Thursday, February 27, 2014

Panini Loses it's NHL license

Come June 30th only Upper Deck will be making NHL cards.  I'm not a big collector of hockey cards, but I still don't think this exclusivity is a good thing.

You can read the official Panini statement HERE.

Now the NFL is the only sport that has more than one company making it's trading cards.  


Resurrection! 2014 Donruss Baseball Box Break and Review

 I was torn whether or not I was going to splurge on a box of this. But after seeing the box break on Panini's blog I couldn't resist.
Here's the back of the box with what might be in there. The box guarantees two autos and one relic card. The few box breaks I'd seen had had more than what was advertised. And after the break I will say this is one of the most fun boxes I've opened in a few years and sadly a little disappointing, but I'll get to that later.

I did a preview of this product a few months ago, you can go back and read that here, I won't rehash too much of it.  There are 203 base cards in this set. Wait what??  Yep there are 200 in the box, but Panini announced yesterday that if you send your 24 wrappers in you get a bonus pack with cards 201, 202, and 203 which will be bonus rated rookie cards. Panini wouldn't say who they feature yet.  You can find the information, instructions, and mailing address here at Panini's blog.  I really wish the base set was a little larger. I think a 600 card set would have been perfect, but I'd have taken a 400 card set too. 200 just seems so small, almost like the base was an afterthought.

Alright lets have a look at the cards.
 I posted about this earlier, but the whole set is about resurrection and nostalgia. Panini brought back a lot of the old favorites and managed to throw a few new things in.  The base cards are a nod back to the 1987 set. I joked that it's actually a nod to 1987 Donruss and 1978 Topps. My one complaint here is that the borders are huge!! I think the picture border could have easily been pushed out a little farther. Just seems like so much wasted space.  Those of you that are tired of all the foil will love these cards.  There is absolutely no foil anywhere on the base cards.  They are however very glossy and have a nice feel to them.
The backs of the cards are a nod back to the 1988 backs and have the traditional card number in the baseball. It's well placed for easy collation and large enough you don't have to squint to see it.
Panini also put a bunch of retired players in the mix.

 HOFers like this guy.
 Holy crap is that a new Pete Rose card?  Yep
And some soon to be HOFers too.

Over all the look of the base cards is really nice and Panini has selected a lot of photos that really look good despite the lack of logos.
Also numbered into the set are the Diamond Kings and Rate Rookies, just like they use to be back in the day. They are also pretty hard to pull.
This years Diamond Kings are a nod back to the great 1984 design. I'm a little disappointed that these aren't painted like the original set use to be. I can understand not being able to get Perez to come back and paint the set, but surely Panini could have found somebody. Still not a bad looking subset.

Each box also comes with a box topper

Panini has mixed in auto box toppers too.

I think one of the best things about the set and the box is that while there are a fare number of inserts and a few parallels, there really aren't that many. And a few of the inserts fall only one per box or less.

First up we have the Stat Line parallel cards. There are two versions the Career Stat line and the Season stat line. I got two Season Stat lines and one Career. They are serial numbered to the stat which is neat.

 My Adrian Beltre Career stat line, notice the gold foil

There are also Press Proof parallels. Gold and Silver. I got one Silver Press Proof serial numbered to 199. The gold version is numbered to 99.

The Rated Rookies and Diamond Kings also have Stat Line and Press Proof parallels. I didn't get any of those.

Alright onto the inserts.
One of the new inserts, at least I think this is new, correct me if I'm wrong, is the Breakout Pitchers and Breakout Hitters insert. You get two colors red and blue. I'm not sure is the color is just alternated or if there is some other meaning, because it's not by league or by position.  Still a really cool looking set.

Next up is Hall Worthy. I think this might also be another new insert. Sure similar ones have been done, but I'm not sure if this was ever a regular Donruss insert.  I only pulled one out of my box, but I'll take the Big Unit.

I ended up pulling 4 Power Plus inserts.  A nod back to the 1985 Action All Stars Design.

 There is also The Rookies inserts set, a nod to the old Rookies box sets Donruss use to put out. I got two. Walker I know, Roark not so much.

Next up are the inserts I really like.  The Elite inserts from the 90's were huge.  The first serial numbered cards, the Elite and Legends cards were like money in the bank and an incredibly hard pull.

First up we have the Elite Dominators.  I pulled two of these.  A nice one of Prince Fielder. Still labeled as a Tiger.  Prince's base card does list him with the Rangers.

 And I got James Shields.

 I also ended up pulled two Elites. All four of these cards look great in hand, the scans really don't do them justice. I snagged a card of Orioles phenom Manny Machado.

 And one of future Hall of Famer and Braves franchise player Chipper Jones. I think I did great there.

On to the hits.  By far the best hit was this King Felix relic.  What? Yep take a look at my other hits.

That's right out of my hobby box I pulled 4 memorabilia cards.  Not one single auto.  And while the the biggest name in the 4 was Felix Hernandez, the best looking card was the Jordan Lyles, which was the only one with any color.  To add insult to injury not only did I pull 4 relics, none of them was a prime relic.  I have filed a Quality Assurance claim with Panini, which was pretty easy, and I've sent in the required stuff they ask for. We'll have to wait and see if I get my two autos or not.  And before you get up in arms and say that well that 2 autos and one relic are on average. No, it clearly states on the front of the box that my box contains 2 autos and one relic, exclamation point!  Nowhere on the box does it say on average. There is a disclaimer on the back saying that inserts are randomly inserted, but that doesn't override the promise on the front of the box.

Besides the fact I didn't any autos in my box I will say that I do love the design. The cards look good. I wish the set was larger and that the Diamond Kings and Rated Rookies weren't so hard to pull to build the set. I think I got 4 each in my box.  I haven't collated the set yet, but I'm pretty sure I got a full set from card 46 to 200.  I've also already sent in my wrappers for my bonus cards too.  I didn't pull any Team MVP or No No's cards, I think they are as tough as those Hall Worthy cards.  The Elites and Domintor cards look great
and so do most of the other inserts. And there's even some foil board for those who crave that.  Overall not a bad first try for Panini. I think with a little tweaking this could become Panini's flagship baseball set and maybe even compete with Topps.

I think most of my hits are going up on ebay to help pay for the box, but I should have some extra base if anyone needs some help with the set and I'll have a needs list up soon.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Topps Five Star Club?

Remember back in late 2012 when Topps announced it would be offering membership into it's new exclusive Five Star Club?  It got the ire up of a lot of lay collectors like myself. So much so I made parody membership cards for the One Star Club.  

The old link to the application doesn't work anymore.  There was a thread on forums and the only useful  bit I gleamed from it is that prolific box breakers BrentandBecca didn't get in.  

Of course here it is well over a year later and all we get is crickets. I haven't seen any exclusive cards come out and I haven't heard anything about the club since.  

So what ever happened to Topps Five Star Club?  Did it ever happen? Is it so exclusive that you're not allowed to let people know you're a part of it?

I have a feeling it's like most extracurricular things Topps does, gone and forgotten.  eTopps? The Topps Blog? Topps Town? An useful information on the Topps website?  Couple with that that Topps uses social media like my grandparents. 

Anyone know what ever happened to the Five Star Club?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Thank you, Mr. Ramis, Thank you

In a very disturbing trend I'm finding myself posting my third obituary on the blog this year.  It's with a heavy heart that I woke up this morning and found out that one of my favorite comedy writer, director, and actors of all time has passed away this morning.  Egon Spengler himself Harold Ramis.

I am a huge fan of Animal House, Caddyshack, Stripes and Ghostbusters. All movies that helped define my youth and my twisted sense of humor.  I was really looking forward to Ghostbusters III and hopes that the franchise could be revived and updated for the modern times, not that the original doesn't still stand on it's own.  I guess we'll have to wait and see.

I never got an autograph from Mr. Ramis, though I wished I had. Had I known that Ramis was in ailing health I probably would have at least made an attempt, at least a nice fan letter, but I thought I had time, he was only 69.  Gone way too soon.

Rest in Piece Mr. Harold Ramis.