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Saturday, February 27, 2010

More F.U.N. from your friends at NSA


If it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck, and sounds like a duck, well then...

Check out Gellman's latest article on everyone's favorite sports authenticators, NSA.  There has been some talk on the blogs and boards as of late about the authenticity of this company and whether their jersey card 1/1's that seem to be getting huge bids on Ebay are legit.  I for one never believed it in the first place but not everyone was as lucky to not fall for it. 

Go here and read this article.

Drop your gloves and fight...a new trade post

Ok, so I haven't posted anything of significance in a while.  The only things that have caught my attention lately are the basic firings of the various 30+ year old football heroes we have grown accustomed to over the past 8-10 years.  You know, the ones that have pretty much single handedly helped each of us fortunate souls to win our respective fantasy football leagues.  Yeah, those ones.  

Most of my time has been taken up by watching the rest of the Olympic hockey tournaments and working on trades with some fellow bloggers out there.  I was doing my seemingly endless posts that recapped the games but there are about a hundred other bloggers out there that are doing the same thing, and doing it better I might add.  Instead, I have chose to sit back and relax for a few days while everyone else writes about all the things that I have postulated to write about as well but haven't gotten the gumption to do so.

So here is my first post in a few days of any relevance and it is a trade post from my new friend Casey over at Drop The Gloves (or if you prefer).  Casey contacted me about some cards that I might need for some sets as well as a potential Pirates GU card of which I was not currently in possession of.  In the spirit of card blogging, here is some of what I received. 

2009-10 Upper Deck Series II Hockey - I received 9 cards from my wantlist for the set completion.   Some of these included the Canadian everyone loves to hate, Roman Hamerlik, as well as Marty Turco, Antero Niitymaki, and Steve Ott.  I updated my list.

2010 Topps Baseball Series I - I also received 10 cards toward my first Topps baseball set to collect in over 15 years.  Some of these included Zach Duke, Bengie Molina, and a few league leaders cards. I updated my list.

In addition to these base cards, I also received my first Game Used card for Baseball...and it's a Pirate.
2010 Upper Deck UD Game Jersey Evan Meek

There is a jersey there, I swear.  The scan makes it look empty in that whole.  There were also two Turkey Reds from 2010 that I was looking for.

2010 Topps Josh Hamilton Turkey Red

2010 Topps Josh Beckett Turkey Red

There is just something about these cards that I am really digging.  I don't know if it is the cabinet framing that makes them pop for me or the crazy background images that really make no sense with the rest of the picture.  Either way, I am in need of two less for my set.

In addition to the TRs and the GU Jersey, there were also some cards from the Legendary Lineage set and the Tales of the Game set, both of which I am slowly piecing together.

2010 Topp Honus Wagner/Hanley Ramirez Legendary Lineage
I said I kind of like this set...I didn't say I understood it.

The Mantle commemorates his home run in the 11th inning against the A's back in 1963.  The homer that some say went as much as 734 feet, the longest ever in Yankee Stadium.  I doubt it went even close to that far but who is to doubt the stories of the old guard?

The second one shows Topps officials dumping their excess warehouse full of 1952 third series cards into the Hudson River.  You couldn't have had any reason to want these, could you?

And finally, we have the infamous Ortiz jersey that was dug up in the new Yankee stadium after officials learned it had been buried there by a Boston fan back in 2007.  Aren't superstitions a bitch?

So thank you very much for the awesome cards Casey.  I will be plotting my revenge pay back reciprocity real soon.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

And another one gone, another one gone...

In the latest of the "Over The Hill" gang firings, it looks like Julius Peppers is now out of a job from Carolina.  Well technically they didn't cut him loose but they might as well have.  They opted not to put the franchise tag on him, making him an unrestricted free agent. 

Peppers had 10.5 sacks last season and 14.5 the year before.  Hardly the work of a player in his waning days of his career (although his 2.5 in 2007 was quite forgettable).  If the Panthers would have kept him, he would have cost over $21 million for 2010 and they just weren't willing to risk it. 

So what do these last three (Tomlinson, Westbrook and Peppers) have in common?

They all turned 30 recently.  What is it about that number...30?  Are guys suddenly incapable of performing once they turn 30?  Are their bodies suddenly no longer able to compete at the high level of play in the NFL?  I do know this, I bet I can count on one hand the teams that won't be interested in him this off-season.  I think he is going to have to be willing to take a pay cut in order to play, but play he will.  Maybe Atlanta?  Possibly Tampa Bay?  Maybe Pittsburgh?  NOT!!

Another one bites the dust

In the latest purging of the old guard, the Philadelphia Eagles released Brian Westbrook, another of my perennial fantasy running backs.  Westbrook, to me at least, was the best two-way offensive player in the game up until a few years ago when the wheels started to fall off the wagon.  He could burst out of the backfield like no other back and was a dual threat to catch a slant pass across the middle and take it for a TD.  But as I said, that was before all the injuries.

Though he ran like one, good thing he isn't a racehorse.  The Eagles obviously didn't want to shell out the over $7 million it would have taken to keep him on the roster so they cut him loose yesterday.  Unlike Tomlinson, I think Westbrook might not find himself a home during the offseason.  If he does, it will probably be on another one of those proverbial "contender" teams and only unleashed in gadget type plays. 

I will say this, Westbrook was one of my all time favorites to watch play.  Despite my hatred for anything not Pittsburgh (especially Philadelphia) he was one player I respected and always would make the time to check out.  I know I would welcome him as a backup to Mendenhall.  I'm just saying...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Trade with Blog Reader Michel (Part 3)

Here is part three and the final post for this trade.  Not that I wouldn't like to post everything but there is just so much I'd be posting for months.  There were also some Kurt Warner's that I needed in here as well as some linebacker cards for my future experimental collection I am still tinkering with.

Part 3 is the Pittsburgh Steeler portion of our show.  This, or course, yielded some very awesome cards.  I will let the scans speak for themselves.







Thanks again Michel for the great trade!!

Guess What's On PK's IPOD?

Entertainment Weekly decided to get in on all this Olympic's feeding frenzy and published an article about music. 

They interviewed various US Olympic athletes about what music inspires them or gets them fired up for their respective competitions. 

Check out the article on Patrick Kane's choices for songs he listens to before beating up on cab drivers Canadians.

EW's Interview with Patrick Kane

A little less LighTning in San Diego

Well the honeymoon is over.  And for that matter, the marriage.  After nine phenomenal seasons, the San Diego Chargers released arguably the greatest running back of the modern era, LaDainian Tomlinson.

I think anyone who pays close enough attention to the NFL was not surprised by this move, nor was I.  LT was due to make $5 million for 2010 as well as being paid a roster bonus of another $2 million in March.  Paying a guy that has become hampered by injuries in the last few years that kind of money for sitting on the bench was not in the Charger's budget even though he still had 2 years left on his contract. 

I guess the real question is where will he end up?  I don't think he is done yet.  If he can stay healthy, he probably could play in most systems for another 2-3 years, albeit in a much diminished role.  Something tells me that won't be to his liking though.  He has already publicly said that he wants to play for a contender. 

My only question is why did he waste the last nine years in San Diego then?

So who is on the short list of teams that may have interest?  I am no speculator but from a attentive observers position, I can think of at least a dozen teams that could be, if not should be, interested in his services.  The Texans have already said they are "afraid" of older backs and are going to take a pass, despite having one of the worst running attacks in the NFL last year.  I see other contenders like the Patriots (why not?) or the Packers.  Or how about the Vikings?  I know they have Chestor Taylor as a backup to AP but could you imagine a 1-2 punch combo with AP and LT?  I'm only saying...
Who wouldn't want the services of a man with this resume? 

**2nd All Time - Rushing TDs (138)
**3rd All Time - Total TDs (153)
**8th All Time - Rushing Yards (12,490)
**2 Time Rushing Title Champion (2006, 2007)
**NFL MVP - 2006

I know I did.  He was my primary back for fantasy football for four years out of the 11 I have played.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Trade with Blog Reader Michel (Part 2)

This is the second installment of the trade haul I received from blog reader Michel.  I'm starting to wonder if this trade was evenly distributed?...

This is the Pittsburgh Penguins portion of the trade.  There aren't many Pens cards but the ones that are here are awesome.


-Here we have Brooks Orpik and Marc-Andre Fleury from this years MVP release.  Love these cards and their silver script signature replicas.  There is also another Flower Total D card.  I was going to try to collect this entire set but I was deterred by it's size.
-There is a Malkin from this years Artifacts set.  I think this one is a double but now one can go in his player album.  The other Geno is an Ultra Scoring King card.  I have the Crosby already.
-Two different Sidney Crosby cards.  One is a Captains Calling insert from last years Upper Deck set I think.  The other is a Gold Medallion Ultra parallel.  My first Gold Medallion Crosby card too.
-My favorite enforcer sits right there in the middle, Georges Laraque.  I always wished the Pens would have spent the extra money and kept him on for protection.  Plus his auto is cool.  It always looks to me like it's upside down.

-The once phenomenally awesome Patrick Lalime.  He had a pretty solid year for the Pens in 96-97 going 21-12-2 but his tenure was short lived when he was traded to the Ducks for Sean Pronger (another Pens bust).  I think he sits on the depth chart of the Sabres now.
-A Ron Francis card that I thought I had until I realized this was the Starting Lineup version.  Upon further review, I do have this card, only it is still in the package with his Starting Lineup.
-Why Stefan Bergkvist even has a regular issue card is beyond me.  He was a first round draft pick bust in 1993 and only ended up playing 7 games over two years for the Pens.  As a comparison, that's only 7 games more than I have.  I think he later went to play in the Swedish Elite League.
-Jaromir Jagr.  What more can be said?
-Rob Brown 1990 Upper Deck.  I always remember how much better Rob looked by playing with Mario.  He was part of the Pens "Double Trouble" team (wearing 44) back in the early 90's along with Mario (66), Paul Coffey (77), Zarley Zalapski (33), and later Paul Stanton (22) and Larry Murphy (55).  Good times.
-Bob Errey and Randy Hillier from the 1990 Score "Candy Striper" set.  For anyone not a fan of the Pens, Errey is now a broadcaster for the Pens games.

Trade With Blog Reader Michel (Part 1)

A blog reader named Michel contacted me about a trade for some of his set needs.  I was more than happy to help a fellow collector out but had no idea what was in store for me in the end.

No, there was no bipping.  Didn't you hear?  Bipping has gone the way of the dinosaur.  Instead, I was greeted with a small box of Pittsburgh gold.  I scanned all the good stuff and I thought I would share.  I am going to have to break it down because it is action packed full of stuff for my team collections.  Thanks to Michel and his generosity.

First I am posting the Pittsburgh Pirates that he was so kind to send me.  Of course, since this is a fairly new adventure, I needed 99% of all of these cards.

The best part about this page is right there in the center.  'Nuff said.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

USA!!! USA!!! USA!!!

All I can say is WOW!!!

If you aren't a hockey fan, I'm sorry.  I truly am sorry.  You are missing out.  Even if you aren't, today's games could easily convert the non believers. 

The Team USA vs. Team Canada matchup has had the epic battle label attached to it since the Olympic games were announced to be held in Vancouver.  There was so much hype leading up to this game that I was so skeptical that it would fail on an epic scale.  Thank God I was wrong.  I think the majority of the game, I spent standing on my feet in nervous anticipation.

This game had it all.  Great scoring chances, awesome goaltending, hard hits, and plenty of emotion that you usually only see in NHL playoff hockey.  For these guys, it was a playoff game.  A playoff on a global scale.  This, afterall, is Canada's game.  Not only is there a certain pride involved with winning this thing, but the winner will get a bye through the first round of the semi finals.  The losing team may actually have to play an additional game in the preliminary round.  The USA had everything to win and Canada had it all to lose.

The crowd was into the game from the opening face off.  Chants of CANADA and USA went back and forth throughout the game.

All game long, it was back and forth with each team trying to top the other.  My favorite play of the game had to be with less than 4 minutes left when Canada was on a power play.  Miller made three beautiful saves in a row as he was sprawling across the goal crease.  Crosby was able to redirect a Rick Nash pass less than a minute later to bring Canada within 1 goal.  Sometimes a little bit of luck makes all the difference. 

It didn't matter though.  Ryan Kessler was able to race down the ice and make a diving swat at the bouncing puck into an Brodeur-less net.  The USA came out with the win, giving them either 1st or 2nd place in the division. Canada will have to play Germany on Tuesday and their elephant just keeps getting bigger.

I don't know what else to write.  That game was phenomenal!!  This was the best birthday present I could have ever asked for.  I need a nap.  USA!!  USA!!  USA!!!

Box Break - - 2009-10 Upper Deck Series II Hockey

2 Blaster boxes from Wally World that somehow jumped into my hands without me knowing.  I was in the automotive section at the time so it seemed strange to me too.

In all seriousness though, Series II is out!!  Alex Ovechkin graces the box cover as well as the packs.  He is the Yang to Series I cover-boy Sidney Crosby's Yin.  Time to finish off the set.  If anyone has doubles or triples or just plain doesn't want what they have...I'm listening.

2009-10 Upper Deck Series 2
12 Packs/Box
5 Cards/Pack
60 Cards/Box
200 Card Base Set + 50 Young Guns SPs

I pulled 44% of base set:

(12) Doubles

(6) Victory Update (258, 265, 267, 288, 291, 295)

(1) Victory Update Gold (#263 Craig Anderson)

(5) Victory Update Rookies

(#302 Brad Marchand, #306 Ryan O'Reilly, #316 Cody Franson, #328 Steven Zalewski, #334 Jonas Gustavsson)

(4) Young Guns
(#468 Danny Irmen, #474 Colin Wilson, #479 Vladimir Zharkov, #494 Michael Grabner)

4 Inserts 
(#PP1 Alexander Ovechkin - Playoff Performance, #PP4 Henrik Zetterberg - Playoff Performance)


(#GEM20 Tomas Vokoun - Draft Day Gems)

(#HH19 Mark Messier - Hockey Heroes)

Being one of my yearly sets I try to build, I went into this thinking I could knock out a chunk of the set with the potential for 120 total cards out of the 200 in the base.  I forgot about the fact that the Victory Update cards are randomly inserted into Series II packs.  That cut down on my base chances by 12.  Plus, with the 4 inserts and 4 Young Guns, I was only able to pull 100 base cards.  12 of those were then doubles so instead of half, I only ended up with 88 cards out of 200.

I really like the Messier Heroes set, much better than the Brodeur set from Series I.  Even though the design is the same, I guess the mystique of Mark Messier and the fact that he is now retired makes him more of a legitimate "Hero".  The Playoff Performers are not bad, clean looking, lots of color, but remind me more of something that should be in Collector's Choice or MVP, not the flagship set.  I still like the Draft Day Gems series.  I think the concept is good and the player selection isn't bad for the set.  The base cards are the same design as Series I. 

My want list for this set is now posted.

Happy B-Day

To Me. 

I wonder what I will get me?