Saturday, October 17, 2009

Busting old Wax

Well it's only been a few days since I busted some wax but I've decided to try my luck again. Passing by a Sports Authority by where I live I saw two blaster boxes of 2007 Bowman Heritage. And since it was only $10 I decided to see how it was. Here is what happened.
First box yielded two Mickey Mantle cards. One regular and one short print. A Joba Chamberlain rookie and a Corey Koskie game used bat. Along with some Rainbow cards.
Second box got me some more Rainbow cards. Some notable names were Philip Hughes and Alex Gordon. A Tim Lincecum rookie. And a Fernando Martinez Prospect card.
All in all it was alright. Nothing spectacular but not bad either. And since it was only $10 each I can't really complain.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A trip to Cooperstown Hall of Fame reveals an A-Rod Auto

Here is a little story I like to share with everyone. A few days ago I decided to take a trip with my father to the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame Museum. Being that we live in downtown New York it was a trip we had to plan. I had my doubts about going since it was a long drive plus overnight stay just to see a museum. But at the end I decided to go since I am an avid baseball fan.
The museum was awesome. Showing everything from Babe Ruth's jersey and bat to Dice-K's Japanese jersey. It was also a lifetime experience showing me the history of baseball as well.
To make a long story short. I passed over a few hobby shops after the visit. A few uneventful stores later I passed by a store called Legends are Forever. A pile of boxes to the side of the store attracted my attention. Upon further inspection I saw a few boxes I liked on clearance. It was one rack pack box of 2007 and two boxes of 2006 Topps series 2. I decided to get the two 2006 Topps since I was drawing a blank on the 2007 Topps.
It took me five hours to get home and by that time I was dead tired. Not wanting to stay up longer I decided to open one box and keep one for later. In the middle of the box I saw a nice green autographed card. Not knowing who it was yet I slowly pulled the card out. And there it was, an Alex Rodriguez Topps series 2 auto, short printed to 50. It took me awhile to recover and then I saw the odds on the rack pack, odds of Group A auto 1:60,000. What about the other box? It's still there waiting for me to open it.
This proves a few theories in life such as "Being in the right place at the right time". Nonetheless that one decision made my day, and probably a few days afterward too.

And here is the card, in all it's glory.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Why can't Baseball Cards go Green?

We see it everywhere now, every company is going green and Eco friendly. So why can't baseball cards?
I'm saying this because I see countless sports cards of no name and scrub players been made in every product. Don't they need to use paper to make these cards? Don't they also need plastic and whatever else to create those flashy inserts? I have not heard of any company stating "We use 98% recycled products" on their baseball cards. Sure we see it on the boxes that holds the cards but they can do so much more.
Better yet why can't companies give us collectors the incentive of sending unwanted cards back so they can recycle it for future uses. Mostly products from the mid 80's and mid 90's are only good for fire fuel. And on top of that they should cut down on player selection in their products. Nobody wants a player that has a lifetime batting average of .180. No we are not fans of garbage players and we surely don't need something we don't care about to take up more space.
Just the other day I saw a Burger King using a panel that gives energy every time a car drives over it. So I'm going to ask again, why can't company like Topps, Upper Deck and whomever else that makes sports cards go green?

High end vs. Low end Cards

Here is a list of boxes to bust. Just don't expect it to be anything high end. I think I've learned my lesson in that. After busting countless boxes of high end stuff and pulling cards that resell for $10 and $15 I've decided to buy only the lower end boxes. Why you ask? Well think about it this way, say you spend $150 on a box of cards and pull a no name player that sells for $10. How does that make you feel? Want to lie down on the couch and talk about it?
Now say you spend $50 on a box of cards and pull a no name player that sells for $10. See the difference?
Sure there is always a chance that you might pull something great that sells for ten times the amount of a box. How rare is that? If I was going to be that lucky, I'd rather play the mega million everyday. The payout would be much much much more.
Now say you do pull a nice card out of a high end product. And it re sells for twice the amount of a box. ( I say twice because nowadays even a nice autographed card won't sell for much) You are basically getting your money back and another box with two base cards. But say you spend only $50 and get a card that sells for $100. Not only are you making your money back you will probably get 143 base cards including inserts. Get the big picture yet. You pay less but end up getting more.
Now I understand that not everybody is out to collect cards. Some people want to make money out of the hobby. But for the true collectors out there, think before you burn your money.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Washington Nationals sign Stephen Strasburg

So Stephen Strasburg has signed with the Washington Nationals. I'm happy to see that this is finally over with. Now both the Nationals and Strasbrug could go on with their lives. Now on to reality, Strasburg made it seemed like it was so hard to accept a contract worth over $15 million for four years.

This is a quote from
"It feels awesome. I got a little nervous there for a while that it might not happen, but I feel very blessed," Strasburg told ESPN's Pedro Gomez. "I'm not sure of the plan right now. They said they'd bring me up for the media. They said to take my time to get ready. It's an amazing feeling. I really wasn't sure if it was going to happen, but I'm glad it did."

Yeah I bet he was real nervous counting his money with Scott Boras. Why can't an average joe like us have something like this fall on our laps? Imagine our boss saying "here is $3 million for the year for that superb prensentation".
I guess I just don't understand MLB baseball teams sometimes. I know they are hoping that Strasburg will make it big on his debut. And that he possibly helps the Nationals make that money back with tickets and jersey sales. But little do they notice that we as fans are sick of seeing this over and over again.
They throw all this money at an unproven player. Granted he did great in the Minor Leagues but last time I heard we are still going through a recession. Throwing all this money at one player is a huge risk for any team. Do teams learn from history? A few names come to mind when I see stuff like this happen, Todd Van Poppel, Matt Bush, Luke Hochevar and many others.
I hope the best for the Nationals and Strasburg. But I bet there are thousands of fans waiting to say "I told you so" to the Washington Nationals.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Evolution of Sports Whining

The Washington Nationals have picked Stephen Strasburg as their no. 1 pick. Now they are saying that he may not sign with the team. I would like to know the reason why he is not signing. Perhaps the money is not enough? Maybe he does not want to play for Washington? Or could it possibly be he would rather be working at the dollar store at the corner of the street?
Sport whiners, umm excuse me sport players can be so idiotic at times. I don't know who has more greed the players or their agents. Most players are screaming "I deserve more money" (Michael Craptree) or "I haven't touched a baseball yet but I'm the first pick so that 14 million dollars are not enough (Stephanie Strasburg or Scott Boars?)
But perhaps the most infamous athelete has to be Latrell Sprewell ( NBA) when he said "I can't feed my children with the paycheck I'm getting". I would like to see an athelete work at a sweatshop making the jerseys and hats. While getting paid $2 an hour with no bathroom breaks and see how they feel. You know the saying "you don't know what you have until you lose it"? Obviously atheletes don't know this phrase.
What I can't understand is, how can somebody make $7 million a year and say "I'm looking out for my family so I want to see who can offer me more money" The atheletes nowadays whine and cry more than they play. Yeah they are good, that's why they are still playing. But they also have to learn how to shut up and earn your money. Going up to the plate and earning $100,000 per swing (A-Roid) and then crying "It's too much stress" is not going to do it.
Personally I think atheletes should earn their money just like everyone else. Prove yourself first and then open your big mouth to demand more money.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Baseball Cards. Forward or Backwards?

We've all heard that MLB is giving Topps an exclusive contract to produce baseball cards. Stating that they believe Topps can change this hobby for the kids. So with all due respect lets take a look at the products they have made so far.

Bowman Chrome - Chock full of rookies that kids know nothing about. Who is Lars Anderson? I guarantee that most kids that's not heavily into card collecting already even knows who he is. This product is aimed at the adults looking to make money on the secondary market

Allen & Ginter - Right away look at the price tag, $70-$80. Definitely not aimed at the kids. Also the fact that they have autographs of non MLB players will turn kids away.

Topps - Bland, ugly and boring design. An eight year old can make better looking cards. Autographs are hard to pull and when you do pull one please keep that Justin Ruggiano ($0.99 no buyer) nicely protected.

Sterling - $195 a box. Nuff said

If you look back towards when Topps was the only company making baseball cards you can clearly see what they made. Off centered, bland, boring and overproduced baseball cards. Clearly they were aiming for the kids.
At least Upper Deck has made products aimed towards the younger collectors. UD Heroes. Upper Deck and among others. I say competition is good. It keeps other companies on it's toes and makes sure they are producing quality products.
Truth is the only thing that will make collecting fun for kids is the adults who collect baseball cards. They are the ones teaching the next generation the beauty of collecting sport cards.
I don't think this is a step forward. I think this is a step backwards for this hobby.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A look back at Baseball Cards

I remember when I first got into collecting baseball cards as a kid. It was 1989 and wax packs and boxes littered the hobby shop walls. At this time the main cards to buy was products like Score, Donruss and Topps.
Then a company called Upper Deck came along and made premium baseball cards. I remember staring at the packs and wondering if I can ever afford packs of Upper Deck which I believe were $2.00 at the time. This compared to the other dollar or cent packs of baseball cards were obviously more enticing to a young collector.
My friends were all into it and raving about some player named Ken Griffey Jr and Frank Thomas. I as a passionate collector still bought the old single cards of Nolan Ryan, Ryne Sandberg and many other old time players. I still bought these well into the mid 1990's.
Fast forward to the 2000's and I'm still an avid baseball card collector. But something has changed, the hobby has changed. No longer were cards selling for one to five dollars. Cards began to sell for ten to hundreds of dollars. Cards with jerseys, bats, gloves and autographs were everywhere.
Then came the collectors that began trying to beat the system.
Pack searching through boxes pulling all the "money" cards and leaving junk for the honest collectors. Collectors opening packs and resealing them with unwanted common cards. Dealers trimming and coloring borders of vintage baseball cards. Looking at all the mayhem I simply stopped buying waxes.
At this time Upper Deck and
Topps began making ultra high end cards. Ultimate, Exquisite and other products which guaranteed autographed and game used cards in each pack. The catch? Outrageous price tags. You can spend $100 to $700 on one pack of cards which had three cards in it. And get back about 25% value of cards. Of course there were also the money cards that are next to impossible to pull. Taking a look at the price tag of baseball cards I decided to put my money to better use. Paying my bills.
I remember in the early 1980's collectors were thrilled when they pulled a Carlton Fisk. Today when somebody pulls a Carlton Fisk they wonder how much money they can make by putting it on
Whatever happened to that baseball card shop I used to go to you ask? They're out of business. Along with at least five others in my area.
So, what do I collect? I've given up on wax packs due to the outrageous odds and the
pack searchers. I've given up on the boxes since putting food on the table is more important. Now I'm just a wandering collector buying single cards that catches my eye. And they have to be graded so I won't be scammed by a untrustworthy dealer.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Baseball card: To Collect or Not to Collect

So I hear the baseball card collectors complaining.
“The hobby is not what it used to be.”
First they are complaining that companies are overproducing cards. Now they
complain they are producing too many one of ones. So which one is it? They say that the baseball card hobby is no longer for the kids.

While I have to agree to some extent I also have to disagree. There is plenty of cheap baseball cards aimed for the young collectors. Topps produces boxes of cards that retails from forty to fifty dollars. Upper deck also produces cards in almost the same range. While both companies make boxes of cards that retails for up to hundreds of dollars they also make boxes with harder hits that retails much cheaper.

           Prices of cards seem to be too much? I have seen cards from 1970’s sell in the range of one dollar to twenty dollars. Carlton Fisk, Robin Yount, George Brett, Nolan Ryan the list goes on and on. Then there is the graded beauty of these cards. A PSA 10 of any of these superstars will set you back a grand or two.

           There are always people that have that nostalgia of looking at their old baseball card collections. The cards are all in order neatly tucked into a binder hidden away in a dark corner so the sunlight won’t damage it. They have the sets made from Topps dating back to the 1950’s all the way to the 1990’s. These are the same collectors that started at a young age. They bought the cards for the bubble gum. They didn’t care about the cards, it was mommy and daddy that taught them the value of keeping their possessions in good condition. Or perhaps it was their mom that tossed out those thousands of dollars worth of cards in which case. I feel for you.

Then there are the player collectors. Perhaps you grew up idolizing Cal Ripken? A player collector will have thousands of cards of Cal Ripken. There will be one of ones that are impossible to get, but that is what collecting is all about. It’s a challenge, if we had everything handed to us and all we had to do was open our wallets and pay for it, what fun would would that be? That would be like paying the water bill. Doesn’t sound too fun does it?

What will the collectors complain of next? Oh I’m pretty sure they will find something to complain about. So what should the collectors of today buy? Anything they like to buy. I have seen people collect their childhood heroes and I have seen people collect a one of\one autographed card with a swatch of jersey that has five colors on it. As any arguments and complaints, we have to look at both sides. Just remember, you collect what makes you happy.