Sunday, August 16, 2015

2015-16 Upper Deck MVP - The First Product of the New Season

So...remember a couple of days ago where I wrote something along the lines of, “won't be buying any cards because I'm moving, blah, blah, blah”? Well that lasted all of three days. How was I to know that the first hockey product of the year was going to be released? Not only released, but at a pretty decent price point.

It's really John at Elite Sports Cards fault. If he hadn't sent out his weekly email about new products. If he didn't list it at a reasonable price ($55), I probably wouldn't have bought a box (or two).I am a man of little self-control. Since I broke that promise I figure I owe you all a box break review. Here we go – my first box of the hockey year:

2015-16 Upper Deck MVP

The Base Cards:

The design is a bit busy for my tastes. I would have liked to see them trim down the borders a bit and make the photo a little bigger. A total lack of foil makes the name easy to read, at least. The backs are standard MVP backs with four or five lines of statistics and basic biographical information (Wayne Simmonds was born in Scarborough! A good Ontario boy!).

Let's face it. We don't buy MVP because of the photography. We buy it because it's first and normally it's a pretty easy set to put together. That holds true for the first 100 cards of the set. Unfortunately the next 100 are all short printed. I'm not a big fan of sets where a large portion of the cards are short printed. It makes it a little too hard to complete the entire set. On the other hand, with 24 packs of 6 cards each – plenty of base to trade!

The inserts:

Colors and Contours:

Seeded at about one every four packs most boxes will yield six of these die-cut inserts. (Boo to Upper Deck by not going with “Colours and Contours”). Overall I like the inserts. Fancy die-cut and shiny are normally a plus in my book. My issue with this one – there are three “levels” and three different colors of each card. Oh and each level/color combo is seeded differently. For instance the Curtis Lazar is Teal – Level 3 which falls one every eight packs. God help you if you are a player collector trying to complete the rainbow.

In years past the Patrick Kane purple level 2 would be in running for card of the box. This year, well let us move on to a more recognizable insert for fans of MVP.

Silver Script:

Sam card as the base except everything is silver and there is a facsimile signature on the front. These fall about one every three packs and I don't think the higher numbers are short printed. I pulled four cards numbered over 100 and four numbered under 100. If you were going to try and put together a complete set it's almost obtainable.


Serial numbered to 25, the amped-up cousin of the Silver Script cards replaces the gold borders with a nice red and keeps the signature in gold. It's a pretty nice combination in my book. Good luck to those that collect these. I pulled this card pretty early in the box and was happy with it (expecting to get a relic card at some point) and would have considered it a pretty good box. Unfortunately I did not get a relic. Instead, hidden in the middle of the next to last pack, was this little gem:

An Alex Ovechkin 1-of-1 black printing plate!

Not a bad little card to pull, eh? What's even better – I have absolutely no allegiance to Alex Ovechkin and I'm lukewarm at best on printing plates. So that means it's heading straight to eBay (sorry Caps fans, I got to recoup a little of my investment).

With the exception of the printing plate it was indicative of what breaking a box of MVP is like. Lots of base, some ok inserts and the joy of knowing that hockey (and the release of Series One) is right around the corner. For $55 I don't feel like I got ripped off (which also goes for the second box that I busted that didn't have a printing plate in it).

It'll be interesting to see how the pricing on this set goes. With a lot of people chasing the first licensed Connor McDavid card (done as a NHL First Round Pick redemption to get around rookie card issues) and busting a lot of packs it might drive down the price of inserts and short prints while driving up the cost of a box. I imagine dozens upon dozens of dime boxes being filled with inserts from this set soon appearing at card shows around the country.

I'll put a lackluster effort into completing the entire set. By lackluster I mean I will add them to my wantlist on Zistle and occasionally throw one in the shopping cart when I'm binging on CheckOutMycards. In case you were wondering – all of the inserts except for the Ovechkin printing plate, the Witkowski Colors and Contours and the Kane C&C are available for trade.

I give it a random 3.5 stars out of 5. Anyone else out there rip some packs yet?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Ramblings! Cause I got Nothing.

Hey it’s still summer!  I should be at a beach or something. Why sit inside a stuffy apartment filled with boxesand hack away at a computer when there are sunny, summery things that can be done? I could be walking along the lakefront, kayaking down a river or enjoying a beer on a patio.  How about a compromise?  I’ll sit outside and hack away at a computer.  After all it’s a warm, August evening. One of those summer evenings that we in Chicago think about in the middle of the darkest, coldest February nights.  You know. The ones we say we won’t waste when we’re drinking a beer watching the sun set at 3.15 in the afternoon.

Of course, things like work and laziness get in the way. So I’m not kayaking down the Chicago river or having wine and cheese on the harbor (oh, maybe we’ll do that on Saturday). Instead I’m sitting outside the Argo Tea (the official tea cafĂ© of The Hopeful Chase) trying to figure out what I want to write about as I watch the 9-5ers walk home.

I could write about the Orioles. After all the pennant races are heating up and the O’s are in the thick of things. Only 2.5 games back in the Wild Card, baby!  Who cares if they don’t have a true ace on the staff - Chris Davis is mashing again! And Manny Machado’s knees haven’t broken yet.  Oh wait, they just got no-hit by the Mariners?  That’s not good.  Neither is going 4-6 on this west coast swing. Nor is the fact that the Blue Jays finally realized that having a dominant starter to go along with the 1927 Yankees offense is a good idea.

What about cards?  Hey the last two posts have been card-related! I’m finally getting back to earning my spot on the Sports Card Blogroll.  Well, due to the impending move all of my cards are currently boxed up and I’ve banned myself from ordering anymore. No sense in adding more stuff to move at this point. Although with a bigger place I can finally rescue the bulk of my collection from my in-laws house. Yes that would require driving from Tampa to Chicago with a Chevy Malibu-sized card collection.  (That’s an actual measurement. When I moved them out of my condo they filled every square inch of a Malibu).

I was going to write a nice review about Stadium Club, but my main point was going to be about how god-damn happy everyone is in the set, but another blogger kind of beat me to that point. I wish I could remember who it was so that I could link it, but  I can’t and frankly and waaaaay to lazy to keep looking.  Point is that it’s been done and I would hate to seem like I was borrowing someone else’s idea (please disregard any post I’ve written in the past based on The Raw Charge’s Question of the Week).

Look how happy Larry is. And this isn't even the happiest card in the set!

Liverpool!  Remember them?  My favorite EPL team.  They won.  Phillippe Coutinho’s wonderstrike with four minutes to go! I actually watched most of the game (although I was listening on my phone for the actual goal. Yup I was the idiot cheering on the bus).  This is the year I get back into the Premier League.  I’m 1-for-1 watching games. I’m going to watch all the games! (Checks their schedule.  Checks his work schedule) Or for goodness sake!  I’ll never get into a good soccer watching groove.  Well at least they may finally get rid of Lucas.  Never cared for him.

Wonderstrike? Lightningstrike? Lucky Strike?

English football is out, what about American football?  Boxing Training camps have started. The Ravens are practicing at The Castle and the first pre-season game is right around the corner!  I’m not going to lie,   I’m having trouble getting pysched for the NFL this year.  I just need it to not be in my life for a little bit. The 24-hour-365-day coverage is too much.   I need it to go away for a little bit so I can actually miss it.

Hockey, there is always hockey to write about!  The Lightning! Two wins from the Stanley Cup last year and they’re bringing back the whole team. How can they not be the favorite?  How can I not write about them?  Well, because there really isn’t much going on down on Channelside Drive.  Sorry, but I can’t punch out a 1000 words on Brian Engblom getting hired to replace Bobby Taylor on the TV broadcast crew.

Sure Eric Condra was a nice pickup, but not exactly a Big Sexy Free Agent Move. Maybe there is a post to be written about how he’s going to affect Jonathan Drouin’s playing time, but can we wait until training camp starts before figuring out position battles and if Mr. Yzerman needs to trade Drouin.  Speaking of trading I am officially proclaiming this a Stammergeddon-free zone until he either signs a new deal or the trade deadline rolls around.  Go to Bleacher Sports or TSN for all of your “Stamkos Wore a Blue Shirt and White Shorts And Put MAPLE Syrup On His Pancakes So He Must Be Going to the Leafs” headlines.  (That would be a very bad headline).

He's not getting traded folks. Nor is his career "ruined".

So please bear with me for a little longer (I just spent five minutes trying to figure out if it’s “bare with me” or “bear with me” before remembering that I have the internet available to look these kind of things up. Also I was caught up in the old people next to me arguing that the presidential race is going to be between Trump and Bernie Sanders And they really, really don‘t like Trump. Oh and one of the guys just dropped a legit “Back in my day!” Oh sh*t he just compared Trump to Hitler.  This is getting uncomfortable!). Just trying to muck through the next few weeks until things pick back up.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A Quick Post on my Haul From the National *UPDATED*

On a hot, humid Saturday I found myself with some free time before work. So I took the train up to Rosemont and popped into the National. Rule number 1 of the National – don't go if you only have 2 hours. You will be upset. Rule number 2 of the National – be prepared. I managed to break both rules, yet I still walked away with some new treats. In less than two hours I managed to pick up.

The boxes:

Stadium Club was one box I knew I was going to get. The Bowman was an impulse buy. I don't know why I buy Bowman, I'm not a speculator and I barely know players that have been in the league for five years yet alone prospects. My plans with that box – sort it and then forget about it for three years and then look and see if anyone panned out.

Ringside Boxing. Boxing cards from 1996. Soooo many doubles. But it was a fun break for $9.00.

The free card:

 A Kris Bryant/Jordan Speith Beckett Covers card. The guy said it was going for $25.00. That's nice.

The want list cards:

There was one guy that had a bunch of $.25 cards of sets that I was looking to close out. I managed to score 3 Topps Heritage cards and 1 1983 Topps before my self-imposed time limit was up. If I had all day to sort through the cards I would have probably cleaned up both sets, after all there was an open chair and no one crowding around.

From Scott:

My buddy Scott met me at the convention center for his first National. I feel kind of bad because I think I got him hooked on starting a Teddy Bridgewater card collection. Sorry about that. While I was sorting through the want list boxes he wandered off and came back with a Stamkos McFarlane I needed as well as a Ben Bishop figure (intact groin muscle variation).

From Sal:

Sal from Puck Junk was there and had a couple of Lightning cards for me. I believe the Lecavalier is the first The Cup card that I've ever gotten my hands on. No collection is complete without a Sal Berry Rookie. Sadly, since I was in a bit of a hurray I wasn't able to sit and chat with him for too long.

Random Purchases that I will probably sell on eBay

People love Cubs cards. I figure I can make a buck or two back flipping them even with all of the crazy costs involved. The Junior Lake was more for sentimental versions as he went to Baltimore in the annual Cubs/Orioles deadline trade. Chris Sale, because he's fun to watch.


I can't believe I forgot the greatest pick up of the whole trip!  For just $2.00 I am know the proud owner of.....

Yeah...he just hit a home run.

A signed postcard of Smokin' Joe O!  While Cal Ripken or Eddie Murray might have been the best player of my childhood, Orsulak was probably my favorite despite his relatively brief tenure with the club.  The guy I bought it from had about 15 in his binder...and yes I contemplated buying them all.

So it was a quick trip to the National. I doubt I'll go to Atlantic City for next years, but I'll definitely head back up to Rosemont the next time a show rolls in. Heck I might even ask for the entire day off.