Friday, October 30, 2009

Coats for Cards

With two games now having been played in the World Series, and with the prospect of having only five (maybe fewer) games remaining in the whole season, I need to post this collecting occurrence that took place during the last game I attended at Miller Park this year. On Friday, September 25, my Brewers played host to the Philadelphia Phillies. At this point in the season, you begin to reflect upon the fairly large span of time that a baseball season covers. Gloved hands holding cold brews on Opening Day...
...eventually give way to shorts, flippy-floppies, and parking lot sunscreen. More time passes, your team fades from relevance, and before you know it, you're cheering on a spoiler while making sure your hooded sweatshirt is packed in your tailgating bin. Fall has arrived, with winter yet to come. Preparations need to be made, boxes need to come down from the attic. It's time to bundle up.

Then you realize, there are those less fortunate in this world.

During the first few innings of this game, Brewers Charities sponsored a coat collecting promotion. The premise was simple: You hand over a used-but-still-nice winter coat, and in return you receive a Ryan Braun collector's pin.

Here's the coat I donated.

By my recollection, I have owned this coat since the winter of 1997-98. My parents visited me one weekend during my first year of college, took me out to dinner, then took me to get a winter coat. For the next twelve winters, my upper half stayed warmer than you would ever believe, and all the while I felt like I could have been playing an extra in Beautiful Girls. Yeah, I would have fit right in with this group of chuckleheads.

My darling wife had been leaving hints over the past year or so that it was time for an upgrade in the coat department. I wish I had set something next to the coat for purposes of scale, because it's hard to tell from the picture that in a pinch, the coat could have been used as a sleeping bag. So I suppose this was a promotion I couldn't pass up. Here's the Braun pin. It lacks the baseball stitching motif that a Prince Fielder pin from a few years ago had, but it's still nice.

Big thanks have to go out to my mom, who was the one who alerted me to the coat drive. Before I went to the game, she made sure she would get her own Braun pin by bringing over a coat of my dad's she was donating on his behalf. The hooded Wisconsin Badgers pullover is a monstrosity I wouldn't be caught dead in (for stylistic reasons, not fanatical ones), and I don't think my dad had a hard time parting with it either.

I hope there's a homeless Badger fan out there sleeping a little bit warmer tonight.

Oh, and more Nightmares on Cardboard results tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Nightmares on Cardboard II: Fourth Place

I know you've all been waiting with baited breath for the spookified Halloween card results, and now you need to wait no longer. I've actually been watching a lot of horror films during the month of October, almost exclusively so. To be honest, I've gotten sort of burned out on them, and this should get me back into the Halloween spirit. (By my recollection, I've viewed Near Dark, Land of the Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), Dawn of the Dead (2004), The Vanishing (original, not the American remake), Scanners, High Tension, May, and last night's screening of Nosferatu. Any input you would like to share on any of these films is welcome. I've seen all of them previously except Nosferatu. I was pleasantly surprised to find how much I enjoyed DotD upon second viewing. Fast zombies kick more ass than the Surgeon General recommends!)

Anyways, back to the cards. I was happy that more participants took part in this year's contest, and because the standard has been set so high, the quality has gone up. Coming in at fourth place is Mark from Mark's Ephemera.

1992 Score #311 Jeff Reed

Really great work on the viscera. Sometimes those collisions at the plate can be murder. Just ask Jeff. Unfortunately, I can't give Mark any extra points for thinking the mystery film was Tobe Hooper's Texas Chainsaw Massacre, although that one is among the greats. Which reminds me... what the world needs is a Franklin trading card. You know, the really super annoying guy in the wheelchair?! Most horror movie characters deserve to die, but Franklin deserved to die twice.

The blurb on the back is quite good. Extra props for referencing Patrick McGoohan. His performance in Scanners was memorable, even when all he had to do was sit and talk down to a bunch of guys is suits. Eerily enough, Jeff Reed, like David Cronenberg, is Canadian. If we look at published demographic data, we find that 3.98 out of every 100,000 Americans are killed in handgun homicides each year, while only 0.4 out of every 100,000 Canadians meet the same fate. Going against conventional wisdom, however, chainsaw-related deaths afflict Canadians at a rate nearly twelve times that of their friendly neighbors to the south. Sorry, Jeff Reed, you are a statistic.

(Editor's note: One of the above figures is in fact true, while the other is false. It's best not to name this blog as a source for your big sociology paper.)

Bottom Line: CAUGHT

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ever Mis-label Something?

Why would you give your auction this title? Was this seller trying not to sell this card?

My guess is that the seller is not a card collector, found a bunch of stuff at an estate sale or something like that, picked the first name s/he saw, and put it up for sale. Which reminds me, I have to hurry up and list my Jeff Schneider rookie card so I can assure myself of a top-dollar sale.

Stupid seller... everybody knows that's a Bo Diaz rookie card.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Robin Yount, Skittles Edition: Taste the Rainbow

It's my birthday today, and here's how you can give me a present. I've recently purchased one of the last cards I need to complete the parallel set of 2005 Playoff Prestigious Pros rainbow of Robin Yount cards. In total, I have eight of these cards, which are serial numbered from as many as 900 all the way down to 25. Here's the list of what I've got:
2005 Donruss Playoff Prestige Prestigious Pros #PP-19 Blue (581/900)
2005 Donruss Playoff Prestige Prestigious Pros #PP-19 Red (497/700)
2005 Donruss Playoff Prestige Prestigious Pros #PP-19 Orange (460/500)
2005 Donruss Playoff Prestige Prestigious Pros #PP-19 Green (090/350)
2005 Donruss Playoff Prestige Prestigious Pros #PP-19 Purple (138/200)
2005 Donruss Playoff Prestige Prestigious Pros #PP-19 Bronze (003/100)
2005 Donruss Playoff Prestige Prestigious Pros #PP-19 Gold (48/50)
2005 Donruss Playoff Prestige Prestigious Pros #PP-19 Platinum (25/25)

The purple one came earlier this week. I'd been watching it on eBay for quite a few months, and an influx of PayPal cash made me pull the trigger. They nearly fill a nine-pocket page, shown below. These cards scan for shit, which is a shame because of all the interesting colors chosen. Actually, the colors are pretty hard to see clearly in person, so here's the list of what you're looking at, starting at the top left:
Bronze, Gold, Red,
Purple, Platinum, Orange,
Green, Blue

The gift you can give me, readers, is the gift of knowledge. I need to know how close I am to completing the rainbow. I was not collecting cards at the time these were printed, so I am unaware of many of the details of this set. I have found one Prestigious Pros Black parallel of Jim Palmer numbered to 10, but have never seen one of Yount. Are there any more I should know about?

As a footnote, today is the day I set as the deadline for the second annual Nightmares on Cardboard contest. I have made arrangements for a couple of late entries, so if you have something you'd like to turn in for full credit, just let me know and I'll grant you an extension. I'd like to start sharing the results soon, so watch those margins, folks!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Contemporary Oddball: 2009 Fan Pak!

Let me begin by saying that I can't believe I've scooped Wax Heaven on this product. I would have fully expected their Man on the Street to have purchased a full box of these and scanned more images than I will ever own by now, but this is not the case.

Actually, this is the second greatest news of the day. I happened to have found these "cards" at a Target that has recently been remodeled and expanded and has now begun to sell... BEER! I can now buy cards and beer at the same store. Oh Glorious Day! A song needs to be written about this type of thing, but my name's not "Cat," and I'm not about to convert to Islam.

So let's get to the cards. The pack I selected has Ichiro and Jimmy Rollins on the front, but I also saw one with Big Papi and someone else. Honestly, I wasn't looking that hard, as I neglected to pick out a basket and was carrying a bunch of stuff in my arms at that point and just wanted to check out. The wrapper promises a lot of stuff in the package, and boy, does it deliver! Here's what I got:

Let's tear in.

Top to Bottom:
48 Jim Thome Standee
These are very much like the Donruss Satnd-Ups of the late-20th century, but awesomer. All of the cards in the pack have the dimensions of a perfect square. I have the urge to punch this one out, but I have a feeling Steve from White Sox Cards might want this, so I'll refrain. I'll wait until I get another one.

The backs of these cards have a shadow image and a bunch of trivia questions that you can answer by holding your card up to a mirror. At last, newspaper fun page technology has seeped into the card universe.

38 Daisuke Matsuzaka Standee

Ah, here's another one right away. Let's fold it.

The graphic on the back was actually quite helpful. These things have one extra perforation that is not necessary to the presentation. I have to say that these are pretty awesome, in a Thanksgiving centerpiece kind of way. I could see myself buying a dozen packs of these, placing them in front of empty place settings on November 26 this year, and having my guests guess which player represents themselves the best as a way to find their proper seat. Good times. Maybe more than a little crying.

5 Alex Rodriguez Top Stories

These things don't fold out, but we get a pretty nice faux-magazine article about A-Rod's 500th home run in 2007. I'm just guessing here, but there probably won't be a 500-card mirror set commemorating this feat in this product. Out on a limb, I know.

31 Jon Lester Top Stories
The back salutes Lester's defeat of the deadly cancer. Even Yankee fans must stand up and applaud this. Or maybe you wish he had died. I don't know, I don't exactly have my finger on the pulse of this rivalry..

71 Trivia and Mini-Games
These are truly getting more and more like a Sunday-funnies games comic. On the front we have a bunch of questions, one of which comes in under the title "Triple Play." I find this appropriate, because when opening this pack, I found these cards very comparable to something like 1993 Donruss Triple Play.

On the back, all of life's questions are answered. I like these, and I would have sat under my covers with a flashlight memorizing the facts if these had been released when I was of bedtime-having age. To be honest, I still might do this tonight.

T17 fanTats (Giants, Indians, MLB)
This would have made early-Upper Deck's hologram stickers look like pressed-and-dried feces back in the day. A choice between a wicked cool tattoo and a sticker is like selecting between a a free homework pass and a punch in the face to a your average 9-year-old. I'm guessing Tribe Cards might want that spectacular Indians tat, so for the moment, my sinewy bicep goes unadorned. Perhaps we can work out a trade.

All in all, an awesome product. I just wish there was a way to properly house these cards. I am genuinely impressed by a newcomer to the scene like EnterPlay hitting a home run in its initial sports effort. Their website indicates a strong Nintendo presence within its product line, although they seem to have rolled out a very similar NHL product before the MLB stuff hit store shelves. Funny thing is, these are licensed cards, and Upper Deck won't be able to touch those sweet logos come next season. Do we have a new power player on the scene? Probably not, but it would be interesting to see them try. But at $1.99 per pack, this is easily the best fun-to-cost ratio in card collecting at the moment.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Why is the United States Mint Fucking With Me?

If you've paid cash for anything over the past decade or so, you've probably noticed the U.S Mint's 50-States Quarter Collection. And if you're anything like me, you have a collecting itch that can be scratched by just about anything. Now, I never really set out to acquire and display all twelve dollars and fifty cents of this clever scam by our government to take billions of these quarters out of circulation -- thereby netting billions of dollars in profit (If you care to read more on the subject, check this article out.) -- it just sort of happened. For one Christmas somewhere within the first few years of the quarter rollout, my parents gave my siblings and me the 50 States Quarters book seen below.

The book itself is actually pretty nice, a cut above some of the other stuff I've seen out there that has been sold to house these coins. There's a booklet on the inside that displays facts, flags, and other information about each of our fifty states. If I was eight years old when receiving this, I would have mentally devoured it. I was in my 20s, however, so in my youth I had to rely on the wooden USA state outlines puzzle that let me know that cars were made in Michigan and that Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island are all stuck together in one big clump.

As time went by, whenever I got an unfamiliar quarter in change, I stuck it into the book. The book stayed in the junk drawer of at least four apartments or houses, nestled safely among the pens, paper clips, and a still-unopened Star Wars Power of the Force figure of Grand Moff Tarkin. As of this moment, I somehow still need the Oklahoma quarter to complete my collection. This empty space openly mocks me whenever I peruse this book, pointing at me and laughing because I've had at least a year to chase it down. I don't even know what's on the OK quarter, and I refuse to look it up because I'd like to be surprised when I eventually come across it.

My beef, however, is not with the missing piece to my collection, but with the addendum to it. Imagine my surprise when I fish through a pocketful of change and suddenly find a new, shiny, sharply-ridged quarter featuring... the DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA?!?! What the fuck?!?! Where is this quarter going to go in my book? Should I break out the Scotch tape?

This is a slap in the face to everyone who's been on board and helped devalue our currency since 1999. Delaware may have been the first state, but now I feel that anyone who saved one of these was just first in line to take one right in the pooper.

Aw, fuck... GUAM!!!! I give up. I guess that there's no point in trying to fit this collection into my book.

As it turns out, The US mint announced in December of 2008 that more US territories are on the way this year, including Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the US Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Shit, if I was a Northern Marianan, I would feel like more of a real United States citizen with that sweeping gesture. Looks like someone wants me to buy a 50 State + 2009 DC US Territories Quarter Album Book. Fuck that. I give up. I believe my grandma was collecting these from the beginning and had a nice little thing to put them in as well, but she passed on before she could finish. I never heard my grandma curse in my life, but Im throwing in a "Fuck you" to the US Mint on her behalf.

I'm gonna go get a soda. Vermont and Kansas, it looks like your time has come.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pack Break: 2009 Topps Ticket to Boredom

So long as Upper Deck resists the temptation to release Documentary II this year, I'm calling Topps Ticket to Stardom the worst set of the year. While there are exceptions that prove the rule, any card design that neglects to incorporate either team colors or team logos will fail. All this design has going for it is a subtle colored frame around the player picture. Aside from that, I have no idea that a card with so much white space could look so muddled. These are cards only a mother could love, and my mom stopped collecting in 1975. Yet, this set has people out there buying it, and a little research helped me discover just who wants these cards. After revealing each card in the retail fat pack I bought recently, I'll let you know who's clamoring for this card.

Just look at that pack. Who in their right mind would pluck this from the shelves? Target, you had me at Bella Sara, but my heart would not listen.

Let's tear in.

Top to Bottom:
65 Jorge Cantu (Representatives from three of the top five eye-black manufacturers in metropolitan Miami, hoping against hope they can get Cantu to endorse their product.)

62 Cameron Maybin (Jefferson Perhabin and Remington Feasibin, charter members of Quasi-Synonymous Last Name Club.)

89 Josh Willingham (Former manager Manny Acta, longing for the human contact he once enjoyed, but has been missing since mid-season.)

194 Michael Young (Arlington-area tattoo artists in search of unspoiled arm canvas, a rare commodity in the Rangers locker room.)

37 Kenji Johjima (Intro to World Cinema students writing papers on Ugetsu monogatari, getting sidetracked, doing anything else to continue procrastinating.)
(Editor's Note: If you get that one without having to Google anything, you are alright in my book.)

126 Jason Varitek (All Red Sox fans. You can have this card for five dollars. This will prove how much you love your team.)

215 Phil Coke (RC) Die-Cut Parallel (Ric-rac Preservation Society of Southern New England, est. 1983.)

35 Felix Hernandez (Nobody.)

99 Paul Maholm (Pittsburgh-area Maholm super-collector who still pronounces Maholm incorrectly.)

80 Scott Rolen (Ironic Limp Bizkit YouTube video creators is search of an image for the refrain of their latest creation.)

8 Justin Morneau (Twins collectors with self-esteem issues severe enough to prevent them from collecting Kirby Puckett cards, yet at the same time too mild to push them into collecting Joe Mauer cards.

59 Ubaldo Jimenez (Jhoulys Chacin. Yes, it is getting a little bit creepy, according to Jimenez.)

187 A.J. Burnett (Towel-pie enthusiasts.)

132 Dan Haren (Hiroo Onoda, who has been fervently cheering on Haren and the Oakland Athletics since setting up camp deep in the Philippine mountains in May of 2007.)

Obviously, no one in their right mind will collect these cards.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

CC: Crisis on Infinite Teams

The latest card to be released depicting CC Sabathia as a Milwaukee Brewer in some fashion comes from the 2009 Upper Deck Ballpark Collection.

2009 Upper Deck Ballpark Collection Stat kings Quad Swatch (w/Hoffman, Santana, Garza) #288 (082/500)

He shares the stage with a bunch of other pitchers, with Hoffman being perhaps the most interesting co-subject. These two guys passed like the proverbial ships in the night, with Trevor arriving less than three weeks after CC signed with the Yankees.

Other than that, I suppose this card is part of the subset "Dudes Who Used to Play With Other Dudes, But Who Now Play With a Completely Different Set of Dudes." The choices on this card are a little weird, with Santana and Garza not having pitched for the Twins since 2007. There's another CC card in this set that still has him on the Indians. Woe to the blogger who organizes a box/case break of this stuff and has people sign up by team. Sounds like a nightmare.

2008 Topps Updates & Highlights #UH300
2008 Topps Updates & Highlights #UH300 Gold Foil
2008 Topps Updates & Highlights #UH300 Gold (0313/2008)
2008 Topps Updates & Highlights #UH300 Black (56/57)
2008 Topps Updates & Highlights #UH300 Magenta Printing Plate (1/1)
2008 Upper Deck Timeline #39
2008 Upper Deck Timeline #39 Gold
2008 Upper Deck Timeline #162
2008 Upper Deck Timeline #162 Gold Stamp
2008 Upper Deck Timeline #242
2008 UD Documentary #3048 MIL103
2008 UD Documentary #3138 MIL106
2008 UD Documentary #3228 MIL109
2008 UD Documentary #3318 MIL112
2008 UD Documentary #3948 MIL133
2008 UD Documentary #4038 MIL136
2008 UD Documentary #4128 MIL139
2008 UD Documentary #4218 MIL142
2008 UD Documentary #4308 MIL145
2008 UD Documentary #4398 MIL148
2008 UD Documentary #4488 MIL151
2008 UD Documentary #4578 MIL154
2008 UD Documentary #4668 MIL157
2008 UD Documentary #4758 MIL160
2008 UD Documentary #4848
2008 UD Documentary #4398 MIL148 Gold
2008 Topps Stadium Club #10
2008 Topps Stadium Club First Day Issue SP #10 (463/599)
2008 Topps Satdium Club Photographer's Proof #10 (66/99)
2008 Topps Stadium Club Magenta Printing Plate #10 (1/1)
2008 eTopps #54 (344/499)
2008 Upper Deck Sweet Spot #18
2008 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection #27 (081/350)
2008 Upper Deck SP Authentic #44
2008 Upper Deck SP Authentic Marquee Matchups (w/Ordonez) #MM-31
2008 Upper Deck SP Authentic Marquee Matchups (w/Mauer) #MM-43
2008 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Micro Magnet
2009 Topps #170
2009 Topps #170 Gold Parallel (0949/2009)
2009 Topps #170 Black Parallel (28/58)
2009 Topps #170 Target Black
2009 Topps #170 Target Old School
2009 Topps Silk Collection (35/50)
2009 Topps Magenta Printing Plate #170 (1/1)
2009 Toppstown #TTT14
2009 Toppstown #TTT14 Gold Parallel
2009 Topps Vault First Edition Blank Back (1/1)
2009 Upper Deck #212
2009 Upper Deck Team Checklist #476
2009 Upper Deck #GJ-CS Game Jersey Triple Swatch "MIL" (45/99)
2009 Upper Deck O-Pee-Chee #OPC-6
2009 Upper Deck #GJ-CS UD Game Jersey Dual Swatch "52" (136/149)
2009 Upper Deck #R6 Rivals (w/some guy on some other team)
2009 Upper Deck #GJ-CS UD Game Jersey Gray Swatch "J"
2009 Upper Deck #GJ-CS UD Game Jersey Quad Swatch "GAME" (08/15)
2009 Upper Deck #GG-CS Stars of the Game
2009 Upper Deck Documentary #4903 MIL-NLDS2
2009 Upper Deck Spectrum Turquoise Parallel #54 (10/25)
2009 Upper Deck Spectrum Black Parallel #54 (16/50)
2009 Upper Deck Spectrum Red Parallel #54 (016/250)
2009 Upper Deck Spectrum Green Parallel #54 (82/99)
2009 Upper Deck Spectrum Blue Parallel #54
2009 Upper Deck Spectrum Jersey #54 (36/99)
2009 Upper Deck Spectrum Swatches #SS-CS (White Jersey)
2009 Upper Deck Spectrum #54 Magenta Printing Plate (1/1)
2009 Upper Deck Spectrum Swatches #SS-CS (Red, Blue, White, Silver Patch) (24/25)
2009 Upper Deck SPx #WM2-PS (w/Peavy, Game-Used White Jersey)
2009 Upper Deck A Piece of History #51
2009 Upper Deck A Piece of History Red Parallel #51
2009 Upper Deck A Piece of History Blue Parallel #51 (161/299)
2009 Upper Deck A Piece of History Green Parallel #51 (041/150)
2009 Upper Deck A Piece of History Cut From the Same Cloth (w/Zambrano) #CSC-ZS Gold (47/75)
2009 Upper Deck A Piece of History Cut From the Same Cloth (w/Zambrano) #CSC-ZS Red (49/99)
2009 Upper Deck A Piece of History Cut From the Same Cloth (w/Zambrano) #CSC-ZS Blue (923/999)
2009 Upper Deck A Piece of History Cut From the Same Cloth (w/Zambrano) #CSC-ZS Green (064/149)
2009 Upper Deck Goudey 4-in-1 (w/Santana, Hamels, Kazmir) Blue Frame #35-32
2009 Upper Deck Goudey 4-in-1 (w/Santana, Hamels, Kazmir) Red Frame #35-32
2009 Upper Deck Goudey 4-in-1 (w/Santana, Hamels, Kazmir) Green Frame #35-32
2009 Upper Deck Goudey Mini #112
2009 Upper Deck Goudey Mini Black Parallel #112 (10/21)
2009 Upper Deck Goudey Mini Blue Parallel #112
2009 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball Highlights #AGHS20
2009 Upper Deck Ballpark Collection Stat kings Quad Swatch (w/Hoffman, Santana, Garza) #288 (082/500)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Celebrity Pack Rip: Mike Schank - 2008 Topps Heritage

Today's celebrity pack buster is Mike Schank, Milwaukee resident and co-star of the documentary film American Movie. If you haven't seen American Movie, go out and rent it first, and then return to your computer and watch the clip, or find some other means of familiarizing yourself with the genius of Mike Schank. If you have seen the film, enjoy. I appreciate Mike taking the time out of his busy schedule to sit down and record this for me.

Not a bad pack, but nothing I needed.
Anybody but me see American Movie? Lots of the locales are all too familiar. Too bad the drive-in they shot some of the footage at is now gone. Good times.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

CC: He Got Game

This one has been sitting in my scanner file for quite some time. Now, I actually have a somewhat amusing post to go along with it.
2009 Upper Deck #GJ-CS UD Game Jersey Quad Swatch "GAME" (08/15)

And for all of you Office lovers out there...

A one...

... a two...

...a one, two, three, four...

Gimme a break,
Gimme a break,
Break me off a piece of that...

CC card?
Football cream?
Poison gas?
Fancy Feast! That's it! Maybe?

Any help here?