Saturday, October 31, 2015

2012-13 Upper Deck hockey series 1

I am on a mission - scan folder clear out. So you will be seeing me every other day for a while. I WILL GET THIS SUCKER CLEANED!

Hello, it's me again. And for today's post, we get more hockey. I actually have a LOT of hockey in the folder, plus a few packs of hockey to get scanned out. At least it's the season, so the posts tie into the time of the year. Today, let's view a pack that came from a discounted blaster - 2012-13 Upper Deck hockey series 1.

Found this blaster at WalMart a while back for $8 I think. No brainer purchase. This is a set I missed out on and I would like to go back and collect. Even though the Kings secured the Cup the 2011-12 season, Toews got the cover shot. As much as he is my boy, I really think the manufacturers should look towards the champions of the previous season and make someone from that team the star of the wrapper. Anyway, 5 cards per pack (blaster, remember?), and while hits are possible, you are also looking for rookie cards from the popular Young Guns insert.

Again, this is a set I missed, and I really like the design. The only foil is the UD logo and some ot eh lines in the badge at the bottom. Otherwise, very simple and clean style. The name is easy to read, as is the position and team name/logo. As always, Upper Deck knocks it out of the park (rink?) with the image selections.


This is why the single company license is a bad idea. We, as consumers, will put the pressure on the manufacturers simply by avoiding what we don't like. Throw 100 sets at us and we'll let the makers know what works by where our money goes.

The well traveled Havlat, the Rickey Henderson of the NHL. Currently, he is trying to make the roster in Florida.

Here is one of the Young Guns inserts. Not very young gunnish as Joudrey played a single game in the NHL with Columbus, and is currently taking the ice in the German hockey league.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

2014-15 Upper Deck SPx hockey

I am on a mission - scan folder clear out. So you will be seeing me every other day for a while. I WILL GET THIS SUCKER CLEANED!

Here I am again. Random has picked three high numbers in a row, so for today's scheduled post is a pack of SPx.

Somewhat hit heavy as a release, SPx is a companion to SP Authentic. Base set is a small 100 cards, but building the base is usually not the goal of this purchase. Rookies, relics, autos and inserts galore are available. 4 cards in a pack. BTW, Jonathan Drouin on the cover. Always nice to see talented youth being the poster child that is NOT wearing a Oilers sweater.

WOW! There is a lot going on with the design, and much of it is not very good. Too much foil, with the name, the logo, some diamond thing off to the left, team logo at the lower left and the design lines. I think that diamond on the left side is to balance the look with the player off center. I just know I don't like it. Nice clear image, though. But you lose out on the great Upper Deck photography with this set.

The foil, btw, is gold and not silver. Not sure how well that showed up on the first scan, but you can see it better here. You can also see the position is printed just above the team logo.

Upper Deck will make sure the Great One makes it into EVERY set they produce. Thank goodness he is here as an Oiler. Nothing against his time with the Kings, Blues and Rangers. It's just that Wayne is always an Oiler in my head.

I remember the 2014 playoffs and all the talk about the greatness of Drew Doughty. And now? Well, I think he played well above what was expected that year, and the past season was pretty average and this year he has been almost non existent. But he is young and does have the skills. He'll probably dial it back up a bit.

Here's the back, which mirrors the style of the front. Two years of stats and a total is the standard for anyone with over 3 years of service in the league. Nice write up below the stats. The back is clear and easy to read. One plus I love about Upper Deck: you know EXACTLY the set the card in from as it is stated at the bottom. I do like that.

I don't remember, but I think all the packs felt about the same, so I'm thinking that packs with a hit get a bonus card instead of the dummy. Not too shabby a pull and a nice combo of two stars in the league. All I know is Datsyuk is a thorn in the Hawks side.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

2015 Panini Americana

I am on a mission - scan folder clear out. So you will be seeing me every other day for a while. I WILL GET THIS SUCKER CLEANED!

Let's look at a non-sport release. Panini has put out a number of Americana releases over the years. 2015 sees it come back yet again, with TV and movie stars getting their chance on cardboard not as characters, but as themselves, for the most part.

The pack is fairly similar to past years, with the Americana logo all 'Merica'd and stuff. Few of the potential stars on the wrapper, though Hulkster is a sore eye after the fact. Personal opinion: he made a mistake, and I think the fact that he can be a lot of a jerk played a part in how he was treated. Hey - I have skeletons in my closet. We all do. I think he'll come back into the fold in a few years. This is a hobby pack, and you get 4 hits in a box: 2 autos and two relics. I miss Golden Age, so this isn't a box buy for me, but a pack buy for you guys. You're welcome.

Eh. Simple design, and I'm calling that a plus. No foil - I'm calling that a win. These are celebrities, and for many, their look is all that matters, so a simple portrait is all we can expect. The base set is 73 cards. No, that is not a typo - 73. If you don't recognize Alexa, think back to Spy Kids. Yup - that little girl. All grown up.

Americana is insert heavy, and here is a die cut insert set called "On The Tube". There are two versions of this set - one a 46 card set of recent start, and this vintage version 10 cards strong.

Here's the back. I just felt I should add it to the post.

Biz Markie is proof anyone can be a star. Just need the right shtick at the right time. The blue? Oh - this is a parallel. The base set has blue and red, plus green numbered to 25 and black that are 1/1.

Screen Legends is a 16 card insert set of the big names from the golden age of film.

I'll give you another back for this set. Interesting they went horizontal on the back.

I'm not sure if the idea of 3 base and two inserts is the standard of a pack or just how this one came out. Taryn got her first big break with the movie 8 Mile, and then turned her talent into Sons of Anarchy and Orange Is the New Black.

If pop culture is your thing, a box of this could be a fun rip. Depending on the Black Friday deal, I might get this simply for the hits within. I love me a good relic of old movie stars.

Monday, October 26, 2015

2015-16 Hoops (hobby)

I really need to get myself in gear, several packs have come and gone that I meant to post, but by time I got myself motivated, somebody else already posted them!

What better motivation is there than the first set of a brand new season?

Hoops is Panini's Flagship set, and this is the 5th year they have produced it. (The Hoops brand is owned by the NBA, which is why it's been produced by 4 different manufacturers now) The set is 300 cards, as is usual, composed of 260 veterans and 40 rookies. Each hobby pack gives you 13 cards, although marked as 12, there is a promo card for the Panini Dunk digital system in each pack. Each pack gives one rookie card and one non-base card, either an insert or a parallel. The parallels look better this year than ever before but they are harder to find- my box yielded only one Green, three Gold, 2 Silver (#'d to 299), one Artist Proof (#'d to 99) and 4 red back. Personally I would rather they did away with the red back and give us more Gold and Green. By time you read this, I will have posted a full box breakdown/review on Cardboard History.

I received the box as a late birthday present, and debated doing the first pack or the best pack, but went with the first one, as the best will be well covered on my own blog.

First card out of the box is #244 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who separated his shoulder in Pre-season and will miss anywhere from half to all of the 2015-16 season. The photo Panini used is slightly blurry, especially his face. Cleanthony Early is a hometown hero of sorts for me, from Middletown NY, that's the closest to home for a professional basketball player since the ABA.

#94 Marco Belinelli. Second year in a row I've pulled him from the first pack of a major release. Belinelli is the first Italian born player to win an NBA title.

#11 Evan Fournier. This is the first card I've seen to show the Magic's alternate sleeved jersey. (There were more later in the box) Note that he is playing against the Cavaliers. Roughly half of the cards in the set were taken with Cleveland as the opponent, it seems.

#26 Tim Hardaway Jr.. One of the few players the Knicks could build around, so of course they traded him. Look, there's the Cavs again.

#247 Danny Green

#241 Jamal Crawford. Enjoy that Clippers road uniform, because the one that replaced it for 2015-16 is the worst jersey in NBA history.

#230 Wesley Matthews. With roughly 1/3rd of the NBA changing teams, NOT an exaggeration, there are a lot of "Signed by/Traded to" tags in this set...Even Card #1 (Ersan Ilyasova) is a traded card, the first time I can recall that happening.

#260 Zach Randolph. This is the last veteran card in the set. Clearly taken in Golden State during the playoffs in 2014-15 season.

Road to the Finals #9 Joakim Noah. Serially numbered #0189/2015. This insert is 100 cards, the largest in the set by a wide margin, and every single playoff game of 2014-15, as well as most of the champion Warriors players get a card in the set. Notably, Steve Kerr is included, he had never coached a single game but guided the Warriors to the the title- but he didn't get a single card last year, as it's been more than a year since Panini included coaches. He is, unfortunately, the only one in the set this year though. Each round is lowered to a lower number, as well. Round one is SN2015, round 2 is SN999, the Semi-finals SN499, the conference finals are SN199 and the Finals themselves are SN99. Also of note, Zaza Pachulia, seen here guarding Noah, is still in the league but is not included in the set. He is likely to be the 6th man for the Mavericks this season, one of dozens of players who changed teams. The set also includes two players who did not get a card in the main set- Beno Udrih (who has not gotten a base card since 2012-13, despite being a starter on the Knicks in 2013-14!) and Jerryd Bayless of the Bucks.

#131 Harrison Barnes. This is the first time since 2012-13 that the cards of the previous season's Finalists were not made using images of the actual NBA finals. This is from the same series, and possibly the same game, as the Zach Randolph card shown above.

#102 Kevin Garnett. When KG takes the floor this season, he will tie the all-time record for seasons played in the NBA, and he has at least one more year on his contract- I suspect he is just hanging around to set the record, as he doesn't have the physical ability to be the superstar he once was.

#299 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, my first pack's rookie...nice to see it was from my long-time favorite team. The rookie cards feature a different design this season, the first time that has been the case in the Panini era of Hoops. (They didn't bother to include any rookies at all in the lockout shortened 2011-12!) 
One per pack Panini Dunk info card. The back is blank white. As I still live without a "smart" phone, these don't really help me much. I've been putting some of the 23 duplicates I ended up with in trade packages...and I'm sure there will be more coming as I will be opening some retail versions of this set as well.

Here's the back of the cards.
One thing I don't like about the back is that it doesn't include full career stats- all previous Hoops releases under the Panini stewardship did. They could have used less space for the name and text and given us more stats. That, and the fact that they limited it to 300 cards, ignoring at the very least 100 players- and the lack of coaches- is the only complaint I have on the set, which I otherwise really like.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

2014-15 O-Pee-Chee Platinum hockey

Back to and back to the scan folder, we get a pack of O-Pee-Chee Platinum.

Hobby pack of what is basically the Topps Chrome of hockey. Take the 14-15 release of O-Pee-Chee base, run it through a chrome machine and out pops Platinum. Just like Topps Chrome, Platinum is smaller sized set than the base, only 200 cards. Four cards per pack, just like Chrome!

I'm not the biggest fan of OPC hockey. You would think I'd be a fan of the old chipboard stock, but it's never been a set I can get into. I like Platinum, though. And that from a guy that is not a fan of Chrome. I'm an enigma. As you can see, it is exactly the same design as the regular OPC release, just all shiny. And that line on the right is from my scanner. I need to figure out what it wrong with the thing.

Anyone care to guess what this card is? 10 points for those that picked refractor, but 25 points to those that picked the proper name - rainbow foil. They fall in every three packs. And you have trax (xfractors), white ice, red prism, blue cubes, seismic gold, black ice and golden treasure. Anyone else got a taste for Lucky Charms now? Also, you have photo variations, plus full swaps of variations that have a different player altogether.

I really need to fix my scanner.

Boom. What falls in every four packs is an OPC retro. This sweet retro of two time Norris trophy, and 3 time Cup champ Keith is actually a black border, which is serialed to 100. Double boom!

All in all, this is a set I may look into a box or two around the Black Friday sales coming in a month. Good, fun rip with an on card auto per box, plus a fair amount of inserts. Set building could be a chore, though.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

2015 Topps Series 2 Retail


Hope everyone's ready for the weekend.  As I type this up, the World Series just got set.  The Cubs had a fun year, but their offense hit the brakes just in time for a hot Mets club.  I think the Royals have the better team, but my gut says the Mets won't stop and they take it in 6.

Here's a pack of Topps Series 2 retail!

Everyone's favorite Buddha posted a Jumbo pack a while back but not a retail one, so because the vendor at my Target has yet to put out the Update set yet here you all go:

#500 - David Ortiz
#474 - Alexi Amarista
#502 - Kevin Frandsen

I think I've finally figured out the scanner's habits so that I can now get the complete card in the scan.  I revel in the small victories!

Nope, still have some work to do with the scanner...
#518 - Rajai Davis
#508 - Collin McHugh
#HOR-15 - Matt Adams

Nice horizontal Davis shot.  I get the Heart of the Order subset (1 in 6 packs), but I'd rather see a lineup instead of, per Night Owl (I think), breadsticks.
#CHR_CBL - Charlie Blackmon

Woo!  Retail mojo!  The Career High Relics come 1 in 109 packs.  Pretty cool to get a striped patch too.

#399 - Josmil Pinto
#369 - Aaron Loup
#463 - Justin Verlander

That's the pack; 2 less cards due to the relic.  Here's some backs:
That's all for now.  More later.  Enjoy the weekend, and thanks for reading everybody!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

2015 Pokemon TCG XY: Roaring Skies


Hope everyone's doing well.  Eight days ago marked my 4th year as part of this wonderful blog.  And the die-hards here know my anniversary posts are not sports related.  So, here's a's a pack of 2015 Pokemon TCG XY: Roaring Skies!

Like many young kids, my boys have discovered the pocket monsters and have asked The Wifey whenever possible to get them packs.  I have resisted, waiting for them to show some sort of responsibility in keeping the cards they have (I have yet to come across any of them Gabba Gabba cards since they were bought).  But, since The Wifey is The Boss, the boys each got a pack of the second most recent set a couple of weeks ago.  I was able to scan one before, well, I don't know where they went.

This hanger pack contains one pack of Roaring Skies, as well as some sort of coin and a some sort of promo card?  Anyway, this card's called Heliolisk and is apparently some sort of angry flying solar eclipse.  Anyway, here are the rest of the cards:

78 - Pidove
1 - Exeggcute
73 - Swablu
21 - Voltorb

The card number is on the lower right corner of the page.  The circle means it's a common card.  If I'm taking Pokemon into battle, I'd rather take that angry flying solar eclipse thing instead of those cheerful, happy-to-be-here birds.

54 - Bagon
39 - Hawlucha
23 - Zapdos
96 - Winona

Zapdos is the rare card in the pack (it has a star on the lower right) and Winona is an uncommon card (it has a diamond).  Looks like you get 6 commons, 3 uncommons, and 1 rare.  Two more uncommons to go! 

2 - Exeggutor
50 - Dragonair

It says on the Exeggutor card that if it gets too big, a head (which is a coconut) falls off, becoming an Exeggcute.  Isn't that out of a bad horror movie?  Anyway, I also scanned (poorly) the online ad card and a card back.

Anyway, that's it.  This is the first Pokemon pack to be posted here, and I'm sure you're all thinking "it's about time!"  Well, if the boys keep begging, I'm sure there'll be other packs up here soon enough.  Here's to another year of blogging...thanks for reading!