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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Pack Busting: The Saga Continues

Another episode of Pack Busting. I'm getting closer to clearing out the closet. I have found more space than I knew I had. That's more place to put more cards I guess...twist my arm. Here is another sad batch of random packs.

Pack #1: 2007-08 Ultra Hockey

#9 Brendan Morrison
#157 Martin Havlat
#32 Matt Carle - Gold Medallion
#110 Dustin Brown
#96 Michael Ryder

Blah. Just, blah. I am definitely going to put this set together now that I have so many of them.

Pack #2: 2006-07 Flair Showcase Hockey

#2 Teemu Selanne
#8 Kari Lehtonen
#77 Shane Doan
#98 Eric Fehr
#42 Tomas Holmstrom

I bought a retail box of these 6 months, a year, 2 years, I don't remember. I just know I did. The box yeilded almost the entire base set minus, if I remember, 3 cards. These weren't the three cards. I do like the heavy stock they are printed on and the "shiny" factor is in full effect.

Pack #3: 2008 Score Football

#314 Vince Young
#304 Earnest Graham
#253 Heath Miller
#302 Jeff Garcia
Tony Romo - Donruss Decals
#373 Limas Sweed (R)
#119 Andre Johnson - Glossy Parallel

I think this is my 4th or 5th Sweed rookie. At the beginning of the season I was excited about them and all of Limas' potential as the #3 or #4 receiver. Yeah, that's panned out...Sweed was benched for most of the season. I think he probably saw action in 2-3 games. He has now voluntarily moved himself to the IR. What is that all about? Oooohh. I got a Romo sticker I can put on my Trapper Keeper, too.

Pack #4: 2008 Donruss Classics Football

#52 Ronnie Brown
#76 Kevin Curtis
#72 Jerry Porter
#29 Marion Barber III
#86 Matt Hasselbeck

I like these card designs. Unfortunately, there was nothing in here of any substance. I have binder pages for the Brown and Barber. The rest go into the box of oblivion.

Pack #5: 1997-98 Collector's Choice Hockey

#237 Dino Ciccarelli
#183 Janne Niinimaa
#89 Curtis Joseph
#68 Joe Nieuwendyk
#239 Igor Ulanov

Was there ever a time when Collector's Choice was cool? I actually liked the following year (98-99) when they tried to hide the fact that it was a CC product and called it UD Choice. At least then I didn't feel so cheap for buying it. Either way, it is what it is. Nothing to see here.

Stuff from the Bay

I think I wrote about this before but when it comes to eBay, I am mostly a lurker. I have been on there since February 2000 and only have a "51" user rating. It's not that I don't bid, because I do. I bid A LOT!!! I just never win. But that's another post entirely.

This one is about something I did win. In my quest to build my "one card of every Pittsburgh Steeler" collection, I stumbled across a couple golden oldies that I set my bidding sites on. Low and behold...I won!! These are definitely some beaut's, in my opinion. (especially since they set me back about @$2 each including shipping) Check em out.

1957 Topps Elbie Nickel
Elbie played 11 years for the Steelers coming out of Cincinnatti and is considered one of the best Tight Ends in team history. One of his plays against the Eagles at Forbes Field is considered by many to be the second greatest play in Steeler's history (aside from the Immaculate Reception). The picture of it had hung in the Steeler offices in Three Rivers Stadium and is now in their UPMC facility on the South Side. He was voted to the 75th Anniversary Steelers All-Time Team. This was his last regular issue card.
1957 Topps Lou Baldacci (R)
Lou was drafted by the Steelers out of Michigan in the 10th round in 1956. Lou only played one year for Pittsburgh and I think that was it for his NFL career. He was used as a punter, with his longest being a 64 yarder. He also had 140 yards rushing and 62 yards receiving that year. Ok so he isn't an impact player but the card is still freakin' cool. It's his rookie card, and for that matter, his only card (at least that I know of).

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

More Fun With Pack Busting

In my continuing effort to rid the world, ie. my bedroom closet, of unopened packs of cards, I present to you another episode of Pack Busting for Dummies. This is a mixed bunch that includes hockey and football because, yes...I am that crazy.

Pack #1: 2007-08 Ultra Hockey

#191 Slava Kozlov
#65 Henrik Lundqvist
#177 Jason Pominville - Gold Medallion
#46 Curtis Joseph
#44 Georges Laraque

Another Ultra hockey pack. I don't know why I have so many of these. I can't remember if there was a retail box or blaster that I opened and left the packs in a box or what. The GM was Jason Pominville; the SOB who scored the game winner over the Pens last night. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Pack #2: 2005-06 Upper Deck Rookie Update Hockey

#92 Ed Belfour
#6 Kari Lehtonen
#57 Patrik Elias
#14 Miika Kiprusoff
#62 Rick DiPietro

The Goalie Pack. Except for Elias, who I am sure somehow got into this pack by mistake.

Pack #3: 2008 Donruss Classics Football

#40 Andre Johnson
#97 Roydell Williams
#61 Laurence Maroney
#19 Carson Palmer
#42 Peyton Manning

The first football pack in the mix. Not a very good one if you are an insert/"HIT" collector. I don't have any of these in my player albums so these will at least be a welcome addition. Other than the Roydell, the rest will go into the album.

Pack #4: 2008 Score Football

#285 Deion Branch
#239 Donovan McNabb
Carolina Panthers - Donruss Decals Tattoos
#293 Torry Holt
#246 Lito Sheppard
#381 Anthony Alridge
#87 Heary Colbert - Glossy Parallel

Score football is like Collector's Choice in hockey. It exists. You occasionally run into some cards from it. You are usually no better off than you were prior to opening it. I may very well give these to my kids to throw around the house at each other like they do with all their other toys.

Pack #5: 2008-09 O-Pee-Chee Hockey

#452 Alexander Edler
#120 Paul Martin
#136 Chris Kunitz
#307 Patrick O'Sullivan
#437 Ryan Malone
#516 Brian Lee (R)

The Brian Lee Marquee Rookie is alright. I also pulled a Kunitz in a Ducks uniform although he is now a Penguin and a Malone in a Penguin uniform although he is now a member of the Lightning. I also needed two of these for my set. At least from a practical standpoint, this was the best pack of the bunch.

Stay tuned for more pack madness.

Box Break - - 2008 Topps Rookie Progression Blaster

Wally World special at the checkout counter. It called my name. Repeatedly. I swear it did! Whether you believe me or not, it doesn't matter. The deed is done and I am out $8 because of it.

2008 Topps Rookie Progression Blaster

5 Cards/Pack
8 Packs/Box
Guarantees: None

25 Base Cards

13 Rookie Cards: Eddie Royal, Harry Douglas, Marcus Griffin, Peyton Hillis, Keenan Burton, Darren McFadden, Curtis Lofton, Erik Ainge, Keith Rivers, Steve Slaton, Tashard Choice, Kentwan Balmer, and Owen Schmitt

1 Bronze Parallel: Philip Rivers 209/389

1 Progression Rookie: Dominique Rogers-Cromartie

Like I said, it called to me. There really wasn't much in here. 13 rookies isn't bad to pull out of a blaster box but the product has "rookie" in it's name so that had to be expected. Although, I didn't pull anyone really noteworthy. Eddie Royal has been a solid 2nd year guy while Darren McFadden has been a bust. Schmitt got injured, while Slaton has had an off year as well for the Texans.

I busted a retail box of these about a year or so ago so I have about half or more of the set. I am just going to go through here and see if I can complete it. The Rivers bronze parallel is only one of three that I've pulled out of all the cards I opened of this product. Even though they are out of /389, it seems like they are more scarce than some of the others. I still like these card designs though, with the vintage "TV Screen" look and the heavy stock. I think these will look nice in a binder.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sad news in the Rock World

I don't think I have ever posted three times in one day but this deserves to be put out there. This is one of my non-card/sports related ramblings.

Some of you might already have heard but the drummer, Jimmy Sullivan, for the rock band Avenged Sevenfold was found dead in his home. The police have not released any cause of death and speculation has been running rampant about what has caused his untimely passing.

I'm not going to speculate but on the rock stations on Sirius, they are reporting "natural causes". I'm no doctor but how many 28 year olds do you know that die of natural causes?

Personally, Avenged Sevenfold is one of my favorite mondern era rock/metal bands that have come around in a long time. Since I first picked up their album, Sounding The Seventh Trumpet, back in 2002, I was hooked. They were a unique band, mixing rock, hardcore, and metal into a blend that sounded like no other artist. The Rev's drumming was unbelievable on most tracks and I considered him one of the top modern rock drummers of our time. With only 5 studio albums under their belt, it's going to be hard to continue without The Rev.

He will truly be missed. RIP Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan.

The band posted this statement on their website:

JIMMY “THE REV” SULLIVANIt is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we tell you of the passing today of Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan. Jimmy was not only one of the world’s best drummers, but more importantly he was our best friend and brother. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jimmy’s family and we hope that you will respect their privacy during this difficult time.Jimmy you are forever in our hearts.

We love you.

M Shadows, Synyster Gates, Zacky Vengeance and Johnny Christ

Top Stories of 2009

I know this isn't an original post but what is a blog without stealing. I wanted to share this link with everybody out there. It is an article on the Sports Collector's Daily about the top Memorabilia Stories of 2009. It is an interesting synopsis of many of the events that have taken up hours of time on the blogosphere over the past year. Check it out.

Top Sports Memorabilia Stories of 2009

Monday, December 28, 2009

So You're Saying There's A Chance

(Big Ben and his Big Porn Stache)

Sunday proved the cliche "...On Any Given Sunday". The Steelers kept their hopes alive with a 23-20 victory over the hated Ravens. This moved the Steelers into a tie with the Baltimore for the record of 8-7, the tie breaker of which goes to the Ravens unfortunately. But the fact that the Broncos, Jags, and Dolphins all lost, makes it 1:100,000 more times likely we can sneak in the backdoor. Here's how.

1) Pittsburgh win + Houston loss/tie + New York loss/tie

2) Pittsburgh win + Baltimore loss/tie + Denver loss/tie + New York loss/tie

3) Pittsburgh win + Houston loss/tie + Baltimore loss/tie + a bunch of scenarios involving Pittsburgh ties

For #1 - Denver/Baltimore/Pittsburgh are tied @9-7

(5-seed) Baltimore has the divisional tie-break over Pittsburgh; Pitt is eliminated. Baltimore has the HTH tie-break over Denver;

(6-seed) Pittsburgh/Denver are left; Pittsburgh will win HTH against Denver

For #2 - Houston/Pittsburgh are tied @9-7

(5-seed) Houston has the common games tie-break over Pittsburgh;

(6-seed) Pittsburgh

For #3 – New York/Denver/Pittsburgh are tied @9-7

(5-seed) New York & Denver are tied in Conf. Record; Pitt is eliminated; New York will win the Common Games tie-break with Denver;

(6-seed) Pittsburgh/Denver are left; Pittsburgh will win HTH against Denver

Pittsburgh can get the 5-seed with losses by Baltimore, Houston, & New York. It is not included in the scenarios because Scenario #1 includes losses by 2 of the 3. A loss by the third team just improves our seed and is not required.

As you can see, an advanced degree in nuclear and biological quantum mechanics is required to sort this all out. I just hope for a win over Miami and, as much as I still respect him as a player, all the more reason to stuff a sock in J-Peezy.

(Welcome to my newest follower, KW aka Core Contrarian who blogs over at The Core Contrarian's blog site. He is a self-proclaimed "seasoned Midwesterner, a Tigers fan (I won't hold that against him) and enjoys history and symphonic metal, two things I also enjoy. Hopefully I won't dissappoint in my musings.)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

More Random Pack Busting

Here is some more random pack busting from this pile of packs that was recently acquired. This group wasn't as fun as the last one since there were only a total of 25 cards in 5 random packs. But hey, it's pack busting. (as I've explained before...the equivalent of crack)

Pack #1: 2003-04 Pacific Exhibit Hockey

#30 Tyler Arnason
#72 Manny Fernandez
#33 Theo Fleury - Blue Back Parallel 256/275
#156 Joe Thornton - 3.5"x5" Photo Card

This is only the second or third one of these I have had the chance of opening. The giant sized package I think was a turn off to most collectors because who has the supplies or where-with-all to store 3.5x5" cards. It reminds me of the Panini Photocards that came out back in 98-99. While cool in their own right, not very practical. I did get a blue back parallel out of 275. Unfortunately it wasn't a Pen.

Pack #2: 2007-08 O-Pee-Chee Hockey

#161 Todd Fedoruk
#36 Manny Fernandez
#398 Darryl Sydor
#33 Andy Sutton
#173 Henrik Zetterberg
#140 Fredrik Norrena

Nothing. I don't even think I need these for my set completion either.

Pack #3: 2007-08 Ultra Hockey

#149 Milan Hejduk
#12 Andrew Raycroft - Gold Medallion
#202 Andy Greene (R)
#200 Scott Niedermayer
#74 Ryan Smyth

As always, there was one GM in the pack, that being Raycroft. I also pulled a Rookie with Andy Greene. Not the best pull, but not horrible either.

Pack #4: 2007-08 Hot Prospects Hockey

#46 Justin Williams
#15 Chris Mason
#21 Dany Heatley
#97 Tomas Vokoun

Even though I have bought more than my fair share of these, I still don't like them. I think I must have 2-3 complete 100 base card sets. It's like the alcoholic beverage you choose to drink because there is not other option. You can't stand the taste, yet you still come back for more. With only 4 cards per pack, I always somehow feel cheated.

Pack #5: 2007-08 Victory Hockey

#81 Erik Cole
#47 Cristobal Huet
#13 Sergei Gonchar
#2 Zach Parise
#164 Joffrey Lupul
#GB32 Anze Kopitar - Game Breakers

Victory has always been considered one of the bottom feeders when it comes to cards. (The others being Collector's Choice and MVP) I still like these, though. You get a decent looking card design, all the key rookies, and a large smattering of an affordable per pack price of course. I did pull a Pen with the Gonchar and the one Game Breaker is alright, if you are a Kings fan.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Just wanted to wish everyone out there in the blogosphere a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Festivus or whatever you might celebrate this time of year.

I hope everyone gets whatever they want under their tree...or around it in the general area if it doesn't quite fit.

Short and sweet.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Random Pack Busting Madness

As the title says, here is some random pack busting madness. No rhyme or reason. Just enough to satiate my crave for the good stuff.

Pack #1: 2007-08 Ultra Hockey

#41 Colby Armstrong
#59 Wade Redden - Gold Medallion
#SK2 Dany Heatley - Scoring Kings
#170 Kristian Huselius
#10Kevin Bieksa

Not a horrible pack to start things off. Each pack of these has one gold medallion card so that was a given but the Scoring Kings insert was one that I didn't have. I also got a former Pen with the Armstrong. I still wish they never would have traded him.

Pack #2: 2007-08 O-Pee-Chee Hockey

#281 Ryan Suter
#181 Brian Rafalski
#293 Jay Pandolfo
#13 Chris Kunitz
#SH1 Joe Thornton - Season Highlight
#280 Radek Bonk

I started to get a little excited with this one because it was thick. Could there be a Jersey or Auto? Of course not. It was one of those Upper Deck Coupon slugs. At any rate, 2 packs and 2 inserts. The Thornton is another one that I didn't have in my quest to complete the 07-08 OPC set (although it is only a pipe dream). The Kunitz is cool because he is now a Pen so that will go into the book. The only downfall was that Bonk card. Everytime I pull a Bonk, I die a little more inside.

Pack #3: 2006-07 MVP Hockey

#124 Stephen Weiss
#43 Jamie Lundmark
#59 Ray Whitney
#260 Vaclav Prospal
#57 Cory Stillman
#90 Adam Foote
#35 Jaroslav Spacek
#H17 Jaromir Jagr - International Icon

Three packs and three inserts. That has to be some kind of record. The Jagr is one that I didn't have in my PC. I stopped collecting Jags after he left for "greener" pastures so my collection of Jagr stuff in uniforms other than Pittsburgh are limited. As for the rest of the pack, the only two that go into my player albums are the Whitney and the Foote.

Pack #4: 2006-07 Ultra Hockey

#29 Jarome Iginla
#45 Martin Havlat
#165 Steve Bernier
#108 Chris Higgins
#20 Zdeno Chara
#38 Justin Williams
#DM12 Marty Turco - Difference Makers
#169 Doug Weight - Gold Medallion

I guess I must just be naive when it comes to inserts. 4 Packs, 4 inserts. Again, the GM cards are one per pack so that is no surprise. I have a bunch of these already but have never ventured to try to put a set together. Maybe I will try.

Pack #5: 1997-98 Donruss Hockey

#108 Ted Donato
#227 Keith Tkachuk (Checklist)
#78 Alexandre Daigle
#181 Brendan Shanahan
#128 Sean Burke
#69 Derek King
#8 Valeri Bure
#42 Shayne Corson
#2 Paxton Schafer - Rated Rookie
#212 Domenic Pittis (R)

I don't know how this got into the mix but it is always fun to bust stuff from a long time ago. The pack was unimpressive when it comes to players, with the highlight being the Shanny. But here it was, pack number five and no chance for another insert, right? Wrong. Here was a Paxton Schafer Rated Rookie. These were a 10 card set that featured Tomas Vokoun and Jean-Sebastian Giguere. Of course I get the Schafer, a goalie for the Bruins that played all of 3 games for them back in 96-97. He played another 6-7 years after that but never made it back up to the NHL. There was also a Domenic Pittis rookie. He was a Pens prospect, picked in the second round back in 1993 Entry Draft. He played one game for the Pens in 1996 and then spent most of his NHL career with Edmonton before leaving for the Swiss league.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Refocusing my aggression

Now that the NFL season is winding down and there is almost no chance of my Steelers getting in (unless 16 teams lose the rest of their games, a nuclear war breaks out between Spain and Costa Rica, and Jimmy Hoffa declares his candidacy for 2012), it's time for me to refocus my aggression on the NHL. Not that I don't follow my Penguins from the start of the season until the end, but it's hard when you are so deeply involved (obsessed) with Fantasy Football.

Last night's game at home against the hated Flyers was awesome. 6-1 was the final score and there were fights galore, at least in the first two periods. I thought this was supposed to be a re-tooled roster for the Flyers this year? Their offseason moves were supposed to place them in position to dominate the Eastern Conference, especially the Pens.

The only thing they dominated was the penalty box. The Pens scored 6 goals, 2 by Staal, 1 by Crosby, 1 by my boy Guerin, a goal by Fedotenko, and a late tally for Malkin. The VS. coverage of the game was actually somewhat tolerable for once. They had the ice pretty well mic'd up and you could hear most of the sounds of the game, including the clang of the posts on three of the six goals by the Pens.

The best part of the night was when Carcillo scored his "second" goal of the game and after review, it was waived off by the officials because he kicked it into the goal. The Mellon Arena crowd went nuts, as did I in my living room. The Pens have now won 3 in a row and 9 of their last 12 games. Hopefully this will continue on Thursday in Philly.

If only some of this winning would rub off on the other Pittsburgh team. If only...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Not a creature was stirring, except the mice

Can anyone guess what that is a picture of?

Give up?

It's the Steelers' offensive line of course. I am not going to sit here and cry and whine about how the Steelers got robbed by bad calls, missed penalties, and blown opportunities. It isn't worth it at this point. I am, however, very dissapointed.

The Steelers had every opportunity to travel to the Mistake By the Lake and prove that they deserve to defend their title. Instead, despite the blistery winds and cold, they made themselves look like chumps, not champs.

For all the accolades the O-line has been getting this year, I have always been sceptical. This was proof that there is still something wrong. How can you allow 8 sacks against one of the worst defenses in the league? Tell me! How? This isn't a rhetorical questions.

And the defense...4-1 with Troy and 2-6 without him. I'm not saying that one man makes a team but this certainly helps that argument. We have to have one of the most inept secondary I have ever seen back there. This can't be the same team that won the six games earlier this year (it seems like decades). They can't close, they can't cover, they can't even get a turnover. AGAINST THE BROWNS!!!

As for the special teams, nothing can be said that hasn't already been over analyzed. They are pathetic. They need help. Logan hasn't turned out to be the explosive return artist as we were all hoping. The coverage team also looks like the picture above as well. They couldn't cover a bar tab let alone a kick/punt return.

So I said I wouldn't cry and whine...I lied. It's my blog and I'll cry if I want to. But it doesn't matter because I still love my Steelers despite their metaphorical attempts at trying to become some type of fondue fodder. I, as most of Steeler Nation, will now go into mourning for what once was. At least we still have Six and you don't.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Guerin for Miss Pennsylvania

Stars of the Pittsburgh Penguins were in attendance at the Pittsburgh Children's Hospital, on Tuesday signing autographs and hanging out with the kids. Every year, the Penguins stop by the hospital to deliver presents and good cheer to all the children. Some Pens in attendance were Sidney Crosby, Max Talbot, Kris Letang, Sergei Gonchar, and my boy (girl) Billy Guerin. Doesn't he look good in that tiara? (I think that's Goddard sitting behind him sporting his own head gear)

The Pens organization has been involved in charitable work around Pittsburgh for as long as I remember. As a kid, growing up in an eastern suburb, I remember Pens players attending our instructional hockey practices out at the Rostraver Ice Garden. I remember when Mike Bullard, Moe Mantha, and Troy Loney were all on hand to show us the tricks of the trade. I still wonder what happened to all my 8x10 autos that I got back then.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

That picture says it all when referring to last nights Monday Nightmare Football game between the Green Bay Packers and the Baltimore Ravens. Being a Steeler fan, any hopes of making a play for the wild card depended on the Ravens losing, which they did, in the most ugly, poorly played, mistake laden game I have ever witnessed with my own eyes.

Did anyone out there watch this debacle? It was pathetic. There was more laundry thrown on the field than in all of Mr. Stadium coin-ops combined (you Michigan people know what I am talking about). Both teams combined for 23 penalties for a total of 310 yards. 310 YARDS OF PENALTIES!!! Are you serious? This was worse than a high school game. According to Stats LLC, this was the second highest most penalized game in the history of the NFL (actually, tied for second but that's nothing to brag about).

There were a total of 9 pass interference calls, and none of them were the ticky-tack questionable calls that seem to be more and more frequent. I haven't seen this many "arm-bar" take-downs since Greg "The Hammer" Valentine was still in the WWF. Just plain sloppy.

If anyone was wondering, this post was more about not talking about the pathetic play of my Steelers on Sunday than about ripping on two teams that will probably be in the playoffs. I still can't stomach the fact that Gradkowski threw for over 300 yards. I will probably never get over that one.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Box Break - - 2009-10 O-Pee-Chee Hobby Box

For my first trick, I am going to pull a rabbit out of my hat. For my second trick, I'm actually going to bust some hobby boxes for once.

I picked up a couple boxes at a local show a few weeks ago for a pretty decent price. I finally had the time to break them so I wanted to share.

The first box is a hobby box of 09-10 OPC hockey. OPC is one of those sets that I try to chase down every year and inevitably spend triple of what it is worth in getting all the cards. This years set will probably be no different. I already had picked up a blaster when they were first issued and with this box together, I am well on my way to the 600 card beast of a set. Here is the breakdown...

2009-10 O-Pee-Chee Hobby Box

36 Packs per box
6 Cards per pack
129 Base Cards / 500 Base Set
No doubles
Guarantees: Retro variation cards, 1 per pack; Canadian Heroes card; 18 Rookies or Legends; 9 Regular Set Gold parallels; 1-2 Retro Set parallels; 9 OPC Inserts (2 signature cards, 3 quad-materials cards per case)

Rookies: (9)

Scott Lehman, Jamie Sifers, Grant Lewis, Derek Peltier, Sean Collis, Riku Helenius, John Scott, Jesse Joensuu, and Brandon Segal

Legends: (9)

Denis Potvin, Bernie Federko, Darryl Sutter, Clark Gillies, Red Kelly, Gilbert Perreault, Lanny McDonald, Borje Salming, Patrick Roy

SP Parallels: (12)

Gold Marquee Rookies: Kris Chucko; Canadian Heroes Foil: Mike Bossy; Gold Legends: Bobby Clarke; Retro Rainbow: Adrian Aucoin, Jere Lehtinen, Marek Zidlicky; Gold Regular: Adrian Aucoin, Daniel Sedin, Manny Legace, Maxim Lapierre, Niklas Kronwall, Matt Bradley, Keith Ballard.

Regular Retro Parallels: (36)

I'm not listing them all. That would take too long.

Inserts: (18)

Record Breaker: Zdeno Chara; In Action: Mikko Koivu, Trophy Winner: Evgeni Malkin; Stat Leader: Alexander Ovechkin; All Star: Evgeni Malkin; All Rookie Team: Patrik Berglund; Team Checklists: Nashville, Toronto, Carolina; Canadian Heroes: Haley Irwin, Martin St. Louis, Chris Phillips, Shannon Szabados, Colleen Sostorics, Becky Kellar, Kim St. Pierre, Drew Doughty, Derek Roy

Auto: (1)

Peter Budaj (yes it's a sticker auto)

If you haven't seen the regular issue cards yet, here is a sample...
I like the design (although some people might find it too busy). It features nice full color action shots of the players surrounded by a double line border like some of the early 80s issues. Upper Deck could have toned down the branding logo at the top to make way for the players name but it does make for a clean design.

So if you are keeping score on my box, I think I beat the odds for a box considering I got a case hit with the Budaj auto. It was nice to pull one out of a pack for a change instead of the redemption scratch off like last year. As for the other cards, I pulled exactly the box breakdown from UD's sell sheet. I was especially happy with the 2 Malkin inserts, at least from a PC standpoint. I also think the selection of rookies was pretty decent.

Overall, I would give this set an 8/10 and my particular box a 9/10 because of the PC insert pulls and of course the case hit on the auto.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Box Break - - 2009-10 MVP Hockey Blaster

I told myself before the start of the season this year that I wasn't going to buy anymore blasters. I think I spent $12.3 million on them last year and ended up with piles and piles of stuff; I don't even know what is in there. After reading some reviews on the product, I decided that a blaster was best to "test the waters" on this one.

As most hockey collector's know, MVP is always been a couple steps from the bottom when it comes to price but loaded when it comes to the proverbial hit. I make an attempt to get the Upper Deck main set each year, as well as SP and O-Pee-Chee. MVP is always my third or fourth choice because I like the design and, like I already said, there are a ton of rookies and the insert sets are well designed.

This year is no different so I picked one up the other day.

2009-10 MVP Hockey Retail Blaster

12 Packs per Blaster
8 Cards per Pack
84 base cards / 394 total base set
No Doubles
Guarantees: MVP Rookies 1:2 packs on average

Rookies: (6)

304 Matt Beleskey, 305 T.J. Galiardi, 335 John Scott, 365 Jamie Fraser, 361 Michael Vernance, and 371 Matt Duchene

Inserts: (6)

Hart Winner (1:40): Bobby Orr; Hart Candidates (1:5): Evgeni Malkin, Rick DiPietro; MVP Winter Classic: Scott Hartnell, Patrice Bergeron, Milan Lucic

Autos: (0)

GU: (0)

Overall, this is a nice set for a builder because of its mid-range size and the slew of rookies. Although I didn't get one of the 2-On-2 jersey cards, it was hardly to be expected out of a blaster (even though I pulled one last year). I found it interesting that of the 6 rookies I pulled, 3 of them were Avs and 2 of them were Wild players. Not sure if that has anything to do with quality control but I won't argue with a Duchene. That guy will be a superstar

I think this is a solid hockey set to collect/buy. At about 20 bucks for a retail blaster or around $35-45 for a hobby box, you can't really go wrong here. I would give it a 7/10 for the cards and a 7/10 for my box.

(A special welcome to Hackenbush from over at the Can't Have Too Many Cards blog. He is my newest follower of the Real DFG blog and comes from the Chicagoland area like me. Unfortunately, he is a Cubs fan. We can't all be perfect though.)

Here is another interesting story on card licensing

Topps announced that they have sealed the deal for the exclusive production of minor league baseball cards. This makes two licenses for baseball product in the same year. The Washington Times posted an article and it is interesting to read the comments of the executives at Topps on why they feel this is a good thing. Check it out.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

And now for something completely different...

This is totally off topic but I have to voice a complaint. This isn't about cards or sports or anything even remotely related to either but it's my blog and I will cry if I want to.

I have a routine. Most people I know, whether they admit it or not, also have some kind of routine. My routine in the morning is simple. After I get into my truck and head off to work, I take the same route, usually hit the same traffic lights, and most of the time, see the same drivers as I pass by. Once I get within about 2 miles of my office, there is a Speedway (which is a chain gas station for those of you not familiar) that I stop at every morning to fill my giant 64 oz. insulated cup with Mountain Dew or sometimes Diet Mountain Dew if the MD is empty. Either way, it gets filled with some sort of caffeine fueled explosion.

As I said, I drive a truck; a Ford F-150 longbed that I have had for almost 8 years. I love my truck and have refused to give it up on numerous occasions. But that is besides the point. Each morning when I arrive at Speedway, I park in the same spot, two from the end on the west side of the building. The parking here is parallel with the gas pumps under the canopy. When I go inside, I see the same employees, the same customers, the same product. As I said before, it is a routine.

However, this morning was different. There was a Jeep Grand Cherokee parked in my spot. Ok, I won't panic. I will just park in the spot next to it. It's fine. I notice the driver is sitting in her seat working on a laptop as I make my way to the door. Everything else proceeds as normal until I exit the building to leave. The Laptop Lady is still there. There is also now two cars at the pumps behind me. Now, being a gas station, I can't fault the patrons filling up their vehicles. But what is that lady still doing there? She has her coffee. She has her donut or Hostess product. Pull out!! Leave!!! Because...I can't back out now!! This isn't your personal office space.

I know the standard back-up routine is a three point turn. Well how about an eight point turn? That's right...EIGHT!! And they were all tiny little movement. Forward, backward, forward, backward, etc. On the sixth turn, the Laptop Lady had the nerve to turn her head around to see what was going on behind her and quickly turn away when I made my scathing eye contact with her. Needless to say, my routine was ruined. My day has totally become discombobulated (which is the longest common English word starting and ending with the letter D; I have one of those calendars).

The morale of this story is, if you plan on using a busy parking lot as your own personal office space, pick a spot away from the flow of traffic. Next time, there may not be somebody that loves thier vehicle as much as I do.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Impending doom???

That picture says it all...

So the Bengals have won 5 in a row on the road. So the Bengals have a one game lead over the Steelers. So the Bengals swept the season series against the Ravens and the Steelers (and soon the Browns). So....

To me, none of this makes a difference other than to give Chris Collinsworth on Sunday Night Football more reason to spout off and claim the Bengals are the greatest team in the history of the NFL. Just watch!! He will. That, and the fact that he has played every position in the game of football and played it better than you. He needs a one-way ticket on a garbage barge setting sail for Antarctica.

So what does this mean? It means that all things being equal, the Bengals would win the division and all subsequent tie breakers. However, there are still some games left and if Benson is down for a while, the running game might suffer, forcing Palmer into some mistakes, and who knows, maybe some pivotal turnovers that could mean the game. I can only hope!!

Needless to say, I'm not happy about what happened. Troy went down again, tweaking his knee that he injured earlier in the year. The O-line/Big Ben's penchant for separation anxiety of the football allowed 4 sacks (see photo above). The Steelers special teams blew it again, allowing a kickoff return for a TD (the only one in the game). Essentially, the Bengals beat the Steelers at their own game; smothering the offense with their defense.

At least for Pittsburgh, the Pens won in overtime yesterday and Pitt beat Notre Dame. Thank Bejebus we have KC next week. What a train wreck they are?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Week 9 - Steelers Beat Denver

The Steelers Win!!! The Broncos were held to 27 yards rushing and Orton was picked 3 times, twice by Tyrone Carter including a TD and one by my boy Troy. It was an awesome game at Mile High. The Steelers running game was on fire with Mendenhall getting over 150 yards. Ward scored two TDs, giving him somewhere over a billion for his career. The Big Ben to Psycho Ward hook up now has over 100 more receptions than the Bradshaw to Swann connection.

Once again, the crowd was jam packed with Steeler fans, the greatest traveling fans in the world (sorry Cowboys). Next weeks game is going to be a slobber-knocker (to coin the phrase by Jim Ross). Cincinnatti, 6-2, tied for first with Pittsburgh, at Heinz Field.

That's all I have to say about that right now.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Some recent shop pick ups

As sort of a continuation of the last post, here is a list of what I picked up from the shop.

6 Packs of 2009 Topps Chrome Football: The packs of Topps weren't bad. In fact, I was happy with what I pulled...Two refractors and an auto!!

Frank Gore Refractor, Louis Murphy RC Refractor, Darrius Heyward-Bey RC, Kevin Ellison RC, Brain Orakpo RC, Chase Coffman RC Autograph, Vincent Jackson Chicle Insert, Troy Polamalu Chicle Insert (awesome PC card in my opinion), and the greatest card ever (I sense sarcasm)...a Jacksonville Jaguar cheerleader. Laurie, in fact, in case anyone cares.

2 Packs of 2009 Bowman Chrome Football: continuing where I left off at least where refractors were concerned...

Laveranues Coles Refractor, Darrius Heyward-Bey RC, and Mike Teel RC

Two Heyward-Bey rookies in two products was a little weird. The cheerleader card was a little weird, too. I could have done without ever seeing one of those, now I own one. Other than the Troy Chicle card, I didn't get any Steelers as I had hoped. The owner of the shop, as a consolation, gave me the ad spec sheet from a case of Topps Football with Ben Roethlisberger plastered all over it. That was cool.

Shop Review - - #1 The Baseball Card Exchange, Inc

As promised, I made my way to one of the local card shops around the Indianapolis area. Now as the title suggests, I plan on reviewing more than one shop. So, as I mentioned, this will be the first in a series (hopefully).

The first issue was to find one that was still in business. The first two hits that I got when searching for a local shop turned up to be out of business. Not a problem, though. My third choice actually answered their phone, giving me their hours so I wouldn't be wasting my time looking for a closed shop.

The Baseball Card Exchange has been in business since the early 90s, at the same location. When you enter the store, it is set up like the traditional store that most people would imagine. Cases down both sides with shelves behind featuring mostly wax boxes and sets for sale. There were a few boxes on the counters for searching through but most of the cards were either in the display cases or behind the counter.

The right side of the store was entirely made up of basketball product and supplies. After talking with the owner, I found out basketball used to be a mainstay of the business. Afterall, we were in Indiana, the basketball capital of, well the mid-west at least. However, with the change in product focus of most companies, football has taken over. The left side of the store was split between football and baseball.

It appeared that there was a large focus on packs and singles, especially newer product since they were the boxes on the countertops. The walled product had boxes ranging from the mid 80s all the way up to today. It was fun to see some product that I haven't seen in years. I learned that all of the singles in the cases were also obtained from customers. The owner breaks nothing himself because, as he puts it, if he gets a hit, no one else will. Good point. He also does nothing online other than ordering product so there are no websites or email...old school at it's best.

Overall, it was a nice shop, well kept and up to date with the most current products out there. The owner was very accomodating and we had a great conversation about the hobby and how it has affected his business. If you are looking for a nice shop in the area around Fishers (outside of Indy...northeast side) this was a nice place to spend some time and money.

Oh, what did I pick up, you ask...

6 Packs of 2009 Topps Chrome Football

2 Packs of 2008 Bowman Chrome Football

1 Pack of Soft Sleeves (for all my "hits")

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Traveling the world

Well not really but its definitely been interesting being sent all over the state for various training classes. That's why I haven't been able to find time to sit here and collect my thoughts in blog form. I am on again, off again training throughout the next two months. Every other week I am sent to another town to attend a class for my certification. Isn't life grand.

So now I'm sitting here watching the World Series (there is no football on tonight) in my newest hotel room in Indianapolis. I realized, I haven't been doing much in the way of cards lately but I plan on changing that in a few days. I have my eyes on some cheap 2008 football on clearance and some hockey. Looking to pick up some new 09-10 O-Pee-Chee and maybe some mixed pack stuff (you know those ones with the guaranteed GU cards...yeah, those. I actually like those).

Also, I have gotten a couple packages from some collector's out there. It seems there are Steelers fans with, eh em...too many Steelers cards. So what do they do? They send them to me. What a novel concept. I can be everyone's dumping ground for Steeler cards they don't want. Sounds like a plan. (I will also take Penguins cards too. I'm not picky).

I am going to try to make an attempt to visit some local shops in the area around the hotel and make a report about them. As we in the hobby all know, shops are going the way of the dinosaur and good ones are hard to find. Until then...Go Phillies!! (I can't believe I said that. Yes I hate the Yankees that much).

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Slow Post To China

I can't believe it's been almost a month since my last post. There really hasn't been anything post worthy to speak of though (except Casey Hampton naked [get me a bucket]). I have gotten a few packages in the mail over the last couple weeks which have gone unnoticed for the most part. I will get them scanned and posted as soon as I have some time. I just got back from a trip to the Burgh for my brothers wedding so now that things are starting to settle in, I will hopefully get back to posting.

(Welcome to my newest follower, TheIronLung. TheIronLung is involved with some great blogs out there including Canada Card World, Hockey Card Heaven, and The Iron Lung at Crossfit. Go check him out.)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sunday double whammy

(Another example of my parodoxical view on things in Pittsburgh that are awesome mixed with things in Pittsburgh that suck.)

Adding insult to injury...pouring salt in the wound...aggravating the gods...fanning the flames...feeding the fire...pushing the buttons...rattling the cage, or whatever other cliche or idiom you wish to provide, the Wings beat the Pens in preseason hockey yesterday, too.
Besides the fact that the Pirates suck, that's two Pittsburgh losses in one day (eventhough one is preseason, it's still a loss). All of this said, it is safe to say that things are not going well in Pittsburgh as of late.
The Wings beat the Pens 4-1 yesterday while Crosby sat and watched. The only redeeming factor, at least in my mind, was when Guerin (my newest card collection facination) got a 10 minute misconduct penalty for sticking up for a teammate, after Franzen was shoving Letang. After the game, Guerin addressed the incident,

“Just things that happen during a game,” Guerin said. “Just sticking up
for a teammate. That’s the way it goes.”
Kunitz also got a roughing penalty as he and Guerin, according to all the article summaries of the game, "jumped" Franzen. I'm sure Detroit fans will have this posted as bulletin board fodder. What a load of crap! At least there is no sign of a loss of grit on the part of the Pens going into the season.
Bring on the Rangers!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Another depressing loss

Well the Steelers found a way to snatch a loss out of the jaws of victory by losing to the Bungles, of all teams. Come on!! It's the freakin' Bengals for G's sake. They haven't lost in Cincinnati in 9 years. Now they are 1-2 and with the Ravens destruction of the Browns, are 2 games out of first.

This was depressing since it was the first game I got to wear my new Polamalu Jersey (yes its an authentic). I am worried because that's the second game without Troy and the second loss. He won't return from his injury for at least another 2-3 weeks and it isn't looking good for the Steeler's defense.

Also, despite the few breakout plays, there was still no running game. Big Ben threw for a TD and ran another one in but his Pick-6 interception was the difference maker in the game. He was only sacked once but the pressure on him was crazy. The defense played fairly well but Jeff Reed missed another Field Goal, making it 3 for the year.

I am beside myself. I know it's only week 3 but if it doesn't pick up soon, they could be so far behind Baltimore in the division that it will take a miracle. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A PC Mailday

I got a package yesterday from a trade with a bunch of PC stuff for my Bill Guerin collection. There was some pretty sweet stuff in there that I will share with all of you.

Preseason hockey has started up and I am excited for the upcoming season. The two games that I have watched have gotten me fired up for the first drop of the puck. It's always a good feeling when you are the defending champs.


(Thanks to Lonestarr for becoming the next victim, I mean, follower. Hopefully you enjoy the drivel that spews forth from my fingers.)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Are Card Shops/Shows dead?

I just wanted to start a discussion and see what other peoples opinions are.

Last weekend there was supposed to be a show in my area. Over the past few years, these shows have become few and far between and I always look forward to the once a month (or so) shows that come around. Eventhough I do a lot of trading as well as buying on the Bay, it is still fun to talk to dealers and search the boxes for hidden gems. I arrived about an hour and a half after the doors were to have opened, only to find it had been cancelled. So I started thinking, just like Video Killed the Radio Star...did the Internet Kill the Card Show/Shop?

From about 1990-2001, there were 3-4 shows in my regional area (which I consider about a 40 mile radius) each weekend. With the larger shows at the Rosemont in Chicago and the occasional appearance of the National, some major damage could be done in a year with buying/selling/trading. Now there is lucky to be 1-2 a month. With the cancellation this weekend, there isn't another one scheduled until October 17th (the next closest one is 37 miles away the weekend before).

As for shops, I remember in the summer of 1996 I plotted a map of all the shops in my area and made an effort to visit them all. There were 33 shops within a half hour drive in any direction. I only made it to 26 of them on my list but I picked up at least 1 item at each one. I felt a great sense of accomplishment and also created a "friendship" with many of the dealers. Of the 26 that I visited, 2 of them still exist. I checked on the other 7 and two of those are still in business as well. Four of the dealers, that I know of, are dealing exclusively online. The rest...who knows? Now there are 5 shops within 30 miles of where I live and only two of those carry more than 1 sport in their inventories(1 of them only does non-sports).

So I pose these questions...Are their still shows in your area, do you go to them, are their shops around you, do you go to them, is the internet eventually going to be the only way to sustain this hobby?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cureing the sadness

Any football fan that isn't dead already knows the Steelers lost to the Bears on Sunday 17-14. I am not going to drone on about it because I know we made some mistakes, especially on special teams, that cost us the game. I'm not making excuses...we got beat. That's it.

I do, however, take exception to all the Bears fans that now seem to think that they are the team to beat in the NFL since they beat the "Champs". Fools!! All of you. Here is why.

1. The first drive of the game. The Steelers dominated your defense. So what if Urlacher was out. He doesn't cover down field anyway. This is how the Steelers usually play and could have if it wasn't for some of the other issues.

2. Jeff Reed was drunk on 40's of Old English and Thunderbird and missed 2 field goals. He hasn't missed 2 field goals since 1923 when the Kaiser outlawed field goal kicking. In other words, this was a fluke, people. It was an unfortunate anomaly that your defense had nothing to do with.

3. It's not an excuse...the field condition was horrible!! This goes for both teams. How many receivers and defenders did we see fall on the ground or lose their footing due to the horrendous field condition coupled with the rain. For a nationally televised game, that was, in my opinion, an embarrassment.

4. Cutler has not shown that he can throw the ball more than 20 yards for an entire game. He is not going to be able to live with the dink and dunk passes 5-7 yards down the field. I give players a ton of credit for their game play but he has yet to show me he is worth what the Bears had to give up...especially since Orton continues winning in Denver.

5. I don't know what the logic was here but the Steelers pass rush was non-existent. When are we going to let Woodley and Harrison loose? If Lebeau would have called a normal Steeler football game, we wouldn't be having this conversation. Cutler would have spent more time on his back than Paris Hilton.

6. Polamalu was out, Clark got hurt. There is no way in the world that the Bears receivers would have been able to run down the middle of the field like that if Polamalu was in the lineup. No way!! Clark, despite what I think of him as a player, is not an apt replacement for Troy. Period.

7. Most importantly, the Bears aren't even the best team in their division, let alone the league. Minnesota and Green Bay are still the teams to beat (despite the Packers loss to the Bungles). Minnesota has shown a diverse arsenal in the passing game and AP is, let's face it, unstoppable. It is sad when 95 yards can be considered an "off-day". The Packers, again, despite the loss, have a tough defense and a more than capable field general with Aaron Rogers.

I'm done with this. No more talky. Bring on the Bungles.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Another Mailday Triumph

It's been a long, long week. I was in a certification class for my job all week, no access to a PC, no access to emails, no access to blogs, no access....period. While nice to be out of the office, it was even nicer to turn in my final exam and walk out of that place. So I haven't posted since Saturday.

At any rate, when I returned home, I was pleasantly surprised by an envelope in my mailbox from a fellow trader. It was a trade I had forgotten about but was definitely one that I would have remembered quick. I just thought I would post it up.
2008 Upper Deck Rookie Jersey Limas Sweed

Reasons why I love this card:

1. It is a Steeler card I didn't have (duh, this is obvious)
2. It is a rookie card of Limas Sweed, who, if you don't know, is going to be Hines Ward's replacement someday; currently #3 on the depth chart (if he can hold onto the ball).
3. It is a jersey card. And not just any is a gold swatch!! I have a bunch of Steeler jerseys (Parker, Ward, Big Ben, Bettis, etc.) but not one of them is gold. They are all either black or white.
4. I like the design. The swatch is unobtrusive to the photo and the design doesn't take anything away from the photography like most products these days. The focus of the card is still the player himself. Too bad it isn't an action shot.

This card makes me happy.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

More Mailday Fun

I received two packages in the mail today. It is always nice going to the mailbox and seeing something other than bills or advertisements.

The first pack (actually it was a PWE, but that's ok) had a card from a member on the Bench. I have been hanging around on there for awhile now, mostly providing market/BV pricing to other members since I like to waste inordinate amounts of time at work. One of the members apparently noticed my efforts and sent me a card as a little reward. It's also a refractor. I have this set already but none of the refractors so this is nice. Thanks to MITCHIEHO over at the Bench for sending this.

Mark Messier Finest Cool Trade Refractor

The second package was from a trade with another Bench member. I sent a couple of football jersey cards out for a few GU Bill Guerins for my PC.

2002 Titanium Draft GU

2004 ITG Jersey & Stick
(my first Stick Card!!! Sweet)

1997-98 UD 3 Star Selects
(nice die cut insert)

BOX BREAK - - 2008 Topps Football (retail)

Ok. I haven't done one in a while and I have had this box sitting in my closet for almost two weeks. I guess I was trying to cut down on my pack busting. It makes it hard to do when the local retailers have clearanced their inventory of pre-2009 stuff. So here we go...a bunch of these cards have already been earmarked for trade with a couple other traders (you know who you are) but I'm open to other options.

Box Guarantees: None
Packs per box: 24
Cards per pack: 12
Cards per box: 288
Base set completion: 60% of 440
Duplicates: 0

Rookies Pulled (65):
There are too many and I'm not listing them all...ok maybe I will

Brian Brohm, Andre Woodson, Chad Henne,
Colt Brennan, Dennis Dixon (NFT), Erik Ainge,
Johnson, Matt Flynn, Morelli, McFadden (held),
Stewart, Jones (held), Hart, Smith, Slaton (held),
Forte (held), Boyd, Jackson, Kelly (held),
Manningham (held), Hardy, Jackson, Thomas,
Jordy Nelson, Williams, Simpson, Caldwell, Morgan,
Fred Davis, Bennett, Finley, Tamme, Kellen Davis,
Long, Baker, Otah, Chevis Jackson, Sims, Harrison,
Moore, Bryant, Laws, Gholston, Merling, Conner,
Lofton, Mayo, Gordon, Wheeler, Rivers, Highsmith,
Adibi, Henderson, Bruce Davis (NFT), Dizon, Geno
Hayes, Mike Jenkins, Talib, McKelvin, Lee, Porter,
Castille, Griffin, Tyrell Johnson, Jamar Adams

Inserts Pulled (24):
Gold Border #'d/2008: Laurence Maroney PSH #325, Antonio Gates #174, Antoine Cason #430

Honor Roll: Gino Marchetti, Art Donovan, Johnny "Blood" McNally

Own The Game: Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, Braylon Edwards

HOF Class of 2008: Gary Zimmerman, Emmitt Thomas

Armed Forces Fan of the Game: James Lenihan (Bengals), Mark Middlebrook (Jaguars), Wyat Tomlinson (Chiefs), Sean Ryan (Broncos)

Brett Favre Flight to 420: 255, 361, 354, 401

Dynasties: Ted Johnson (Pats), Ty Law (Pats), Donnie Shell (Steelers) [NFT], Joe Greene (Steelers) [NFT], Joe Montana (49ers), Kenna Turner (49ers)

Best Card(s):
For me, despite the 65 rookies in this box, it would have to be the two Steeler's Dynasty cards. I have a few of these from Chrome too and I just think they are really slick looking. Kind of boring but slick nonetheless.

Image Image

First on the product...I really like this set design. It features a heavy card stock with an all white border on the base cards and a slick gloss coating. This is, in my opinion, a huge improvement over the light weight condition sensitive 2007 set. The photos are all action photos and the rookies are either in practice jerseys or their actual team uniforms (what a concept). The masthead on the card features the team name decked out in some kind of carnival ballon pattern.
I wasn't a fan in the beginning but I have warmed up to it. As for the box itself...It was a nice print run with no doubles in the entire box. Unfortunatly, there were no guaranteed hits and that's exactly what I got, no hits. The inserts were very week, especially with the Fans of the Game set and the continuation of the Brett Favre ridiculousness. I would have liked to see at least one GU'd but such is life. The product gets an 8 for the slick, appealing design. My box gets a 4

Friday, September 11, 2009

More on the visit to the White House

President Obama hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins aat the White House on Thursday and celebrated the hockey team for its performance on and off the ice. The Pens won the cup in June and since then, have taken it on a road trip to thank their fans, an act that earned the players the thanks of a grateful president.

“They took it on fishing trips and stopped by neighborhood barbecues. They visited elementary schools and brightened the days of children recovering in the hospital,” Obama said during his speech. "This is a team that understands that being a champion doesn’t end when you step off the ice,” Obama added.

The Pens got to meet with the President and get a tour of the White House before the ceremony. The earlier part of the day was spent with the kids from the Fort Dupont Ice Rink and the Hockey in the Hood program. As reported by NHL's blog about the trip, the kids seemed shy and took a while to warm up to the guys but once they did, it was a great day. Crosby mentioned that the best question came when one of the kids asked if he and Malkin were brothers. Bill Guerin chimed in that they certainly looked alike.

“That’s what the Stanley Cup is all about. Not just having your names engraved alongside the best players in history, but also giving back to others along the way,” the president said. “And this spirit of service helps to strengthen our communities, it strengthens our country, and I know the team gets a lot in return for it as well.”

Awesome stuff!! Here is some video:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Penguins in the White House

In all my ranting and raving about the start of the NFL season, I almost forgot the other Pittsburgh news that was happening today. The Penguins are visiting the White House with the Stanley Cup today.

There is a blog over on that is following the Pens as they get to tour the White House, meet with the President, and meet with some youth hockey clubs in the D.C. area. It looks to be a lot of fun for the players and especially the kids of the Fort Dupont Hockey League.

It brings back memories of when they won their other championships in the early 90's and were invited to Washington. In fact, that is another one of my favorite cards in my collection.

1991-92 Upper Deck "White House Welcome" card.

This card (I know, it's a crappy scan) features Mario Lemieux presenting then President Bush Sr. with a #2 Penguins jersey, the same number he wore when he played for Yale. I love this card because it shows the impact of sports on the country and the world for that matter. The practice of inviting teams to the White House has been going on for years and to have one of my favorite teams take the stage with the President of the United States is such an honor. I also like the card because you can see Joe Mullen, Bryan Trottier, Kevin Stevens, I think Mark Recchi behind the President, and I can't tell who is behind Mullen or Lemieux. How many cards out there have multiple HOF'ers and the President? The answer is none.

I can only hope UD makes one for today's event. That would be cool.

(as a footnote, I realize Kevin Stevens went down in flames like a cliche but before his injury, he was dominant. He could have had HOF #'s if it wasn't for the injury and the JUNK. I'm sticking to my opinions that he was better than Cam Neely. There, I said it.)

Jacked UP!!

(I know the photo is old, but does that discount it's awesomeness in any way? I think not.)

Only 8 hours till kick off and I'm JACKED UP!!! (Do they even do that on ESPN Countdown anymore?)

Set your Tivo's, Freevo's and Vivo's. Set your VCR, DVR, and PVR's. Roll out the Terrible Towels, Terrible Blankets, Terrible Flags, and Terrible (insert item)...If you can't tell, I'm so freakin' excited it makes me want to pee.

Steelers vs. Titans kicks off at 8:30 EST tonight. There is the obligatory kickoff show prior to the game at 8 starring some, I can only assume, people that are apparently popular in today's music scene that would be only offensive to small pockets of the population that probably won't be watching anyway or don't have televisions. But that is not the point here.

The point is, football is back!!! Back with a vengeance!!! I haven't been this excited for a Steeler's team going into the season since, well, I can't even remember (but I think Greg Lloyd was still on the team). But I'm excited just for football in general. I believe I have made my disdain for the period between the Stanley Cup finals and the beginning of the NFL season abundantly known on other posts. This puts an end to what I call the "Dog #$%& Days of Summer".
Although tonight's game may not be a marquee matchup, it is somewhat of a "revenge" game after last years week 16 loss. Those of you that aren't Steeler fans may not remember that game, but those in Steeler Nation will never forget the desecration of the Terrible Towel by LenDale "I've Never Passed A Krispy Kreme I Didn't Like" White. "So what?" "It's just a towel." "Who cares?" As a lifelong fan, I understand the history and tradition behind the Terrible Towel. I (in my warped, crazed football fan, irrational street justice, kind of way) viewed that the same as burning an American Flag. Just as Cowboy fans were outraged at the "star incident" with T.O., just as [insert team here] fans are outraged everytime Esteban Ocho Cinco celebrates a touchdown, just as football fans across the country are offended everytime Chris Collinsworth opens his self-profiling, egotistical, obnoxiously pompous mouth of his, I felt my blood boil when White and Kearse stomped that towel.
But I'm not here to point fingers, or preach about sportsmanship (or maybe I am since this is my blog and that's what blogger do). I will just say this. The same team will be taking the field tonight (minus a few guys) that played in that game. I bet they remember. You're in our house now, Mr. White.
"It's a 5-star matchup, cuz we in it" - that was the rallying cry for the Steeler's last season, as revealed on NFL Network's America's Game last night. If you missed it, shame on you. It will only be on re-aired 187 more times this season.

(also, thanks to "nearmint" for becoming my latest victim, err, I mean...follower. Hopefully I don't disappoint.)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My Favorite (Not Necessarily Best) Card


Ok, so it's not really the best card ever but for me, it is one of my top 5 cards that I own (probably even #1). I received this card in a contest over at Trade Cards Now after one of their trading day box break giveaways. I usually never win in these things so I was pleasantly surprised when I was notified of my victory. I was even more surprised after receiving the card.

As some of you already know, I collect Pens and Steelers cards for my PC. So this card, is a perfect cornerstone to a Pittsburgh sports collection. What I like about this card:

1. It's serial numbered out of 150. That means that only 149 other people in the entire world could own one of these. (Big deal, you say, in this world of limited production) Since I'm not in this to turn a profit, this makes me proud. (The sky is also purple in my world so, there)

2. It features two of Pittsburgh sports' greatest players; Mario Lemieux and Terry Bradshaw. 7 World Championships between them (4 for Terry, and 3 for Mario [as player and owner]). I think that is enough of an explanation there.

3. It has jersey swatches from both players. I have always wanted a Lemieux jersey card and this is a great way to satisfy that want. Plus, the Bradshaw jersey is a bonus. (if only they were multicolored...).

4. The artwork is great. The player portraits are true to life representations of both players. I especially like the cityscape of downtown Pittsburgh in the background, one of the greatest city scenes, especially at night, that you will ever see. I know if you ever watch a sporting event filmed in Pittsburgh you hear the announcers talk to the point of nausea about how it looks coming into town. Truly, though, if you have never driven through the Fort Pitt or Lincoln tunnels going into town and had the entire city explode before your eyes as you come out, you probably don't get it. Say what you want, it gives me goosebumps.

5. It is called "Hometown Heroes". I can't think of two better examples of that statement than Terry and Mario.

I want to thank Lynn over at TCN once again for giving me the opportunity to own this card. This will be one in my collection forever.

Obligatory Plug: If you are looking for a nice place to trade, check out Trade Cards Now. I've been on there for a few years and it is full of great traders and good collectors.

Trading information

I added a trading information section to this page as a request from another reader. I guess this is a good idea since that is what we are all about in this hobby. I'm a Pittsburgh guy so Steelers and Penguins are my weakness. Not so much Pirates though, unless it is vintage stuff. Even then I am pretty selective.

I am trying to complete team sets, pre-1980 for both teams. This has been difficult since most collectors covet their vintage hockey and football. Someday, they will be mine. Oh, yes...they will be mine.

Anyway, if anyone wants to trade, let me know.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Hobby and the Economy

First off, I just wanted to acknowledge the existence of two of my followers. AdamE and Dinged Corners both decided I was blog worthy and have chosen to follow my blog. Thank you to both of you and hopefully I won't disappoint.

I came across this article posted on Forbes magazine (thanks to Rob at VOTC for pointing out it's existence on Twitter). It parallels the relationship between the sports card hobby (baseball cards specifically) and the current economic situation we are under. The main purpose of the article is to highlight market responses to profit, inflation, and anti-trust lawsuits by making the connection to the sports card hobby as a whole. I thought it was an interesting read and felt I would bounce it again. (You don't have to be an economist to understand it)

Baseball Cards And The Current Economy by John Tamny

Friday, September 4, 2009

Mailday Goodness - - Part 3

This is the third and final part of my mailday extravaganza that has been occuring since last week. I saved the best for last (in my opinion, which is what this blog is anyway so I don't know why I even bothered to say this). A ton of Steeler stuff for my PC.

I'm so glad the NFL season is about to begin. I hate the couple months between the end of the NHL season and the beginning of the NFL season. It is excruciatingly nauseating when the only sports to watch on TV are Golf, Tennis, and Baseball. I am an action sports guy and if someone isn't getting beat up or slammed to the ground, I'm not really interested. No offense to any baseball, golf or tennis fans out there. I enjoy golfing. I love tennis (on the Wii). I have no problem going to see the Cubs or Sox, or my personal favorite, the Gary/Southshore Railcats. They won last night 4-3, by the way, in game one of the Northern League semi's. But nonetheless, I just can't call myself a fan.

At any rate...the cards...There were two packages that I missed when scanning. I think I already filed the cards away in my Steeler box before I could get them. However, I did get these.(Click on the pictures for bigger images)




I almost forgot how hideous 1991 Fleer football cards were until this gem of a Rod Woodson card showed up. Boy did we take the forcefed crap of the early 90s too serious or what?


I don't know how this Heath Miller 2006 Topps card got mixed up with these 2007 Topps cards. I think that is my 58th copy of that card too. Somehow in all my trades and card packages that I have been receiving, this card seems to keep popping up. It's like the wax box of 1989 Topps baseball cards I bought back in 1993 at the National. I pulled 16 Barry Larkins and 9 Candy Maldonado cards in the same box. Good Times!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Big Mailday - - Lots of card goodness!! Part 2

As promised, some more of my big mailday rewards. You can click on the images for larger views.


The four on the left (top 2 and bottom 2) came in one transaction. It includes a Maxime Talbot rookie, a Jordan Staal, another one of those Crosby inserts that I am not sure if I need but will take anyway, and an old school Yzerman All Star card from 90-91 Upper Deck. I know I have that one already. In fact, checking my inventory, I already have 5 copies of it. It's Stevie Y though, so I'll take it.

The next two (top and bottom) were from a trade with a fellow Bench member. The Lemieux is needed for my collection and the Rick DiPietro rookie was just a filler for the trade. I didn't have one, I didn't really want one, but he is a player in my goalie book so I'll take it.

The Goligoski came from that blaster box I did a few weeks ago. It never got scanned so it is on here. However, the Jean Pronovost 69-70 card is a sweet addition to my vintage Penguins cards. Although not in the best condition, it is one that I didn't have and will look nice next to his 70-71 PSA 9 that I have. I don't know why but I love the old school blue Pens sweaters. I wish I could find one with the original Pens logo that looked like a "pigeon with a neckerchief".




These are some 1984-85 Topps Hockey that I needed as an upgrade. I have the entire set for this year (minus the Yzerman rookie) and since I won't be getting that card anytime soon, I decided in the meantime to upgrade the condition of the cards in the set. Considering what I gave up for these, not a bad deal.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Topps finally steps up to scammers...sort of

Yesterday, in an attempt to stop the epidemic of fake Rookie Premiere Autographs, Topps announced a change to their handling of authentication. Apparently, going forward, all certified autos will be sequentially numbered in foil.

This is finally great news for the hobby. At least going forward. However, nothing was mentioned to the fact that there was a Katrina scale flooding of the market already with fake autos. If we are ever going to remedy the problem, Topps and other card companies will need to adress this issue.

You can read the press release here.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Big Mailday - - Lots of card goodness!!

Well after a royally f'd up day at work, I was pleasantly surprised to find 5...yes, I said 5 packages in my mailbox. I couldn't believe it. Three were from the Bay and the other two were recent trades I had partaken (is that a word?) in.

A couple were in PWE's (Plain White Envelopes) of which I despise. Fortunatly, nothing happened to the cards in the envelopes but the potential for disaster is there. Two others were in nicely packed bubble mailers (my preference). The last one was a 400ct. box that cost over $9 to ship so you know it was packed full of sweet, sweet cardboardy goodness.

First, the trades:

Anyone remember these? I used to have a pile of these things when I was many years younger. I remember buying the candy bars (well they weren't bars, they were...buns) and thinking that they tasted less than desireable. However, the Lemieux cards were well worth it. I can't believe there are people out there that still had these. Well now they don't...I do!!

I also picked up a Parkhurst Emerald Ice card for my new Bill Guerin collection.
I can't believe how young he looks on this picture. I think he may even still have all his teeth on this one. I believe he was 22 or 23 when this was taken. A far cry from when he takes the ice this season at 39. Greybeard's rule!!

--To Be Continued...