Saturday, November 29, 2008

What I Observed (and got) at the White Plains Ass Slap: 11/29/08

Yes, it was White Plains weekend. And you know what, The Slap couldn't come soon enough. After all the turkey, bad football, and annoying relatives, a Saturday afternoon in White Plains was definitely in order.

For the first time in a long time, the show was in the basement of the Westchester County Center. The folks at JP's Rock Solid Promotions were punked out by a stamp and coin show, which booked the arena floor so into the basement we all went.

If you've never been to the basement of the Westchester County Center, consider yourselves lucky. It is the tenth circle of hell. Imagine the usual White Plains show, but compressed into a space the size of your typical middle school lunch room. Combine that with the atmosphere of a medium-security prison and you have a dreadful scene.

Now that I'm on the subject, for those of you that have small children or babies, do me a favor. Do not ever take your kid to a card show like White Plains. It's bad enough that you have to constantly run into other collectors while navigating the extremely narrow aisles. I don't need to be constantly running into your wife/girlfriend and your four-year-old. It's called a babysitter, look into it jerky.

In fact, when I'm dictator, my first decree will be that all children under the age of eight shall be prohibited from attending sports collectible shows.

As for the show, Jim Rice -- one of the show's autograph guests -- no-showed. Not that anyone seemed to care. (This is, after all, Yankee/Met country.) Now if this were a little further to the North and East, you would have heard about the riot already.

One of the regulars at White Plains (and at most other card shows in Northeast) is a dealer named Seymour. He always rents six tables and stacks them high with all the latest wax. I purchased a box of Allen & Ginter for $65 and an HTA box of Topps series two for $45 from him, but then the conversation turned to another Topps product.

"Say, are you collecting Stadium Club? I can cut you a deal. $175!"

The price tag on his stack of eight 2008 Stadium Club baseball boxes had already been marked down from $225 to $200 to $185. I replied, "Nah, that's alright."

"What's the matter, you don't like Stadium Club?"

"I like Stadium Club, just not 2008 Stadium Club. It's overpriced and uncollectible."

At this point Seymour lowered his voice and said, "You know what, you're right. But I'm stuck with all these boxes that aren't moving. You know, I have to wonder what Topps was thinking. It great that they brought back the Stadium Club name, but $25? For one pack? In this economy? And all those autographs? Who's gonna collect that?"

To which I said, "Yeah, sometimes I wonder too. I wonder if whoever came up with 2008 Stadium Club even collects baseball cards?"

He nodded his head in agreement.

After making this purchase, and bowling over about five stray toddlers, I went looking for cheap singles. White Plains is a Mecca for cheapskates like myself who rummage through the $1, $5, and $10 boxes. I picked out about $30 worth of 2006 and 2007 Bowman base set autographs and another $16 worth of various inserts from such boxes.

Other observations:

For the first time in my life, I witnessed perhaps the single greatest autographed insert card of the modern era: a 1992 Score The Franchise Triple-AU of of Stan Musial, Mickey Mantle, and Carl Yastrzemski. It didn't have a price tag, and I wasn't about to ask.

Some a-hole had packs of 1997 Metal Universe for $5 each. $5 for a pack of '97 Metal? Yep, $5. Why? Because it has an "A-ROD AUTOGRAPH!" Yes, 1997 Metal did have an on-card autograph of Alex Rodriguez. Too bad it was a redemption.

Another a-hole had a 1993 Donruss Don Mattingly (base card) for sale. It was graded PSA10 and he wanted $20 for it. First off, who the fuck sends '93 Donruss singles to be graded? And who the fuck would want to pay hard currency for a GRADED 1993 DONRUSS DON MATTINGLY BASE CARD?

Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects is live, but no one seems to care anymore. I didn't see a single waxbox sold.

The same can be said for the new unlicensed Donruss Elite.

I was tempted to buy a waxbox of 1992 Score Italian Soccer for $5, but thought better of it.

Total Spent on Cards: $156
Admission and Parking: $11
Tolls: $16.70
Grand Total: $183.70

Monday, November 24, 2008

Video Box Break and Review: 2008 Topps Baseball Updates & Highlights Presents 2008 Topps Heritage High Number Series Hobby

One Hobby box of 2008 Topps Heritage High Numbers (paid $65)
24 packs per box; six Heritage and two Updates & Highlights cards per pack

Part One

Part Two

The Pulls

1 Advertising Strip (one per box): D. Navarro/J. Crede/R. Ludwick
1 Buy-Back (1:2 boxes): S. Bilko

Base Set
Heritage High Numbers: 106 of 220 (48.18%)
Five Doubles
Short Set: 97 of 185 (52.43%)
Short Prints (1:3): 9 of 35
Updates & Highlights: 48 of 330 (14.55%)

15 Black Backs

8 Chrome (100 cards, 1:3, numbered to 1959) K. Wood, J. Soria, E. Longoria, J. Cueto, A. J. Pierzynski, D. Span, E. Aybar, M. Gonzalez
2 Chrome Refractors (100 cards, 1:11, numbered to 559) J. Wright, R. Barajas

2 Rookie Performers (15 cards, 1:12) M. Aviles, M. Scherzer
2 Then & Now (Ten cards, 1:12) L. Sherry/M. Lowell, L. Aparicio/O. Cabrera
2 Flashbacks (Ten cards, 1:12) KosFu, C. Delgado

1 Clubhouse Collection: C. Granderson

*Odds of finding an autograph or a gamer: 1:24

The Review

The one thing I always thought was missing from the Heritage brand was an update. Think about it. Imagine if the 2001 set had an Update with RCs of Albert Pujols and Ichiro? So it's great that Topps has finally gotten around to issuing "2008 Topps Baseball Updates & Highlights Presents 2008 Topps Heritage High Number Series" -- and yes, that's the full name.

The set contains 220 cards, and like most Update sets is heavily weighted towards rookies (KosFu, Jay Bruce, Evan Longoria, and the like). 35 of the cards are short-printed, and has become par-for-the-course for Heritage, it's up to you the collector to figure out which ones are SPed. There are also another 35 black-backed variations, and Chrome parallels for your collecting pleasure. Inserts include another batch of "Then & Nows" and "Flashbacks," and a 15-card "Rookie Performers" which replace the "New Age Performers." In addition, you get a autograph or a gamer in each box.

Each waxpack has two cards from the Updates & Highlights set. All of these cards are base cards. (Yay.)

The Bottom Line

The box yielded about half the base set, and each pack had either a black-back or an SP. All the inserts, including the Chromes, were as promised.

The big "hits" were an Evan Longoria Chrome and a Curtis Granderson game used pants card. (Although I'd hate to know what part of the pants it came from.)

Product Rating: 4 Gumsticks.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Blaster Break: 2008 Topps Updates & Highlights

Found a Blaster of TU&H at Target this evening. Why not?

One Blaster Box of 2008 Topps Updates & Highlights (Paid $19.99 + tax)
10 packs per box, eight cards per pack.

Base Set: 74 of 330 (22.42%)

1 Gold (1:7, numbered to 2008) J. Cabrera

1 2009 WBC Preview (1:9) Ichiro
1 Year in Review (1:6) D. Price
1 '86 Mets Ring of (Dis)Honor (1:18) H. Johnson
2 First Couples (1:6) Pierce, Ford

1 (one-per-box) M. Mulder

Yes I Hope They Die...

... and I hope they burn in hell.

Mmmm, mmmm.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

There is Nothing in the World...

... more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a collector in the depths of an Andre Ethier binge.

And I knew I'd get into those rotten cards pretty soon.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

1st Impressions: 2009 Topps

Yes, I know. Beckett posted the first prototypes last week. As an editorial decision, I've reserved judgment until somebody posted a sell sheet.

But now, the sell sheets are out. Here's what you'll find in 2009 Topps!

Base Set: 330 cards

Looks like another 660-card phone-it-in special from Topps. :-(

Legends of the Game: 17 variations (1:6 Hobby, one-per HTA pack)

Here's how this gimmick works. Card #1 in the base set is A-Rod, but the variation of #1 is Babe Ruth.

Gold: Numbered to 2009 (1:9 Hobby, 1:2 HTA)
Black: Numbered to 58
Platinum: 1/1
Silk: 100 card partial parallel, numbered to 50

With the exception of the every-other-pack Gold Foil, the parallels are unchanged.

Legends of the Game: 25 cards (1:6 Hobby, one-per HTA pack)
Turkey Red: 55 cards (1:4 Hobby, one-per HTA pack)
Ring of Honor: 25 cards (1:6 Hobby, one-per HTA pack)
World Baseball Classic Redemption: Ten cards (1:36 Hobby, 1:10 HTA)
Sketch Cards
Four separate ten-card retail-exclusive inserts.

I don't see a Mickey Mantle hero worship set anywhere on the sell sheet (Thank God).

Turkey Red is this year's "Continuity Insert."

Odd numbered cards #1-50 in the Ring of Honor insert will be given away at HTA stores. Even numbered cards will be inserted into packs.

Each Hobby box will contain a hit, and each HTA box will have three. Then again, if you're buying this JUST for the "Hits," well.....

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

More info on 2009 UD

  • Structure of the 500 card base set...
  • 400 veterans
    30 Rookies
    30 Team Leaders
    10 Season Highlights
    30 Team Checklists
  • I don't particularly understand the logic behind having BOTH a Team Leader AND a Team Checklist subset.

  • Joe DiMaggio is listed as card #0 on the provisional checklist. (Gimmicked SP? God I hope not.)

  • All 30 "Rookies" are of September call-ups with Tampa Bay's David Price being the "money card."

  • Each 20-card Hobby pack will have two insert cards. Assuming some of these are exclusive to retail, the complete list of inserts reads as follows:
    Gold Parallel (numbered to 99)
    StarQuest (25 cards, available in six different flavors)
    Rookie Debuts (30 cards, same checklist as the base set Rookies)
    '75 OPC (50 cards, 1:4/packs, available in regular and mini varieties)
    Rivals (25 cards)
    Greats of the Game (25 cards)
    USA 18U National Team (18 cards)
    USA Retrospectives (14 cards)
    20th Anniversary (1:2)
    Yankee Tedium Lunacy Update (1:4)
    MLB Documentary Update (1:4)

  • Each 16-pack Hobby waxbox will yield two jersey cards, one of which will be a multi-swatch card (double, triple, or quad) numbered to 199 copies or less.

  • One autographed gamer and a patch card per 12-box case.

Monday, November 03, 2008

1st Impressions: 2009 Upper Deck Series One

UPDATED: Wax Heaven has pictures.

Look at what I found on Dave and Adam's.

500 card base set
Two jerseys and an autograph in a box
1975 OPC inserts

Images of the cards when they become available.