Sunday, March 30, 2008

Chicago Show, Episode 1

Let me start by saying that I went to my first big time card show since moving to Chicago.

Let me follow by saying "WOW!"

I spent about two hours cruising the floor at the first big card show I've been to in almost 20 years. As a matter of fact, the last show I remember going to that was this this big had Billy Martin as one of the marquee autographers.

Anyhow, I spent a solid two hours pounding the floor looking for Tigers cards. 

I hit a table full of the jackpot of holy grail cards, the 2008 Topps Heritage.

I know that I said that I'd given up on Topps, but how can anybody give up on this release? I am still living up to my vow never to purchase packs of Topps cards ever again, but this was too good to pass up.

These cards are simply beautiful. Not to mention that this release ranks right up there with the 2001 Heritage as one of the best Topps design ever. I think it speaks volumes as to how crappy Topps has become that these are the most sought after release that Topps puts out every year. Classic design, NO FOIL STAMPING, and really cool insert cards. HELLO TOPPS, ARE YOU LISTENING?

But that's enough bitching for one day. Let me go ahead with the Tigers recap.

The base set has 21 cards, including short prints. (I don't remember which are SP. But if you go to ebay, and look up this team set, you will easily find the ones that aren't. Off the top of my head, the SP include the All-Star cards, Brandon Inge, Sean Casey, and Jacque Jones.)

2 Placido Polanco 

18 Dontrelle Willis 

28 Ivan Rodriguez

34 Pitchers Beware 

70 Carlos Guillen 

283 Miguel Cabrera

293 Edgar Renteria

315 Jacque Jones

329 Team Card

338 Justin Verlander

360 Magglio Ordonez 

370 Tigers First No-Hitter Since 1984 

387 Jeremy Bonderman

417 Nate Robertson

442 Gary Sheffield

454 Brandon Inge

458 Sean Casey

480 Jim Leyland All-Star

488 Carlos Guillen All-Star

494 Magglio Ordonez All-Star

500 Justin Verlander All-Star

Topps has also added the usual "we screwed 'em up in the 50's, so let's keep doing it again" variation cards. This time they mirrored the "black back" variation, where a selection have black ink used instead of green. The list of Tigers is as follows:

2 Polanco Black Back 

18 Willis Black Back

28 Rodriguez Black Back 

34 Pitchers Beware Black Back 

283 Cabrera Black Back

338 Verlander Black Back 

360 Ordonez Black Back 

370 Tigers First No-Hitter Since 1984 Black Back

There are also a couple of cool inserts, both involving Magglio Ordonez.

New Age Performers 1


Then and Now 3, which features Maggs with Orlando Cepeda (I was at the HOF induction of Cepeda, which I'll elaborate on sometime later. God it was hot that day!)

They've also included chrome versions of the following, and I assume refractors as well. (Since I picked up two of them.)

C5 Dontrelle Willis

C20 Justin Verlander

C28 Ivan Rodriguez

C39 Miguel Cabrera

C42 Magglio Ordonez

C120 Jeremy Bonderman

C182 Gary Sheffield

C184 Carlos Guillen

There are also a couple of relic cards. (Which I didn't pick up, because I didn't know they existed dammit!)

CC-IR Ivan Rodriguez 

CC-JV Justin Verlander

I was able to pick up all but three of the base set including SP. (Missing the Pitchers Beware card of Granderson and Maggs, as well as cards of Sean Casey, and Miguel Cabrera.)

I also found all the black back cards, except for Cabrera, and snagged Chrome Refractors of Cabrera and Verlander.

All total I got 30 cards for $40. 

Yeah, I'm done with buying packs of Topps.

As always, if you know of something I've missed please post it. Thanks.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Oh Boy

I've got a whole weekend's worth of catching up to do after going to my first card show in Chicago this weekend. Oh boy did I rack up...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Go to Hell Topps

This time I've had enough Topps. You've dicked me over for the last time.

I have noticed in recent years that whenever I seem to pull any key cards out of Topps products that they are miscut or damaged, fresh out of the pack or box.

It started with my buying a 2005 Update/Highlights set, only to open the box and find out that every Draft Pick RC was miscut 30/70. Every other card in the set was fine, except for these. The rookie cards that everybody who buys the set buys it for.

In 2006 and 2007 I pulled numerous RC that were miscut or had a nice ding in one of the corners. We won't even discuss the $200 I spent on 2007 Topps Series 1 before I got the frigging Jeter card. Or how I ended up spending $400 on all three series and was still 100 cards short of a set, forcing me to just give up and go out and buy factory sets, bringing my total to around $500. JUST TO PUT TOGETHER A GODDAMNED TOPPS SET! (I haven't opened up these factory sets yet, but I'll bet the price I paid for them that the Jeter and Chamberlain cards are miscut or damaged...)

So it was with this knowledge that I picked up six packs of 2008 Topps Heritage at my local Target this past Saturday. When I opened them I had two cards that were 20/80, while the rest of them were cut perfectly.

I knew before I even looked them up.

#445 Kason Gabbard and #493 Matt Holliday were both SP. The only two SP cards out of the six packs.

I don't even collect Heritage, other than Tigers' cards, but it's the same old shit from Topps year after year. So I wrote them a little letter.

To whom it may concern:

I've been a collector of Topps baseball products for 31 years, but I am happy to say that I will no longer be buying any Topps products.

I've spent over $400 trying to complete my 2007 Topps set, and it is still not complete. In fact I finally gave up and went out and purchased the factory sets for Series 1 & 2 and the Update/Highlights set at a cost of another $100 total.

2008 Topps Series 1 didn't fare much better. Roughly $200 spent to get a complete set. 

It is frustrating beyond belief to try and build a set when every pack has an insert card inside, especially some such nonsense as 37 Kenji Jojima inserts. 

Today is the final straw. I purchased 6 packs of the 2008 Topps Heritage. I got two SP cards in those packs. They are enclosed with this letter. Every card in the packs is perfectly cut and centered except these two. It seems more than a coincidence that the two SP cards would be of this poor production. 

In fact I am quite convinced that Topps has resorted to poor production, poor quailty control, poor collation, and the inclusion of over 600 insert cards in some sets purely as a mean to sell product, no longer caring that their long time set building customers can no longer build nice conditioned sets within a reasonable cost. 

I am sure my letter will fall on deaf ears, but I feel better for having written it. It saddens me that the company who should be at the forefront of producing quality cards at reasonable prices has resorted to such disgusting tactics in an effort to increase sales. 

I don't wish for you to replace my cards. Feel free to keep them and give them to someone else. But do know that I will no longer spend money on your products. 



So there. I decided I am no longer buying any Topps products if they are purposefully going to screw their loyal customers just so they can sell more cards.

But as fate would have, I had to return to Target tonight to pick up some groceries. Of course they put the cards right next to the open register. And I did get two Tigers cards Saturday.

In a moment of weakness I picked up three packs of Heritage. This card was in the first pack. I knew without even looking it up.

Yep, you guessed it. Short print.

So now this really is it. I am offically no longer buying any Topps products. At least none in packs from Target. 

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Best Tigers Song Ever

Here are the links to the two greatest songs of all time about the Detroit Tigers. Check them out and vote! (And remember that the last two Tigers' World Series championships came during presidential election years.....maybe.....just maybe.......)

Caption Contest

I don't even know where to begin...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Taking matters into my own hands

Sometime during the middle of the 2006 baseball season, as it became obvious the season was shaping up to be a special one, I decided what could be more fun than building my own Tigers' team set. I'd been in desktop publishing for almost 11 years and collecting cards for almost three times that long. I don't know how I hadn't thought of it earlier.

I started collecting the photographs from the Detroit News web site throughout the second half of the season and by November I had produced my own team set of 36 cards. Working for a printing company I was able to get my cards printed and professionally cut for the low, low price of free. Here's a sample of my favorite card from that set.

I was at the game where Granderson made this awesome shoestring catch. Being able to have that on a card kicks ass.

For my 2008 cards, I was able to expand my set to 45 cards. I was also able to find a wide array of pics to use so that I could capture pics showing the Tigers in throwbacks, Negro Leagues, and All-Star uniforms. Here's a sample of a 2008 RobbyT Justin Verlander card.

All it took to design was a source for pics and a bootlegged copy of InDesign. All it took to produce was an outdated Kodak Approval proofing system, a t-square, and a razor blade, and voila, I had my own team set. 

One of the coolest things about making my own cards was knowing that I was finally able to get my hands on a whole set of 1/1's. Another was being able to have a card highlighting Neifi Perez's suspension for using PED's. Plus I didn't have to spend $200 opening packs to get a full set. 

There's certainly room for improvement with the designs, but I can live with the fact that my first two years were better than Fleer's.

Once I figure out how to upload a pdf, I'll get both sets posted.

If anybody else has done any card designs, send them along and I'll get them up.

Mommy! Daddy! The Circus is coming to town!

Apparently Topps is no longer trying to hide the fact that they are run by a bunch of clowns. The Circus Poster cards have arrived. When I first saw these I thought they had lost their minds at Topps. Well, actually I didn't. I've known this for some time. But I digress.

After comparing them to other Topps offerings since the beginning of the dreaded foil era in 1994, I had a change of heart. No, I won't rank these among my all-time favorite Topps cards (unless you know who wins the World Series this year!), but there have been a lot worse looking cards produced over the years. 

While I'm not a fan of the circus poster look at the top, everything else about the look of these cards is top notch. Very clean, white borders, fairly easy to read player names (ENOUGH WITH THE FOIL STAMPING ALREADY!) and first look Tigers cards of Miguel Cabrera, Edgar Renteria, and Dontrelle Willis make up for that one huge flaw.

Here's the checklist of base set cards:

10 Miguel Cabrera
15 Ordoñez & Polanco League Leaders Batting Average
24 Ordoñez League Leaders RBI
45 Dontrelle Willis
76 Ivan Rodriguez
145 Magglio Ordoñez
288 Rodriguez & Verlander Classic Combos
290 Edgar Renteria
325 Jim Leyland
330 Curtis Granderson

Not a bad selection at all. It doesn't leave much for Series 2 in the way of Tigers' stars (Guillen, Bonderman, whoever they get for Inge....) but it's solid and I'm not complaining. Kudos to the Photoshopper who did the Cabrera card. I work in desktop publishing myself and that's an A+ job right there.

This year's parallels include the standard gold bordered cards, as well as an alternate version that uses gold foil stamping for the player's name instead of the silver used in the base set. Yeah, I didn't get too excited either.

On to the inserts.

After last year's debacle of some 800+ inserts (including 29 different Kenji Jojima cards. Why?), Topps appears to have revamped and actually come up with a different, if excessive still, large insert set.

Topps has come up with an insert that will eventually total 180 cards spread out over the three series which highlights each day of the 2007 season. I like the design (reminiscent of the 1969 Topps cards showing the 1968 World Series) and there are some cool Tigers in Series 1.

YR11 Craig Monroe
YR16 Ivan Rodriguez
YR48 Andrew Miller
YR50 Justin Verlander

They've also given us the same old crappy Own The Game subset. 

OTG12 Magglio Ordoñez

He's the lone Tiger in the set. Ho-hum...

A few other things I've seen but do not have.

A really cool set called Topps 50th Anniversary All-Rookie Team. So far as I can tell there is only one Tiger in that set as well.

AR17 Justin Verlander

Sheffield, Maggs, Pudge, and Dontrelle are in this set as well, but are pictured with their original teams. 

I have also seen a really cool looking jersey card of Verlander highlighting his no-hitter last year (on my birthday!)

HR-JV Justin Verlander

If anybody knows of anything I'm missing, please let me know and I'll get it added.

In the Big Inning

Well here we go. 

If all goes well, this will be a place where all things pertaining to Detroit Tigers cards will be commented on. As a collector of Tigers cards for over 25 years now, I am going to try and keep up with assembling checklists of the latest releases of Tigers cards. 

It must also be noted that other topics will be discussed here as well. My overall disdain for Topps and their business practices, my adventures from my upcoming first year of living in Chicago, my love of all things from the 80's (especially the music), and pretty much anything else that comes to mind are now open for business here at DTCAS.

I encourage active participation here. I'd like to make this a must stop place for collectors of Tigers' schwag, so feel free to comment on anything I might have missed so that we can make this a better place for everyone who comes to visit.

Thank you for stopping by. 

Get a beer out of the fridge and grab a seat. 

Let the fun begin.