Beckett’s Box Breaks Arent Even Worth My Comment Any More

Topps Tribute has lived up to my under-billing and then some. Outside of the fact that the cards look as terrible, if not more terrible than last year, the box breaks have been some of the worst this side of Topps Paradigm we have ever seen. For the amount of money collectors are paying for these boxes the cards that are being pulled are complete junk. There was even a case break on blowout where one person pulled FIVE Duke Snider autographs. Not one, not two, but FIVE. Of course, Beckett’s two box break was a COMPLETELY different story. Par for the course, right?

First, a little history. A lot of you probably have started reading this blog after the first few months back in early 2008, understandably. But, back at that time, Beckett was breaking boxes almost daily, and they were never without an eyepopping hit or two, especially when it came to high end products. Even before the infamous Exquisite ass ream, they had a number of products that were so obviously loaded on purpose that it was tough to ignore. I mean, go back and watch their break of 2007 National Treasures. It wasn’t even subtle. The box they had that contained both a 1/1 ridiculous patch auto of Brady Quinn (who was a top rookie at the time) and two other awesome cards didn’t even come with the normal advertising info that comes in every single box. No checklist, no kodak thing, nothing. It was just the box and the pack. That’s only the beginning. They had one of the craziest cases of Topps Sterling I have ever seen, and they made it seem like it was all just their luck. Right, just like my scrub auto pull from Classics is worth high book.

Then the 2007 Exquisite break rolled around and everyone FINALLY caught on to their obvious deception, mainly in partnering with the companies to get boxes sent to them that contained cards that made the products seem better. Go back and watch, tally all the pulls, count the number of boxes they break, and then tell me its all LUCK. In fact, Upper Deck faced such a terrible reputation over that break, that they did not resume regular publicized box breaks with Beckett until the 2009 football season. Sure says a lot about what is going on with what Tracy Hackler refers to as the readers favorite part of what Beckett does. Cmon.

Fast forward to yesterday. Tribute is falling flat on its face, especially in the realm of customer satisfaction. Beckett posts a video of two boxes of the product supplied by Topps. In those two boxes, they pull one of the most coveted non-1/1 cards in the entire product, a bat of the most collected player in hobby history, a 1/1 of the best player in baseball, and another auto of a popular player. Two boxes. That’s it. Funny how that works. In fact, if you go back and tally the price of all the pulls of a lifetime Beckett has had, the total equals close to twenty thousand dollars. And they only have broken one or two boxes of every product. Some kind of luck.

In fact, if you go back and look over the cases that have been broken on all the message boards, there isnt a lot of evidence that collectors are pulling that kind of hauls out of entire cases, let alone two boxes. The main point here is whatever cards they pull are being taken out of the hands of collectors that actually pay for the products. I have said a hundred times before that it would not be hard to solicit collector breaks of the product and post those instead of their own boxes supplied by the company reps. They are purchased from real stores with real money, and considering that the collector’s reactions to the product will be more genuine, more realism will also be presented.

Yeah, I know, Beckett’s arrogance and their commitment to providing the most unrealistic view of the hobby possible will prevent this from ever happening. That is really too bad, especially for the schmucks that still believe every piece of info they put out.

Don’t get me wrong, Topps is just as much to blame, as the companies are. However, Topps has a bottom line to uphold and they are not the media source that is responsible for reporting on the product. It would be like Rolling Stone getting an album with three extra tracks on it and reviewing that instead of what the normal customer could buy on iTunes. The company will take whatever steps it can to pad its profits, and its up to the outlets to refuse the deception. We all know that Beckett is more than happy to trade morality for a few extra views on their video, so Im not surprised.

Its just absolutely terrible that people are still putting stock in their breaks.

The End Of An Era – My Reaction To Upper Deck’s Departure From Football Cards

Now that everything has officially been announced and commented on by Upper Deck, I want to put a little perspective on this whole situation. The reason is that there seems to be two sides of the aisle on whether or not this is good, and I think its time to go over what this truly means for the industry and for the hobby. The reason I separate the two is because of their intrinsic makeup of the people that populate each group. In the hobby, the majority of the population is collectors who would collect regardless if there is an industry or not. They just want to better their collections, and in some cases make the most money off said collections. This part will probably live on for many years to come. The industry, on the other hand, is made up of manufacturers and hobby media whose sole purpose (aside from producing the cards) is to make as much money for their company and shareholders, all while keeping the hobby happy at the same time. This part has a limited lifespan, now possibly made shorter by Upper Deck’s inability to secure an NFLP license for their cards.

Now that we are familiar with the players, its time to talk about the game.

Basically, Upper Deck’s departure from football and baseball cards now puts some people, like myself, in a pretty ginormous predicament. As we saw with the first time this news was brought up a few weeks ago, there are a lot of people who love what Upper Deck puts out every single year. Those people are now left with a void that is unlikely to be filled with cards from Panini and Topps due to any number of reasons. Because Upper Deck was the only company that focused as much on design and layout as they did on set makeup and product development, we are now entering an age where stickers and poorly conceptualized sets will reign supreme. In fact, products with on card signatures of veterans and stars just went from 5 complete sets (Philadelphia, Black, Ultimate, SPA, and Exquisite) to a big fucking goose egg. Of course, Panini will lead you to believe that their signed manupatches are on card, but they are not, and we are left with 100% stickers for the foreseeable future. Sets that feature on card rookie autographs went from 5 complete sets and 9 partial sets, to 3 partial sets if Classics still features those terrible School Colors paint pens shit and Contenders comes back with the bubbly shit. National Treasures, if everything remains as is, will be the only set that features signed memorabilia cards, and they will be 100% rookies.

I get that there are people out there who don’t care about on card sigs, or even that the industry has basically regressed to the dark ages of 2004 and 2005, but this is absolutely terrible for those of us that live for them. Even if Topps were to come back on, they bring a product slate of huge foil stickers and triple threads. How does that replace a set like SP Authentic? It doesn’t. Basically, for the collectors who care as much about the way a card looks as they do about the relics or autos, we are left with one or two sets that I could see being a viable target for purchasing singles. I have a feeling that this may shrink the base of collectors who buy current stuff more than people think.

Another factor is the outstanding redemptions from a company that needs to issue them due to said on card signatures. There are many collectors out there who have a ton, and its very plausible they may get screwed on ones that they pulled or bought. That is not a good sign for anyone, although it is still possible that they may continue to pursue athletes to sign their outstanding cards. Basically, if you have some you have been waiting on, I would start an email campaign to get them replaced while you have the chance. Although there has been little comments on this from UD themselves, its better to be safe than sorry. If you are going to purchase UD redemptions, I would definitely think twice before doing so.
Most importantly, unless Topps is reinserted into the mix, the lack of competition for an already inferior Panini brand could result in a black hole of innovation and creativity. Remember, this is a company that puts out at least 5 sets (absolute, elite, prestige, gridiron gear, and limited) that are practically the exact same as the year before. Before they at least had to compete with both Topps and Upper Deck for industry market share, but now there is not a single reason to break away from their formula. Where else are people going to go? I understand that they have tried to improve upon content with adding minor amounts of on card stuff to sets like Contenders, but in just about every case, they have failed harder than a beginner skater on a high rail. Get ready for year after year of rehashed product with little more to offer than the previous year. It was the reason I hated Triple Threads originally, and its now one of the main reasons I wont need to buy any set from the official card manufacturer of Rainbow Foilboard City.
Upper Deck may have made some awful mistakes that probably cost them the company, but they never ceased producing cards that people went ape shit over. They were so many miles ahead of anyone in mid to high end, that it made Topps and Panini look like they were working with a team of five year olds. If you compare products from Topps and Panini side by side with what Upper Deck offered in practically every god damn set, the difference in quality was unfathomable. Topps may have low end cornered with the chromes and their flagship set, but they are still gone from the market as of now. When it came to everything above the low end price point, Upper Deck won every single race by multiple lengths due to their ability to secure on card signatures and create innovative ways to get fans what they wanted. Whether it was the introduciton of crazy amounts of player inscriptions, ridiculous 1/1s, or even something as simple as social media from a manufacturer, they took it to the next level. Say what you want about their business ethics, but its hard to deny that their shit was the Bentley of the collecting world. Sadly we are left with a Chevy now.

Adding to the plight of the collectors in this hobby, I don’t think this bodes well for the industry, either. When you practically chop off one of its appendages, it puts more strain on the other ones to maintain control. Though Topps and Panini have large companies behind them, those companies just lost an advertising vehicle that brought people back to the hobby or introduced them to it for the first time. Its not unlikely that someone hooked on cards would buy from all three companies, and now that they only have one company to choose from in each sport, there will be a drop off. Plus, if recent trends continue to be status quo, the quality of the products they can choose from will be sub standard to where they were just one year ago.

Basically, if you like busy designs, stickers, and foilboard on top of foilboard on top of foilboard, this is your football golden era. Have a blast with all the crap coming down the sewage line. I havent bought a box other than Chrome or Upper Deck in almost two years, and now I will be left to existing Upper Deck products to fufill that itch. Hopefully, Panini stops using the stock backgrounds on photoshop for once and turns it around soon. Then people like me will have something to buy again. Prestige, Prestige Chrome, Classics, and also Rookies and Gridiron Limited Treasures will not keep me interested.

I sincerely believe that the industry will find a way to trudge on in the landscape post Upper Deck football, but it will not be at an elite level any more. The cards that got me going and kept me salivating are gone and in most probabilities, will never be coming back. I will have to come to terms with that fact, but I doubt it will happen unt
il one of the other companies decides to pull their head out of their ass and deliver at the level that UD did. Upper Deck may continue to produce NCAA licensed cards, but I think my feelings on Press Pass and SAGE will supercede any shot I would give those products.

People, this is the end of an era, practically 20 years in the making. Thanks for the Memories Upper Deck.

Is Twitter’s Packout A Sign Of Things To Come?

Over the last few years of writing SCU, I have always taken a stand against the douchebaggery that plagues the hobby. Whether its fake cards, fake patches in cards, or fake autos, I have never shied away from letting my site be a haven from those people who seek to take advantage of the mis or uninformed.

Over the last few days, Upper Deck has brought something to the forefront of the hobby consciousness that I have been wanting for a VERY long time. Through Twitter, much to my elation, they are taking pictures of the Exquisite cards before they are being packed out and showing us. Of course, Exquisite is hand packed, which makes this 100 times easier, but it is a true defense against fakes. Because Exquisite has moved towards using more of the desirable parts of the jersey instead of moving away from it, nothing is outside the scope of reason. This has led to rampant faking and more gray area cards that are hard to authenticate.
If the Twitter packout were to become more complete, with each of the main hits of the product being photographed and posted for the public, my job would be a lot easier. Im hoping this is the beginning of the road towards a national database, despite the objections to the cost and time needed given by UD brass to accomplish it.
Secondly, if all were visible to everyone, they may be forced to include more 2 color + patches. People’s complaints tend to circle around the amount of shitty patches in the top notch product, but that may be forced to change with everyone seeing everything.
Lastly, cards are becoming easier to track, and so are the fuck suckers who perpetuate all the scams. A national database would lead to a proof of wrong doing against the people who sell, hopefully enabling more of a policing of the sales on eBay. Of course, eBay would need to cooperate, but that idea may be as much of a pipe dream of a complete print run photo.

We Have Our First SP Authentic Fakes

If there is one thing I have always preached, its that completed auctions are damning evidence when trying to figure out if a seller is a douche. There has been some big discussion lately on blowout and among the readers of this site about whether or not sports_royalty’s cards are fake. After looking through his items for sale and his completed auctions, I would definitely file him under that category.

The most unusual thing about this is that the guy has a ton of hot packs for sale. This is almost always a sign that something isnt right. Although Im sure the hot packs contain what they say, its obvious that they will all contain the rookie scrub autos and not the patches. Its not the nail in the coffin, but his resume is getting worse. This could also mean that his crazy patches are all coming from the cases that he busted, but with the hobby, we have been forced to assume everyone is guilty until proven innocent. That is pretty sad.
When you factor in that the guy is already engaging in one thing like hot packs, and then you see his patches, the bad stuff floods your mind and becomes very tough to ignore.
Here are some examples of questionable SPA’s:

Josh Freeman

Knowshon Moreno Again

Pretty questionable cards, but that is only the beginning. Check out these AWFUL fakes that he has sold. When I say AWFUL, I mean Paris Hilton acting bad:

Mark Sanchez Tag Patch
Eli Manning/Mark Sanchez fooball
Manning/Favre Worst Dual Football Ever?
Manning Family Football

Anyone who sells autographs as fucking terrible as those should be automatically added to your bad list. This guy is nothing but problems. STAY AWAY.
EDIT: Kurt just sent me this from the same fucking asshat, look what else he just HAPPENS to be selling! He even has 10 of them for sale, wow.
Thanks to Justin, Brandon, Leonard, and Tim for the heads up.

NEW SCAM: 2001 Pujols Chrome Fakes Spotted At Philly Show

I just got an email forewarning me of a scam that is on the verge of hitting eBay with full force. Kevin Burge, aka shoelessjoejackson, had quite the situation on his hands at the Philly show last weekend when he tried to get JSA, PSA, SGC and BGS to slab his COUNTERFEIT 2001 Albert Pujols Bowman Chrome autos.

Here is the thread containing a confirmation from SGC.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the douchebag that this guy is, he is the mastermind behind the Topps Rookie Premiere fakes that are all over eBay, and have made it practically impossible to figure out which of the cards are real or fake. Per some preliminary reports, some of the fakes even made it past BGS, thus making things even more difficult. Burge has been a known patch faker for years, but creating actual fake cards is something new for him. Obviously he has found a way to get his grubby fucking fingers on some way to produce the Pujols chromes, and it wont be long before they get out of control.
The fact that the Pujols fakes are a new breed of fake is quite frightening. At least his usual stupidity got the best of him when trying to pass them through the graders. Apparently, Burge didnt do his research, as always, and tried to forge a later style Pujols auto on the 2001 card, therefore setting off all sorts of red flags for the people who examined the cards. To add to it, a few of the numbers were off, so it was pretty easy to see why the cards failed inspection.
People, things are getting pretty fucking bad, and I encourage you to do MASSIVE amounts of research before making any sort of big purchases now. As long as asshats like Kevin Burge are out there, we are all at risk to get our money ripped off. More importantly, with this info, watch out for the Pujols fakes that are sure to start popping up on eBay soon, and email me if you see one at How he has not gone to jail for the amount of money he has stolen from people is beyond me.
Here are a few of his names we know of:

blameitonthealcohol (buying account)