Gint-A-Cuffs III: Release the Kraken – Packs 11 – 15

Now I know I don’t have pictures up yet, but the fiancee has the camera with her while she is visiting Montana for school and my cell phone went kaput! So I have no photograph options. Luckily, she comes home soon and I’ll be getting a new phone soon so all is good in this hood. I will provide the photographic evidence if my official 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter review videos just aren’t enough for the Commish of this prestigious event.

We are currently sitting at the lucky number of 69 points. So we are going to continue with packs 11 through 15 in the hopes I can beat the top score. Let’s see what we got, eh?

Pack 11: (+10 points in pack, 79 points total)

Greg Halman, Mike Napoli, Chad Billingsley, Homo Erectus Ascent of Man (+1 AOM), Yovani Gallardo Hometown Heroes (+1 HH), Joba Chamberlain Framed Jersey (+5 Yankee relic), Josh Johnson mini black (+3 black)

Pack 12: (+7 points in pack, 86 points total)

Jeremy Hellickson, Heath Bell (+2 OFP), Huston Street, Travis Hafner, Dallas Braden, Red Wolf Animals in Peril mini (+3 AIP), Matt Holliday Hometown Heroes (+1 HH), Ascent of Man Catarhhini (+1 AOM)

Pack 13:  (+11 points in pack, 97 points total)

Michael Pineda, Yunesky Maya, Adam Jones (+4 SP and OFP), Stephen Drew, Joba Chamberlain Hometown Heroes (+0 HH Yankee), Josh Rodriguez mini Ginter back (+2 AG Back), Robinson Cano Framed Bat (+5 Yankee relic)

Pack 14: (+6 points in pack, 103 points total)

Peter Gammons, Ben Revere, Yovani Gallardo, Jorge Posada (-1 Yankee), Ervin Santana, Josh Willingham (+2 SP), Uninvited Guest Villisca Axe Murder House (+3 UG), Minds That Made the Future Florence Nightingale (+2 MTMTF)

Pack 15: (+5 points in pack, 108 points total)

Chris Sale, Jake McGee, Cole Hamels (+2 OFP), Jair Jurrjens, Rick Porcello, Zach Greinke (+2 SP), Manny Pacquiao mini, Johnny Damon Hometown Heroes (+1 HH)

Man, these Yankees are killing me. I really hope I don’t have more Yankees in this box or I am going to be screwed. Too many Yankees! Ahh!

Until next time…

To Rip…Or Not To Rip – 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter Edition

Now I am spoiling my Gint-A-Cuffs future points posts, but this is pretty important. You probably saw I pulled a rip card if you saw my 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter review.

But here is where the question gets difficult. Do I rip it, or do I sell it? I actually had an offer of $100 for the rip card, but the guy hasn’t responded to me since I said I’d probably accept it. It’s serial numbered to the player’s jersey number and it’s one of the stars of the league, well kinda. Hunter Pence is considered a star by some people, right? I mean his Houston Astros are terrible, but he’s still a star. He might even be traded to a contender.

But if I rip it, it will obviously lose value. However, I have not seen that many great cards being pulled out of rip cards. This fact is both good and bad. It’s good because there are still some good rip cards out there with great cards inside, but bad because no one is pulling anything real nice.

What would you do? I need the guidance of fellow collectors out there.

Rip Card!!!

Plus if I rip it, I think I get +10 more points for Gint-A-Cuffs….already get +34 points for this card. That should at least be part of my consideration. But I’d probably want to know how close I would be to winning first…

Gint-A-Cuffs III: Release the Kraken – Packs 6 – 10

(Pictures coming soon, iPhone randomly stopped working today so can’t take pictures!)

Gint-A-Cuffs III and the Kraken is being Released! This time, in packs 6 – 10 of this contest entry.

You can find my full review of 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter here if you want to know about the product in general. This is part of the Gint-A-Cuffs contest for the bloggers out there. Let’s see what how many points I can add…

After packs 1 – 5 I have a total of 34 points. Let’s add some more to that.

Pack 6: (+4 points, 38 points total)

Cliff Lee, Matt Guy, Jim Thome, Juan Pierre, Justin Verlander, Joe Saunders, Lars Anderson Black mini (+3 Favorite Team Black Border), Grady Sizemore Hometown Heroes (+1 HH)

Pack 7: (+11 points, 49 points total)

Manny Pacquiao, Chris Carpenter, Carl Crawford (+1 Favorite Team), Wade Davis, Ichiro Baseball Highlight Sketches (+3 BHS), John Buck (+2 SP), Portraits of Penultimacy Toto (+3 PP), Minds That Made the Future Gregor Mendel (+2 MTMF)

Pack 8: (+4 points, 53 points total)

Clayton Kershaw (+2 OFP), Chase Utley, Mariano Rivera (-1 Yankee), Michael Bourn, Evan Longoria, Ty Wigginton, Derek Lowe Ginter back mini (+2 AG), Billy Butler Hometown Heroes (+1 HH)

Pack 9: (+9 points, 62 points total)

Maxim Shmyrev, Ichiro, Nick Swisher (-1 Yankee), Carlos Zambrano, Dallas Braden Baseball Highlight Sketches (+3 BHS), Mike Stanton (+2 SP), Portraits of Penultimacy Meucci mini (+3 PP), Floating Fortresses USS Cairo (+2 FF)

Pack 10: (+7 points, 69 points total)

Rudy Ruettiger, Ian Desmond, Neftali Feliz, Jose Reyes, Carlos Ruiz, Mike Pelfrey Ginter Code (+4 GC and SP), Nelson Cruz Ginter back mini (+2 AG), Chipper Jones Hometown Heroes (+1 HH)

So, after 10 packs of 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter goodness, I have 69 points towards Gint-A-Cuffs III. The current leader as of right now has 232 total points. At 24 packs, I am on pace for 175 which won’t do. But don’t worry, I know I have a few key cards up my sleeve. Remember, we haven’t had any hits yet!

Gint-A-Cuffs III: Release the Kraken – Packs 1 – 5

Ladies and gentlemen, you are now in for a treat! The official scoring of Gint-A-Cuffs III: Release the Kraken has begun as the official rules have been posted on the official Gint-A-Cuffs blog. So we are going to run down, pack by pack, what I pulled in this year’s 2011 Allen & Ginter baseball. If you saw my official personal review of 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter baseball, then you have seen what I have pulled. But I must now go pack by pack and score the cards for the purpose of winning this prestigious contest. Hey, I want a free box of A&G to pull more awesomeness.

So here we go.

N43 Boxtopper: Hanley Ramirez (+5)

Pack 1: (+6 points pack, 11 points total so far)

Ana Julaton, BJ Upton, Bobby Abreu, Angel Pagan, JD Drew (+1 Team), Kurt Suzuki (+2 SP), Dustin Pedroia mini (Ginter back) (+3 Team and A&G Back), Nick Swisher Hometown Heroes (+0 HH and Yankee)

Pack 2: (+6 points pack, 17 points total so far)

Yuniesky Betancourt (+2 SP), Hanley Ramirez, Scott Kazmir, Carlos Santana, Brent Morel, Hank Conger, WMF Rasputin mini (+3 WMF), Joe Mauer Hometown Heroes (+1 HH)

Pack 3: (+6 points pack, 23 points total so far)

Nancy Lopez, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Andrew McCutchen, Rafael Soriano(-1 Yankee), Denard Span, Dominic Brown (+2 SP), UG Bachelor’s Grove Cemetary mini (+3 UG), Floating Fortresses Le Napoleon (+2 FF)

Pack 4: (+8 points pack, 31 points total so far)

Prince Fielder, Robinson Cano (-1 Yankee), Casey McGehee, Paul Konerko, Adrian Beltre, Carlos Lee (+2 SP), Jon Lester mini (+7  Other Favorite Player, Favorite Team, SP), Phil Hughes Hometown Heroes (+0 HH and Yankee)

Pack 5: (+3 points pack, 34 points total so far)

Brian Bogusevic, Hope Solo (+1), Giovany Soto, Shaun Marcum, Kendrys Morales, Alfonso Soriano, JD Drew mini (+1 Favorite Team), Ryan Zimmerman Hometown Heroes (+1 HH)

So my grand total after my first 5 packs is 34 points. I have no idea if that is good or bad or anything. I’m just happy I got a lot of Red Sox cards for my PC and a mini Jon Lester for my PC. There is plenty more Gint-A-Cuffs action coming soon. What will packs 6 – 10 reveal? You already know if you watched my review. If you didn’t, surprises galore!

Reply from Upper Deck’s Mike Phillips

So as you may have read with my interview with Thomas Fish of Blowout Cards, I asked about why Blowout Cards was not part of the Upper Deck Authorized Internet Retailers program. I was told to direct any questions about that to Mike Phillips, Director of Hobby Sales, or Richard McWilliams, CEO of Upper Deck. I figured that I wouldn’t get any response from the CEO of a large company like Upper Deck so I went to the source which I felt would give me an answer. In a short turn around time, I received an answer that completely avoided my actual question 100%.

I explained my situation of why I was asking the question and specifically asked why Blowout Cards was not an Upper Deck Authorized Internet Retailer. The response I received seemed like a form letter with my name attached to the top. No answers, no comments, nothing. This is basically like saying “no comment” to the press when you have a question. You know they know the answer, they just don’t want to say it. Here is what was said:

Thank you for your interest in Upper Deck’s Authorized Internet Retailer program. While there are many factors that Upper Deck takes into account when choosing its AIRS, first and foremost to even be considered as an AIR one must own and operate a full time brick & mortar trading card and collectibles store. Any brick & mortar store that has met the qualifications of becoming, AND has been approved as a Certified Diamond Dealer can apply to be considered for appointment as an AIR. Upper Deck will add additional AIRs to its network as it deems necessary. Upper Deck currently has eight AIRs in the US and five in Canada, with a few new AIRs pending in the coming months.”

So there is the answer. I was told that Blowout Cards has a B&M store as well and I’m guessing with their presence in the hobby they have moved quite a bit of Upper Deck product over the years. Why would you not allow one of your best retailers the opportunity to not sell your product in the first 30 days, or whatever the limitations are?

Personally, I don’t see this program lasting for the long run. Not only are collectors unhappy with this program, so are some of your top retailers over the past few years. If you really want to fix brick and mortar sales, it’s not your job to do it. It is 100% up to the B&M shops to fix themselves. I would not mind paying $10-$20 over prices at places like Blowout Cards at a B&M shop if I actually enjoyed going to the B&M shop. The ones I have been to around me are terrible. They know nothing about the products coming out, they are overpriced even more, and rarely do they get their products on the shelves in enough time. They don’t cater to the customer, all they do is cater to themselves. I am going to use my experience at Wayne’s Sports Cards in Edmonton, Canada, is my prime example of how a shop should be run. Great customer service, promotions, and tons of selection. If I lived up there I would be in there whenever a new product came out instead of ordering from anywhere online in Canada. In the end, collectors don’t want to wait to open their boxes. That is what made Chris of Cards Infinity so popular. I will show up at a B&M that deserves the support and pay whatever to open up product myself. I just can’t find one in my area that I am willing to support. And B&Ms are wondering why they are losing money.

Quit whining to Upper Deck and Panini that your sales are down. Take some of the blame yourselves and improve the experience and make people actually want to come to the store. Until that happens, people will just keep buying from places like Blowout or DA Card World online.