Friday, March 29, 2013

2013 Gypsy Queen is live

We all know that Topps' retail always seems to hit about a week before hobby now.  And of course this year's Gypsy Queen is no exception.  I haven't seen any around me, but up here in Alaska I'm just happy when hobby is in on time.  That said Gypsy Queen is starting to show up on ebay and people are posting their retail breaks on forums and message boards.  The cards look good.  I'm sure I'll pick up at least a blaster or a rack pack or two, maybe a hobby box if prices drop as low as last years stuff did.

 This year the retail framed parallels are white and the inserted numbered ones are blue.

And of course there are some fun inserts.  I think my favorite I've seen is this Wizard card.  I'm no Card's fan, being a Brewers fan there's some animosity still from 1982 and having them in the same division now only makes it worse.  But this card is pretty awesome no matter how you slice it.

I've also noticed that those cool coin cards are also being found in retail.  I can't remember if they were hobby only before, but I've seen at least 2 breaks with coin cards.

I think I'm still saving my duckets for Allen and Ginter especially since Topps decided to do skip numbered SP's in this years release, but man it's tempting to rip some packs.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

2012 Topps Turkey Red Football?

Hot on the heels of Topps online only Turkey Red Baseball offering this year comes last years Football!! I saw this posted on Sports Collectors Daily's Facebook feed and that's the only place I've seen it yet.

If you ask Topps their Turkey Red baseball was a huge success, for them.  They sold out of product in less than a day even with a cap on the amount of boxes you could order.  Now boxes are going somewhere between $60-70 online.  So why not throw out an online exclusive football set, dated to last year so we can put last year's rookies in it, although last year we saw some great rookies and rookie performances.  Looks like it'll be just like 2011's Topps Magic online offering.  All rookies with one auto per box.  

Still waiting for more product info, like a checklist or release date.  Don't look to  There's no news there anymore. is now just a store front. I think Topps has officially moved it's online presence to Facebook, although you won't find much information there either.   I wonder if this is a statement by Topps about their commitment to brick and mortar hobby shops?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Spring Training TTM Success Logan Schafer

I was lucky enough to get Logan to sign a custom index card for me last year at Spring Training.  And then got to watch him almost hit for the cycle in the game.  Logan's gotten limited playing time at Miller Park, but he has made it up a couple times.  Looking at Baseball-Reference .com I can see that Mr Schafer was in 8 games in 2011 and 16 games last year.  Logan was mainly used to give the outfielders a day off, but did manage to get himself on base a few times.

While getting ready for my big Spring Training TTM send off I looked for cards of Logans.  He doesn't have too many major league cards.  He has a few minor league cards and has no Topps flagship cards yet.  The only card I could find that I had a double of was this Bowman Gold card that Logan was nice enough to sign and send back.

Here's my auto from last year too.

TTM Stats
Date Sent 2/13/13
Date Received 3/21/13

Address used
Maryvale Park
3600 N 51st AvePhoenix, AZ 85031 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Letting cooler heads prevail...

So I've had a couple days to cool off after the announcement that Topps has locked up the official baseball card market for another 7 years.  Sure Upper Deck and Panini will be able to put out baseball sets featuring players doing baseball things, just without logos and team names. That's good news because we don't need anymore cards like these...

And I'll be honest I'm a Topps collector.  I still love putting my base set together and I'm a huge fan of Allen and Ginter, but I still miss those great Upper Deck cards and Diamond Kings.

As always the smoke being blown up my butt from the press release always kind of pisses me off.  I'm not sure if their statements are meant to try and justify Topps' power grab or just meant for the general uneducated public, ie not baseball card collectors.

Let's look at one of Mark Sapir's quotes, "Having a deal in place, it allows us to invest in the business. It's tough when you don't know if the deal is going to end in a year or a few years. Having a long-term deal and a long-term partnership allows you to invest in the business and plan the business."

First off I don't think Topps was ever in danger of losing it's MLB license.  Unless MLB truly only wanted one company to produce baseball cards, which is possible, then yes I can see a worry there.  But Topps and MLB could have signed a 7 year non exclusive deal and that still would have given Topps the commitment for long term "investment" in the business.  Would have letting Panini or someone else in the door been that bad?  Obviously it would take away some business from Topps.  Having an exclusive  is a cash cow.  Sure UD and Panini's MBLPA sets will draw a little business away from Topps, but lets be honest if you want current MLB stars in their uniforms your going to have to buy Topps.  And that's what Topps wants.  Let's remember Topps was the exclusive baseball card of the MLB for over 25 years.  Until upstarts Fleer and Donruss muscled their way in and then Upper Deck  and changed the whole game.  If we hadn't had these other players in the market would the industry be where it is today?  Would we have things like Chrome, refractors, relic and autographed cards, guaranteed hits, parallels, ect?  For better or worse I don't really think so.  In its 25 years of exclusivity Topps did introduce a few new products and concepts, but nothing that stuck and nothing too over the top and even when Fleer and Donruss came on the scene Topps still didn't upgrade it's card stock for over a decade, but I do miss that damn card stock.  

The other laughable quote was this one, "We've struggled with getting kids back into collecting the way we'd like to. I think all of us would like to see more kids in collecting."    I say it's laughable because this was the exact premise on why Topps said that last exclusive license was SOOOOO important and good for the industry and that getting kids back into collecting was priority one..  

You've struggled to get kids back into collecting?  Geez I don't see how you failed.  How about instead of putting together a club exclusive for big spenders you look at putting together something for kids.  And not just some crappy thrown together Topps Kids Club, something with some thought and follow through that kids might actually want, because I'll tell you what they don't want, ToppsTown.  Instead of increasing the number of higher end products geared exclusively for deep pocketed collectors how about something aimed at the kid who gets an allowance and that they can afford and has some value.  What might kids what?  I have no idea.  I can only tell you what I want.  Topps if you want to know what kids want why don't you ask them.  And if you want to know what I or other collectors want ask us.  Because why we all have different ideas I think we can all agree that I'm tired of walking into my LCS and their shelves look like a Soviet era supermarket.  

I've been following a lot of the great card sources down in Las Vegas at the Industry Summit. And the one thing that got me was some of the back and forth when dealers and card shop owners where talking to Topps about why they give retail giants exclusives, like those blue, red and purple bordered cards that you can only find at Wal-mart, Target and Toys R' Us.  Steering  consumers away from LCS's.  Sure for some Wal-mart is their only card source for miles around, but unless we do something Wal-mart might be the only card source.  Just saying.

I would also like to say after talking with owners and collector's up here they said how great a lot of Topps mid to higher end football was this year.  Mainly because it had to  compete with Panini.  Or look at those great Hockey cards Panini and Upper Deck put out competing against each other.  And I'm not saying that Topps hasn't put out and continues to put out great baseball, but there have been issues, most notably issues with damaged 5 Star Baseball and some of the thicker cards in Series 1 from this year.  

So looking ahead......if you enjoyed the last 3 years I think you'll be in for a great next 7.  If you're like me and didn't really think the last 3 years were all that great well, I don't know what to tell you.  I hope Topps can pull it together.  I hope Topps can get it's customer service up to a level that's acceptable, and I hope that in 7 years we still have a sports card industry.

It's not all doom and gloom.  Topps flagship is still a great, consistent set that I enjoy putting together and collecting.  Topps still has products that I like like Allen and Ginter and chrome.  I think more than anything I worried that quality will suffer even more than it has and I worry that Topps will get complacent in their security of a 7 year deal.  We'll have to see what the future holds.

cb out.

Oh and go read Chris Harris' new post in over 3 month on this topic, in which he is much more elegant and uses lots more expletives, over at STALE GUM.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Topps to continue to put out uninspiring baseball cards for seven more years!!!

Well I'm not sure if you've heard yet.  I actually saw the news posted by the Pack Prodigy first and then did a quick google search to find the Beckett article.  I'm guessing my letter to the Commissioner had no sway what so ever.  So anyways Major League Baseball has extended Topps monopoly until 2020.

I'm pretty disappointed.  I don't know what my future holds in collecting and in blogging, but I'm pretty safe to say I will not be blogging in 2020.  So I'm taking down my countdown because honestly it's too depressing.  

You know what's funny there hasn't been a peep of this on any of Topps accounts.  Nothing on the, but that's not surprising Topps has pretty much turned that into a store front.  Not a peep  from their twitter or facebook accounts about this either.  At least as I'm writing this, I just checked.

I honestly don't know what I'm feeling right now.  I knew that Topps getting another exclusive deal was always a possibility, but 7 more years??!!?? Are you freaking kidding me?  And I like Topps flagship.  I love putting my set together and building my team sets, but you know what else I love? Competition, innovation, and a general concern for it's consumer base.  I guess we can expect a few more parallels next year, I'm just waiting for Topps to add SP's to the flagship base set, and of course years and years of Topps going back to the same well to do things they've already done.

Sorry, sorry it's all a bit much to take in.  And I'm rambling and fuming.  And I just want to write a whole blog post with the f word.

What are your thoughts?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

My Silver Slate Redemption Pack is Here

..prepare to be disappointed.  Well maybe not all of you.

Anyways I was pleased to see a bubble mailer from Duryea, PA in my mail box this afternoon.

The packs are clear cellophane and you can see the top and bottom card so really it's the middle three cards that are the big surprise.  I didn't snag one of those Gray cards numbered to just 10 or autos, but the rumor is that there were only 150 of each card produced.  At least thats the skuttlebutt I see all over ebay right now.
I'm not sure why these are called silver slate cards they are more of a steel blue. Anyways all five are available for trade if you are  interested.  

Friday, March 15, 2013

2013 Topps Silver Slate Pack redemptions starting to show up!

I was just looking over at some forums and then did an ebay search.  Looks like Topps has finally started shipping it's Silver Slate wrapper redemptions out.  I haven't got my one pack yet, but when I do I'll do a full post on it with scans.  This year instead of just doing a completely new redemption set, Topps opted for a parallel redemption set. Here's a quick look at some of the cards.

The base redemptions look like a sparkly blue.

There are also silver gray parallels numbered to just 10 mixed in.

There are also autos mixed in too.

Looks like they are serial numbered to various sizes.

When I get my pack most will probably be for trade.  If anyone gets any Brewers cards out there I'll gladly trade for them.  Thanks cb out.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spring Training TTM Success Jed Bradley Brewers Pitching Prospect

I sent Jed Bradley a couple cards to the Brewers Spring Training Address in Arizona.  Got this back the other day.  I wrote I sent two cards and I could be wrong about that too, but Jed ended up only sending one back, but I'll take that any day.  Thanks Jed. Maybe I'll see you this Spring in Milwaukee!

Date Sent: 2/13/13
Date Recieved 3/11/12

Address used
Maryvale Baseball Park
3600 N. 51st Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85031

Saturday, March 9, 2013

TTM Success - Travis Ishikawa

Got my second TTM for Spring Training back on Friday.  Sadly, Travis isn't with the Brewers organization anymore, but I did get to see him last year at spring training in Maryvale and he signed a ball for me.  Travis is now in the Orioles camp and he was nice enough to sign both of his Topps Brewers cards for me and getting his 2013 card signed fills a hole.  If I get someone else on the 2013 design I'll probably give Travis the 2012 spot since Nyjer Morgan has both the 2011 and 2012 spots on my Brewers TTM page. 
Anyways thanks Travis and good luck this year with the Orioles.

TTM Stats:
Date Sent 2/13/13
Date Received 3/8/13

Address used
Ed Smith Stadium
2700 12th St
Sarasota, FL 34237

Friday, March 8, 2013

2013 Heritage Help

So even after my last post I don't really hate this year's Heritage.  I just hate SP's and the price point of the product.

But I am going to complete my Brewer's team set for the product.  I already have a team set coming minus the SP's so that's where the Help comes in.  I know that a few of you out there are going to put this set together.  While a lot of you, like me, probably are not and just pick up a few packs or blasters here and there.  So I'd like to ask anyone out there if you happen to come across any of these Brewers SP's and don't want them, I would like to trade for them.  This year the Brewers have 4 players in the SP section of the set.

460 - Ryan Braun
476 - Yovani Gallardo
497 - Jonathan Lucroy

Here's what they look like.

There is also one action photo variant that I know off too.  I'm not sure about color variants.


And I'm also looking for  the Gallardo relic and any other Brewers inserts and parallels.

Thanks CB out.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

2013 Topps Heritage Baseball - Pass....for now

Before I get into the rant I know some of you our there really love Heritage.  And that's great.  I kind of like Heritage too.  I ended up going after last years set, because I really like the 1963 design and I'll probably go after next years set, because I really like the 1965 design, but sandwiched in the middle is 1964 that's just kind of boring for me.  So right off the bat this years Heritage has a strike against it.  Sure the 1964 is a classic clean design, but not my favorite for sure.  But the biggest kicker for me with Heritage is that it's a set builders nightmare and box prices are way too high.

I'm still trying to finish the 2010 and 2012 sets.  The high number cards do add value, but unless you're busting cases of this stuff it's almost impossible to put together a set on your own and then your at the mercy of others trying to get all those damn high numbered SP cards, all 75 of them.

Anyways my local LCS have this for about $75 bucks a box.  You can get it a little cheaper online for about $67.  I'm sorry, but this is just too high for a box of cards that you only get one hit in.  Sure there are a few other goodies like chrome and refractor cards, mini's, Venezuela backs, ect, but for the most parts your one hit will be this...
And your box topper will most likely be this..

So I'm sorry if I feel paying more than $50 for a box of this is too much.  I put this release close to Topps Flagship.  Hmmm Heritage Jumbo anyone?  That could be interesting.

That's not to say I haven't bought any new Heritage.  I broke down and picked up a blaster and couple loosy retail packs last week, and a couple hobby packs yesterday at trade nigh.  I have managed to pull two relic cards, both Royals, and both worth about a buck a piece.  And I'd be honest if it wasn't for all the SP's I might even go after this set again, because I do like the look of the cards and I think these would make great TTM's.

But that's not to say there's not some cool stuff you could get in a box. I mean if your lucky you could get one of these as a box topper.
Topps ruining perfectly good real 1964 cards.  Can anyone tell me what's up with the 50th Anniversary stamp?  I'm pretty sure Topps is 62 or 63 this year right?

You might also luck out and get this as your top loader..
Nice hair Joe.

Or if your really lucky maybe something like this...
And you might luck out on your hit and get one of these..

And I swear Topps listens to me from time to time.  Last year I was pondering on the blog if Topps would include buyback 1964 coins since that was the first year Topps tried Topps Coins.  And sure enough they did.
I haven't seen the a checklist for these and I'm not sure if they are all limited to just 4 per player or if other players have different hand serial numbering.  Still cool.  I also thought it would have been neat if Topps had added an insert with current players on a new coin insert.  It's been 20 years since the last Topps Coin set I think we're ready.  Speaking of coins.
Various denomination of the '64 Mint cards.  Funny thing is I have a 1964 nickel in my pocket right now.

I'm curious if your allowed to drink on the job at Topps.  Most of these Stamp cards I've seen are all crooked.
Here's some more of the cooler cards you might get, if your really lucky.

I like to think that Heritage is a little feast or famine depending on the box you get.  I mean there are those insanely nice bat knob books possible, haven't seen one hit ebay yet, and they might be redemptions.  But for the most part your going to get your semi star relic in your box with an advertising panel box topper.  That's just the way it is.  So this year I'm going to pass on trying to put this set together, and I impressed myself last night not springing  for at least one hobby box to have something to open. Although in a few months if I can snag a box for around half a C-note maybe.  But keep posting about your breaks I love seeing what people get and I'm probably going to just buy a Brewers base team set, but I'm up for trading for the 4 or so High Number SP Brewers cards if you get one and any of the Brewers inserts.

cb out

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

TTM 1st Spring Training Success - Tyler Thornburg

I'm happy to announce I have my first and so far only success this spring training.  Tyler Thornburg was nice enough to sign a couple cards for me.  I only managed to get 12 requests out before most of the team went off for the World Baseball Classic, but I'm hopeful I'll get a few more returns and I do have a few more to send off to guys I know are still at camp.  Tyler really has a nice auto too.  According to my notes I sent Tyler 3 cards and he ended up sending two back and keeping one, which is just fine with me.  Thanks for being my first return Tyler and good luck this year.

TTM Stats
Date Sent: 2/14/13
Date Received: 3/5/13

Address used:
Maryvale Park

3600 N. 51st Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85031

Friday, March 1, 2013

2012 Panini National Treasures Baseball - Panini Steps it up.

If you're like me, and by like me I mean cheap and not well to do, you like to window shop.  I love watching Youtube box breaks and reading forum posts of super high end box breaks.  And the more I watch and read  the less I ever want to actually open a box of this high end stuff.  Just so much risk for your buck.  But I digress, the latest super premium baseball card offering is Panini's National Treasures.  And after watching the box breaks and reading about them on forums I have to say I really like this stuff.  I still would never spring for a $400 plus box of this, but I could see taking that $400, if I had it to blow, and picking up stuff I wanted online.

I have to say that Panini has really stepped it up with this super premium product.  Each "box" contains 8 cards all hits of some kind.  Including one book card and one on card auto guaranteed.  The one thing I would like to tell Panini is when you advertise your product you might not want to refer to most of your subjects as commons.  When you look at the sell sheet and the collection breakdown it says 150 commons and 75 rookies.  That's a terrible way to sell your product.  Might I suggest you say something like this, 150 active, retired, and hall of famers and 75 rookies.  Calling the majority of your players commons really doesn't lend to how great of a product you're trying to put out, especially when your product is 8 cards in a box inside a tin.

But I digress.  There are no base cards in this product.  There are lots of different themes and subsets  but they are all either memorabilia, autographed or both.  And I know I'm usually hard on Panini, but I have to say from what I've seen I really like this product.

Sure there are your base relics like this Al Kaline bat...
this Jackie Robinson jersey.  I really do like the over all design of much of the cards.  Instead of airbrushing all the players Panini decided to do head shots in black and white, cutting off the hat logo and chest logo of the player.  But what you get is a nice close up of the player and for an unlicensed MLB product, they do have a players association and HOF license, it looks really good.  I also think that Panini did a great job making these look retro, but modern and pretty much gave us a modern day cabinet card.   With great filigree and borders and just a really nice clean over all appearance, that  I find very attractive.  Not to mention there are some insanely nice cards in the product. Here are a few I found while window shopping.

There are lots of book cards.  Everything from this awesome Granderson patch to some large plain patches. All are very low numbered.

Panini released a pretty extensive drool gallery before the product launch and one of the really stand outs were the button cards.  Topps will also be putting out button cards in Gypsy Queen this year.
There are also some really nice patch cards too.

Panini also brings back the Rated Rookie with these signed patch cards.  There are also MLB Players Choice cards that are just like this with a different embroidered logo.  No Diamond Kings though which is kind of disappointing.

One of my other favorite themed cards in the set are the Hall of Fame auto cards.

This will be one of the cards I'm going after.  I do believe these are numbered to just 25 and are all hard signed.  A great design with the players year of induction and the HOF's logo.

But probably the best cards I've seen and I have no chance of ever owning one, because the few that I've been tracking in ebay are going for crazy money, are these bat knob cards.

I mean this would probably be the crown of my collection if ever it was to be acquired, or something like this.

Panini put out a drool gallery of these card too.

Color me impressed Panini.  If Panini can transfer this kind of effort over to more mid to low range offerings, if and when they were to get an MLB license, well it just might work out all right.  And the more I thought about it after my whole Look Back at Topps Exclusive License, the more I wouldn't mind the return of Rated Rookies and Diamond Kings.  Maybe there's hope on the horizon.  Anyways congrats to Panini for putting out a great product that I will never buy a box of.  But damn if it ain't fun to window shop.

cb out.