Saturday, February 25, 2012

You Mean to Tell Me Somebody FINALLY Cracked the 2011 Ginter Code??!

After months and months of twitter clues, websites with every card posted, and tons of theories regarding the 2011 Crack the Ginter Code Contest, it looks like somebody (or some bodies) finally did it.

Want to know how??? Visit the site below to learn how Frank, with the help of Ryan, and Guillaume, cracked the code.
First Point of Aries: The 2011 Ginter Code Story

Congratulations gentlemen on a job well done.  Frank should be able to make it onto this year's set (he should...there were a number of TBA's in the initial checklist), but his victory (and Ryan's and Guillaume's) is well deserved.

Next you're going to tell me that 100 people entered 200 coins in the Golden Giveaway Con...oh, it happened??!


JayBee Anama

Shaun Marcum's Golden Moment...or Hey, I Got A Relic Card!

I tweeted last week that after I get my taxes done that I'd be looking for a master set of 2012 Topps on the 'Bay.  Well, I spent money on half of the things I wanted to do.  Taxes???  Done.  Master set???  Not yet.  Shooting for next pay day.  In the mean time, I finally did get around to buying the hobby packs I promised to send to the two winners of my All-Star Rookie Team Competition.  Now if I could only get to the post office...

While at the store, I purchased a few packs of 2012 Topps, this time, the Hobby version. Packs at the store cost a whopping $3.00 for a pack of ten cards.  OUCH!!!  Can't complain though...this stuff sold out at the store and these guys had to scramble to find more.  The store owner allowed me to pick what I wanted, so I took five random packs from the box.  At $3.00 a pack, and what looked like a half-full box, I wasn't expecting much other than a bunch of base cards that will just become extras eventually when I get my master set.  But one pack I did open did come with a nice surprise:

2012 Topps Shaun Marcum Golden Moments Relic Card #GMR-SM
That's right.  I beat the odds and somehow got a relic card.

Yes, granted it's of a Brewers pitcher.  Yes, it's just a plain road jersey swatch.  Yes, the back of the card even says, "THE RELIC CONTAINED ON THIS CARD IS NOT FROM ANY SPECIFIC GAME, EVENT, OR SEASON." (which means that this was most likely NOT THE JERSEY he wore during the game being highlighted - Brewers vs. Astros on September 4, 2011).  But it is a relic card from this set is found in 1:47 hobby packs.  So yes, I'm ecstatic.

Payday can't come fast enough...


JayBee Anama

Saturday, February 18, 2012

My Shot at Gold from Topps' Golden Giveaway

After sorting through whatever cards I have so far from 2012 Topps (searching for a Master set on the 'Bay now thanks to getting my taxes's a good thing I waited too as prices are down...), I have three cards from the Golden Giveaway to use on the new website.  The card says, but using seems to work too.

Let's see what this baby can do:

GGC-2:  nW3rF7Nw

Okay, not a bad start...will get a checklist up and running soon.

GGC-6:  kzPz438qb

Tampa Bay Rays coin.  So there are teams this year too.  Last one:

GGC-7:  t3SBbd9Tf

Now we're talking.  That's two HOF coins and a team coin.  According to the site, unlocking three coins gets you a free code.  I have two HOF coins and one team coin.  But it seems you need three of one group of coins to redeem the code.  Drats.

So the hunt continues.  The good news is that friend of the blog and all around good guy Craig Parker just sent me a complete set of 10 code cards for free.  The bad news (if you want to call it that), is that I promised I wouldn't use the codes on the cards.  Why?  Because the first 100 people to unlock 200 coins (no idea if it's supposed to be "unique" coins or just any 200 coins) will get the full set of 100 Golden Moments cards.  I get the feeling that there is going to be a rare coin somewhere.  Good luck to you Craig, and to all who are up or the challenge.

I just want my master set. And with the 10 card Giveaway set out of the way, finding one in my price range should be easy, right???


JayBee Anama

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

2012 Fantasy Preview...Sponsored by 1986 Topps Baseball...Almost...

I received an e-mail from Friend of the Blog Philip Melita regarding his thoughts on 2012 Topps. Specifically:

"OK, so the duplicate “3B” seems to be an honest Microsoft Excel mistake, but what’s with the “W” instead of “BB” for both hitters and pitchers? Now pitchers have two “W” columns on the back, one for Wins and one for Walks. I understand the Walks are near the Strikeouts, but it still strikes me as unnecessarily confusing. And “SP” for “SLG” and “S” for “SV” were a bit jarring as well."

Agreed. It may have been mentioned in many blogs about the dissatisfaction with the inconsistent stat headers. Why did Topps decide to change these now? Although it would not be the first time The Company has done this, having two stat headers under W (for both Wins and Walks) can be confusing at first glance. Funny though, that the RC pitchers still have the BB header for Walks. Personally, I don't think they should have changed these in the first place. And maybe, just maybe, this will be corrected in Series 2 and beyond. But this would be one of the few things that would make me wonder "What??!" (as in "What Was Topps Thinking??!")

He also happened to mention that has their annual fantasy player reviews up on their site. And once again, each player's bio comes with a picture in the guise of a baseball card. This time, MLB pays 1986 Topps. You'll see what I mean in a minute.

I've written about these before. So here's a quick review (I tried to go back and find older fantasy previews, but I could only go as far back as 2008:

This was last year's (2011) player profile pilfered from's fantasy review. It looks like an homage to 1983 Topps Baseball...except 1983 Topps used round frames for the headshot on the corner, not square ones as in the above example.

This is from 2010. used the 1987 design for the fantasy preview.

The great 1984 Topps design was used in 2009.

The 2008 preview featured the 1980 Topps design.

And so did the preview from 2007. But notice how the cards are "aged?" The bent corners and the weather worn borders?

For 2006, it's the 1985 design. The actual pictures were not appearing when I was first digging around for the site. It showed the design, but no picture (guess you should use your imagination). Upon hitting the link this year, it hasn't changed.

And here is the preview snapshot for 2005. They brought us all the way back to 1976 with this one. What's cool is that when you click on the position, the drawing of the player on the bottom left of the card appears above the position list.

Here is a snapshot of what you will see when you click on this year's analysis:

It's the right idea. You have the black and white borders that are iconic of 1986 Topps. The team name lettering is a bit small (and just white on everybody) but it looks close to what a 1986 card looks like (the player name? Way off!) The position? Totally off thanks to the square floating inside the picture instead of a circle. Otherwise, it's a virtual baseball card.

See, this is what a 1986 Topps Baseball Card is supposed to look like. You'd like to think that if Topps is the exclusive MLB card that there would be no problem with MLB using their designs.

I said it before, and I'll say it again.  Baseball cards were the fantasy preview magazines BEFORE there were such things. The cards had stats, a brief bio, a clear picture of the player (in many cases anyway), and it was all contained in a portable 2½" x 3½" piece of cardboard. Of course, thanks to magazines and the Internet, the cards are no longer used as a primary resource. But they're still around, and thanks to, baseball cards still serve a purpose.

Play ball.


JayBee Anama

Friday, February 10, 2012

So You Hate 2012 Topps...We Get It!

As a loyal Topps Baseball Card Collector, I know that many "critics" within the Hobby have called collectors like me "sheep" because we will collect the flagship product no matter what. Let me answer my stand on this matter with a loud and proud "BAAAAAAAAAA!!!"

The reason for the title of my post is two-fold. One, because I know the titles of my posts show up on Twitter. Second is because while I respect everyone's take on the eponymous product, good and bad, I am extremely disappointed with those who are to the point of flaunting their dislike of the product for petty reasons.

Not liking the photo selection? I get that. There will always be questionable picture choices with every product. Not liking the product overall because there is a card with a squirrel running around? To the point where you are, at EVERY POSSIBLE OPPORTUNITY, announcing that you're not going to buy it???


If you followed the hullabaloo on Twitter (follow me at @bdj610), the new writer at a blog that I had never heard of (it's not a card blog, but a baseball blog whose writers didn't realize that there are blogs about the Hobby of baseball card collecting) was disappointed with her sampling of this year's flagship. It caused a twitterstorm of responses. The ones who have repeatedly shown their displeasure felt justified in their reasoning thanks to the writer. Others responded that there were other reasons afoot that the first group would stubbornly ignore.

Frankly, I liked the article. If I was writing this post on a computer instead of my phone, I'd link it here. I think she (yes, the writer was a lady) even used my TRCotD picture of a 1994 Topps Chris Sabo card article. She wrote that she was a collector who picked up the Hobby as a young girl and once again as she got older. She traditionally opens a pack of cards on Opening Day. But she was disappointed with some of the pictures (describing them as being taken from behind a net and that the blurred batter takes away from the picture of the pitcher). But then she brought up the squirrel card and how the player himself was disappointed with the card. She also began to question whether or not to continue buying this year's flagship. And then she questioned if she could achieve the same excitement about new cards.

My point (and if you've read the above wondering if I have one, well I have one) is that opinions are just that...OPINIONS!!! I respect the fact that you have openly described your dislke about the product and how you think the Company is lax in their product development. At the same time, please understand that I actually like the product, SP'd rodents and all. We all have read that interest in the Hobby we share is waning if not dying (another opinion). This is (and no, I am not being paid to say this) Topps' way of sparking interest in their product.

And it's working!

Thanks to the publicity the Rally Squirrel card has provided, people are talking about our Hobby again. People inside and outside our Hobby circles are talking about card collecting. And people are buying and collecting again. Was this because of "gimmicks?" Perhaps. They certainly get people talking. It's such a polarizing topic. Some people think this is a bad thing. But those naysayers have yet to give me a real reason why they think the way they do.

Yes, competition is a good thing. I get that. But before MLB Properties cut the number of licensees in half...TWICE...wasn't there just too much out there??? I think (another opinion) Topps having sole possession of the MLB license is a good thing (call me hypocritical because the NBA deal stinks).

Back to the article, specifically the part about excitement with new products. As collectors, regardless of what and how we collect, I am sure we will face the fact that our collecting will no longer be fun and exciting. Eventually, we will all "grow up" and realize that our discretionary income would be better spent elsewhere. Even the writer of this humble, little blog has faced this during the last few years.

But until I am no longer able to do it, until the players are younger than my own kids, or until they stop making them, I will still collect Topps Baseball Cards. I will always be a fan of MLB first, Topps collector next. You don't like the cards, the Company, or where you think the direction of where our Hobby is headed? Fine.

Just let those of us who like this product enjoy it, animals and all. If only as a reminder that baseball season is soon approaching.

Isn't that why we collect baseball cards in the first place?


JayBee Anama

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Mid Day Review and Notes about 2012 Topps

I've had a few days to relax and review the cards I bought and let me just say that I am starting to warm over to the design. Yes, the main design element looks like a colored surfboard with the black stripe just off center from the tip of the board. But it successfully does not obstruct the picture itself, even though it does stand out. And isn't that the point to a memorable design???

Many people have pointed out that the batters cards have the 3B stat header on twice. Unless it has been pointed out by now, not all of them are like this. I have seen a number (handful from my stack) that have the 2B header. Maybe it's just a sheet or two that had this error. But Topps no longer specifies what sheet the card was printed from.

I love the fact that Topps was able to incorporate the new logos for the Padres, Blue Jays, and the Miami Marlins. Now it looks like the Marlins logo was just a last minute switch. I noticed that colored borders match the color of the surfboard...except with the Marlins. While the nameplate used for the Miami players is orange (to match the new team logo), the color border is teal (which matches the old logo's color scheme). Maybe this will be fixed in Series 2.

I did find a few cards that I know some bloggers are going to want (and will have to wait for when I have money to mail), including a golden Dodgers card of James Loney and a duel insert with Cal Ripken and Derek Jeter (here's a hint to who this should go to...he has a Darryl Strawberry SP card...will contact you later).

And really??! The guy who caught Jeter's 3000th hit chose THAT picture for his card??! It's a nice action shot and at least the surfboard doesn't block him, but I guess if there were choices and this was the best one...I can't imagine what the rest would have looked like (unless Topps manages to make these options SSP's in S2).

That's all I have for now. Next payday will include funds for a Master Set. And now probably would be a good time for a few notes before leaving:

1. If anybody could send me used Golden Giveaway code cards (Yes, I collect them and want to thank friend of the blog Glenn Savage for helping me finish the Diamond Giveaway set) please send me an e-mail at

2. Kyle, I got your comment. Next payday, I will send everything out, including the prizes from November.

3. I will get the Sports Card Blogroll fixed. I am re-doing both the Index and the Most Recent Blog Post roll and have a list of four or five blogs to add soon.

That's all I have going for now. Until later (or when I get the Randomizer jumpstarted).


JayBee Anama

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Finally Joining the Party...with 10 Packs of 2012 Topps!!!

Opening Day (literally...get it?) was February 1.  On Friday, I was finally able to get to the store and buy a few packs. 

Ten to be exact.  As I'm typing, it's 4:08 p.m., on Saturday, February 4, and I have not yet opened a single pack...


(What you are now not seeing is the writer is taking the pack from the bottom of this picture from the scanner and is proceeding to tear the pack ever so carefully so as to save the wrapper...and succeeds).

Okay, first card is:

(drumroll please)

2012 Topps #265 Aroldis Chapman

Aroldis Chapman #265.

The rest of the pack included:
  • #257 Seth Smith, Rockies
  • #276 Scott Baker, Phillies
  • #254 Philip Humber, White Sox
  • #GG-1 Lou Gehrig Golden Greats
  • #CW14 David Ortiz Classic Walk-Offs
  • #98 Domonick Brown, Phillies

2012 Topps #270 Starlin Castro
  • #270 Starlin Castro, Cubs
  • #227 Mike Minor, Braves
  • #321 Jason Bourgeois, Astros
  • #297 NL League Leaders ERA Kershaw/Halladay/Lee
  • #77 NL League Leaders HR Kemp/Fielder/Pujols
Now that I have the cards in hand, I have to agree with Night Owl that the main nameplate/design element of the set does indeed look like a surfboard, albeit with a black stripe that is off center from the board.  But I'm starting to like how the cards look, and I'm starting to come around to liking the cards as a whole.  It's a shame that certain people aren't willing to give the cards a chance. 

Here's to another great year of Topps Baseball Card Collecting!!!  One down, nine packs to go.  One master set to be bought hopefully not long afterwards.


JayBee Anama

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Original Squirrel Card! And Why the 2012 Topps Squirrel Card is Good for the Hobby!

All this hubbub about Skip Schumaker's 2012 Topps card. Have you seen it??? Have you seen prices for it???
That's nuts (no pun intended)!!!

What's the fascination with a card of Schumaker's right foot??!

Oh right...that!!!

One of Topps' SP's that can be found in packs of 2012 Topps Series 1 includes the Cardinal's Rally Squirrel. Some may say that this little critter was the reason why the Cardinals won the World Series last year (just like some believe some black cat was the cause of the Cubs' demise in '69...can you imagine if Topps had the foresight to make a card of that darn cat??!)

Reminds me of the hysteria caused by another Sciurus carolinensis.

(Getting ready for Stale Gum to cringe a bit more...)

If you weren't collecting cards in 2007, you may not know that this card exists. For those of us who were opening packs of 2007 Topps Updates and Highlights, there were two SP cards included in the product. The first was an unannounced Rookie card of Red Sox slugger Jacoby Ellsbury (#UH330). That was confusing because the regular #UH330 belonged to Brian Burress of the Orioles.

Above was the second card.

Yes friends, meet the Yankees' Poley Walnuts (#SQ1). The Bronx Bomber's good luck charm in 2007 was given a card and became one of the most sought after cards in the set. In fact, prices did reach triple digits, just like Schumaker's. I bought mine, if I remember, for just under $100.00. In the 2011 Big Beckett Book, it is listed between $12.50 and $30.00.

Prices for the Rally Squirrel, when the hysteria dies down, will probably fall to Poley prices. But for now, because of how new the product is, and because the rodent is still on everybody's mind, prices are going to remain sky high.

This is one of the many things good for the Hobby. The notoriety this card, just like the others (think Jeter with Mantle and Bush from earlier in the year...2007 as a matter of fact), puts our Hobby in the spotlight and the mainstream media. Yes, people who don't understand what we collect may find it odd, but at least it gets people talking. It makes people curious. It makes people want to see the card for themselves. And who knows? Maybe this card will help snag a few new collectors. Maybe this card will inspire said collectors to creating a blog. A blog about our Hobby. And...

I can dream, can't I???


JayBee Anama