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

Preview: 2010-11 Panini Dominion Hockey

I wanted to keep my blog down to one post per day. This one has to be the exception.

Panini has finally put out their preview for 2010-11 Panini Dominion hockey.

This is going to be Panini’s effort in direct competition to Upper Deck The Cup and ITG Superlative. Will it contain the goods to dethrone them? So far, I think it may have a chance.

At $350 a box, this product is going to be up there. Your 350 clams will give you 8 cards per box with at least 6 of them being autographs or memorabilia. You will be guaranteed that 3 of them will be autographed. Oh, and by the way, every autographed card is hard-signed. No sticker autographs here. That’s what I’m talking about.

You want to know what’s included in this set?

  • Kindred Cuts, a 1/1 cut signature of some of hockey’s greats.
  • Peerless Patches, a dual or quad booklet featuring patches of some of hockey’s best players of today and the past.
  • Engravatures, cards embedded with real silver that are etched with former Stanley Cup winners, just like Lord Stanley’s Cup.
  • Nifty 50, hard signed autographs of single season 50 goal scorers.
  • Tape to Tape, a very interesting set featuring autographs of stars on embedded pieces of hockey tape from their sticks.
  • Brass Bonanza, saving the best for last. Can you hear that tune yet? I can. A tribute insert set featuring autographs from the legends of the Hartford Whalers.

Now I don’t get very excited often for boxes of cards. But when I hear there is going to be an insert set in tribute to the Hartford Whalers, that gets my attention and excitement. It just brings me back to the days of sitting in my grandfather’s den with the Whalers game on TV, watching the likes of Ron Francis and Kevin Dineen while putting together a puzzle. I wasn’t aware at my young age what the organization was going through and the fact it would leave me without a professional hockey team years later. Flash forward to 2009 when the NHL finally got the rights back to the Whalers name and logo. I knew someday, somewhere the Whalers would return in cardboard form. Okay, back to reality.

Going over the designs shown for the cards I see some very cool concepts with a lot of larger then average swatches. I also noticed that unlike some other Panini products, the over-sized swatches don’t overtake the main focus of the card, the players. I give credit where it’s deserved and these cards look nice. Looking especially nice is the Showcase Showdown insert, which looks fantastic and is pictured below. Sadly, Panini did not post anything featuring the Hartford Whalers and their Brass Bonanza set. I think I’m going to have to bug Tracy Hackler for that.

But overall, despite my overwhelming crush on the Whalers insert set, I believe this set may have what it takes to seriously contend for the high end Cup. Low numbered cards, great autographs, and new ideas may set this apart.

Panini America’s NHL brand manager Al Muir stated, “This is for the high-end hobbyists, the whales.” The “whales” is right.

Pucky is back.

Want more Dominion preview goodness?

(SCB Note: Do you want to see a 2011 Panini Dominion checklist?)

Last Look: About to start packing out Dominion!

No Hobby Love – Trailblazers Edition

What is love?

The Portland Trailblazers were a playoff team the past few years and have a number of very good players on their team. Sure they are in a small market, but the fans here are rabid. I love picking up new Trailblazers autographs, especially of my favorite Blazer Nicolas Batum. But it seems as though the Blazers get no love in the hobby.

It’s hard finding sports cards featuring some of the smaller market teams in every sport. But due to economics, a lot of those teams don’t have much talent. The Trailblazers have a ton of talent but barely any higher end autographs or game-used cards on the market.

Everyone reading this is thinking about all the great Brandon Roy cards out there. I know, I understand, but Brandon Roy isn’t the whole team. This year I was lucky enough to see a Marcus Camby patch from Absolute on eBay but missed my chance at it. But I never see anyone other then Brandon Roy and the occasion LaMarcus Aldridge autographs floating around. What is it about the players that the card companies don’t like?

I understand Brandon Roy is a super star despite his injuries. Who else besides LeBron or Kobe could of taken over that playoff Game 3 against the Mavericks? But where is more LaMarcus, Batum, Wes Matthews, or Andre Miller? Nicolas hasn’t had an autograph in a product since Upper Deck was dropping inventory for 09-10 Upper Deck. Wes Matthews only has rookie autographs and he is probably one of the best sophomores in the league this last year. Andre Miller is probably the smartest and deceptive point guards in the league and has been around for years bringing great success. Hell, Andre Miller dropped 52 against Dallas 2 years ago. It was kind of a fluke but which point guards in the NBA can say they dropped 52 in a game?

The Lakers are a more popular team but a simple search of eBay shows several different current Lakers autographs. Lamar Odom autographs? I’m sorry, but isn’t he a backup? Sasha Vujacic? Who? Luke Walton? Does he even play anymore? Derek Fisher? Any other team and he wouldn’t have the same minutes because Kobe has a man crush on him. And finally, headcase Ron Artest?

Blazers on eBay? Roy, Aldridge, and rookie autos. Will I ever see an Andre Miller auto with a Blazers uniform on? A Wes Matthews? Marcus Camby? If I can get an autograph of Ron Artest I should be able to get an autograph of at least Wes Matthews.

Panini, I think it’s time to expand the autograph checklists a bit. Bring us closer to the game and the players and teams we love. Sure, everyone would love to pull a Kobe auto, but I’m sure others would love to pull a Nicolas Batum just as much.

Panini don’t hurt me, no more.

General Site News – WordPress or Blogger?

There are some things I want to do on this sports card blog. Some big things, some interesting things, and some off the wall things involving cardboard. I just realized that I should of looked more into what I could do with just a free blog and a domain from WordPress. I should of learned that I can’t have my own inconspicuous ads (those ads you see make WP money, not me), I can’t have a place to sell some cards (against TOS), and can’t even use Java Script which would make for some nicer widgets and other fun stuff.

I have two options I can go with:

– Move to WordPress.org (while paying a small hosting fee)

– Move to Blogger (free, but looks less appealing)

I’m considering going to WP.org so I can just import all of this stuff seamlessly and then redesign everything to my liking by learning the basics myself so I don’t have to pay anyone to do it. I’ve been looking at hosts and found some pretty cheap and reliable hosts.

I want more freedom and both options give me that freedom, just trying to figure out if it’s worth continuing to use the WordPress platform or moving to Blogger. WordPress will give me more freedom then Blogger.

Oh what to do. Who has experience in this area and can give me their opinions?