Monday, November 26, 2007

Et tu, Upper Deck?

And to think, I thought Upper Deck was above the fake error card gimmick. I guess I was wrong.

(h/t Bob Brill)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

1st Impressions: 2008 Topps Moments and Milestones

Is it just me, or has the Topps product development team been playing a little too much Heroin Hero lately?

(Sorry for the clip, but Randy Marsh chasing an video game dragon is funniest damn thing I've seen on South Park since ManBearPig.)

Anyway, ah yes! Baseball cards!

I have in my formerly nicotine-stained hands (*crumble crumble crumble*) the December 2007 issue of Beckett. I turn to page 5 and lo and behold, what do I see?


Yes, Topps is bringing back the "Sleeper (S)Hit of 2007": Moments & Milestones.

More details when they become available. (Like you're actually going to collect this crap.)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A humble request for all the cool kids out there.

If you're one of those cool kids that has a page on Facebook (and I know you are), well guess what? Today is your lucky day! You can now publicly show your loyalty to the world's greatest baseball card blog -- and get cheap pub for me -- by becoming a "Facebook Fan" of Stale Gum.

So, click on this link, and then add Stale Gum. Your profile will then automagically declare to the world that "I'm a fan of..... Stale Gum."

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Krazy Keith's Kard Konspiracy: Part II

Guess who's buying up Joba Chamberlain fake-error cards on eBay?

(h/t to The Brill Report)

Various takes on the Chamberlain, Ellsbury, and Poley Walnuts gimmicks from around The Hobby.
Bob Brill
The Cardboard Junkie
Ben Henry

Flashback to the Olbermann/Alex Gordon kerfuffle...
Bob Brill
Olbermann Watch

Monday, November 05, 2007

Box Break and Review: 2007 Topps Series Three

Ladies and Gentlemen. What you are about to experience is an experiment in extreme baseball card gonzo journalism. Your humble correspondent will simulate the level of effort Topps has put forth in issuing Updates and Highlights Series Three, by writing this review at approximately that same level. Also, in an effort to amplify the gonzo process, this piece is being written in the haze of an awful hangover; as your correspondent attended last night's Cowboys vs. Eagles Sunday Night Football debacle.

"Buy the ticket to the Eagles game, take the ride!"

One box of 2007 Topps Updates and Highlights Series Three (paid $55)
36 packs per box, ten cards per pack (MSRP: $1.49/pack)

The Details:

Chiptoppers: One individually wrapped Chrome "Rookie" Refractor (55 cards, numbered to 415 copies)

Base Set: 330 cards (no short-prints)

"Red Letters:" 330 cards (2:1, "stealth" insert)
Gold: 330 cards (1:4, numbered to 2007)
First Edition: 330 cards (1:36)
Platinum: 330 cards (1:9700, one-of-one)

The Mickey Mantle Story: 15 cards (1:18)
Barry Bonds Home Run King: one card (1:36)
WS Watch: 15 cards (1:36)

Waste-of-Space Mirrors:
Mickey Mantle Home Run History: 100 cards (1:9)
A-Rod Road to 500: 25 cards (1:36)
Barry Bonds Home Run History: 22 cards (1:12)
Generation Now: 186 cards (1:4)

Barry Bonds Home Run King Autographed Relic: one card (1:278,000)
Barry Bonds Home Run King Relic: one card (1:5145, numbered to 756)
2007 Highlight Autographs: 26 cards (varies)
A-Rod Road to 500 Autographs: 25 cards (1:500,000, one-of-one)
Generation Now Autographs: 186 cards (1:11,000, one-of-one)
Mickey Mantle Home Run History Relic: 100 cards (1:5550)
1954 Mickey Mantle Reprint Relic: one card (1:73,000)
All-Star Stitches: 52 cards (1:45)
All-Star Patches: 52 cards (1:2500)
All-Star Dual Stitches: ten cards (1:5600)
All-Star Stitches Triples: ten cards (1:5600)

* One autogamer per box.

The Pulls:

Base Set: 253 of 330 (76.67%)
One double

72 "Red Letters"
9 Golds: J. Wilson, J. Salazar, C. Izturis, N. Perez, J. Accardo, T. Clippard, J. Coutlangus, B. Salmon, J. Verlander Season Highlight
1 First Edition: D. Jeter All-Star
1 Chrome "Rookie" Refractor: T. Buck

2 Mickey Mantle Story
1 Barry Bonds Home Run King
1 WS Watch: Tigers

Waste-of-Space Mirrors:
9 Generation Now: P. Fielder (#11), I. Kinsler (#5 & 19), K. Johjima (#9), J. Papelbon (#8, 28 & 31), C. Granderson (#2), J. Barfield (#24)
4 Mickey Mantle Home Run History: #406, 407, 408 & 411
3 Barry Bonds Home Run History: #735, 736 & 746
1 A-Rod Road to 500: #377

1 Barry Bonds Home Run King Relic

The Review:

I think Ben Henry (who in the interest of full-disclosure, has done some consulting work for Topps) said it best on his blog:

"Topps' strategy towards their baseball card products has been somewhat predictable this year, and these developments only cement their reputation. It begs the question: Do they employ the worst quality-control staffers in the
business? Or do they have such a grim outlook towards their own product that they feel it won't sell without an error or two?"

By now you've undoubtedly heard about the squirrel card, the three different contrived variations of Joba Chamberlain, and the Game Jersey cards that are labeled as patch cards, and the patch cards labeled as regular old jersey cards. All of this wouldn't bother me if the rest of the product didn't suck.

The Bottom Line:

It's a shame that Topps no longer makes Updates and Highlights Series Three as a factory set. If they did, I'd gladly recommend that you buy one instead of a waxbox. You're not going to come close to a complete set, and most of the inserts you pull serve no purpose.

Since you can't get factory, save yourself the $55-$60 and see if you can find a hand-collated set.

Product Rating: 2 Gumsticks (out of five)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

UPDATED: 1st Impressions: 2008 Topps Series One

UPDATE #2 (11/1):
Sell Sheet
Product Sheet

Things I Like:
  • The Base Set design. "Retro," but still original.
  • The Campaign 2008 Inserts
  • The Baseball Card History Inserts

Things I Don't Like:

  • The one-per-pack Gold Foil parallels. Just what Topps needed, yet another parallel.
  • The Mickey Mantle and Barry Bonds mirrors. But on the bright side, at least they're going away after '08 Topps series one.

Things I'm Still Not Sure About:

  • The Year In Review Inserts. At 180 cards, this has "Generation Now" written all over it.
  • The as yet unannounced, but inevitable, bullshit base set gimmick. What will this year's Alex Gordon/Alay Soler/Poley Walnuts be?

UPDATE #1 (10/30): Here's a link to my "How to Fix Topps Baseball" post from back in June. Let's see how many of my suggestions Topps took to heart.

The Cardboard Junkie has the scoop on '08 Topps.

The base set will be 330 cards (again), although -- if last year's Airbrush-O-Rama first series was any indication -- the A-Rod card you see pictured above will more than likely be the only 2008 Topps card of Alex Rodriguez in a Yankee uniform.

Inserts include a 50-card "Baseball Card History" set and although I've yet to see any prototypes, I'm guessing that these will be along the lines of the 2001 Topps "Through The Years" reprints. There's also going to be a 12-card set of the major 2008 Presidential candidates. And seriously, aren't you just dying to rip open a pack of 2008 Topps baseball and pull a card of Dennis Kucinich?

On the plus side, it looks as though Topps is finally putting the mirror concept to rest. More than likely, this will be the last Topps set with the Mickey Mantle and Barry Bonds Home Run Histories, and there are no other inserts as egregious as Generation Now.

More information as it becomes available. But in the meantime, here's a provisional checklist.

2007 Gummie Award Nominations

Yes, it's that time of year. 2007 is almost in the books, and with it, the presentation of the most prestigious award in The Hobby: The Gummies.

This year, The Gummies will be a little different. The Gummie Award Nomination Committee -- which consists of me -- is opening up the process to you the Stale Gum reader. What did you, the baseball card collector, think were the best and worst cards and products of 2007?

To refresh your memories, here's a list of the categories:

Best Overall Product
Best Retro Themed Product
Best Base Set
Best Insert Set
Best Autogamer Set
Best Card
Best Rookie Card
Best Hobby Idea/Innovation
Worst Overall Product
Worst Base Set
Most Meaningless Product
Worst Insert Set
Worst Idea/Innovation
Hobby MVP
Hobby ROY
Hobby Top Prospect

Send in your picks by January 1st, 2008. Winners will be chosen by a panel consisting of me. And stay tuned to Stale Gum as Dennis Miller and Ryan Howard co-host the 37th Annual Gummie Awards live from the parking lot of the Topps factory in Duryea, PA.

And if you have any ideas for any new categories, I'd be happy to listen to them.