Tuesday, July 31, 2012

2012 Press Showcase Racing Revs Up NASCAR Collectors - Box Break Video

Before the rubber on the tires of Press Pass newest entry to the racing field, Redline cools, they are right back on the track for another lap with 2012 Showcase. Will the reigning racing card champ have what it takes to keep the new kid on the block in the rear view mirror or will Showcase eat Redline's dust? Find out in this video box break...

Monday, July 30, 2012

Topps Finest UFC Poised to Make Other MMA Sets Tap Out

Topps brings the Finest brand back for another run in the UFC Octagon and all signs say it is going run roughshod over the competition. Delivering 6 knockout hits per box for around $85, there's no stopping this juggernaut. The sheer star power that is included in each pack makes this a must have for the UFC fan base.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Just When I Thought I've Seen It All... Blank Ginter Card Sells For $27

This has been a fun week for oddities. I had to laugh when I saw someone selling cut out cards from the box of 2012 Allen & Ginter. I mean some had really decent bids and I couldn't believe that someone was bidding on them. They aren't real cards. They aren't autographed as the photo would lead you to believe, and if someone doesn't really read the description they are going to get hosed big time. It's a shame that this kind of thing happens, but if you bid without reading, you are almost as guilty as the guy putting them up on eBay hoping someone bids on them.

Here, have a look for yourself at these cut out cards.

While it was interesting looking at those cards and even more enjoyable poking fun at them, today I saw something even worse. Someone paid $27 for a blank piece of cardboard.

This was brought to my attention by a listener of my radio show. When I clicked the link, I thought it was a joke. Misprints happen all of the time. You could have the wrong back or the wrong front printed on a card, or you might have the back be printed upside down, but whatever the case, lots of errors happen.

But this one, I mean look at that description, it's a 1/1, it's a SP, heck it is a SSP, and its not just blank on the back, it's TOTALLY blank on both freakin' sides. Someone call the card police, its ON!

Ok, this is where I get a little pissy. You see with all the gimmicks that Ginter has, and the fact that they made a card of the Invisible Man, is it really out of the question that this is legit? Will people be thinking it's a clue for the Ginter code, or printed using invisible or glow in the dark ink, or something else? No, I bet that's exactly what the people that bid this error card up were thinking.

Well, I went directly to Topps to find out about this 1/1 TOTALLY blank card and it turns out it's not anything they claim to know about and they questioned its authenticity. Here's a quote from the @ToppsCards Twitter account, "not sure its real, could be misprint, i know we did the invisible man auto, but this was not planned, assuming its real!"

Either way, this is what we're coming to. Paying 1/4 of the price of a box of cards for a blank piece of cardboard. I wonder if the buyer would be interested in a 500-count box of blocker cards?

What are your thoughts, love to hear em. Are you the completest that NEEDS this card, the collector that thinks it's a conspiracy driven by crazy gimmicks, the one that makes fun of stuff like this, or the one that doesn't give a crap?

2012 SP Signature Baseball - Worth It? You Decide...

We recently opened a box of Upper Deck's 2012 SP Signature Baseball. This set has had a tumultuous journey onto the shelf of your local card shop and has dropped in price in a short period of time. Here's what was inside a box. You decide if it was worth it. It's hard to judge a product from only one box, but at $300 if all of them don't have something of legitimate value for the collector, it's a bust.

I expect better from Upper Deck. How about you?

Mike Fruitman & This Week @ Panini on Cardboard Connection Radio

Another Friday in the books, except this one was different, I had the night off. But that didn't stop Russ and Rob from going on with the show.

They had on Mike Fruitman of Mike's Stadium Sports Cards who is the man that owned the Balloon Boy relics that appear in 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter.

Mike's store is also located in Aurora, Co, the site of the Batman shooting. Mike had a special day at the store to help raise money for the victims.

Hear from him and get your weekly recap of the happenings at Panini America as they raise the bar at the 33rd National Sports Collectors Convention.

Listen to the replay:

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Look Inside 2012 Topps Inception Football

For about $11 per card, 2012 Topps Inception Football has some BIG hits. Are you willing to take the risk of not getting one, getting a redemption card, or unpacking cards with jagged edges, corners and chipping? Lots have, and its paid off greatly for many, but there has also been some discord among collectors. Find out what we did when we open a box of 2012 Topps Inception Football.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Angela Cope Discusses Kevin Harvick Feud, Panini & Leaf Share National Plans

Did you miss Cardboard Connection Radio last night? We had a tremendous guest list for a special 2-hour show. NASCAR driver Angela Cope visited to discuss her sister Amber's incident with Kevin Harvick. We were also joined by Panini America's Scott Prusha for an all-new This Week At Panini segment, and Leaf Trading Cards President Brian Gray. Both shared their plans for the 33rd National Sports Collectors Convention.

Click this link to listen:

Sunday, July 15, 2012

SIGnificant Cards - 2011 Signature Impact Ms. Tessmacher

She's the current Impact Wrestling Knockouts Champion. She's real, and she's spectacular. If you've watched pro wrestling for any amount of time, it gets to a point where you can figure out how stories unfold and where they are headed. Sometimes they get cut short because they don't capture the attention of fans or they just flat out suck. The story of Brooke Adams, A.K.A Miss Tessmacher has played out to perfection.

Brooke got her feet wet during the 2006 WWE Diva Search. She got a development deal and by 2007 was a part of the ECW roster. Just as she was hitting a stride as part of the group Extreme Expose, she was gone. I always wondered what happened, but somehow I knew she'd be back. It was nearly 3 years before she'd return to a major organization. TNA saw something in Brooke and she made her debut as Eric Bischoff's assistant, a spoof of the Lex Luthor assistant in the 1978 Superman motion picture as Miss Tessmacher.

While she might not have been wrestling, she was most definitely staying busy. Brooke participated in Hawian Tropic and Hooters swimsuit/modeling contests. She also honed her skills in the ring. Clearly teaming her up with seasoned veteran Lisa Marie Varon was a step towards improving her wrestling ability. Together as TNT they quickly won the women's tag titles and looked great together. Again, I watch Impact Wrestling for several reasons, but the #1 reason to watch are the knockouts. Their lineup of Mickie James, Velvet Sky, Winter, Tara, Sarita, Rosita and Gail Kim along with the champ are the best in the biz.

Brooke's beauty had won over fans,with a tag title win, it was time for the brawn to catch up. Slowly you could see her strides in the ring. Adding new moves like the Asstastic, the bulldog and Tess-Shocker (a facebuster) and a fantastic flying elbow drop were signs she was moving up the ladder in the knockouts division.

After a couple of tough matches with many of the fan-favorite and heel knockouts things turned around and she began winning. At first, lots of fans thought it was a fluke, but then she got the 3-count in a non-title match against Gail Kim who was then Knockouts champion. The build up was set, the PPV match signed, and eventually the hottest Hooters girl was the new Impact Wrestling Knockouts Champion.

This card comes from the 2011 Tristar Impact Signature Wrestling set. I actually purchased it at the 2011 National from a fan that heard us speaking about the TNA deal at the show. He pulled some great cards from his box, but this was one he didn't mind parting with. I was extremely happy because even in 2011, I knew that Miss Tessmacher was going to be a star. Glad to know that while I don't watch wrestling nearly as much as I did when I was a kid, I can still see who is going to have success in and out of the ring.

This weekend, Brooke is representing the Impact Zone at the San Diego Comic Con. In full zombie attire, she's doing remote reports throughout the weekend and will be signing autographs with Jeff Hardy.

Check out this link to see the coverage from TNA:

The funny thing about this card is that it is signed Miss Tessmacher. I've always had a beef when they use a character name on a wrestling autograph. I've been hoping to catch her at an event like Wizard World or Comic Con to get her to sign her real name on a card for me, but it hasn't happened yet. Maybe the excitement of Comic Con will prompt her do to more appearances including Chicago's C2E2. Then I can get the signature I really want in my collection.

Prestige Gets Me Ready For Some Football

Under $100, the first 2012 NFL product from Panini is here. It boasts rookies in their NFL uniforms, a variety of rookie and insert cards and a 300-card set to collate and collect. Check out what I found in a hobby box.

Panini America supplied the box for review. Check out Cardboard Connection Radio to hear more about the kickoff the Panini's 2012 collecting season.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tonight on Cardboard Connection Radio - Ewa Laurance & Allen & Ginter

Tonight we connect with Pool Icon "The Striking Viking" Ewa Mataya Laurance to discuss her signing autographs for 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter. Join us live:

You Asked For It You Got It... Cardboard Connection Radio After Dark Sound Clip

A lot of Cardboard Connection Radio listeners have asked that we make the Sound Byte used for Cardboard Connection Radio After Dark available for download.

You asked for it, you got it! Enjoy...

Monday, July 9, 2012

Allen & Ginter is Live & So Am I - 3 Blaster Box Break Video

You wanted the best, you got the... well you got me. I was bored and really want a Curly Neal and Meadowlark Lemon autograph, so I took a journey to the magically, mysterious world where people are more like aliens than people -- Wally World to see if they had some Ginter.

They did, and I picked up the blasters to try my luck. See how I did...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Booker T Puts A Spinarooni on the Traditional Wrestling Story With From Prison To Promise

From Prison To Promise
Wrestling has its share of outlandish characters that seem larger than life. We’ve seen forced attempts to create superstars are so utterly ridiculous that they don’t last very long. And then there are those that resonate with fans because they are real. It could be that they have a cool catch phrase, know how to talk a good game, have a certain look, or even utilize great entrance music. In many cases it could be a combination of all of those things. Booker T. was someone that, after watching him in the ring for about five minutes, you knew would be a huge star within the world of sports entertainment.

When there were multiple wrestling organizations on television including the WWF, WCW, GWF, AWA, UWF & WCCW, it was easy to tell who was going to emerge at the top. I can remember watching GWF and seeing the Ebony Experience for the first time. Compared to the other stars of the GWF, they looked like a million bucks. Stevie Ray and Booker T were giants. It was easy to see that, somewhere down the line, they’d be competing for WCW or the WWF. As Harlem Heat, they dominated the tag-team division of WCW for years, winning the tag titles a whopping ten times.
Booker became a 5x WCW Champion, held over 30 titles, and wrestled in some of the most iconic matches of modern times. Many people associate WCW with Sting, not me. When I think WCW I think Booker T. From his series of matches with Chris Benoit to his classic promo about Lex Luger and Hulk Hogan he was always a consistent reason to tune in before the n.W.o. made its presence known and long after they became passé!

What was a little ironic was that in the past, WCW had a long history of showcasing tag-team wrestlers in singles matches without splitting up the team. That didn’t happen much for Harlem Heat, but it was obvious that Booker T was a main event caliber singles wrestler. Eventually someone in the booking department wised up and gave Booker T the spotlight. It’s a shame that it took far too long for this to happen. But, with a great entrance theme, a strong chiseled look, great in-ring skills, and the one and only Spinaroonie, Booker T overcame a lot of obstacles to reach the top level of a business where getting the top spot, and holding it, is an extremely difficult task.

His new book, “From Prison to Promise, Life Before The Squared Circle” is hitting stores this September and it is a very in-depth look at the 5x WCW champ before he became the superstar you know today. At the same time, it will most likely change your opinion of Booker. He made some very poor decisions. But the book details what the man is made of internally, to be able to turn things around and have the success he enjoys to this day.

Medallion Press, who has also given us books from UFC Referee John McCarthy and Joe “Road Warrior Animal” Laurinatis, published this autobiography by Booker and Andrew William Wright. After just a few pages you’ll feel like you were on the opposite end of a Harlem Hangover. From never knowing a father that died when he was less than a year old, to a loving mother that was taken away from him by a freak accident when he was just 13, his childhood innocence was stripped away far too soon. He went from having stability to having nothing. After his mother’s untimely passing, his family became torn apart with infighting and dissention. Left alone to fend for themselves, Booker and his sister Bonita were left in dark -- sometimes without food, sometimes without water, but never without hope.

Booker’s story is incredible. You’ve heard the term “from rags to riches?” Booker had less than rags. He was brought up in a world full of bad luck, misfortune, crime, drugs and inconsistency. His daily routine consisted of being shifted around from relative to relative, people involved in everything from drug dealing to prostitution. Booker’s lack of parenting and instability lead him to a life of crime, following in the footsteps of the only role models he was privy to.

His hardships and mistakes earned him a term in the Harris County Jail and then the Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville as a member of the crew known as the Wendy’s Bandits. Along the way, he became a father to a son, and the mother of his son succumbed to the hard life of drugs. Using a memory of his mother’s words as a focal point to make the changes necessary to turn his life around, he got his GED, became a model prisoner, got early parole and took the steps necessary to gain custody of and raise his son.

Only the early stages of Booker’s wrestling career are covered here. And you know what? That’s a refreshing change. Most wrestling books are the same. A quick rundown of their childhood and then the story of how they became a wrestler, followed by their accomplishments, and a few road stories. There is hardly a mention of his WCW and WWE days. That’s left for a follow-up book, or two which I hope may be in progress. You will learn about Booker’s putz of a mentor and how it was Cowboy Scott Casey that actually helped shape the Booker T you know and love.

You’ll also learn who the famous WCW/WWF former world champion that brought Booker and his brother to WCW in Atlanta was. There are also tales of his first wrestling persona – GI Bro. I am sure that Booker has a thousand tales to tell about life on the road, working with other wrestlers and becoming a champion, but there is no question he needed to tell this all-important story of how he championed his own life before entering the squared-circle.

Now Can You Dig That Suckas? (This, by the way would make an excellent title for a From Prison to Promise Sequel.)

Watch for Booker T to discuss From Prison To Promise on the Cardboard Connection Radio Show.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

SIGnificant Cards - 2010 TNA Xtreme Tara Autograph

I have pretty much watched wrestling from the time I was about 13 to the present. To many of my friends, that probably explains a lot. At first I was fascinated by the funny gags and personalities of the wrestlers. My first taste of wrestling were the vignettes Roddy Piper, Bob Orton and Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff did for the very first Wrestlemania. They were training in a gym and Gene Oklerland was trying to get an interview with them as they prepared to face Hulk Hogan and Mr. T. It was so ridiculous I couldn't stop laughing when they tossed Gene out and beat up some bystander trying to help him.

From there I was hooked. I thought Orndorff was the best heel on the planet. He was physically intimidating, spoke well and was a great wrestler. I didn't like Hulk Hogan, even as a kid I thought he was forced onto fans.

 As I grew older, I tired of watching grown men in their speedos grabbing each other. Yeah, I know might be a bit phobic, but I much prefer looking at women. Call it a phobia, I call it the human nature of a red-blooded American man. At the time of Wrestlemania there really were slim pickens for females in Wrestling. You had The Fabulous Moolah who was the iconic WWF Women's Champion that carried the torch for decades. Along with her, you had up and coming Wendi Richter. Richter was the future of women's wrestling. She was tall, muscular and looked every bit of the rock n' roll part she played when the WWF brought in Cyndi Lauper to forge the Rock N' Wrestling connection. Richter fought Lelani Kai at Wrestlemania and with her victory, her look, her skills, and the adoration she had from both men and women fans, she paved the way for the ladies that wrestle today. But by 1985 she was gone and Moolah was back at the top of the WWF.

The championship was phased out of main event status and there really was no female presence in the WWF until Miss Elizabeth came in with the Macho Man Randy Savage. Elizabeth paved the way for a different kind of WWF woman -- The Diva. She was truly the first lady of wrestling. Being classy, beautiful and elusive became the standard for years in the WWF and she had no competition until former AWA Champion Sherri Martel entered the federation. Sherri wrestled. She was awesome on the mic and she was great in the ring. She eventually took the title from Moolah in 1987.

Soon after, the title was in limbo once again, only to be brought back in 1993 when Madusa Miceli, then known as Alundra Blayze came to the WWF. After two title reigns, she took the title to WCW with her and tossed it in a trash can. It wouldn't be seen on WWF TV for another three years. That's when women's wrestling got really, really good.

Sable, a former valet and wife of Marc Mero became the new WWF bombshell. She was good looking, and they tried to transform her into a wrestler. At the time, another hard-working, and amazingly talented woman named Jacquelyn Moore was tearing it up in the USWA and WCW. She eventually moved to the WWF and became Mero's valet, feuding with Sable. The feud revitalized the Women's Championship. Both women would become champions.

At this point Vince McMahon realized that men liked wrestling, but they also liked women, especially scantily-clad women that were fighting and hot. All of a sudden there were plenty of women in the WWF. Joining Jackie and Sable were Debra McMichaels, Ivory and many others. The women's title began to blossom with all of the competitors. More and more ladies were becoming wrestlers. That leads me up to this particular card. At the height of its Attitude era the WWF/E really delivered some of the finest women wrestlers on the planet. It's not like today where they throw a bunch of divas in the ring and they get tossed out in a few seconds.

Ladies like Gail Kim, Lita, Chyna, Molly Holly, Jazz, Trish Stratus and former fitness competitor Lisa Marie Varon lit up the ladies division and spawned a whole new revenue stream for Vince. Varon was known as Victoria in the WWE and she now competes as Tara on Impact Wrestling. Lisa is perhaps the most gifted women's wrestler today. She has the size, the skills and the athletic ability to go in a squash match or 60 minutes. Her workout regimen is incredible and she is in the best shape of her life. She is part of a Knockouts crew that in my opinion is the real reason to watch anything with the TNA label on it. They make the show worth watching. With Gail Kim, Mickie James, Winter, Sarita, Velvet Sky, ODB, Tara, and new champion, the constantly improving Brooke "Miss Tessmacher" Adams, it's the only reason I tune in on Thursdays.

Check out this match when she made her TNA debut:

 I remember meeting her the first time at a THQ/WWE event for the Raw Vs. Smackdown video game in Times Square. We got to meet many of the Divas that night and by far Lisa and Trish were the most personable and friendly. You could see that they loved what they did for a living and talking with fans. We got a short interview for the show that was then known as the Sportsology Locker Room.

 It wasn't until some years later that I had a chance to meet her again at Chicago Comic-Con and then again at the National Sports Collectors Convention. When we saw her at the National, we asked if she'd be our guest on Cardboard Connection Radio, and she graciously agreed. Now get this... I missed the show! I was going on vacation that week and missed the interview. Rob and Russ took care of business though and you can listen to the show anytime with our archives or on iTunes.

Luckily I caught up with her a few weeks later at C2E2 in Chicago. I try to collect autographs of every celebrity, athlete or person that has a trading card that appears on my show. This one was a no brainer. I had to get one for my collection. It comes from the 2010 Tristar TNA Xtreme collection and is one of many TNA autos I have compiled. This one though has a special place, because Lisa is by far the coolest TNA Knockout on the roster.

I Know I Tend To Exaggerate But... A Short Sun Times Recap

I went to the Sun-Times show this past weekend. I can do the show in about an hour tops. Really, that's all I need. I waited until the final day to go, so I could scope some good deals as the show was ready to close. I did well. I picked up some singles, some boxes and some supplies.

The show was smaller this time than the last time I went. I got in about 1pm and was gone by 3:30pm. When I shop for cards, I usually have a plan. I was looking for some 2012 Topps Archives SPs and inserts to complete my set. I struck out big time, so I bought another hobby box. Got a lot that I needed, so it all worked out. Still chasing the elusive Bryce Harper from that set, it's a fight I'll eventually win, I just need to do it at the price I want, not what it is currently selling for in the secondary market. I did pick up a couple boxes of Tristar Hidden Treasures Hockey for $2 a box and i have another blog post coming about that experience. It was both horrible and hilarious at the same time.

I like to have fun, if you haven't guessed that. It's hard to take this industry so seriously. In my quest to keep laughing, I also purposely look for some funny things at shows. Sometime I have to look hard, sometimes the humor just finds its way into my line of sight.

Here are two funny things (at least I thought they were funny) that I took photos of at the show. If you listen to Cardboard Connection Radio, you will hear us discuss the crazy amount of autographed cards that Bob Feller has. I know it is true. I have many myself and have seen so many at shows over the years that it has become comical to compare others that sign WAY TOO MUCH, to Feller. That's right, we've made it both a verb and an adjective.

Well, here's an image to back up my words. Trust me, this is only a portion of the box. There were at least 200-250 more all with one dealer. But look at the size of those piles! He Fellered the crap out of these cards!

This is nothing, there was a 500 count box full of them!
In addition, I learned something. Ralph Kiner, has almost as many autos out there as Feller. Right next to the Fellers was a couple rows of Kiner sigs. Just Brutal, and believe me when I say Pete Rose is either right on track to join them as the next $10-$15 sig of a guy that should be much, much more.

As I was leaving the show. I witnessed the death of the hobby spreading like wildfire in the room. Ok, I am really exaggerating that point. There were plenty of people there spending money, getting autographs and enjoying themselves. The death was only in one part of the room. Out of the corner of my eye I caught Mr. Mint sitting by his lonesome. He reminded me of Virgil when he attends shows. Do you remember Virgil? He was the bodyguard for Ted DiBiase in the WWF. There is a whole blog devoted to him and how lonely he is at shows across the globe.

I wanted to see the hobby from his perspective and see it through his eyes. Here's what I saw...

It looked pretty bleak. What do you think? I'd think the hobby was dead too if all I saw was this for an entire day. I almost wish I was there for the other 2 to see if it was any better, because it couldn't have gotten worse.

I went home happy. I got some cards, some supplies and some laughs. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Redemption Report - 2011 Ryan Williams Plates & Patches Rookie Auto

What do you do when you find a redemption card? Scream, bitch, moan? I do. It's like getting punched in the solar plexus after choking on something. You know when you spend money on a product, you are waiting with baited breath to see what your hit is, and then right before you see it, Tom & Jerry drop an anvil on your skull. That's my equation, and yes I tend to exaggerate, but redemption cards suck. They really, really suck.

I despise pulling them in football packs, because there are so many opportunities to catch the rookies early to sign, that there really shouldn't be any redemptions. But alas, if there is one to be had, odds are I'm getting it.

Before the 2011 NFL season began, I knew that there was going to be a special draft class. I bought more football cards in 2011 than at any other time over my 35 years of collecting. The class is that good. I got all of the autos I wanted from the draft in some form or another including Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, Andy Dalton, Ryan Mallett, Christian Ponder, A.J. Green, and Randall Cobb. I also had my eye on Ricky Stanzi & Ryan Williams. Stanzi I knew had and outside shot with the Chiefs and could mature into a decent NFL backup. Williams, I had high hopes for, but his college injury put some doubt in my mind. Image how my hopes dropped even further when he busted his knee (ok he ruptured his patella), but doesn't busted knee sound way cooler? Yeah, I know it does!

By late in the season, I didn't find a Williams auto, and I wasn't too concerned, I had gotten the majority of players I wanted either through packs or trades. Then Panini came out with the Plates & Patches. The product was so similar to the 2010 version that I did a double take. I liked the way it looked in 2010, even though the box I opened was like paying to watch this show over and over again...

Don't believe me? Check out the 2010 Break...

That Eric Berry redemption took forever, so I was mortified when I received another redemption card in 2011, and you guessed it, it was for Ryan Williams. Luckily it didn't take nearly as long to get back. Panini's customer service has improved a hundred-fold since a year ago. They are on their game. I sent this in via online code on 6/2/2012. I had it back on 7/2/2012. Only a month turnaround time. If you are going to put redemptions in products, this is how it should be, always.

Look, I know it's not the intention to put redemption cards into products. Lord knows I have heard that defense a thousand times or more on Cardboard Connection Radio. It's not this person's fault or that persons fault, and so on, and so on... but it is someone's fault. In this case, it certainly wasn't Panini, they got the autos, and got the cards in the mail. It's on-card too. That = happy collector Doug. So Ryan, what was your big fat problem? The knee? Ok, just this time, I'll cut you some slack, but you better have a kick-ass 2012!