Sunday, May 21, 2017

2016 Topps Premier League Gold

Today was the final day of the 2016/17 Premier League. I love that the league has all 20 teams in games at the same time. While the championship was locked up by Chelsea last week, there was still some positioning for the UEFA Champions League. The final table has Arsenal out of the top 4 for the first time in two decades. Spurs put up a hell of a season but fell short to a rejuvenated Blues squad helmed by Antonio Conte.

And with every season, we bid farewell to three teams as they are regulated to the Championship League. Hull City, Middlesbrough and Sunderland go down and coming up from Championship is Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion. The third team to come up with be the winner of a playoff between Reading and Huddersfield. Only Newcastle has been in the top flight, just relegated at the end of last season.

So let's look at Premier League Gold.

I picked up a few packs a long time ago, and today seems as good as any for some football cards. And I got a lot of backs of football (and even football) to post. Ten cards in a pack.

Remember that abomination Topps put out late last year called "Glad Label" that was NOTHING AT ALL like the real Gold Label? Yeah - that is just what these cards look like in hand. Muted, foilish card stock. Gold curves as well as the players name and position in gold. Faded black and white background. And heavy Stadium Club like photo enhancement. You have the club badge in the upper left and the Premier League logo upper right. If you haven't noticed - yes. No Topps logo on the front of the cards. Interesting.... Not sure how good of a fiddle player Charlie here is.

You get some weird images with the faded background, like some player's face. I am guessing he was trying to tackle Sturridge.

Rookie card logo. I like the design of it. Simple and bold. Not sure if Martail is a rookie. I mean - he did play 49 games with Monaco prior to transferring to MU. Maybe Topps doesn't think the Monaco league is a real league?

Your eyes are not messed up. That is 4 cards is a row with red as the primary team color. I think it's just the luck of the pack....

....cuz how about a 5th! Look at the corner and you see a serial number. Also notice the metal color has changed from gold to silver. With a face like that, though, George is not making any friends.

There are a couple inserts, and man - I really like this one. I didn't look at the checklist, but I am going to assume it is 20 cards in size. In Europe, stadiums a really the glue for the city as the central focus for the support of their team. And no more red.

I would always confused West Ham and Aston Villa. They have the EXACT same color scheme and uniform design.Villa was regulated last season, so now a quick glance at a television and I know it's the Hammers.

The only duplicate team card in the pack. And the first one that really shows the color fade at the bottom of the image. David should be all green.

There's one of my boys! Again with the rookie logo, for a player that appeared for Leicester last season and help them win the championship. Logic.

And we have reached the end. Turning it over.

You only get last seasons stats. I like how they include the player's jersey number in with the read of the bio. And what's with the metric crap? Why not put his weight is stones while we are mentioning archaic measurements. Which, per Google, whould have Iheanacho at 12.13 stone.

Maybe the right price come Black Friday and I'll grab a box of this.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

2017 Donruss Baseball

I'm surprised no one has posted one of these yet! Or, maybe I am clueless and missed the post in my searching. You never know with me.

This is 2017 Donruss Baseball. The standard card fronts feature a white border with little specks in it, like someone grabbed the spray paint tool in MS Paint and had some fun. Interesting. I suppose it invokes designs of yesteryear: Back when the borders were red and the dots were white. In the upper left corner, the Donruss logo and name. Immediately to the right of that, we have the player's position in ALL CAPS and a script font player name. The city of the player's team appears on the far right. Since these are not licensed, team names do not appear on the cards. The players are prominently pictured in the middle of the card, vertically oriented. I do not know if there are horizontal versions because all of these are vertical. I don't believe Donruss does horizontal (which sounds much dirtier than it is meant to). Along side he player picture are a series of "racing stripes" done in the team's primary focal color (Black for White Sox, Red for Phillies, etc).

I actually like the design, though as mentioned before, it all seems a bit retro. Speaking of retro, there are inserts that feature the 1983 design. I happened to pull two of them.

The card backs, whether standard or retro, feature a greyscale background. The card numbers are placed in baseball icons that mimic the 1983 style. The "Panini," Donruss baseball," and "MLBPA" logos take up about the top 1/4th of the card back. Below those, the player's name in the same script as on the front. Under the name, in all caps sans serif, the city and position of the player. In the middle, there is a black band with white text featuring information in prose about the player - generally, it is stat-oriented. Interestingly, there is a blurb about Panini not being affiliated with the MLB just under the player info. Not sure why it's there and not lower on the card. Below the "we have no license" message, player stats from the previous season with a line under that showing career stats. Still within the grey background, near the bottom, we have bio info. The copyright info appears in the white border at the very bottom of the card. One would think this is where the "lack of license" statement would go. No?

 I also pulled a "Rated Rookie" card. These are similar to the standard issue, but the side stripes are a little different and are pulled in closer together than the standard version.

Friday, May 19, 2017

1978 Topps Grease Movie Cards

Grease is the word! These little beauties come from 1978. They are Series I cards from the Topps Grease Movie Card set. How do you know if they are Series I or II? Well, the Series I cards have a pink border and the Series II cards have a green border. Also, the card numbers give it away: 1-66, Series I; 67-132, Series II.

In addition to the colored border, the cards feature stills from the movie and the card number on the front is part of the "Grease" movie logo. In the lower right, a caption and copyright info finish out the front of the card.

Each pack also came with a sticker. There were 22 stickers in the set (11 for each series). I do not know if the stickers had different colored borders depending on series. I pulled Frankie Valle or Avalon or whatever that dude's name is/was. He's the guy from the "Beauty School Dropout" scene. Is it sad that I know the scene but not the singer? Yes, yes it is.

The backs either had "Movie Facts" about the movie or had a puzzle piece:

"Grease" is one of my all-time favorite movies/musicals. I saw in the theater as a kid, owned records, posters, and anything else I could get my hands on, and to this day will watch it if I am flipping channels and it happens to be on.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

2003 NFL Showdown Sports Card Game

Browsing Walmart can be lots of fun especially when in the card aisle.  One that is close to me always has a bargain bin of sports cards and a few days ago it looks like they hauled out a bunch of stuff that got lost behind the back shelf in the deepest part of the warehouse.  This particular trading card game is called NFL Showdown 2003 produced by the Wizards of the Coast.  It has a legit NFL Players Association license and the NFL Coaches Association endorses it.  How could I go wrong with the $1.98 price tag....after Alabama's $0.19 take I walked out the store with a $2.17 gold mine...I hope.  I wouldn't have bought it normally, but included in this starter box are two 11-card booster packs.....and a quick look on APTBNL showed that this beauty has yet to be showcased here.  Not that I need any further build up, as this sells itself, but let's dive into one of the booster packs.

Here is the box....if I have time, I might give the electronic game a go.  There are standard starter cards included, but I'll only be showing the cards from one of the packs.

Here is the pack I will be opening...a little mangled after 14 years.  Even the barcode looks old.

Pack Position #1: Sam Madison of the Dolphins..a Pro Bowler and Super Bowl winner and his house was featured on MTV cribs.  On a serious note, he donated his kidney to his 11-year old daughter last year.  Pretty awesome!

Pack Position #2: Brandon Spoon of the Buffalo Bills....a perfect person to cuddle on the cold Buffalo nights.  His career was pretty year.
Pack Position #3: Orpheus Roye...a Super Bowl winner .... the Browns need this guy back with his 350 card-game points.

Pack Position #4: Ray Brown from San Fran....Ray was playing until he was 43..beast mode!

Pack Position #5:  Hall of Famer Larry Allen.  This guy could bench press motorcycles I am sure.  A great athlete!
Pack Position #6: Kwamie Lassiter - He spent some time in Kansas before going pro...our paths could have crossed at some point.
Pack Position #7: Michael McCrary...he retired not too long after this card was made.

The last 4 cards are non-player cards consisting of plays and formations.  There was also a advertisement for the NFL Showdown Championships in Hawaii...I guess this game was pretty serious back in the day....anyone have any experience with playing this game?

Monday, May 15, 2017

2016-17 BBM Fast Break (1st Half)

Basketball is like chocolate ice cream.  I liked it as a kid, but there are so many other options out there, I'd be okay if never watched (or ate) it again.  Sure.  I'll complete my annual March Madness tournament bracket and check ESPN to see how my picks fared.  But that's about the extent of my basketball fandom these days.

However basketball cards are a completely different story.  Although I don't pursue them as much as I did six or seven years ago, I'll still add a card or two whenever the opportunity for me to add some cool cards to my collection arises.

Back in March, SumoMenkoMan generously donated a bunch of packs to my unopened Japanese wax pack collection.  Here's one of the packs he sent:

What you're looking at is a pack of 2016-17 BBM Fast Break (1st Half) trading cards, which features basketball players from Japan's professional basketball league: B League.  I honestly don't know much about the league, teams, or rules... except for the fact that Yuta Tabuse (the first Japanese national to play in an official NBA game) plays in the League and has a card in the set.

Let's see if I was lucky enough to pull him:

First Card:  #21 Diante Garrett

Garrett played two seasons in the NBA and was a D-League all-star a few years ago.

Second Card:  #9 Takehiko Shimura

Shimura led the Sendai 89ers in steals and played in all 62 games for them this past season.

Third Card:  #45 Robert Dozier

Dozier was the last player drafted in the 2009 NBA Draft, but it doesn't look like he played in any regular season games for them.  He was the second leading scorer this past season for San-En NeoPhoenix.

Fourth Card:  #41 Yu Okada

Okada is a shooting guard for Toyama Grouses who averaged 7.5 points per game.

Fifth Card:  #30 Takuya Kawamura

Kawamura was the Yokohama B-Corsairs' assists leader this past season.  In 2009, he attempted to play in the NBA Summer League, but I wasn't able to find any stats for him.

Unfortunately, I didn't pull a Yuta.  However I was able to learn about five other guys playing in Japan's B-League.

The overall card design is solid... especially the card backs... although it seems like they're missing player statistics.  What about you?  Do you collect basketball cards?  Would you purchase packs of this product?

Like I mentioned earlier, I'm not into basketball anymore.  But I was very excited to rip into this pack and add these cards to my Japanese trading cards binder.  Thanks Ryan!

Happy Monday and sayonara!

Friday, May 12, 2017

1978 Topps Battlestar Galactica

Here is a pack of 1978 Topps Battlestar Galactica cards! I remember watching the show like it was yesterday, and these cards helped bring those memories flooding back. The cards feature images from the show and/or publicity shots. The "Battlestar Galactica" insignia appears overlayed at the bottom center. Below that, a caption in blue ink followed by copyright info in black. The card number appears in the lower right corner.

Man, I remember playing with the Cylon spaceships as a kid. You could pull the wings "open" in order to shoot the red plastic missiles. Later versions locked the missiles so that they would "release" but not actually shoot. Kids had been choking on them... I had a Cylon that had a moving eye. I can't remember if it was an led or just a fake thing with a stick in the back of his head that you moved. I need to Google that. I also had the Viper fighter ship and most of the action figures!*

The backs of the cards feature either "TV Facts" about the show or puzzle pieces:

*I found an article that discusses much of what I am referring to. Man, so many memories!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

2017 Topps Stickers

You know the drill. For a buck, you can grab a pack of Topps album stickers containing the latest and greatest baseball players, plus some mascots and so forth. After reviving the concept and producing a nice sticker-card for a few years, Topps went and did things on the cheap by reverting back to the Panini style floppy thin album stickers in 2015. This year's product feels flimsier than ever. At the very least, these things are very difficult to pick up off of a scanner without smashing them in half. I don't know if they've ever fessed up to it, but these are likely produced by (or at least in the same production facility) as their competitor Panini, as their "STICKERS PRINTED IN ITALY" disclosure suggests.

124 - Jose Quintana - With the White Sox in Full Rebuild Mode, people will be on Quintana Watch all summer, or at least until the trade deadline passes.

273 - Aaron Nola - I have yet to see a Phillies game this season, but I'm sure that time is approaching.

226 - Joe Panik - This is as good of a time as any to drop a link about Doki Doki Panic.

55 - Mariner Moose - He's bug-eyed because of all of the caffeine in Seattle, you see.

275 - Andrew McCutchen - Early returns on McCutchen's steep decline being a one year anomaly: not good.

25 - Stephen Vogt - He was a guy I fantasy drafted because I'd heard of him and needed a catcher. Catchers are a fantasy necessary evil. Probably shouldn't have drafted him.

144 / 162 - Kansas City Royals / St. Louis Cardinals - I could stick these on my Trapper Keeper.

278 - John Jaso - White guy with dreads. He probably owns several pairs of rollerblades, I imagine.