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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.