Thursday, May 26, 2011

Custom Card of the Day- Granderson Edition

The 81 set is one of my favorites, and it has been since I was young. And whenever I'd customize from it, it'd always be pretty cool, because it's easy to do so. Granderson has been bashing home runs left and right for the Yanks, and he's looking pretty similar to a 1981 star, newly traded and young. Yeah, I can get away with comparing Dave Winfield to Curtis Granderson, right? Because they both started their careers with low playoff expectancy, then became big stars, then were traded to the Yankees, where they became bigger stars. Time will only tell if Granderson refuses to report to an expansion team, or if he makes the 500 home run club, but it'd be nice.

Tomorrow (?)- I haven't made any in a while, so I might churn out some more tonight.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Phillies Game Packs of 2011 Topps

I attended the Phillies game tonight against Cincinatti. They killed the Reds, thankfully. I know a lot of Reds fans were pained during that game, and I wanna apologize. Could be worse, it could have been a complete shutout. Still, I ended up with 2 rack packs of Topps. Last year's ballfield rackpacks garnered two gameuseds in the same pack! Let's see if these can top last year's

Pack 1-
296- John Buck
103- Cliff Lee
85- Jack Wilson
189- Kerry Wood, now a Cub.
208- Clay Buttholz
141- Ubaldo Jiminez cl
65- Chris Sale
57- Mark "Not an Elephant" Trumbo
279- Nick Swisher
329- Brett "Not William or General Corn-" Wallace
Lou Gehrig insert
212- Pedro Feliz
19- Derek Lowe
291- Juan Guitierrez
137- Former Yankee Xavier Nady
251- Alcides Escobar
106- Felix Pyay
281- Kevin Slowey
289- Yuniesky Betancourt
153- AJ Pierzinksi
64- Yorvit "Not an Eddie Murphy movie" Torrealba
322- Brent Morel
183- Stephen Strasburg
12- Carlos Marmol
158- Casey Blake
116- Russell Branyan Sparkly card. Meh
Upton mini
Stanton duo
Posey Topps 60
1997 Mariano Rivera NotYoMamma
Bob Feller Lost Card
239- Jhoulys Chacin
214- Chase Utley
250- CarGo
207- Angel Pagan

Pack 2-
323- CJ Wilson
265- John Danks
188- Kung Fu Panda
33- Max Scherzer
57- Mark Dumbo again
7- Mickey Mantle
53- D-Backs
283- Rockies
314- Ryan Kalish
History of Topps- Bowman
270- Ubaldo Jiminez
199- J-ROL
39- ian Kennedy
127- Chris Volstad
72- Jar Jar Jurrjens
4- Jason Kubel
294- Luke Scott
116- Branyan again
50- A-ROD
216- Jose Baustista
322- Morel again
183- Strasburg again
141- cl again
65- Chris Sale..again!
175- Brennan Boesch
CODE CARD! Let's see who I get:
2006 Vernon Wells. I already have that one. Better get some good trade requests for that one
Ichiro mini
Maddux/ Hellickson duo
Mat Latos 60
Eck NotYoMamma
174- Roy Oswalt!!!

Good packs, and a great game.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Custom Card of the Day: McCann Edition

Yet another instance of matching the throwback uni with the card. This time, I think it may not have fit as well as the others, but it was still okay. McCann had a monster game last week, hitting balls all over the place. Though he may not be the biggest face on the team (Hello Chipper), he's still a pretty dominant force in Atlanta.

Tomorrow- A Yankee that needed a custom, a good custom. And this guy's hitting up a storm, too.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Custom Card of the Day: Torii Edition

Another custom where the throwback uniform fits the card. Of course, the Angels aren't necessarily ruling their division. The Rangers sorta have them beat. But Torii Hunter and the gang are indeed trying. With a decent pitching staff, a lineup of veteran hardhitters and newcomers, they look to be a strong team. The sad thing is that Oakland and Texas seem to be trying pretty hard too.

Coming Tomorrow- More from Throwback week, a veteran Brave gets a custom.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Custom Card of the Day: Kouz Edition

I know a few bloggers out there who are Kouzmanoff fans, so this'll exite them. Also, I've been seeing a lot of throwback unifoms this week, and those are great for customs. If those uniforms fit a certain era, it'll look even more like an older card, which is the effect I'm going for.

Coming Tomorrow- Another Throwback uniform, only this one's an Angel whose been a prominent figure in Anaheim for a few years now.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The fan- A Custom Card Anecdote

This is what people in the world of literature would call an essay. It's a long little anecdote, but it's still an interesting story about a fan, and his admiration for what I did. I made this custom back in April, and I don't know why I held it for a month in my files. But being that the most famous wish-granter in the modern world of Entertainment will be leaving her show next week, I felt like I needed to share my own Oprah moment. So let's travel back to the beginning of this story.

Somewhere around New Year's Day this past year, I got an email from a fan. It wasn't a trade email, it wasn't an "upcoming blog, please put me on your linkbar" kinda thing. It was a fan of my custom cards. I don't get that a lot, other than the constant little "awesome job" messages you guys leave in the comments. This fan was a Dodger fan living in Idaho, a place with no real local baseball team to root for. He first asked me for all the Dodger customs I've made, which was easy to send. Then he asked me if I made any cards at "reader request". I, of course, answered yes, saying that requests are part of what I do.

About a day later, he sent me another email with a bunch of requests for customs on it. These requests were kind of tricky to do, but I reassured the fan I'd give it a try. One of the most intriguing requests I got was a Jerry Sands custom in the form of a 1987 card (including a rookie cup). At that point I hadn't heard of Jerry Sands, and had no idea how I'd make a custom of him, but I said that I'd see what I could do.

A week passed, and I hadn't even begun working on the customs. This might have been caused by A)- The difficulty and amount of requests, B)- The fact that in January I wasn't in the mood for custom making, and C)- The fact that January was being January, and Winter Break was about to end. A week after the first email, the fan sent me another one, apologizing for sending so many. And I was horrified. Not just at the fact that he had to apologize to me when he hadn't done anything wrong. I was horrified at the fact that I had let one of my only fans down. So I responded to the email, saying that it was absolutely fine, that it was my fault, and that the customs would be sent soon. After that, school was back into swing, and my life caved in on the project.

By mid-April, I had nearly forgotten about the fan's request. Then, he sent me another email, this time forgiving the lack of response to his request. He still felt that my customs were awesome, and despite the rough start on Los Angeles' part, still wanted to see more Dodger customs. He also said that if I was looking for a subject for a next card, that Jerry Sands was the huge up-and-coming prospect, and that he'll be big soon.

I was happy that he hadn't abandoned me for procrastinating on his request. I sent him a few of the Dodger customs I had made this year already, and promised that when Jerry Sands pictures are featured across the internet, there would be no doubt that he'd be customized. And within 6 hours, I found Jerry Sands photos, from his debut. And I found the perfect action shot. So I used a Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card as the base, and whipped up the perfect custom. I proudly sent it to the fan, awaiting a response.

Well, he loved it. He reported that it was the wallpaper on his computer, and that he would remain to be a loyal fan in the future. And that made me proud to do what I do. I started out blogging for fun, and the only people reading it was just myself and a friend. Now, I have fans and people wanting trades, and I feel I've done a full 360 from 2 years ago.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I caved: More Gypsy Queen with a cameo by Topps Series 1

I'm honestly loving the new Gypsy Queen set, the same way I loved the National Chicle set last year. Still, when the opportunity arose to hit Target (ha, ha, ha), I caved, and went to get some more. Sadly, my local Target's gypsy queen stock was low, so to compensate I got a few packs on Topps series 1. Sadly, not much came out of those 2 packs of Topps:

David Price Checklist
Mickey Mantle Red Diamond
Nolan Ryan Topps 60
Ryan Howard ToppsTown
277- Trevor Hoffman
6- Neftali Feliz
95- Pedro Alvarez
Duos of Steve Carlton and CC SABATHIA
Johnny Cueto NotYoMamma card
Andrew McCutchen ToppsTown

But you didn't come for the Topps. No, you came for Gypsy Queen. I got 2 packs and a 4 pack racker.

Pack 1-
100- Nolan Ryan
132- David Murphy
248- Dustin Pedroia
140- Shawn Marcum
203- Brian Matusz Mini
Stephen Strasburg Future Stars. Hmmm, can't think of a bad "Strasburg will get nowhere" joke.

Pack 2-
63- Jimmie Foxx.
249- Jacoby Ellisbury. WHAT'S WITH ALL THE DAMN RED SOX???
187- Lance Berkman
Franklin Guitierrez Wall Climbers
Yovanni Gallardo Mini
Jose Tabata Future Stars

Pack 3-
161- Aramis Ramirez
193- Carlos Beltran. More proof that the Mets are getting old.
215- Trevor Cahill
30- Hanley Ramirez BROWN BORDER #'D TO 999. NICE!
Mike Aviles mini
Johnny Bench Home Run Heroes

Pack 4-
45- Carlos Gonzalez
205- Chris Johnson
269- Curtis Granderson. That's more like it...
Wall Climbers of Torii Hunter
Bronson Arroyo Mini
Brooks Robinson The Great Ones. Got that one right...

Pack 5-
99- Ozzie Smith. Love that shot
86- Prince Fielder
120- Gaby Sanchez
Curtis Granderson mini
Frank Robinson home run heroes

Bonus Green Border Pack-
43- Matt Cain Green Border
82- Starlin Castro green border

Nice rip overall. Gypsy queen is still awesome.

Custom Card of the Day: Bruce Edition

You know, if you squint a little bit, you might mistake this for an actual 1974 card. And if you squint a little at the Reds this season, you might think it's 1974 again. Players like Votto, Bruce, Phillips, maybe Rolen and Hernandez are making the same team that was close to last a few years back eerily similar to the Big Red Machine this year. And Jay Bruce has always been a big part of it. I made a Bruce custom last year, and the card I photoshopped happened to have a All Star logo on it. Even though Bruce wasn't an all star, I still felt it was fitting. He's an all star in Cincinatti all right..

Coming Tomorrow: An up-and-coming rookie for a down-and-out team. I made this one especially for a fan a few weeks back, and tomorrow I post it on the blog.

Friday, May 13, 2011

...And we're back!

I made this Roy yesterday, and meant to post it yesterday to break my slump, but Blogger, being Blogger, decided to switch off for most of yesterday. So I waited. Today, Blogger's finally back. Fitting that Roy Halladay headlines this post, because he's had a few subpar starts recently, and you can say he's waiting for a rebound, like all of us were waiting for Blogger to get back up.

Also, I'm gonna try to get back to my normal posting schedule. I fell off the wagon last time because of A)- Lack of good pictures for customs, and B)- Lack of good card-related news stories. Now, I've got a few more customs planned, and hopefully this blog'll be back to normal.

Coming Tomorrow- In Cincinatti, when you think of the big guns on the lineup, two guys come to mind: Joey Votto, and this guy.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

2011 Gypsy Queen- Yeah, I have some too

I know Gypsy Queen's been sweeping the blogosphere, because of its awesome inserts, retired stars, and good design. So I figured, why not get some. I ventured to the local Bullsye Enthusiast Superstore (Better known as Target), and got 2 of those 3 packs and a bonus ones.

Pack 1-
1- Ichiro. Great first pull of a set.
26- Adrian Gonzalez. Whenever I think of people calling him A-Gone, Harold Ramis comes to mind.
252- David DeJesus. Former Royal who's close to getting somewhere (read: nowhere) with another ballclub.
279- Josh Thole. Could his name just be Josh Sole, and he was just saying it with a lisp?
Thurman Munson Mini
Future Stars of Neftali Feliz. Future? He's a star now, Topps. Hate to break it to you.

Pack 2-
137- Ricky Romero, suddenly making Toronto baseball relevant
110- Todd Helton, The Mountain Man of the Rockies
224- Drew Stubbs
Sticky Fingers of Ivan Rodriguez. I will blame blindness and being housed under a rock if this man is denied by Cooperstown.
Michael Young mini
310- Jon Garland. Proof that the LA Team is going downhill- this guy is a relied upon starter.

Pack 3-
82- Starlin Castro. If he made the cover of Sports Illustrated, he's bound to be good, right Oil Can Boyd? Nah, I'm kiddin. Starlin'll be great.
140- Shawn Marcum. I must ask not only who he is, but what he is doing in Gypsy Queen.
295- Phil Hughes. Down with a case of AJ Burnett syndrome this year.
David Eckstein Sticky Fingers. Relevancy questioned on this one. Eck's past his prime.
Tommy Hunter mini
Konrad Schmidt rookie.

Pack 4 (All Green Cards)-
86- Prince Fielder Green Border.
15- Matt Kemp Green Border
58- Dale Murphy Green Border. That'll attract the bigger bloggers.

Pack 5-
97- Stan Musial. When I was a kid, I thought his name was Stan Musical. But no, he's tougher than that.
126- Billy Butler. In 2007, we thought Alex Gordon would be the star, and Butler the washup in AAA. Boy, were we wrong.
242- Joba Chamberlain. Back in 2007, we thought Joba would be the star, and Phil Hughes the washup. And...we were sorta right.
Wall Climbers of David DeJesus...on the Royals. Holy Continuity Error, Batman!
James Lonely, oh so Lonely mini.
The Great ones of Frank Robinson. He fits the billing.

Pack 6-
60- Rogers Hornsby
88- Robinson Canooooo!
226- Geovany Soto. Rookie of the Year. I just want that to sink in a little.
One of those actual Gypsy cards. Trash
Andrew McCutchen mini
A Home Run heroes of Jim Thome...on the Phillies! That's a good use of past unis.

Pack 7-
60- Rogers Hornsby again
88- Robbie Cano again
161- Aramis Ramirez.
139- Raul Ibanez. Who woulda thought this guy's star power would rise once he hit Philly.
Scott Kazmir mini
Future Stars of Desmond Jennings. Yeah, he'll probly be a star in the future.

Pack 8 (All Green Cards)-
64- Josh Hamilton Green Border

Overall, this seems like a really nice set. If I get comfy with it, I might try to collect it like Chicle.

Monday, May 2, 2011

2011 Topps- The same thing as last year?

I've been binging on Topps's 2011 set ever since it came out. Being that I'm a big fan of the flagship set, I'm always impressed with the overall product. However, this year I feel that I've been let down compared to last year's monster effort. 2010 Topps was a great product, with a great base set, awesome inserts and a good design. This year's set, I feel, is just trying to duplicate the success of last year's, in those same areas.

Base set: Last year's set had the engaging purpose of making you feel interested in the regular set with an intriguing design, and a bunch of cool rookies. This year's set has a design that isn't as good as last year's, a semi intriguing base set, and some okay rookies. While last year's base set had the future Rookies of the Year in the base set (Both were in series 1), time will only tell how well Aroldis Chapman will do, and if the other ROY ends up in series 2.

Inserts: This is the main area where I felt Topps was trying to duplicate the success of last year. Just take a look at every insert, and you'll see it's kinda been done before. For example, Topps 60 Years (Or as I call them, NotYo Mamma cards.), is basically just Cards Your Mother Threw Out: Mach 2. And the cards are less relevent than last year's.
Topps 60 is basically Peak Performance with a different emblem. Diamond Duos is just Legendary Lineage again. The Million Card Giveaway is obviously the diamond giveaway. Even Target and Walmart had similar exclusives last year to the Kimball Minis- just some unneccesary minis that you don't need to collect. The only breath of originality is the Before Topps reprints. And they might not be the best insert in the product. So that alone says a lot.

Parallels- This may be the only area of visible differences. While last year had the gold numbered and black numbered, this year's product has gold, black and assorted other parallels thanks to the 6Oth Anniversary Flaunt Fest. There are a lot more parallels this year, and whether that's a bad thing or not is your decision.

In the end, it's safe to say that Topps tried to duplicate the success of last year's set, with the patented "If it ain't broke, use it" strategy. Soon, this tried concept might get broke, if Topps keeps using the same concepts every year.

Which is why I want to say something directly to Topps. I'm saying this as a fan, as a small critic, and not a naysayer in any way. I love your products, and always have, better than anything else out there. I just hope you here what I've said, that the 2010 and 2011 sets are similar because you tried to use the same concepts again. But Topps, I won't give up. Hopefully, the rest of the year will hold new, original concepts, newer inserts. Hopefully, the 2012 set will have an original design, new intriguing inserts, and a sense of orignality that differentiates it from the last two years.

All I'm saying is that collectors want to pick up your products every year, so that they can feel that last year's was different, and so they can contrast the two products, or the products from years before. And I hope that the 2012 set is completely different from the 2011 and 2010 sets. I'm sure the collectors hope this too.

Please, Topps. Listen to the collectors, and make a change for the better. We'll thank you later.