco cards, '52s and just about anything you could imagine. Rows of Mantles in various grades by half grades, Babe Ruths, Teddy Ballgame and more.

So, what did I purchase at this show that could almost pass as a sports card museum? Wrestling cards. That's right, I purchased a box of 2010 Topps WWE trading cards. I'm not that into Bowman Chrome and want to wait and see if the price drops any lower before I possibly buy any of that. I decided to try something different especially since I have yet to pick up a box of the 2009 edition of these.

So, what did I think of the box? There are far too many insert sets in this stuff. I pulled 57 insert cards out of my box. It is just like 2010 Baseball in that regard. I did not get a complete set and still need 5 cards to complete the set. I got three doubles and one damaged card that I wasn't putting in the set. That annoys me when it comes to a product such as this one. Singles can be tough enough to find these days for popular sets. Forget it when it comes to non-sports and wrestling sets.

How can you complain, you pulled the best non-parallel card in the whole product? That's true and I'm still buzzing about the dual auto pull, but I'm looking at the box in terms of just the base set first off. The majority of the boxes out there aren't going to contain a card as good as this one and if someone gets a dud auto or no auto in their box (autographs fall one in every other box) then this is something that's going to bother them. When it comes to smaller, oddball sets there has to be a complete set in every box.

I'll speak briefly on the various insert sets:

  • National Heroes (1:8) - I really like these cards. The design is simple with the wrestler in front of the flag of their homeland, but it works. These would have been even cooler in the 80s when nationality was such a huge part of wrestling.
  • History of... (1:8) - These are completely unnecessary and I could have done without them. It's easy to sum up the history of The Miz or Kelly Kelly in one paragraph, but how do you sum up the history of wrestlers such as William Regal or Chris Jericho in one ten sentence paragraph?
  • ToppsTown (1:6) - Sure, if you are copying the format of the other Topps sets, why not. They're actually limited in this with four found in each box.
  • Favorite Finishers! (1:4) - This is the first insert set that absolutely belongs here. Finishing moves have become such a huge part of wrestling these days. I almost wish that these were one per pack like ToppsTown is in every other product. The simple design of these cards leaves plenty of space for some great photography.
  • Championship Material/World Championship Material (1:6 each) - These cards are a bit of a mess. There are 50 cards of wrestlers who have held the various WWF/WWE titles. Then there's a different 25 card set of wrestlers who have held the World Championship. Then there are variants of these cards with picture puzzles on the back of title bels that fall once in every 12 packs. There are three different puzzles so you'll end up with six of these parallels in the box in addition to eight of the regular cards which is a second layer of unnecessary.
  • Blue Parallels (1:1) - Again, it's a Topps staple so I don't mind it. With all of these inserts, there really should have been 8 cards per pack.
  • Gold Parallels (1:29) - It looks like these aren't even one per box. Gold makes a lot more sense for a parallel numbered to 50.
  • Superstar Swatch Relic (1:28) - It is what it is and what it is is boring. I never really understood wrestling relic cards unless it is from something really unique to the wrestler. Yellow with black polka dots for Dusty Rhodes, a piece of Rick Rude's tights would have been awesome with the airbrushing he had on them or piece of a Hulk Hogan bandana (oh wait, TRISTAR already did that in one of their TNA sets). Yawn.
  • Dual Autograph (1:162 or 6.75 boxes) - I really beats the odds just in getting one of these and I was even luckier in pulling the best of the bunch. It looks like this card has sold for around $80 on eBay, but I think that I'm going to hold on to it.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mailday and Panini Laziness

I was rooting for Panini to put out some great products when they took over the NBA trading card license from Topps and Upper Deck, but so far I've been mostly disappointed. The only boxes that I've purchased are one box of the flagship set and one box of the Hall of Fame set. I really wanted to like Studio, but the fact that the base cards are designed for autograph and relics ruins them. The fact that Panini mostly guarantees "hits" and not autographs means that a lot of their boxes don't even come close to being worth what you have to pay for them. Hopefully things improve in 2011. I'm very excited about the upcoming Donruss set. They are by far the best base cards that Panini has "designed" for the NBA to date. I put designed in quotes because they're reusing an old design.

That being said, there are some nice Panini cards out there. The Skylines cards in Studio were one example. Check out these four Celtics cards that I mentioned recently in a previous post.

Most of the cards in the Hall of Fame set are great looking. The Famed Fabrics cards are very nice looking. That's where the good design ends unfortunately. The Old School card suffers from bad design with that huge empty area where the Celtics logo is just waiting to contain an autograph sticker or jersey swatch. The two Big Baby cards are a good example of Panini's laziness. First off, Davis is a Prestigious Pro? I'm a big fan and I don't even think that I would say this. It's just another reason to throw more cards out there and then they make it worse with a floating jersey swatch in the card. Want to see another example of this? Check out the picture below.

Here's where things get even worse. I've seen the same card come in jersey and patch versions, but this is a new one on me. You can find this card with a square window over the jersey swatch as well as die cut windows of Pierce's number 34. This is the kind of crap that really has to stop if Panini wants people to take them seriously.

Why do I have these cards if they're so terrible you might ask. Well, they were all available very cheaply which made it worthwhile to add to my collection. Buying singles is a lot different than slapping down a wad of cash to purchase packs or a wax box. While I have no problem picking up Panini singles, especially with how cheaply many of them sell for, I have yet to be motivated to purchase many of Panini's wax offerings.

Sketch Cards

While I still don't understand the inclusion of sketch cards in sports products, they make perfect sense in non-sports card sets. Most people won't ever be able to afford a page of original art from their favorite artist, but a simple sketch or sketch card is the perfect way to own some original art in an affordable manner.

Last month, Wizard World decided they were going to do the comic book convention thing here in Boston. They last tried in 2005, but it was in a bad location and attendance plummeted when the only real big names invited to the con, Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes, had to cancel due to Clerks 2 post-production. This year's convention was disappointing for me. It was tiny and there wasn't much of interest there other than a bunch of people from the Buffy TV shows. One person that was there was Brian Kong who many card collectors will know from his sketch card work for Topps including the Baseball Highlight sketches in 2009 Allen & Ginter. A couple of his prints caught my eye and while I was at his table, I started flipping through his sketch card binder and came across this beauty. I asked about the price even though I knew that most sketch cards were well out of what I considered to be my price range. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that it wasn't even near the upper range of my self imposed price range so I took it home with two prints. I like Brian's work a lot and it's likely that these aren't the last items featuring his artwork to be added to my collection.

I usually don't buy loose packs of non-sports cards. There really aren't any cards of value to pull except for the box hit sketch card, but the other day I made an exception. There were only 3 or 4 new issues that I was buying so I decided to add a couple of Marvel Heroes and Villains packs to my purchase. In the second pack, I pulled this beauty. This is a sketch of Storm and Magneto by Scott Rorie (who is an extremely limited artist to pull). This sketch is obviously of Storm right after her plastic surgery. Either that, or she's using updrafts to give herself a little boost.

This is by far the best sketch card that I've pulled out of any of the Rittenhouse products. It's seems to be from a fairly popular artist and so now I'm wondering what to do with it. If I can sell it for enough to purchase a whole box (which will include another sketch card) then it seems like a no-brainer. If it goes for less than that the decision isn't as obvious. I did only pay four dollars for the pack that the sketch card came in so anything that I get for it is a pretty big return. What do all of you think? Would you hold onto the card or throw it up on eBay with a Buy It Now listing?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Winner Is Me

Sorry for all of the eBay posts recently, but I've been having a pretty good streak of luck there lately.  I'm pretty sure that this card continues the streak.  Honestly, I'm completely shocked that I won this card given the low bid that I placed on it, but it held up and the card is now mine.

The nice thing about this time of year is that there's plenty of overtime opportunities at work and it's nice to reward yourself after a little extra work with something nice for the collection.  Want to see what it is?  Check this out.  There's part of me that thinks it has to be fake or creased down the middle for it to sell for what it did.  It's not exactly on-card like I wanted, but it is close enough.

Wow, this is a huge addition to my collection and something that I've been hunting for for a while now.  I was actually 2 feet away from Piazza and an in-person autograph at one of the Pepsi Softball Challenges, but I couldn't bring it upon myself to shove little kids out of the way for an auto.  I couldn't be that guy.  When I saw many of those kids selling their autographs to adults or getting money in return for getting the signature for them, I wish I could have been that guy, but it still wouldn't have been worth it.

This, this makes all of it worth it.  All of the waiting and passing up other cards and opportunities.  While I've only ever purchased one pack (and pulled a Ken Griffey signed bat card), I've grown to love Sweet Spot and have tracked down a bunch of the Dwight Evans cards (and need to hit the lottery before this auction ends.)  This card is going to make an excellent addition to the collection.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

What Did I Pull?

Ok, here's a chance to get a bit of a spoiler for an upcoming box break.

Wrestling fans, take a look at the 2010 Topps WWE Checklist.  Excluding parallels and super rare pulls such as printing plates, I feel like I pulled the best card possible in the product.  Take a look at the checklist and guess which card you think that may be.


This lot just might be my all-time favorite eBay auction win.  99 different Dewey cards for $6.75 shipped?  Yes, please.  It doesn't come close to the $54 book value stated in the auction title due to the condition of the cards, but there is some nice stuff in here.  The '75 is very nice and the '79 O-Pee-Chee is by far the oldest Canadian baseball card I have.  One day I'll track down an O-Pee-Chee Dewey rookie, but they always go for an arm and a leg when I see them.

Speaking of an arm and a leg, that Dwight Evans Sweet Spot 1/1 is already up to $215 with 7 days left in the auction.  Looks like that one won't be coming to my collection.

It's the oddball stuff that makes this lot fun for me.  There are a couple of Kellog's 3-D cards and a few Classic cards from the board games.  It's all topped off with some newer cards that I don't have yet.

Hope to have two new box breaks posted on Monday.  I also still have a backlog of breaks from my big shopping spree to get posted.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Celtics Lots

Finding stuff like this is one of the reasons why I haven't abandoned eBay completely when searching for lower priced cards.  While it's not worth it many times to have a single, cheap card shipped to you, sometimes you can make it worthwhile by finding multiple cards from one seller or by stumbling across a great lot.  My latest win came yesterday and it was actually a lot that I forgot to bid on the first time.  Luckily, it was listed once again and I was the only bidder.

I probably would have paid the four dollars that this whole lot will cost me with shipping on just the Dennis Johnson jersey card.  This lot comes with three other cards though and two of them will go right into one of my player collections.  There's a Big Baby Prestigious Pros card that is numbered to 499 as well as the same exact card with a jersey swatch stuck in it also numbered to 499.  There's also a Cedric Maxwell Old School card to round things out.  Not bad at all for $4 shipped.

Next up is a good win on behalf of a poorly written listing.

This auction is listed as a Big Baby Bowman Sterling Refractor.  They leave out the fact that it's an autograph which I think would have gotten it a little more attention.  This card is only numbered to 99 and it's one that I didn't yet have in my collection.  There's free shipping so that bumps up my potential high bid.  I end up winning the card for $6.05 which isn't bad at all for just this single card.  This single card?  What do you mean by that?  Well, further down in the listing you see that this lot also includes a Sweet Shot autographed card.  I already had this card, but this one ended up having a better autograph on it so I was happy with that.  So, I ended up with two Big Baby autographed cards; one is numbered to 99 and the other to 699 and they cost me three dollars a piece.  Can't beat that. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sports Syzygy?

A syzygy is a powerful convergence, usually of planets, but in this case of sports teams.  The first decade of the 21st century was dominated by Boston sports teams with the city hosting six championship parades.  The three Patriots Super Bowl victories, two Red Sox World Series triumphs and Celtics 17th Championship Banner made it a great time to be a Boston sports fan.  There were some amazing moments in those titles runs: The Steal, The Tuck, Pierce outplaying LeBron in game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, The Bloody Sock and clutch game-winning field goals.  Things were definitely aligned the right away.

The new title also refers to the convergence of my collection.  Since I'm collecting on a budget, any time that I can add something meaningful to my collection it is a special moment.  All of the pulls, purchases and trades add more synergy to my collection.