Thursday, December 1, 2016

Transcending the hobby.

I've been sitting on this post for a while now.  I was hoping that Topps would finalize the checklist so I had something more solid on the product.  Topps did confirm it's final autograph line up and promised me a full checklist weeks ago, but didn't deliver.  When Topps announced at the end of October that it would be putting out a baseball product that would retail for over $25,000, the reactions were mixed, but overwhelmingly there was a general feeling of disgust and disenfranchisement from most of us working class collectors.   But believe it or not after some deep meditation on the subject I think Topps Transcendent is good for the hobby as a whole.  Now hear me out.

Let's be honest this product is probably not for you and it's definitely not for me.  No this is more for Keith Obermann.  And I have a feeling the vast majority of the 65 box/cases available will be broken by group breakers. Random slots were going for between $150-200 a spot.  In all you get about 200 cards, over 50 autos and a base set numbered to 65 and a complete sketch card reproduction set numbered to 65.

With this product Topps launches itself to the top of the pile in the category I've seen termed the Luxury level, above Mega High End and the most expensive baseball card product or trading card product ever produced!

The previous king of the mountain was Upper Deck's Master Collection.  I've included a box break of a Master's Box and one for Panini's Eminence.  Take a look if you've never seen one of these Luxury products opened.



I've seen a lot of hate coming out about how with this set that Topps is thumbing it's nose at the common collector.  I tend to throw a lot of criticism Topps way for lots of things like quality control issues, team inclusion, and over use of the same licensed image on everything, but not on this.  For some reason we as collectors have come to expect that everything Topps produces has to be aimed at the common man.  I've fallen into this mind set as well specially when Topps tried it's 5 Star Club years ago.  But lets look at it this way.  Take any other industry that produces consumer products like the car industry.  A car manufacturer produces many types of vehicles.  Some are very affordable, I use that term loosely, with few bells and whistles while they also tend to offer very high end vehicles as well.  And even within the affordable range you can add upgrades.  I think you could carry this analogy over many scenarios, but the point is not everything Topps puts out is going to be targeted toward you or me.  So with that said Transcendent isn't a set for the masses.  Transcendent will be Topps top of the line Cadillac of card sets.  Now will it hold up, will those that are able to open this product be satisfied with what they get?  Will this blow up in Topps' face from not following through with all the hype produced about the product?  Will what's offered be worth the money ponied up?  I guess we'll find out in a few weeks.  While I won't be opening any of this product or taking part in any group breaks I will definitely be watch breaks on Youtube.

And while I'm defending Topps' decision to produce this product I do have my misgivings.  As most of you have probably noticed if you follow current releases the overall trend in the sports card market has shifted from cheaper products with large base sets and a few inserts and hits to much more expensive products that are specifically hit driven (relics and autographs) with lower card counts per box or pack and smaller or even nonexistent base sets.  Products that offer less variety of players and teams featured.  This trend is what worries me most in the hobby.  And while I actually really like the idea of a Lamborghini of a baseball card set the fact that Topps has set it's upper bounds of product pricing so high that the vacuum created from the difference to its next highest product might mean an even larger shift to much more expensive products to fill that void.  However that never happened at Upper Deck when it released it's Masters Collection, so there's hope that this is just Topps reaching for the sky and seeing if they fall flat.  What really interests me is even with 1 of 1 autos and artist sketch cards and a ton of other autographs, can this really be worth the price tag?  Feel free to comment.









Sunday, November 20, 2016

TTM Success Adam Lind

I was surprised in my mailbox last Tuesday to see one of my TTM return envelopes. I was surprised because I haven't sent any requests out since Spring Training.  But luckily for me Mr. Lind signed his 2016 Topps card for me.  I sent the two cards above to him.  Adam only signed the one, which is fine.  I would have loved to had both signed as I can add the Topps card to my Brewers TTM project, but I love the way the Allen and Ginter cards looked autographed.

My TTM notes are packed away in storage so I'm not sure when or where I sent these cards.  I'm pretty sure it was in March and I'm also pretty sure I sent these to the Mariner's Spring Training address since Adam had been traded to the Mariner's in December 2015.

The cards were wrapped in a piece of stationary from the French Lick Springs Hotel, which oddly enough I've been too.  And it's not too surprising since Adam is from Indiana. I can't find the envelope anymore, but I do believe it was postmarked from Indianaopolis.

Thanks Mr. Lind.  Good luck next season.

Monday, November 14, 2016

How I accidentally became a Boomer Esiason super collector on purpose.

I love strolling through the aisles of my local Value Village.  I have one fairly close to my house.  I've been avoiding the place like the plague that past couple months as Halloween is a terrible time to try and enjoy yourself treasure hunting.  I have a path I usually follow.  I stroll down by the books to see if there is anything worth adding to my library.  You'd be surprised how many 1st editions and sometimes autographed books show up.  I work my way around the nik-nak aisles and glassware.  Eventually I stroll past the glass cabinet that the store locks up anything of remote value and eventually I find myself in the toy section looking for legos to stockpile for my son.

More often than not all I end up leaving with is a little exercise, but every now and then I find something.  You may remember years ago I blogged about picking up a bag of baseball cards that all turned out to be of Darrell Evans.

I'll be honest Value Village has sacks of cards all the time.  Most being stacks of junk wax like 89 Fleer and Donruss baseball.  If it wasn't for the fact that every card in these bags were stored in top loaders, snaptites, or screwdowns, I would have kept on walking, but not only was every card well protected, the $1.49 price tag is cheap even for loose junk wax.  I figured for that price I'd stock up on top loaders and see what was worthy of being stored in a screw down card case.

Most of the packs contained Boomer Esiason, but there were also a few with Dennis Rodman and Bret Boone.  I did pick up a couple Rodman packs, but I left the Boones alone.

So shall we see what I got?  Prepared to be underwhelmed!  Overall the assortment was pretty good and there were some very cool cards mostly from the mid-90's.  Which while overproduced  was the era of card innovation.  No rookie cards to be had in the packs I picked up, but that doesn't mean there weren't any.  I targeted all of the bags that had the screwdowns and snaptites.  The oldest cards in the batch were a couple 89 Topps.
I have to assume that these cards have been encased for decades, but the previous owner was smart enough to put most of the snaptites and screwdowns in team bags to prevent them from getting scratched up.




I'd love to be able to find a Beckett from the late 90's to see what these cards were going for especially to see if they warranted being encased.  A great variety overall with plenty of doubles in the mix.  You can tell the previous owner was a pretty serious collector who know what they were doing and really liked Boomer.

I also picked up a couple Rodman bags because 90's basketball inserts can be pretty valuable and also are pretty cool.

Nothing earth shattering in the stacks, but a neat collection none the less.  In all I picked up 103 toploaders, 13 Snaptites, and 8, two screw, screwdown cases. All of the storage products are in great shape which is great since they were the driving force behind the purchase.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Winning

Undoubtedly the best part of the Cubs win was getting to see this gem.



Thursday, November 3, 2016

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!! 6th Annual Almost the Easiest World Series Contest on the Web concludes!


Wow!  All I can say is Wow.  That was an incredible series! And that game seven, I mean that's what this game is about.  I really had no horse in the race, but seeing as my wife and her family are all Cubs fans I was pulling for the Cubs.  You may remember my pick, as the template, I also correctly picked the Cubs to win and their opponent.

My contests are simple all I want you to do was tell me who was going to win and 14 of you did that. And that's exactly why we have the tie breakers, because 3 of you correctly guess that the Cubs would beat the Indians.  And that is why I have more than one tie breaker!

So with that going into last night's game we actually had the contest down to two picks:


TSHenson - Indians over Cubs, 7 games, 11 home runs

and

defgav - Cubs over Indians, 7 games, 18 HRs

Both of whom correctly predicted the match up and the total games!  

The total correct pick would have been 

Cubs over Indians, 7 games, 15 HRs.  

Gavin came incredibly close to perfection.  This isn't the first time I've had clairvoyant picks.  Greg Z did it with my Super Bowl contest last year and Wilson 3 years before that, but this is the closest anyone's ever gotten to perfection with my World Series contest.  Bravo!

And I want to thank everyone who participated in the contest.  I know I haven't been blogging much, but it's nice to know that you are all still out there.  And it's also why I always have a door prize just for playing.

So what did Gavin win?? Well first off let me apologize for not having my prizes ready and posted when this contest started, but that's me.

Anyways the Grand Prize this year is the sweet 2016 Topps Archives Signature Carlos Baerga on card auto numbered to 56!


I picked this up from Don's Sportcards here in Anchorage a while back for a good deal and had thought about keeping it, but with the Indians in the World Series thought this would make a great prize.  Of course it would have made a better prize if they had won.  Gavin also will get a nice stack of cardboard depending on what I can find from his want list or maybe just some random autos and relics.  Congrats Gavin great job on the pick!

For the door prize I have an equally cool card.  I doubt it'll be one the person who wins this collects, but another cool pick up I couldn't pass up for the price.

It's a 2016 Topps Tribute Chris Archer Stamp of Approval Jumbo relic numbered to 199.  It's even got the MLB authentication sticker on it!  Everyone who entered the contest is entered to win this and a stack of your favorite team.  The list of entries was entered in a list randomizer at Random.org. You got an extra entry if you pimped the contest and only Jeff S let me know that he did.  The list was randomized 3 times and........

Jupiterhill!!



Oddly enough both winners are avid custom card makers as well.  At least I know I'll have some Royals to send Phils way.

So if defgav and Jupiterhill could both email me their current mailing addresses , my email address is in my profile, I'll try to get prizes out this week or early next.  I might have to take a trip to the card shop to fill out some of those packages, not that I need a reason to go to the card shop!


Thanks again for all those who entered.  I have to say this was one of the more memorable World Series and playoffs in recent memory.  And who knows maybe I might blog a little more before the year's out.

Monday, October 24, 2016

6th Annual Almost the Easiest World Seriers Contest on the Web - Championship Round Up



Here we are.  A day away from the start of the World Series.  What a crazy if not predictable outcome.  It's funny I took a look back at my original prediction which was used to demonstrate the format of the contest picks and I got both teams right!  What's even better is that we had 4 people also correctly guess the two teams that will make up this 112th match-up.

Over all we had 14 people pick the Cubs to win it all and two for the tribe.  So that's 16 people who made it this far.  But of course that means we have to take it to the tie breakers and we had 4 people, 3 for the Cub and one for the Indians, correctly guess the match up. Those people are in Green.

If the Indians win TSHenson wins outright.  If the Cubs win we'll have to take it to the next tie breaker, total games in the series.  Of which Adam K, Michael O., and defgav all picked different numbers.

Here's a look at the picks coming out of the league championships.  Good luck and enjoy the series!



Ugly Duckling - Cubs over Orioles, 7 games, 23 HR

Jeff S - Indians over Dodgers / 7 games / 8 hrs - PIMP

Shane Kroeker - Cubs over Blue Jays 6 games, 20HR

Mike Matson - Jays over Mets 6 games. 15 HRs..

Nick - Cubs over Red Sox, 6 games, 13 HRs. 

Chris - Cubs over Rangers, 5 games, 8 homers

Robert - Cubs over Rangers, 7 games. 14 HRs

JediJeff - Dodgers over Indians - 6 games - lucky 13 dingers.

Adam Kaningher - Cubs over Indians, 6 games, 11 homers.

Greg Zakwin - Dodgers over Red Sox, 6 games, 9 HRs

Corky - Cubs over Blue Jays, 7 games and 18 homers

RAZ - Cubs over Red Sox, 7 games, 19 homers

night owl - Dodgers beat Red Sox in 7, 14 homers.

Josh D. - Dodgers over Rangers...6 games, 9 HR


Jupiterhill - Cubs over Rangers in SIX games 13 homers.

TSHenson - Indians over Cubs, 7 games, 11 home runs

Fuji - Cubs over the Red Sox, 6 games, 15 home runs.

GCA - Cubs over Red Sox in 7 games, 11 homers.

Jafronius - Cubs over Red Sox in 5 games, 7 Homers.

Michael Ott - Cubs over Indians, 5 games, 14 HRs

defgav - Cubs over Indians, 7 games, 18 HRs

Friday, October 14, 2016

Almost the Easiest World Series Contest on the Web - Divisional Series Round Up



Well that was an interesting round of playoff series'.  I didn't expect the Red Sox to be taken down in 3.

We lost 11 from the divisional series.  There are still a few match-ups picked that could happen.  Still an overwhelming majority picked the Cubs to win it all with the Dodgers a close second.

Here are the entries, those in red are out.


Ugly Duckling - Cubs over Orioles, 7 games, 23 HR

Jeff S - Indians over Dodgers / 7 games / 8 hrs - PIMP

Jon - Giants over Red Sox, 6 games, 17 HR

Shane Kroeker - Cubs over Blue Jays 6 games, 20HR

Mike Matson - Jays over Mets 6 games. 15 HRs..

Nick - Cubs over Red Sox, 6 games, 13 HRs. 

KO Rob - Red Sox over Mets, 7 games, 13 HRs. 

Chris - Cubs over Rangers, 5 games, 8 homers

Robert - Cubs over Rangers, 7 games. 14 HRs

Matt Stupienski - Red Sox over LA Dodgers, 6 games, 14 HRs

JediJeff - Dodgers over Indians - 6 games - lucky 13 dingers.

Adam Kaningher - Cubs over Indians, 6 games, 11 homers.

Greg Zakwin - Dodgers over Red Sox, 6 games, 9 HRs

Corky - Cubs over Blue Jays, 7 games and 18 homers

RAZ - Cubs over Red Sox, 7 games, 19 homers

The Big Kahuna - Mets over the Red Sox 6 games, 8 homers. 

night owl - Dodgers beat Red Sox in 7, 14 homers.

John Hazen - Rangers over Nationals in 6, 13 Homers.

Matthew Scott - Rangers over Giants 9 homers

Brett Alan - Red Sox over Dodgers, 6 games, 11 home runs.


CaptKirk42 - Nationals over Rangers 7 games 10 homers.

Josh D. - Dodgers over Rangers...6 games, 9 HR

Jupiterhill - Cubs over Rangers in SIX games 13 homers.

Dennis - Red Sox over Dodgers, 7 games, 16 homers


TSHenson - Indians over Cubs, 7 games, 11 home runs

Fuji - Cubs over the Red Sox, 6 games, 15 home runs.

GCA - Cubs over Red Sox in 7 games, 11 homers.

Colbey Hopper - Red Sox over the Nats in 6 games, 8 home runs

Dion's IP Autos only - Red Sox over Cubs in 6 games with 10 Home Runs. 


Jafronius - Cubs over Red Sox in 5 games, 7 Homers.

Nachos Grande - Giants over the Red Sox in 6 games. 12 homers.

Michael Ott - Cubs over Indians, 5 games, 14 HRs

irondequoit36 - Red Sox over Cubs - 6 games , 13 homers

defgav - Cubs over Indians, 7 games, 18 HRs


Alright I'll be back after the League championships have been deteremined. Good Luck everyone!