Saturday, February 27, 2010

Awesome Day

With little to do today, I googled and located a couple of card shops in the area. I thought it would be a nice way to kill an hour after lunch and if I was lucky maybe pick up a card or two. Instead I ended up with a treasure trove of a couple of hundred Tigers cards. All for around $25. I wish every Saturday afternoon was this much fun!

The first shop I went to was a tiny place that looked like they did more business selling coins than cards. There was a little baseball section in the back corner. I looked at a few singles in the case without spotting any Tigers. There was a box labeled "superstars" that I thumbed through without finding anything either until I got to the very end of the box. There were two mint condition '66 Topps cards of the A.L. Home Run Leaders (Norm Cash & Willie Horton) and the A. L. Strikeout Leaders (Mickey Lolich & Denny McLain). As you can see these cards are in beautiful shape and were only $2 each!

As I was walking to checkout I started chatting with the owner and I told him that I collected Tigers stuff. He said he had a bunch of Starting Lineup figures so I looked those over too. Lo and behold if there wasn't a Tony Phillips in the bunch! (I get WAY more excitement from finding cards/memorabilia of mediocre Tigers than I ever do from the stars...) I've probably got six or eight SLU's but I did not have a Phillips. For only $4 I felt like I was stealing it. So needless to say, the visit to shop #1 was a success!

On to shop #2 which had a much bigger card selection. There were two 5,000 count boxes of common cards on the counter. Two hours later I'd picked out close to 200 cards. First off I found the two cards I needed to finish my Topps Series 1 set as well as the two cards I needed to finish my 2010 Topps Series 1 Tigers team set. I also picked out 6 refractor cards, a couple of Ty Cobb cards, and the rest were commons and stars from '80 through '10.

The owner and I were chit-chatting and he told me that the '10 Heritage cards were out. He knew I was looking for Tigers so he went through the few packs he had already opened and gave me cards of Brandon Inge, Magglio Ordonez, and Jarrod Washburn. I bought three packs and pulled a Ty Cobb from one of them (along with chrome cards of Jeter and Lincecum that I'll offer up for trade....) Heritage is by far the best card release each year. It's such a shame Topps screws it up with the SP and variations, but I'm not going to let them rain on my fun afternoon.

After I was done the owner informed me that he had SEVERAL HUNDRED THOUSAND commons in boxes if I wanted to go through those too! He said he had cards going all the way back to the 60's and that I was welcome to come up anytime I liked and he would set me up with a table and chair and let me go through them to my heart's content. I told him he had a deal!

Between today's haul and the package I received from dayf last week (thanks again!) I've got a whole night ahead of me sorting Tigers cards into albums and and updating my checklists. I'll also be watching the lot of 100 2010 Topps inserts I put up on ebay last week as it struggles to climb to $2.

It wasn't a perfect day though. I pulled a photoshopped Heritage card of Placido Polanco which made my heart sink a little bit. Poli was my favorite Tiger during his time in Detroit stemming from seeing him hit a HR at a AA game that I went to with my grandfather. I didn't get to know my grandfather until late in his life and it turned out he was as big of a baseball fan as I was. I followed Poli's career with the Cards and Phils and thought it was pretty awesome when he came to the Tigers. I still think of my grandfather when I think of Polanco and seeing that card today wasn't any different. Thanks for the great memories Poli and good luck with the Phils.

Well, I think it's about time to crack open a beer, turn on some 80's tunes, and get to sorting!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

2010 Topps Opening Day: Max Scherzer

So I was in Target today.......(for the record, I am in Target almost everyday. They sell beer and baseball cards and are not owned by crooked people from Arkansas....)

I picked up a handful of packs and got this bitchin' Max Scherzer parallel/photoshop card. I'm looking forward to watching Scherzer in the OED this summer, especially after he gets to spend the spring with Rick Knapp.

Speaking of spring there is like a 100% chance I'll have a 2010 RobbyT card or two posted to the blog this weekend. Time for me to shut up about Topps and do it my ownself!

The only other three cards I got of note were Brandon Inge, Fredbird, and the Phillie Phanatic. I'd swap both of those mascot cards for a Paws in a heartbeat. Shoot, the mascot cards are about the only thing going for this set. I may try and collect them all.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

2010 Topps Opening Day: Observations on a Sunday afternoon

2010 Opening Day cards have hit Target. As this is not a set I'm going to get to worked up over trying to finish, here are some observations I made after opening a handful of packs today:

1. These don't look much different from the base Topps set. No foil stamping of the player's name and the addition of the OD logo are the only differences I see. I never have understood why Topps doesn't have a totally different design for these. (Well actually, I think I have an idea, but I'll hold off for now.....) it's be nice to see them use these to trot out some sort of design they might have used for a Bazooka or a Topps Total issue.

2. Seven cards for a $1. Six base cards and one insert per pack. No inserts to get excited about. One insert set seems to be all the team mascots. Another are parallels with a metallic greenish/blue border that are very reminiscent of '92 Fleer. God those were awful.

3. Several photoshop jobs in the packs I got. Granderson, Halladay, and Figgins. All are very well done. But there will always be a little part of me sad to see air-brushing go the way of bubble gum.

4. The first pack I opened, the first card was Porcello. I only need two cards to finish my Topps base set and this is one of them. It doesn't really mean anything, but I observed it, therefore I'm writing about it. Plus I needed more time to ponder #5.

5. I don't understand why Topps advertises these as a "Fun, easy-to-collect, celebratory brand attracts kids early in the MLB season." (from the MLB website, Topps doesn't appear to have updated their web site in months...)

They don't look any different than the base set. They aren't really any cheaper than the base cards (10 packs of these @ $1 X 7 cards per pack = 70 cards for $10 vs. 5 packs of the base cards @ $2 x 12 cards per pack = 60 cards for $10, 64 if you buy rack packs).

The inserts certainly aren't any cooler. I can't imagine too many kids of any age who would rather pull an insert card of Billy The Marlin instead of Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle.....if anything kids are way more likely to be interested in collecting cards that are worth money.....I know, I used to be one.....

So what it the reason for the marketing ploy? The only thing that I can see that makes this set attractive is that with only 220 cards in it, one should be able to collect the entire set for under $50.

Maybe I'm missing the boat, but it seems to me that they are marketing these towards an unknowing father or mother who think they're getting junior something on the cheap that he would love, when that's really not the case at all. All a part of Topps plan to return collecting to the kids, I'm sure.....

Oh well, I'll continue to buy a pack or two here and there trying to get the Tigers. If I see any kids buying any I'll be sure to mention it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

2010 Topps: The disappointment continues

So here's where I stand today. I've added up all the receipts from my purchase of 2010 Topps and it comes to around $250. I bought six blasters from Target and the rest have been rack packs.

I'm still 16 cards short from completing the base set. I can't even begin to describe in words how ridiculous this is. I'm not even missing anybody good. (The best player on the list is Adam Dunn. Second is Francisco Cordero.) I've purchased about 900 cards by my rough estimate and I'm still missing 16 cards from a 330 card base set. I swore in 2007 that I would never do this again. But here I am again.

Luckily, I flipped a Rickey Henderson variation and 85 insert cards on ebay and spent the $$$ on '66, '67, & '71 cards of Al Kaline, as well as a '67 Bengal Busters card. I've still got about $5 left in my paypal account. I've also got a nice trade lined up with a fellow blogger that I'll comment on when the deal is finally consummated. This weekend I listed the 60 Target Throwback cards and the 12 Million Card Giveaway cards that I had laying around. It looks like I'll do well enough with those to grab another 3-4 Kaline cards from the early '60's, which is what I should have done with my money all along.

I bought 4 more packs today, peeking through the wrappers to try and get some of the guys I was missing from my set. I was able to get about 50 cards that I was missing, plus one more MCG game card that I just HAD to redeem to see what all the fuss is about. I'm now the lucky owner of a '93 Andy Benes card (of which I already own). Whoo-boy.....

At this point, I don't know if I'll even bother trying to finish the 2010 set. Once again Topps has sucked all the joy I have out of collecting and building a set.

I'm interested to see how this all plays out in the hobby. Topps is royally screwing over the last of old school set builders like myself. Meanwhile folks are lining up at the trough to get the game cards, hoping for the grand prize of a '52 set, while more likely to end up with a '90s common card.

Is this really where collectors wanted to see the hobby go, or has collecting passed me by? I'm really hard pressed to think of a reason why I should continue throwing my money away. I'd love to hear others take on the state of the hobby.

Monday, February 8, 2010

2010 Upper Deck: Genius?

I stopped in Target on my lunch break today to pick up a 12 pack of Diet Mountain Dew and while I was there I mosied over to the cards aisle with the intent of picking up a few packs of Topps when I saw that the Upper Deck cards were finally out. They had blasters and rack packs, and not wanting to deal with a bunch of unwanted inserts, I picked up a handful of the racks. I was as curious as anyone else to see how they skirted the deal with Topps, and boy was I surprised.

In a move of genius, it looks like Upper Deck managed to get around the logo issue by selecting some very well positioned photos. It looks like they are forbidden to use the team names too, as all mention of of any teams is done so by the city they play in and not the team they play for.

According to Topps website, "Topps will have exclusivity on MLB, Jewel Event (?), and club trademarks, logos, and other intellectual property, for use on baseball cards, stickers, and certain other products categories featuring MLB players. Topps' exclusivity begins on January 1, 2010."

While Upper Deck did a great job of picking photos that obscured most of those things mentioned, not all of them do, so it will be interesting to see what merit Topps' lawsuit has. (You can clearly see the logo on Magglio's helmet). On the majority of cards where you can see the front of the players' uniforms, the logos on the jerseys are mostly blocked by the players arms. Also most of the caps were caught at an angle where you can only see the logo partially.

Lawsuit or not, kudos to Upper Deck for not caving in to what is an asinine move on the part of Bud Selig to run them out of business. I love the Porcello card where you can read the entire name and number on his uniform. I would love to see an entire set with the photos framed that way. Whoever was doing the job of designing these did a great job. The small head shots more than make up for some of the photos where you don't get the entire face of the player.

As for Topps' beef with Upper Deck, I say fuck 'em. They've been violating the rookie card rule ever since it started by including inserts of prospects in their Bowman sets long before they reach the major leagues. Now Upper Deck has come back and decided to play hard and loose with the rules too.

It's about time.