Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day One At The National Nightly Recap

Today was "Get your feet wet" day for most. I was time to get your badge, settle in and get a feel for lay of the land.

This is the daunting image that hits you once you get into the venue.

Mind you, this is just one row of the floor. Where you see the ceiling break downwards is we're the corporate section starts, but it is so far away, you can't even see it from this side of the floor.

Topps jump started the day for most collectors looking to score one of the coveted Bowman Blue Foil sets.

Those were gone inside of 45 minutes. With only 100 available to be given away each day, it is not surprising these went fast. For those of you that are here in Baltimore, get here as early as you can manage. I would imagine that it will get tougher and tougher to secure a set as the days go on. Also at the Topps booth were the Gypsy Queen Minis.

Obviously the quickest to go were the Yu Darvish and Bryce Harper minis, with the daily allotment running out 1 1/2 hours after the doors opened. At 2 hours in, the rest were snapped up. These minis felt a little more glossy than those found in the regular release.

Over at the Panini booth, things were hopping with their wrapper redemption. They had the big hit cards on display. Here are the NFL player sketch cards.

These two were going to town, busting packs and then moving on to the redemption packs.

While I was there, they pulled this out of one of the redemption packs.

It is one of the Panini Employee relic auto cards. And the best part about it was Scott Prusha signed the card right on the spot.

If you pull one of theses you have the choice to have it personalized or just a straight forward autograph.

As much as we might kid about pulling an employee auto card, it is very obvious that the folks at Panini are in on the joke, and I must say, it was a fun and different thing to have the process happen in front of you. It is also important to remember that these cards do not come at the expense of the huge hits that are seeded in the redemption packs.

Another big reason collectors come to the show is for the in-person player signings. For those that are new to this, your autograph ticket gets you just that, the autograph. There are plenty of dealers that have items you can purchase to have signed. TriStar has you covered too with 8x10 photos of the players who are signing for $5 a photo, a great pickup if you don't already have something to be signed.

You can pick up a protective holder for an extra $1. Their merchandise is right next to the autograph pavilion which is very convenient.

After checking these out I saw some activity near the pavilion so I went over to see what was happening.

It was Robbie, Sr. And Sweet Lou from ABC's Ball Boys. Their shop is just 20 minutes away from the Convention Center and would be a great side trip for fans of the show. They don't have a booth at the National, but there should be someone from the shop walking the floor each day. They were gracious enough to talk to fans and even signed a baseball for one collector. They just seemed like genuine nice guys, very approachable, which is tough to maintain when you reach a certain level of recognition. Robbie, Sr. was really glad to have the National in Baltimore. It does a lot for the city and for the hobby in general. Sweet Lou informed me that everything has been shot for the first season of the show and they are just awaiting word about when the second season will start. I suggest if you are a fan of the show to contact ABC and let them know how much you like it and inquire when the second season will air.

I stopped by the Leland' booth. Front and center was the Babe Ruth jersey they just bought at auction for over $4 million. It is the earliest New York Yankees game-used jersey known to exist.

Other than that, it was an easy going couple of hours. I got to hang out with Ryan Tedards of Sports Crad Radio and Sports Card News over at the FCB area with Chris Gilmore and his wife. There was still a bit of unpacking for some of the smaller venders and then, very quickly, the first day was over.

Afterwards Ryan and myself got together with Jason of Field Level View to sort out VIP gift bags and bust some boxes. I did notice something interesting about the Topps National set.

The cards are just slightly bigger that a regular card. Here is a size comparison with a base card from Series 2.

As a last note, Jason had the pull of the evening from a box of Bowman Platinum.

It's a Trevor Bauer auto printing plate. Sweet!

That's all I have from day one. Keep following our twitter feed for timely updates and keep checking back here for daily recaps and maybe even a contest or two. Goodnight from Baltimore.

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