Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Shhhh... Listen closely... Do you hear it?

It is the sound of thousands of packs of 2010 A&G being ripped open.  If you listen hard enough, it sounds like ocean waves... Or waves of hopes and dreams of discovering the jackpot inserts.  Listen further, and you may just hear the sound of empty boxes crashing to the ground and wrappers tumbling in the breeze as rippers cry out in anguish.  Of course, just beyond the howls and gnashing of teeth, one might hear the cries of victory.  They may be few, but their sound travels far.

My own box of riches-to-be-discovered is supposed to arrived on Friday.  Thankfully, I've got the day off!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tribe-or-no-Tribe #7

This is the third box of cards I bought at lunch that I'm busting open for a round of Tribe-or-no-Tribe.  This is a box of 2010 Topps Series 2 from Wal-Mart (look for black background parallels, folks).

Here are the rules:

Trap cards = Reds (the *other* Ohio team) and the Braves (the *other* Native American-themed team)

+1/2 point is awarded for each card in the pack, unless card fits into the following:
+2 points are awarded for each relic or autographed card (only 1 point awarded for a relic or autographed trap card).
+1 point is awarded for any Thome card in a non-Indians uniform.
+2 points are given for each Indians card.

-1 point from the score for each trap card.
-1/2 point is deducted for each card featuring more than one team or no team at all.

Rollie Fingers (A's) Historical Commemorative Patch (+2, total = 2.0)
Kazuo Matsui (Astros) (+.5, total = 2.5)
Jon Lester (Red Sox) (+.5, total = 3.0)
Alex Rodriguez (Mariners) Cards your mom threw out (+.5, total = 3.5)
Topps Million Card Giveaway (-.5, total = 3.0)

Nick Markakis (Orioles) Peak Performance 17-game streak (+.5, total = 3.5)
BJ Upton (Rays) Attax card (+.5, total = 4.0)
Brendan Ryan (Cardinals) (+.5, total = 4.5)
Mark Buehrle (White Sox) (+.5, total = 5.0)
Chris Young (Padres) (+.5, total = 5.5)
Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals) (+.5, total = 6.0)
James Russell (Cubs) (+.5, total = 6.5)
A's team card (A's) (+.5, total = 7.0)
Bo Jackson (Royals) & Justin Upton (Dbacks) Legendary Lineage (-.5, total = 6.5)
Ubaldo Jimenez (Rockies) SportFlics thing (+.5, total = 7.0)

Matt Holliday (Cardinals) Attax card (+.5, total = 7.5)
Michael Bourn (Astros) (+.5, total = 8.0)
Doug Fister (Mariners) (+.5, total = 8.5)
Yadier Molina (Cardinals) (+.5, total = 9.0)
Alcides Escobar (Brewers) (+.5, total = 9.5)
Ken Griffey Jr (Mariners) Cards your mom threw out (+.5, total = 10.0)
Torii Hunter (Twins) Topps Turkey (+.5, total = 10.5)
Lance Berkman (Astros) Attax (+.5, total = 11.0)
Everth Cabrera (Padres) (+.5, total = 11.5)
Vin Mazzaro (A's) (+.5, total = 12.0)
Trevor Hoffman (Brewers) (+.5, total = 12.5)

Randy Wells (Cubs) (+.5, total = 13.0)
Chris Tillman (Orioles) (+.5, total = 13.5)
Christy Mathewson (Giants) History of World Series (+.5, total = 14.0)
Johnny Bench (Reds) & Joe Mauer (Twins) Legendary Lineage (-1.5, total = 12.5)*
Justin Verlander (Tigers) Attax (+.5, total = 13.0)
Derek Lowe (Braves) (-1, total = 12.0)

Carlos Zambrano (Cubs) (+.5, total = 12.5)
Nick Blackburn (Twins) (+.5, total = 13.0)
Brandon Lyon (Astros) (+.5, total = 13.5)
Rafael Soriano (Rays) (+.5, total = 14.0)
Collin Balester (Nationals) (+.5, total = 14.5)
Maicer Izturis (Angels) (+.5, total = 15.0)
Dan Uggla (Marlins) Peak Performance Keystone Clouts (+.5, total = 15.5)
Matt Kemp (Dodgers) Attax (+.5, total = 16.0)
Ian Snell (Mariners) (+.5, total = 16.5)
Chris Carpenter (Cardsinals) (+.5, total = 17.0)
Chris Volstad (Marlins) (+.5, total = 17.5)
Daric Barton (A's) (+.5, total = 18.0)
Ichiro (Mariners) & Albert Pujols (Cardinals) Fan Favorites Cards your mom threw out (-.5, total = 17.5)
Thurman Munson (Yankees) Vintage Legends (+.5, total = 18.0)
Yunel Escobar (Braves) Attax (-1, total = 17.0)
Derek Jeter (Yankees) (+.5, total = 17.5)
Glen Perkins (Twins) (+.5, total = 18.0)
Franchise History (Mariners) (+.5, total = 18.5)

Dustin Pedroia (Red Sox) (+.5, total = 19.0)
David Herndon (Phillies) (+.5, total = 19.5)
Franchise History (Padres) (+.5, total = 20.0)
Justin Morneau (Twins) Topps Turkey (+.5, total = 20.5)
Jon Lester (Red Sox) Attax (+.5, total = 21.0)
Chien-Ming Wang (Nationals) (+.5, total = 21.5)
George Sherrill (Dodgers) (+.5, total = 22.0)
Carlos Marmol (Cubs) (+.5, total = 22.5)
Jay Bruce (Reds) (-1, total = 21.5)
Austin Jackson (Tigers) (+.5, total = 22.0)
Yankees team card (+.5, total = 22.5)
Mel Ott (Giants) Vintage Legends (+.5, total = 23.0)
Madison Bumgarner (Giants) SportFlics thing (+.5, total = 23.5)
Josh Johnson (Marlins) Attax (+.5, total = 24.0)
Miguel Cabrera (Tigers) (+.5, total = 24.5)
Grady Sizemore (INDIANS! WAHOO!) Black Background (+2, total = 26.5)
Geovany Soto (Cubs) Black Background (+.5, total = 27.0)
Ryan Howard (Phillies) Black Background (+.5, total = 27.5)

Mike Schmidt (Phillies) Vintage Legends (+.5, total = 28.0)
Cole Hamels (Phillies) History of World Series (+.5, total = 28.5)
Tim Lincecum (Giants) Attax (+.5, total = 29.0)
Franklin Gutierrez (Mariners) Black Background (+.5, total = 29.5)
Paul Maholm (Pirates) Black Background (+.5, total = 30.0)
Cameron Maybin (Marlins) Black Background (+.5, total = 30.5)
Clayton Richard (Padres) Black Background (+.5, total = 31.0)
Blue Jays team card Black Background (+.5, total = 31.5)
Phil Rizzuto (Yankees) Cards your mom threw out (+.5, total = 32.0)
Dan Uggla (Marlins) Peak Performance Keystone Clouts (+.5, total = 32.5)
Felix Hernandez (Mariners) Attax (+.5, total = 33.0)
Jason Hammel (Rockies) Black Background (+.5, total = 33.5)
Landon Powell (A's) Black Background (+.5, total = 34.0)

81 cards and we end up with a score of 34.0.  That's well short of average, but there were quite a few trap cards, including the double-whammy card! Ouch!

*The Bench/Mauer card got dinged for being a multi-team card *and* for having a trap!

Tribe-or-no-Tribe #6

Let's see if the 2010 Honus Wagner Series 1 cereal box can fare better (it should, given there are 22 more cards, but you never know with TonT!!)

Here are the rules:

Trap cards = Reds (the *other* Ohio team) and the Braves (the *other* Native American-themed team)

+1/2 point is awarded for each card in the pack, unless card fits into the following:
+2 points are awarded for each relic or autographed card (only 1 point awarded for a relic or autographed trap card).
+1 point is awarded for any Thome card in a non-Indians uniform.
+2 points are given for each Indians card.

-1 point from the score for each trap card.
-1/2 point is deducted for each card featuring more than one team or no team at all.

Albert Pujols (Cardinals) Legends Chrome Refractor (+.5, total=0.5)
Kevin Youkilis (Red Sox) (+.5, total = 1.0)
Anthony Swarzak (Twins) (+.5, total = 1.5)
Josh Hamilton (Rangers) (+.5, total = 2.0)
Joe Nathan (Twins) (+.5, total = 2.5)

Cody Ross (Marlins) (+.5, total = 3.0)
Pat Neshek (Twins) (+.5, total = 3.5)
Bobby Abreu (Angels) (+.5, total = 4.0)
Josh Johnson (Marlins) (+.5, total = 4.5)
Franchise History (Giants) (+.5, total = 5.0)
Wade Davis (Rays) (+.5, total = 5.5)
Tim Hudson (Braves) (-1, total = 4.5)
Garrett Jones (Pirates) (+.5, total = 5.0)
Jonathan Sanchez (Giants) (+.5, total = 5.5)
John Smoltz (Cardinals) (+.5, total = 6.0)
Marco Scutaro (Blue Jays) (+.5, total = 6.5)

Chris Pettit (Angels) (+.5, total = 7.0)
Curtis Granderson (Tigers) (+.5, total = 7.5)
David Eckstein (Padres) (+.5, total = 8.0)
Javier Vazquez (Braves) (-1, total = 7.0)
Gil Meche (Royals) (+.5, total = 7.5)
Dustin Richardson (Red Sox) (+.5, total = 8.0)
Humberto Quintero (Astros) (+.5, total = 8.5)
Travis Buck (A's) (+.5, total = 9.0)
Angels team cards (Angels) (+.5, total = 9.5)

Mariners team card (Mariners) (+.5, total = 10.0)
Twins team card (Twins) (+.5, total = 10.5)
Reds team card (Reds) (-1, total = 9.5)
NL Wins Leaders (Cardinals, Cardinals, Rockies) (-.5, total = 9.0)
NL Home Runs Leaders (Cardinals, Brewers, Phillies) (-.5, total = 8.5)
Adrian Gonzalez (Padres) (+.5, total = 9.0)
Rickey Henderson (A's) (+.5, total = 9.5)
Tyler Flowers (White Sox) Gold 59 Years 0752/2010 (+.5, total = 10.0)
Tom Seaver (Mets) Cards your mom threw out (+.5, total = 10.5)
Nolan Ryan (Rangers) History of the game (+.5, total = 11.0)

Zack Greinke (Royals) Topps Turkey (+.5, total = 11.5)
Carlos Carrasco (Indians! Wahoo!) (+2, total = 13.5)
Jackie Robinson (Dodgers) Tales of the game (+.5, total = 14.0)
Evan Longoria (Rays) & Mike Schmidt (Phillies) Legendary Lineage (-.5, total = 13.5)
Curt Schilling (Red Sox) Peak Performance bloody sock (+.5, total = 14.0)
Hanley Ramirez (Marlins) (+.5, total = 14.5)
Topps Million Card Giveaway (-.5, total = 14.0)
Madison Bumgarner (Giants) (+.5, total = 14.5)
Nyjer Morgan (Nationals) (+.5, total = 15.0)
Juan Rivera (Angels) (+.5, total = 15.0)
Rocco Baldelli (Red Sox) (+.5, total = 15.5)
Cesar Izturis (Orioles) (+.5, total = 16.0)
Ricky Romero (Blue Jays) (+.5, total = 16.5)

Hideki Matsui (Yankees) (+.5, total = 17.0)
Casey Blake (Dodgers) (+.5, total = 17.5)
Mike Sweeney (Mariners) (+.5, total = 18.0)
Brandon Morrow (Mariners) (+.5, total = 18.5)
Franchise History (Mets) (+.5, total = 19.0)
Matt Kemp (Dodgers) (+.5, total = 19.5)
Ian Stewart (Rockies) (+.5, total = 20.0)
Ian Kinsler (Rangers) (+.5, total = 20.5)

Whew! That is a LOT of cards to go through!  The total for the Honus Wagner box = 20.5!  I had several dings in there, but did manage to pull a TRIBER out of the hat!

Tribe-or-no-Tribe #5

At lunch today, I decided to run to the local Wally World and buy some wax.  My intent was to purchase Bowman Chrome, but they didn't have any.  So, I picked up a Honus Wagner cereal box (2010 Topps Series 1), a blaster of 2010 Topps Series 2, and a blaster of 2009 Upper Deck Signature Stars.

My original intent was to apply the Gint-a-Cuffs scoring to them, but the official rules weren't up yet for that, so I decided to play a little TonT!

Since it has been almost a year since the last time I played, here are the rules:

Trap cards = Reds (the *other* Ohio team) and the Braves (the *other* Native American-themed team)

+1/2 point is awarded for each card in the pack, unless card fits into the following:

+2 points are awarded for each relic or autographed card (only 1 point awarded for a relic or autographed trap card).
+1 point is awarded for any Thome card in a non-Indians uniform.
+2 points are given for each Indians card.

-1 point from the score for each trap card.
-1/2 point is deducted for each card featuring more than one team or no team at all.

I will play for each box of cards (spread out over three posts so they aren't so LONG!).  I am providing sample scanned cards from each box to break up the monotony of my rambling.  Go with it, it works.

First up, 2009 Upper Deck Signature Stars (6 packs, 5 cards each.)

Josh Anderson (Royals) Signature Star Impressions Auto card (+2, total = 2)
Andruw Jones (Rangers) (+.5, total = 2.5)
Pedro Martinez (Phillies) Signed, Sealed & Delivered (+.5, total = 3.0)

Jason Kubel (Twins) (+.5, total = 3.5)
Brian Roberts (Orioles) (+.5, total = 4.0)
Pablo Sandoval (Giants) (+.5, total = 4.5)
Aramis Ramirez (Cubs) (+.5, total = 5.0)
Chris Duncan (Red Sox) (+.5, total = 5.5)
Sean O'Sullivan (Angels) TopPROSpects (+.5, total = 6.0)
Vladimir Guerrero (Angels) (+.5, total = 6.5)
Delmon Young (Twins) (+.5, total = 7.0)
Elvis Andrus (Rangers) (TopPROspects) (+.5, total = 7.5)
Ivan Rodriguez (Rangers) (+.5, total = 8.0)
Chris Carpenter (Cardinals) (+.5, total = 8.5)

Garret Anderson (Braves) (-1, total = 7.5)
Adam Lind (Blue Jays) (+.5, total = 8.0)
Dan Uggla (Marlins) (+.5, total = 8.5)
Mark Teixeira (Yankees) (+.5, total = 9.0)
Justin Verlander (Tigers) (+.5, total = 9.5)
Felix Hernandez (Mariners) (+.5, total = 10.0)
Scott Rolen (Reds) (-1, total = 9.0)
Joel Zumaya (Tigers) (+.5, total = 9.5)
Jonathan Papelbon (Red Sox) (+.5, total = 10.0)

Joe Mauer (Twins) (+.5, total = 10.5)
Nick Swisher (Yankees) (+.5, total = 11.0)
Carl Crawford (Rays) (+.5, total = 11.5)
Kevin Slowey (Twins) (+.5, total = 12.0)
Matt Holliday (Cardinals) (+.5, total = 12.5)
Jay Bruce (Reds) (-1, total = 11.5)
Jason Bay (Red Sox) (+.5, total = 12.0)

So, the 2009 Upper Deck Signature Stars box (30 cards) nets 12.0 points. 

Gint-A-Cuffs II - The Pre-Game Warm-up Show

It is coming and I am on the field, stretching my pack-opening ligaments.  The scanner is warming up on the mound and the scorekeeper is getting the score cards ready.  Though the contest is in its second season, Tribecards came in as part of the expansion this year.  For those that are playing catch-up, the contest pits box-breaker against box-breaker.  Certain cards net positive point values, while other cards serve as penalites.  Yankees cards are the biggest penalty provider.  Each participant chooses a favorite team and a favorite player.  Naturally, I chose the Indians as my team.  But, I opted to play the odds and I picked Derek Jeter as my player of choice.  Though the Yankee side of his cards will net me negative points, I am hoping the Allen & Ginter love affair with Mr. Jeter will net me huge rewards in the form of inserts.

I cannot lie here, even through one of omission: the temptation to pull ouot and just sell the box outright is HUGE!  Several participants got a killer deal on the boxes before the ceiling was lifted on how much these unopened boxes are going for on eBay.  But, the collector in me won over.  I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my pre-paid box of Gint-a-Cuffs Glory.

I considered changing my chosen player to a member of the Tribe, but ultimately decided that the choice I made in the beginning will be the one I stick with.  Besides, win or lose the contest, I think it will be a lot of fun to see just which cards I pull.

So, as we get ready for the launch of Gint-a-Cuffs II, the crowds have started gathering.  The other participants eagerly check their mailboxes for a little box of goodness.  There's a slight breeze from the south and the sun is shining as small fluffy clouds pass by overhead.  Grab your favorite beverage and a snack.  Check your ticket stubs and keep your eyes here for the Tribecards inaugural participation in the wonder that is GINT-A-CUFFS II!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Giants, Padres, and Indians - Oh my!

Fan Packs update:

The San Diego Padres and the San Francisco Giants each sent PDF Fan Packs.  Each fan pack includes a word search, a coloring page, a schedule, a "Thank You" page, and assorted other activities.  I think it is pretty cool that the teams have moved into the electronic distribution model of the Fan Packs.  Okay, yeah, part of me feels a bit ripped off, but it doesn't cost anything so how upset could I really be!?

The Cleveland Indians sent me a very nice email letting me know that my Tribe Fan Pack was on its way! Wahoo!! Yeah, that's one I want most, of course!  I cannot wait to see what's in there....


A couple random thoughts

First, I want to apologize for anyone's blog that was seemingly "kicked off" my clubhouse list.  As it turns out, I had a slight coding issue with my layout and it had blocked several sites from view (though they were still in the code - go figure).  Also, I realized that in my editing, I managed to knock off a few folks from the list.  I am working to get you back on there!  I'll need your help in jogging my memory in some cases, though.

Second, the Yankees and the Mets responded with addresses to mail postcards for Fan Packs:

New York Mets
ATTN: Community Outreach Program/FAN PACK
Citi Field
Flushing NY 11368

New York Yankees
Yankees Fan Mail Department/FAN PACK REQUEST
Yankee Stadium
Bronx, NY 10451

The Phillies responded by letting me know they only serve the tri-state area (they must in cahoots with Doofensmirtz!) and they only send to PA, NJ, and DE.  They also included an address for requests:

The Phillies
One Citizens Bank Way
Philadelphia, PA 19148

And, in case you hadn't heard the Indians WON the other day, breaking their losing streak after 7 in a row.  granted, that's not as bad as SOME teams' losing streaks, but still...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Shameless plug for a contest

That's right.  Call me a sell-out, a pitch-man, a slave to the machine.  No matter what you call it, this is a post in order to gain an extra entry in a contest being held over at "Automatic for the People."

See, Paul is giving away some autographed cards and I want them.  Or, at least I want to TRY and get them.  Why do I want them?  Because I am trying to build up my giveaway stash (don't tell my wife) the old-fashioned way: by giving away free cards I get from other places!

So, stop by the site, and leave a comment if you want to enter.  Of course, if you'd like ME to win, then just read his post and leave the commenting out.  Really. You don't have to comment.  Okay, okay, feel free to try and win some cards for yourself.

MLB Fan Packs

Hackenbush at Can't Have Too Many Cards recently received a Cubs Fan Pack, and I thought the concept would make for an interesting experiment.

I have sent an electronic request for a Fan Pack from each of the MLB clubhouses (06/27/2010). These will be followed up with postcard requests after the All-Star break.  I will repeat this each season from here on out (or until my Internet Attention Deficit Disorder leads me to something else).

As an ongoing feature, I will scan and breakdown each club's response to both the electronic request and the hand-written request.  I'm not only interested to see what each club offers to its fans, but also to see if the packs are different between the two requests per team.

Since receiving the packs will be irregular, so will the posts regarding them.  Keep watching, though, and let's see what treats the various teams have to share!

If you'd like to conduct your own experiment (or just to get one from YOUR favorite team), links to the electronic form(s) can be found here:

UPDATE (2pm CST, same day) - Several clubs have responded to my electronic request for Fan Packs telling me that I need to send a postcard requesting the Fan Pack to a specified address.  I will compile those and keep you posted.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Better late than never - News Thome

Ah yes, I reached for the play on words and will most likely go down swinging.  It's in my genes.  That's not why we're here today, though.  While I was vacationing in Atlanta, Jim Thome added a couple more milestones to his ever-increasing number of them!

On June 19, 2010, he stood at the plate for the Twins and belted a homerun that pushed him above Palmiero with his 570th career homer.  That puts him in 11th place for all-time homers!  To top it off, his RBI tied him with Roger Hornsby (1,584 ribbies)! 

It is no secret that Thome is one of all-time favorite players and has been since he first walked onto the field in a Tribe uniform back in 1991.  He is one of those guys that has never received a lot of fanfare from the press, but is beloved by fans from every team for which he has played.  He is one of those workhorse players that shows up, does his job, gives back to his community and loves to play the game. 

CONGRATS (albeit belated) to Jim Thome!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

And the Home of the Braves, Part II

I finally hooked my wife's camera up to the computer and transferred the pictures we had taken. Here are more pictures from our Braves game, plus a little bonus we discovered while walking around Underground Atlanta!

From 2010 Atlanta Vacation
(Tooner Field)

From 2010 Atlanta Vacation
(A view from our seats - spectacular!)

From 2010 Atlanta Vacation
(Welcome to the big show)

From 2010 Atlanta Vacation
(The "Coca-Cola" portion is actually a screen that changes!)

From 2010 Atlanta Vacation
(Prado leads off)

From 2010 Atlanta Vacation
(Glaus and Crawford pal it up at first)

From 2010 Atlanta Vacation

From 2010 Atlanta Vacation
(Glaus up to bat)

From 2010 Atlanta Vacation
(Braves at night)

From 2010 Atlanta Vacation
(One for the girls at Dinged Corners!)

From 2010 Atlanta Vacation
(My and my boy)

From 2010 Atlanta Vacation
(Me and my much better half!)

From 2010 Atlanta Vacation
(My daughter is concentrating on the Tomahawk Chop!)

From 2010 Atlanta Vacation
(If this doesn't summarize baseball at the ballpark, I don't know what does!)

And while we were walking around Underground Atlanta, we found this:
From 2010 Atlanta Vacation
(I was meant to be here!)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

And the Home of the Braves

In my last post, I talked about our upcoming trip to Turner Field to watch the Braves.  The only problem was that we didn't have tickets to WEDNESDAY night's game, we had tickets to THURSDAY night's game!  Luckily, we discovered this before we left the hotel parking lot.

When we arrived at the field, we parked in the GREEN LOT.  It was a relatively short walk from the lot to the ballpark.  There was an adventure before we got to the parking lot, but I'll regale readers with that story over on my personal blog ( later.

We took a lot of pictures with my wife's camera!  That's the good news.  The bad? We left the USB/Media cable back in Arkansas.  Yes, that was my fault.  Well, fortunately, I had my Droid!

From Drop Box
This is the view from our seats. We were in Aisle 109, seats 101-104! I cannot believe the incredible tickets we bought from the Braves website. Not only did we *not* have to deal with StubHub, but we ended up with a killer view of the game to boot. Naturally, the parking lot was on the opposite side of the park from our seats. We stopped for supper on our way to the seats. We arrived late (midway through 2nd inning), but the game had either been delayed or had a really long first inning because we had not missed much of anything given the time we finally made it to our seats.

From Drop Box
The Braves played the Rays tonight (er, last night for many readers). Did I mention we had GREAT seats!? I took most of these shots as the sun faded, hoping NightOwl would enjoy them.

From Drop Box
I have to say, except for the nose-bleed seats, there didn't seem to be a bad view from anywhere. Having watched the incredible Braves machine in the 90's and first half of the 2000's, it was disheartening to see how many empty seats there were. Of course, that's what led to our great seats, so I am not complaining too loudly!

I pulled into the parking lot running on fumes in the gas tank, so after the game I waited in the parking lot until traffic seemed to actually move. Sure enough, we inched our way out of the lot and headed for the nearest gas station. Call me the big, bad boy, but it was a BP. I had to stop. Think of the family!

We had a great time at the ballpark!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Well, it might not be Cleveland, but...

From Drop Box

My family is vacationing in Atlanta this year! On the way, we stopped in a little town in Mississippi for lunch and a quick run into Walmart. As I was pumping gas, my son showed me the water tower.  Go Tribe!

Wednesday will bring a Braves game our way! Hopefully, the weather will hold out and let us watch the game.  Given the storms we came through to get here, I am not holding out much hope for the afternoon/evening thunderstorms raging around our hotel as I write this.  Here is hoping anyway!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hafner Homers Off Strasburg

Despite a 9-4 loss against the Nats, the highlight for most Tribe fans came as Pronk stepped to the plate and fed Strasburg a big ol' plate of Outta Here.  I have no idea if Hafner is the first to homer off him or not, but that doesn't really matter.  It was awesome to watch the ball get out of the park (nearly taking out a cameraman in the process, which would have netted him +500 points).

Strasburg's 1/1 auto'd cards are going for crazy money in online auctions.  All I have to say is that if you have one, sell it now while the hype is high.  Because when the hype finally settles down to his actual level of longevity, he'll be relegated to the dollar bin. Well, okay, the "Under $25" bin anyway.  I can assure you: should I get one of his cards, it'll be for sale before the wrapper even hits the floor. 

By the end of the season, I would love to hear from the doofs paying tens of thousands for his cards.  Will they frame the card with a little plaque that reads: "I Paid Too Much"?

Cleaning House, Moving Furniture

Well, as you may have noticed, I've move the furniture a bit.  I'm playing with the new "Designer" mode in Blogger to see how I like things.  Excuse the dust, but I'm sure I'll be making several changes before I settle on something I like.  Then again, this may be as good as it gets. You just never know with me.

I have also cleaned up the "Clubhouses" page.  I've made sure that all the links open in a new window, and I've moved sites that haven't posted in a month to a section at the bottom of that page.  If you've been moved, its because you're not keeping your fans up-o-date.  Oh, I know, that's a bit like me saying a certain team sucks while rooting for the Indians the whole time, but at some point you gotta lay it down.  Even the Tribe can win a game or two each month.  For those that lost my meaning, I am saying that I am as guilty of letting a month go by before posting.  I am hoping the standard I have set for my blog roll keeps me posting in a more timely fashion. 

Are you a card-blogger not in the Clubhouse?  Well, leave a comment and I'll check out your site.  Once I see that it is about card blogging (at least to some degree), then I'll happily put you in the game!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

1956 and 1957 Yearbook Covers

I do not own these items. I found this item above while searching for a Tribe logo for a card idea I had.  I say, "had" here because I really can no longer remember what I was trying to create.  This is probably one of the scariest things I've seen in Tribeland.  Granted, it falls short of Dennis Cook's Donruss card back photo and Doug Jones' flaming ball, but still this is like a wreck on the evening commute home from work - you don't want to keep looking, but you can't help it.  We hold out hope that the more we look, the better things will be.  I don't think I've seen Wahoo with so little clothing. And, I don't want to.  Oh, wait, the next year's yearbook gives us a different perspective:

The really scary thing is that if I could afford these items, I'd already be shelling out the dough.  And just for sheer shock value, I'd frame them and hang them where my wife could roll her eyes and shake her head as she walked by them.  Wait, she does that to me already.

Monday, June 7, 2010

1987 Hostess Brook Jacoby

In 1987, Hostess of Canada released a set of 30 stickers. Each of these stickers is about 1-3/8" by 1-3/4"(read Mini-sized). The front features the player, the player's name, and a little weird monster-thing with the card number in it. The back contains the Hostess and MLB logos, the words "Superstar Series '87" (in both English and French), plus the player's name, position and team.

Here is the checklist:

1 Jesse Barfield
2 Ernie Whitt
3 George Bell
4 Hubie Brooks
5 Tim Wallach
6 Floyd Youmans
7 Dale Murphy
8 Ryne Sandberg
9 Eric Davis
10 Milt Scott
11 Fernando Valenzuela
12 Gary Carter
13 Mike Schmidt
14 Tony Pena
15 Ozzie Smith
16 Tony Gwynn
17 Mike Krukow
18 Eddie Murray
19 Wade Boggs
20 Wally Joyner
21 Harold Baines
22 Brook Jacoby
23 Lou Whitaker
24 George Brett
25 Robin Yount
26 Kirby Puckett
27 Don Mattingly
28 Jose Canseco
29 Phil Bradley
30 Pete O'Brien

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Talking with the founder of Digibles (CyberAction/CyberCards)

The first time I saw the "CyberAction Presents: The Year the Records Fell" computer CD in a discount bin somewhere between 1999 and 2000, I became an instant fan.  I installed the software and sat mesmerized by these "digital trading cards" displayed on my computer screen.  And, I could interact with them!  I could virtually flip the card, watch video highlights, check out stats and information that wouldn't otherwise fit on a traditional card, and combine my two favorite hobbies: card-collecting and computers.  I was in heaven!  And then, my computer met dial-up.  And then, the U.S. met Al Qaeda on 9/11.  Before I could grab every single card ever made in this great, new format, they were gone.

Fast forward to 2009.  While cleaning out my computer room at the house, I came across that same CD.  I loaded it up and found it was not quite usable in today's operating environment.  I poked around enough and found a way to at least get the images out of the program, but that lacked the interactivity that made CyberAction cards so cool to begin with.  I began a quest to find someone, anyone, connected with the company to see if I could bend their ear for a bit.  While various obstacles threw themselves into my path, I managed to contact one of the original creators of this wondrous collectible concept.

The other day, I had the opportunity to speak with Deborah Seidman, one of the founding members of CyberCards (later CyberAction and finally Digibles). The conversation wound its way down memory lane for both of us (her as a company executive and me as an avid fan of the concept). 

For those who aren't familiar with the Digibles (or CyberAction/CyberCards) brand, I wrote an article about my experience and what I could discover through various search engines and other sources. That article appears (HERE) on "Things Done to Cards."  Essentially, the idea was to take collecting into the digital age - fully-electronic collectibles presented in an easy-to-use interface.  Deborah and I agreed on one thing at the outset: "They were way before their time," as she put it.

How did it all begin?  She told me that a friend of hers came to her with an idea about digital collectibles. They talked for a bit and soon she was building the backend.  The original concept began in 1995-96 and in 1997, they had developed the CyberCards program. 

"Originally, we started with Marvel and cartoons. We had Xena and Star Trek. then we moved into soccer, wrestling and baseball," she said.  "We had several tie-ins - Clairol and Skippy," she added.  I had not realized they started with the Sci-Fi collector and then branched out into sports.  I had seen reference to the Skippy collectibles on web sites of the time - Derek Jeter, if I remember correctly. (For the record, I did a quick search for "Skippy CyberAction" and sure enough, my memory was spot-on!)  "We were the first to come out the card-sized discs. And then, everyone was making them. But, we were the first," she told me.

I asked her about the name changes with the company.  She said they changed their name to reflect brand positioning, but also to separate themselves from online credit card processing sites, which were using the same terminology: Cyber Cards.  There was a push to make the company more marketable and to come up with a name that reflected what they were and what they did.  I got the impression from her response that "Digibles" was not her favorite choice.

Before I asked the following question, I had a pretty strong feeling that I knew the answer from my own experiences with the MLB, MLBPA, etc.  I asked anyway:  "What was the most difficult part of working with Digibles?" 

Her answer: "Licensing."  She stopped for a moment and we talked a little bit about that aspect and she added, "It is difficult and expensive.  Legally it's very hard to deal with. We also spent a lot of time and money trying to reach the retail market with the product. If we could do it over again, I think we would have avoided that."  Another problem? "Time was an issue - we had to get approvals and create materials."

So what worked?

She told me, "Tie-ins were a good business model. I think we would have done better if we had stuck to those." CyberAction had run a promotion with Clairol and the boy-band "98 Degrees."  In addition to Skippy, they also had a "Big-League Challenge" tie-in with ChexMix and a "6th Day" tie-in with General Motors.  She also said, "We spent loads on retail."  I had the distinct feeling that retail was not a direction she had wanted to go, or at least the fruition of the retail endeavor was not the manifestation she had envisioned.
I asked her what she thought led to the the fall of Digibles:

"Everything changed around 9/11. Our buy-ins were opting out. We had the global bursting of the dot-com bubble." She said, "We were in talks with a couple of companies - one was a marketing group and the other was a collectible company."  Other factors played in as well.  She sounded as if she were rolling her eyes as she said, "Just as we were about to release our wrestling product, WCW sold and changed everything."  They had product ready to go, but with the time involved in changing everything, this must have been heart-breaking.  Reminding me of those television commercials where the store owner wishes she could stop dealing with the books and get back to her passion for opening a store in the first place, Deborah's voice trailed off into distant memories as she said, "Sometimes, the people responsible for finances were making decisions that changed the focus," she paused as if to find the right words or as if remembering past events, and added, "Then we'd be going in a different direction."

We had a brief discussion about the technical problems with the interface today: I ran into this myself, as explained in the TDTC article. On the Mac side, when Apple shifted to Intel chips and changed the software, it broke the ability to run the Digibles Viewer.  I think the issue is mainly one of how Flash, Shockwave and Quicktime all behave these days.  That is not an expert analysis by any stretch, just my opinion from my experience with the software on a late-model PC.
We talked a bit more about collecting in general (she is not a sports collector, leaning toward the sci-fi side of collecting).  I thanked Deborah for her time.  When we had begun our conversation, she said, "You know, this was more than ten years ago!"  Stop and think about that. TEN YEARS AGO, a company existed that was already creating, distributing and marketing fully digital collectible trading cards.  Despite the "3D cards" Topps came out with and the "digibles" they have available on Facebook, and despite the UD PowerDeck cards that came out around the time Digibles was shutting down, nothing has ever been made quite like the CyberAction/Digibles collectible.

As we wrapped things up, she said, "Digital collectibles represent a unique point in collecting history. You should write a Wikipedia article about it."

After a quick, very empty search, I decided I just might do that.

Tidbits and other related information:

In January, 2010, Topps released "Wacky digibles" virtual trading cards on Facebook.  (News release)

As for the Star Trek cards, I found a site with a very detailed explanation of them: HERE!

The Hercules and Xena CD can be found at Amazon: HERE! (Note: This will probably require a Windows98-based machine or older Mac to interact with the cards).

Deborah and her husband currently own a web-based driver education program called "WelcomeDriver" that is sold to and customized for various states around the country:

You can find samples of Digibles cards on the AmethystVisions Web site portfolio.  AmethystVisions worked with Digibles (then CyberAction) for four years: Portfolio/Samples