2014 Bowman Inception is Back for Another Huge Year

As I mentioned earlier during the NFL Rookie Premiere, Topps Inception has become one of my favorite products of the year. Not only does it look amazing, but the cards can be quite interesting sometimes.

Last year, it made the transition to Baseball with a lot of success – its back for year two today:

2014 Bowman Inception Bryce Harper MLB Logo Patch Auto 1/1

2014 Bowman Inception Jose Abreu Auto RC

2014 Bowman Inception Tyler Austin MLB Logo Auto Patch 1.1

2014 Bowman Inception Gregory Polanco Auto Relic RC

The big draws are Kris Bryant and Jose Abreu, just like it is with every other product this year, and with new Topps Exclusive Yasiel Puig last year. Even with Chicago rookies tearing it up, the checklist actually has a lot of other really nice stuff from Buxton, Appel, and others too.

Like with football, Baseball’s big draws are the insert type autos, which go outside the normal base. I love the auto relic design this year, as the wood grain type design makes it look really cool. As for the Inception version of the Bowman cards themselves, I think the idea comes from the right place, but just the wrong set. I would have liked the regular Topps RC instead – maybe expanding out to other non-rookie players.

Inception isnt without controversy either, as Topps inexplicably added old autos from Kris Bryant. The cards were supposed to be included in a previous release of Bowman Draft, but never made it into the product. For whatever stupid reason, they thought this was the vehicle to release them. I see why they would do it, or need to do it, but I know it is going to piss off a lot of people. I am also not sure what is going to happen to his 2014 Bowman cards – although its probably not much.

I am an inception fan, and would be busting through cases of this if I were a true Baseball fan. Instead I am just sitting back and watching the great pulls come through.

2014 SPX: Building on a Legacy With A Solid Year

A midst all the hype surrounding the release of Bowman and Hot Rookies, not much has been said about SPX, which may actually be the best looking of the three products due to being fully licensed by the NCAA. As a fan of UD’s stuff, im impressed for sure.

Here are some of the big hits posted so far:

2014 SPX Johnny Manziel Auto Relic RC

2014 SPX Andrew Luck Auto Super Scripts

2014 SPX Jerry Rice Premier Auto Quad Relic

2014 SPX Blake Bortles Blue Auto Patch With Inscription

During 2012, SPX had been demoted to a subset within the release of SP Authentic, functioning much like UD premier is within this year’s product. I think the design of the cards continues to be nice for a product that I have liked for a very long time.

The issue is two fold, both of which are on the plate of Upper Deck to fix. The first has to do with the quality of the jersey swatches used within the cards. Since UD has switched to NCAA cards full time, they have yet to use any patches that are actually sewn on. Even though the company line is that the sewn jerseys are unavailable, but I fail to believe that is the case.

Additionally, the cards are all stickers, which continues to baffle me. Considering how far in advance the cards can be built, I cannot see why these would be stickers. Maybe I have unrealistic expectations, but its the one way that Leaf continues to separate themselves. Again, as soon as these athletes sign with agents, they become eligible to be signed to deals. At that point, the cards should be built and ready for signing. Instead, we see the result, and that isnt good enough.

I will give them a ton of credit for at least adding inscriptions to a few of the stickers, which helps a ton:

2014 SPX Derek Carr Blue Auto Patch With Inscription

2014 SPX Bishop Sankey Blue Auto Patch With Inscription

2014 SPX Aaron Murray Blue Auto Patch With Inscription

SPX has been around for decades, and its time for it to be brought back to glory. Upper Deck continues to show that they have the chops to design the best cards to compete with the likes of Topps, and that is saying something. However, they are still without a license from MLB, NFL or NBA, which are the 3 biggest sports in the game.

Its too bad, because I would be first in line to be buying UD products again the second they had a league license.

The True Measure of Manziel Mania Starts Today!

We all know I am not a fan of Sir Johnny of Football, but that’s not the majority opinion if you look at his stuff so far. People really seem to be convinced that he is going to set the NFL on fire, and that is a very good thing for the hobby.

His first licensed autos are starting to pop up, and you can see that there is a lot of reason why we should all be excited for 2014.

2014 Bowman Johnny Manziel Orange Refractor Auto /50

2014 Bowman Johnny Manziel Blue Refractor Auto /99

2014 Bowman Johnny Manziel Mini Auto RC /99

2014 Hot Rookies Johnny Manziel Blue Foil Auto /25

In 2013 Exquisite, his cards are being sold for a crazy amount as well, which only goes to show that the questions about his ability dont necessarily extend into collecting and buying his cards. Everyone just wants a piece of Johnny Manziel, and it really should be no surprise.

In fact, many of the other rookies are also selling quite well:

2014 Bowman Chrome Sammy Watkins Auto Refractor Base

2014 Bowman Teddy Bridgewater Blue Refractor Auto /99

2014 Bowman Chrome Blake Bortles Auto Refractor Base

The question becomes more focused on what happens when he eventually starts and either plays well or plays horribly, and if a mediocre start to the season will have any impact on his 2014 cards. The media frenzy already is generating a tidal wave of pressure on the Browns to start him in week one, and I hope he proves me wrong.

Love him or hate him, the better Manziel does, the better the cards will do. That is good news for collectors who just endured one of the worst card seasons in history.

I was lucky enough to bust a box of Bowman – and needless to say, I was happy to pull my very own. It hit ebay minutes later, and sold quite fast. Happy hunting everyone!

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2014 Bowman Football is LIVE!

Get excited people – 2014 licensed products are here! Well, sort of.

As one of three products released tomorrow, Bowman is the one I am most excited for based on the options I have available. I think it is by far the best looking of any product released so far this year, but that isnt saying a whole lot:

2014 Bowman Johnny Manziel Mini RC

2014 Bowman Khalil Mack Red Refractor Auto /25

2014 Bowman Bishop Sankey Gold Refractor Auto /75

2014 Bowman Jimmy Garoppolo Gold Refractor Auto /75

2014 Bowman Zach Mettenberger Refractor Auto Base

We all know that pre-draft products are close to impossible to make these days, as the use of college jerseys is only available to Upper Deck. As a result, the companies have had to get extra creative in the way they make their products, and Bowman is the first of a few products that will be impacted. Although I wish everyone would wait until they could get stuff from the premiere out to the consumer, there is money to be made.

At least Topps is making an effort with a product with all on card autographs and chrome stock, as I have mentioned before. The card design is as good as ever, and I am happy they chose to use airbrushed action shots instead of the stupid sideline shots. Last year’s Bowman was a surprise in itself, becoming the breakout product to bust in the beginning of the 2013 card season.

It relied on lots of color in a short print run, and it doesnt look like that is changing TOO much for 2014. With the addition of guys like Johnny Manziel and company, I like the potential in picking off a few singles. Considering the alternatives are a million times worse, Ill make due with Bowman for now.

We still havent seen all of what Bowman has to offer, but it should be almost identical to last year. The main issue is that collectors will have to wait until Flagship to get a Topps product with true RPS pics, which will lead a lot of people to avoid the retouched college shots until that comes out. I dont necessarily think they are taking the wrong approach, just some of us are much more hungry for new cards than others.

2014 Chrome Kris Bryant Autos Are Live and Commanding Huge Prices

This is the time of year that baseball fans get excited about. Baseball is finally into its groove, and the sets are starting to heat up as well. Right now there is no hotter autograph in the hobby than Kris Bryant, a top prospect in the Cubs organization. With Masahiro Tanaka not signing autographs for anyone, Bryant is the rookie that everyone wants to pull.

Up until now, his cards have been redemptions, but the first live cards are starting to show up:

2014 Bowman Chrome Kris Bryant Auto Gold Refractor /50

2014 Bowman Chrome Kris Bryant Auto Refractor Lucky Redemption /500

2013 Bowman Black Kris Bryant Auto Silver /25

2014 Bowman Kris Bryant Auto Blue Refractor /150

In the next few weeks, major prospect cards in Bowman Inception and Draft Picks will be hitting shelves, and its likely that Bryant will play a big role in those products as well. For now, he is the person that everyone is chasing, expecting huge things while playing for one of the league’s more popular teams.

At the beginning of the season, it was Jose Abreu all day every day, as everyone saw the other Chicago big bopper as the rookie to collect. With age being a factor, as well as his inevitable cooling down, his cards have settled. Bryant was a much tougher pull and harder to obtain than Abreu, thus leading to ridiculous prices. Abreu’s Superfractor auto may have broken the modern ceiling with its’ sale, but the regular autos arent comparable. Bryant has him.

I have always stood by the fact that prospecting isnt about players like Bryant, who start hot and go from there. Prospecting is about the guys that are under appreciated, of which the label does not fit him at all. People buying in looking for a huge return on investment are looking under the wrong rocks, as its hard to truly see a big boost on a guy that is already selling for the big bucks.

Either way, this guy is on top of the world as we see here, and will likely be there for a while.