30 August 2008

Send Me Your Want Lists!

What teams/players do you collect? What cards do you need to finish a set?

Shoot me an email with your want lists and I'll do my best to fill in the gaps! My commons box is growing to epic proportions, and quite frankly, I'd rather give the majority of these cards to good homes as opposed to a box where they'll never see sunlight again. Have a great weekend and be safe.

- J.C.F.

29 August 2008

Great Read: Sports Cards Uncensored

First, I want to note than any pieces I post on Wax Breaker are my views only and do not reflect those of any other authors, past, present or future, of this site.

On that note, check out Gellman's post over at Sports Cards Uncensored. I think he hit the nail on the head this time, like always.

Video Pack Break: 2008 Upper Deck Football (Hobby)

Just a quick video pack break of 2008 Upper Deck Football. You can view it over at Viddler.com.

And no, I didn't pull this AP Auto. Photo borrowed from UpperDeck.com.

J.C.F. Want List Updated!

I have completely overhauled my want list, so just something to keep in mind if you any players included are dying to hop out of your 5,000-count boxes and into the mail. Again, feel free to send me a list of players/teams you collect, and if our agendas don't conflict or a particular card is part of a set I'm completing, I'll send it out to ya if I own it. No strings attached.

That's all I got...

- J.C.F.

28 August 2008

Pack Break: 2008 Upper Deck Goudey (Retail)

At the time that this post was authored, I was spent from a long day of taking Ol' Red to the vet and wedding planning. On that note, I'll keep this one short and sweet...

178 Carlos Pena

140 Ryan Howard

36 Kosuke Fukudome

166 Felix Hernandez... E-3 in the background

163 Juan Marichal

59 Grady Sizemore

40 Mark Buehrle and his giant glove

170 Wladimir Balentien... these cartoon first basemen suck.

Be sure to watch out for those "sneaky sigs"... Goudey is tricky this year.

Pack Break: 2008 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes (Hobby)

Or, "The Poor Man's Moments & Milestones" as I like to call it. Eight cards per pack including one parallel. Scans accompanied by text directly from the back of the card.

Here we go...

162 Stan Musial
1948 - Wins third NL MVP Award
One of the most affable and accomplished players ever to suit up in the Major Leagues, Musial was a three-time NL Most Valuable Player for the Cardinals. After claiming MVP honors in 1943 and 1946, the lefty led the Senior Circuit in batting average (.376), runs (135) and RBI (131) in 1948 to add a third trophy.

53 C.C. Sabathia
2007 - Wins AL Cy Young Award
One of the game's most consistent hurlers through his first six seasons, Sabathia won at least 11 games, threw over 180 innings and fanned more than 135 batters each year from 2001-06. In 2007, the lefty won the AL Cy Young Award as he eclipsed his career highs by posting 19 wins, 241 innings and 209 K's.

166 Scott Kazmir
2007 - Leads American League in K's
After winning 10 games and topping 160 K's in each of his first two full seasons with Tampa Bay, Kazmir made a significant leap in 2007 by leading the American League with 239 punchouts. The left-hander finished the year on a roll by notching double-digit strikeouts in four of his final seven contests.

Three lefties in a row...

68 Hanley Ramirez (Green Parallel, #418/499)
2006 - Wins NL Rookie of the Year Award
Few Major League rookies have ever hit the ground running like Ramirez did in 2006. On his way to NL ROY honors, the Marlins shortstop became the first NL newcomer to score over 110 runs and steal over 50 bases. He was also the fifth ML player since 1900 with over 45 doubles and 50 steals.

88 Brad Penny
2006 - Named MLB All-Star Game Starter
With a 10-2 record during the opening half of the 2006 season, it was easy to understand why Penny was selected as the National League starting hurler for the MLB All-Star Game. After pitching in the Midsummer Classic, the righty finished the season tied for the NL lead with 16 triumphs.

155 Erik Bedard
2007 - Leads AL in K's Per Nine Innings
It was a year of strikeouts for Bedard in 2007, and that was just fine with the left-hander and the Orioles. He fanned 10.93 batters every nine innings last year, which was the best mark in the AL. Bedard had at least 10 K's on seven occasions with a season-high 15 taking place on 7/7 against Texas

191 Chase Utley - 2B, Ryan Howard - 1B, Jimmy Rollins - SS
2007 - Philadelphia Wins the NL East Division
In 2007, the Phillies celebrated their first NL East Division title since 1993 thanks in large part to the tremendous play of Utley, Howard and Rollins. Philadelphia ended the year on a 13-4 run as its trio of superstars combined for 21 homers, 59 RBI and 63 runs during the final month of the season.

127 Joe DiMaggio
1941 - Hits Safely in 56 Straight Games
Named the AL Most Valuable Player in 1941, DiMaggio embarked on a batting binge the likes of which have never been seen in the Majors. The Yankees superstar went 1-for-4 on 5/15 against Chicago to start an MLB record 56-game hitting streak that finally came to an end on 7/17 at Cleveland.

Whatcha think? This is no doubt a fun set and I'll continue to pick up a pack or two whenever I'm in the shop. The highlights are the cards of the retired ballers and how their heroic moments or feats completely dominate those of the newer guys in most cases. DiMaggio and Penny are not even worthy of a comparison, but each team is covered with at least one representative in the series. I have four more packs to break and will share those with you whenever I'm feeling the itch to type.

- J.C.F.

27 August 2008

Instant Replay... (Cont'd)

Injustice in sports, the officiating of course, on any level, is just that... injustice. Whether in The Bigs or in Babe Ruth; in the NFL or in Pop Warner, the wrong call on a play can change the entire outcome of a game. As a high school lacrosse coach, it upsets me to watch poor (and even overzealous) officiating make an appearance in a game. I know what I put my kids through each and every day in practice and to watch an official take the game out of their hands, the hands of the players who work their tails off day in and day out simply for a taste of victory, is more infuriating than many things I come across in life.

So, one would think that I would be a huge proponent of instant replay in Major League Baseball. To tell you the truth, I'm not. It took me weeks to convince myself that replay for homerun calls was something that needed to be implemented. For some reason I hold baseball to this different standard than any other sport. To me, this sport is sacred... it's our national pastime... it's historic... it's a little bit of America sliced up into 27 outs each day... it's the human element of a basic game.

But, I'm no idiot.

Garrett Atkins hit what should have been a homerun in the 163rd regular season game of the 2007 campaign. A homerun hit in a game known for a questionable call at home plate. A "safe" call when Matt Holliday came barreling down the third base line, sliding head first into home plate. A play where the future NLCS MVP had his sights set on a man in pseudo-body armor. A play that began in the right hand of Padres' pitcher, Jake Peavy, en route to the barrel of Jamey Carroll's bat. A play that saw its way into the glove of Padres' outfielder, Brian Giles, and ended in the catcher's mitt of Michael Barrett. A play that ultimately ended with a gash on a chin and countless bottles of champagne being popped throughout the Mountain Time Zone, including one in the suite from which I watched the game in-person.

But this homerun, a ball sent screaming all the way to dead center field and hitting a row of seats in a handicap accessible row, bounced back into the field of play resulting in a heads-up double by Garrett Atkins. Though I remember this "double" as if it had happened yesterday, I vaguely remember the angst associated with the call. I think I might have even demanded instant replay to be implemented on the spot. My memory, however, was far from its sharpest as I found myself lost in the midst of a magical run to the World Series and the subsequent Budweiser ingestion associated with something of this magnitude. A good friend of mine and General Manager of Jackson's Sports Rock in Lower Downtown actually called this homerun prior to the pitch from Jake Peavy. This homerun, however, doesn't exist in the record books as though the Gods of Baseball knew that leaving this game tied would make for one helluva ending.

If the Rockies had lost this game, I might have been quicker to agree with the decision to introduce instant replay to the game.

My indecision was, and is, due to my fear of what might happen. The very second that the game cracks the door open for an advancement like replay, it faces threats of a possible invasion of a technological revolution. This game and its integrity need not to have each and every call criticized by high-definition cameras and snail's-pace slow-mo, but I fear that's what might happen.

What is the strongest argument for instant replay? From a common sense point of view, it is [simply] as follows: If a play can be called right, then it should be called right.

And I agree wholeheartedly. But this same section of the population will no-doubt have delegates parting ways with their "homerun only" party members in support of the idea of replay for calls at 1st base; for balls and strikes; for diving outfield snags; for players hit by pitches. It's amazing what a single bad call against the Red Sox, the Yankees, the Dodgers and the Cubs can do to wash the brains of an overwhelming majority.

Listen, calls need to be correct and players need to be rewarded for their accomplishments. They call football a game of inches, but in many ways baseball is just as critical. Ball vs. Strike; Fair vs. Foul; Safe vs. Out...

The human element of this simple game is something that makes our sport special, but the aforementioned situations can make-do without K-Zone and the yet-to-be-named 1st base dugout cam. Call me old fashioned, call me a traditionalist, but don't tell me that the game will be better, faster and more pure with increased dissection and real-time umpire evaluation outside of homerun calls.

And whatever you do, please don't tell me that implementing instant replay at THIS point in the season is fair, reasonable or even righteous. It's no different than mandating ten defensive players on the field or running the basepaths clockwise mid-season. But, it is what it is...

... and it is blasphemy.

- J.C.F.

Images borrowed from Fenway West and The Reality Check, respectively.

This Racket is Authentic

I was over at White Sox Cards checking out the latest news from the Southside when I came across a link in Steve's blogroll. As you can imagine by reading the title of the latest post on Sports Card Info, I couldn't continue browsing until I checked this out.

Pack Break: 2008 Bowman Chrome (Hobby)

I'm doing absolutely no research on per pack odds with this one. Here's two packs of '08 Bowman Chrome Baseball, fresh from the hobby shop:

Pack 1:

Vladimir Guerrero

Gary Matthews (Refractor)

Elvin Ramirez

Kai Liu

Pack 2:

Chris Young

Kevin Youkilis (Refractor)

Heath Rollins

Andrew Romine

So, it looks like two vets per pack including one refractor along with two prospects. Dayf at A Pack A Day and Cardboard Junkie put together his "second annual 'Bowman Chrome Is A Crappy Rip' memorial post" earlier today featuring a retail pack of the latest Bowman baseball release. Be sure to check it out.

Boom... outta here.

- J.C.F.

26 August 2008

Instant Replay...

This should have waited for the 2009 season... bottom line. Just wait for the complaints from teams a game out of the playoffs that could have picked up a win on a controversial home run call. If there ever needs to be an asterisk in baseball, it needs to be branded beside the results of each game played from replay's inception until its departure (oh yeah, and next to the names of a handful of former MLBers).

And I swear to God, if the day comes when the owners vote for replay outside of this circumstance, I will boycott the MLB.

Check out the new poll and PLEASE feel free to share your thoughts on this.

Boom... outta here

- J.C.F.

Video Box Break: 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter Blaster (Retail)

Check out the exhilarating 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter Blaster Break here at Viddler.com.

2008 Bowman Chrome Baseball pack breaks to come tomorrow, so check back in!

Boom... outta here.

- J.C.F.

25 August 2008

Pack Break: 2008 Topps Stadium Club Football (Hobby)

I took the plunge...

I headed into the local shop today to pick up some supplies, but in the back of my head I knew that I'd be leaving with more than penny sleeves and and a couple of packs of '08 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes. For weeks it's been tormenting me... do I drop a Jackson for a pack of six cards?
[Begin internal monologue]

It's not worth it. You've seen the retail stock, and it is modest at best.

But there's a guaranteed autograph or relic per pack!

So what, you'll probably pull a John David Booty game-used or Bernard Yvenson auto.

Yeah, but I might get a Chris Cooley auto!

There aren't any Cooley autos in this set, jackass.

Yeah, but there's a chance, right?

No, no chance. Save your money. Buy 40 cards for the same price. Don't be a Joe Collector.

Whatever... I'm doing it.

Joe Collector...




Fifteen minutes and $60 later, I was the proud owner of a pack of 2008 Topps Stadium Club Football, five packs of Upper Deck Baseball Heroes (yeah, 5... leave me alone), two packs of penny sleeves and a couple of Ultra-Pro magnetic cases. All street cred went out the door with me in a small, brown paper bag. But, you're here for the break, so let's get to it.

Product Details*:

(More per pack odds listed than I'd like to type)

Configuration: 10 packs per box. 6 cards per pack.

Stadium Club Football celebrates its return for the 2008 NFL season, delivering 5 autographs and 5 relics per box! It also features the ever-popular Super Team Cards, which give fans a chance to win a special edition Stadium Club Football Set!

- 5 Autographed Cards, including 4 Rookie Autos…1 of which will be a top ten pick!
- 5 Relic Cards!
- 10 numbered rookie cards!
- 10 numbered parallel cards!

- 1 Super Team Card!

BASE CARDS - 20 pt. stock
- Veterans(100)
- Rookies(100) - 1 per pack! Seq. #'d to 1499 or less(includes parallel versions).

- Platinum Photographer's Proofs(200) - All one of one! Hobby Exclusive!
- Gold Photographer's Proofs(200) - Seq. #'d to 50.
- Photographer's Proof(200) - Seq. #'d to 199.
- First Day Issue(200) - Seq. #'d to 1499.

- Rookie Autographs(Up to 75) - At least 4 per box!
- Beam Team Autographs(30)
- Brett Favre Buybacks(1 subject)

All autos available in these parallels:
- Platinum - All one of one! Hobby Exclusive!
- Gold - Seq. #'d to 25.
- Foilboard - Seq. #'d to 50.

- Autographed Rookie(75) - All one of one!
- Rookies(25) - All one of one!
- Veteran(100) - All one of one!


Beam Team Relics(25)
- Gold Parallel - Seq. #"d to 99.

Stadium Club Impact Triple Relics(50) - Seq. #'d to 99.
- Gold Parallel - Seq. #'d to 10.

Stadium Club Impact Dual Relics(50) - Seq. #'d to 199.
- Gold Parallel - Seq. #'d to 25.

Stadium Club Impact Relics(50) - Seq. #'d to 799.
- Gold Parallel - Seq. #'d to 50.

*Thanks to hagansp from the Sports Card Forum

And here we go...

82 Albert Haynesworth

69 Joey Galloway (Photographer's Proof, #60/199)

163 Jaymar Johnson (RC, #1065/1799)

IR-VY Vince Young (Impact Relic, #1257/1349)... this card is also known as 'The Dagger'

23 Anquan Boldin

5 Ben Roethlisberger

Ok, so a VY relic... I could have done a lot worse. All in all, I still feel the same about purchasing this pack. It's a little over-hyped and clearly aimed at the Joe Collectors of the world, but I think I paid close to the value of the individual cards included. I never think like that... that's how Joe thinks... but it's the only redemption I have for losing the aforementioned street cred.

What do you guys think? Good set or a disgrace to the Stadium Club name? I'm not sure if I'll buy another pack, let alone a box, but perhaps when another twenty-bones are burning a hole in my pocket I just might. I personally feel that the photography in this series cheapens the Stadium Club reputation as it has always been known for some great edge-to-edge shots. The action shots aren't that thrilling and the overall quality is lackluster. I'll leave that debate open.

Again, all cards are up for dibs (except for Johnson), but I'll reserve the VY for a trade... it's all I got!

- J.C.F.

Pack Break: '08 UD Goudey (Retail)

Now it's time for Upper Deck's answer to Topps' Allen & Ginter. I love retro sets, especially when they emulate their inspiration. Upper Deck didn't stray too far from the 1934 Goudey design (correct me if I'm wrong) which was the model for the '08 set.

2008 Upper Deck Goudey (Photo stolen from Mario at Wax Heaven)

1934 Goudey

Odds per pack aren't listed on either the retail and hobby wrappers, but I can tell you that there are 8 cards per pack unless, of course, you pull something real purty like a game-used relic [foreshadowing statement]. Dave at Fielder's Choice has done both the dirty work as well as complete a pretty solid product review of a couple of boxes that you can check out. Dayf at Cardboard Junkie has done an equally impressive review as well. I'll let the big guns in the blogosphere share their opinions...

... I'll just rip it and write it.

Pack 1:

7 Mark Teixeira

152 Tom Gorzelanny

100 Chin-Lung Hu's on first at shortstop

189 Vernon Wells

137 Catfish Hunter

228 Bob Gibson (Mini/Red Back)

48 Joe Morgan

256 David Ortiz (1936 Black & White)... chest sweat is a glaring variation from the '36 design

Pack 2:

85 J.R. Towles

M-MB Mark Buehrle (Game-Used)... All yours, Steve

205 Carlton Fisk (Black Back)

100 Chin-Lung Hu (Mini/Blue Back)

92 Chone "Not Sean/I mean business" Figgins

111 Delmon Young

Obviously the Buehrle relic was the pull of the day, especially keeping in consideration the fact that these were retail packs. All-in-all, not too shabby, though I was expecting to see a larger variety of cards outside of the base set. A "Sports Royalty" or even a Yankee Stadium Legacy insert would have been kind of nice. I'm a big fan of the "throwback" cards like Catfish Hunter, Joe Morgan and Carlton Fisk, however.

I'm not sure if you'll see any box breaks of this '08 Goudey here at Wax Breaker, but I'll definitely purchase some more packs, both hobby and retail. I'll have a hobby pack break to come later in the week, so be sure to check back in for that.

That's all I got...

- J.C.F.