Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pack Wars I: Pack 17 - 2007 Topps Updates & Highlights

We are done to the last three packs - and my scanner is thankful for that if nothing else! If you've missed the action, it's a battle of Box 1 vs. Box 2 (both being Gems of the Game repack boxes that each came with the exact same selection of packs). Currently, Box 1 has a 2 pack and 33 point lead over Box 2.

Note: For complete scoring rules, check out the initial post.

Pack #17: 2007 Topps Updates & Highlights
Nothing like Roger Clemen's steroid infested head staring back at you huh? That was reason enough for me to never buy any of these packs purposely.

Box 1:

UH95. Dmitri Young (I always liked him, especially when he was a Red. +5 points)

UH137. Erick Aybar (0 points)

UH208. Mark Buehrle (0 points)
UH211. Randy Johnson (0 points)
UH214. Alex Rodriguez (-4 for being a Yankee)

UH223. Russell Martin (0 points)

Total points: 5 + 0 + 0 + 0 - 4 + 0 = 1 lousy point.

That pack was basically a complete dud. Only a devastatingly bad pack from Box 2 can keep Box 1's lead from shrinking down to a single pack. Can Box 2 avoid the terrible cards and win this pack?

Box 2:

UH166. Felix Pie (Right off the bat Box 2 is in the hole. -1 for being a Cub)

UH184. Yovani Gallardo (You know, I thought there was no way Box 2 could lose this pack. -1 for being a Brewer)
UH245. Takashi Saito (At least it's not a negative scoring player. 0 points)
UH285. Justin Morneau (I like this card, but not quite enough to make it worth points)

UH300. Kason Gabbard (Who? 0 points)
ARHR398. Alex Rodriguez - Road to 500 HR #398 Insert (+10 for being an insert but -4 for being a Yankee. Total +6 points.)

Total points: -1 - 1 + 0 + 0 + 6 = 4 points.

Box 2 made it interesting but the insert (crappy as it may be) was enough to pull out a narrow victory. The entire Pack Wars has gotten much, much tighter with only two packs remaining!

Running tally (2 packs left):
Box 1: 9 pack wins and +180 total points
Box 2: 8 pack wins and +150 total points

Monday, June 29, 2009

Pack Wars I: Pack 16 - 2006 Upper Deck Series 2 Bottom Panel

We're down to the last 4 packs, and Box 2 is down by a total of 3 packs. Will Box 2 complete the comeback or will it end up a Box 1 wire-to-wire win? Only one way to find out.

Note: For complete scoring rules, check out the initial post.

Pack #16: 2006 Upper Deck Series 2 - Bottom Panel

Box 1:

532. Kris Benson (Didn't I pull one like this before? Once again, I've gotta give Benson and his crazy wife a +1 x2 bonus just for the sheer entertainment that they've provided over the years. +2 points)



564. Matt Thornton (0 points)
588. Jason Michaels (0 points)
652. Tony Graffanino (0 points)
676. Ricky Ledee (0 points)
700. Aaron Heilman (0 points)
713. Steve Trachsel (0 points)
729. Eseban Loaiza (0 points)
769. Brian Sweeney (0 points. Boy, what a boring stretch of cards)
785. Vinny Castilla (0 points)
818. Brian Meadows (0 points)
834. Brad Wilkerson (0 points. Still heckuva boring pack...no one even worth scanning so far!)
890. Ryan Howard - Philadelphia Phillies Checklist (At least it's a star...even if it is a checklist. 0 points though)

905. Chris Britton (0 points)
929. Josh Willingham (0 points. Ends the base cards on a real whimper.)
ATL-12. Robin Yount - All-Time Legends Insert (+10 for being an insert, but -1 point since Yount's a Brewer. Total points: +9)

Total points: 2 + 0x14 + 9 = 11 points.

Once again, Box 1 has left the door wide open for Box 2 to slide in and steal a victory. If Box 2 thinks it has any chance at winning this thing, it's gotta win this pack.

Box 2:

527. Chris Ray (0 points)
535. Alex Cora (-2 points for being a Red Sox)
583. Danny Graves (This gets the +1 x2 bonus for showing Graves on any team other than the Reds...)

611. Bobby Seay (0 points)
667. Dioner Navarro (0 points)
691. Juan Rincon (0 points)
716. Andy Phillips (A Yankee. -4 points)

724. Scott Proctor (Another Yankee, you've gotta be kidding me. I would have been really unhappy with this pack had I paid good money for it in '06. -4 points)

772. Dewon Brazelton (0 points)
801. Jose Lopez (0 points)
849. Russ Adams (0 points)
857. Alfonso Soriano (As a National, so that saves Box 2 from having another negative score. 0 points)
914. Brian Anderson (0 points)
938. Takashi Saito (A good pitcher, but not worth any points here. 0 points)
979. Rich Hill (A cub, -1 point)

ATL-7. Joe Morgan - All-Time Legend Insert (And Box 2 lays down an Ace when the last card was pulled! An insert, a Red, and an awesome Red at that. +10 (insert) + 10 (Red) + 1 x2 (awesome) = 42 points!

Wow, Box 2 looked dead in the water after the first 15 cards but Joe Morgan saves the day. Can Box 2 seriously win this thing?

Total points: 0 - 2 + 2 + 0 + 0 + 0 - 4 - 4 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 - 1 + 42 = 33 points

Running tally (3 packs left):
Box 1: 9 pack wins and +179 total points
Box 2: 7 pack wins and +146 total points



Pack Wars I: Pack 15 - 2006 Upper Deck Series 2 Top Panel

Welcome back to another edition of Pack Wars. This time, the battle is the second of the rack packs - an Upper Deck rack pack. As before, I'll consider each of the two panels as individual packs. First up, the top panel.

Note: For complete scoring rules, check out the initial post.

Pack #15: 2006 Upper Deck Series 2 - Top Panel



Box 1:

508. Miguel Batista (0 points)
556. Wll Ohman (Ack, a Cub! -1 point)

570. Dave Williams (A Red, though certainly a disappointing one. +10 points)

620. Franklyn German (0 points)
626. Todd Wellemeyer (0 points, another Marlin...at least I've heard of Wellemeyer unlike German)
674. Rafael Furcal (Ugh, I really don't like this guy. 0 points)
682. Jeff Cirillo (A Brewer...so that knocks another point off the 'ol total. -1 point)

721. Mike Myers (A Yankee...the bad "hits" keep on coming. -4 points)
753. Humberto Cota (A Pirate gets the scoring back in the positive direction. Not only that, but the photo is of him in catcher gear applying a tag at home plate on Aaron Harang...the Reds pitcher who has something like 2 career hits. Awesome card! +2 for being a Pirate, then +1 for being "awesome", then x2 as per the multiplier rules. Total = +6 points)

777. Mark Bellhorn (A decent player for a long time, but not worth points for me. 0 points)
882. Jason Schmidt - San Francisco Giants Checklist (0 points)
826. Sean Burroughs (0 points)
858. Brian Schneider (0 points)
983. Boone Logan (Wasn't this guy supposed to be something special? 0 points)
959. Fabio Castro (Never heard of him. 0 points)
ATL-20: Reggie Jackson All-Time Legends insert. (+10 for being an insert, but -4 for being a Yankee. Total, +6 points)

Total points: 0 - 1 + 10 + 0 + 0 + 0 -1 - 4 + 6 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 6 = 16 points.

Definitely NOT a good total for a pack with a guaranteed insert... Too many negatives which means Box 2 has a great chance to make up points (plus gain another pack win). The big question is, can Box 2 do any better?

Box 2:

503. Eric Byrnes (0 points)
551. John Mabry (Another Cub, -1 point)
559. Brandon McCarthy (The other Chicago team. 0 points)
635. Eric Munson (An Astro, -1 point)
643. Esteban German (0 points)
699. Willie Eyre (0 points)
740. Arthur Rhodes (Now one of the Reds best relievers, this guy has been around since 1991! +5 points for that.)

748. David Dellucci (0 points)
796. Todd Greene (0 points)
817. So Taguchi (The wrong NL Central team in red, yet again. -1 point)
873. Barry Zito - Oakland Athletics Checklist (0 points)

881. JD Drew - Los Angeles Dodgers Checklist (I wonder how Dodger fans feel about Drew being the "poster boy" for the team checklist in series 2? 0 points)
907. Sendy Rleal (I'm going to give Rleal 2 points for making me say "wow" and check his spelling of his name, first and last, twice. +2 points)
931. Reggie Abercrombie (0 points)
955. Skip Schumaker (Yet another Cardinal. -1 point)

ATL-16: Bob Feller - All-Time Legends Insert (+10 points)

Total points: 0 - 1 + 0 - 1 + 0 + 0 + 5 + 0 + 0 - 1 + 0 + 0 + 2 + 0 - 1 + 10 = 13 points

Unbelievable, Box 2 managed to throw up a worse 15 cards than Box 1...despite Box 1 having a Yankee as the guaranteed insert. Ouch. Let's update those totals with only 4 packs remaining.

Running tally:
Box 1: 9 pack wins and +168 total points
Box 2: 6 pack wins and +113 total points

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Pack Wars I: Pack 14 - 2007 Fleer Ultra

For the most part, I've always liked the Fleer Ultra line of cards. When I first opened the Gems of the Game repack box, there were a few packs I was excited to open, one of which was the Fleer Ultra pack. In the pack wars, Box #1 has built a tremendous lead in terms of packs and total points, but I suppose it's never over 'til it's over.

Note: For complete scoring rules, check out the initial post.

Pack #14: 2007 Fleer Ultra

Box 1:

46. Grady Sizemore (0 points)

58. Matt Holliday (0 points)
128. Eric Chavez (0 points)
160. Greg Maddux (0 points)
238. Josh Hamilton - Lucky 13 subset (Box 1 pulls out a Red for the last pack, and one that I always root for given his past. +10 points)


Total points: 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 10 = 10 points

All told, not an overly exciting pack though I was happy to pull the Hamilton card. Can Box 2 do better and slowly close the pack gap?

Box 2:

35. Paul Konerko (0 points)
98. Takashi Saito (0 points)
103. Francisco Cordero (-1 for being a Brewer, but +5 for being a player I like thanks to Cordero being the current Reds closer. Total points: +4)

151. Yadier Molina (Another Cardinal. -1 point)
GF-TG: Tom Glavine "Faces of the Game" insert (It'
s an insert, that's good enough for +10 points even if I never was a big fan of Glavine.)

Total points: 0 + 0 + 4 - 1 + 10 = 13 points

Whatdya know? Box 2 produced an insert and the current Reds' closer and took another step toward evening up this pack war. Even so, Box 2 is down a whopping 52 points overall...is there any hope for Box 2 to eliminate that difference? Only time shall tell.

Running tally:
Box 1: 8 pack wins and +152 total points
Box 2: 6 pack wins and +100 total points

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pack Wars I: Pack 13 - 2008 Upper Deck First Edition

After the last pack's terrible card selection, it's time to bust a pack that ought to have a lot of stars in it: Upper Deck First Edition. Let's dig in.

Note: For complete scoring rules, check out the initial post.

Pack #13: 2008 Upper Deck First Edition

Box 1:

117. Scott Olsen (0 points)
149. Corey Patterson (UGH! -5 points.)
165. Aaron Rowand (0 points)
180. Ian Kinsler (0 points)
197. Edwin Encarnacion (Hey, a Red, that makes up for the Patterson debacle. +10 points plus an additional +5 points for being on the list of Reds I really like. Total points +15.)

214. Mark Grudzielanek (0 points)
276. Justin Maxwell (At first I overlooked this card, but a careful perusal will allow you to see that this was taken while the Nationals new stadium was in the process of being built. That's the type of card that should be in a set called "First Edition." +1 x2 = 2 points.)

285. Troy Patten (It's an Astro, that's -1 point)
294. Mitch Stetter (Back to back NL Central foes, -1 point)
SQ-9. Derek Jeter Starquest common (Well, +7 points for being a blogger favorite, +10 points for being an insert, and then minus 4 points for being a Yankee. Total points 13 points)

SQ-23. Alfonson Soriano Starquest common (Hmm, two inserts in one pack. +10 points for that but -1 point for being a Cub. +9 total points.)

Total points: 0 - 5 + 0 + 0 +15 + 0 + 2 -1 - 1 + 13 + 9 = 32 points

Seems like a pretty hefty total thanks to the Edwin card and extra insert card. Can Box 2 do better?

Box 2:

32. Matt Stairs (0 points)
51. Joel Pineiro (Ack, a Cardinal. -1 point)
52. Jason Isringhausen (What's worse than 1 Cardinal in a pack? Two Cardinals in a pack. -1 point)

85. Mark Hendrickson (0 points)
128. David Wright (Hey, a blogger's favorite. +7 points)

150. Chris Young (0 points)
214. Mark Grudzielanek (0 points)
247. Jorge Posada (Yankee so -4 points)

293. Seth Smith (Who? 0 points)
SQ-2. Ryan Braun Starquest Common (+10 points but -1 for being a Brewer. +9 total points.)

Total points: 0 - 1 - 1 + 0 + 7 + 0 + 0 - 4 + 0 + 9 = 10 points

Box 2 gave it a good try, but it simply could not compete with a pack with an extra insert (and a blogger favorite no less).

Running tally:
Box 1: 8 pack wins and +142 total points
Box 2: 5 pack wins and +87 total points

Reds Make a Trade - but Why?

On Friday, June 26 the Cincinnati Reds traded outfielder Norris Hopper to the Chicago White Sox for catcher Corky Miller.

For the White Sox, they get rid of a catcher who barely hits his own weight in the minors (hitting .205 this year) and gain an outfielder who has a little speed. For the Reds, well, they gain another catcher which I suppose means they can have three catchers on the roster again like they did all of last year...and we all know how well that turned out.

Seriously, this particular trade makes no sense to me. Corky Miller simply isn't a good backup...or even a backup to a backup. Norris Hopper on the other hand, while not a spectacular player, isn't nearly as useless...and with Willy Taveras currently holding down the leadoff spot for the Reds despite hitting 0.085 since May 15th, I don't believe that Hopper could have been any worse...

Now, perhaps another trade is in the works. If so, there is only one player that makes sense - Ramon Hernandez, the current Reds catcher. Perhaps the Reds are planning to jetison Ramon to some team needing a catcher ( Brewers, Dodgers?) for an outfielder who can actually hit the ball... If so, I'll be satisfied...but I'm certainly not about to hold my breath waiting for such a logical move to be made by Reds' management, that's for sure.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pack Wars I: Pack 12 - 2006 Tristar Hidden Treasures

The two boxes produced my first pair of Tristar Hidden Treasures packs that I'd ever opened. Sure, I'd seen the Hidden Treasures boxes in Wal*Mart a couple of years ago, but I was never that desperate to actually buy one...

A quick look at the insertion rates (as printed on the back of the pack):
Class of '36 Diamond Ticket: 1 in 1,111,111
Autographed Memorabilia Redemption: 1 in 10,000
Autographed card or Specialty insert: 1 in 500
Star Rookie: 1 in 200
Star player: 1 in 1
Other: 4 in 1.

So, let's do a little math. You get 5 cards per pack. 4 of which are "other" as per the odds. That leaves one card. Oh look "star players" are inserted 1 per pack. Does that mean that the only way you get a "star rookie" "specialy insert" or any of the other cards is if your pack has an extra card? That's what the numbers suggest. Actually, what the numbers suggest is that you won't pull diddly squat from these packs. Do the numbers lie, let's see.

Note: For complete scoring rules, check out the initial post.

Pack #12: 2006 Tristar Hidden Treasures

Box 1:

1994 Sportflics: #172. Javier Lopez (0 points)

1991 Upper Deck: #731. Gary Gaetti (0 points)
1991 Topps: #388. Kelly Gruber (0 points. This would have gotten points had it been one of the few remaining 1991 Topps cards I'm looking for, but alas, it wasn't.)
1991 Score: #730. Hector Wagner (0 points)
1984 Topps: #570. Dan Quisenberry (0 points)

Quick, fun little game. Which of the 5 cards above is my promised 1 in 1 star player? Yeah, I couldn't figure that out either...

Total points: 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 = 0. Simply craptacular Tristar. Simply craptacular.

Box 2:

1986 Topps: #543. Jerry Narron (Ah, an ex-Reds manager. 0 points though)

2000 Skybox: #145. Ben Davis (I don't think I have any cards from this set. 0 points)

1987 Topps: #245. Willie Upshaw (Another 0 points)
1984 Topps: #351. Russ Nixon (Hey, a Red...been a long time since I've gotten one. +10 points)

1991 Donruss: #177. Wally Backman (A Pirate, so +2. Someday I'll figure out which cards I'm still missing from the '91 Donruss set and try to collect 'em...I like this set for some unknown reason.)

Total points: 0 + 0 + 0 + 10 + 2 = 12 points

Well, that pack smoked Box 1's pack out of the water, but let's play the same game as before. Can you name the 1 in 1 star player in the pack? Yeah, me neither.

Running tally:
Box 1: 7 pack wins and +110 total points
Box 2: 5 pack wins and +77 total points

It's official, Box 2 is on a winning streak and is quickly closing the gap on Box 1! There's only six packs left (though most likely 7 since I'll split the second rack pack into "upper" and "lower" panels like I did before). What will happen, who knows?! Stay tuned.

Pack Wars I: Pack 11 - 2007 Upper Deck Series 2

Time's running out for Box #2 in the epic, first ever Pack Wars on this particular slice of the blogging kingdom. Up next, another one of those Upper Deck packs, this time from the second series of the 2007 set.

Note: For complete scoring rules, check out the initial post.

Pack #11: 2007 Upper Deck Series 2
Box 1:


834. Dave Williams (0 points)
844. Derek Jeter (-4 points for being a Yankee, but +7 points for being a Blogger favorite...total +3 points)

854. Alan Embree (Embree started pitching in 92 and has pitched for at least 8 different teams. That doesn't help the scoring though. 0 points.)
972. Rocco Baldelli (Lately there's been a glut of boring cards, but this one made me say "hey, neato." That's good enough for +1 x2 = 2 points.)

1019. Ronnie Belliard (Another National. Sheesh. Does anyone collect the Nationals? 0 points)
Upper Deck Win Card (0 points)
MVP in NYC Win Card (0 points)

Total points: 0 + 3 + 0 + 2 + 0 + 0 + 0 = 5 points

Box 2:

578. J.C. Romero (In true craptacular fashion, Box 2 puts itself in a hole immediately by producing a Red Sox. -2 points)

762. Robb Quinlan (Who? 0 points)
763. Garret Anderson (Back-to-back Angels. 0 points)
792. Craig Counsell (A Brewer, the hole gets deeper. -1 point)

89-ZS. Zach Segovia (Woah, and just like that Box 2 steals a victory by producing an insert. +10 points despite never hearing of Mr. Segovia!)

Total points: -2 + 0 + 0 -1 + 10 = 7 points

Not exactly a pair of great packs, but I do like the cards based on the '89 Upper Deck design. Box 2 pulled a victory by extremely slim margins, a mere two points! Even so, Box 2 is still down 45 points and 3 pack wins... Can the comeback continue or is this the last hurrah for Box 2?

Running tally:
Box 1: 7 pack wins and +110 total points
Box 2: 4 pack wins and +65 total points