2008/09 Upper Deck Series 2 Hockey Blaster Break

February 28, 2009

When I went out to get provisions today, I found myself in Wal-Mart.  This is a Canadian Wal-Mart, of course, so there was no baseball to be found.  Luckily, I like hockey.  I grabbed a retail blaster of 08/09 Series 2 Hockey.  A little history primer – I have terrible luck with base Upper Deck hockey.  However, I often keep going back for more.  This was one of those cases.

I’m not going to scan any base cards, but suffice to say – the photography is excellent.  Hockey really lends itself well to photography.  I think it is a combination of the weird positions players often find themselves in, and the ice providing a white background that the players really pop out against.  Upper Deck Series 2 is the usual mix of inserts, Victory Update cards and the main hits – Young Guns.  Good Young Guns make or break any base UD bust.

This blaster was 12 retail packs.  I should end up with 6 Victory Update cards, 2 Young Guns, and some random number of inserts, which I can never really figure out.  Memorabilia cards are about 1:240 packs.  Suffice to say – I’m not that lucky.  Here’s the damage:

Tales of the Cup Insert: Those damn Montreal Canadiens abandoned the Stanley Cup at the side of the road in 1924 afer changing a tire.  This is Howie Morenz pictured on the card.  Unfortunately, there is no known photograph of the Stanley Cup abandoned by the side of the road.

Victory Update Rookies: Luke Schenn, Jonas Frogren, Jared Ross.  Two Maple Leafs!!  Including the team’s saviour du jour – Luke Schenn.  Frogren is nice, but Schenn is one of very few bright spots for a very bad Leafs team.  Being that he is so important to my favorite team – I of course traded for a copy of this card last week.  And of course, this had to be balanced out by a Flyer.  Sigh….

Young Guns: Simeon Varlamov & Justin Pogge.  The hits keep on coming for this Leafs fan.  I love Justin Pogge.  He is another ray of light for the Leafs, but he has struggled in his introduction to the NHL this season.  He was Canada’s hero at the 2006 World Junior Hockey Championships.  Varlamov is the heir apparent to the Washington Capitals goal crease, whenever he proves his readiness.  Bar none – these are the best Young Guns I have ever pulled.  Goalies always are a bit more popular than skaters, and Pogge was the one YG I wanted out of the product.

There you have my little hockey interlude.  I am heading out to a card show tomorrow – with the possibility of Topps Heritage packs to break.  I’ll have a few posts with my pickups tomorrow, hopefully.

Soon you can take Josh Hamilton home with you…..again

February 28, 2009

Josh Hamilton will be making another appearance in action figure form coming up in July of 2009.   He is scheduled to be included in McFarlane’s 2009 MLB Wave 2 release.  Hamilton already has a Mcfarlane picturing him with the Reds, but this one should be updated.  There are no pictures available yet, nor any information about a variant, but that should be trickling out soon.

Personally, I am hoping for a white Rangers base figure, and a Home Run Derby variant.

MLB Network Special: Josh Hamilton

February 27, 2009

If you are an avid reader of the comments (as I am), you might have noticed a quick note from reader paully vegas on my About page. I don’t get the MLB Network (yet), but for those Josh Hamilton fans out there who do get the channel, there is an MLB Network Special on Josh Hamilton airing this Friday (February 27) at 9 PM Eastern Time.

Major League Baseball (who else?) has a story up detailing the upcoming Josh Hamilton documentary.

Josh Hamilton: Resurrecting the Dream recounts Hamilton’s journey both in his own words and for the first time, from the perspectives of his family members and close friends. The program marks the first documentary ever produced on Hamilton, and takes a comprehensive look into Hamilton’s substance-induced breakdown, personal recovery and eventual climb to become one of the top hitters in the American League. Personal passages from his autobiography are read by Hamilton himself to further contextualize his journey.”

The Aftermath of a Josh Hamilton Homer

February 26, 2009

This is the aftermath of a Josh Hamilton Spring Training home run.

Clicking on that should bring you to a larger version, where you can see all the details I am now going to make fun of.  For starters:  99 % of the population should always wear a shirt.  There are two examples in this photo of people who think they are in that 1 %, but aren’t.  Also, the fact that there are an equal number of adults chasing the ball as kids is a little disconcerting.  I really hope one of those kids ended up with the ball when the dust settled, but I have my doubts.  Something tells me the guy who makes sure to cram his pretzel in his mouth before going after a home run ball in spring training isn’t the sharing type.

But, hey – at least he’s wearing a shirt.

Rangers sign Hamilton to a 1 year deal

February 26, 2009

Josh Hamilton has signed a one year deal worth $550, 000 for the 2009 season with the Texas Rangers.  This isn’t exactly an earth shattering announcement, as it was widely expected that a one year contract would get done quickly, with negotiations eventually progressing towards a long term deal.  Hamilton is not eligible for either free agency or arbitration.

One more thing to quit…

February 25, 2009

Josh Hamilton has given up chew.  Excellent decision in my books (because I’m sure some anonymous blogger’s opinion is the tipping point for these decisions).  Chew is every bit as disgusting as smoking.  Its actually moving up my personal disgusting list, because in Saskatchewan you cannot smoke indoors except in a private home.  You can still chew in bars or pubs.  I’d like to see them get rid of that as well, but the public health implications really aren’t the same.

Fellow Ranger Marlon Byrd pledged to quit along with Hamilton, which led to an amusing incident at the Rangers Spring Training complex this year:

“When Hamilton saw Byrd with a thick pinch between his cheek and gum Friday morning, he sprinted across the clubhouse and grabbed his teammate by the arm. Once Byrd jerked his arm free, he walked over to Kason Gabbard’s locker, pulled out a tin and handed it Hamilton. Byrd was using an herbal dip that contains no nicotine.”

Whatever works, guys.  Although, it doesn’t really help with the ‘ewwww’ factor.  Cutting down on the whole risk of cancer thing is good too.

2001 eTopps

February 24, 2009

eTopps was a cool idea.  I actually think it is still around, but I no longer really think it is a cool idea.  I am not a huge fan of cards that I don’t get to hold in my hands (what’s the point of having something, if you don’t actually HAVE it?).   Topps only shipped UPS (UPS shipping across a border – headache), and it wasn’t cheap.  Thus, I didn’t really get into the concept at anything but a superficial level.

That changed today when I picked up a 2001 Josh Hamilton eTopps card in a trade.  I still have no pressing desire to get into eTopps cards, but I actually HAVE one in hand now.  The verdict:  very shiny, even though my scanner doesn’t really do the cards justice.  I will have to keep my eyes open for the 07 version with the Reds, and just maybe one of the limited autographed versions as well.

Six Degrees of Mantle

February 24, 2009

Today’s mail brought a few odds and ends for my Hamilton collection via trade on Beckett.com.  I can’t say that Beckett’s trade tools are user friendly to start with, but once you are set up, they take all the legwork out of trading.  Its awesome for lazy / busy people like myself.

I’m not scanning everything from this package (how many times can I scan Documentary cards before I go crazy?), but 2009 Topps deserves a mention.  My biggest complaint last year?  Terrible photography.  My biggest kudo this year?  Awesome photography.  Exhibit A.

Six degrees of Mantle is Topps’ spin on the ever popular Six Degrees of Separation thingie.  For those interested, my Bacon # is 2.  I worked with a guy who sat next to Kevin Bacon on a plane.  I had actually forgotten this useless piece of trivia until I saw the back of the 09 Topps cards.

Josh Hamilton’s Six Degrees of Mantle is as follows:  Hamilton played with Sidney Ponson, who played with Harold Baines, who played with Tom Seaver, who played with Bill Short, who played with Mickey Mantle.  Wow.  Is Topps doing all of these to be 6 players, or is this really as close as Hamilton gets to Mantle?  Can anyone shorten the path between Hamilton and Mantle?

Hamilton Goose Joaks

February 22, 2009

I’m not sure if ‘Goose Joak’ is a term that can be made plural, but I went there.  A little while ago, I emailed Dave over at Goose Joak, ofering to help out with his custom set.  I’m not going to show off all the cards I sent him towards his set, but I am going to offer up this one that I made with a photo that I showed off here earlier this week.  I estimate that Hamilton will have approximately 643 cards in this set by the time I am finished.  I sent Dave a few other Rangers that I found when I was looking for Hamilton pictures as well.

Dave’s set is generating a little bit of a buzz on the internet.  Sports Card File had a post about it, and there was a thread on the Sports Collectors.net message boards as well.

Checking out a new source

February 21, 2009

In my seemingly endless search for Josh Hamilton baseball cards, I have looked over CheckOutMyCards.com a few times.  They have a fair selection of Hamilton cards, but the prices on most singles were a bit higher than I would have liked.  That changed today, I stumbled across a nice card at a fair price.  I also picked up two other cards to knock down the shipping hit a little bit.  I’ll be posting my review of the overall service from the purchasing side when the cards actually show up, but the interface is fairly slick.  The FAQ and explanation of the service could use some beefing up.  Its a simple flow chart, but sometimes the devil is in the details, and it would be nice to have things spelled out much more clearly.  They also have a blog with updates and information about their site.