3 Contests Time! Score Some Free Cards!

Alright, alright, it’s the first week of July and we at Sports Card Blog have prizes to give away. That’s right, thanks to Panini for sponsoring our reviews recently I am giving away fabulous prizes!

To enter the contest is really simple. I am holding 3 separate contests.

Contest #1: Comment your thoughts on my review of 2011 Panini Luxury Suite hockey. A winner will be chosen at random. One entry per person. Winner will receive the Jeff Carter GU Jersey numbered to 599 and the Matt Duchene/Milan Hejduk Dual GU Jersey numbered to 599. If the winner is not a hockey fan, I will allow the opportunity to spin the Wheel O’ Awesome! (Could include hockey prize as well, be forewarned, or even base cards)

Contest #2: Comment your thoughts on my review of 2011 Donruss Elite football. A winner will be chosen at random. One entry per person. Winner will receive the Kyle Rudolph New Breed RC Jersey numbered to 299 and the Jimmy Smith Rookie Autograph numbered to 499. If the winner isn’t a football fan, I will allow the opportunity to spin the Wheel O’ Awesome! (Again, prize may be not as good!)

Finally Contest #3: Comment your thoughts on my review of 2011 Score football. A winner will be chosen at random. One entry per person. Winner will receive a Torrey Smith Gold Zone RC, Jason Witten Complete Player Glossy, Drew Brees Red Zone, Von Miller Hot Rookies, and Tony Romo In The Zone. There is no Wheel O’ Awesome option in this contest!

So there you have it. 3 Contests. Deadline is Saturday July 9, 2011, at 10pm PST. Winners will be chosen sometime on Sunday. Prizes will be sent sometime that following Thursday or Friday.

Oh, wait…BLOGGERS BONUS! Hey bloggers, pimp this contest in your blog and gain an extra entry into each one of the contests you enter! Just link to this post in a blog post and send me the link to get your bonus entries! I love my fellow bloggers so this time around it’s your opportunity to get some bonus action.

Interview: Thomas Fish of Blowout Cards

After the success of my interview with Adam of Dave and Adam’s Card World and my review of Blowout Cards vs. DA Card World I received an email recently from Thomas Fish, one of the owners of Blowout Cards. He was disappointed that I gave the nod to DA Card World when it came to customer service and assured me that Blowout Cards treats every customer with the same level of customer service and mentions how Blowout gives away a lot of product during the year without customers needing to buy anything. For one, I can attest to that as I entered one of their contests recently for a full case of product for showing your reaction to receiving a redemption card. After spending time in their forums, which I had never really visited, they give away items quite a bit to members on their site which is great for promotions. So I recommend people check out the Blowout Cards Forums.

So after that email and checking out what he was talking about, I decided to ask him a few questions. I used questions in my interview with Adam and also got some more input from the sports card community. Again, nothing really hard hitting but you can read his responses and maybe it will help you decide where you want to purchase your products from. So here is another uncut interview from Sports Card Blog (Caution: Another long read!):

 Sports Card Blog: I’ll start with the basics, how did Blowout Cards get its start in the trading card industry?

Thomas Fish: Blowout Cards was founded in 1998 by Chris Park. Chris started off breaking boxes and cases and selling team sets and singles to collectors and card shops across the country. His customer base expanded and he bgan to move from singles cards to unopened wax. Providing unopened boxes and cases at the best prices on the Internet became his niche. While others were focusing on card shows back in the late 90s, Chris was building an Internet presence through newsgroups and websites…one of which was eBay. In 2005, Thomas Fish partnered with Chris and began to build and market BlowoutCards.com.

Sports Card Blog: How many employees do you have working for you?

Thomas Fish: The Blowout Cards team currently consists of approximately a dozen members and that number does fluctuate depending one what projects we have and the time of year.

Sports Card Blog: In your opinion, what makes your company a better choice when purchasing products?

Thomas Fish: The consumer has many choices when making their purchases and our goal is to provide a hobby shop experience online for collectors.

Blowout Cards is focused on providing consumers with a fun place to shop, the most competitive prices and the very best customer service. We are very proud of being voted best online retailer the last 2 years by collectors. We do our best with the assistance of our community to provide as much information as possible so our customers can make smart choices when making their purchases.

Sports Card Blog: Why was Blowout Cards not included in the first batch of Upper Deck Authorized Online Retailers? Or why do you think this happened if there was no official reason?

Thomas Fish: This is a question that should be directed to Upper Deck. The director of hobby sales Michael_Phillips@upperdecknv.com or the CEO of Upper Deck Richard_McWilliam@upperdeck.com would be better suited to answer that.

(SCB Note: I have sent an email to Michael Phillips and await a response.)

Sports Card Blog: Now I have some questions from your consumers…I had a few people ask if you plan on carrying older wax products or more of a selection of older wax products then you currently have in stock?

Thomas Fish: We are always looking to enhance our product selection. If collectors are looking for any specific products the Blowout Cards team has numerous resources to procure older wax. We are always adding to our product selection and urge collectors to follow us on Twitter where we constantly update with our new offerings and restocks.

Specific out of stock items or older wax inquiries should be sent to chris@blowoutcards.com

Sports Card Blog: How are you able to keep your prices so much lower than your competition?

Thomas Fish: We run a very efficient business and negotiate with vendors the best deals possible and pass on the savings to our customers.

Sports Card Blog: An issue that several people weren’t impressed with was the way giant sales are handled by Blowout and if you planned on a different system in the future? (ex. Black Friday)

Thomas Fish: We were the first in the sports card industry to run a “Black Friday” sale on that scale on-line. The Black Friday sale was one of the most successful sales in Blowout Cards history with over 2 million page views. We were able to offer our customers thousands of boxes at prices never seen before. We did learn a lot from that sale and although mostly positive, some customers did have difficulty getting through and ordering since many of the boxes sold out within a few minutes. The Blowout Cards team is constantly looking for ways to enhance the customer experience. We are very open to any suggestions and ideas and all are appreciated and can be emailed to fish@blowoutcards.com.

Sports Card Blog: Does Blowout plan on starting a loyalty program for repeat customers?

Thomas Fish: We do appreciate all of our customers and run some of the industry’s most entertaining and fun promotions. We are planning on many more exciting things for our customers…STAY TUNED and be sure to visit us at Blowout Cards and follow us on Twitter.

Sports Card Blog: And finally, do you personally collect cards yourself? If so, what are your favorite teams or players to collect?

Thomas Fish: Although I don’t currently collect cards myself I do still have my collection from when I was younger. Somtimes I look through it and I am amazed to see how things have changed. It is crazy to think that at one time inserts “limited” to 10,000 were considered extremely rare. Come to think of it when I was first buying packs in the last 70s and 80s inserts didn’t exist. My favorite and first card I bought was a 1976 Fred Lynn at a coin show in White Plains, NY. I instantly became a Red Sox fan. I do collect original comic art and understand the passion that collectors have.

Thank you for allowing me to share with you and your readers.

Sports Card Blog: Thank you Mr. Fish and go Red Sox!

So again, I would like to thank Mr. Thomas Fish of Blowout Cards for spending his time answering these questions for me. It is obvious that he loves his job and understands the passion that collectors have out there. I think with him having a forum on his website, he clearly sees that day in and day out. I will try and get that information on why Blowout Cards was left out of the Upper Deck Authorized Internet Retailer program and see if I can get an answer. I’m not sure if I am to expect one or not but if an answer is given I will immediately post the information. It’s definitely a head-scratcher to me as to why Blowout Cards isn’t included and it would be nice to know.

If you haven’t checked out Blowout Cards for your trading card needs I recommend visiting their website. They have some of the best prices on the internet when it comes to boxes and make sure you check out their forums too. They seem to always have cool stuff going on there.

Review: 2011 Score Football

Happy Independence Day to every American out there!

Panini is bringing you the best value in football cards this season with 2011 Score football. Why is this product the best value? Well wouldn’t you consider anything nowadays that is 99 cents a very good value? That’s right, this product is 99 cents per pack. It is less than one dollar. Now that’s value.

Every box comes with 36 packs if you choose to buy a box. You get 7 cards per pack. Every pack has at least one rookie in it and one glossy card in it. You can find tons of inserts like Millennium Men, In the Zone, Hot Rookies, and Complete Players. Among those you could also pull parallel versions including a glossy version, End Zone, Scorecard, Red Zone, or Gold Zone. The rookies even have an SP version with a different picture. You can pull tons of great cards and parallels in this box. Also, you can find autographs in a box at a rate of 5 per case. Not bad at all for 99 cents.

Base:

Rookies:

Gold Zone paralleled rookie

Inserts:

Autographs:

Design:

I actually really enjoy this retro design from Score. I can’t quite put a year on when this design was used or something very similar was done, but it just reminds me of the good times in the 1990s when I first started collecting cards. I love the design of all the inserts as well as the parallels as well. The Complete Players insert is my least favorite as it just doesn’t seem as colorful as the others and kind of feels out of place. I’m not sure it would look better with colors either, but with the rest of the product having some life, it just feels off. But that’s not why I’m docking the star, only a very small part. The reason I am docking the star is that huge white empty space on the top left of the card. I don’t like empty spaces on cards, but especially just plain white empty spaces. I understand that it is used to show you if you have a parallel or not, but couldn’t there just be some sort of placeholder there instead of a plain white spot? And finally, the only other things I don’t like is not being able to tell the SP rookies from the non-SP rookies besides the photo. So there is a different photo…how do we know which one the SP is?And the other is the lack of numbering on the parallels. Last year there was numbering on these same parallels, what changed? Are they still the same as terms of rarity goes?

Checklist:

Well this one is a no brainer. All the rookies you could want? Check. All the veterans you could want? Check. And yeah, some people might want legends in their product. But I could care less sometimes. Sometimes you need to step back and just create a product featuring today’s great players. I love it. There is also a rookie and veteran checklist which is solid as well. I mean, what 99 cent per pack product can you find the possibility of pulling a Tom Brady autograph in it? If I could give it 6 stars for the checklist, I would.

Value:

For 99 cents a pack you get 7 cards. At least one rookie, one glossy, and some other cards. If you look at my videos of me opening the packs you will see I’ve even opened packs that had 3 rookies in them. One glossy rookie, one base rookie, and a rookie insert. Include the other veteran cards from just about anyone in the NFL and you have great value to set collectors, team collectors, kids, player collectors, just about everyone. Secondary values on this product won’t be great, but can you expect a 99 cent per pack product to have high secondary values with everything else on the market? But I’d imagine if you pulled a top rookie autograph or one of the top veteran autographs you would easily pay for your box, which is cheap in price itself. This is great value for your money, just not the greatest if you’re investing or prospecting. It’s a little too low end for that. Everyone else should be buying this up.

Overall:

Overall, this is another low end winner for Panini. I have to say that Panini has been doing a phenomenal job on their lower end products. The last few I have reviewed have been great. This is just another great lower end product to add to that list. The design is great despite the few very small things I had a problem with. Those small things could be fixed in a snap so I couldn’t take off a lot for them. The overall design was great. The checklist has just about anyone currently in the NFL that you could possibly want. I’m just waiting for a few of my favorite rookies, but that’s the lockout’s fault, not Panini. If you’re looking for value in a product this is it. With a ton of inserts and rookies for 99 cents a PACK this is right up your alley.

A huge thank you goes out to Panini for providing this box for me to review. Honestly, I probably had the most fun opening this product than I have opening other products from any manufacturer. You can probably see it in my video that I was having fun with it. I hope the people reading the review see that as well and have their own fun opening it because it is definitely worth it.

To see that video please look below! Sorry that it took two videos, but opening up 36 packs of cards and showing off cards takes awhile.

Let me know what you think of 2011 Score in the  comments below and I’ll draw a name for a prize from the break. Not sure what I’ll be giving away, but it’ll be something. Might save the auto for the Wheel O’ Prizes, not sure yet!

(SCB Note: Panini has posted all the SP rookie variations so you know if  you pulled one on their official blog)

Happy Independence Day!

July 4th, 2011: Happy Independence Day out there to all the Americans! Living in America is awesome. Not only do we have freedom, we have freedom AND hot chicks.

Spencer Scott of Benchwarmer says Happy 4th of July!

Oh, and about that freedom. We can say what we want!

Ladies and gentlemen, my favorite comedian, Stephen Lynch and his song “America” off his album “3 Balloons”. CAUTION: Stephen Lynch likes to use dirty, filthy, language. I love it.

Review: 2010-11 Panini All-Goalies Hockey

Panini branches out of the box this year with their hockey license and tries something a little bit different that we haven’t seen from a NHL licensed product. 2010-11 Panini All-Goalies hockey is just that, 100% pure masked men who guard the twine. Without goalies in hockey, well, it would be lacrosse on ice. Just kidding. With a great goalie, you can beat just about anyone despite your other significant flaws, just ask the Boston Bruins.

The Panini All-Goalies boxed set is 100 cards of goalies. From every goalie that suited up under contract this season to legends of the crease, this boxed set has everything. It even includes 5 parallels and 1 game used memorabilia card. Pretty cool right? You know what makes this more than cool, in fact icy? The price tag is a cold, hard, $20 bill. That’s it. 106 cards for $20 with a guaranteed memorabilia card with randomly inserted patch cards.

Base:

Parallel:

Turco Rules!

Game Used:

Design:

Overall, the design gets an A from me. The goalie is the main subject on a faded out white background where you can still see a little bit of the ice and the arena. That’s the way it should be. The names and lettering are great and I love the All-Goalies symbol with the old style masks. The parallels are easily identifiable by the faded white background being a close up of the goalie behind the mask, which looks almost like it was drawn by an artist. Very nice there. Finally the memorabilia is solid as well. If there is one negative thing I have to say is what is with you guys and your memorabilia cards having the player’s name sideways? If you want sideways lettering, at least use the insert name going sideways instead of the player name. It may be just a preference, but I like my team and name always the same direction as the card itself.

Checklist:

The checklist shouldn’t be any less than 5 stars. I would be just picky if I didn’t give it 5 stars. This has every freakin’ goalie that was available this season it seems. Plus, it has about 10 legends inserted into the base set as well. I mean, that’s practically 3 goalies a team! If I gave it a lower grade, what would my reasoning be? Well I do have one thing I’d like to see as an improvement. There are 18 total game used memorabilia cards. There are two things I would do. I would either have one memorabilia card for every team or add in a couple of those legends to that subset. That’s it. That would make the checklist absolutely perfect. Right now it’s like a 4.7 stars, but I just round to the closest whole number. I don’t like decimals.

Value:

I’m sure everyone out there is wondering why the hell did he give this product 4 stars on value. It’s only 20 bucks! You get 106 cards including 5 parallels and a game used jersey! What more could he want?! It’s a box set! ARGHGHGH! Okay, I get your point. Every one of them and honestly, sometimes I am a little crazy. Maybe I’m afraid to give this product a perfect score. But I’m going to point out secondary value. With this product being as cheap as it is, it is strictly a collector’s item. Nothing more, nothing less. It will hold very little value unless you pull a Brodeur or Price patch as your memorabilia card. To remedy that, I ask for one thing. Every (x) amount of this product, remove the inserts and throw in an autograph. It could be any goalie in the set, I don’t care. It could be on 5 stickers at once, it doesn’t matter. I know retail products have hobby products to help justify throwing in top cards, but throw in a cheap goalie autograph every now and then. You do it with Score, which is 99 cent per pack. 20 packs of Score is 140 total cards which equals 20 bucks. There’s really no difference between the products. Throw us collectors a bone and just add one more thing every (x) amount of boxes. 1 or 2 a case is fine with me. Just a chance, all I’m asking is a chance.

Overall:

If I did not give this product a full 5 stars it would be a travesty. Great design work, every goalie you could possibly imagine, and great value. I know some of you might still be seething about the 4 stars in the value area, but I didn’t feel like it was the absolutely perfect product. There, I said it. It’s not the absolutely perfect 20/20 stars product. Maybe I need to start using decimals. But whatever my total score is, if you’re a hockey fan and love the work of the goalies, you absolutely need to buy this product. If you don’t, you are missing out on a great set to collect and the possibility of some pretty cool memorabilia pieces from top goaltenders. I’m pretty sure I got the worst goalie on the list, so there is one less of Brian Elliott for you to pull. No offense to Brian Elliott, but with Brodeur, Rinne, Ward, Thomas, Price, etc. on the list you are just peanuts my friend. Go buy it. For the record, I really hope this turns into something bigger for Panini next year. Something like BTP maybe?

I’d like to thank Panini America for sending me this box to review for them. As always, it is an honor and a privilege. Go buy their stuff and click on the links to their official site and their blog. Both solid choices when searching the internet for product information (after Sports Card Blog of course!)

If you want to see what these cards look like when the box set is being opened, go ahead and check out the video. I make it known that I will sign a contract with any NHL team for one game so I can be part of All-Goalies hockey next season. Need a 3rd string goalie? I’m your man. I’d probably be a butterfly since I’m so tall. Long legs to guard the posts, solid frame, imagine putting Zdeno Chara in goal. That would be me. All for me being on a trading card. Think about it!