Site News: Incoming Boxes

For all you who enjoy box breaks of nice products, I have 3 boxes coming in. One from each of the 3 major league card companies.

- 1 Box 2010-11 Upper Deck SP Authentic Hockey

- 1 Box 2010-11 Panini Contenders Hockey

- 1 Box 2010 Topps Triple Threads Football

I wanted to do a “fight to the death” of Upper Deck and Panini hockey products. I think Contenders has a serious chance to take SP Authentic on as one of the hockey favorites of the year. So this will be a head to head product break and review.

I wanted to get Topps in on the madness so I also ordered a box of Triple Threads football. Probably the second best Topps football product of the year (after 5 Star) and just fit in my price range.

And finally, to add one more bit of madness to this, I ordered 2 of the boxes from Blowout and the other box from DA Card World. There will be blood! I will review both companies afterwards as well.

The Triple Threads should be here first, as Contenders isn’t released until Wednesday. At least, I think that’s how it works. I’m not sure if the product will be sent to arrive after release date or if they have to wait to send until street date.

So I hope you’re looking forward to the breaks and reviews. At least I have some time to think of more ways to make an idiot out of myself on camera.

Depending on when they come in and when I can get something totally awesome done for this site, I might be having some giveaways in celebration. Stay tuned.

The Ethics of Pack Searching

Today I went to Fred Meyer to search for a blaster of 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen or 2011 Bowman. Freddy’s had neither but I saw an open retail box of Gypsy, loosys as many people know them as. They were all mixed up, turned around, sideways, obviously rifled through. When purchasing loose packs you always run the chance that someone had come by and tried to search them for the “hits”, game used or autographs. Needless to say, I opened 5 of the remaining 15 packs and didn’t get much.

Were these packs searched? I don’t know, I couldn’t tell.

Pack searching is the act in which someone goes to a retail or hobby store and molests the packs of cards with their hands or other devices in which to try and find the hits. I would estimate about 10-15% of collectors are known to do this in one form or another whether they admit it or not. I wouldn’t be surprised if that number was higher. But why do they do it? Greed is probably the most common reason. Self-esteem issues because their collections may not match that of others they know online or in person is another. Finally, maybe they don’t know what they are doing is wrong. Ethically, searching packs is wrong.

Hits are put into boxes according to odds, it says so on the back of packs and boxes. These searchers are the ones who try and defy these odds, therefore taking what is supposed to be random out of the equation. If some little kid or myself wants to go to the store and buy a pack of cards and receive the same odds as everyone else, we usually end up just buying a blaster or hobby box because we don’t know what has been done to those packs. The searchers create an atmosphere in which nobody is getting the same odds and is in effect, unfair to those who come later. Sure, you may say those odds will change by those who pick randoms themselves but those people are not trying to get 1:1 instead of 1:3500.

Also, the pack searchers often damage the cards in itself causing the monetary value of what is purchased to be lower. Now not only are the random odds being taken away, the money being spent is now going to a complete waste. Do you want to be the victim of such practices?

I avoid all cases in which I could possibly be a victim, except for last night. I should of known better, but every once and awhile I just like to open new packs for fun and just see what’s inside without worrying about what is actually inside. But how can one protect themselves?

  • Buy from newly opened boxes
  • Save your money and stick to just buying boxes from reputable dealers
  • Go to a dealer who is honest in themselves (shop owners are known to do this as well)
  • Buy loose packs from dealers who keep them behind counters

All of those points are ways to protect yourself to make sure you are getting the same odds as everyone else when buying packs. Why would you not want to get what you are paying for?

In all fairness, pack searchers are the bottom feeders of the hobby. They ruin the pack opening experience for both the young and the old, the newbies and the veterans. The card companies have taken some measures to counter their actions, but it seems like the searchers always find ways around it. The best stride I have seen companies take is just to put single packs inside clam shell packaging so people can’t molest the packs. This is not cost effective so it doesn’t happen as much as it is really needed.

In the end, the only protection you will get is the protection you will give yourself. You can help others too. Report pack searchers to the store employees as they are most likely damaging products. The stores won’t take too kindly to that.

Finally, I leave you with some words of wisdom. Wheaton’s Law states, “Don’t be a dick.” You should live your life by that motto, it may come back to…mess with you.

Preview Update: 2010-11 Panini Dominion Hockey Brass Bonanza Found

I asked Tracy Hackler of Panini for an image of what the Hartford Whalers Brass Bonanza set would look like so I could see what I will be searching the ends of the earth for. He got back to me he that he would find something for me.

In the mean time, I’ve done my own detective work. This is PROBABLY what Tracy would of sent me anyway. Maybe I can convince him to send me an image of a card not seen yet.

But I unveil you this:

Oh it was so tiny. Now it’s blurry because I had to make it bigger. But at least this will give you an idea of what to look for all you Whaler fans out there.

It looks like Shanny is confirmed.

My personal checklist would be:

Gordie Howe (UD exclusive, sadly), Brendan Shanahan, Ron Francis, Bobby Hull, Kevin Dineen, Geoff Sanderson, Pat Verbeek, Dave Babych, Ulf Samuelsson, Dave Keon, Sean Burke and Mike Liut

I would add Andrew Cassels just for the fact he has the most career goals…knocked in with his face. Check out his first goal with his face and his second goal with his face.

Anyone else going to go for the full set of Bonanza Brass? I can’t wait for July to come.

I Come Bearing Gypsy Queens!

I needed eggs. We finished up our carton last night and it was such a beautiful day today, I offered to drive over to the store and pick up the much needed protein. It takes me 10 minutes to find the eggs, meaning I probably shouldn’t be in a grocery store. But there is a great part of this grocery store. This store contains blaster boxes of cards.

If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen me post that I finally found 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen baseball. In actuality, I found 3 blaster boxes. I decided to take 2 and leave 1 for the next customer. Now I can finally see what all this hype is.

Box 1 featured 4 Red Sox cards:

Jacoby Ellsbury, Adrian Gonzalez, Jimmie Foxx, and Babe Ruth. Babe Ruth is actually in a Red Sox uniform and is a short print! Of all my Red Sox cards, I don’t think I own one Ruth in a Red Sox uniform so that excites me. The other short prints pulled were Jay Bruce and a Brian McCann mini. I also pulled a mini red back of Matt Kemp.

My inserts in Box 1 were as follows:

Future Stars: Mike Stanton, Neftali Feliz

Sticky Fingers: Derek Jeter, David Wright

Home Run Heroes: Jose Bautista x2 (really Topps?)

Wall Climbers: Mike Stanton, Franklin Gutierrez

The Great Ones: Mickey Mantle, Robin Yount

Finally I hit a Gypsy Queen, Havalia. While at first I didn’t care about these cards, I must admit they can be quite entertaining. Have you actually read the biographies of these gypsies? Here is Havalia’s biography:

I also have had damaged goods. However, when she tried to turn me into a wild boar I left her.

Box 2 featured 3 Red Sox cards:

Kevin Youkilis, Lars Anderson (RC), and finally a Dustin Pedroia mini. Lars Anderson seems to be haunting my pulls in baseball recently. While not necessarily a bad prospect to have haunt you, his real rookie cards were a few years ago. Plus he’ll be traded eventually as he is sitting behind another guy I pulled, Adrian Gonzalez. My short prints from this box were Carlos Pena, Freddie Freeman (RC!), and a Brett Sinkseil Black Mini (RC). Why couldn’t it have been of Freddie? My red back in this box was BJ Upton.

My inserts in Box 1 were as follows:

Future Stars: Gordon Beckham, Ike Davis

Sticky Fingers: Jose Reyes, Brandon Phillips

Home Run Heroes: Johnny Bench, Carlos Pena

Wall Climbers: Franklin Gutierrez, Jason Heyward

The Great Ones: Ty Cobb, Jackie Robinson

My Gypsy Queen is that hottie Oriana. With looks like those, I can imagine how many men she may have turned into wild boars. Let’s see:

Well that’s not very climactic. Although I wish she could rub some of her magic potion on some of these retail boxes I’ve received lately. I haven’t hit a GU or Auto in a blaster box in God knows how long.

I probably should of bought that last one too.

But in all, Gypsy Queen is Allen & Ginter without all the non-sports cards (except those Gypsies). The design is okay, but the photos of the players end up looking really good and like canvas. I’m just happy I didn’t pull an autograph of a Gypsy. I might buy some more boxes but odds are with hobby boxes around $150, it’s definitely not going to be hobby.

If anyone needs base to complete their sets, let me know.

My Acetate Problem

If you say the title, My Acetate Problem, really slow it sounds like I need some Preparation H. As Austin Powers said, “Preparation H is good on the whole.” But my problem is more of the sports card variety. For some strange reason, I love acetate cards.

I remember the first time I ever received an acetate card. I was in a horribly over priced card shop in 1999. I had just moved practically right next door to Grand Slam Sports Cards in Vernon, CT. I doubt you can find anything about that shop nowadays as it’s been out of business for probably 10 years now.

I was buying a couple packs of cards with some left over lunch money I had saved and decided to buy some football since football season had just started. I saw a product that the packaging looked cool and bought a pack of it. It was 1999 Fleer E-X football. I opened it up and found two cards, great design and I could see right through them. I was bewildered, bemused, and befuddled at the same time.

What kind of alien technology is this? I never thought I could see through Jerome Bettis. I put that card and the other from the pack in my favorite pile when I got home. I did it not because they were valuable, but because I had thought they looked so cool.

A few months later I took a hiatus from the hobby. When I came back 6 years later, I had completely forgot about acetate cards until a friend sent me a gift. A Cam Ward Upper Deck ICE Glacialgraph. THE ACETATE! I was instantly brought back to 1999 in this card shop with my friend Eric when I caught my first glimpse of clear cardboard. I peered through my new Cam Ward card looking through to the other side, moving my hand back and forth, and admiring the card as well as showing how easily amused I am.

Since then, I’ve been loving every set that comes out with acetate or clear cards in it. UD Glass, Trilogy, and everything I could find had to be in my collection. I hated when I heard that Upper Deck would not be coming out with ICE again this year. But then, redemption! The good kind. Panini’s new product Contenders hockey will have some of this acetate-sty goodness in it. The best part is their featured card on their blog has another Carolina Hurricane on it, Tuomo Ruutu. The guy who usually puts other player’s faces through the glass.

So I ask, if anyone has any acetate-sty cards to trade me of teams I collect, please send them this way. Just like I’ll be hunting down this Tuomo Ruutu autograph.

Note: You do not want to be between the glass and this guy. You might go through it.

Tuomo Ruutu will kill you