Sunday, September 29, 2013

2013 Bowman Chrome Hobby Box Break and Review

With the release of Topps Chrome and Bowman Chrome in the same week, it made sense to grab a box of each at the same time to save on shipping. It also made for a very eventful day of box breaking! Here's the box:

Wil Myers graces the cover here. I wonder if he'll live up to the hype. 

Here's a look at a base card of Jose Fernandez. The regular base card is pictured on the left. On the right is the refractor version. Both look great.

Above is an example of the "Risin' Thru the Ranks" inserts. As a Pirates fan, this was an exciting pull. I'm a huge Alen Hanson fan, and I'm really looking forward to seeing him in the big leagues soon.

Here are the two numbered parallels that I pulled. The Zimmerman blue is numbered to 250, the Ryan Howard pink is numbered to 35. Both of these guys are great players, but I feel like neither has been able to reach their full potential- specifically Howard, who has been riddled with injuries. Nonetheless, I'm always happy to pull a low numbered card.

Here are my two autos. Yes, two! Bowman promises an additional autographed prospect card in every third box, and I was lucky enough to beat the odds. Both of these guys are great young prospects with lots of potential. The Hak-Ju Lee card is refractor, numbered to 500.


Overall Design: These cards look good. Printing is sharp and clean.

Box contents: This product is less diverse than Topps Chrome, but it does dive into the minor leagues. A huge chunk of the set is unproven prospects, so you'll have to be patient when determining value.

The Hits: Only 1 guaranteed autograph is tough for the price ($60-$70). As with Topps Chrome, I appreciate the diminishing use of memorabilia cards. There is the potential to pull some low numbered parallels, course.

Positives: Design, autos on card, abundance of young stars.

Negatives: The obvious con here is the price. Bowman Chrome is a collector favorite- Topps knows it, and charges accordingly.

Rating: 8 out of 10. Bowman Chrome will continue to be a staple within the cardboard world. These are fun boxes with some decent potential. If you're looking for more instant value, I highly recommend Topps Chrome, which I feel is the better product overall. To each his own!

Thanks for reading, as always!

2013 Topps Chrome Hobby Box Break and Review

Topps Chrome is hands down my favorite baseball card. I'm a big fan of 2013 Topps, and the chrome versions are just beautiful cards. I pre-ordered a box back in August, along with a box of Bowman Chrome which I'll review next. I've been waiting for this moment for a while, so this was an exciting break for me. Without further ado:

 The box

I'll start off with the base cards as usual, with Yu Darvish as an example. On the right is the normal base card, on the left is the refractor version of the same card. Both cards look great. I had a total of 4 refractors in this box.

Some more base card comparison here. On the right is Robinson Cano's base card, at left is the X-factor version. these look fantastic as well. I also had 4 of these in the box.

Here are the die-cuts, which I am not a fan of. I'm not huge on die-cuts in general, aside from 2013 Topps Cut to the Chase, which I'm building set of. These die-cuts are a little too much for me, they just have too many edges.

A nice Machado die-cut refractor. These ones aren't so bad. Not awesome, but a cool pull.

1972 Topps Chrome refractors. A nice addition. 

 This one's a beauty. Chris Sale blue parallel /199. I love parallels, and I really love when they're numbered. Chris Sale is always a great pull with his Cy Young potential.

 On to the auto's!

Two rookies, and two nice names! Both of these autos look great, due to the blue ink and because they're on-card. The Hoes card is just a regular base auto. The Brantly card is a refractor numbered /499. Unfortunately neither one of these cards carries much value, probably due to their commonality.

Here's the real gem! Adrian Beltre camo parallel numbered /15. A fantastic pull. Nothing is more exciting than pulling a low numbered card, and there are few players that I'd rather see. This was an awesome surprise.


Overall Design: These cards look superb. I'm a huge fan of chrome, specifically Topps. The look of these cards simply does not disappoint. The players really pop off the card. 

Box contents: These boxes have of a ton of potential. A guaranteed two autographs is a good number for the price. There's also great variety in these boxes. There are parallels of all colors. Add refractors, X-fractors, memorabilia cards, and a bevy of inserts, and you've got a very diverse hobby box.

The Hits: 2 autographs for 70 bucks is pretty decent. I also appreciate that Topps has stayed away from memorabilia cards for the most part. In my mind, there are few things worse than "Guaranteed 2 autos/memorabilia cards."

Positives: Design, value, price, variety, autos on card.

Negatives: The only downside to Topps chrome is the card's tendency to warp. For whatever reason, these cards always seem to bend if they're not in top loaders. 

Rating: 9.5 out of 10. These cards are just awesome. So much so that I've already ordered another box! Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Literal Run to the LCS for Some Topps Chrome

Not to toot my own here but... *Fog Horn Blows* 

I had one of the greatest ideas today. Let me start with some background here. Twice each week, I go for a four mile run for my weekly cardio exercise. My girlfriend is a marathon runner, and her encouragement has gotten me off the treadmill and running on roads. I must say, it's pretty addicting.

How does this pertain to cardboard? Well, My LCS is about two miles away, and just happens to fall on one of favorite roads to run. Today is a cardio day but much more importantly, the day that Topps Chrome is released! See where this is going?

I threw some cash in my pocket and set out for my run. Half way through, I stopped at Dugout Cards. I wasn't sure if they had gotten Topps Chrome yet, but I figured it couldn't hurt to asl. I was in luck! A case had arrived hours prior to my arrival. This LCS only sells hobby packs, which I'm more than OK with. The shopkeeper knew exactly why I was there. With a big grin, he pointed to the closest counter. 4 bucks a pack, not terrible. While reaching for a couple packs, I asked if he had ripped any packs yet. Without saying a word, he threw an opened box on the counter and indicated that I could file through them if I pleased. He seemed pretty eager to show off, so I shuffled through, careful not to drip sweat all over his refractors.

With two packs in my pocket, I was eager to get home and had no problem hustling through the last two miles. I think I've found the best possible running motivation!

Here's what was inside:

I was hoping for a parallel, ideally an auto of course. But I'm very happy to pull three RCs, even if they are base cards. Can't go wrong with Profar. Interesting that 6 of my 8 cards are from only two teams. The Oritz die-cut is very... cut. Kind of reminds me of that elementary-school craft where you'd make snowflakes from a folded piece of paper.

I think I did decent with my two packs. What do you think?

Monday, September 23, 2013

PC Additions and a Big THANK YOU

I've I recently pledged to actively collect some cool (and affordable) Pirates cards, and I've been able to keep it rolling the last few weeks. There's no doubt that I've been neglecting my blog, but thankfully I've been able to keep up with my reading.

Before I get to the cards, I'd like to extend a huge THANK YOU to those in the cardboard community who I've had the pleasure of interacting with. You guys are incredibly entertaining authors, and to those who I've had the pleasure of trading with: Thank you for your generosity. I'm quite new to the blogging world, and I must say I've really enjoyed it thus far. This wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for you guys. While I'm at it, a huge thanks to those who have begun following my blog.

I've also signed up for my first two group breaks, courtesy of Ryan at "O" No!!! Another Orioles Blog and Doug at Sportscards From The Dollar Store. Needless to say I am STOKED for both.

Anywho, I got a few new Pirates cards that I would love to show off!

Andrew Lambo 
2006 Bowman Chrome
Auto X-Fractor 064/250

 I really like this card, which I was able to snag off eBay for $8 shipped. 1B/RF Andrew Lambo was acquired from LA in 2010 along with James McDonald in exchange for Octavio Dotel. After tearing it up all year in Triple A, the Great Lambino finally got the the call up this August. I was able to catch a Lambo home run ball a few days later, which was awesome. 

Okay, it was a batting practice home run... and I didn't catch it, I picked it up. But awesome nonetheless, right?!

 Since the acquisition of RF Marlon Byrd and 1B Justin Morneau, Lambo has lost any chance of seeing playing time this year- which I'm totally fine with. He has the potential to be a big part of the Pirates future when those guys are gone.

Jose Tabata 
2012 Topps Golden Moments Auto

 Despite the Pirates recent misery, this man has impressed. Jose Tabata was acquired from the Yankees in the summer of '08. The Pirates sent the Yanks Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte in exchange for Tabata, Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens, and Daniel McCutchen.

He's currently hitting a solid .280, often hitting leadoff in place of the injured Starling Marte. His recent hot streak inspired me to grab his auto, which I find pretty nifty. $4 shipped, can't complain.

My entire Pirates PC has it's own page, which can be found HERE. Thanks so much for reading!


Monday, September 9, 2013

2013 Press Pass Parks and Recreation Hobby Box Break and Review

I've always considered myself a card and memorabilia collector, but more specifically, a sports collector. So much so, in fact, that I've never considered purchasing collectables of any other type. 

That is, until I saw that Press Pass made some Parks and Rec Cards. This is the first time I've ever bought a hobby box from Press Pass. Their sports cards simply don't appeal to me. However, Parks and Rec is my favorite comedy on television right now, and it will easily go down as one of my all-time favorites. I couldn't resist this product, especially for the price- which comes in around 55 dollars.

Here's the box, with 24 packs, 5 cards per pack:

And right on to the base cards:

More or less, there are two types of base cards: Cast member cards, and "episode" cards. Each pack in the hobby box contains a foil base parallel, which can be seen above.  The episode cards highlight the synopsis of the indicated episode, and the cast member cards are self explanatory.

 Here are my two auto's. I was of course hoping for a big name, but these still satisfy. Neither character has a lead role, but both are prominent members of the show. Jay Jackson's signature is the definition of a scribble, and does not resemble his name what so ever. Mo Collins' sig is the exact opposite- perfectly legible- which I always appreciate. Her card is also numbered to 96 with red ink, which is a pleasant bonus. All autographs are on-card which is fantastic. There's the potential for special inscriptions cards in these boxes. Below is an example of these cards:

Next up is the one relic card in the box:

My relic card was my best hit in my eyes. Rob Lowe plays my personal favorite character, Chris Traeger. When I purchased this box, I pictured myself pulling a card like this. This was undoubtedly the climax of the break.

What makes this card so special, interestingly, is the back of the card. Press Pass did an excellent job here, going the extra mile and specifying exactly which article of clothing your swatch came from. It just so happens that this outfit was worn by Rob Lowe during one of my favorite scenes which makes this card all the more valuable to me. 

As a side note, I do have to question whether the swatch is actually from the suit jacket. The swatch itself is clearly light blue, and the suit jacket is an obvious dark blue- almost black. The swatch matches his button-up more closely, so I wonder if there was a mix up here? Or maybe the swatch is from the inside of the jacket? We'll never know!


Overall Design: The base card design isn't anything revolutionary. I really like the cast members cards, and the foil cards work pretty well. The autograph cards look great, leaving almost half of the card for the signature. As I mentioned with the relic cards, I absolutely LOVE seeing where my relic originally came from.

Box contents: Not at lot to chase here. The base set is small. Having a foil card in each pack may be nice for single pack buyers, but if you're buying by the box they lose their appeal. Three hits per box is a great bang-for-your-buck at only 55 bucks. 

The Hits: These boxes truly have a ton of potential as far as value goes. The autograph list is stacked: Amy Poehler, Rob Lowe, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Aziz Ansari and Paul Rudd all signed, as well as many other lesser characters. The inscriptions leave potential for unique one of a kind autos, and I think I've made it clear that the relic cards are awesome.

Positives: Price, number of hits, big name autos, inscriptions, back of relic cards, autos are on card.

Negatives: Card design is average, overuse of foil cards. 

Rating: 8.5 out of 10. This is a must have for any card collector who is a Parks and Rec fan. This is an affordable chance to own unique pieces of your favorite television program. Press Pass did a magnificent job here.