Friday, December 28, 2012

Slightly Dinged Pack Break: 1998 Donruss Preferred

BARVES-JO!!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

My Christmas Gift to You

The Baseball Project is a supergroup of 1980s alt-rock all-stars: R.E.M.'s Peter Buck; Scott McCaughey of The Young Fresh Fellows; Steve Wynn, most notably of Dream Syndicate; and his wife Linda Pitmon.

Last April, as a celebration of the over 300,000+ card Jefferson R. Burdick collection, the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art held "An Evening of Baseball History and Music," with The Baseball Project giving a performance.

Here now, through the magic of YouTube is The Baseball Project with their musical tribute to The Greatest Card Collector of All Time: Jefferson Burdick.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bipped by "S. Claws."

Of all people to get Bipped by, I get Bipped by a cut-rate Santa impersonator. Do this mean Bip Wars is back on?

Sunday, December 02, 2012

David Beckham: An Appreciation

Blogger's Note: I wrote this a couple of weeks ago and sent it, unsolicited, to a certain website.  It was rejected -- I was told it didn't "fit our core audience's needs."  

Apparently, stories on Star Trek cards and dating advice columns, somehow, fit the needs of a "sports" card website; but not a retrospective of one of the five most famous people on Planet Earth who spent the last five and-a-half playing his SPORT in America.

With a week and a half in retrospect, I now know why it wasn't published.  It sucks.  That simple.  I'm actually embarrassed that I submitted this in the first place.  

I guess I was just too eager to send it in that I didn't take the time to actually edit it. Oh well.

Anyway, listed below is what I submitted -- unedited, warts and all. 






With David Beckham’s surprise announcement that he will be leaving the Los Angeles Galaxy and Major League Soccer, one must wonder what his legacy after five-and-a-half tumultuous and triumphant years now is.  While there have been many peaks (three Conference titles and an MLS Cup with the chance for a second) and valleys (drama with the Galaxy’s other star Landon Donovan, the disastrous loan spell at A.C. Milan, lack of success in the Champions League), the Beckham Era not necessarily “saved” soccer in the United States – it didn’t need to be “saved” -- but had a hand in pushing it to levels not seen in North America.

It seems hard to believe now, but the MLS Beckham joined in January 2007 was much, much, different than the league he leaves.  While not yet a “Major” league, MLS had firmly established itself alongside the WNBA and Arena Football in the second-tier of professional sports leagues.  There were only 12 clubs; seven of which were playing in cavernous stadiums designed for American football, of which the soccer teams paid rent and had no control over ancillary revenues (i.e. parking fees, luxury boxes, concessions et al).  Earlier in the decade the league was forced to contract both of their Florida clubs.  No player earned more than $1,000,000 and some developmental players made barely minimum wage.  TV coverage was non-existent, with the exception of the occasional Saturday afternoon when ESPN2 had nothing better to put on.

Today, there are now 19 clubs, 15 playing in stadiums designed specifically for the game of soccer.  The level of play has dramatically improved with the league serving as an apprenticeship for the ever-improving US National Team.  Other over-30 (but still world-class) players like Thierry Henry, Rafa Marquez, Freddy Ljungberg, and CuauhtĂ©moc Blanco have been attracted.  Sponsorship money has flowed in as clubs were allowed (as is common in Europe) to sell advertising space on their uniforms.  (The Philadelphia Union raked in $3,000,000 last year to put the logo of Bimbo Bakeries on the fronts of their shirts.)  Broadcast fees, once given away for nothing just for the sake of getting the league on national TV, now command tens of millions.  Attendance has surpassed both the NBA and the NHL, bringing with it a unique “only-in-soccer” supporter’s culture that skews toward the young, hip, urbanized crowd potential sponsors crave.  

In a way, that may be David Beckham’s lasting legacy to soccer in the US.  When he came, nobody outside the hardcore football supporter gave a damn about the MLS.  Even American-born football snobs turned their nose at the domestic league, preferring to follow the many European clubs whose matches were becoming increasing available on US satellite TV.  Now, it can truly call itself “Major League Soccer.”  Soccer is now the fifth major sport, and for that, and for that David Beckham deserves some of the credit.

As for his cardboard legacy, most of Beckham’s pre-MLS cards (from his Manchester United, Real Madrid, and England National Team days) were distributed almost exclusively in Europe and are of the sticker and collectible card game variety – mostly produced by Panini and Merlin, Topps’ UK division.  In the early-2000s Upper Deck had a license with Manchester United and produced American-style trading card sets, complete with parallels, inserts, +autographs and game-used cards.  UD has also held MLS’s exclusive trading cards right since the league’s 1996 beginning and have issued simple, no-nonsense, sets with the occasional hit thrown-in.  Beckham’s first Galaxy cards were from the 2007 Upper Deck MLS set – just a base card, a Pitch Perfect insert, and two serial-numbered autographs, one a dual AU with Landon Donovan. Curiously, these would be the only autographs Beckham would sign for Upper Deck.  Unfortunately, perhaps sensing a similar situation with Tiger Woods and 2001 Upper Deck Golf, the product was grossly overproduced.  You can pick up a leftover box for under $20.  

Over the last couple of years, UD has increased the “hit” content in their MLS sets – especially in Hobby packs which typically yield four jersey cards (one of which is usually a dual or a “patch”) and a low-numbered (usually serial-numbered to 35 copies) autograph.  Some of these autographs (especially of former US National Team players) command over $100.  One can only imagine what a David Beckham autograph serial-numbered to 35 could go for.

Perhaps the most bizarre David Beckham card is from a truly bizarre set.  In 2003, Upper Deck released 2002-03 UD Superstars a set that was fully licensed by all four major US sports leagues.  Imagine getting Barry Bonds, Jaromir Jagr, Kobe Bryant, and Brett Favre all in the same pack?  That was the idea behind Superstars.  Beckham himself does not appear in the 300-card base set, but Becks is on two different
“Spokesmen” inserts and on a “Legendary Leaders” dual game jersey with Ichiro.  The Legendary Leaders were supposed to pair-up two players from different sports from the same city.  (In case you’re wondering Manchester is about 4600 miles away from Seattle.)  Ichiro and Becks also appear on two Legendary Leaders triple jerseys: One with Kobe Bryant, the other with Kevin Garnett.

Friday, November 16, 2012

RACK-PACK-A-MANIA!!!

I just did something I haven't done in about 10 months. Buy packs, rip them, and post the results to YouTube.


Thursday, November 01, 2012

Why I'm NOT Renewing My Beckett Baseball Subscription

Yeah, I know. It's been a while since I've done one of these things.

Sue me.



Look, I'm not knocking Chris or Sooz.  But there's only so much content two people can put out in a month; and it's just not worth the $40/year anymore.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

BIP WARS 2012

Oh yeah, it's back.

You know what to do. 

And when you do, let everyone know about it: #BipWars2012



For the uninitiated: Go read Thorzul.


Monday, September 17, 2012

1st Impressions: 2013 Topps Heritage

The preview for 2013 Topps Heritage Baseball I wrote for Sports Collectors Daily is probably the best such preview I've ever written for them. 

SRSLY, go read it.

Monday, August 20, 2012

First Impressions: 2013 Topps Series One Baseball


In what has become an annual late-summer rite of passage, this past weekend Topps unveiled the design and structure of next year’s Flagship baseball set.  Not unlike back-in-the-day when the Big Three car makers would start selling next year’s models by Labor Day, Topps has been sending out the sell-sheets for next year’s Flagship before the current season even ends.  In a way, I kind of like the way Topps gave us a preview this far out in advance.  It whets the collector’s appetite and gives us a sneak peak on what to look for next year.  Now that the sell-sheets have been out for a few days, I do have a few thoughts regarding 2013 Topps Baseball Series One.

The design of the base set isn’t the greatest, but it doesn’t completely suck either.  Despite all the recent issues of the Topps Flagship (and there have been many), they deserve some credit for making a well-designed base set.  The asymmetrical, home-plate motif reminds me of the 2009 design, but with the typeface of the 2010 set.  However, there’s way too much empty space at the bottom – space where the player’s position could have been noted.  It’s not as great as 2009, 2010, or even 2012, but it’s not as bad as “The Girlie Show” of 2008 or the “Black-Bordered with Colored Boxes” thing of 2007 either.  It’s alright.

Before I continue, I want to stop here and get something off my chest regarding the two most overused words in The Hobby today: “Added Value.”  Let’s go back about 5-10 years and compare Topps’ Flagship of the pre-“added value” era to the post-2008 Topps.  Back then, if you bought a Hobby box of Topps you knew that not every $2 pack would deliver $2 worth of cards (Actually, back then, the MSRP was only $1.50/pack, but work with me here.), but there were some packs were you’d get maybe $3-$5 worth of cards.  Over the course of a full 36-pack $50-$60 Hobby box, generally, you’d get $50-$60 worth of baseball cards -- $75-$80 worth if you were lucky enough to pull the case hit.

Then about five or six years ago, Topps decided to “add value” in every pack.  They did this by gradually adding something new to the product every year, without subtracting much, if anything, to its structure.  Over time, we’ve seen more inserts, more parallels, guaranteed “hits” in every box, and (my favorite) gimmicks, all justified as “adding value.”   

They may not have stated it out-front, but clearly the goal was to do something that completely violates the laws of economics: Have every $2 waxpack yield more than $2 worth of cards. But it’s not possible to consistently deliver $3-$5 dollars worth of cards in every $2 pack.  It’s just not.  Either the market price of those packs has to increase or the cards inside those packs have to decrease, and as we’ve seen over the last five years, all of the new “value” additions to the Topps Flagship have wound up actually devaluing just about everything else.  It’s now gotten to the point where the Flagship has become so overstuffed with “value” it’s now become impossible to try and collect it all, and more collectors have done what I did this year and are not even bothering to try.  I think it speaks volumes to the problems of Topps’ Flagship that you can now purchase a Hobby box of 2012 Topps Series One for under $40 – that’s about $4 under dealer cost.  So much for “added value,” huh?

All of which leads us to the bloated mess that has been the Topps Flagship of the last few years; but how does the 2013 edition compare?  Unfortunately, the structure of 2013 Topps is pretty much a cut-and-paste job.  Same 330 card base set, meaningless parallels, boring inserts, stupid manufactured “Relics,” and a near worthless hit in every box.  This year’s “value” addition are the Desert Camouflage and Pink parallels – which judging by the mock-ups on the sell-sheet, are going to be some of the ugliest cards ever produced. 

Seriously. 


Who the fuck thought of this?

Moving on, once again the insert program revolves around a unified theme, but unlike the last few years where we’ve had Diamonds and Gold and Reprints jammed down our throats, this year’s theme of “The Chase” is a little more subtle.  (I was expecting a gimmick card of Giorgio Moroder and a 10-card tribute insert to Chase Utley, but alas, there are none.)  There’s the die-cut Cut to the Chase, Chasing the Dream, and Chasing History, but there are three other inserts that don’t seem to have anything to do with the Chase theme: Calling Cards, The Greats (which remind me of the old Topps Sterling brand), and a new batch of mini cards, this time with the psychedelic 1972 Topps design replacing last year’s 1987s and 2011’s Kimball’s.

Yes, there are the much-maligned manu-Relics, this year with fake award trophies and ersatz coins.  However, there are noticeably fewer manu-Relics this year, and you kind of have the feeling that the concept is slowing beginning to jump the shark.  It hasn’t quite yet, but Fonzie just stepped into his water skis and the boat is about to pull out to sea.  I doubt we’ll see the return of these cards beyond  2014.

Once again you’ll get one hit in every Hobby box, and each HTA box will yield an autograph and two “Relics.” (I put the term “Relic” in scare-quotes because Topps actually counts the manu-Relics as a real Relic.)  Of course, all the low-numbered autographs, auto-relics, and patches are prominently displayed on multiple pages of the sell-sheet, but you’re more than likely to pull a single-swatch Relic or a sticker autograph of a marginal prospect or middle-inning reliever.  In other words, your one-per-box hit will be another $0.99 eBay special.

So that’s that.  2013 Topps Baseball Series One is nothing more than a re-hash of a product in need of a major overhaul.  Looking beyond 2013 and into the long-run (something that is sadly lacking in this industry) Topps needs to ask some serious questions regarding their annual Flagship.  Does a product like this really, really, even need a hit in a box?  If the stated goal is to deliver “value,” wouldn’t making the Relics and autographs tougher to pull make sense?  With another year of mini-sized reprints, how many times can they keep going to the same well with a concept some collectors are starting to tire of?  Is it possible to release their Flagship that’s more than 330 cards per series and without foil stamping and gloss on each card?

With that all said, 2013 Topps Baseball looks good and I might actually collect it.  I’ll probably wait until next summer to buy a box, which by that time it should be selling around dealer cost.  Then again, I had the same feelings about 2012 Topps around this time last year, until Topps decided to ruin it with gimmicks.   

They’ll probably fuck it up again with gimmicks, but that’s for another column.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Notes and Observations from the 2012 NSCC

The National Sports Collectors Convention was this past weekend in Baltimore and I attended the show this past Saturday. Since the last Baltimore NSCC two years ago, much has changed both in The Hobby and in my personal life – not the least of which is my current economic situation. I had no plans on attending this year’s show mainly due to the fact that I lacked the funds to go.

I wasn’t going to go until Chris Thomas (whom you probably know as my Baseball Card Pedia collaborator) essentially ordered me to go and subsidized most of my trip. He pretty much paid for everything the entire weekend, and for that I’m forever grateful.

I’m also forever grateful to that anonymous dumb schmuck who dropped $60 in cash on the floor of the Baltimore Convention Center. I had exactly zero dollars to spend on cards going in. With that $60 ground score, I was able to do something I haven’t done in months: spend money on baseball cards. I had no intention on buying anything, but with a little walking-around money in my pocket I was able to walk away with about $40 worth of 90s and early-2000s inserts.

When my found money was spent, I was able to do some observing. Here’s what I found.

1. The Hobby ain’t dead.

No, the crowds were as large as the Saturday of the 2010 National, but the econoomy being what it is, it was still a pretty decent sized crowd. Steady business and not a whole lot of downtime at the tables. Too bad Armen Keteyian and Dave Jamison weren’t around to see this side of The Hobby.

2. You really, really, don’t need a ticket to ride the Baltimore Light Rail.

Technically, you do have to purchase a ticket. But they don’t bother checking it. If they don’t bother, why should you?

3. I am the most hated person at Topps.

I don’t want to get into too much detail, but … there was an incident between myself and a certain Topps employee at a water fountain. He/she knows who he/she is and that’s all I got to say about that.

4. Speaking of Topps, their corporate booth wasn’t really all that busy.

In the four or five times I walked past or gawked at the Topps corporate booth, I counted more Topps employees than collectors. Granted, Topps’ NSCC redemption program was only available during a certain time of day, and I guess I must have missed that. But (and this is only my personal opinion), I got the impression that Topps really, really, didn’t want to be there, and by the looks in the faces of those staffing the booth, it showed.

5. Nobody gives a shit about Topps Mini Baseball.

The much ballyhooed website-and-NSCC-exclusive mini-sized parallel went over like a giant diarrhea turd in a punchbowl. You’d think that a low-production (only 8400 waxboxes produced) product that delivers six inserts, five low-numbered parallels serial-numbered to 61 or less, and a BIG MOJO HIT! for $50 a box would sell like hotcakes, right?

And you would be wrong. I have no idea exactly how many of those 8400 waxboxes they brought to Baltimore, and have no idea how many boxes were allocated for sale on Saturday, but I sure as hell didn’t see a whole lot of collectors actually buying minis. In fact, every one of those times I passed the Topps booth, their display counter was packed to the gills with Mini boxes.

The guys over at Freedom Cardboard said they bought a dozen boxes – although that probably had to do more with providing content for their live webcast than anything else – and I only saw one dealer selling singles. Other than that, I did not observe a single collector opening a pack of Topps Mini Baseball in the six hours I was on the floor.

6. Topps Minis wasn’t the only new “anonymous” baseball product.

Just like with Topps Minis, I could not find a single dealer selling boxes or singles of 2012 SP Signature Edition. Maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough, but I didn’t even notice it at the Upper Deck booth. Not even an empty display box.

7. The price of a gallon of unleaded may have doubled in price since the last Baltimore National, but the price of "street water" has not been affected.

It’s still ice cold, and still only a buck.

8. You can get anything you want at The NSCC … Except late-90s wax.

The initials NSCC do not stand for “National Sports CARD Convention.” There was a lot of memorabilia for sale (and in some cases, not for sale). And there were a lot of vintage cards for sale as well. There was new and recent wax available, and junkwax by the pallet load. But if you’re looking for wax from 1994-2000, you’re out of luck.

9. Football memorabilia is completely undervalued.

I’ve never seen game-used (and in some cases World Cup-used) football kits at an American card show before. I was actually able to touch the Argentina shirt Lionel Messi – the greatest athlete in any team sport in the world, right now -- wore against South Korea in the 2010 World Cup. I also saw some pretty sweet game-used shirts from the likes of Beckenbauer, Cruyff, Charlton, and even a Santos shirt worn by Pele himself. Best of all, you can probably pick-up one of these for less than $10,000.

10. Suzy Lulgjuraj has no idea who Diego Maradona is.

You'd think the new editor of Beckett Football would know who Diego Maradona is, am i right? Well that's what I thought. But as it turns out, Beckett Football has nothing to do with football. Somehow, it's a magazine about handegg cards.

11. If you've never been to the NSCC, what's your excuse?

If you call yourself a card collector and haven't been to the NSCC, then you're not really a card collector. This is our Mecca. If you're reading this, start planning your hajj to Rosemont next Summer.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Five Dumbest Sports Card Gimmicks of the 1990s

I never intended this to be a series, but apparently that's where I'm going with this.  I already have parts 3 and 4 lined up, and there may even be a Part V.

In the meantime, checkout Part II: The Five Dumbest Sports Card Gimmicks of the 1990s on Sports Collectors Daily.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Five Most Underrated Baseball Card Products of the 1990s

Ordinarily, I would post this here on Stale Gum.  But a nice man named Rich paid me to write it, and you know what they say about something talking and something else walking.

So go check out my latest article on (the other) SCD.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

More stuff on eBay

I threw some more stuff on eBay last weekend. There's some pretty good stuff (at least I think so), and you'd be helping me pay my rent this month (again). Check 'em out.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

You got $4.97 burning a hole in your pocket? Buy our 1970 Topps e-book.

1970 Topps wasn't the sexiest baseball card set ever made.  The '70 Flagship is the red-headed step-child (or is it the grey-haired step-great aunt?) of the pre-Donruss & Fleer/post-War Topps canon.  A drab and unloved set that, not surprisingly, has been scarcely featured amongst the recent gaggle of reprint-themed inserts.

But if you're a hardcore baseball card collector (and if you're reading this blog, you probably are), you'll be pleased to know that the gang at Sports Collectors Daily, (of which, in the interest of full-disclosure, I am a contributor,) in association with the unopened pack collecting guy known as "The Unopened Pack Guy" have teamed up to produce the ultimate guide to collecting the 1970 Topps set.  In fact, that's what it's called: The Ultimate Guide to Collecting 1970 Baseball Cards, and it's available right now for download for the low, low, price of $4.97.

That's right, for less than the price of a pack of 2012 Topps Archives, you can download the e-book (available in both the Kindle and Nook formats) that includes a checklist of ALL 720 base cards, lists of pack, wrapper, and display box variations, oddball issues like the 70 Supers, and inserts and test issues.  And if you act now, we'll even include everything you'll ever want to know about 1970 O-Pee-Chee Baseball.

Whether you have the full 720-card base set, or nothing from this set at all, this is a guide that MUST be in every card collector's virtual library.  So what are you waiting for?  It's not like you actually need any more Archives.

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Vote of No Confidence

They're not a sponsor of this website, nor are they paying me to mention this, and no I'm not getting a cut of the sales.

But right now, you can buy a Hobby box of 2012 Topps Heritage for $46.95 (plus shipping, handling, and appropriate sales taxes) at Dave & Adams.  That's less than two bucks per pack.

Let that sink in for a moment.  

I can never, ever, recall Hobby boxes of Heritage selling for less than $50 -- and keep in mind, this was a product that was released less than four months ago.


Of course, there is a good reason for this.  With all the variations, gimmicks, retailer-exclusive parallels, and meaningless "value added" content, Heritage has become a uncollectible bloated mess -- yet another "marathon" product that most collectors know they'll never be able to fully collect.  So why even bother starting?

The $46.95 Heritage Hobby box is an indictment against the current product development regime at Topps.  The Hobby has spoken with their wallets.  But are they listening?

UPDATE:  Blowout has matched D&A's $46.95 price.  Not surprising if you ask me.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Pissing Away Beckett's Credibilty, One Tweet at a Time.

Some things just have to be said.  Even if they are unpleasant to say, and even if such unpleasantries are uncomfortable to write, you just have to suck-up and do what needs to be done.  So, let me take a deep breath.

(SIGH!)

OK then, here we go.

Over the last 24 hours, Chris Olds has managed to piss away about three buckets and a dram full of credibility.  (For those of you not familiar with the British Imperial measurement system, three buckets and a dram works out to about two shitloads and a pint, or just under forty liters.)  How you ask? It all started innocuously enough with this Tweet.





And it all degenerated from there.

I won't reprint the complete series between Olds and myself, The Cardboard Junkie, Those Back Pages, Long Fly Ball To Because..., and others, I'd be here all day if I did.  If you want to see all the fallacious arguments, pretzel logic, red herrings and attempted changing of subjects, you're just going to have to look for them yourselves.

All I'll say is, if the Editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Sports Card Monthly honestly believes that a full 241-card base set of 2012 Topps Archives is "complete" at only 200 cards and doesn't include the Bryce Harper RC, then we're all fucked.

(OBTW, if you're not following me on The Twinkah, why not?)

Friday, June 01, 2012

Thursday, May 31, 2012

I Do Not Run Marathons

Have you ever run a marathon?  Why not?  Twenty-six point two miles over varying terrain for a couple of hours can't be that hard?  The Boston and New York Marathons attract thousands of runners, so it must be easy, right?  I have my reasons for not running (I'm out of shape and with a set of knees that have been completely destroyed by years of soccer.  Besides, if was ever stupid enough to try, I'd keel over in exhaustion about five miles in.), but what's your excuse?

If you're like most people, you don't run marathons because you know you'll never, ever, be able to finish it -- at least not in a reasonable time.  What's the point in starting something you know you'll never complete?

This brings me to 2012 Topps Archives Baseball.  By all outward appearances, this should be an awesome product, and the kind of set I'd be buying by the pallet-load -- if I had the money, that is.  Under ordinary circumstances, this could be a legitimate "Product of the Decade" contender (and that's a "shoot.")

It could be, but it's not.  And you can all put the blame on one card.  This one...  


It's not that Topps included a Harper RC -- personally, I think it's great that Topps was able to add him at the last minute.  No, it's the way they went about it: a super short-printed base card.

Topps could have easily printed enough Harper's to make it both attainable and realistic to complete a full 241-card set.  They made Yu Darvish and Yoenis Cespedes regular ol' base cards, and that hasn't hurt their "value" (whatever that means), why didn't they do the same with Harper?  Heck, they could have printed enough to equal the production of the other 40 All-Time Fan Favorties SPs (cards #201-#240).  

But Topps chose NOT to.  They could have made it a one-per-sixth box hit, but instead they made it a one-per-sixth case hit.  In other words, they gimmicked the shit out of it.

(Keep in mind, we're not talking about an Autographed Bowman Chrome Prospect Lavender/Fuschia Die-Cut Nuke-Fractor serial-numbered to 99; the Harper in question is a base card in a base-level product.)

This is what the current regime at Topps fails to understand about collectors.  We don't want to run marathons, we just want to collect baseball cards.  Topps didn't need to make 2012 Topps Archives Baseball a marathon, but they chose to anyway.  

We bother collecting a set you'll never be able to complete?

Monday, April 30, 2012

UPDATED: How Will Topps Fuck Up Series Two vis-a-vis Bryce Harper?

4/30 Update:  WE HAVE A WINNAH!!!

As expected, Topps, predictably, will add Harper as a 661st card and SP the shit out of it.  And yes, the cynically-timed press release from the desk of Clay Luraschi arrived in my e-mail box just a few moments later.  We all knew they were going to do something.  Their staleness and stupidity is now beyond cliche, almost to the point of self-parody.

I'll have more on this later.




As you've by now heard, Bryce Harper was called up to the Bigs, and makes his MLB debut tomorrow in LA. Well isn't that special? It's like the Nats actually think they're a Big League team now!

But I digress. We all know Topps has a need to fuck-up their flagship product with gimmicks, especially when it comes to a "hot" rookie (See Stephen Strasburg in 2010, and Kosuke Fukudome in 2008) -- something they, curiously do not do with some of their other base-level products (i.e. Bowman).

With 2012 Series Two only five weeks away, this give Topps more than enough time to produce the inevitable gimmick. And what better way to ridicule Topps than turning said inevitable gimmick into a money grab for me. Yes, I'm taking some action on this. Place your bets folks, the pari-mutuel windows are open!

Here's the Morning Line...

5:1 A "late addition" of a 661st base card short-printed to the bejesus that not even Brent and Becca will find it in 100 cases. This is what they did with the Albert Pujols and Jose Reyes "331" and "332" cards in this year's Series One. Topps had about seven weeks between the time Pujols signed for Anaheim and the street date of S1, which gave them plenty of time to include this card in the base set. With S2 scheduled for release in only five weeks, the turnaround time would be cutting it close, but I have complete faith in Topps with pulling this one off. In fact, it would not surprise me if Clay Luraschi is hacking out the cynically-timed press release now.  

25:1 A "Golden Giveaway" exclusive card. I don't think Topps would do something like what they did with Strasburg in 2010; but since they've done it once, you can't discount the possibility that they'll do it again. For the uninitiated, the day before his debut, Topps announced that Stephen Strasburg's "rookie" card would be made available the exact moment he stepped onto the field on their Million Card Giveaway website. Most of the MCG cards had already been redeemed long before this promotion announced, and had collectors known about it, would have waited. Topps has done some pretty stupid things the last five years, but they're not dumb enough to repeat this debacle.  

8:1 A 661st card thrown into the factory sets that will be different from his Updates & Highlights base card. This assumes that the pack out is already so far along and there's nothing Topps can do to include Harper, even if it wanted to. So, they'll add Harper as a bonus in the factory sets and save his "real" RC for Updates & Highlights.

999:1 A regular, un-gimmicked, non-short-printed base card. And only a base card. Pfft! Yeah, right. Remember who were dealing with.

5:2 A pie-in-the-face, or other similar non-squirrel-related gimmick. Look, we're all expecting Topps to do this. They've become so predictable, nothing they do surprises anyone anymore.

50:1 Bryce Harper in a Squirrel Costume. If Topps wants to destroy any credibility they had left with The Hobby, they'd go for the squirrel. Then again, this assumes that Topps has any credibility left.  

12:1 Bryuzo Harpuzki: Japanese Mega-Prospect. Of all the bets on the board, this might be the best "value bet." It's been a while since Topps did something borderline racist as Kazuo Uzuki, and quite frankly, they're due.

9:1 Harper with Obama and Dmitri Young Photoshopped in the background. OK, so Meat Hook might be a but of a stretch. But who else qualifies as the "Greatest Washington National of All Time?"

Friday, April 06, 2012

You know you've made it when you've been meme'd.



So yeah, I went ahead a made a Jefferson Burdick meme generator thing.

I'd like to post them all, but there are just too many to post here.

UPDATE

Inspired by The Cardboard (or Pony, or whatever the fuck he's calling himself now) Junkie, I've created this "Dos Equis Man" meme. Feel free to add your own.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Y U HATIN' ON JEFF?



No, I couldn't think of anything else clever to caption this old picture of Jefferson Burdick either.

Maybe you can come up with something better? Here's the photo, go for it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

It's See-B.S. Sunday Morning with Armen Keteyian.

By now you've seen the piece that aired over the weekend on CBS Sunday Morning. To be fair to Mr. Keteyian, Charles Osgood had the week off -- Osgood would have NEVER allowed this to air -- and you can only do so much with a 5 minute segment. He told a story which he thought was an accurate depiction of The Hobby in 2012. With that said, I thought it was a fine segment ... had it aired in 1994.

The main issue I had with the story was that it completely misunderstands what The Hobby has evolved into. It is not the Romanticized vision of "Leave it to Beaver"-era kids swapping cards, wrapping them up in rubber bands (now you know why you can't find a 52 Andy Pafko without severe notches), then riding the trolley with Mom, Dad, and Sis for a double-header at Ebbets Field.

Those days are past now, of course, and card collecting has ceased to be a "kiddie" Hobby for at least a generation. It is a Hobby for young internet-savvy men (and a few chicks, too), and there's nothing wrong with that. You wouldn't know that from the Keteyian piece.

You also wouldn't know from Keteyian how stratified The Hobby has become. Mr. Mint and five middle-aged guys in a VFW Hall in North Jersey on a Tuesday night are not representative of The Hobby as a whole.

Yes, The Hobby does have problems. But it's no where near as bad as CBS led Sunday Morning viewers to believe.

Monday, March 12, 2012

ZOMG! HE'S BACK!!!

Yes, yes, yes!!!

The Cardboard Junkie is back on The Twitters! And he's not just Tweeting about ponies!



Go follow him. Now.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Topps Gets SUED for Gimmickry.

I wish I was making this up.

First off, remember this...



Well guess what? Topps is getting sued of this card.

Yes,

TOPPS GIMMICKRY HAS DIRECTLY LED TO A LAWSUIT!

Read all about it on Cardboard Connection

DO YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENS, TOPPS, WHEN YOU FUCK COLLECTORS IN THE ASS?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

It's Time to Play ... TOPPS BULLSHIT BINGO!

The rules are simple.

First, download your official Topps Bullshit Bingo card.

Next, listen to the Topps flunky on Cardboard Connection Radio show.

Listen to internet radio with Cardboard Connection Radio on Blog Talk Radio


The game is simple. Listen to the Topps Flunky and check off the box whenever you hear him utter one of the catchphrases on your card. When you've connected five-in-a-row, shout GAME CHANGER!!!! and...

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Hey, I was on a podcast! Go listen to it.

Chris Thomas (whom as many of you know, is my collaborator on the Baseballcardpedia wiki) and I were guests on the FanGraphs Audio podcast earlier today. We spent about 45 minutes talking about cards, and never got around to what host Carson Cistulli brought us both in to talk about: 2010 Upper Deck and 2012 Topps.

I guess that's for another podcast?

If you've got 45 minutes to kill this evening, have a listen.

FanGraphs Audio: The Editors of BaseballCardPedia

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

KOP CAT!!!



You see, Topps, cards like these actually work in a product like Match Attax. That's because Match Attax/Topps Attax are products no one actually takes seriously. They're meant to be played with, not actually collected.

And just because you don't make Topps Attax on this side of the Atlantic, doesn't mean cards of squirrels won't work in another product collectors don't take seriously: Opening Day for example.

(Topps: Please make all checks payable to "Chris Harris.")

In case you have no idea just what the heck I'm talking about ... Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur played a football, errr..., soccer match yesterday. Spurs are currently 3rd and Liverpool 7th in the English Premiere League table, errr..., standings, and both sides needed a needed a win to cement (Spurs) or get back into (Liverpool) Champions League contention.

(The UEFA Champions League is the highly-lucrative annual trans-European tournament that crowns the best club team on the continent. The top four teams in England get to play in the following year's Champions League, and, just as important, get to cash-in on the $30m in TV money that comes with it. Therefore, finishing the season in fourth place is just as important, if not more so, that actually winning the Premiership, errr..., League.)

The match ended in a goalless draw, but that's not important. In the 11th minute of the first half this happened ...



... and if the guy in the green shirt looks vaguely familiar, that's because it's Brad Friedel, former goalkeeper for the U.S. National Team and current #1 for Tottenham. You probably remember him as that guy who made all those awesome penalty kick saves for the USA in the 2002 World Cup.

By the end of the match the "Anfield Cat" had already had a Twitter account with 20,000+ followers. Earlier today, Topps' UK affiliate posted the mock-up of "Kop Cat." ( is the section of Liverpool's Anfield stadium where the club's most vocal and hardcore supporters, errr..., fans stand, errr..., sit.)

I know most of you don't "get," or don't want to "get," football, and I'm not here to convert you. I'm not even a Liverpool fan (I support Everton and Fulham). But 42,000 voices singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" always sends a chill down my spine.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Topps Baseball (1951-2012). Cause of Death: O.G.

"Over Golded"



How do they expect us to collect it with all those junk inserts in it?

OBTW, I'm Gonna Git You Sucka is one of the greatest movies ever.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Give Me A Reason to Collect 2012 Topps

So as you've probably heard by now, 2012 Topps Series One has started to arrive on Wal-Mart shelves, a couple of days earlier than the Hobby edition. And as I mentioned last week, for the first time since I was five years old, I will not be collecting any of it. I can no longer, in good conscience, patronize a company that continues to insult our intelligence with gimmicks. This has become difficult for me, and I must admit I have been tempted to give in.

But I'm willing to give Topps a second chance. I'm willing to look the other way on one condition and one condition only.

Topps: Explain yourselves.

So for Topps (and judging by the information my webhost supplies me with, I know they read this) and all their apologists out there, I have a challenge for you.

It's simple, just answer this question: Why should I continue to collect your products? Just give me five good reasons why I should buy 2012 Topps Series One, and I will. That's all I ask.

This is a question that Topps' Product Development Team has probably failed to ask themselves, so this should double as an exercise for their future product lines.

Just post your responses in the comments below, or if you can fit them in 140 characters or less Tweet them to @stalegum.

I WILL look at and respond to each and every entry, and if I come up with five valid reasons, I will buy a Hobby box of 2012 Topps Series One.

Have at it.

Monday, January 23, 2012

I will collect Topps no more.

Tell General Olds I know his heart. What he told me before, I have it in my heart.

I am tired of the bullshit.

Our Topps sets are ruined.

Kazuo Uzuki. Pies-in-the-face. Diamond Sparkles.

The old collectors are leaving. It is the young who say yes or no.

It is almost Spring, and 2012 Topps Flagship is not "Game Changing." It is merely more of the same.

My people, some of them, have run away to vintage, and 90s wax. No one knows if they will come back, if ever.

Hear me, my collectors! I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will collect Topps no more.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Obligatory SOPA/PIPA Post.

This whole "Stop SOPA" and "Stop PIPA" one-day protest seems like something out of an Ayn Rand novel. I wonder if The Zuck, Sergei & Larry, and Jimmy Wales are all camping out in the Colorado mountains?

Probably not.

Besides, The Junkie and Ron Paul are more eloquent on this issue than I'll ever be.



Fast forward to the 4:00 mark for the good part.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

On-Location Pack Break: 10 Looseys of American Pie.

It's been a while since I've done an on-location box break. And judging by the results, I think it will be a while before I do another one.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Ripping Off Both Chris AND Sooz.

It's two, two, two rip-offs in one video.

But do they have an EPIC Frank Zappa soundtrack?

Didn't think so.