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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Second pack 'o Heritage

I don't feel like writing pithy quips about baseball players right now. You're only here for the card pr0n anyway. No inserts or SPs in this pack, just good 'ol base cards. Enjoy.

Sometimes a comment just needs to be a post, part 2 - Blaster baiting

Nate explains the Topps Wal-Mart/Target black/throwback blasters (note - link is now broken) in his insider distributor blog today. We figured it out already, but still it's nice to get the inside scoop on these things from someone in the know. Nate explains the idea behind the move in his post, to give a little pick-me-up to the retail sales once they start going flat. Everything was going great and then this happened:
"Unfortunately Topps has helped by letting you know which blasters are which. How stupid! Now instead of multiple purchases to get the cards you know exactly which one."
Coincidentally, my immediate reaction to this statement was the exact same as it was when I first learned about the throwback blasters in the first place. How many times can one head explode, anyway? After reading some of the gobsmacked response in the comments I responded thusly*:

I know! Half the fun of shopping at Wal-Mart is going through the cereal aisle and buying multiple boxes of cereal hoping to get the one with Corn Flakes in it!

I remember one time, it was my Anniversary. I stopped by Target to pick up a bottle of Merlot and some condoms for that evening. The bottle ended up being tequila and the condoms actually turned out to be suppositories. Long story short, the twins are healthy and we've never been more regular! ISN'T SHOPPING FUN!
I mean, it's the same thing right? Cereal is cereal, right? It's all made up of the little curly bits left over in the pencil sharpener right? It's not like there are different flavors of cereal or anything, each with its own development costs and design strategy and marketing campaign that cost millions to differentiate it from all the other boxes of cereal on the shelf, it's all just cereal! And as for my slightly off color Anniversary anecdote, well, I still walked out of that Target with alcohol and a medical device designed to be inserted into an orifice, right? It's all the same thing! Plus little Chipper and Knucksie are really quite sweet when they don't have the colic because that can of baby formula actually had egg nog in it (milk based food product, it's all the same).

Now, Nate defends his statement stating that you're still buying a blaster of Topps series 1 and you're still getting a box of Topps series 1, just with a different border. But is that what we've come to? INSERT BLASTERS?? The product is so shitty, that there has to be an unannounced parallel version of the set to try to drive sales?? But somehow Topps is stupid for 'letting us know' which blaster is which, so we don't just go blindly buying up blasters like sheep.

The thing is that Topps did NOT announce what blasters had what cards in it. As you can see from this post, there is not a single indication at all on the packaging that Black border cards even exist, let alone they are in that box. The first indication that these blasters existed at all is from customers who thought they were buying base Topps and got the black bordered version. If not for some byzantine government UPC labeling regulation, it's doubtful Topps would have even but the tiny bit of differentiation on the blasters at all! End result: card nerds like us know to check the UPC code before buying but THE KIDS get the luck of the draw. Yep, now we're all BLASTER SEARCHERS because Topps and their distributors want to trick us into buying more blasters.

This is shady. It's shady as hell. I called it a gimmick and it's a goddamn gimmick. To Topps' credit, once they were asked about it, they fessed up. I'll even give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they were going to announce the variations, but Wal-Mart screwed the pooch and jumped the gun. So, kudos to Topps for giving their customers the information they need when asked. No kudos for distributors who think it's their birthright that their customers should just blindly buy everything off the shelves.

Now, I realize this is a business and they need to make money. Nate asks the following questions:

1. How do we sell more product of the same stuff (Topps #1)?

2. How do we get multiple purchases?

The answer to #1 is easy. Exactly what they did here. I have to admit, this is brilliant as hell and I didn't see this coming at all. Wait until everyone's had their fill of regular series one (I had already had my fill to be honest and was about to focus on UD and Heritage), then pop up with TWO NEW versions of the set that look even better than the originals and have a second feeding frenzy on the product. It's like three seperate products in one release! Now that the number of sets they can produse are limited, that's genius. Even so, it would have been nice to see an indication on the box at least informing us of what the hell was going on. A label stating black bordered cards inside, a picture of a black bordered card on the box, hell, even a notation in the odds ratios that black border parallels exist. Maybe to get around the MLB License and the limited sets they have to stealth it like this, I don't know. At any rate, just dumping it out there is deceptive. I love the cards, but as it happens so often in this hobby, the idea was great but the execution was lacking.

Ok, now for question #2 - how to get multiple purchases. A cynical rephrasing of this question reads as 'how to get idiots to keep buying the same old crap that they already have multiple sets of'. I get it, you want us to buy your product. The past 25 years of the hobby has already been devoted to asking this question. First it was rack packs with special All-Star inserts on the top. Then it was Fleer All-Star insert cards in the packs. Then it was multiple products on several different levels like Leaf - Donruss - Triple Play. Then more and more inserts and parallels. Relics, Autos, 10+ products per company. Now we've got multiple packaging styles for the same product. Here's a post I did with all the different ways for someone to buy a pack of Topps. Hobby pack, HTA Jumbo pack, retail pack in at least two flavors (Target, Wal-Mart and probably a third generic retail pack), Jumbo retail packs, Cereal Boxes (also in Wal-Mart and Target flavors) and now three different blasters with three completely different kinds of cards in them. That's TEN different ways to buy Topps each with their own slightly different chase cards in them! THE SET AIN'T BUT 330 CARDS, PEOPLE!!! You want to know how to get people to make multiple purchases? Just like this! Give 'em more options!

Some people will only buy Hobby packs, period. Others like the convenience of retail. Some like buying a cheap loose pack for 2 bucks. Others refuse to buy it if it's not in a sealed box. Some like the rack packs that give you more base cards for the money. The exclusive insert in the Cereal boxes is good enough on its own to drive sales of them. Now you have three different blasters in three different flavors. Some will pick the flavor they like, some will collect all of them. Give us options and let us know what we're buying and you'll get more sales!

THERE IS NO NEED TO BE SNEAKY WITH THIS. I know distributors probably still have nightmares about the acres of 2007 Topps Series two blasters they literally couldn't GIVE away, but you don't have to screw over your customers to try to make an extra sale! Let me put it this way: Yes, you might get a few extra sales from people blindly buying blasters to try to find the magic black bordered box, but how many future sales will you lose though dissatisfied customers refusing to buy a blaster again because the wrong cards were in thier blaster? Which is worse, taking back a few blasters that were left on the shelf, or throwing away a shelf of blasters because someone opened them all up and ripped exactly one pack per box looking for the black bordered blaster? Trying to deceive your customers does NOT help you in the long run. It gives you short term profits and long term headaches and in this economy you need to be building up as much goodwill as you possibly can.

These new sets of Topps are awesome. I can't wait for the Target version to hit the shelves. However there is no need to try to cheat your customers, and it is very unwise to openly treat them like sheep ready to be sheared. Not in the 21st century. Not when meddling busybodies like me can spread the word over the blogoweb. To Topps , Upper Deck and all the people who sell these stupid bits of cardboard for our amusement: You treat us right, and we'll treat you right. Deal?

* Note - Night Owl first made the 'bait and switch' point, while Chris Harris and Todd Q beat me to the incredulity. I merely upped the stakes with sarcasm.

Topps enthusiast JayBee weighs in as well.

UPDATE: Nate's post has been pulled, this post shall live on.

I do not want to discourage insiders from talking about their products. That is a good thing. The more information out there, the happier customers are. You gotta watch those Macaca moments though. As an ordinary slob who has absolutely no financial stake in the hobby at all, I am free to run my mouth off. Hopefully this little tempest in a teapot will help explain some of the frustration the customers have been feeling lately. We just want to be treated nicely, guys.

UPDATE 2: Nate just e-mailed me and explained his side of the story. The post was removed because it doesn't put the industry in a good light. Let's face it, what he said makes perfect business sense, but this wasn't the forum to represent those views. Let's just look at this as a learning experience. This is good feedback for the industry to understand what we want. The customers and distributors and manufacturers are all in this together, we want good products and they want to sell them to us. No harm, no foul and I look forward to future posts from Nate.

I Hate College Basketball

Here I am, catching up on the blogs and listening to Built For Speed on Album 88, and WHAMMO. Georgia State basketball comes on and ruins my afternoon. No Rockabilly or Funk for Dayf today. Sadness.

Hmm. I guess this post didn't have much to do with baseball cards did it. Ok, now it does.

'76 Knucksie courtesy Matt P. who also sent a bunch of other Braves and a couple American Heritage cards I needed. Thanks Matt!

Get those votes in

There's about a day left to decide the fates of those 1982 Topps stickers. "Stick 'em" is leading at the moment, so if you want to save them you better get to voting. Someone asked in the comments if the things would even stick anymore after over two and a half decades. Well, to test that theory, I took this sticker here...

of Milt Wilcox and decided to test its adhesive qualities. Todd let me have two of these stickers so I had a spare anyway. Here is Milt's future home:

#186 in the album. Will it stick to the album or will the ancient glue be useless? Only one way to find out:

It stuck! The glue wasn't super sticky, but there was more than enough stick 'em on there to adhere nicely to the page. Plus I can potentially peel it off if the mob demands I keep that album pristine. There you go, hard proof these stickers will still stick, even 27 years later.

Friday, February 27, 2009

First pack of 2009 Topps Heritage

Ok, I made you guys wait long enough. Frost/Nixon kicked all kinds of ass though. I'm not saying you need to drop ten bucks on a ticket like I just did, but definitely NetFlix it or catch it at a dollar theater. ALL RIGHTY THEN! FIRST HERITAGE CARD OF 2009!!!

29 Rickie Weeks

I haven't actually written it up like Russ, but the Brewers are on my 'teams I like' list. This set is also on the like love lust list. Topps nailed the design. Brightly colored backgrounds, the lettering is exactly right, they nailed the team logo with the thick black line around them and best of all there is no weird computer 'fuzzing' of any of the portraits that I've seen, instead the gave it an aged look by slightly washing out the colors like in the 1957 style cards for the 2006 Heritage set.

98 Shaun Marcum

I actually don't know who this guy is at all. Thanks to Google I know know that his stats look promising, but the elbow has become acquainted with a Mr. Tommy John.

138 Andrew Carpenter

The guy has pitched exactly one game in the majors. One inning pitched, one hit, one strikeout, one walk. Now he has one Heritage baseball card. Topps stuck the Rookie Card logo on top of the ribbon. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Here's the back of the rookie cards. Note no season highlights line about the text. I'm pretty sure Topps uses the same cartoons from the original set, I'm going to have to take some time to look through my original '60s and check now.

TN10 Whitey Ford & CC Sabathia Then & Now

This is an excellent pairing, though I'm not sure if I like the design yet. It has a cool retro feel to it, but I think there could be less color and more picture to be honest. This will be a tough call for Thorzul, because it has an Indians logo on the front...

And Milwaukee Brewers on the back. The throwback uni further complicates matters. Maybe Topps was trying to make Yankee, Indian and Brewer fans all fight over this card.

405 Robinson Cano

I don't care if Robinson does need a nap, even Yankee haters have to admit the red black and yellow makes an awesome looking card.

32 Reliable Rookies

Pretty nice combo here, the original card #32 in the set was "Sophmore Stalwarts" Jim O'Toole and Vada Pinson.

Backs have the same cartoon down to the batter getting robbed by that second baseman.

335 Kelly Johnson

Got a Brave! Weirdly, Kelly has been the first Brave pulled out of all three '09 sets I've opened this year. The Upper Deck pack I posted with the double Chippers was actually the second pack I opened and the first had KJ. Recognize the black and white pose?

Here's the normal back. Looks like Cartoon Kelly is fending off an epic hailstorm.

309 Ryan Sweeney

Ryan went from the White Sox to the A's last year in the Swisher trade and had a decent first full year in the bigs. We'll see if he can take it up a notch this year.

Good first pack. Although I wish I could have found a box, it's good to get this in my hands finally. One more note - The gum is once again chewable. It looks like they went back to the gum from China according to the back of the wrapper. I chewed a couple of pieces and while it's still a little fruitier than the traditional Bazooka gum, the flavor lasts a little longer than the Heritage High Series Gum and does not have that strange bitter/sour aftertaste. Another good move by Topps here. I'll post the other four packs this weekend when I have time.

Reconnaissance Report

Ok. I just got back from Target.

They had blasters, but the code on the back was 1-825-50-10-9 and not 1-825-50-12-9. I guessed that meant that they were the normal blasters and not the Throwback ones, so I didn't get one. They also had Cereal boxes there. Same deal as Wal-Mart with the following differences:

Gold refractor instead of Platinum.

The player list was the big three plus:
Bob Gibson
Roy Campanella
Cy Young
Walter Johnson
Jimmie Foxx
Ty Cobb
Roberto Clemente

So when I said I would have replaced Munson and Sisler in the Wal-Mart Boxes with Cobb and Clemente I was sort of half right.

There was also a ton of new Upper Deck stuff in there including:


36 Card Fat Packs


Retail packs.

I finally got a pack of UD retail. No one tell Topps though, because if I hadn't known about the code trick for Throwback blasters I would have bought one of the regular ones instead of the pack of Upper Deck. I don't want to discourage them from actually giving us relevant information in the future so shhhhhh. I'll rip this either here or on A Pack A Day this weekend.

I also hit the card shop. Good News, everyone! You're all hearing this post with the voice of Professor Farnsworth in your head now! Oh, Also they finally had T51 Murad!

Apparently they had it a few days ago but some jerk bought it all up. I got a pack of it to check it out. Looks good! I'll post it here soon enough.

But you don't care about that.

You want something else.

The good stuff.

The Really Really GOOOOOOOOD Stuff!

You want...


Oh my God, these Chocodiles, oh my God.

Oh yeah, also some of this:

I got the absolute last five packs in the store. They got in four boxes today and vultures gobbled it all up. SQWAWK *ahem*

Bad News, everyone!

I'm meeting my wife to go see Frost/Nixon in about 45 minutes.

So you'll have to wait until this evening to see the goods.

Oh my God, this Heritage, Oh my god.

It's even funnier in Italian!

Black Backs and Throwbacks

Anyone found an '09 Heritage Gimmick yet? The Topps Heritage Blog has sussed out that there are 75 'black back' variation cards again this year in addition to the SPs. Called it!

Nachos Grande found something even MORE earth shattering.

That's the UPC code from my Wally World Cosmic Bowling Topps Blaster. See that code on the top? 1-825-50-13-9? That is how you can tell if a Wal-Mart blaster has all black cards or not.


Find that same code on a Target blaster (with 12 instead of 13) and you get....






I'll, um... I'll be back in a little bit.

Oh, by the way - a dude's plastic head explodes really really cheesily in that video, don't watch it if that's not your thing.

I hate the interwebs

Or at least a certain cable providing ISP who did maintenance last night and took down my internet for 4 hours and also somehow managed to get my router all goofed up as well. I've hacked my way back online at least, but I still have no wireless. I may be messing with this all day so posting may be sparse. In the meantime here is a preview of a brand new project I'm working on. I should have it posted here by Monday at the latest.

Ok, now I'm going to smack my computer around a bit and figure out how I'm going to find time to go to the post office and the card shop later today. Wish me luck folks... I'm gonna need it.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Maybe he meant it as a suggestion

Apparently Mickey Mantle was pretty liberal about the inscriptions he would sign on baseballs. Let's just say it's the Billy Ripken of autographed baseballs. Yogi's one of my favorite players, but I still find this to be hilarious. I'd love to know the story behind how this ball got signed that way. The Mantle family bought it back from the dealer who was selling it, so you don't have to worry about seeing a very special 1/1 cut auto in this year's Sweet Spot.

Hat tip to Shysterball.

Grand Cards enjoys the ball too!

With a little bit of luck...

...I will have a box of 2009 Heritage in my hands right at this very moment. I don't know for sure because I typed this post out this morning at 7:00am. It's 3:00pm now though and if I don't have that box yet, I probably won't get it today. I'm going to remain optimistic and say that I've probably got it. If the cardboard gods are really smiling on me, I'll have a pack or two of T51 Murad as well. Tack that onto the Braves Grapefruit League victory on ESPN that I taped since I was out chasing Heritage and this could become a very good day. If I do have the box, you'll know about it soon enough.

UPDATE: No luck today. Maybe tomorrow.

2009 Upper Deck Braves

Weird thing - I like 2009 Upper Deck better than 2009 Topps, but it seems like I have a bunch more Topps than Upper Deck. Maybe because Topps has had single packs out since January. That's the thing with Topps packs, they're like potato chips. You try to eat just one and next thing you know half the bag is gone. You can't just buy a pile of Upper Deck blasters all at once. Here's a start to my UD Braves collection, plus I have the checklist so I actually know what cards I need!

StarQuest Common

StarQuest Blue Uncommon

StarQuest Gold Rare

StarQuest Emerald Super Rare

StarQuest Black Ultra Rare

StarQuest Plaid Ludicrous Rare

17 Jair Jurrjens

18 Mike Hampton

19 Brandon Jones

20 Tom Glavine

21 John Smoltz

22 Chipper Jones

23 Yunel Escobar

24 Kelly Johnson

25 Brian McCann

26 Jeff Francouer

27 Tim Hudson

28 Casey Kotchman

427 James Parr RC

452 Team Leaders

473 Team Checklist

A Public Service Announcement from Cardboard Junkie

If you were planning to read each chapter of Jim Bouton's Ball Four on the corresponding day in the book starting at the point where he reports to Pilots Spring Training in Tempe, today is the day to start reading.

If you don't have a copy of the book it should be available at your local bookstore, provided the shop is not run by godless communist terrorists who hate America and gleefully kick puppies with malice aforethought. If your book merchant is in fact unpatriotic (or simply sold out of copies due to the incredible demand) you'll just have to order it online and try to catch up.

That is all.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Definitely Live

Heritage King has a rundown of his 6 boxes with lots of scans up on the Collectors Universe forum. Card Junkie has most of them in one handy dandy post.

Looks like the high numbers are cards 426-500 and they have the darker back with the name in black letters. No word on gimmicks or variations yet.

Cards are starting to trickle onto eBay, it should be a flood tomorrow.

Not long now... with a little luck I'll have a box in my hand in about 12 hours or so. I remember now how I felt as a kid on Christmas Eve...

2009 Topps Wal-Mart Blaster Live Break

I was going to rip one of these things sooner or later anyway, so let's get it out of the way. I had Heritage release day marked on my calendar for months and if I didn't rip something I'd get cardboard blue (base)balls. There were a dozen or so blasters at the Wal-Mart Chastain Meadows. One was upside down, as if it was placed that way on purpose. The spies are getting brazen. I must be on my guard at all times now. I took the baited box and now it is ready to open.

I'm still not sure if Wally World blasters are all black cards or if they are some sort of 'hot box' for people to chase. Before I rip it open, let's look at all six sides of the box and see if the word 'black' or 'border' is used even ONCE.

Front of the box:

"10 packs plus One Retired Legend Commemorative Patch Card!"
Nope, nothing about black bordered cards there. There is a warning that THESE CARDS MAY KILL YOUR CHILDREN though. Never feed new baseball cards to your kids, folks. Give 'em some nice '87 Topps to chew on. Good roughage, that.

Back of the box:

Same as the front except in horozaontal format and Topps is no longer concerned if your children die. There is a nice ad for their Legends of the game insert set though. there isn't one for black bordered cards though.

Right side of the box:

A-Rod's rump. His best side. Everyone sees Alex is a cheater now. I don't. I see him like Ken Lay or that Bernie Madoff guy who stole money from Sandy Koufax's charity. They did something illegal to make massive amounts of profits and people looked the other way for a long time until the shit finally hit the fan. Give me a good old fashioned cheater any day.

Ok, commentary over. Toppstown.com ad. 10 code cards inside! 1956 world Series Patch! Actual Card may Vary! 10 packs, 8 cards per pack, 81 cards per box. No black. No border.

Left side of the box:

TONS if info here. There has to be a mention of black border parallels here, no?
UPC code.
Approximate odds:
Gold parallel 1:10
Platimum parallel 1:21000
Base varation 1:119
Legends of the game 1:8
Legends gold parallel 1:2600
Legends platinum paralle 1:10000
Turkey Red 1:6
Black border stealth parallel 1:???

No purchase necessary blah blah blah

Legends commemorative patch cards: I'm gonna get Don Larsen, I know it. Maybe Yogi will be jumping in his arms at least.

Top of the box:

Same as the front minus A-Fraud and plus Topps Town.

Box bottom.

Ok. There's where tOpps hides all the legalese crap. They snuck the black border stuff in here to fool us.
Distributed by... blahblahblah... no future value... blahblahblah... official licensee... blahblahblah... Mantle IP holdings ltd... blahblahblah... Williams family enterprises... blahblahblah... CMG... blahblahblah... Consumer Product Safety Commission... blahblahblah...
That's it.
No mention of black borders anywhere.
Effing Gimmick Bullpuckey.

Ok. Time to rip. Watch this lovely video while I start shredding and posting. Remember to hit F5 every so often kids!

Squished picture with Japanese subtitles! WOOOOOOO! Let's open this puppy!

First pack...


285 Justin Ducsherer
218 Emmanuel Burriss
270 Grady Sizemore
TR48 Nate McLouth Turkey Red
TTT17 K-Rod Topps Town
306 Javy Vazquez
29 Jerry Hairston
33 Jose Guillen

Pack 2:

313 Jamey Carroll
167 Aaron Harang
263 Elijah Dukes
250 Josh Hamilton
TTT18 Miguel Cabrera TT
Topps Attax code
191 Victorino Postseason
156 Carlos Pena
237 Aaron Cunningham

I can't believe I'm saying this, but this stuff looks GOOD. the Turkey Red in the first pack is a good omen for two in the box. Grady and Hambone are the two best cards so far.

Pack 3:

140 Brandon Webb
243 Chase Headley
157 Combo D-Backs
TR28 Delmon Young
TTT22 Lincecum TT
120 Mark Tei$eira
291 Cris Coste
34 Brandon Inge

Let me rephrase: this stuff looks good in person. It doesn't scan worth a flip. The second Turkey Red showed up quickly. Now we're shooing for a Turkey Red hot box!

Pack 4:

117 Ron Gardenhire
255 Joe Crede
176 AL RBI Leaders
TTT23 Hamilton TT
10 Dan Uggla
292 Francisco Cervelli
45 Brad Ziegler
17 BOBBY!!!

Honesty time, I wanted the Bobby Cox card from the first nanosecond I saw that first Wal-MArt blaster break. I am now happy.

Pack 5:

295 Derrek Lee
205 Miguel Tejada
201 Combo - Salty Ham
206 NL ERA leaders
TTT24 Bruce TT
293 Brian Bixler
109 Tom Gorzelanny
317 Jarrod Saltalamaccia

This box is rather Ranger-heavy so far. I think that's three Hamilton cards aleady.

Pack 6:

106 Marlon Byrd
60 Mariano Rivara
128 Johnny Cueto
221 AL ERA Leaders
246 Postseason - Rays
Attax code
220 Jay Bruce
48 Mike Napoli

Players seem to come in bunches. Two Dice-K's in this pack and another Bruce card makes an appearance.

Pack 7:

58 Travis Snider
190 Chein Ming Wang
52 Marco Scutaro
238 Jorge Cantu
TTT19 Carlos Quentin TT
224 Max Scherzer
236 Kelly Johnson
198 Conor Jackson

Ooh! Look at the little sliver of background at the top of Kelly Johnson's card. Isn't it cute!
OH GOD. I'm liking this set. Must... Remain... Cynical...


Pack 8:

316 Brian Stokes
68 Kyle Lohse
229 Cesar Izturis
127 AL HR Leaders
TTT20 Berkman TT
David Wright, waste of space.
12 Andrew Carpenter
277 Asdrubal Cabrera
2 Omar Vizquel

No inserts in a while. Here's the scan of the box topper pack to whet your appetite. Yeah, it scans worse than the actual cards.

Pack 9:

124 Reed Johnson
241 David Newhan
139 Postseason Stairs
180 Cliff Lee Gold #1700/2009
TTT21 Chipper Jones Gold TT
22 Combos - Price & Longoria
57 Jo-Jo Reyes
199 Ramon Castro

Chipper Jones Gold = Box is a success, gimmicks or no.

Pack 10:

75 Rich Harden
35 David Price
147 NLRBI Leaders
LG25 Cal Ripken Jr. Legend
TTT21 Chipper Jones TT
282 Chris Lambert
166 Jeff Baker
98 Akinori Iwamura

Finally got the Legends insert. Two Turkeys, one Gold and one Legend is about right for a blaster. You can't see it too well on the scan, but the foil on the David Price card is slightly off center. I bet if I put it on eBay as DAVID PRICE ROOKIE ERROR FOIL BLACK 1/1!!! I'd sell it for a fortune.




Ok. I'm torn. Part of me is appalled that I have something so evil and unholy in my house, but this card IS. FREAKING. GORGEOUS.

I don't know what to do with this. Trade it off? Sell it? Hold it prisoner and drive the Mets fans insane? I shall ponder this carefully. A brief respite shall ensue before the final denouement.

Ok. Stale Gum has a theory that these cards are a legitimate printing error or test proof that somehow got overproduced so Topps decided to pack 'em out anyway. This guy says all shall be revealed in a couple of days. I still don't know if all the Wal-Mart blasters have black bordered cards or if the Spies left me a hot box. I do know that doing an unnanounced retail-only parallel is:







And this is how I feel about the whole thing!

These cards are freaking awesome, man. I think they look a hell of a lot better than the regular set and I LIKE the regular set. I know, I suck. I've lost all my cynical card curmudgeon cred. But they look good! They're like a trading card version of Cosmic Bowling, all dark and neon! If I knew with certainty that all the Wal-Mart blasters had black cards in them, I'd trade off my white bordered base cards and take my Heritage box money and just buy up a bunch of Wally World blasters and build the black border set. I like 'em that much. Pathetic isn't it? For now I'll sit back and enjoy the ones I have and wait for all this to settle itself out.

I don't know what the hell you're thinking Topps, but if you want to make this black border stuff a regular thing in series two and beyond I've got your back on this one. Just tell us next time, ok?