Tuesday, June 30, 2009

2009 OPC Blaster Break

Yeah, it's been a week since I posted anything. Sue me.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Video Box Break and Review: 2009 Upper Deck OPC

One Hobby box of 2009 Upper Deck OPC
36 packs per box, six cards per pack (Paid $59)

Part One:

Part Two:

The Pulls

Base Set: 159 of 600 (26.50%)

35 Black (one-per-pack)
1 Blank-Backed Black: P. Polanco
1 Mini Black (1:36): S. Olsen

2 2008 Highlights & Milestones (15 cards): A. Beltre, C. Gomez
1 Walk-Off Winners (ten cards): J. Damon
1 2008 OPC All-Rookie Team (ten cards): J. Bruce
1 Midsummer Memories (15 cards): C. Crawford
2 Face of the Franchise (30 cards): M. Young, E. Longoria
2 The Award Show (20 cards): A. Beltre, T. Hunter
1 New York, New York (30 cards, 1:36): J. Posada
1 1979-80 OPC Hockey (33 cards, 1:36): J. Toews (Hockey Player)
6 20th Anniversary: L. Berkman, R. Ankiel, T. Woods (three different), Jeter

1 20th Anniversary Memorabilia (1:432/packs): I. Rodriguez

The Review

When I first saw the sell-sheets for '09 UDOPC back in February, with it's faux '76 Topps design and one-per-pack '71 Topps parallel, my first thought was to the litigation that was all but inevitable. With the lawsuit now all but settled, I still have to wonder what Upper Deck was thinking with this product.

I get the fact that Upper Deck wanted to throw a bone to the set collectors; and with a large 600 base set, they have. But I don't understand why they had to call it "O-Pee-Chee." For baseball card collectors O-Pee-Chee will always be nothing more than Canadian Topps. (The fact that all the cards are in English-only goes against the spirit of the originals, but that's for another post.) Issuing a card set called "O-Pee-Chee," and shamelessly ripping off vintage Topps/OPC designs, was all but inviting a Topps lawsuit.

What I also don't understand is why UD decided to kill off a brand name they paid a lot of money for (Fleer), and revive a brand more associated with their competitor? Maybe it was to stick it to Topps?

The Bottom Line

2009 UDOPC is what it is. It's 2009 Fleer Tradition, but under a different name. I received a little more than a quarter of the base set, a bunch of black-bordered parallels, and a one-per-box mini parallel of former Marlin and current Nats pitcher Scott Olsen. I also pulled a black-bordered card of Placido Polanco with a blank-bank, that I didn't notice until after I was done sorting my box. Apparently, these blank-backed black-backs (try saying that five times as fast as you can) are a stealth parallel.

Not including those annoying 20th Anniversary cards, there are eight different insert sets and I received at least one card from each. Unfortunately, one of the inserts I received was of a hockey player. The card in question is from a 33-card "tribute" to the 1979-80 OPC Hockey set. (The first ten cards are of current NHL players, while the remaining 23 are of baseballers.) Last time I checked it says "Baseball Picture Cards" on the wrapper, and not "Baseball and Hockey Picture Cards." If I wanted hockey cards, I'd buy a pack of fucking hockey cards.

You're not guaranteed either an autograph or a gamer in a box, but then again you're probably not buying this for the "hits." You're supposed to get a triple-swatch game-used card every third box, an autograph every sixth, and a 20th Anniversary Game-Used card in every twelve-box case. This box yielded the "case hit," a Pudge Rodriguez 20th Anniversary jersey card.

I paid $59 for this box of cards, and although I got 36 wax packs, I still don't feel as though I got enough for my money. The problem with UDOPC is the price point. Yes, it's only $1.59/pack -- which puts it along the lines of Topps' flagship -- but you only get a measly six cards in a pack. When you consider that a 20-card Hobby pack of Upper Deck's flagship has an MSRP of $5, the cost-per-card of OPC is roughly the same as regular Upper Deck.

Product Rating: 2 1/2 Gumsticks
Box Rating: 3 Gumsticks

... and another thing

Contrary to what it originally said on the sell-sheet, the last 100 cards are NOT short printed. They are seeded at the rate of one-per-pack, but UD actually printed MORE of these cards than the first 500 cards. I received 36% of the "SPs," but only about a quarter of the first 500.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Is the Upper Deck O-Pee-Chee Concept Dead?

This is ironic considering that I bought and ripped a box of 2009 UDOPC Baseball this afternoon; (Video break to come) but according to a documents revealed by Sports Collector's Daily, Topps and Upper Deck have come to an agreement, of sorts, regarding UD's use of the vintage O-Pee-Chee designs.
"Upper Deck will be able to sell its existing inventory of 2009 Series One and Two Baseball, 2009 OPC and 2008-09 OPC hockey, but the west coast card maker will have to stop within four weeks and won't be able to promote the cards at the heart of the dispute."
So look for the flood of 2009 UDOPC Baseball soon.

To read the documents yourself click here.

(h/t Sports Collector's Daily)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Video Box Break and Review: 2009 Bowman HTA

One HTA box of 2009 Bowman Baseball (paid $85)
32 cards per pack, 12 packs per box

The Details:

One Autographed Rookie Card (10 cards, one per HTA box)

Base Set: 230 cards
220 short-set
10 Autographed Rookie Cards (see above)

Bowman Prospects: 90 cards
World Baseball Classic: 20 cards

Golds: 330 cards (one-per-pack)
Blues: 330 cards (numbered to 500)
Oranges: 330 cards (1:3 packs, numbered to 250)
Reds: 330 cards (1:1020)
Chrome: 110 cards (six-per-pack)
Chrome Refractors: 110 cards (1:5, numbered to 599)
Chrome X-Fractors: 110 cards (1:10, numbered to 299)
Chrome Blue Refractors: 110 cards (1:19, numbered to 150)
Chrome Gold Refractors: 110 cards (1:57, numbered to 50)
Chrome Orange Refractors: 110 cards (1:114, numbered to 25)
Chrome Red Refractors: 110 cards (1:484, numbered to 5)
Chrome SuperFractor: 110 cards (1:2415, one-of-one)
Press Plates: 330 cards (1:93)

Autographed Rookies: (ten cards, 1:40)
Autographed Blue Rookies: (ten cards, 1:98, numbered to 500)
Autographed Orange Rookies: (ten cards, 1:194, numbered to 250)
Autographed Red Rookies: (ten cards, 1:50,000, one-of-one)
Autographed Rookie Press Plates (ten cards, 1:13,000)
Autographed Chrome Prospects: (17 cards*, 1:23)
Autographed Chrome Refractor Prospects: (17 cards, 1:47)
Autographed Chrome X-Fractor Prospects: (17 cards, 1:94)
Autographed Chrome Blue Refractor Prospects: (17 cards, 1:152)
Autographed Chrome Gold Refractor Prospects: (17 cards, 1:457)
Autographed Chrome Orange Refractor Prospects: (17 cards, 1:911)
Autographed Chrome Red Refractor Prospects: (17 cards, 1:4500)
Autographed Chrome SuperFractor Prospects: (17 cards, 1:22,500)
Autographed Chrome Prospects Press Plates: (17 cards, 1:2400)
Bowman Prospect Autographs: (ten cards, 1:24)

The 17 Autographed Chrome Prospects are numbered as an extension of the Chrome Prospects insert set. (BCP111-BCP127)

The Pulls

Part One:

Part Two:

Base Set: 192 of 230 (83.48%)
short set: 191 of 220 (86.82%)
Autographed Rookies: 1 of 10 (10.00%) L. Montz

Bowman Prospects: 77 of 90 (85.56%)
Bowman World Baseball Classic: 19 of 20 (95.00%)

12 Golds
8 Blues: C-M Wang, R. Ankiel, D. Haren, J. Lannan, M. Lowell, C. Quentin, Y. Escobar, J. Bourgeois
4 Oranges: N. Leyja, N. Buss, T. Johnson, C. Li
67 Chromes
2 Chrome Refractors: J. Jones, P. Aumont
2 Chrome X-Fractors: O. Tejada, J. Bogany

1 Autographed Chrome Prospect: J. Rodriguez
1 Bowman Prospect Autograph: R. Kalish

Saturday, June 13, 2009

What I got at the Midtown Sports Card Show: 6/13/09

Hey kids? Do you like shiny baseball cards with autographs of obscure minor league prospects, most of whom will never make much of an impact in the Big Leagues? Do you yearn for manufactured letter patch "cards" with barely legible autographs? How about gobs and gobs of current year inserts scattered around higgledy-piggledy around an eight-foot table, all hopelessly disorganized? Have we got a card show for you! The monthly Midtown Sports Card Show at the Holy Cross Catholic School in Manhattan!

I found an ad for this show in the Beckett show listings. It sounded like a good day out; so, why not? Upon entering the school, I felt like I had stepped in a time machine. It was like I was at a card show in the late-80s/early-90s -- about 20 tables in a postage-stamp sized school gym. But size and location is where all similarities end.

This is no exaggeration, but literally every dealer had stacks of 2005-08 Bowman Chrome singles. Not regular Bowman, but BowChro -- and very few of them base cards. If you're dying to finish off that '06 Bowman Draft X-Fractor set (And who isn't? Am I right?), you would have hit the jackpot. There was some vintage, but not much; and 90s and mid-00s stuff, forget it. That is, unless you want to pick through the massive piles of scattered top loaders that seemed to be on every table. I think I saw only one dealer who properly displayed his cards in a showcase and a couple in cardboard boxes. Since I didn't arrive until 2:30, and the show closed at 4:00, I had no interest in picking through 15 table's worth of random cards.

Only one dealer was selling wax of any kind, and once again, it was Seymour the Wax Man. I told you about Seymour last year during my visit to White Plains; he's a regular on the New York card show circuit, and occasionally makes his way down toward my neck-o'-the-woods. Seymour came prepared with four tables of new wax, and some old stuff as well ('93 UD for $25, '95 SP for $25, '97 Ultra Series Two Hobby for $95). He also had HTA boxes of Topps Series Two and Bowman for $85 each, and regular Hobby wax for $50 each. I was tempted with a box of '09 UD Series Two for $65, but given my recent experience with UD, I wisely took a pass.

I left disappointed with the selection, and in the end the only thing I bought was an HTA box of '09 Bowman for $85. But, if you've got nothing planned for Saturday afternoon, July 11, and are a train ride from NYC, go check it out -- if only for the novelty of seeing what a card show used to be.

Tolls, Parking, and Train Fare: $24.95
Admission: $1
Total Spent on Cards: $85

Grand Total: $115.95

Epic Mets FAIL!

Oh yeah, Dobbs got screwed out of a homer.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fisking the Latest UD Press Release.

I was already to write about my visit last night to the tenth circle of Hell (a.k.a. New York's Citi Field), when I get this e-mail from Upper Deck...

"Upper Deck pays tribute to ‘The Kid’ by producing 20 different versions of his base card to commemorate each year of his MLB career."

Now if I were a Griffey super collector (which I'm not), this headline might as well read:

Upper Deck screws over fans of ‘The Kid’ by producing 20 different versions of his base card to commemorate each year of his MLB career; yet is only bothering to announce this cruel gimmick now, almost a month after the release of 2009 Upper Deck Series Two.

What do you say we have a little more fun with this press release, huh?

"North Las Vegas, NV (June 10, 2009) – Collectors began noticing something different as they put together their 2009 Upper Deck Baseball sets: not every version of card No. 855 of Upper Deck spokesman Ken Griffey Jr. looked the same. Truth be told, Upper Deck produced 20 different versions of Griffey’s base card depicting Junior during every year of his MLB career. The images, stats and text on the back of the card correspond directly to the year that’s featured."

In other words, UD is doing EXACTLY what Topps did ten years ago when they made 70 and 66 different versions of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa's base cards -- only instead one for each home run, there's one for each of Junior's seasons. And we all remember what that led Topps to...

1) Repeating the gimmick with Barry Bonds and his 73 homers.

2) The Barry Bonds, Mickey Mantle, and A-Rod Bullshit Home Run Wastes of Space.

3) The debacle that was Generation Now and the travesty of Moments & Milestones.

The fact is, this whole let's-make-multiple-different-variations-of-the-same-card isn't really all that new. To see UD recycle a gimmick that collectors have already rejected is pretty sad, and speaks to the imagination (or lack thereof) of the current baseball product development team.

“`It’s important for us to continue to look at ways to make the regular base card interesting to collectors,' said Gabriel Garcia, Upper Deck’s associate baseball brand manager."

Because it's not like collector's don't want a well-designed, well-structured flagship card set anymore. Right?

Hey Gabe, you want to make things "interesting to collectors?" How about, instead of investing UD's time and resources into gimmicks, invest it into QUALITY CONTROL!
Like, oh, I don't know, NOT PUTTING 47 MIS-CUT CARDS IN A WAXBOX. Or how about, PUTTING ALL EIGHT PACKS INTO THE BLASTER BOX! Maybe then you won't need to debase yourselves with gimmicks.

“`By creating different versions of Griffey’s card to commemorate his illustrious career, we hope to have people go back through their collections to see which versions they have and to hopefully put together the entire 20-card set'."

Does Upper Deck really, really, their customers are dumb enough to fall for something this? Does Upper Deck have any shred of respect for The Hobby at all? Do they have any shred of dignity for themselves?

"Since we did not announce this, it’s been interesting to see how quickly collectors picked up on it and how well some of these cards have been selling in the secondary market.”

Because, God forbid, you actually tell collector's what is actually in your product before you sell it to them!

Much virtual ink has been spilled on this blog, and others, on Topps' stealth gimmicks from last year. And although they've continued with the base card variations, Topps has at least given The Hobby the common courtesy of announcing what is in the product, before it goes live. (And no, do not interpret that last statement as an endorsement of the Legends base card SPs in 2009 Topps. They're still stupid and pointless.) Why can't UD do the same?

While no version is more limited than another, the cards are limited in nature and should be considered short prints.

Let's deconstruct this sentence, shall we? If "no version is more limited than another," than should they really "be considered short prints?"

Here's a novel solution: STOP MAKING BASE CARD VARIATIONS. Your target audience hates them. One card, per player, per card number, AND THAT'S IT.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Video Box Break and Review: 2009 Upper Deck Series Two Hobby

One Hobby box of 2009 Upper Deck Series Two
16 packs per box, 20 cards per pack (paid $69)

The Video:

The Pulls:

Base Set
247 of 506 (48.81%)
47 Mis-cuts

2 Gold (numbered to 99) J. Guthrie, T. Cahill

1 20th Anniversary 1989 Buyback: J. Montgomery
8 20th Anniversary: T. Woods, M. Jordan, Interleague Play, B. Favre, The President of S. Korea, T. Perez, and a couple of hockey players
4 USA Baseball National Team (22 cards): A. Oliver, J. Fellhauer, K. Davis, R. Jackson
4 O-Pee-Chee Previews (50 cards): R. Martin, J-Roll, C. Beltran, J. Beckett

1 2005 Dual Signature Reflections (numbered to 99#) D. McPherson/S. Rolen
1 USA National Team Jersey (20 cards*): K. Volz
1 USA National Team Autograph (17 cards*) : C. Hernandez
1 UD Game Materials (58 cards*): K. Griffey, Jr.

* Two Jersey cards, and one autograph per box
# Packaged as a chiptopper

The Review

I'm sorry, but Upper Deck's quality control has gone to complete shit. Just about every pack I ripped had three mis-cut base cards -- that's about two-and-a-half packs worth of cards. Between this, and the half-empty Blaster of Goudey I ripped last week, UD needs to fix this, STAT.

As mentioned on this blog, and others, many of the same players who appeared in the first series also make appearances here -- and these aren't special subset cards; they're base cards. If you're going to have the same 100-150 players in both series, and NOT include some of the fringe players, then what's the point of even having a second series?

Inserts include another batch of 22 USA National Team cards -- basically, it's Stephen "Give me $50 million, or else" Strasberg, and 21 other dudes you've never heard of before, and will never hear from again. Series Two was supposed to have a 50-card set loosely based on the 1977 O-Pee-Chee baseball set, which in turn was based on the 1977 Topps set. But this was changed at the last minute to a 50-card preview of the upcoming 2009 O-Pee-Chee set. It should be noted that the backs of these cards are identical to the '77 OPC/Topps backs.

You're promised three "hits" in each box, and a fourth packed as a chiptopper. The chiptopper was a buy-back of a dual autograph numbered to 99. Unfortunately, it's of Dallas McPherson and Scott Rolen. (Although considering some of the buy-backs that others have pulled, I guess I should be happy that I got an actual Major Leaguer.)

Product Rating: 2 1/2 Gumsticks (out of 5)
Box Rating: 1 Gumsticks (out of 5)

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Cardola: 2009 Bowman Draft Picks Football

Again, courtesy of Topps...

Part One

Part Two

So why can't Bowman Baseball be more like this?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Why is Joe DiMaggio Holding His Junk?

Couldn't UD have come up with more dignified picture? I mean, it's Joe DiMaggio for crying out loud. Show some respect.

(h/t Beckett)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Video Box Break: 2009 Goudey Blaster

Yesterday was my birthday and I gave myself a present. Unfortunately, I picked a blaster of 2009 Goudey.

Monday, June 01, 2009

On-Location Pack Break: 2009 Upper Deck Series One Jumbo

Lesson #1: When filming an on-location box break, bring your own wax. Just in case.