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Friday, August 14, 2009

Box Break - 2009-10 Upper Deck Victory (Blaster)

I couldn't resist this one. I had to get my hands on some fresh 09/10 Hockey. The first release out this year is Upper Deck Victory. Walmart's shelves were jammed with them.

11 Packs/Blaster
6 Cards/Pack
Box Guarantees: 1 Oversize Card, 1:2 Victory Rookies or Star Inserts (basically 1 per pack)
200 card base set (250 Total)

I pulled 54 base (no doubles) which is 22% of the set

Rookies (6):

Mike Santorelli #205
Byron Bitz #212
Luca Caputi #225
Jesse Joensuu #232
Andrew McDonald #240
Mike McKenna #243

Parallels (1): Brandon Sutter Gold #38 (avg. 1:36 packs)

Inserts (5): Game Breakers - Brad Boyes, Evgeni Malkin, Eric Staal; Stars Of The Game - Marian Hossa, Marty Turco

Oversize Card (1):

Luke Schenn


The first cards of the year are always exciting, even if they are from the UD Victory product. Victory has, over the past few years, had a standard "run of the mill" type design that has not varied much from year to year. The same goes for 09/10. This year features a lot more white space, if that was even possible. The borders are even more expansive than last year, with the images centered on the card and a more rounded feel to the edge. The insert sets feature the standard Victory Game Breakers and Stars of the Game, which showcase the top players on each team. The Victory Rookies feature many of the guys that played at the end of 08/09 and the design of the card is an improvement over last year, in my opinion.

I would give the set itself a 6/10. The box...maybe a 5 1/2/10, possibly a 6 because I like these cards but definitely better than a 5.

Upper Deck vs. Topps, Part 8

Upper Deck fired back at the Topps deal with MLB by signing an exclusive right with the NCAA licensing group. This means that every card release that features college players in their respective school's uniforms will be on an Upper Deck product.

Here is the link to the article

I don't think this is good for anyone involved. Nor is it good for collectors. In fact, it is not even good for business. Competition keeps people in check, it makes them produce quality products at an affordable price so that the general target market will keep coming back. It is basic fundamental economics. I have said it before already that there is nothing good about exclusitivity rights so I am not going to expound on it again.

I will predict however, that Panini, Press Pass, Sage, and any other brand that features predominantly collegiate based releases will ultimately suffer. Or, they will just become some of the greatest airbrushings since Playboy.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Box Break - MJ Holding Co. Memorabilia Box (Football)

I have bought a few of these over the past couple years in both Hockey and Football and overall, I have been pretty satisfied. If you don't know, some retailers carry a box that claims 16 packs and 2 memorabilia cards inside for under $20. Many of these have yeilded me more than two jersey cards. In fact, a hockey box I purchased from Meijer a few months back had the two promised jersey cards (they are packed seperately, and 2 packs had other jersey cards and one had an auto.

I decided to pick another one up today, only this time it was a football box.

The box contained the following packs:

1 '08 Donruss Threads
1 '08 Press Pass
3 '06 Aspire
2 '07 Topps
1 '08 Playoff Absolute Memorobilia
1 '08 Stadium Club
2 '06 Topps
1 '06 Sage Hit
1 '06 Upper Deck
1 '05 Playoff Honors
1 '07 Upper Deck

There was also a huge pack inside that I had never seen before. It was a TriStar Hidden Treasures foil pack that said it contained 1 BCCG graded 9 or higher football card. Of course, this got me thinking what kind of awesomness could be nestled inside this pack. The labeling had all sorts of wonderful cards from the 40's and 50's. It also had illustrations of memorabilia pieces and autographs of some of the greatest players to ever put on a football helmet. It also was to contain a $10 coupon for grading, which basically equates to 1 free grade. This was going to be good!!

The tension was too much, I couldn't wait. I ripped open this one first. I saw the oversized plastic slab as I tore into the mylar foil. As I pulled it from the pack my anticipation level was at a fevered pitch and then....

Drew Bledsoe 1995 Fleer Pro-Vision graded 10? What the...? Was this it? A .25 cent card? Who grades a $.25 card? This has to be a mistake. Yeah, that's it. A mistake. Where is the note in here telling me I won something bigger?...

No note...

No grading coupon for that matter...

I think a little bit of me died today. Hopefully I will do better with the five other boxes I bought. God, I have a problem.

Monday, August 10, 2009

My collections...

I don't think I ever formally introduced my collections to the world.

Growing up in Pittsburgh, it is a given that I am a Pittsburgh sports fan. My personal collection is comprised of both Steelers and Penguins cards.

My Pirates collection has been stagnate since about 1996 when I stopped collecting baseball. I held onto the Pirates, thinking that someday they would return to their status as an elite National League team. I think the Cubs will win a series before the Pirates ever get back to form. The philosophy in Pittsburgh seems to be that there is no sense in spending money on a baseball team when you have two other perfectly good sports teams to compete with.

My Steelers collection is on version 3 as it is the third attempt at building a substantial collection. The first time was sold off back in 1993 after deciding to stop collecting football. The second time came after the 1995 Super Bowl debacle. The current incarnation was only started in 2004 with the draft class featuring Big Ben. I wish I could make a substantial impact to this but most of the bloggers/forum traders/dealers that I work with seem to keep their Steeler cards for their own collections.

My Penguins collection has been accumulated over the past 20 years. I have small player collections of some of my favorite past Pens including Paul Coffey, Ron Francis, Joe Mullen, Kevin Stevens, Mark Recchi, Tom Barrasso, and Phil Bourque. I have some larger collections of Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr, the best 1-2 Punch in all of Hockey for about 12 years. Over the last few years, I have developed a small cluster of cards from some of the current greats like Malkin, Crosby, Staal, Fleury, Letang, and Gonchar.

I keep reading on others blogs about these "packages" that they receive from readers. How does that whole thing work and how do I get in on it?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

An interesting take on "goonery"

Yeah, I made that word up but it is fitting for this topic. I was perusing some other blogs this morning and found one over at "Here Come The Bruins" that was very interesting. With the inductions into the hall of fame this year, they have taken it a step further by creating their own hall...the Hockey Hall of Hell.

Check out the article

This is a place reserved for the goons of the league and it got me thinking about all the players that I loved to hate when I was growing up. That list includes pretty much everyone who played on the teams in the old Patrick division against my beloved Pens.

Many people feel that the enforcer position is a thing of the past and that with the rule changes, there is no need to "goon it up" on the ice. I disagree because with the open ice play, there is more opportunity for star players to be destroyed in open ice. Protection and "message sending" is some of the most entertaining hockey, in my opinion. Now I am not defending random fighting for no reason. However, as part of a very physically and mentally draining game, I think it is part of what makes hockey great.

Any thoughts?...