Tuesday, May 15, 2012

From Lonestarr to the Lonestar State

Man, time sure flies by when you're busy. I can't believe it's been a month since I've posted anything. Too many swimming, baseball and soccer practices to be able to do much else. I haven't even been able to get in any Playstation 3 time since Christmas and I've even got a sweet new pink controller to break in. Hopefully, things will slow down around our house here in a few weeks, but I won't hold my breath. Something is always popping up. Kinda like this package of cards from Lonestarr that arrived out of nowhere a while back. He sent us a bunch of stuff of some of our favorites, here is just a sampling.

A bunch of Berkmans for Nobie.

Several Elways for my collection.

Mavs! Both the star and spare variety. Scott Brooks, current coach of the OKC Thunder counts as a spare. I hate OKC almost as much as the Spurs now.

A couple of Murphs for Baby Peas.

Nashty! A few rumors he may come back to Big D. Can't say I'd mind that, though he won't be the point guard of the future. He's probably got 2 or 3 seasons left at most.

A stack of Peavys for Nobie.

Last, but not least, Nobie's favorite Cub and all-around player Alfonso Soriano. He's got quite a collection already but a few of them were new, specifically the jersey swatch card.

Thanks a bunch, for all the cards Lonestarr! We'll try to get something back to you soon.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Long Live The Queen! 2012 Gypsy Queen Value Pack

Well, lookee what I stumbled upon at the local Wally World today. That's right 2012 Gypsy Queen is on the shelves, so I grabbed a value pack. The value packs have 3 six card packs plus a bonus of 3 exclusive framed cards.

Each pack contained 4 base cards, 1 mini and 1 other parallel/insert. The design is similar to last year's. Nobie says he likes these better though.

Just like last year, the photos seem to have been touched up with a filter of some sort giving them a slight "artsy" look.

Yay! an Ichiro for the PC.

Here are the 3 minis we got. The Stargell is extra special. Wanna know why?

Check out the backs and you can see that we got a Straight Cut parallel Willie!

Our bonus pack contained these 3 gold framed parallels. Pretty nice, right?

Like I mentioned earlier, each pack contained a parallel/insert and these are the 3 we got. A blue framed Ian Kennedy and Hallmark Heroes of Cobb and Gibson. All in all not a bad value pack. I'm sure we'll be picking up a few more of these sometime soon. After all, we haven't even gotten any Rangers yet. By the way Sox fans, sorry about that butt whoopin' today, not! Later.

Friday, April 13, 2012

I Got A Major Award!

No it's not a leg lamp, its a Panini's Choice Award. I picked up this card on ebay a few weeks ago. I wasn't really very interested in these cards when I first saw them, but when I saw Mark Aguirre on the checklist I became very interested. This is a Crown Royale Panini's Choice Award Mark Aguirre auto from 2012 Panini Preferred. It comes in several different parallel colors such as red, gold, green and the base which is silver. I chose blue because I felt it went well with the road greens that mark is wearing. The auto is on card which is a big bonus.
The backs are pretty plain. You can see I got card number 5/50. I'm still not too sure on the looks of these things, but they are unique at least. I'm not the biggest Panini fan in the world, but I have to give them big props for putting out so many cards of one of my most favorite players ever the last few years. I'm glad Mark still gets recognized for his skills all these years after he retired. Good job Panini! Later.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

2012 NBA Hoops Review

Well I'm a little late to the party here as I've already seen other people review these elsewhere on the net, but here's my take anyway. Panini has revived the Hoops brand and since these will serve as their entry level brand they are probably the only packs of Panini basketball cards I will buy this year. You get 8 cards per pack for about a buck, so they are decent value.

The design is similar to the original Hoops sets from the early nineties with a photo shape that resembles the lane area of a basketball court. The photography is decent but nothing special. They are game shots but mostly just guys dribbling or standing holding the ball, not a lot of action. The top banner is team colored and the background features a wood grain court motif which fades into a white gradient (Panini's go to design feature). A decent looking set overall.

2012 Hoops has a pretty substantial checklist of players, several of which I don't really think even deserve to have a card. There are several guys in the set that haven't even played a game in the NBA and one of the guys I got has only played 2. Anyway, you should be able to find a card of just about anyone you would follow. There are no rookies however, I guess the lockout was just too much for Panini to handle. Also, some of the backgrounds are totally faked, to make guys in new uniforms look like they've actually played for their new team already, when they haven't.

The packs I got were really kinda boring to look through as Panini isn't including inserts too frequently, which I think is a shame. I love inserts! I don't like getting packs with no variety and when the cards do not feature team logos on the front or very interesting photography it makes for a bland product in my mind. I'll show you the inserts I did get in a bit.

The back are designed horizontally and include a few lines of stats along with a photo of the player. Problem here is it's the same as the one on the front. That's a big no no if you ask me, but they never do. What do I know about card design anyway, right? Well, I'll show you.

Here's my simple tweak for this set. I feel they have too much white space at the bottom of the card so I would simply rotate the wood grain/gradient 180 degrees and voila! Isn't that better without much thought at all?

Here is one of the inserts I got. These Artist's Proofs cards must be one of the worst variants ever. The only difference is that it has Artist's Proofs stamped above the players name. Who cares? The only dumber idea is to make a parrallel set of cards with a glossy finish. Oh wait, they have those too? Like I said, dumb.

The Action Shots insert set, however, I like a lot. Here Panini proves to us that they CAN find interesting photography of basketball players and manage to put it onto a card. This HOOPS set would be much better all around with a little more effort put into the photo choices. There is no excuse to me to put photos of guys standing still in a set of cards based on such a dynamic sport. If you can't put something besides a studio shot of a guy in the set, then don't put one in at all. Or just show him in his old uniform for crying out loud. It's been done that way for years. So there you have it. 2012 Panini HOOPS isn't anything groundbreaking, but it is a decent set and in this season of minimal basketball output, it may be all you're gonna get. Later.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sign Me Up For Some Good Stuff!

If you've hung around my blog even a little bit, you know that I'm a Dallas Mavericks homer. An MFFL if you will. I've been a Mavs fan ever since I was a young tyke growing up in Illinois and they drafted my favorite college player Mark Aguirre out of DePaul. In 1988 I actually had all my wildest dreams come true when my dad was transferred to Dallas and I could finally see every Mavs game on tv and even attend some in person. Then they traded Aguirre away within a few months of my arrival, for Adrian Dantley no less, who I couldn't stand. Damn it! Oh well, I stuck with them though the Shawn Bradley years even and last year they rewarded my with an NBA championship! All of this leads up to the fact that, while I've been a fan forever and have a gazillion Mavs cards, I have very few autographs of my favorite team, so I decided to do something about that. Here's what I've picked up recently.
Warning: Lot's of short shorts ahead!

First up we've got a Rolando Blackman Panini Elite Black Box. Ro is one of only 2 retired numbers by the Mavericks, the other being Brad Davis.

Next up is Sam Perkins on a Panini Studio Heritage Auto from a couple years ago. "Big Smooth" was one of those laid back kinda players that gave you great results with what appeared to be little effort.

Breaking the trend of short shorts in Michael Finley on a Skybox Autographics card. I would put Finley as number 3 on my all time favorite Mavs list behind Dirk and Aguirre. I think his number 4 should be retired.

Finishing out this batch of autos is another Panini Black Box featuring Mark Aguirre. I really wish things had ended better between the Mavs and Mark. I feel he is under appreciated for what he did here, and I still can't believe there is no #24 banner hanging in the rafters yet. I still keep hoping Cuban will get one up there eventually.

I'm really glad I finally managed to get some autos of great Mavs players from the past. Now I've got to figure out how to get one of Dirk, without costing me a fortune. Anyone got one for cheap? Later.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Am I First? I Think I'm First! 2012 Topps MLB Stickers

Well, I'm not sure if I'm actually first or not, but while checking the card aisle during the Walmart grocery trip I spotted something new.

That's right, 2012 Topps stickers are live. Not sure about the actual albums though as I couldn't find any at our local Wally World. I decided to go ahead and get 3 packs of stickers anyway.

As you can see, pretty basic stuff. A nice clean design which is what you usually get when it comes to stickers. They've got a little bit of a "surfboard" type patch of color at the bottom similar to Topps flagship card set this year.

Each pack includes 8 stickers. Besides the obvious player stickers, there are also team logo stickers and mascots as well. Since I don't have an album yet, I'm not sure if there will be other sticker types or not. We never did fill in last year's album completely but, oh well. Time to move on to the new stuff I guess. Get stickin'! Later.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Certified Champions

While I'm awaiting new NBA product, I'm still picking up a few things from last year that managed to slip by. Panini's Certified set is the focus of this latest pickup and I only bothered to get the Mavs from the set. There are only 6 Mavs available unless you count the endless colored parallels, but I just got the base silver.

The Mavs attempt at a repeat hasn't been going so well lately as they've hit quite a bump in the road. They've had a few injuries and Lamar Odom has been nothing but a waste of space, but looking at these cards reminds me of what could have been. It would have been great to have kept Caron and Tyson (as well as J.J. & DeShawn) and see if they could have gone for two in a row, but I guess it wasn't meant to be for that group. Hopefully, this year's version can turn it around soon.

Just judging these base cards I like them a lot, especially the silvery foil swirl in the background. I've seen a few of the colored parallels on ebay and may have to pick up a few of those as well if the price is right. I think I'm just about caught up on 2010-2011 product. Look for a post on some new stuff soon. Later.