Monday, February 25, 2013

What you don't race outhouses??!!??

Sorry I've been slacking here at the Crack.  I've been really busy the past two weeks.  It's Fur Rondy time up here in Anchorage.  Fur Rendezvous is the annual winter carnival and now buts up to the start of the Iditarod sled dog race which will start this coming Saturday.

That being said this was my second year helping out with our Outhouse race team.  To be honest our usual team leader was out working and I had to take over.  I had some great friends to help out.  But it's been 2 weeks of going over to a friends garage to do the build a couple hours a night after work.

This was only my second year with the team, but the team has been racing for the last 7.  And every year we build a new outhouse.  The old outhouse gets burned at the annual Slo-Mo Cornhole Party at a buddies house.  Anyways we try to do some current political or other news worthy theme. This year we picked the Kulluk oil rig near disaster.

Here's the mostly finished product.
I found a cheap helicopter at Value Village it really tied the outhouse together.

I also didn't get to take many pictures as I was racing most of the time.  Which is too bad. But I did get a few.  There were lots of great outhouses this year and we did really well. Dr. Who even showed up.
They won best theme.

  There are two classes in the race, traditional and unlimited.  We accidentally got lumped into the unlimited and I think if we'd have been in the traditional we'd have taken the class and maybe the grand championship.  Some of our races that we lost at the end were insanely close.

We ended up taking second in our class and winning for best architecture. We took the skirt off the back to race.  We had talked about taking the whole decking off, but to be honest it makes the outhouse.  I designed and built her to be super light and maneuverable.  She didn't disappoint.

Thanks to Team Love on the Rocks.  I'm in there if you can figure out which one is me.  I don't normally post photos of myself so good luck.

We now return to your regular posts.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

2013 Turkey Red - going, going, gone live!

As I write this there's not a ton of stuff up on ebay yet, but I have seen a few posts on box break forums that people are getting their Turkey Red orders in.  Here are a few scans of what the cards look like and a few autos already up for sale.  I assume that in the next 48 hours ebay will be packed with this stuff.
Here's Yu.
And Bryce.

One of the autos I'll be chasing. Sadly I have a nicer TTM auto of this guy.

Here's what a back will look like, I'm assuming the auto and regular backs are similar with the autos haveing the Topps Disclaimer.  Looks like all autos are sticker autos as well.  Some of the subjects like Jose here are very low numbered.
There are also dark bordered parallel autos all numbered to just 10!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Topps Spring Fever Hobby Store Redemption Cards

Just a reminder that today is the first day to officially redeem your Spring  Fever Redemption cards if you got any and live near a hobby shop.  Although it appears that full sets are already on ebay and have been for awhile.

 I know that last year I was in a hurry to make sure I got all my NFL Kickoff packs. I was worried about the stores running out, but it seems that they had plenty.
Here's what the cards look like..since there are already up on the ebay.

They're foil shiny!
Here's what an auto will look like if your lucky enough to get one.

Here is a link to the list of stores participating.  I'm glad to see both of my favorite LCS's in town are in it.

I'll let you know what I get out of my two packs.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

TTMing: a short and one sided primer

So here we are with start of Spring Training and a great time to get that players autographs you wanted.  Spring training is also a great time to get those prospects and rookies you're after.  Players have more time during spring training and usually are a lot more amicable to signing, even bigger name players.

I'll admit, I'm a novice when it comes to TTM or Through the Mail autograph requesting.  I only started a few years ago, but I've had a few people ask me over the course of me posting about my successes and even a few failures how to do it.  I mean what's more appealing that getting an autograph from an athlete or celebrity you like for a few stamps? And to be honest it's pretty easy.

Let's first explain a few of the acronyms and terms you'll see when you get into this.

TTM - Through the Mail
LOR - Letter of Request
SASE - Self Addressed Stamped Envelope.
Pre-Print - A preprinted autograph usually on an 8x10 photos that stars use as a general send out.
Pre-Signed - An authentic auto usually on an 8x10 that a star signs a lot of and that someone else personalizes later.
Auto-pen - A machine produced facsimile autograph.  Presidents use these!

When I started to send out TTM's I focused on celebrities. I actually took the time to make my own autograph cards and sent them out. And to my surprise I was incredibly successful.  I had thought about doing the same when it came to sports stars, but to be honest sending them one of their own cards is way more convenient and you don't infringe upon their trademark.  I'm going to focus on sports stars here, as that is what I really enjoy and do more than anything now.

There are lots of great websites out there to get addresses from and to see others successes and failures.
The one I use the most is the SportsCardForum's TTM manager. It's free, which is always a plus, and a great website to boot about all things sports card related.  The other site I've used to get address from is   This one is oriented more for celebrities, but they have sports stars as well.  The are are other sites as well free and pay to choose from  just do a google search

So first you thing you have to do is decided who you'd like to send a request to.  And then hopefully be able to find an address that's had some recent success to send the request to. Spring training is great for this because all you need is the team's stadium address easily found on the internet.

Next is picking out what to send.  I'm working on a Brewers TTM project trying to get as many former, current, and future Brewers as I can for as many different years and brands as possible.  So my over all focus is on them, but I do occasionally send to other players I enjoy.  I have a large collection of extra Brewers cards I've been hording since I started collecting back in the mid-80's and that I've gotten putting team sets together.  As a rule I never send more than 3 cards out to be autographed and with the more famous and popular players I usually will only send one or maybe two.  You don't want to appear greedy or look like someone who just wants to turn around and sell their autos on ebay.  I pick cards that I won't miss if they never make it back to me.  That's always a risk in TTMing.  You might not ever get a response.  So pick cards you think would look nice autographed, Allen and Ginter look great and so do 1994 Upper Deck cards, but don't break the bank.

If you're looking for single cards to send out and you don't have a stack of extras laying around check out sites like and for cheap singles.

So now that you have the player you want to send to, the card(s) you want to try and get signed, and the address to send to here's what you need to do.

First you'll need two envelopes.  I use a #10 envelope to send and include a #6 SASE for my return. I like using the smaller envelope because then you don't have to fold it to fit inside the sender. Tom Owens who writes the blog Baseball by the Letters and posts a lot about successful TTMing had a nice post about using old Valentines Day envelopes and other colored envelopes to stand out.  Not a bad idea either.

Next you'll need a nice LOR, Letter of Request.  I usually hand write all my LOR's. Some people opt for type written, which is fine too, but I always feel that the handwritten letter lends a little more sincerity to the request.  I write things about myself and what I liked about the player and what they've done, that I'm glad they're with or were with my team and any other cool memories I have.  I tend to keep is short. One page or less and I like to use wide ruled paper, but that's just me.

Stamps!  I tend to buy a few booklets of forever stamps.  Well because they last forever! But to be honest you'll start going through them like water once you get into TTMing.

Now all you have to do is put your letter, cards and SASE in the #10 envelope, seal it, send it off and wait.  I've had returns as fast as 5 days and some as slow as 11 months and sometimes sadly they never come back at all.

I think you'll be pleasantly surprised how successful you are.  And nothing beats seeing one of you return envelopes in the mailbox.

Friday, February 15, 2013

HELP again!

Well you guys are awesome.  I just want to tell everybody that contacted me that all the trade packages went out yesterday or are going out this afternoon.  With the exception of the Baseball Card Snob who I need to look through your want list  this weekend.  That being said I'll probably update the trade post with my 2013 inserts and parallels available.  Sorry to say that all the Dodgers, Giants, Rangers, Mets, and Braves are gone and possibly Yankees after I get done trading with the BBCS.  And it was a little overwhelming with other stuff going on, but I think I took care of everybody.

Now onto the help part.  Last month I asked for help completing my 2012 Allen and Ginter set.  Marcus over at All the Way to the Backstop stepped up and not only sent me the card, but a crap load of other goodies.  Marcus your thank you package is on the way.

As you know I'm working on putting together Brewers team sets.  Right now I'm focusing on Topps and I am insanely close to being completely done with this task.  I have completed all the base sets, but I still have a few cards I need from the Traded and Update sets.  All from the 2000's.  I have been picking up lots of cards off of SportsLots and Justcommons, but there are a few cards on my list that aren't on either site.  As a matter of fact I haven't been able to find them anywhere.

So here's my list of cards left to finish off my Brewers Topps Team Sets.  You can also find my very long want list here and on the sidebar.

2001 Topps Traded
T212 Jason Belcher RC - This is one of those cards I can't find anywhere.

2002 Topps Traded  - a few of these are hard to find as well, at least for me.
T23 Nelson Figueroa
T47 Glendon Rusch
T63 Eric Young
T71 Paul Bako

2003 Topps Traded

T78 Wes Helms
T86 Eddie Perez
T90 John Vander Wal
T264 Mike Adams FY RC

2005 Topps Update and Highlights
303 Manny Parra FY RC

2007 Topps Update and Highlights
150 Ryan Braun RC

I know Topps Traded and Update is not one of the most collected sets in recent history, but I figure I'd see if anyone out in the blogosphere can help out.  

Let me know I'm sure we can work a trade out.

cb out

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Spring Training - Joy!!!

Well it's official. Spring training has begun.  Sure it's just the first day and like the first day of school not much gets done.  First official work out won't be till tomorrow, but still....  I love this time of year.  I have to say being able to go down and enjoy a couple ST games last spring was a blast and something I would do again in a heart beat.  This year I'll have to satisfy my joy with TTM's and watching games on the internet, but still I'm excited.  I'll probably be excited for the first month and then as my team slowly sinks into the cellar of the standings become less excited, but with a new season comes new hope and new players and old players.  I'll have a TTM post here in a couple of days I'm waiting for some cards to arrive to send down and I need to go buy some stamps.

In baseball card news....Upper Deck yesterday was posting on Facebook and twitter all sorts of intriguing questions about what if they got a baseball card license what would you like to see UD make.  And I saw not too long ago that they tweeted to Cardboard Connection that they would be putting out baseball cards this year.  Of course UD had "baseball cards" last year too that weren't all that impressive. And the cards they put out this year won't be MLB licensed, but could Upper Deck make a move for next year? Do they have the money?  Would MLB even deal with Upper Deck?  Did Upper Deck just come into some money say from a life insurance policy on McWilliams?  Who knows.  But I'm glad to see that UD and Panini both are sniffing around the edges.  It might just mean we see a little more variety next year.

So everybody enjoy your Tuesday, I've got an outhouse to build.

cb out

Friday, February 8, 2013

2013 Topps Allen and Ginter - The annual pre-release look

I noticed that the 2013 Topps Allen and Ginter sell sheets were out a while back.  And I've actually been meaning to do a post about this years offering like I normally do, just kinda forgot.

Allen and Ginter has become one of my  favorite Baseball releases of the year.  Oh sure I get excited about Series 1, mainly because it's the first baseball set of the year, but A and G has me hooked.

Here we have the base design. Not to terribly different from last year.  A classy art deco border and a nice photo of the player.  I will say that once again these cards will look great signed.  So you TTMer's take notice.

Of course there will be mini's, lots of minis.  Regular back, A and G backs, black borders, no number backs, hand numbered to 25 baseball backs and the holy grail of A and G mini's the 1/1 woods. There will also be framed cloth mini's as well.

Will there be box loaders?  Of course.  This year you have a shot at some great Pele autographs too.

This year there will book cabinet cards, as well as some of the cool super relics like last year and cut signatures.  One of the base cabinet cards will be Wonders of the world and I'm sure some baseball highlights like usual.

Will there be inserts?  Really? You had to ask.  Ginter is one of my favorite releases because of all the cool and oddball inserts, full size and mini.

This years mini insert topics include, the First Americans, Inquiring Minds, Heavy Hangs the Head, Codes Ciphers and Cyptographs, Peacemakers and Famous minds.  I'm sure there will be a few surprise SP and SSP mini inserts as well.

This years full size inserts include the big 100 card baseball themed Across the Years, connecting baseball stars and someone else who share their birthdays.  One little corner which are space related, Palaces and Strongholds, self-explanatory, Martial Mastery, and Civilizations of Ages Past.

While there aren't too many mini sets I'm that interested in I really like the a few of the full size sets.

But what about the really goodies, what about the hits???
 You get 3 per box.  Any combination of relics, autos, rips, ect.  Those all relic boxes do suck though.

This year on top of regular rip cards there will be double rip cards.  Double the pleasure.  Last year was the first year I didn't pull a rip card. I have yet to actually rip open one, as I decided to sell them to recoup box prices, seeing as how they go for such silly high prices.

Rip cards are one per hobby case on average.

There will be three, yes three relic card designs. I don't know why.
And taking a note from Gypsy Queen this year there will be full size relic cards to join the mini framed relic cards.

Plus there will be Guitar Pick relics, Oddity Relics, and DNA Hair relics, creepy.

And of course there will be the mini framed autos as well.

This guy amongst others.

You might also get something like this...
But don't count on it.

There will also be framed original Allen and Ginter cards inserts.

And these one of a kind mini's that Topps says will truely be one of a kind, with no other parallels.

And lastly if your lucky, really lucky, you might walk away with a redemption for one of these.

Clearly a rip-off, or homage, to Upper Decks Entomology inserts this thing should be large and thick and very cool.  It's not like Upper Deck never ripped Topps off.

As always there are sure to be unannounced surprises mixed in with the set and now we only have about 5 more month till it hits the streets.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Going to the Polls - A Look Back at Topps Exclusive License Part 5

This will probably be the last part to my series, unless I get a response from the Commissioner Selig or Tim Brosnon.  But when I started my look back/bitch about the last 3 years in the kingdom of Topps I added a side bar poll.  Two actually.  I wanted to know what you thought.  Because ultimately that's what its all about what we want.  I opened the polls for 2 weeks and probably should have pointed them out more as only 37 votes came in, but that's still not bad.

The first question I asked was did you want to see Topps get another multi-year exclusive deal. Here's the results.


Overwhelmingly you guys said no.  Who you like to see get a license is a  whole other matter, but it also interested me to see that about a quarter of you that voted said you would like to see Topps reign as MLB's exclusive baseball card maker.  I wonder if Topps was having employees stuff the ballot box?   Also interesting was that out of the 72% that said no 43% of you really don't want Topps to be exclusive again.

I also asked if you thought that Topps' exclusive license hurt the hobby and industry.  I also added if you liked pie and according to the results alot of you do.


I'll assume that the 21% that said it helped it also voted yes for another exclusive deal.  There were even a few you were honest and Didn't know or care.  But the majority of people who voted and didn't take the funny choice, I'm not blaming you I'd have picked I like pie too, said that it Hurt the industry.  

I'm pretty sure you can guess which way I would have voted, but in case you don't I'll tell you.  I too don't want to see Topps reign alone anymore.  So that begs the question who would I want to see get a license?  Well who I would want to see and who's most likely to get one are different answers.  I think if any company is going to get a license it'll be Panini.  I'm not a huge fan of Panini, but I'm not a hater.  And to be honest I would love to see a nice Donruss set again.  I kinda miss Diamond Kings.  And we can most probably rule out Upper Deck.  Besides suing itself out of existence Upper Deck had that whole license infringement back in 2010 and couldn't come up with the money to pay the NFL for a license so I think it's safe to say we won't be seeing any Upper Deck baseball anytime soon.  So who does that leave?  ITG, Leaf, or some new upstart?  Maybe. 

Did the Topps Exclusive License help or hurt the industry.  Well that's a tough one and it all depends on how you look at it.  We are now down to 3 big companies.   I'm still counting Upper Deck in the mix for now.  And if Upper Deck had got a MLB license back in 2009 would it be in the trouble it's in now?  Who knows.  But the one thing we can say is the card market got smaller as a whole.  I'm sure Topps pocketbook fared very well, I think that was kinda the point.  But the industry includes the hobby shops and consumer and while I haven't talked to a ton of people, the over all sense I get is that collectors are buying less and that hobby shops have less to sell with fewer products.  And after an initial release if a product is hot a lot of times the price skyrockets.  2010 Heritage and Gypsy Queen anyone?  That's bad for both consumers and hobby shops.  One it cost us more money to go after cards and so we buy less.  It cost the hobby shops more to keep product in stock if they have to go out on the secondary market and pick more up to keep their shelves stocked and then we buy less so they make less.  I  had a post a few years ago about how bare the cupboard looked at the hobby shop.  It was so true.  And I'm not looking for the days when there was one to two new products a week coming out and filling the shelves, but I know there has to be and can be a happy medium.

cb out.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

TTM Success - Cecil Cooper

I'm gearing up for my big Spring Training TTM send off.  That doesn't mean that I'm only sending to guys in Spring Training either.  I've got a few past Brewers I want to send off to as well.  That being said, it's been a while since I sent any TTM's out so I've pretty much written off anything I'd already sent out.  And then low and behold I get one of my return envelopes in the mail the other day.  From Phoenix no less.  Who could be sending me a card back from Phoenix? 

Why it's former Brewer great and the old head coach of the Astros, Cecil Cooper!! Wow I had sent this off almost a year ago, back to Cecil's home address in Texas.  Cecil is a Texas native if you didn't know.  I haven't heard what he's been up to since getting axed by the Astros and I could have sworn I'd seen his house for sale when I did a google search, I know creepy.  I also couldn't find any current info if Cecil was working with a new team, which is what I would suspect if he's sending me my cards from Phoenix and Spring Training is about a week away from starting up.  If anyone knows, let me know.

Anyways I'm really happy to get Coop back! Plus that 1982 is the first 82 I've gotten signed so it also helps fill a hole in my Brewers TTM project and the 1980 is a nice back up.

Date sent 3/26/12
Date Received 2/2/13

Address used (I'm not sure if this is good anymore)
Cecil Cooper
24802 Boulder Lakes Ct.
Katy, TX 77494-3900

Thanks Cecil!!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

2013 Trade Bait-a-poloooosa Come and get it

While I threw my hits up on eBay as soon as I could.  Gotta try and make some money back.  I have lots of parallels to trade.  Emeralds, Golds, Reds and Blues and a bunch of inserts I won't be collecting.  I also have a nice stack of extras if anyone needs a few cards to fill up a set.  I was lucky enough to get a full set from Jumbo, blaster and rack pack.  I also ended up picking up a Target blaster just to see what red parallels I could get.

What do I want you ask?  Well I'll take any Brewers parallels you got, any 72 mini's off my need list and the Calling Card and The Greats inserts you want to get rid of.  There all right here. I also would take any help from any of my other set needs or Brewers or Packers team sets.

Here's what I have....

That Green A-Rod has a bent corner.
and that red Haren has a crimped upper right edge/corner too.

I know I've already got a couple people interested in trading and have started piles for them.  So drop me a line on here or email me through my profile.

cb out.