AMOUNT SPENT ON 2012 TOPPS BASEBALL: $0.00

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Gentlemen,..... BEHOLD!!!!!



"I give you, Chris Harris' latest creation. His NEW 2001 Donruss Baseball Blog!"

"WHAT'S THE MATTER STEVE?"



"Ummm, Dr. Weird. Why would the guy who writes Stale Gum blog about 2001 Donruss?"



"BECAUSE IT SUCKS ASS!"



"Ummm, whatever."

Monday, January 28, 2008

1st Impressions: 2008 Topps Series Two

The first series of 2008 Topps isn't even out yet, but the sell sheets for the second are. (Go figure!)

Here's the sell sheet, and the checklist.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

White Plains: BE THERE!!!!!



FOLKSSSSSSS!!!! YOU'RE GONNA WANNA GET IN ON THISSSSS!!!!!

In fact, JUST START DIALING, NOWWWWWW!!!!!

ARE YOU READY FOR THISSS?????

ITEM NUMBER 72X-425: ITS A CHANCE TO ATTEND A MAJOR CARD SHOW WITH THAT IDIOT WHO WRITES STALE GUM!!!!!

KENNY, TELL THEM WHAT THEY'RE GONNA GET!!!!!




Where and When:

The Westchester County Center; Westchester, NY
Saturday Nov 29. from Noon until ??? (depends on traffic)
Admission: $7 PUT IT ON STRETCH PAY!!!!!

175 TABLES!!!!!

A ONE, HUNDRED, SEVENTY, FIVE, TABLE, SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

Auto guests: GEORGE FOSTER!!!! JIM RICE!!!!

KENNY, THISSSS ISSS CRAZY!!!!

(VERIFING ON ANOTHER!)

JSA will be on-site to authenticate (literally) anything!!!

Free packs to kids under 12!!!




FOLKSSSS. I KNOW THIS IS NUTSSSS!!! WE KNOW THE PHONES ARE BUSY, BUT JUST KEEP DIALING!!!!!!

For more information on the show, and autograph guests go to JP's Sports & Rock Solid Promotions' website.

RSVP: chris.harris@stalegum.com

GET.
IN.
ON.
THIS.
NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

1st Impressions: "Fisking" the 2008 Bowman Sell Sheet

Fisking: "A point-by-point refutation of a blog entry or (especially) news story."

The term was coined to describe a now (in)famous December 9, 2001 blog entry by Andrew Sullivan that ripped left-wing journalist Robert Fisk a new one.

With that said, I have in my formerly nicotine stained hands (CRUNCH-CRUNCH-CRUNCH) the sell sheet for 2008 Bowman. Yes, it's not even February, and the sell sheets for '08 Bowman (with Bowman Chrome!) are already out.

Whaddaya say we have some fun with this?

UPDATE: 1/28/08
Found a sell sheet.



Configuration: 24 packs per box. 10 cards per pack.

So far, so good.

Home of the Rookie Card!

For the last few years Bowman has ceased to be "The Home of the Rookie Card." But hey, maybe Bowman's changed. Maybe they'll include a few more Rookies this year? Then again, this product is going to be released in May, so maybe not. Let's find out, anyway.

2008 Bowman Baseball now features even more must-have, Bowman Exclusive cards than ever before!

Ooh, I can hardly wait. Are they going to expand the base set to more than 220 cards? Get rid of the base set autographed cards?

NEW this year, 2008 Bowman Baseball presents Hobby Exclusive AUTOGRAPHED Bowman Chrome Prospect Cards, at an insertion rate of 1 per Hobby and HTA Box and introduces Bowman Scouts Autographed Cards, highlighting baseball scouts who have signed some of today’s most incredible MLB stars!

SURVEY SAYS......



FEATURES
- NEW Bowman Chrome Autographed Prospect Cards! 1 PER HOBBY BOX!

NEW Bowman Chrome Autographed Prospect Cards? 1 PER HOBBY BOX? Be honest, raise your hand if you didn't see this coming?

- NEW Autographed Bowman Scout Cards!

SURVEY SAYS......




Yes, you read right. Autographed cards.

Of scouts.

(How the hell can these people sleep at night?)

- 110 Topps Exclusive Bowman Chrome Prospect Cards!
- 110 Topps Exclusive Bowman Prospect Cards!
- 3 Autographed Cards Per HTA Box!
- Each pack contains 5 Bowman Baseball cards PLUS 2 Prospect cards PLUS 2 Bowman Chrome Prospect cards PLUS 1 Gold Parallel card.

Wait, wait, wait. Why are you telling us on one line that we get three autographs in an HTA box; but then give us the pack breakdown for regular wax in the next? What's the breakdown for HTA boxes?

BASE CARDS (200 subjects): 5 PER PACK!
- VETERANS: 200 top MLB pros.
- ROOKIES: 20 young players featured with the MLB® Rookie Card Logo.

Same old puny 220-card base set; unchanged from the last couple of years. If there was anything that NEEDED to change about Bowman, it was the base set.

Available In The Following Parallels:
- RED: HOBBY EXCLUSIVE! A 1 of 1 version of the base set.
- ORANGE: Numbered* to 250.
- BLUE: Numbered* to 500.
- GOLD: The player’s signature and Bowman logo are gold-foil stamped!


Does anybody really care about the non-Chrome parallels? I get the one-per-pack Gold parallels, but what's the point with the Oranges and Blues? (Yeah, I know. "Adding value." Whatever.)

AUTOGRAPHED ROOKIE CARDS: HOBBY EXCLUSIVE!

I hope for Topps sake, they didn't tell Wal-Mart that the AUTOGRAPHED ROOKIE CARDS are HOBBY EXCLUSIVE!

And what's the deal with THE ALL CAPS AND THE EXCLAMATION POINTS AT THE END OF EACH SENTENCE! IT SOUNDSSSS LIKE THISSSS GUY WROTE IT:

(VERIFYING ON ANOTHER!)

- 10 Rookies sign their base card and are numbered 221-230. 1 PER HTA BOX!

Here is the complete AUTOGRAPHED ROOKIE CARD checklist:

221 Clay Buchholz
222 Nyjer Morgan
223 Brandon Jones
224 Sam Fuld
225 Daric Barton
226 Chris Seddon
227 J.R. Towles
228 Steve Pearce
229 Ross Ohlendorf
230 Clint Sammons

Basically, it's that guy who pitched a no-hitter for the Red Sox last September, and nine others.

Oh, and wasn't Daric Barton's RC in 2003 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects? (That would be a "yes.")

Available In The Following Parallels:
- RED: 1 OF 1!
- ORANGE: Numbered* to 250.
- BLUE: Numbered* to 500.


Blah, blah, blah...

Moving on to...

PROSPECT CARDS (110 subjects): 4 PER PACK!

BOWMAN PROSPECTS (2 per pack! HTA 8 per pack):
- Non-Major League Prospects appear in their MLB uniforms along with a “First Bowman Card” logo. Numbered BP1–BP110. 2 PER PACK!

Available In The Following Parallels:
- RED: HOBBY EXCLUSIVE! A 1.....


Same concept as the base cards. You get the idea.

NEW! AUTOGRAPHED BOWMAN CHROME PROSPECTS: 1 PER HOBBY & HTA BOX!
- HOBBY EXCLUSIVE!
- 25 prospects appear with their signatures on Chrome technology and will be numbered BCP111-BCP135!

Translation: All those Autographed Prospect Cards that were numbered as part of the regular Prospects set, have been moved into the Bowman Chrome set.

And who you ask are these guys?

BCP111 David Price
BCP112 Michael Moustakas


Autographed non-rookie cards of players whose First Bowman Card was in last year's BDP&P.

SURVEY SAYS......



Here's the rest of the checklist.

BCP113 Matt LaPorta
BCP114 Wendell Fairley
BCP115 Josh Vitters
BCP116 Johnathan Bachanov
BCP117 Edward Kunz
BCP118 Matt Dominguez
BCP119 Kyle Lotzkar
BCP120 Madison Bumgarner
BCP121 Jason Heyward
BCP122 Julio Borbon
BCP123 Josh Smoker
BCP124 Jarrod Parker
BCP125 Kevin Ahrens
BCP126 J.P. Arencibia
BCP127 Johs Bell
BCP128 Scott Cousins
BCP129 Brandon Hynick
BCP130 Alan Johnson
BCP131 Josh Kreuzer
BCP132 Ryan Zink
BCP133 Matt Harrison
BCP134 Justin Masterson
BCP135 Fautino de los Santos




Alright, that's enough, you get the gist of 2008 Bowman: Very few actual rookies and a shitload of gimmicks.

And that's the problem. Topps' once vaunted Bowman brand -- the self-proclaimed "Home of the Rookie Card" -- has lost it's identity. Granted, most of it is not of their making (i.e. the MLBPA's "Rookie Card" rules), but a lot of it is self-inflicted. I think Ben Henry said it best last summer: Do collectors really want Autographed Chrome Prospects in regular ol' Bowman, (or Chrome cards? or autographs of scouts? for that matter) or is it because Topps thinks that's what they want?

Anyway, for the first time in years, I think I'll be taking a pass on 2008 Bowman. (At least until the season ends.) If anything, by the time of next year's World Series, hobby wax will be selling for half price.

ETA: 5/12/08

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

When Upper Deck deals you lemons, try and cure cancer.

A group of smart collectors may have found a purpose for Upper Deck's Yankee Stadium "world-record-that-really-isn't-a-world-record" mirror insert: Fighting cancer. The folks behind the card trading site "The Bench" are asking collectors to donate their Yankee Stadium Legacy cards.

The plan to is to build the entire 6500+ card set, auction the completed set on eBay, and then donate 100% of the proceeds to The V Foundation.

For more information on the project, check out this website, and this facebook group.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Box Break and Review: 2007 Topps Heritage

One Hobby box of 2007 Topps Heritage (paid $55)
24 packs per box, eight cards per pack (MSRP $2.99)


The Details

Chiptoppers:
One of 16 13 Individually Wrapped Felt Team Logos

Base Set: 494 cards
Short Set: 384 cards
Short-Prints: 110 cards (1:2/packs)
Variations*
Yellow Letter Name: 17 cards
Yellow Letter Team: 16 cards

*Overall odds of finding a Yellow Letter: 1:6 packs

Parallels
Chrome: 110 cards (1:11, numbered to 1958)
Chrome Refractors: 110 cards (1:39, numbered to 558)
Black Bordered Chrome Refractors: 110 cards (1:383, numbered to 58)

Inserts
Individually wrapped stick of bubble gum: one-per-pack
New Age Performers: 15 cards (1:15)
Then & Now: 10 cards (1:15)
Flashbacks: 10 cards: (1:12)

Mirrors
Alex Rodriguez Bullshit Waste of Space: 25 cards (1:24)
Mickey Mantle 1958 AL Home Run Champion: 42 cards (1:6)

Autogamers
Clubhouse Collection Relic: 66 cards (production varies)
Clubhouse Collection Dual Relic: three cards (1:13,900, numbered to 58)
Flashback Relic: ten cards (1:484)
Flashback Dual Relic: three cards (1:82,544, numbered to ten)
Real One Autograph: 37 cards (1:327, limited to 200)
Real One Special Edition Autograph: 37 cards (1:1129, numbered to 58)
Flashback Autograph: five cards (1:19500, numbered to 25)
Clubhouse Collection Auto Relic: six cards (1:16,100, numbered to 25)
Flashback Auto Relic: five cards (1:19,500, numbered to 25)
A-Rod Road to 500 Autographed: 25 cards (1:100,500, one-of-one)
1958 Cut Signatures: three cards (1:403,200, one-of-one)

The Pulls

Chiptoppers: One Fierce Cincinnati Red Legs Beer Coaster

Base Set: 175 of 494 (35.43%)
Short Set: 163 of 384 (42.45%)
Short-Prints: 12 of 110 (10.91%) W. Ledezma, B. Abreu, B. Hawpe, C. Hamels, J. Vidro, C. Lee, J. Conine, A. Sanchez, Red Sox Team Card, J-Roll, K-Rod, R. Hernandez
Variations:
1 Yellow Letter Name: R. Zimmerman
3 Yellow Letter Team: R. Cano, M. Buehrle, H. Ramirez

Parallels:
2 Chrome: J. Zumaya, Delwyn Young

Inserts:
24 sticks of gum
2 New Age Performers: D. Jeter, R. Clemens
2 Then & Now: Aparico & Reyes, Podres & Harang
2 Flashbacks: W. Spahn, Sen. J. Bunning

Mirrors:
1 A-Rod Bullshit Waste of Space: #54
4 Mickey Mantle 1958 AL Home Run Champion: #2, 20, 30, & 41

Autogamers: NONE

The Review

As of this writing, it has been almost ten months since the release of 2007 Topps Heritage. Don't ask why, but I just never got around to collecting last year's Heritage. I don't know if I can fully explain it, but it's just that Topps has done the whole "Retro" thing to death and the thought of collecting yet another Topps Heritage set just doesn't have the same panache as it did five years ago. Don't get me wrong, Topps has issued some great retro-themed sets over the last few years (Allen & Ginter); but they've also put out some stinkers. (Topps 52)

With that said, I went to the New York Ass Slap wanting to rip something. This being the two-month interregnum between the last of the '07 sets and the first of the '08s, there wasn't much of anything new and the available junkwax was just as unappealing. But there they were: a stack of surplus 2007 Topps Heritage waxboxes. "Oh, what the hell!" I thought as I handed the dealer $55 for the box.

What the hell.



I never liked the design of '58 Topps ('56 and '59 were much better), but for some reason I like 2007 Heritage better than I did 2006. Why? One word: authenticity.

For the first time since the inaugural Heritage set, the size of the base set matches that of the set it's based on -- 494 cards. Also, as a nod to the '58 Topps set, there is no card #145 and some selected players have "yellow letter" variations. (Not unlike the "black back" variations in '01 Heritage.) But they didn't make variations of any old players mind you. The exact same card numbers that were "Yellowed" in 1958 Topps are also Yellowed in '07 Heritage. Give Topps a +1 for keeping it real.

About the only thing not authentic are short-printed base cards. Unlike other Topps sets of the era, all the 1958 cards were produced in roughly equal quantities regardless of series. (In fact, Topps actually triple-printed the Stan Musial and Mickey Mantle All-Star cards!) But as has become par-for-the-course in Heritage, 110 of the base set cards are short-printed and seeded at the rate of 1:2/packs. In retrospect -- if only for the change-of-pace it would have brought to the Heritage brand -- 2007 Heritage could have done without the short-prints.

Other observations:

One thing they didn't have in 1958 is Adobe Photoshop; but if you like Photoshopped cards -- especially poorly Photoshopped cards -- then check out card #386. If you look closely, you might notice the "Veterans Stadium Final Season" patch on Chase Ultey's right sleeve. (For the record, The Vet's final season was 2003.) In 2003, Ryan Howard was playing for AA Reading, and Cholly was out of baseball. But hey, any card with Uncle Cholly is a good card in my book.

Willie Mays is card #5 in '58 Topps, but Derek Jeter is #5 in '07 Heritage. Barry Bonds should have been the obvious choice for #5, but the set was issued during the brief period where Barry Bonds' Topps contract had expired.

Other "similar numbers:"
#1: Ted Williams / David Ortiz
#30: Hank Aaron / Ichiro
#150: Mickey Mantle / Alex Rodriguez
#285: Frank Robinson / Ken Griffey, Jr.
#310: Ernie Banks / Ryan Howard
#418: Mantle & Aaron / Pujols & Ordonez
#436: Mays & Snider / Wright & Howard
#476: Stan Musial AS / Albert Pujols AS

On card #91, Royals otufielder David DeJesus appears to be holding the same pre-War era glove that his teammate Zach Greinke used as a prop on his 2006 Topps Allen & Ginter card.

The iconic All-Star cards at the end of the set have a reference to Topps Magazine, as opposed to the now-defunct Sport. For those of you not aware, in the early 90s Topps published a magazine that was essentially nothing more than an advertising vehicle -- think Nintendo Power. I remember one issue had a poster with the entire 1991 Stadium Club set.

Inserts include the good (New Age Performers, Then & Now and Flashbacks), and the bad (Chrome parallels and assorted refractors), and the stupid (a continuation of the A-Rod Waste-of-Space and a 42-card Mickey Mantle mirror set).

Finally, each box comes with one of sixteen thirteen five-inch diameter felt logo patches, packaged as a chiptopper. They're great on a T-shirt, sweater, or jacket. (Says so right on the side of the waxbox.)

The Bottom Line:


Zero doubles and inserts that all ran as promised add up to a pretty decent rip. I got a little more than a two-fifths of the base set, and a tenth of the SPs. If you're a set builder, then three boxes should be all you need. The chiptopper yielded a Cincinnati Red Legs logo. (Ol' Tail Gunner Joe would be proud!)

The only thing that sucks about '07 Topps Heritage are the mirror cards. You know that one episode of South Park when Kyle's cousin from Connecticut comes to visit? But everybody hates him, and it gets to a point where Kyle has to pay Cartman $40 just to stop ripping on him? But then even Kyle had had enough of his cousin's constant complaining and kvetching, and winds up tying him to a sled that's tied to the bumper of a Connecticut-bound bus. But then his cousin came back to South Park? Then they leave him in the woods, and he came back again? Then they put him on a plane to Antarctica, and he STILL CAME BACK TO SOUTH PARK? You know, that one?

The A-Rod Road to 500 mirrors are to Topps Heritage (and for that matter every other 2007 Topps set) what Kyle's cousin is to the South Park kids. You wish they'd just go away. But for some reason, they just keep coming back to ruin everything.

Product Rating: 3 1/2 Gumsticks (out of five)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

What I Observed (and got) at the "New York Ass Slap*," a.k.a. The White Plains Show: 1/19/08

I was supposed to hook-up with Ben Henry, but he forgot my cell phone number, and I forgot to ask for his. The great clash of the cardblogosphere titans will have to wait until the next pay-per-view, errr..., White Plains show.

Just as well. My adopted EPL side Fulham was playing Arsenal that morning on Fox Soccer. Couple that with the fustercluck that is the Cross-Bronx Expressway, and I didn't get to WHP until 2:30.

(Memo to self: Next time take the Tappan Zee. I don't care if driving 60MPH on the Bronx River Parkway is the most fun you can have with your pants on, TAKE THE TZ INSTEAD!)

By the time I finally arrived, most of the scheduled autograph guests had left. The only one left signing was former Gnats Giants and Eagles punter Sean Landeta. (Damn, I knew I should have brought that football.) Unfortunately, this being the "New York Ass Slap*," the only photos of Landeta available for sale were of him in Gnats Giants gear. I gave my free Sean Landeta autograph coupon to some guy who looked like Carl from the Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

Seriously, this guy looked EXACTLY like Carl. The only thing missing was the Foreigner Belt and the green flip-flops.


Anyway, here's what I got.

$55 in assorted inserts (mostly 2004-present).

Aww yeah, it's that time.

You know it's that time.

It's time for...
$55 worth of inserts.

Aww yeah.


I had the $55,

I had to have the inserts.

Aww yeah.


Now, I could have bought $20 worth of inserts.

And that would have been, a LOT of inserts.

But I had to go all the way, baby!

With $55 worth of inserts.

Aww yeah.


Now I know what you're thinking; Chris, how exactly did you get $55 worth of inserts?

SHHHH!!!!

Don't worry your pretty little head off.

It ain't none of your concern.

Aww yeah.

$55 for a box of 2007 Topps Heritage

Believe it on not, but this is the first box of 2007 Topps Heritage I've purchased. I guess I've just become bored (or is it jaded?) with the whole "Heritage" concept. But I wanted something to rip, and this was the only wax available that interested me. It was either this, or a jumbo box of '93 Upper Deck.

The first pack should be posted to APAD by the time you read this, and a full review will be posted here shortly.

$40 in 2007 Ultra retail singles

Right as I was about to leave, I noticed out of the corner of my eye a dealer selling singles of Ultra retail.

A Hobby dealer who busts mass-quantities of retail? Yes folks, there is a God.

After I picked through the short-set singles, I asked the dealer if she had any of the short-printed rookies and Lucky 13s? To which she said (with a wink-and-a-smile),

"You must be one of them."

To which I replied,

"You mean, an actual collector."

We both got a kick out of that.

I'm now three cards short of completing the Ultra retail base set -- all of them from the short-set.

Total Spent on Cards: $150
Admission and Parking: $11
Tolls: $9.90
Grand Total: $170.90

* Thanks to A Pack A Day contributor Scott for coining the term "New York Ass Slap."

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Dear Guinness World Records:

Hello, my name is Chris Harris, and I am the writer of the baseball card blog Stale Gum. It has come to my attention that The Upper Deck Company, a manufacturer of baseball cards and sports collectibles, is planning to release in various stages throughout 2008, a baseball card insert set called "Yankee Stadium Legacy." According to an Upper Deck press release, after all 6500 cards have been issued, Guinness World Records "is ready to recognize the effort as the 'largest baseball trading card set ever produced'.”

Before Guinness bestows this honor on 2008 Upper Deck Yankee Stadium Legacy, I would like to inform your Official Record Adjudicators of a long-forgotten baseball card set, that is (and will remain) the largest set ever made.

In 1998 Topps released an experimental, and now largely forgotten, baseball trading card set called Topps TEK. TEK was unique in that only 90 players were represented. However, each player had 90 different cards issued. This would make a 1998 Topps TEK baseball card set complete at a whopping 8100 cards (90 players multiplied by 90 variations) -- 1600 more than Upper Deck's Yankee Stadium Legacy set -- and the true Guinness World Record holder for the "largest baseball trading card set ever produced."

If you have any questions about either 1998 Topps TEK, or the 2008 Upper Deck Yankee Stadium Legacy baseball card sets, (or any other questions about baseball cards and sports memorabilia) I feel as though I am fully qualified to answer them for you.

Always Be Collecting
Chris Harris
www.stalegum.com

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I Get Letters: How to succeed in card blogging without even trying.

In case you haven't noticed, the cardblogosphere is blowing up. Everyday it seems, somebody establishes a new baseball cardblog. And sure enough, just as soon as a new blog opens for business, I get an e-mail (usually mixed in with the dozens of MySpace Friend Requests that front for porn sites) from it's writer begging me to check out their site.

And whose cardblog wouldn't want the "Stale Gum Seal of Approval?" While it is encouraging to see many new cardblogs spring up -- especially since many of these cardbloggers are from the "lost generation" of collectors -- there's a problem with many of these sites. Many of these are so new, they have very little original content. I can't possibly give an honest review of something that really hasn't fully developed.

Recently, in between the MySpace Friend Requests from "Tiphany," "Jasime," and "Ashley," (like that's their real names) I received an e-mail from a collector who wanted to start his own blog, and sought my advice. "How do you do it, Chris?"

And so, on this the tenth anniversary of the incident that inspired the creation of Stale Gum, I bequeath you, the new and future cardbloggers, this sage advice. For those about to cardblog, (FIRE!) I salute you.

Twelve Tips for the Budding Baseball Cardblogger.

1) Write, write, write.

Ask yourself this: "Am I a good writer, or do I suck at it?"

If you answered the latter, fear not. Writing is a skill that can be learned and improved -- but only with practice.

I'll freely admit, when I started this thing ten years ago I wasn't the greatest writer in the world either. In fact, I was terrible. But I wrote anyway. And I wrote. And I wrote. After ten years, I like to think that I'm a halfway decent writer. Granted, no one will ever confuse my prose with that of Grantland Rice, or Peggy Noonan, or H.L. Mencken, but I'm OK with that.

But you can only improve your writing skills with practice. Lots of practice. But don't take my word for it, take A.I.'s



2) Know what it is you're blogging about.

Of all the points, this is probably the most important. If you don't know shit about cards, then what's the point blogging about them?

It's like what Ricky Roma said in Glengarry Glen Ross: (And you'd know it if you ever collected a day in your life.) "You never open your mouth, until you know what the shot is."

3) More is not better.

One of the great advantages of the blog format is that there are no set-in-stone deadlines. You don't have to come out with a new story everyday -- unless you're the Cardboard Junkie. There are some weeks where I've posted five, six, even seven stories. But then again, I've gone weeks without posting a single story.

The principle here is, quality over quantity. If you don't have anything worthwhile to say, then don't say it.

4) Have a take, and don't suck.

Ah yes, sage advice from Mr. Jim Rome. When you blog, come up with something fresh and original. THINK! USE YOUR NOODLE! Don't just cut-and-paste the press release Upper Deck just e-mailed you (and everyone else who has a card blog), and post it. There are other websites that specialize in that.

Cut-and-paste that press release to your blog and tell us what you think (there's that word again) about that new $500/pack UD product.

5) Be fearless.

DO NOT BE AFRAID to piss people off. If you think that $500/pack UD product sucks, say so. What's Upper Deck going to do, sue you? Sue a blogger?

6) Remember "The 5WH"

5WH stands for: who? what? where? when? why? and how? Ask yourself these questions whenever you write -- especially if you're doing a product review. For example:

"HOW many cards did I get in pack, and HOW much did I pay for it?"

"WHO is the target audience for this product?"

"WHAT do I think of the cards I pulled?"

"WHY did I like/hate this set?"

"WHAT would I have done differently."

You get the idea.

7) Lern two youse spelchek.

This should be obvious.

8) Don't use a "dollar" word, when a "fifty-cent" word will do.

Oh sure, you may have a Ph.D. from an Ivy League university hanging up on your wall, or in my case a BA from a rather prestigious state school; but you're not writing for a serious academic journal. YOU'RE WRITING ABOUT BASEBALL CARDS FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!

Write as if your audience is, well, a bunch of card collectors. You know that guy you bought that waxbox off of at the card show? Write as if he's your sole reader.

9) Read.

Read. Read a lot, and absorb from your favorite authors and journalists. For example, one of my favorite authors is the humorist and gonzo-journalist P.J. O'Rourke. If you were to ask me who the biggest influence on my writing style is, it would be O'Rourke.

10) Be yourself. After all, it's your blog.

Speaking of style, develop one of your own. If you think you're funny, then write funny. If you're more serious, write serious.

Also, don't be afraid to tell the audience a little about yourself. For example, in this entry I mentioned that I have a BA from a prestigious state school. You don't have to post your Social Security number, but post what you're comfortable with.

11) Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was the cardblogosphere.

How does that old shampoo commercial go? "You never get a second chance to make a first impression." Yeah, link exchanges can be a great way to promote your blog. But if you only been around for a week, and you only have a handful of blog entries, then what's the point?

If you just started a blog, write for a couple of weeks (make that months). Then, write for a couple of more weeks. Then, write for a few more weeks. If you haven't abandoned your blog by this point, then ask if you want to link swap.

12) Don't be afraid to fail.

I've been at this (on and off) for almost ten years. But it's only been in the last year that I've been able to reach a significant audience.

... and one more for good luck.

13) HAVE FUN! And don't take yourself too seriously.

Always Be Collecting,
Chris Harris

Monday, January 14, 2008

2007 Gummie Awards



Announcer: "And now, from the parking lot of the Topps plant in Duryea, PA; almost live -- it's the 37th Annual Gummie Awards."

"Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the Baseball Card Writer's Association of America: Chris Harris."

CH: "Thank you very much. As many of you are aware, the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike has prohibited the Baseball Card Writers Association of America from our annual award ceremony, champagne dinner, and beer pong tournament. I know many of you were disappointed, not the least of which are myself and Pat Burrell as we were set to defend our Gummie Award beer pong title. But although our usual presentation spectacular will not commence this year, nonetheless, we are proud to announce the winners of the 37th Annual Gummie Awards."

"Right now, our staff is passing out to you, the assembled Hobby media, a list of the winners. If any of you need additional copies, there will be a stack of extra sheets on the table over by the Yuengling kegs."

"Again, thank you for coming. As I mentioned, we still have three kegs of Yuengling, and plenty of cocktail weenies for your enjoyment. If you have any questions or comments, I'll be available for comment in the green room. Thank you very much for coming out to Duryea."




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DURYEA, PA; JANUARY 14, 2008 -- Below is a list of the winners of the 37th Annual Gummie Awards.

Best Insert Set: Topps Distinguished Service

Worst Insert Set: Topps Generation Now

Best Retro-Themed Product: Topps Allen & Ginter

Worst Retro-Themed Product: Sportkings

Best Autogamer Set: Upper Deck Goudey Sports Royalty

Worst Idea: Upper Deck's insertion rookie redemption cards in Upper Deck Series One.

Best Quick Correction of a Bad Idea: Upper Deck fulfilling all Series One rookie redemptions for the entire 20-card set.

Most Short-Sighted, Boneheaded Decision: Converting Fleer Ultra into "Ultra SE," a "one-hit-per-pack" product.

Best Idea: Releasing the "real" Fleer Ultra to retail.

Most Meaningless Product:
Bowman

Best Designed Set: UD Masterpieces

Worst Designed Set: Topps

Best Base Set: Topps Allen & Ginter

Worst Base Set: Topps Moments and Milestones

Best Baseball Card Blog: The Cardboard Junkie

Best Baseball Card News Site: The Brill Report

Jefferson Burdick Prize for Contributions to The Hobby: Michael O'Keeffe; author of The Card.

Card of the Year:
Topps Allen & Ginter #261: Torri Hunter


Product of the Year: Topps Allen & Ginter

Worst Product (3-Way Tie (For Last)): Topps Moments and Milestones, UD Black, and Sportkings

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Recipients of "The 37th Annual Gummie Awards" to be announced in Duryea press conference on Jan. 14

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BARRINGTON, NJ,
January 10, 2008 – The Baseball Card Writers Association of America (BCWAA) today announced that the recipients of the 2007 Gummie Awards will be revealed during a press conference to take place in the parking lot of the Topps factory in Duryea, PA, on January 14. “The 37th Annual Gummie Awards” telecast, champagne dinner, and beer pong tournament is officially canceled.

"The Baseball Card Writers Association of America has been placed in an extremely difficult position with the ongoing Writers Guild strike," said BCWAA president Chris Harris. "We made every effort to work out a solution that will permit the Gummies to take place with The Hobby community present to participate."

“While we are all very disappointed that our traditional awards ceremony will not take place this year and that millions of baseball card collectors worldwide will be deprived of seeing many of their favorite products of 2007 honored for their outstanding achievements,” said Harris, “we take some comfort in knowing that this year’s Gummie Award recipients will be announced on the date originally scheduled.”

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

"PUT THAT ACCEPTANCE SPEECH DOWN!!!"


Blake: "The Hall of Fame is for closers only!

"Do you think I'm fucking with you? I am not fucking with you. I'm here from Cooperstown. I'm here from the BBWAA. And I'm here on a mission of mercy. Your name's Blyleven?"

Blyleven: "Yeah."

Blake: "You call yourself a Hall of Famer, you son of a bitch?"

Dawson:
"I don't have to listen to this shit."

Blake: "You certainly don't pal. 'Cause the good news is -- you're not a Hall of Famer. The bad news is you've got, all you got, just one year to earn your plaques, starting tonight. Starting with tonight's sit.

"Oh, have I got your attention now? Good. 'Cause we're adding a little something to next year's balloting. As you all know, first prize is induction into the Hall of Fame and baseball immortality. Anyone want to see second prize? Second prize's a set of steak knives. Third prize is permanent obscurity.

"You get the picture? You're laughing now? You got stats. You spent years accumulating those stats. You can't get inducted with the stats you're given, you ARE shit, hit the bricks pal and beat it 'cause you are going out!!!"


Blyleven: "But my winning percentage was weak."

Blake: "'Your winning percentage was weak?' Fucking winning percentage is weak? You're weak. I've been a Hall of Fame voter for fifteen years."

Dawson: "What's your name?"

Blake: "FUCK YOU, that's my name!! You know why, Mister? 'Cause you played half your career in Canada for a team that no longer exists, and I drive an $80,000 BMW. That's my name!!

(to Blyleven) "And your name is 'you're wanting.' And you can't play in a man's game. You can't get inducted, go home and tell your wife your troubles.

(to everyone again) "Because only one thing counts in this life! Get them to check your name on the ballot which is dotted! You hear me, you fucking faggots?"


Blake: "A-B-C. A-always, B-be, C-closing. Always be closing! Always be closing!!

"You got the writers comin' in; you think they came in to get out of the rain? Guy doesn't vote for you unless he wants you inducted. They're sitting out there waiting to give you their Hall of Fame vote! Are you gonna take it? Are you man enough to take it?

(to Dawson) "What's the problem pal? You. Dawson."

Dawson: "You're such a hero, why you coming down here and waste your time on a bunch of bums?"

(Blake sits and shows Dawson a 1993 Andre Dawson Finest Refractor)

Blake: "You see this card?"

Dawson:
"Yeah."

Blake: "That refractor cost more than a Gem Mint '10' of your rookie card. You see, pal, that's who I am. And you're nothing. Nice guy? I don't give a shit. Good father? Fuck you -- go home and play with your kids!!

(to everyone) "I can go out there tonight with the materials you got, and buy up every remaining copy of Andre Dawson's 1993 Finest Refractor on eBay not already in Andre Dawson's personal collection! Tonight! In two hours!"

"Can you?"

"Can you?"

"You wanna get elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, Close!! The votes are out there, you pick it up, you're in. You don't -- you're going to be shining my shoes."


(Blake takes out large stack of red index cards tied together with string from his briefcase)

Blake: "These are the new ballots. The Glengarry 2009 Hall of Fame ballots. And to you, they're gold. And you don't get them. Because voting for you is just throwing them away."

(Blake hands the stack to Peter Gammons) "They're for closers."

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Beckett Baseball Card Monthly is dead. Long live the new price guide.

They've been saying for months that things were going to change in 2008. Well, I guess Beckett wasn't kidding around.


I'm sad to see the monthly mag go (especially since I've been a subscriber since '92). But the state of The Hobby no longer justifies a monthly single-sport price guide.

How does this effect current Beckett subscribers? I have no idea yet.