2007 Bowman Heritage…and why it freaks me out

November 29, 2008

I picked up this card in a trade on Beckett last week.  I believe this is the slightly rarer version, without the facsimile signature on the front of it.  Regardless, this card freaks me out.

Let me explain.  I’m a pretty big X-Files fan.  Geeky, I know – but I have a blog about baseball cards named after an operator used in quantum mechanics, so what am I really clinging to?  One of the better episodes is called “Hungry” – it aired during season 7, if you are at all interested.  The unexplainable phenomenon in this episode centred around a fast food employee who was a compulsive eater – including what is colloquially known as ‘long pork.’  anyways, as it turns out this ‘guy’ is not quite human.  If you put a ball cap on him, he’d look a lot like Hamilton in the picture above.  Fewer tattoos, but whatever effect they used on these Heritage cards turned Josh Hamilton into whatever the heck type of creature Rob Roberts was in that episode.

I think its mainly the way the eyes look like they are all pupil.  Its creepy.  Bowman Heritage is usually really nice, but I wish it didn’t bring up memories of a slacker fast food employee who happened to eat the guy who annoyed him at the drive through.  What do you think?  Am I way off on this one?  And, if you are so inclined, check out this list of X-Files Monsters.  The site is sketchy on a few details, but I like lists.

Please allow me to indulge myself

November 27, 2008

This is definitely going to be a departure from the norm for this blog.  I have only written about hockey once here, and even that was tangentially related to Josh Hamilton, when I delved in Nate Hagemo’s troubled path in the world.

Yesterday was one of those all time great days.  It ended up with me having a fairly certain offer to start a post doctoral fellowship part time in January, while I finish writing my progress report and thesis.  I also had a couple of boxes to break.  My favorite product of all time is In The Game’s 2007-08 O Canada Hockey product.  Its a niche filler to be sure, but it is my niche.

For those who are unfamiliar with the product, O Canada pays tribute to the Hockey Canada teams of the previous year.  Team Canada’s National Women’s Team, National Junior Team and National Under-18 Team all won gold medals in their respective world championships.  Every member of those teams has a card in this product.  There are also a few notable Team Canada alumni (Joe Sakic, Eric Lindros, Marc-Andre Fleury) and some notable international foes (Alexander Ovechkin, Chris Chelios, Mike Modano).  That’s the base set in a nutshell.  You can follow my progress in trying to get the base set signed over at my Hockey TTM Blog.

I love this product, because there isn’t a card in the set that I don’t enjoy pulling from a pack.  I don’t like the Montreal Canadiens, but seeing Carey Price in his Team Canada uniform brings back fond memories of him stoning the US in a semi-final shootout.  My major set building project since the product came out was to put together all the autographed and game used cards for the three ‘teams’ featured in the base set.  I finished that off a few months ago, and it is my happiest hobby moment.  The set features some of the great young stars in the game today – Steven Stamkos, Carey Price, Jonathan Toews, Drew Doughty, Luke Schenn and Kyle Turris.  The Women’s Team cards are some of my favorites as well.  I actually played minor hockey for two seasons with two time Olympic gold medalist Colleen Sostorics, so it is really exciting to have cards to collect.  The scans are quite large, so I’m not going to insert them into the blog entry (its getting to be long enough already) but you can check out my completed collections here (Women’s GU, Under-18 GU, WJHC GU, Women’s Autos, Under-18 Autos, WJHC Autos, Dual Jerseys w/ Women’s Team Members).

Even though I am finished with my projects, I still like to break the odd box.  I love the cards, and the boxes are quite reasonably priced now.  ITG has a great method of deterring pack searchers and rewarding box breakers at the same time.  Each pack that doesn’t contain a GU card, contains a decoy card worth 1 point.  If you collect 250 of these points, they can be redeemed for a special edition GU card from the product numbered /20.  It means all the packs are basically the same size, and you get a little something extra.  Once these programs have expired, the box prices usually drop quite a bit, which is the case for O Canada.

With that excessively long preamble out of the way, let’s get on to my two box break of O Canada.  You are guaranteed two hits per box, with jerseys and autos falling 1:18 packs – so there is the chance of an ‘extra’ hit as well in each 24 pack box.

First Box


Game Used Jersey

A solid box.  Since being drafted by the Leafs, Schenn has quickly become one of the hottest rookies on the market.  This card features an actual GU jersey swatch, as opposed to photoshoot pieces from his rookie year cards.  Labonte is one of the goalies who is always in the mix for Team Canada’s Women’s team.  She actually played briefly in the QMJHL, and Upper Deck issued cards of her in one of their minor league sets.

Second Box


Game Used

That’s pretty much my best pull ever right there.  Carey Price is one of the hottest names in hockey, and this is an amazing looking memorabilia piece.  It features a swatch of his jersey, a number patch, an emblem patch and the fight strap.

I’ll be back to Hamilton and baseball sometime this week.  I have been rather busy with work and other things.  I just wanted to share a bit of my non-baseball luck with the blogging world.

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas

November 24, 2008


Originally uploaded by A Captured Image

A Captured Image has uploaded several photos to Flickr from the Holiday Parade in Raleigh, North Carolina this weekend. Hamilton was the parade’s grand marshall. Everyone looks like they are dressed in winter gear, but the trees in the background look awfully green. I am definitely a white Christmas type of person.

Crunching the Numbers

November 22, 2008

When I was a hardcore hockey player collector, I used to obsess over my completion percentages for all of my guys.  I had one collection that was entirely complete, one that was complete pending the issue of the single card my player had each year, and a few that were always around the 90 % mark.  All this ended up with me getting horribly frustrated with the whole endeavor and scrapping those PCs.  I had a lot invested in them, but they weren’t any fun anymore so I packed it in.  It wasn’t a split second decision or anything like that.  I thought about it for a while, thought about what else I might want to collect (if I wanted to collect) and so on.  Then I put my binders away for two weeks and waited….when I found I didn’t miss having new cards to add, that I didn’t miss cringing whenever a new product was released, and that I certainly didn’t miss picking up cards that I didn’t really like, I realized my decision was made.  I shifted my focus to completing the autographs and game used jersey sets from In The Game’s horribly underrated (at least in my opinion) 2007-08 O Canada set.  And I started looking at some baseball cards, and buying a few Hamilton singles.

Initially I went about my Hamilton collection in the same way I went about my hockey collections.  Then, I had an epiphany – I was being an idiot.  I was just going to make myself frustrated and miserable again.  So, I kept my checklist (doubles annoy me, not so much when I trade for them, but very much so when I am buying), but I didn’t have any of my completion percentages tracked.  I also wasn’t working off a ‘complete’ checklist anymore.  When a product came out, or when I was looking back, if there were cards I didn’t want to chase (cough…printing plates….cough) I didn’t add them.  It was so simple.  Now, when I go through a period when I don’t pick up many Hamilton cards, I am probably falling behind, but I don’t really care.  I pick up what I like, mark it off my revised checklist and go on my merry way.

Eventually, when I was pulling together my lists to post on JV’s marvelous idea for Have / Want, I realized my Beckett Collections were broke down into a list of the cards I have, and the cards I want (weird, eh?).  And, there were little numbers at the end of the collections telling me how many cards were in each collection.  So, being the geek that I am (the blog title does partially derive itself from quantum mechanics, let me remind you), I had to calculate a completion percentage.  And, because I don’t really have anything else to write about, I decided to make a post about it.  The magic number?  17.9 %.  For those of you who are curious, that’s 168 Haves and 769 Wants.  It might be off a little.  Not being as obsessive as I once was, I don’t add products to the list the day of release anymore.

GC Men of the Year

November 20, 2008

Josh Hamilton has been dubbed the ‘Comeback Kid’ by Men’s magazine GQ in their annual Men of the Year feature.  Check out the online slide show of all the selection here. He’s in some pretty heady and unique company on the list, including president-elect Barack Obama (he won the overall title of Man of the Year), Olympic uber-swimmer Michael Phelps, Senator Ted Kennedy and old Two-Face himself, Aaron Eckhart.

SI Sportsman of the Year Nominee

November 19, 2008

Pable S. Torre of SI.com has the task of writing Josh Hamilton’s nomination for the annual Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year award.

He does an excellent job, and I think Hamilton would be a great choice (and not just because it would score him another SI cover).  I definitely think that Michael Phelps guy is going to be in contention as well.  Hamilton’s Home Run Derby performance was a spectacle to behold.

Its also interesting to note how closely Hamilton’s predictions for the season matched his actual output.  Aside from slightly overestimating his home run totals, he was basically right on.

The hits keep on coming…

November 17, 2008

Off season honours keep rolling in for Josh Hamilton. The News & Observer reports that Hamilton will be the grand marshall of his hometown’s Christmas Parade. Kids in Raleigh will get to see more than just Santa Claus on November 22.

Sketch cards for the non-artistically inclined

November 17, 2008

There are those out there who can actually put the pictures they see in their head down on paper. I freely admit, I am not one of those people.  My artistic skills peaked….well, they never really peaked.  My artistic skills were always more like an annoying hum in the background.

I do however have some free time on my hands and Photoshop.  This is what I came up with.  Call them non-sketch sketch cards if you like.

Then I got adventurous and gave it a shot with adding a bit of colour to the card.  I didn’t remove the background from this one, but I like how the little bit of blue looks.

Silver Slugger

November 14, 2008

Josh Hamilton was named to the American League Silver Slugger team this year.  MLB’s offensive counter to the Gold Glove award.  I’m not really surprised by this.  He had an amazing offensive season.  The link has the complete AL and NL squads.  Hamilton is in good company on the AL team, with his Home Run Derby counterpart Justin Morneau, as well as Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Joe Mauer, Dustin Pedroia, Carlos Quentin, Grady Sizemore and Aubrey Huff (the best hitter of the guys who only get paid to hit).

1 000 000 Feedback*

November 13, 2008

Yes, I decided to go with the dreaded asterisk in the title of this post.  CNN has a story about the first seller on eBay to surpass 1 000 000 feedback.  No, he doesn’t sell sports cards.  He sells electronics accessories.  Heck, he even offers free shipping within the US.  CNN fails to mention what should be the first thing people need to do when they check out a seller on eBay – look past the big number and the shiny star by the seller’s name and dig deeper.

He has almost 8000 negative or neutral feedbacks in the last 12 months.  That’s slightly over 2 % of his transactions.  A quick browse through the feedback that has been left for him reveals a lot of yellow stars (the lowest star you can get from eBay).  Obviously, eBay’s ‘Best Match’ search feature has been snaring these users and directing them to this guy.  I always search ‘Newly Listed’ myself, but some might say I spend way too much time analyzing eBay.  If you care to browse through page after page of feedback you can find people who didn’t get the item that was pictured (bad), or who got an item that shorted out the electronics device they were trying to accessorize (worse).  There’s a lot of weak positives in there as well.

Its great that people are using eBay this much, but the move towards huge volume sellers (who might very soon be the only ones willing to stick with eBay) isn’t always the best thing.   If I want to buy from a seller that treats me like Wal-Mart treats me – I can just go to Wal-Mart.  A million feedback is great, but a million feedback with a 98.9 % rating isn’t as good as it might seem.