Saturday, August 13, 2011

Teams Still Available For A 2011 Topps Finest Baseball Cards Case Break

Getting in on a case break is a great way to increase the odds of pulling your favorite player's or team's cards, usually at a small percentage of the cost of a single box. 

Earlier this year I got in on  a case break of 2011 Topps Baseball Series 2 over at "A Cardboard Problem," a great blog that should be part of your daily read.   My results were quite good, with some really nice pulls, but that is just the luck of the draw. What makes breaks over at A Cardboard Problem really good is the way the breaks are handled.  Since the case was preordered, it arrived as close to the first day of release as possible.  The case was broken the day it arrived, live on UStream.  The cards were sorted, mailed and in my hands within a week.  The ladies who run A Cardboard Problem, Marie and Sooz, otherwise known as the Card Bandits, know how to do things right.

2011 Topps Finest Baseball is set to release on September 28th.  It looks like it will be a great opportunity to collect a rainbow of parallel cards of some big name stars and rookies, along with some sharp looking auto and relic hits.  A Cardboard Problem is doing a case break of Topps Finest and there is still time to get in on it.  There are a few teams left, going at a cost of $40 a team including shipping, so if your PC includes any players from the following teams, make sure to get in on this break.
Chicago White Sox           
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Minnesota Twins
Houston Astros
Colorado Rockies
Milwaukee Brewers
Cincinnati Reds
Tampa Bay Rays

The following teams are not included in the break, but who knows, maybe if you are a big fan of these teams, you might be able to purchase them too.

Kansas City Royals
Pittsburgh Pirates
Arizona Diamondbacks
Oakland Athletics
Florida Marlins
San Diego Padres

For less than the cost of half a box, its a great deal.  USE THIS LINK to get to the break page and reserve your team before it is taken. 

The Topps Prime 9 Redemption Card For Week 4 is Derek Jeter!

We told you about the release dates for the Prime 9 redemption cards found in 2011 Topps Baseball Series 2 hobby and jumbo boxes.  Week 1 was Johnny Bench.  Week 2 was Albert Pujols.  Week 3 was Jackie Robinson.  Week 4 is here so if you have one of these...
...its time to go visit your HTA Local Hobby Shop and redeem those cards.  Here is what you will get.
A Derek Jeter Prime 9 limited edition Chrome Refractor card.  Awesome!  Jeter’s “Prime 9 Moments” include Batted over .500 all three high school seasons, Yankees team captain since 2003 and All-time hits leader among Major League shortstops.  So get to your participating LCS and redeem those cards.  And don’t forget to fill out the back of your redemption card to be entered into a sweepstakes.  You could win a trip to the 2012 World Series.

Check in next week to find out who is on the card for week 5.

Friday, August 12, 2011

2011 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball Box Break Recap and Review

Collectors love Allen & Ginter.  There is something about the set that keeps them coming back, year after year.   No wonder the 2010 Sports Card Award for Fan Favorite Set of the Year went to Allen & Ginter.  There have been some small changes made to the 2011 release, which can be a good thing or a bad thing.  In this case the changes worked out well.

2011 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball is definitely for set builder.  Ginter falls under our classification of trading cards.  A&G is available in a variety of retail configurations and in hobby boxes that contain 24 packs with 8 cards per pack.  Each hobby box yields three hits that include autograph cards, relic cards, printing plates, rip cards or book cards.

Here are some of the cards we found in our box.

First, the new look base cards
Jorge Posada

To see the changes to this year's release, here are Jorge Posada's card from 2010 and 2011.

It is clear what has changed.  But when you look at the backs of these cards...

you can see not much has been done differently here.  Here are some of the best base card pulls.

Clayton Kershaw, Ryan Braun, Neftali Feliz, Jonathan Broxton, Robinson Cano
Brian McCann, Adrian Gonzalas, Mickey Mantle, Starlin Castro, Chone Figgins
Ryan Howard, Chipper Jones, Ervin Santana, Brandon Belt, Aaron Hill

Michael Pineda, Alex Rodriguez, Buster Posey, Tommy Hanson, Brian Wilson
Marlon Byrd, Tim Lincecum, Adam Dunn (not his year), Todd Helton, Freddie Freeman
Josh Beckett, Chase Utley, Pablo Sandoval, Heath Bell, Carlos Gonzalez

Prince Fielder, Roy Halladay
Cliff Lee, Paul Konerko

And, of course, there is a variety of famous people from other sports and walks of life.

Nancy Lopez, Picabo Street, Chuck Woolery, L.L. Zamenhof
Matt Guy, Ana Julaton, Nickolay Shmyrev, Diana Taurasi
Jim Nantz, Manny Pacquiao, Hope Solo, Rudy Ruettiger

The base set is paralleled in mini versions.

This is Evan Lysacek in Mini and Base card versions.  Here are the backs of the cards.

Same information on both.  Some of the inserts for the set only com in mini size.

Animals in Peril
Uninvited Guests, Step Right Up, World's Most Mysterious Figures, Penultimacy
Short Print Black Border, and then 4 regular minis, Lysacek, Ichiro, Tim Hudson, Ryan Howard 

Regular size inserts include...

 Floating Fortresses

 Baseball Highlight Sketches

 Minds That Made

 The Ascent of Man

Hometown Heroes

Crack the Code, a contest imbedded in the card set, returns, but this year is tied into a twitter account for additional clues.

 Here are some crack the code cards.  Look carefully!

Part of the code is included on these versions of the base cards.

And now for our three hits from the box.

 Jersey Relic Cards of Xavier Nady, Shane Victorino and Melky Cabrera
These are mini cards encased regular card sized housings.

Here are the backs of the cards.  There is room for them to move, these are not off-centered settings.

Overall Look
The design departs a little from the classic look of the Allen & Ginter cards of 1880, the set on which these cards were originally based.  Adding team logos, changes to bordering and color scheme work well, but no question the cards have a different feel from past years releases.  But most inserts feel consistent with past Ginter cards.

Quality and Variety of Players and Subsets.
This is certainly the most variety you will find in any set, which is why collectors love it.  In the same pack of cards you can pull an Ichiro, Stan Lee, Wee Man, Rasputin, Florence Nightingale and Flatworms.  Variety is what this set is about.  The Hometown Heroes are a really nice set of inserts.

Do the hits hold up?
There is a deep checklist for the relic cards that come in jersey and bat varieties.  They can be found at a rate of 1 in every 10 packs.  For comparison, most of the specialty minis are harder to pull, at a rate of 1 in every 12 packs.  The hits are nicely designed.  Mini Autos, rip cards an booklets are the prized hits here but a tough pull.

Will you want to collect them all?
Allen and Ginter has always been kind of a mixed bag, going all the way back to the original 1880 release.  Most love it.  It is not uncommon to chase the master set on this one.  But even those who are not as inspired by Ginter will probably collect a little of it in private, picking up their favorites, making sure not to let on about their guilty pleasure. 

4 out of 5

2011 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball provides the most variety out there for set builders.

Review box provided by Topps

Thursday, August 11, 2011

2011 Panini Rookies & Stars Football NFL Trading Cards Box Break Recap and Review

Are you ready for some Football? Play on the Gridron resumes tonight!!!! So let’s dive into a box break of 2011 Panini Rookies & Stars Football.

We classify R&S as trading cards. You can find them at retail outlets and your local card shop.   Hobby Boxes come with 24 – 8 card packs.

Lets take a look at some of the cards we pulled from our box.
 Adrian Peterson Base, front and back

All twenty four rookies we pulled from the box

 Longevity parallels of Cameron Jordan and DeSean Jackson #/249

Longevity Holofoil of Steven Jackson #/99

Longevity Gold of Casey Matthews #/49

Rookie Revolution of Jamie Harper

Gold Rookie Revolution of Kyle Rudolph #/500

 Studio Rookies of Greg Little, front and back

 Dual Studio Rookies of Ryan Mallet and Shane Vereen #/500

The Hits.
 Rookie Revolution Prime Swatch of Von Miller #/50

 Statistical Standouts Swatch of Mike Wallace, #/299

 Rookie Auto of Ricky Stanzi #/299

Rookie Auto of Shane Vereen #/299

Overall Look
Rookies & Stars is always a favorite for set builders and this year’s cards are a slight upgrade in design, a little less busy making them feel a little more upscale.  LOVE that the Studio Rookies have a second photo on the back of the card that features... the player's back. 

Quality and Variety of Players and Subsets.
150 star players, 100 rookies.  Certainly a tight checklist for set building. The Longevity parallels look great.  Insert cards are nice.

Do the hits hold up?
Pulling two rookie autos on team logo patches was great.  

Will you want to collect them all? 
Out of our hobby box, we were three cards shy of a complete set of the stars, but that can easily be resolved with some quick trades.  As with most products, the Rookies are the tough chase.  Even at one a pack, you still have 75% of the set to go after.  But you will want to complete the whole set. 

4 out of 5

2011 Panini Rookies & Stars Football is a solid base set with some nice hits to boot.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Schedule for the 2011 MLB Playoffs comes with a significant change.

Derek Jeter will not have to live up to one of his nicknames this year.   It is official.  There will be no Major League Baseball in November.  Weather permitting, the seventh game of the 107th World Series, if necessary, will be played on Oct. 27th, 2011.

Thanks to the National League win at the All-Star Game last month in Phoenix, the World Series is scheduled to start on Wednesday, Oct. 19, in the home ballpark of this year’s NL Champs.

The MLB wanted to ensure that the Series was over by October this year, which is why this season started with six games back on Thursday, March 31st.  The final regular season games will be played on Wednesday, Sept. 28th. If there is a need for any season tiebreakers, they will be played on September 29th.

ESPN Radio will be providing live national coverage throughout the postseason.

TBS has the exclusive telecast rights to all Divisional Series.  Coverage will start with the NL on Oct 1st and the AL on Oct 2nd.  By the way, clear your schedule for Saturday the 2nd because there will be four consecutive playoff games played back to back.  We could be in for 12 straight hours of baseball.

FOX will televise the ALCS beginning Oct. 8th. TBS will carry the NLCS beginning Oct. 9th.

The World Series games will be broadcast on FOX. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Play Madden NFL 12 Now, WIn A Car Later. Free Demo Is Live.

The NFL Lockout is over... joy.  The first NFL preseaon game is two days away... double joy.  You can play Madden NFL 12 on your XBox 360 or PS3 today... WHAT!!!

Yes, Madden NFL 12 hits store shelves on August 30th, but the free demo version of Madden NFL 12 became available for download this morning on Xbox and PlayStation. Here is the kicker.  Electronic Arts will give a new Chevy Cruze to a lucky player who masters the demo.   So you can play Madden now for free and potentially win a car... JOY, JOY, JOY.

Along with playing the game and having the chance to win a car, the demo lets you watch videos and learn new elements of the game.

The videos feature Van Bernardino, who goes by the name “Prodigy” and is known in gaming circles for being a champion Madden NFL videogame player and Reggie Bush.
Together, Prodigy and Bush demonstrate how to play the game, and give specific instructions on how to run an “audible.”

To have a chance at winning the car, all you have to do is play the demo, call an audible on offense and score a touchdown on that play.  A special code will be revealed that can be entered on the Madden NFL 12 Facebook fan page for a chance to win the 2011 Chevy Cruze.

So get your Madden on now.  You have until Sept. 30th to enter the contest.

Sorry residents of Florida and New York, you are not eligible.   I have no idea why, that's just the way it is.  I don't make the rules, not my contest.

2011 Press Pass Showcase NASCAR trading cards Break Recap and Review

We won’t even make you wait until the end of this review to tell you this.  If you are a card collecting fan of NASCAR, run, don’t walk, to your nearest LCS and pick up, at the very least, a box of 2011 Press Pass Showcase now.  After you have done that, come back here and we will talk about it.   Go.

You’re back?  OK.  You hold in your hands what could be the best box of  NASCAR cards you will open to date.  Return visitors to Showcase know just how good this product can be, but somehow, this year’s release is even better than years past.

We classify 2011 Press Pass Showcase as premium cards.  Each hobby box contains 3 – 5 card packs and each pack contains either one autograph, memorabilia or autographed memorabilia card.

Here is a look at the best of what we pulled.

First from the base set
Jimmie Johnson Elite Exhibit #/499

Gold Bobby LaBonte #/125

From the inserts
An acetate Showroom card of Mark Martin’s Chevrolet #/499  
NOTE - the blue area above the cards is actually clear.

And our big hit.

Prized Pieces Ink of Kurt Busch with Sheet Metal and an On Card Auto #/45

Overall Look
Double Rainbow foil that would make Paul "Yosemite Bear" Vasquez weep.  These cards are sharp!  The actetate cards look fantastic.  Some of the best materials and layout for the hit cards we’ve seen.

Quality and Variety of Drivers and Subsets
This checklist is very tight which makes ALL of the cards desireable.  How often can you say that? 

Do the Hits satisfy?  Are the cards too base heavy?
NASCAR cards have an advantage over other sports simply because of the colorful nature of the materials.  Showcase does just what the name implies by displaying these in in the best possible way.  Every hit is big.  Base cards are numbered and as attractive as any insert you’ll find in any other product, making every card in the box a hit.

Will you keep coming back for more?
Get as many of these boxes as you can because you wont have a chance to come back for more.  Showcase will sell out fast.

5 out of 5

2011 Press Pass Showcase cards are the NASCAR cards to own this year.