Monday, February 28, 2011

The Siege of Atlanta (A Ken Burns Production): Part Three

"As we lay there watching the bright stars, many a soldier asked himself the same question: What is it all about? Why is it that 200,000 men of one blood and one tongue, believing as one man in the fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of man, should in the 19th century of the Christian era be thuse armed with all the improved appliances of modern warfare and seeking one another's lives? We could settle our differences by compromising, and all be at home in ten days."
-- A veteran Confederate officer during The Siege of Atlanta


Shelby Foote, Civil War Historian: "When I look back at the events of day three of the Atlanta Campaign, I'm constantly reminded of the Parable of the Prodigal Son. The Gospel of Luke tells of the story of the young son who wastes his inheritance only to come home and repent and be taken back in by his father. In a way there are some parallels between The Prodigal Son and Michael Vick's return to Atlanta."

Narrator: "On a sunny, February Sunday; Michael Vick returned to Atlanta."

Foote: "The stories in the newspapers, the hundreds of autograph collectors, the old ladies weeping in the aisles. It must have been a tremendous sight to behold."

N: "One such collector was General Christopher Harris."

General Christopher Harris: "Mine eyes have seen the glory, and of the redemption. And while he plays for my team now, let it be said that Atlanta is, was, and always will be, Michael Vick's city. I do regret asking him about that pass at the end of the Green Bay game, but all in all, I am satisfied."

Daniel Orkent, The New York Times: "Michael Vick returning to Atlanta was a big deal. I mean, even Sports Center covered it! Ummm... When was the last time a cardshow made national news? Like, never, right? But it was such a wonderful event."

N: "But while General Harris and others were busying acquiring their Michael Vick autographs, the rest of the cardshow went on. By the time the show ended, the casualty totals were immense."

Shelby Foote: "The carnage was immense. There wasn't a single dollar, fifty-cent, quarter, of dime box that hadn't been ravaged by the Yankees. I'm sure that the Confederate card dealers that set up in Atlanta that weekend had no idea what hit them. I sure wouldn't have predicted it."

Harris: "The only thing worthy of this cardshow was the discount boxes. I have been able to cross off my wantlists inserts that I've been looking for decades. If not for this, this whole weekend would have been a waste."

George Will, Washington Post: "Many historians may look at the Atlanta Campaign as a waste. A waste of airfare, a waste of hotel space, a waste of time. However, I tend to look at it as a success. The Union forces of Harris and Thomas were able to complete many of their sets -- some dating back years -- and met many of their internet friends."

N: "All in all, the Atlanta Campaign was mixed result. Perhaps it was best summed up by General Harris in his diary."

Harris: "The cardshow was not what I expected. But definitely trying to turn this trip to Atlanta into some kind of Civil War epic was a failure. I mean, I took me almost three weeks to write this damn thing, and after Day Two, I wanted to quit. Next time I shall concentrate on ripping off Hunter S. Thompson."

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Siege of Atlanta (A Ken Burns Production): Part Two

"I hate newspapermen. They come into camp and pick up their camp rumors and print them as facts. I regard them as spies, which, in truth, they are. If I killed them all there would be news from Hell before breakfast."
-- William Tecumseh Sherman


George Will, The Washington Post: "Baseball card collecting, it is said, is only a Hobby. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or Hobbies, are created equal. All I remember about my wedding day in 1967 is pulling a Milt Pappas card out of a pack and wondering where the facsimile autograph was."

Narrator: "Day Two of The Atlanta Campaign started bright and early for the combined forces of Harris and Thomas. After a hearty breakfast at a Norcross diner, they returned to the site of the previous day's skirmish."

Shelby Foote, Historian: "The Saturday of a three-day show tends to be the most heavily attended, and this show was no different. Saturday usually brings out the civilians and curiosity seekers, and with Matt Ryan and Jason Heyward signing autographs the Atlanta Show was no different. But what was considered a "Big Show" for the locals, for the Yankees? Well, boredom began to set in."

General Christopher Harris:
"I do not know what to think of these Rebel cardshows. I do not know what to think of Rebel collectors. But I am already bored. For all the time and for all the money we've spent just to get here, I must say I am disappointed."

Narrator: "But for all the inaction in Harris' forces, it was nothing to the boredom experienced by the 84th New York Regiment."

Doris Kearns Goodwin, Historian: "Let's face it, cardshows are nothing more than a big, giant, ahem, sausage party. So if you're like me and actually collect cards, and are at a cardshow, you do get many of the same looks. Oh, she must be here with her boyfriend, or she must play for the `other team;' and yes, like 99% of female card collectors, I have been asked if I wanted any WNBA cards.

"So when I take a closer look at Brigadier Lulgjuraj and her plight during the Atlanta Campaign, I can't help but feel a little sympathetic."

Brigadier General Susan Lulgjuraj, Commander, 84th New York Regiment: "This sucks. The only thing I've collected in Atlanta is a cold. I've found only one Derek Jeter card to add to my collection, I feel sick, and I'm spending most of my time getting hit on by 16-year-old boys in the FCB chat room. I truly wish for this campaign to be over, and quickly, and I hope to the Almighty that I never come back to this miserable place again."

N: "Day two of the Atlanta Campaign was turning into a stalemate. Over the course of the day General Harris spent a grand total of $26, $16 on top-loaders and cardboard boxes.

Perhaps the best score of the came from Major General Campbell, who pulled out of a dollar box a double-jersey, double-autograph, of Prince Fielder and Mat Gamel serial-numbered to 39."

"Day Two of the Atlanta Campaign ended in disappointment. At the end of the evening, Harris and Thomas took out the frustrations at a minor league hockey game."

Harris: "With Michael Vick here tomorrow, I am hoping that the action picks up. If not, we shall leave this miserable city with more cash than I know what to do with."

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Siege of Atlanta (A Ken Burns Production): Part One

You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out.
--William Tecumseh Sherman
Letter to the city of Atlanta, 1864


Doris Kearns Goodwin, Historian: "The Atlanta campaign in 2011 was a turning point. This cardshow had been organized on such short notice, ummm, eight weeks I believe. So, there was a lot of last-minute changing of plans and whatnot. But what's amazing is, somehow, they were able to pull it off."

Narrator: "For the final assault on Atlanta, The Union was under the command of an experienced General, General Christopher Harris of New Jersey. Known for his wit and sarcasm and his take-no-prisoners approach of dollar boxes, Harris was no stranger to the South. "

"Early in the War, Harris' troops laid siege to North Carolina, and for the last few years had been roaming the card shows of Northern Virginia. But this would be different. Never before had Union forces penetrated this far South.

Daniel Orkent, The New York Times: "The Hobby in The South is a little different. It had been a few years since a `big show' had been in Atlanta, or anywhere in The South for that matter. And while card shows in The North, White Plains, Philly, Chantilly, always have about 200-300 tables, this one would only have 100."

N: "General Harris would be joined in this campaign by Colonel Thomas and his 14th Ohio Regiment, a battle-hardened crew eager for action; Brigader Lulgjuraj's 84th New York; and the 61st Georgia Volunteers a.k.a. `Campbell's Mad Junkies.' It would be a formidable force, all prepared for the invasion of Atlanta."

General Chris Harris: "I must be honest, I don't know what to expect from this campaign. But I do know one thing; we shall whip those Rebel dealers out of their singles, rookies, and wax. We shall whip them without mercy. And when those Rebels ask for mercy, we shall whip them some more."

N: "General Harris rendezvoused with Thomas' forces south of town, then marched northeast to establish base camp at the Hilton Garden Inn in Duluth. Along the way, the marching armies stopped for provisions at The Varsity in Gwinnett."

Harris: "The chili dogs are not as good as the half-smokes at Ben's Chili Bowl or the Shirlington Weenie Beenie, but damn that's some good eating."

N: "After establishing base camp, Harris and Thomas made their initial assault."

Shelby Foote: "When the Union forces arrived at the hall, I'm sure they didn't know what to expect. I'm sure they were pleasantly surprised to see all the singles dealers, but with only one dealer with any significant wax, they had to be disappointed."

Harris: "If this were a Yankee card show, there'd be dozens of tables full of wax, new and junk. I was hoping to score some 90s wax, but no. I only bought an HTA box of 2011 Topps."

N: "Day one of the campaign ended, with minimal damage inflicted. Harris managed a box of 2011 Topps and some cheap singles. Colonel Thomas went through a couple of dime and quarter boxes. Afterward, the combined forces decamped to the Duluth Hilton Garden Inn, then went out for drinks at the Taco Mac with Major General Campbell."

Doris Kearns Goodwin: "The first day of the Atlanta Campaign started off slowly. You kind of had the feeling that, ummm..., the Union forces were kind of, feeling the Rebels out. You could tell that as the weekend wore on, the Union would step up their attack."

2010 Gummie Awards: The Winners

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Top 10 FCB Show Pickups.

There wasn't much wax available (other than new or junk) at the FCB Atlanta National, but it was a treasure trove of cheap 1990s inserts. And if there's one thing I like more that 90s inserts, it's cheap 90s inserts. Here is just a sampling of the cards I got, all of which I bought for less than a dollar.

#10 1994 Score Rookie/Traded #RT158 Jose Lima.

Books: $5
Sold: $0.10

What's the deal with a 16-year old rookie card of a dead pitcher? Plenty. This is short-printed.

Midway through '94SR/T's production run a press plate needed to be replaced. Unfortunately, Pinnacle's computer database accidentally deleted Jose Lima's card, thereby making Lima's card a short-print. Rather than leave a hole in the middle of the plate, Pinnacle filled it by double-printing John Mabry's card. Towards the end of the production run, the plate broke again. This time, rather than fill Jose Lima's space with John Mabry, Pinnacle filled it with a redemption good for a card of the first player drafted in 1994 to make his Major League debut.

Unfortunately for Pinnacle Brands, then came the 1994 Baseball Player's Strike, and the cancellation of the remainder of the 1994 season. Pinnacle later announced that the "September Call-Up" card would be redeemed for a card of Alex Rodriguez, the first player selected in the 1993 Major League Draft.

So now you know the story of how that A-Rod redemption came to be. And knowing is half the battle.

#9 1993 Topps Black Gold Redemption "B"

Paid $0.10

Don't ask, but I have a thing for expired redemption cards. So when I found this one, I had to get it.

But it wasn't until I got back to Virginia that I flipped over the back.

I thought Topps destroyed old redemptions? Did Brian not bother to turn it in? Maybe I ought to pay Mr. Daley a visit?

#8 1998 Bowman's Best #178 Maggilo Ordonez RC

Book: $5
Paid: $0.10

It's not every day you see a $5 rookie card inside a ten-cent box. So yeah, I got two.

#7 2006 Artifacts Auto-Facts Signatures #AF-DY Dmitri Young AU /300

Book: $10
Paid: $1

I think I'm going to start collecting Dmitri Young cards, because, like, he's The Man. And you know it.

#6 1993 Leaf On The Fast Track #5 Juan Gonzalez

Book: $2
Paid: $0.33

On The Fast Track is a tough, tough, early-90s insert. They were only available in retail jumbo (or "Magazine") packs and seeded at the rate of about two per box. Raise your hand if you've ever seen a 1993 Leaf retail jumbo box.

This Juan Gonzalez joins Steve Avery as the only two '93 Leaf On The Fast Tracks I have in my collection.

#5 1996 Topps Gallery Photo Gallery #PG10 Ken Griffey, Jr.

Book: $10
Paid: $0.50

Gallery is a product that Topps needs to bring back, but never will because if they did, they'd probably turn it into 2008 Stadium Club. So whenever you see a one-per-box insert of Junior from an awesome 90s set in a 2-for-$1 box, you buy it. No questions asked.

#4 1994 Leaf Limited Gold All-Stars #3 Roberto Alomar /10,000

Book: $2
Paid: $0.50

Whenever there's a two-per-box insert of a Hall Of Famer in that same 2-for-$1 box, you also buy it, no questions asked.

Oh, and did I mention this one was serial-numbered?

#3 2001 Bowman Reprints #17 Whitey Ford

Book: $5
Paid: $1

You'd think that with all the 2001 Bowman wax that was busted, that there would be more of the two-per-box Bowman Reprints in circulation. I guess I'm not looking in the right places, but this is the first one I've ever bought.

#2 1993 SP Platinum Power #PP9 Ken Griffey, Jr.

Book: $8
Paid: $0.50

Back in 1993, pulling this card out of a pack was the equivalent of pulling an autographed triple-swatch Nuclear X-Fractor serial-numbered to ten. This card defined the term "Mojo."

I remember ripping a box of SP back in '93 and not getting a single Platinum Power. (I did pull three cards of some stiff named Derek Jeter, though.) This card was a $25 card at one point. Now it's dollar box fodder.

Kind of makes you wonder just how much those autographed triple-swatch Nuclear X-Fractors will be worth 18 years from now.

#1 1986 Donruss The Rookies #33 Bip Roberts

Book: $0.50
Paid: $0.50


Monday, February 14, 2011

And now, a visual representation of all my FCB-Atlanta Show Purchases

To give you the indication of what kind of show the 1st ever Freedom Card Board National was, observe...

Those two cards on the far left represent all the cards from 1989 or earlier I bought the entire weekend. Not pictured a 1986 Donruss The Rookie of Bip Roberts -- that's already been sent out, if you know what I mean.

The middle stack are all the 1990s cards, and on the right the 2000s. If tough to find mid-90s inserts were your thing, then this was the show for you.

Not depicted: The autographed Michael Vick helmet I'm giving my dad for his birthday (please keep it a secret), an HTA box of 2011 Topps Series One, and a random sack of 2010 Panini World Cup stickers The Cardboard Junkie gave me, that I haven't even looked at.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Blog Bat Around: Fixing Topps Baseball

In the interest of full disclosure, I was going to post my annual rant about Topps Baseball. But, you've heard it all before and the last think you want to read is another anti-gimmick diatribe. So instead, I'm opening up the floor and want to hear from you. Here's the Blog Bat Around question:

Michael Eisner has just fired the entire Topps Product Development staff and chose to hire you to take their place.
Mr. Eisner has given you carte blanche to do whatever you want with Topps Baseball -- as long as you keep it under $2/pack.

If you were in charge of Topps, and based upon what you've seen of 2011 Topps Baseball Series One, what (if anything) would you have done differently?

Post your response to respective blogs, or if you don't have one, in the comments below.

Oh and, if you haven't already done so, go vote in the 2010 Gummies. I'd appreciate it.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Rubbing Dogshit into the Collective Noses of all of Quebec.

That's essentially what Topps has done with this Manu-Crap-Tured Patch card.

Your eyes are not deceiving you. That really is a Montreal Expos logo on a Stephen Strasburg card.

(Let me pause to collect myself.)

With this, and the 41 43 (and counting) "Twink" gimmicks (more on those later); I am now thoroughly convinced that Topps no longer drug-tests their employees.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Three-and-a-Half Loko

Cut me some slack, G. Cole Hamels isn't in the first series.

God I can't wait for the season. It only gonna get more funner!

OBTW, yeah I found some 2011 Topps looseys.

2010 Gummie Awards: The Polls Are Now Open.

The Gummie nominations are (finally) out, and you may begin voting.