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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Curiosity got the better of me

I mentioned yesterday that I have a cold. It didn't get any better overnight, so I went to the local Wally World to pick up a gallon of OJ to attempt to drown the bugs currently infesting my sinuses in vitamin C. As long as I was there, it couldn't hurt to swing by the card aisle, could it? Well, yes, actually it could:

O-Pee-Chee is live and in retail stores. Gravity feed packs for $1.57 each and blasters 14 packs for $19.99. The whole aisle had been recently revamped with new stuff (OPC, Topps Series 2 Cereal Boxes and '09 Donruss Americana) and a bunch of new discounted stuff. Blasters of '08 UDX for 10 bucks and packs of '08 First Edition for 49 cents caught my eye. The pretty yellow wrappers with Ryan Braun gracing them sucked me in though and I picked up 4 packs for review purposes. I wasn't buying these for myself, you know... this was a selfless act in order to help my readers learn more about this newfangled Americanized O-Pee-Chee. I'll post the packs themselves tonight or tomorrow but first I want to share a few things I learned about this product.

Topps Sued Over The Wrong Set Design

They got so worked up over that 1971 parallel card that they completely missed that UD pulled another Upper Deck Vintage on them. Compare:

Behold: 2009 Upper Deck Vintage ripping off the 1976 Topps design and called O-Pee-Chee for no discernable reason. They curved the corners and turned the position illustration into a baseball and logo, but yeah, it's pretty much the same thing. This alone makes me like this set a whole lot more than I did yesterday.

I Still Don't Know How I Feel About The Black Border Parallels, But At Least They Look Neat

'71 Topps they ain't but they do look pretty snazzy. The contrast between the neon frame and the black border is pretty attractive in person. This would be a great looking set to build and put into a binder for posterity. Of course at one per pack you would have to open at least a few cases just to get close to the set.

The backs of the parallels are a different color stock and ink from the base cards too. I guess this is so Upper Deck can sucker the OCD set collectors to buy more boxes because the parallels just don't look right in their set. Of course, I'm building both an Allen & Ginter mini set using minis from 2006 to 2009 and a 2009 Topps Series One set using all three varieties of borders - base white, Wal-Mart, black and Target retro - just to spite Topps for not advertising the variations. So bollucks to UD if they think those black cards aren't going straight into my OPC set, assuming I even bother to try to build one after all the shenanigans surrounding this product.

I do have to give it to Upper Deck for taking the retro feel to its absolute limits in this set. Check out the Kyle Kendrick card up there. Yep, it's diamond cut. Aaaaawweeesome! Maybe Panini should sue too for swiping the distinctive characteristic of 1981 Donruss.

This Could Quite Possibly Be Both The Coolest And Saddest Thing You See All Day

Ok, I said there were blasters there as well so I took a gander at one of them. People who collected O-Pee-Chee hockey the past couple of years might know that UD printed cards on the back of the blasters that you could cut off the box. Well, they did the same thing with the baseball product! I saw three different panels there: Boston Red Sox and Chase Utley, Albert Pujols and Adrian Gonzalez and BJ Upton (I think) and Derek Jeter. That's the cool thing, now here's the sad thing:

I just got a new phone last Friday. It has a camera on it so I pulled it out to take a picture of the boxes to share. The only problem is, while I know how to take pictures with the phone, I haven't quite figured out how to get them off the phone. There are options to e-mail the picture and upload it to the web, but I haven't looked over my phone plan yet and I don't know how much it costs. The most sensible thing to do would be to just send it to my PC using a Bluetooth adapter, but I haven't bought one yet. So I can't Bluetooth it and I'm skeered to e-mail it and get a nice bill in the mail next month so I did the most bootleg thing possible:

I took a picture of the picture on my phone with my webcam.

(yes, I'm pathetic)

Honestly, the pic from the phone isn't much better than that one, but I'm still embarrassed for myself. The box on the top has the BJ Upton (or some other Ray, I honestly forgot between the store and my house) and Jeter, while the bottom has Pujols and Gonzalez. I'm guessing A Cardboard Problem will be responsible for at least two OPC blaster purchases. I love the concept and it's a lot better use of the space on the blaster than the advertising copy they have on every other blaster out there.

One More Bit Of Info Courtesy Chris Harris

The 2009 O-Pee-Chee set is made up of 600 cards. 500 base cards and a further 100 subset cards inserted one per pack. Now, the first reaction of many (including myself) was "What?? Bloody short prints in a low level set building product? Rackinfrackin NOTAFINGA!!!". However, Chris points out that due to the pack configuration, the subset cards are actually statistically easier to pull than the base cards. Let's break it down:

  • One Pack of 2009 O-Pee-Chee = six total cards*
  • One card in the pack is one of the subset cards numbered 501-600.
  • This leaves five cards in the pack.
  • One of these cards is the 'Not '71 Topps' black border parallel card.
  • This leaves four cards in the pack.
  • With absolutely perfect collation, it will take 100 packs to complete the subsets (100 divided by one card per pack)
  • With absolutely perfect collation is will take 125 packs to complete the base set (500 divided by four cards per pack)
The subset cards are actually more plentiful than the base cards! And don't forget, there are also insert cards in there like the 20th Anniversary set eating up another base card every few packs making it even more difficult. Of course we have all been trained like Pavlov's dogs to see a base card listed at "X per pack" and assume it's a short print so expect the easier to find subsets to book for a premium in next month's price guide.

Overall, my feeling is that this is a decent little set with some serious flaws. If I was rolling in dough like I was a couple of years ago, I'd probably buy a few blasters just to be able to cut the cards off the box, but with the economy tight I might wait until they join the other discounted packs on the aisle. This could be a fun set to collect - in 2010.

*This is waaaaaay too few cards in my humble opinion, but that's a rant for another post.


Joe S. said...

A picture of the phone from your webcam... ha ha ha ha ha ha... that's one of the funniest things I've read in a while!! Very nice. Hey, I probably would've done the same thing. I have absolutely no idea how to get pics of my phone, either. I'm pretty sure it costs quite a bit of money, though... not worth it! Are there relics or anything like that in OPC blasters???

I wish I could find a discounted UDX blaster, I'd rather buy one for $10 and get a relic than a hobby box for $30 and get two crappy autos. Maybe my card shop will have some in tomorrow...

capewood said...

I don't know about your plan but with my Verizon plan emailing a picture from my phone to my email account counts as a text message.

I read Mario's post about O-Pee-Chee before I read yours. Great minds think alike. I commented to Mario that I didn't know why they didn't just call the set Upper Deck Vintage.

Sooz said...

I wasn't allowed to buy baseball cards today. I had to go deposit my checks directly to the bank.

My boyfriend watched my every movement even if I did a pass a baseball card shop on the way home. He made sure I didn't actually steer the car that way.

McCann Can Triple said...

I hate cell phones. I hate phones of all nature really. If I had one it would be used as a paper weight.

I can never resist going by the card isle now when I go to stores. Just wish I had the money to spend.

Looks like an Ok set. Dunno if I'm going buy any, but it ain't bad.

Joe.... I've managed to find UDX blasters at K-mart. Two k-marts actully and those where the only kids of blasters they had just about. Dunno if your local k-mart/s would, but just thought I'd throw it out there. ...I have no card shop sadly.