Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Swag

I didn't have time to go get a pack to open today, I was too busy trick or treating. What the hell is a 35 year old fat man with a full beard doing trick or treating you say? Well, my Sailor Moon costume was a big hit at the office Halloween party and I thought I'd put it to good use and get some candy out of the deal. Hey, I live in Georgia, all the kids around here are fat as me anyways.
Let's open the bag:

All right. This is a good way to start the night. The neighbors always have good candy. They kind of looked at me funny though, I think I might have borrowed their hedge clippers and forgot to return them.

Mary Janes. Halloween has officially started now that I've got some Mary Janes. I don't know who the hell eats these things, but you have to get some every year. It's a law or something. The neighbor who gave me these is into other kinds of MaryJane, so I'm not surprised I got these from him.

Hrm. A weird multi-color swirl pumpkinhead lollipop. Eh, could be worse I suppose, although I shudder to think what yellow-orange-brown flavor must be. I hope someone gives me a battery for my digital camera tonight, scanned candy looks terrible.

Yeah! Smarties! That's more like it. I'll have to remember not to drive over this guy's lawn anymore. What? His garden gnomes taunt me. THEY MUST BE PUNISHED.

What the hey? A little miniature clip-on compass? That's an odd Halloween treat. At least I'll know which way is North when I TP their house tonight.

Cowabunga dude! Nobody better lay a finger on this.

SWEET! The crazy dude down the street is giving away mini packs of 1991 Donruss! That's freaking awesome! I'm ripping this thing open:

BC-9 Mark McGwire Highlights
185 Storm Davis
80 Kevin Reimer
Willie Stargell Puzzle .10 .11 .12

Nice one! A Mark McGwire card for Halloween. This is cool, I'm going to go home and change my costume so I can get more packs. I think this Tron costume should work... Let's get more candy on the way home though.

SweeTarts, hell yeah. I'm eating these now, I need a good sugar buzz to go with my pack opening high. I admire any company who prints "Bite Em" proudly on their product's wrapper.

Great... Chinese generic lead-flavored Dollar Store candy. At least they have fun designs to look at as you perish from the contaminants.

I got a rock.

Ya know, normally this sort of thing would bug me, but the guy at this house knows what a big Peanuts fam I am so he gets a pass. Besides, I did have a little trouble with the scissors when making my costume.

Does anyone really like these things? They're not really taffy, they're not really chocolate, they're some sort of unholy mix of the two. These guys have some good marketers to be such a candy icon. Not bad inside a lollipop though.

I didn't know Lewis Black lived on my street. Hey wait! I gave these to his kid last year!

Ok, back to the crazy guy's house. He looked at my new costume and made a strange remark about a camel's toe or something, but he still gave me a another pack. Let's rip:

40 Milt Cuyler Rated Rookie
265 Scott Scudder
160 Chris Bosio
Willie Stargell Puzzle .4 .5 .6

I got changed into that goofy costume for this? A crummy Milt Cuyler rookie? Oh no. I'm not ending the night on this note. I'm changing costumes again and getting another pack. I was saving this outfit for the Ayn Rand Society Ball, but I'm putting it into action tonight. More candy first though, I NEED MY SUGAR FIX

NEEEEEEERRRRRRRRDDDDDDSSSSSSS!!!1 Brilliant, I need more sugar to get my groove on in this sexy, sexy costume. You are what you eat you know, so down the hatch.

I don't care what anyone says, I like this song. It's delightfully minimalist. Let's check out the joke on the back.

from Emillie D. Turlock CA

Well, obviously he was screwing Lady Liberty by eroding our 4th, 5th and 8th amendment rights through enforcing increasingly draconian laws passed by a corrupt legislature written not to serve the public interest but to further the lawmakers' own careers by mollifying the populace with empty rhetoric while filling the coffers of their corporate patrons while an increasingly jaded and docile citizenry simply accepts these attacks on their personal freedoms as necessary evils in a post-911 world but who cares since Dancing With The Stars is on. Damn, Emillie must be a damn hippie Communist to have the nerve to submit this joke! Well she is from California so I'm not surprised.


Yep, that's basically what I said. I'm not eating communist candy. Next house!

You gotta be f-ing kidding me. Raisins? On Halloween?? Generic crappy raisins even, not even Sunmaid? These guys are are gonna get egged to kingdom come later tonight.

MUCH BETTER. The classics. This is proper Halloween candy dammit!

YESSSSS!!!! BOTTLE CAPS! THE BEST CANDY EVER! I love this stuff! Every year I get some in the bag, remember how much I love it and then go out to the store to buy some only to find it's all been cleared out to make room for Christmas crap. Wait a minute... OH NO! I gotta go to Wal-Mart right now! No wait, baseball cards. I have to keep my eyes on the prize. Back to the crazy guy's house.

Well, he gave me one more pack and a restraining order. May as well open the pack...

2 Craig Biggio Diamond King
181 Pete Harnisch
76 Mike Henneman
Willie Stargell Puzzle .46 .47 .48

Biggio Diamond King! Awesome! I love this card. I even made it Card of the Week a few weeks ago. At least I got one last good pack.

No more candy for me tonight, I'm worn out and I have some movies to watch tonight. Besides my pantyhose is riding up and a cop car has been following me for the past 20 minutes. Perhaps they would like some Laffy Taffy?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

2006 Fleer Baseball

It's kind of difficult opening this pack, knowing in my heart of hearts that it's really a pack of Upper Deck. Sure, they tone down the foil and the gloss, but what we're really getting is the K-Mart version of Upper Deck. Still, I generally like what I see, but no more money will be spent on this product.

I do like, however, Fleer's negotiable price policy, evident from the blank white rectangle in the upper left corner of the pack. Bring along a sharpie, write down what you feel is a fair price, and the transaction is complete.

Let's tear in.

Top to Bottom:
107 Nomar Garciaparra (Cubs uni, Dodgers logo. Would have loved a "Free Agent Signing" designation somewhere prominent on this card, but it's not happening.)
294 Hanley Ramirez RC (Again, Red Sox uniform, Marlins logo.)
73 Chris Capuano

362 Joe Nathan
141 Hee-Seop Choi
ST-1 David Wright Stars of Tomorrow

365 Francisco Liriano RC

114 Jayson Werth (How does he manage to spell both his first and last name incorrectly?)
229 Vinny Castilla
8 Garret Anderson

Grade: B+
The Liriano card is very nice, but the Wright makes the pack. Plus a Brewer to boot! Actually, Capuano had a really disappointing season this year. His best moment was probably belting a HR in a June loss.

2007 Topps Series 3


We can finally stop buying crappy Target packs, Topps Series three is live! Updates and whatsit? No, no, no. This is Topps Series 3. If Topps won't have the decency to call this Traded, then I'm not calling it that convoluted name they made up. This is Series 3 all the way.

I went to the local den of iniquity today meaning only to pick up a shoebox, a bubble mailer for a trade that just went down and maybe a couple of Topps basketball packs. To my surprise, after already being pushed back a couple weeks the new Topps was sitting there waiting for me! Ah, sweet, sweet, nectar... I instantly bought 10 packs out of a freshly opened box and cracked them open. Lets just say while they were good (Ryan Braun RC for the win!), if I posted just those ten on my blog I'd be laughed off the internet. A confirmed Topps fanboy just cannot post a pack break where he pulled FIVE Generation Now cards and three Bonds Desecration of History cards out of ten packs. I decided the 8 bucks in my pocket was worth sacrificing to defend the storied reputation of the Topps brand. I grabbed 5 more packs and after the first one, I knew her Honor had been restored. Oh yes, this pack goes to eleven.

UH119 Matt Stairs
UH65 Angel Pagan
UH132 Scot Shields
UH329 Roger Clemens red parallel
UH102 Adam Eaton red parallel
AST-OVS Roy Oswalt, Justin Verlander and Ben Sheets All Star Game Stitches Triples numbered 16/25
UH18 Adam Jones
UH259 Freddy Sanchez NL All Star

When I was opening this pack, all I was really hoping for was to pull a Brave card. I went 0-for-Atlanta with the first 100 cards I pulled from this set. The closest thing I got to a Brave was Jarrod Saltalamaccia in a Rangers uniform. The Triple Thread featuring two of my favorite pitchers (and the third one's not too shabby either) was a bit of overkill, frankly. Unfortunately the red cards are back again, but a Clemens parallel isn't too bad a pull. Who really cares about the rest of the pack, there's really not much there. This is an odd pack in that I pulled no rookies. I think this may be the only one out of 15 that didn't have at least one. Check out my blog to find out what else I pulled, I hope to have the rest of the break up by this evening July, maybe.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Wal-Mart $9.99 Value Pack: 2006 Upper Deck Series 1 & 2 Fat Pack

Last pack in the Wal-Mart Value Pack, and its an Upper Deck Fatty from last year. Speaking of fattys...

Don't forget to bring a towel!
There, much better. I needed that. (Do cards not drugs, kids.)

Anyway, in 2006 Upper Deck released three different kinds of Fat Packs. One with only series one cards, another with only series two cards, and a third with cards from both series one and two. This particular pack is a "one-&-two;" that is, all the base cards in the top compartment are from the first series and all the cards in the bottom compartment are series two. There's also a "one-&-two" Fatty exclusive "Season Highlights" insert that's seeded at the rate of one-per-compartment.

Top compartment

Base (all series one):
Adam Kennedy
Javy Lopez
Neifi Perez
Joe Crede
Willy Mo Pena
Andy Pettitte
Dan Wheeler
Carlos Silva
Barry Zito
Rich Harden
Jim Thome
Woody Williams
Doug Clark (RC)
Cristian Guzman
Nick Johnson

Season Highlights: Johan Santana

Bottom Compartment

Base (all series two):
Wilson Betemit
Matt Belisle
Miguel Ojeda
Brian Moehler
Todd Wellemeyer
Rafael Furcal
Julio Franco
Ryan Doumit
Victor Santos
Josh Hancock
Brad Wilkerson
Robert Fick
Val Majewski (RC)
Ricky Nolasco (RC)

Season Highlights: Alfonso Soriano
Collect the Mascots and Win!: Phillie Phanatic

The Season Highlights inserts look virtually identical to the Player Highlights cards that were inserted into series two Hobby packs. In fact when I first saw these cards, I thought these were Player Highlights.

Collect the Mascots and Win! is a three-card one-&-two exclusive insert, featuring Mr. Met, The Phillie Phanatic, and Wally the Green Monster. By collecting all three cards, and entering the codes printed on the back, you can win prizes and stuff. I pulled the Phanatic, and yeah, the Big Green Guy is still the man. But don't take my word for it. Ask Mr. Met's wife.

1988 Donruss Pop-Up All Stars

I found this pack for a quarter and figured what the heck. This set is similar to the Action All-Stars and pop-ups that Donruss had been doing for a few years, but they shrunk the large sized cards to the standard 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches. As always, there is a puzzle piece in the pack.

Stan Musial puzzle 43, 44, 45
Dave Winfield pop-up
38 Eric Davis
2 Dave Winfield
59 Tim Wallach
27 Kevin Seitzer
50 Ozzie Virgil

Two cards of Dave Winfield is pretty dang cool. The Pop Up cards are similar to the Batter Up cards of the 30's and the '64 Topps Standups cards except that these have a back that is folded over to help the things stand and maintain structural integrity. The cards look like boring versions of the '88 set. Eric Davis should have been one of the All-Timers, but it wasn't meant to be. Another lost superstar from the 80's. Speaking of lost, what the hell happened to Kevin Seitzer? He was one of the hottest rookies around in the mid 80's and was actually a pretty good hitter truth be told, but no one seems to know who he is anymore. I'll bet if you got 100 baseball fans in a room ans asked them all who Kevin Seitzer was you'd get a lot of blank stares and maybe a "oh yeah, that guy" or two. Even his BR Bullpen page is almost empty! Dude was an all star with 1500 hits in his career. He shoulda juiced up and hit more homers. The pack ends up with Ozzie Virgil looking sharp in a Braves uni. We traded Cy Young closer Steve Bedrosian for this guy, ouch.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

1990 Pro Set Football

I'm feeling ready for some football, so we're going to reach back to the debut offering from Pro Set.

The design and photography are both great. This set takes a cue from 1986 Topps by incorporating the look of a football field into the borders, although I don't know of any team that plays on an orange field (although they do have that blue one in Boise).

Let's tear in.

Top to Bottom:
Super Bowl XII

249 Doug Flutie
216 Lorenzo Hampton
284 Erik Howard
403 Kelly Stouffer (Apparently the world's happiest QB.)

205 Tom Newberry
10 Mike Gann (Great hand shadow on the leg. Kind of looks like a ghost copping a feel.)

40 Dennis Gentry
160 Pat Beach
68 Erik Thomas
308 Al Toon
209 Mike Wilcher
139 Lindy Infante
379 Ronnie Lott
167 Lloyd Burruss

Grade: C
Ronnie Lott is the only true star in this pack. Wisconsin is well-represented, with Al Toon (former Badger), Newberry (UW-La Crosse), and, of course, Infante, the Packer coach who was once voted the best Packers coach of all time, beating out this other guy named Vince Lombardi. And this is after a year in which the Packers missed the playoffs after the final Monday Night Football game of the season went the wrong way for them. I also like the Super Bowl XII card because of the way it reminds me of Super Bowl XXXI, also played in New Orleans. That purple, green, and yellow color scheme will forever remind me of a young Brett Favre charging down the field, helmet in hand, after the first touchdown throw to Andre Rison.

1988 Topps Football Cello pack

Here's some more football cards for Sunday. This time I have an '88 Cello pack. I found these 3 for 2 bucks, which is actually cheaper than when they first came out. One of them has an Eric Dickerson rushing leaders cards on the front and Phil Simms on the back so let's open that one up.

217 Eric Dickerson - Charles White 1987 NFL Rushing Leaders
152 Leo Lewis
132 Curt Warner
177 Tony Eason
342 Stanford Jennings
51 Ronnie Lott
115 Jeff Donaldson
38 Joe Montana
64 Rickey Jackson
383 Atlanta Falcons
189 Miami Dolphins
4 Joe Montana Record Breaker
209 Kellen Winslow
298 Leroy Irvin
yum... gum
1000 Yard Club 28 Andre Reed
39 Steve Young
372 Detroit Lions
170 Keith Willis
29 Rick Karlis
329 James Lofton
171 Keith Gary
44 Mike Wilson
235 Keith Byers
353 James Wilder
75 Kevin Butler
160 Joey Browner All Pro
172 David Little
238 Kenny Jackson
318 Walter Stanley
272 Phil Simms

I'm on a hot streak picking these football packs. A week after pulling two Paytons and a Rice card I get two Joe Montanas and his backup, Steve Young. Not too shabby. My favorite card out of the pack is Ronnie Lott with his WTF? look on his face. It's not often you see cards where the photo is taken while stretching in warm ups. Phil Simms' picture is also amusing, he looks like he's up to something. Plotting to murder the Tuna most likely. The Falcons team card is nice, it shows Gerald Riggs about to get flattened by a Bronco. I shouldn't have looked at the back, there are a lot of ugly, ugly scores on there. They only won three games and one was with replacement players. A second look at the Dolphins card shows Dan Marino running the play-action. Jesus, how many hall of famers are in this pack?? Is Andre Reed in the hall of fame yet? Does anyone care about the pro football hall of fame? So many questions...

One question I have is why out of all these great players Joey Browner is the one who gets the All-Pro label. Montana threw for over 3000 yards and 31 touchdowns in only 13 games, but he doesn't get to be an All-Pro, why Joey Browner? Hey wait, how'd he play in 13 games? I thought the strike lasted 3 games and regular players only played in 12. Is the Great Joe a scab? So many questions! Joey Browner doesn't look like an all-pro on his card, he looks like he just got benched for letting Jerry Rice burn him like toast.

Wal-Mart $9.99 Value Pack: Two Packs of 2006 Topps Updates and Highlights retail

Pack #1
Cory Lidle (In Memoriam)
Lastings Milledge (RC)
Lance Berkman All-Star
Cubs Team Leaders
Mariners Team Leaders

Barry Bonds Bullshit Waste of Space: #715 (1:6)

Pack #2
Chris Woodward
Casey Janssen (RC)
Derek Jeter Season Highlights
Jose Reyes Season Highlights
Carlos Delgado Postseason Highlights
Lance Berkman Home Run Derby

Two takes on these packs:

Take #1: Why is the Cory Lidle card still booking for $4 Beckett HI? I've heard of "death bumps" but this is a little ridiculous, wouldn't you say?

Take #2: How nondescript are the Barry Bonds Home Run History mirror cards? I had absolutely no idea I pulled #715 until just now. I guess when over 700 versions of the same card are made, a collector would be expected to overlook such details.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

2005 Leaf Baseball

Let's face it: We've all been suckered into Leaf's twisted web of deception before. While Leaf's 1990 set still books at $60, nothing that has come down the pike since has been worth buying. Not 1991, with its shiny puzzle and silver-and-black design. Not 1993, with its gold ribbon/medal foil stamping. And not 2005, despite Albert Pujols on the pack.

Let's tear in.

Top to Bottom:
70 Bobby Higginson
151 Eric Milton
134 Bernie Williams

139 Jorge Posada Black Logo Parallel
245 Scott Proctor
128 Kazuo Matsui
116 Jacque Jones
132 Tom Glavine

Grade: C-
Let's see... a Tiger, a Phillie, three Yankees, two Mets, and a Twin. The people in charge of regional distribution got it all wrong and sent this pack to Wisconsin, when it was clearly destined for New York City. ("New York City?! This ain't Pace Picante Sauce!! Get a rope!")
The design is ass-ugly, looking like something that an ESPN graphics intern sketched onto the back of a napkin, thought better of, balled up and threw away, when it somehow landed in the Donruss design team offices. The little fading black squares on the bottom left are also a little too NASCAR-ry for my taste.

The only redeeming factor of this pack is the Jacque Jones card. He looks to be contemplating stealing third, or possibly getting ready to tag up at second, but his decision-making ability is being hampered by a powder-blue throwback Twins jersey that is three sizes too large for him. See what us small-market teams have to put up with?! While citizens of Yankeeville and Mets Land get their players five-to-a-pack, everyone between the coasts has to settle for players with hand-me-down uniforms, generic-brand sunflower seeds, and hot showers only on alternating days of the week. Revenue sharing my ass!

1989 Bowman

Yeah, I said I was going to wait on this pack, but it looked so nice I just had to open it up.

one stick of well-behaved gum
180 Stan Jefferson
134 Chris Bosio
234 Rick Leach
382 Tim Teufel
104 Al Pedrique
349 John Shelby
Leroy "Satchell" Paige sweepstakes card
423 Glenn Wilson
114 Steve Farr
224 Charlie Hough
7 Jeff Ballard
275 Darrell Evans
140 Paul Molitor

I don't care if I already have 10 of them, I love pulling any card of Satchel Paige. Molitor rescues this pack from complete oblivion, although there are some interesting cards in here. Stan Jefferson is unscathed by the gum which has aged quite well. So well I might just give it a little lick, but I would certainly never chew it. The stands in Tim Tuefel's posed spring training shot refreshingly actually has people in it. Charlie Hough's card has a great shot of him hurling the knuckleball that kept him in the league for 800 years. The back of Al Pedrique's card shows while he is in a Tigers uni, he did indeed play for Pittsburgh in 1988. The front shows he kinda sorta looks like Jay Bell as well. I had no clue he managed the D-Backs in 2004 until I clicked on his baseball-reference link. I thought I knew my stuff, but Al Pedrique smacked me down to earth. Selah.

Update: Do not lick the gum. Blech.