Saturday, April 24, 2010

Box Break - 2009-10 Upper Deck Champ's Hockey (Box #3)

As I sit here watching my beloved Blue Jays take on the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and I take a break from sorting out details for my upcoming vacation, I thought I would post the third box of Upper Deck Champ's that I bought. Hopefully this box proves to be just as nice as boxes #1 and #2. For the pack odds breakdown click either link to the breaks.

Before we start........

Soundtrack - Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Real Emotional Trash

Okay, well this box break is going to be pretty quick as all there is left to post is the inserts and the hits. All commentary has been voiced so this is purely for enjoyment, and, I have truly enjoyed every bit of this product. Upper Deck has succeeded with the Champ's brand, I just hope they are around to continue this release.

Full Size Base Cards (blue border) - 48/100 (48%)
Mini Base Cards - 32/480 ( 6.6%)

Base cards are base cards, we have seen them enough times. I did challenge myself to play General Manager with this box and build three lines from what I pulled. I think I did pretty tell me.

Alex Delvecchio (LW) - Wayne Gretzky (C) - Jari Kurri (RW)
(How do you tell Wayne he can't line with Jari??)

Ted Lindsay (LW) - Mario Lemiuex (C) - Alexander Semin (RW)

Bobby Hull (LW) - Bobby Clarke (C) - Lanny McDonald (RW)

My guess is those lines would get me into the playoffs every year. I also pulled Bobby Orr, Tony Esposito and Scotty Bowman who would somehow make their way onto this team. I hear they were kinda good.

The five green border cards I pulled were really decent as well. I got Jeff Carter, Alexander Semin, Mario Lemieux, Vincent Lecavalier and Ted Lindsay.

The two red border cards belong to Daniel Alfredsson and James Neal. I also received a package in the mail this week from an eBay purchase that went towards me building this variation of the set. So a bit of a post hijack here but I got Sid The Kid for a decent price.

The one per box yellow border card is of one of my favorite players which is always a special card to pull. I got Al MacInnis.

A bonus hit in this box was one of the 1:80 pack seeded yellow border animal icon cards. I pulled Scott Niedermayer who has a couple Hawks or Falcons (I am pretty sure they are Falcons) perched over his hockey sticks.

Speaking of favorite players before, one of the mini cards I pulled is of a hometown hero and thus a player I collect.

I REALLY don't get why Upper Deck refuses to show Wayne in anything but a Rangers uniform. I see Ray Bourque in a Bruins uniform, not an Avalanche one. I see Bobby Orr in a Bruins uniform, not a Blackhawks one. Wayne retired with the Rangers but will ALWAYS be an Oiler. Sorry America, deal with it!!

The rookie mini cards were Peter Regin (OTT), Devan Dubnyk (EDM), Artem Anisimov (NYR), David Sloane (PHI) and Tyler Myers (BUF).

The Tyler Myers card was bittersweet because I was happy to get it but it served to remind me that Upper Deck has yet to fulfill my Rookie Redemption card from Artifacts for a serial #'d card of Tyler. When should one start to get bothered by the time it takes to ship a redemption? Is 5 months sufficient? C'mon Upper Deck, get it together!!

The Natural History collection cards were Great Horned Owl, Dromaeosaurus, Eastern Cougar, Albertosaurus and Eskimo Curlew.

This time I only received 3 of the Historical Figures minis and they were all Presidents. John Quincy Adams, William Henry Harrison and George W. Bush. The Adams card is sporting a big bulge under the 'C' in 'Historical', not exactly sure what it is. Kinda disappointed that through 3 boxes I did not pull the only card I REALLY wanted, Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Oh well, looks like I will need to keep buying packs until I hit him.

I lucked out on the one-per-box Wonders of the World minis and pulled two, Lake Baikal (home to 20% of the world's surface fresh water, cool stat) and Taj Mahal.

I was not expecting much from the hits this time around after the last box. After getting Crosby, Ovechkin and a Howe SP what else is there, right? Well, not to be disappointed these hits brought me right back down to earth.

The Jersey cards I pulled belonged to Tomas Vokoun (a nice black swatch), Wojtek Wolski (a VERY cool blue swatch) and a TERRIBLY mis-cut boring white swatch of Jeff Carter.

As much as I have liked this product, the Quality Control blows!! Upper Deck should be ashamed of all the mis-cut cards. I have contemplated sending the ones I have back to Upper Deck. I know a great number of people have done this before. If you have, could you please send me an email or comment about what the best and most successful way to return cards to Upper Deck and have them replaced? This failure is the only thing keeping me from loving this release.

The autograph from this box at least was not as bad as the last one. Andrew Cogliano has managed to score more points than he has spent years on this earth in three NHL seasons. The addition of the jersey number to his signature is a nice touch as well. Better than a scrub scribble.

The last hit of this box is the coloured-back variation mini. I got another red back card, this time it was of Brian Gionta of the Montreal Canadians.

As I have said multiple times already. Upper Deck Champ's is a set collector's dream, worth the look from a player collector's standpoint and for sub-set collectors it offers something for practically everyone. This box added 28 new cards to my base set which was light years beyond the last box. Out of three boxes I have pieced together 95% of the base 100-card set. The mini cards will offer a continued interest and a fair challenge to complete. Aside from the major disappointment at all the mis-cut cards I would have to give Upper Deck Champ's 2009-10 offering a fair grade of 'B-plus'.

Thanks for following along these three box breaks and contact me if you are working on this stuff. I always welcome trading partners. If you can help me build the Red Parallel set too, I would be eternally grateful.

Until next time here is out musical guests.......


Friday, April 23, 2010

Contest - Free Cards?? Who is not up for "FREE CARDS"

Just wanted to broadcast this contest that 'The Hamiltonian' is hosting on the hockey portion of their blog. I am by far not the wittiest person out there it the ether. I have read contributors, and I have the Root Beer laden keyboards to attest to the fact, that there are some funny-ass people out there.

Check out the contest

Put my sad, sophomoric contribution to shame. Let's get some funny stuff going.

Don't think creativity is not rewarded? You can win a SWEET, SICK, MOJO, (insert adjective here) jersey hit from an amazing product.

Put my entry to shame.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

An Experiment - Hypothesis proven, perhaps a Theory awaits

After being glued to YouTube and Thorzul's blog for the last couple days awaiting the latest upload from the 4-box break of 2009 Upper Deck 'A Piece of History' there was a pattern emerging that needed to be put to the test.

In the early 1990's when inserts began to be used as a marketing tool to promote the base product card, certain card manufacturers neglected to think through the whole process and simply packed each box with the requisite number of inserts. These inserts were always packed in the same spot in the box. Those who discovered this usually kept the information to themselves and went to town on a freshly opened box of packs at their local hobby store.

Thankfully those days disappeared and things turned back in the favor of all collectors and the fairness returned to the land. Then pack searchers appeared and things have been the way they are since.

This is not a rant on pack searchers and I have already digressed from the purpose of this post enough.

What has become noticeable through Thorzul's breaks is that the 'A Piece of Hollywood' memorabilia cards in the 2009 edition of APoH appear to have sunk to the bottom of the box. I decided to put this to the test and stopped by one of the card shops that I know had some of this on the shelves. Among some other packs I purchased I went to the APoH box and grabbed the two bottom packs.

I hit this.

If you have a chance to stop by your LCS and they have this stuff out, give it a try. I am tempted to say this is the way these relics are packed with this product. I am going to watch a few more box breaks and see if they happen the same. If this proves to be a sound theory it might not be a bad idea to let the owners know if they are going to open a box to sell for packs they may want to "shuffle the deck", so to speak.

In the end an even playing field for all is best, I think.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Box Break - 2009-10 Upper Deck Champ's Hockey (Box #2)

Taking a break from a riveting and fun 4-box break of Upper Deck 'Pieces of History' over on Thorzul's blog I decided to post the second of three box breaks I did of Upper Deck's 2009-10 offering of Champ's Hockey. My first box break of this product went quite well and I was pleased with the results. This box managed to overshadow the first with some nice hits and some unannounced hits as well. Before I refresh you on the insert ratios we need to put a quarter in the jukebox.

Soundtrack - Alice Cooper - Along Came A Spider

Pack Breakdown - 5 cards per pack (3 full size base/2 minis)

Green Border Base (1:5)
Red Border Base (1:10)
Yellow Border Base (1:20)
Yellow Border Animal Icon Base (1:80)
NHL Stars Mini red back (1:20)
NHL Stars Mini blue back (1:80)
NHL Stars Mini green back (1:160)
NHL Stars Mini Parkhurst back (1:320)
Rookies Mini red back (1:240)
Rookies Mini blue back (1:360)
Rookies Mini green back (1:640)
Rookies Mini Parkhurst back (1:1500)

Okay, with that out of the way here's how the box broke.

Full Size Base Cards (blue border) - 49/100 (49%)
Mini Base Cards - 34/480 (7%)

If you read my first post then you know my feelings on this set. The way the cards are designed and coloured make the veteran stars card fit right in along side the current stars. Upper Deck has always dome justice to practically every hockey release they have done. With the recent news circulating around the hobby about the potential serious troubles that Upper Deck is having it would truly be a loss if their hockey product suffered the same fate as their others.

Here is an example of what I mean, Patrick Kane side by side with Al McInnis, Terry O'Reilly, Mr.Hockey and Red Kelly. The cards compliment each other and none of them looks out of place in this retro-themed set.

I pulled the requisite number of Green bordered cards from this box. The players I got were Marty Turco, Ryan Kesler, Bobby Orr, Zach Parise and Pekka Rinne.

Next in order are the Red bordered parallel cards which I have decided to torture myself into collecting. I think these are the nicest looking cards out of all the parallels and the insert ratio, coupled with the low number of base cards, make this an excellent chase in my mind. The two I pulled from this box were Marc-Andre Fleury and Patrick Kane.

The Yellow bordered card from this box was Bobby Ryan. The more I look at these cards the more I want to dub them the "Mountain Dew" parallel. They are not really yellow as they they are more neon lime green.

The Rookie minis I pulled were Bobby Sanguinetti (NYR), Matt Climie (DAL), Tyler Bozak (TOR), Jakub Petruzalek (CAR) and Victor Hedman (TB).

From the Natural History Collection I got a Sharp-Tailed Grouse, Dawson's Caribou, Edmontonia Longiceps, Orodromeus and a Pitcher Plant.

I pulled four Historical Leaders, 3 Presidents and 1 Prime Minister. I pulled Presidents #10, 16 and 33 in Tyler, Lincoln and Truman and I got Prime Minister Sir John A. MacDonald.

The one-per-box 'Wonders of the World' that I got was of Chichen Itza. I like this set and I like the subjects presented. It looks as though this portion of the set though is going to take the longest. Ugh!!

Now we move on to the "hits" portion of the box. As we do, Alice is serenading a "fortunate victim".

There were 5 hits this time around with one of them being, as I said before, one of the unadvertised hits in the Champ's product. The two jersey cards I pulled were perhaps the two best ones that you could hope for in this product. I pulled a Sidney Crosby black swatch jersey card and an Alexander Ovechkin red swatch jersey card. I have seen quite a few of the Sidneys on eBay but have mostly seen white swatch Ovechkin cards so I was quite happy to get the red version.

The autograph card I received belonged to Nathan Gerbe from the Buffalo Sabres. Nathan played a whopping 10 games for Buffalo and it looks as though his penmanship is about as good as his game. Note to Upper Deck, keep the scribbling scrubs OUT of product you want taken seriously.

Lastly the mini coloured back variant I pulled was a red back of none other than Mr. Hockey himself Gordie Howe. Great card to get, especially with Sid and Ovie jerseys.

The last hit of the box is one of the card I mention in an earlier post. Upper Deck released 'The Champions' series in their flagship Hockey Series 2 product and there were several women's hockey team cards that were autographed. In Champ's it looks as though they have released autographed versions of the other cards. I received my first figure skating autograph of Denis Petukhov. Luckily, having watched the Winter Olympics I had at least some idea as to who he was.

Overall this box was a very fun break and I am happy with what was pulled. There was still the issue of several mis-cut minis and a couple of the full size base cards had dinged corners. The useless scrub autograph is something that you just have to accept nowadays, but I would still welcome tougher seeding odds if the names were more recognisable.

Out of two boxes I have managed 67 of the 100 base cards. Not a bad collation but not incredibly awesome either. I have one more box to break and I should hope it gets me close to, if not even, finished the 100 card set. Between Topps T-206 baseball and Champ's hockey I am getting addicted to collecting mini cards. I am afraid when A&G comes out that this will explode in to a full blown obsession.

Thanks for coming back here and taking the time reading what I post. As always, if you are collecting the Champ's set and want to trade some of your stuff for my stuff please contact me and we will work something out. I am off to San Diego for a vacation but hopefully I will bust and post the third box in this series before then.

Until then, play us home Alice!!

P.S - If you are so inclined and enjoy "concept" videos. There is a much longer mini movie from 'Along Came a Spider' (this song was cut from it) and you can click here to view it.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Mail Day (aka drew comes threw aka Waiter, there's a relic in my serial)

A while ago drewscards contacted me about some 2010 Topps insert cards I had collecting dust and let me know they would be better appreciated in his neck of the woods. Happily I packed them away and got them off of my desk. A little while later a return package was in my mail box with a personalized "thank-you" letter and some much appreciated cardboard.

First thing out of the envelope was a handful of 2010 base cards that brought my want list that much closer to conclusion. Also included was my first Target "retro" variation of the 2010 set featuring a sorely missed Roy Halliday in all his AL ERA leader card goodness. These cards are really, really cool and if anyone else can help with my pursuit of Cubs and Jays please send me a note.

Next out of the envelope were two serial numbered cards. The first is from a set that I have seen several cards from but I believe this may be the very first one I own. From the Upper Deck 2008 Baseball Heroes set #'d/199 is a blue Alfonso Soriano 40-40 Club card. As I said, I have seen several cards from this set and I may just have to search out some packs or get lucky enough to find a box and break some for myself.

The second serial numbered card is from Upper Deck's 'A Piece of History' release. I have ripped several packs of this stuff and I am truly a fan of it. So much so that I jumped at the chance to get in on a 4-box break of the stuff on Thorzul's blog. Drew sent along a Vernon Wells numbered out of 25. The blue on this card is striking as well, especially with the marble frame of the picture.

Lastly, the card I was most happy with getting is one that I had lost out on a few times on eBay. It also finished off my relic collection of the Chicago Cubs from the '09 Allen & Ginter set. I received the Alfonso Soriano framed mini relic bat card....... go along with Kosuke Fukudome's jersey......

....and Rich Harden's pants.

All I have left to get now is the plain white swatch variation of the Fukudome card.

Thanks again to drewscards for the trade, you have made this Cub fan very happy. I hope you complete the insert sets you are chasing and I am glad I could help out a fellow collector. This is what it is all about folks!!


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mail Day (aka Cards from the Hartland)

While quietly consuming other bloggers thoughts and opinions on the latest happenings in the hobby I happened upon a post over at 'Roll Out The Barrel' in which owner Ed was lamenting his lack of luck pulling Brewer related autos from Topps T-206 Anniversary set. Being one who is always on the lookout for fellow collectors of this set, I sent him a quick trade offer for a couple autos I had hanging around.

When I got the famous yellow envelope in the mail this week I could not wait to bust into it. I knew that there were some prized Piedmont minis coming my way including two of the coveted Short Prints. Ed managed to knock off 16 minis from my want list, including 2 of the SPs, which now has me needing below 90 cards to complete the set.

Also included in the package were 8 more base cards as well. The more I look over this set and receive trades through the mail, the more I appreciate and enjoy this set. Not to get too far off topic here but I think the lack of current releases has been a blessing in disguise. It has afforded me the opportunity to revisit some of the many releases from 2009 and truly appreciate what was sometimes so quickly overshadowed by the "latest thing". Each time I look at the T-206 set I find something different to enjoy.

Speaking of enjoyment, this next card is one that I was super happy to secure in this trade. The framed autograph of David Hernandez brings me one card closer to completing this insert set. I have set this challenge for myself and it is proving to be a fun exercise, it is also been amazing how helpful people have been in my pursuit of this set. Truly amazing indeed.

Having more than fulfilled his end of the bargain I was blown away that there was still another substantial chunk of cards to sort through, admire and proudly call my own, another 25 cards to be exact. There were some 2009 Topps cards that got me closer to that ever elusive word, "complete", as well as a mitt full of Chicago Cubs and Toronto Blue Jays. Included in the bundle were my very first Topps 'Opening Day' cards. What can I say? I have been away from the hobby for some time and Baseball is not exactly sport #1 up here in Canada.

The best "bonus card" of the lot was of the player who is single-handed responsible for keeping my Fantasy Baseball team from being a total embarrassment at this point, he is also my selection for Comeback Player of the Year for 2010, Vernon Wells.

So, to Ed I say much, much thanks indeed and I would be happy to trade with you any time. I will also forward all of my Brew Crew cards to you in the future as I know they will be given a loving home.

If anyone else out there wishes to help me with the T-206 set, or needs help, feel free to email me and we will definitely work something out.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

You Tell Me

By no means am I going to sit here and say I am a staunch expert on authenticating signatures. All I know is what I see and what makes sense to me.

Sometimes it is better to keep it short and simple, other times when it is said better by others it is better to defer. Today I defer to Cookie Monster.

Exhibit #1

Exhibit #2

Exhibit #3

Exhibit #4

Finally, you decided and compare to Exhibit #5

As I said, I am no expert. I am simply asking what you think and letting the cookie crumble, as it were.

I think I will go with the muppet.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Team Persestl - Starting Lineup

I was hoping to have been able to post this on Monday but the week quickly got away from me and in the blink of an eye it is now Saturday. I have seen some of the formidable teams posted so far for the league and the combinations look impressive. I have a feeling that the downfall of my team will be pitching.

Anyway, here are my choices based on the pool of talent that I was dealt.

Starting at Catcher - Gerald Laird and Mike Napoli

First Base - Ryan Howard

Second Base - Chase Utley

Shortstop - Alexei Ramirez

Third Base - Adrian Beltre

Outfield - Carl Crawford, Ryan Braun, Jayson Werth

Corner Infielder - Miguel Cabrera

Middle Infielder - Dan Uggla

Utility Outfielder - Andrew McCutchen

Utility Player/DH - Kevin Youkilis

Pitching Staff - Josh Beckett, Scott Baker, Joe Blanton, Randy Wells, Hiroki Kuroda, Francisco Liriano, Mariano Rivera

Bonus Points Submissions

Most Wins - Boston Red Sox

Fewest Losses - Jim Riggleman

So, there you have it. Not a bad team in my opinion but not a championship one either. If anyone wants to make some side bets for the season I am always the gambling type. Send me an email or leave a comment with the details and we will work something out.

Thanks to dayf for hosting this league and I promise to get to work on the scoring sheet ASAP.

GAME ON!!!!!