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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Redemption Song - A Tale Of Uncertainty

Everyone has had a problem...errr, wrong word choice.

Everyone has had an that isn't it either.

Everyone has had an experience with Redemption cards.  Yeah, that's the ticket.  Experiences can be defined as some type of contact with or observation of the facts or events surrounding the existence, ability to obtain or not obtain, or downright nastiness of a redemption card.  As such, those experiences are mostly unique (albeit sometimes repeated...over and over and over again).  You would be hard pressed to find ten collector's in a row that you could ask the question, "Have you had a bad experience with a redemption?" and not find at least one that has (in some circles, all ten may).

For as much as people get excited about getting the "hits" out of packs of cards, that excitement is sometimes filled with trepidation and uncertainty when those "hits" come out on those super thick, white cardboard slugs.  I am no different.  Let me walk you through my thought process when I unearth one of those scary scratch-offs.

My first reaction is joy.  I know that when I see a super thick card in my pack it can be one of three things.
  1. It is a "decoy" card with all the sexiness of a '52 Mantle you won on auction that was shipped in a PWE from a Canadian post office somewhere outside of Ontario (for those confused, that is bad).
  2. It is a "hit" and probably some type of memorabilia card because why else would it be so thick.
  3. It is a "hit" in the form of a "decoy" with a scratch and sniff sticker requiring the use of a coin which I no longer possess because I just used it to purchase the pack it came from.    
So I shuffle through the rest of the cards in the pack, hoping I won't be further disappointed by what was probably a knee-jerk reaction type purchase and I am getting annihilated on.  Then I see it.  The plain white cardboard slug with a manufactured sticker affixed mostly crooked and text that was printed using a dot matrix printer with recycled typewriter ribbon.  I quickly adjust my eyesight to squint mode so that I can decipher the half faded, half illegible text.  I then immediately realize what I have...either something nice or something, well, not so nice.

Let's assume nice for a moment...My brain reacts in a way that probably most collector's do in that if it isn't a redemption for a player in one of my PCs (either individual or team) I begin to contemplate whether this might be something I really need.  If I am at home and near a computer or my phone is charged and ready to go, I will hop online to see if there have been any of the redemptions or the cards they refer to actively moving on the open market (generally this is via Ebay, COMC, Collector Revolution, Beckett Marketplace, or a couple forums I joined at one time or another).  There is going to be a distinction in price usually between the redeemed cards and their place holders.  Sometimes, especially when a product is new and there is still some excitement, the unredeemed cards have a much higher demand and will get sometimes double, even triple the redeemed value (I can only assume people are paying for that uncertainty I talked about earlier).

Nice or not so nice, in most cases I balk on the selling of the redemption card.  I tried it once and it didn't work out in my favor.  I guess that is because I never can seem to time the market right.  Regardless, I am then left with two options, scratch or not scratch and find a trade partner.  Nine times out of ten, I'm trading with other bloggers/collectors.  They too understand the em...experiences with redemption cards and sometimes just don't want to deal with it.  I completely understand.  So the other 98% of the time, I'm left with no option but to scratch and hope for the best.  

I have personally dealt with Topps, Upper Deck, and Panini when it comes to redemptions but I have no first hand knowledge of trying to get anything back from the other manufacturers like Leaf, ITG, Press Pass, TriStar, or Sage (did I miss anyone?).  So I will just say this...I am one of the fortunate ones that has not had an instance of never receiving a redemption, receiving the wrong redemption, having to receive a replacement redemption, or being told "what redemption?" by a nameless customer service rep.  I know I'm in the minority and I know I must be one of the lucky ones.  The only experience that I have had to endure is the wait time because the act of waiting to receive a card you should have had in your hand in the first place is agonizingly painful.  

A lot can happen from the time a redemption request is made until the time that item reaches your hands.  Players can become injured.  Players can get traded.  Players can go into a slump or become social and public pariahs.  In some cases a player could die in the time it takes to receive your redemption.  What?  It could happen.  It might be a fringe-type freakish event, but it could happen.  But in that time you are waiting to receive the card, the worst thing that happens (I guess the death thing is really THE worst but...) is second guessing the decision to redeem it in the first place.  

I go back and forth with myself, wondering what I was thinking all the time.  It isn't healthy.  But I know I can't be the only one that does that.  In a world filled with collectors, filled with unopened packs, filled with eager-to-be-scratched cardboard, there has to be others that experience the same anxiety, the same uncertainty, the same lack of faith in the system as I (despite never being burned, yet).

There is more to this story.  This is only the beginning of another post down the line.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Call To Bloggers

I probably do this a couple times so if you are looking for content, go somewhere else for a minute.  I wanted to call out all the bloggers and readers of The Real DFG for a minute and request some assistance.

I have been noticing that over the last few months, readership seems to be down, not just on my blog but on many bloggers sites out there.  Now I'm not sure what to contribute that to.  Is it the new Google search BS that has been rocking the SEO world?  Is it the fact that the content we are creating isn't "read" worthy?  Is it just everyone on earth is just too busy?  I don't have an answer.  

But here is what I do know.  I have quite a few people that come here, not just for my witty and entertaining posts, but for the access to other blogs over here on the right hand side with my Dogfaced Daily.  This is my blogroll so to speak.  I try to keep it as updated, diverse, and comprehensive as I possibly can.  As such, I tend to deactivate any sites that haven't had any activity for more than 6 months.  I know we are all busy and sometimes get in a rut but even I don't generally go more than 6 months without posting something on one of my blogs.  

With that being said, I would like to encourage any one with a blog, any reader of this blog, or anyone in general to take a look at the blog roll over there.  If there is a blog that you feel should be there, comment with the address and I will try to add it.  If you used to see one and it has disappeared, let me know and I will check it and find out why.  Also, add me to your blog lists if you don't mind.  Follow my blog, this one or any of the others (although I don't post on the Garage much, if at all anymore...the actual garage kind of blew up).  Also follow me on Twitter or whatever else I have linked to over there.  I promise I won't bombard you with random tweets of what I am doing every waking moment of the day.  

I am extremely appreciative of all of you that read my drivel on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.  In one way or another, I think we are all dependent upon each other.  This is a great community.  I am very happy to be a part of it.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Pirates Are 18-1

So the last I checked, a bet on the Pirates winning the World Series was an 18-1 shot in Vegas.  Not the best I have seen but still something if you drop a pile of money on it.  But what is the real likelihood of that scenario?

I would say they have the same chance that anyone else has going in but a desire that far outweighs any other single team.  Yeah, I said it.  

The curse is over.  Not that we had some superstitious curse or anything silly like that but it has seemed like a curse.  The fact that they made it this far is basically a Pittsburgh Miracle in and of itself when I talk with other friends and family still back in the Burgh.  But you can't deny the fact that they did it playing great baseball.  Despite have a rag-tag bunch of players that most teams wouldn't have given a second thought to, or having only one "star" player on the roster, or having a pitching staff made up of guys that, lets be honest, most casual baseball fans have no idea about, they still won 94 games.  

Why?  They do it with great pitching, phenomenal defensive play, and decent offensive production.  They are where they need to be on the field to make the plays, the pitchers seeming know how to pitch to each and every batter they face, and they are able to put enough points on the board to stay in games to win.  So when it came down to the final inches of the season, they went all out, winning enough against the Cubs and sweeping the Reds in the final series.  They knew what they had to do and they did it, securing home field for this pivotal Wild Card game.

They don't care about the things myself and members of the fickle fandom of Pirates baseball say about them on a daily basis.  They don't care about my concerns about their abilities to wake up the bats and provide run support for their pitchers.  They don't care about the sports writers that say they are playing with "house money".  There is no such thing in their clubhouse.  If you ask anyone in that organization right now, they will tell you one thing.  They are playing to win the World Series.  That picture I posted the other day on here of the locker room celebration with all the champagne and beer flowing freely was misconstrued by many people out there.  The Pirates aren't that team that is just happy to be there.  They aren't that team that just squeaked in and are lucky to have survived.  They worked for this and they deserved to celebrate something that hasn't happened in 21 years.  

I watched those last few games very intently and paid close attention to the reactions, emotions, and mannerisms of the players as those games progressed.  I finally saw it.  I saw the desire.  I saw the passion.  I saw that raw emotion of guys that new they had something special.  These guys know what they did a few days ago and they are determined to make that last.  So am I.  No longer am I going to sit here and pretend that "just happy to be here" is an acceptable attitude for a downtrodden, broken, and beaten Pirates fan.  This team is for real, and it's World Series or bust.

Let's get this one at home, Bucs!!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday Steeler 6-pack

The third installment of a new "feature" here on The Real DFG is the Sunday Steeler 6-Pack.  Each Sunday of the NFL season, I will feature 6 random cards from my Pittsburgh Steelers' PC.  There is no rhyme or reason for any of them, just 6 random cards I pull out of one of my many boxes or binders of black and gold (and there are MANY) and maybe a comment or two.  We haven't won a game so far in 2013 but hopefully that will change this week in London.

Here We Go!

 2012 Leaf Draft Red David DeCastro Autograph

DeCastro had so much upside until last season when he took an injury that put him on the sideline for all of 2012.  This year was to be his big debut as a starter in Black and Yellow.  Now his legacy isn't his's the one he caused to Markice Pouncey in the first game of the season.  Pouncey is now out for the season and the Steelers are 0-3 without much protection for Ben up the middle.  Todd Haley said last week that he still thinks the incident is haunting DeCastro.  I don't know if that's the case or not but if it is, he needs to get past it.  Things happen.  This is going to be a long season.

 1992 Topps Dermontti Dawson

I don't know why this picture is so grainy.  I had to have cropped it from something instead of scan it.  I do have the card though (probably many of them.  Dawson is one of the latest Steeler inductions into Canton, back in 2012.

2006 Topps DPP Heath Miller

Boy it sure was nice to see HEEEEEATH out there last week against the Bears.  He only had 3 receptions for 35 yards but that option has been missing from Ben's repertoire all season.  His blocking skills and ability to catch the ball 5-10 yards down the field are unmatched.  This guy brings it, every game.

 2011 Tristar OBAK Football Mini Terry Bradshaw

Fresh out of college....this picture must have been taken not long after Terry donned the Black and Yellow.  Just think....He could have been a Bear.  Shudder.

 1984 Topps Jack Lambert

One of the most menacing players to ever put on a helmet.  This guy's face alone struck fear into opposing offenses.  He was a beast.  But I compare his style of play to today's guys.  I would guess in today's No Fun League, his 11 years of service would have netted him 44 games of suspensions and the equivalent of Peyton Manning's $18 Million/year salary in fines.  Give or take a few game ejections.  Now that's American football.

1969 Topps Bobby Walden

This Georgia Bulldog had been playing in the CFL and the Minnesota Vikings before coming to the Steelers in 1969.  He was their punter in Super Bowl IX and Super Bowl X.  You don't find many cards of punters in todays card releases.  I think the last ones come from Topps Total maybe?  I don't know.  There are probably some in the larger flagship Topps sets too I suppose.