Archive for 2010 Topps

Topps cartoons are ridiculously funny

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , on March 17, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

I was going through a stack of 2010 Topps inserts the other day and came across this Target-exclusive Cal Ripken Red Back 1951 remake card. Check out the illustration on the top right. Looks like the guy is getting hit in the head. The illustration makes me laugh, but I’m sure Tony Conigliaro and Paul Shaal wouldn’t find this funny at all.

HTA-Exclusive 2010 Topps Logoman Opening Day promotion cards are NOT patches

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , on March 4, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

A few weeks ago, Topps released information about a promotion in which collectors could go to their local Home Team Advantage store on Opening Day — April 5 — and receive a free special Logoman card with their purchase of a 2010 Topps product. Well, it turns out that the Logoman cards being given away are not manufactured patch cards like the ones inserted into packs. They are cards with a picture of the MLB Logo patch.

I went to my local card shop on Wednesday and this came up as I was leaving. The dealer told me that he believed it was just a card and not a patch. So I sent a message to Topps via Twitter last night and this morning received confirmation that the cards are just cards, nothing more. (Note: It appears Topps has always said this, I failed to the initial release carefully.)

Still a cool promotion I think, but worth noting that there will be no actual Logoman patches given away on Opening Day, at least not through Topps’ HTA program. To get your special Logoman patch like the Babe Ruth shown above you’re going to have to find it the hard way — by opening packs or on eBay.

Buyer Beware: 2010 Topps Target Blasters w/ and w/o retro packs

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , on February 11, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

Just a quick word of warning to anyone who is contemplating buying some 2010 Topps retail blaster packs from Target. There are two DIFFERENT types of blasters on the shelves now, ones that have two RETRO packs and ones that contain only basic 2010 Topps cards. The packaging looks nearly identical, but you must read the package before buying, Topps makes it pretty clear what is inside. All of the blasters have the commemorative manufactured patches, but not all have the retro cards that many collectors are clamoring over. On that note, it would not surprise me if the same thing is happening at Wal-Mart, where consumers expect to receive two packs of special Black Backround cards. Buyer Beware.

12 hobby packs of 2010 Topps Baseball courtesy of Free Stuff Friday

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , , on February 10, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

Say what you will, but I do indeed partake in Beckett’s Free Stuff Friday contests. Nearly every Friday I look at the Beckett Blog to see what goodies they are giving away. Sometimes it’s stuff that does not intrigue me, but almost anything baseball-related always gets my attention.

About  two weeks ago Chris Olds and company were giving away a hobby box of 2010 Topps baseball (three lots of 12 packs each) and I happened to be a winner. Here is the results of the 12-pack break, along with a little review I’ve been meaning to share.

The 12 packs yielded 36 insert cards if you include the one-per-pack Topps Town promotions. This ratio of three inserts per pack is about par for the course from what I can tell. The one issue with Topps that has drawn the ire of many a collector is the abundance of inserts. Some like ’em, other say they are take the space of another base card that collectors need. For the most part I am indifferent. Seriously, are we bitching about having one less base card when Topps is giving us value by adding an insert? Think on that for a minute.

I digress. The results of my 12 packs yielded five “Legendary Lineage” cards, four “Cards Your Mother Threw Out,” three “Tales of the Game,” six “Peak Performance” and one each o the “History of the Game” and “When They Were Young” insert. I also received the standard number of Topps Town cards and received four of the “Million Card Giveway” promotion code cards.

The base cards are what they are — base cards. They feature mostly attractive images set inside a pretty neat looking border. I dig ’em, but I’m not going to spend a lot of time discussing their nuances. Let’s get back to the inserts.

So yeah, this product is laden with inserts. As noted early, I’m indifferent on the actual number received. I suppose it would be nice to open a hobby box and be able to complete a set, but with the amount of inserts that seems impossible. It’s not the end of the world. Get over it. I am sure someone has an extra Brandon Inge or Pat Neshek base card that your box missed. It’s not a big deal.

As for the substance and design of the inserts, my opinions vary.

I very much dislike the “Peak Performance” cards. The design is bland and the subject matter is so played out. Seriously, do I need yet another card of Reggie Jackson reminding me of the three home runs he hit in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series?

The “When They Were Young” cards also leave me with a not-so-interested feel. It’s a great concept to show major leaguers when they were children, but the checklist probably needs to be refined. Thus far in all the packs I have opened I have received Charlie Morton, Scott Olsen and Yadier Molina. Really? No disrespect to these players, but most collectors don’t give a flying bleep about these guys. Give me cards featuring Albert Pujols and Ken Griffey Jr. when they were young, people whom youngsters idolize, then maybe I’ll care.

I like the concept of the “History of the Game” inserts, but the photos are kind of boring. The card I received in my “Free Stuff Friday” packs commemorates the first Hall of Fame class induction, which is great. Want to know what’s on the card? Have a look for yourself … bleh. Give me Ruth and Wagner up close, not from afar.

The “Tales of the Game” cards are intriguing to me. I love that it really mixes legendary acts from the entire history of the game, not just one era. The cards are pretty good-looking to boot.

And the ‘Legendary Lineage” cards are just sharp in my opinion. I love when companies do a good job of pairing two players together on a same card and then mix in a beautiful design.

But perhaps one of the most talked about insert sets in 2010 Topps is the “Cards Your Mother Threw Out.” This vast set is reprints highlights cards that supposedly were thrown out by collectors mothers. In theory I like it. I mean some can really relate to their mothers tossing their vintage cards of Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson and Warren Spahn. What I can’t get with is the notion that Topps wants us to buy into the modern cards being tossed by collector’s mothers.

Has it happened? Probably to a few 5-year-old kids, but even if so, none of the modern cards Topps features is really worth reprinting to give them their youth back. Want to find a reason to make yet another 1952 Topps Mantle reprint? Fine, I’ll buy into the concept yet again. But Topps loses me with reprints of Cal Ripken Jr.’s 1995 card, Tony Gwynn’s 1994, Ivan Rodriguez’s 1999, and as seen here, Randy Johnson’s 2000. And I know there is a reprint of the 2007 Topps Dustin Pedroia out there. WTF?

Having said that, I am intrigued by the 2006 Topps Alex Gordon reprint, which I pulled from my packs. But even then my interest in the card is merely based on the story of the original card, which Topps had to destroy and remove from production due to breaking the Rookie Card rules. With the card’s relative scarcity, it’s almost IMPOSSIBLE that someone’s mother threw this card out. Which begs the question: Why is it in this insert set?

All in all, it’s hard to hate entirely on 2010 Topps baseball. It is what it is, a basic card set for the average collector. The bells and whistles in this product do not really come in the form of relics and autographs, but more so in easily obtainable inserts that still bring a smile to some people’s face.

Does the product pack value? It depends on what you consider to be valuable. The experience of opening 36 packs for about $65-$75 a box is always fun, even more so if you’re a fan of the game and just appreciate pictures of players emblazoned on cardboard.

40 Days and 40 Nights … almost (2010 Topps baseball)

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , on February 5, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

I lasted 39 days. I’d be remiss if I had lied and said I actually made it to 40, which I somewhat alluded to in a post I wrote about a week and a half ago explaining my whereabouts. Moments after I finished that write-up, I got an e-mail from my local card shop — 2010 Topps baseball had arrived.

And so within minutes my baseball card sojourn had ended — I purchased six packs of Topps, enough to satisfy my appetite and get a decent glimpse at what was to come in 2010. My initial packs cost me about $12 — I get a cool little 10 percent discount at my LCS so that always makes me happy — so I was not exactly falling off the wagon. I did leave without buying a hobby box, which has been my customary purchase each of the last few years.

The packs were nothing spectacular. I pulled the relic card from the box — an Aramis Ramirez Peak Performer with a white swatch and blue pin stripe — and a few of the “Cards Your Mother Threw Out” inserts. Perhaps one of the lamest of the bunch was a 1999 Topps Original Back Ivan Rodriguez. Really? THAT is the card Topps wants to give back to you?

I digress. My packs were enough to hold me over. I pulled a few cards of some good players like Tim Lincecum and Pablo Sandoval, found a good-looking Ty Cobb insert, and one or two Red Sox base cards. I had accomplished what I wanted, that was good enough … well until I spotted a blaster two days later.

In addition to buying one hobby box of Topps, I usually tend to buy a few blasters so I can work on my set. This year I vowed to be different; I wanted to stay away from the hobby box and the blasters. I succeeded in one of two facets.

Over the course of two days I managed to buy two Topps blasters from different Target stores. Each blaster contained two retro packs, eight basic packs and then one of those ManuPatch cards. The first box had a Grady Sizemore patch, the second a Hank Greenberg. The packs themselves were pretty uneventful. Nothing rare, just your basic stack of inserts. And then I learned why there was nothing extraordinary — TARGET BLASTERS HAVE ZERO RELICS OR AUTOS. Doh! Being about $55 into the product I decided to stop.

Truth be told, the reason I bought the blasters is because I knew that if I acted fast and posted the patch cards on eBay, I’d be able to make my money back. It’s a pretty well-known fact that if you post Topps inserts within a few days of their release, they sell for much more than usual. After that, the market becomes over saturated and you’d be lucky to get a nickel piece of Bazooka Gum in return.

Well, Mr. Sizemore sold for $25 (BIN) and Greenberg for $8 (Best Offer — still awaiting payment, Grr.), and I hawked nearly all of the inserts for another $30 in ONE-DAY AUCTIONS (THIS IS KEY!), so I actually came out ahead financially. In the end I wound up with cards I really wanted, a few left over inserts, and about 1/3 of the base set. I’ve also got four packs worth of Target-exclusive retro parallels which I am debating to throw on eBay to get even further ahead.

That, my friends, is how you make the hobby work for you and not the other way around. But don’t even think about going out now to buy blasters and sell those patch cards to get your money back. All of those patches are now selling for less than $10, including Sizemore, whose patches have been getting about $7. And the inserts? Forget it.

Having said that, I did win a dozen hobby packs from a Beckett Free Stuff Friday promotion a week ago. I’ll post the results of those when they arrive.

Living a fantasy

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

Tomorrow marks the 40th day since I last opened a pack of baseball cards. It’s pretty big milestone for a guy who at times can be addicted to ripping packs and thumbing through new baseball cards. But I know that tough times are ahead as 2010 Topps baseball has already started to hit the market.

But what has made this 40-day journey easy on me is a bit of fantasy and reality. You see, about two weeks ago I bought my first 2010 fantasy baseball magazine, and just yesterday I purchased a second one just to give me a few different views on things. I’m currently involved in a pair of long-term keeper leagues with some friends, and over the last week I’ve managed to make some trades that have netted me Prince Fielder, Felix Hernandez and Jon Lester. Needless to say I am super excited about the 2010 season, even though my early start is going to make the next three months agonizing.

In terms of reality, my wife and I have booked a trip to the east coast in May which will lead us to two major destinations: New York and Boston.

The trip is to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary as well as our 30th birthdays, all of which fall within a month of each other. This will be my first time to both cities. During our seven-day trip, we’re also making two stops that any baseball fan must make: Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park.

As a Red Sox fan, this is a dream come true. As it turns out we will watch the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on May 17, and then two days later we’ll have the fortune of watching the Sox at home against the Minnesota Twins. For those counting, that is two games in three days at two of the most storied ball parks — well sort of. I kind of wish the Sox-Yankee game was at the old/original Yankee Stadium, but beggars can’t be choosers. I’m just happy to have the experience and to share it with my wife, who has been nothing but supportive in my desire to visit these parks, particularly Fenway.

These two items — fantasy baseball and our east cost trip — have left little time for me deal with baseball cards. I’ve not made any additions to my collection over the last month with the exception of my 1954 Topps Ted Williams. I’m actually trying to decrease the amount of stuff I have in the garage and reclaiming whatever money I can. (See eBay items here)

But as I noted earlier, tough times are ahead. Over the weekend I checked eBay to view some of the 2010 Topps cards and some of them are appealing to me, particularly the Red Sox stuff. So what am I to do?

If history has taught me anything it’s that the new base Topps set of every year sends collectors into a feeding frenzy for about three weeks for two major reasons. First off, it’s NEW baseball cards, not stuff we’ve been looking at for months or years. And secondly, we’re all feeling baseball withdrawal right now so in some way the release of the new Topps set is our way of welcoming in the new season, even if the players don’t start to report to spring training for another three weeks.

As these packs start to trickle into retail stores — where I do most of my shopping — I just need to remember that this urge to buy every pack on the shelf is temporary. It won’t hurt to buy a couple packs to celebrate the 2010 season, but there is no need to buy more than just a few. I think I am done with the idea of trying to build sets, and the abundance of 2007 Topps inserts sitting in my garage serve as a reminder as to what can happen when you buy way too much of a product that offers very little in return.