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Old 07-26-2010, 10:49 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The Industry and Moving Forward at Half Strength

The Industry and Moving Forward at Half Strength
July 26, 2010 at 10:44 AM


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I love this part of the year, both for cards and for sports. Training camps are about to open, Baseball season is starting to heat up, and Football cards are finally entering into the meat of the season. Because I am such a huge football fan, I start to get revved up for everything that comes with the start of a new year. New players, new targets, and usually much more news and interesting tidbits to write about. The difference is that this year, at least on the card front, lots has changed, and Im pretty sure its not for the better.

For the first time in close to 20 years, Upper Deck will not be producing licensed football cards. Because they usually produce the best looking cards in football, period, its going to be a long card season having to put up with the monotony spawned by Panini's long line of clones, or Topps' terrible high end offerings. Although I have seen bright spots in Panini's line with some parts of Elite and Classics, they still donít even hold a candle to what was taken away from the market when Upper Deck was forced into using their NCAA license. I said before that licensed Veteran on card autos went from multiple sets in multiple products to NOTHING this year, and its starting to look like that is going to really hurt my propencity to buy cards this year. I am not an NCAA fan, and I will not be buying any of Upper Deck's products due to that fact, so when I start to look at what is coming, boredom sets in.

Donít get me wrong, I am very excited for Topps Chrome and their Flagship product this year, but those are two sets in a calendar of 30 plus. I recently continued my tradition of buying a few boxes of Classics, but I am only doing that because there is nothing else available. I wonder how much longer I can sustain my own interest in a industry that will support and produce some of the most BORING sets in recent memory. I mean, has anyone ever sat down and really looked over the calendar? Itís a complete snooze fest this year without the normal blockbuster products that Upper Deck brings to the table. Sure, SPA will most likely look great as it always does, but the wow factor escapes me because they cant produce cards showing NFL logos or uniforms. SPX looks great for the first time in a few years, yet I am left out in the cold because I donít care which college Sam Bradford went to now that he puts on a Rams uniform for a living.

At least in the past, when Panini would put out set after set that looks exactly like the one before it, I could stand it because I always knew there was something better coming. I donít have that luxury anymore. I am seriously debating whether or not to purchase a case of Topps Chrome and just open it slowly throughout the year. Its really the only bright spot on the entire calendar for me, and its not even scheduled until october. Thatís a long time to wait, especially when you consider that there isnt anything in between to garner interest among the people like me.

With that, I want to list out a few things that Panini and Topps should consider now that there is a big hole left by Upper Deck's departure from the licensed game:

1. Enough With the Foil

I get it, there are a lot of collectors that gravitate towards shiny things like a baby to keys on a keychain. Does that mean that it has to go in every product? I think I counted once or twice that Upper Deck used foilboard last year and it was in subsets NOT THE WHOLE PRODUCT. They did fine, so that means that having good sales numbers is not contingent on the use of that horrid crap. Its amateurish, and looks like it is used to hide terrible design work. In most cases the designs are terrible, so maybe that says something.

2. Start Phasing out Stickers In Boxes That Cost More Than $75

Upper Deck made a name for themselves with more than 8 products last year that featured some sort of on card signatures. Most of those products featured an on card element from veteran and HOF players, usually with great success among collectors. Both Panini and Topps, despite the ridiculous price tags on some of their products, did not find a way to produce even one. Im not asking for the farm overnight, but they have to start somewhere. I would forgive some of the other egregious errors if they at least made an effort. So far, they have shown nothing but laziness.

3. Evaluate Content In Relation to Pricing

Panini is known for giving you 3 crap jerseys and a crap auto for 100 bucks. Itís the backbone of Prestige, Elite, Gridiron Gear, Classics, and just about every other product they sell. Topps isnt much better with their high end products, as Triple Threads gives you two shitty hits for a whopping 180 dollars. I donít even know where to start on that. If they want to move to a different level of sales, they need to figure out ways to lower cost and raise content. Although that seems mutually exclusive, there are ways to do it as evidenced by a number of products from last year's calendar. I think a lot of people out there would be happy to give up their jersey cards if it were replaced with a patch card, or another auto, but even patch cards are becoming commonplace now.

4. Make High End Products Look High End

The reason Exquisite was Exquisite was because of the way it looked. Every card was hard signed. Every card was ornately designed. Every card had an element that differentiated itself from other Upper Deck products during the year. Last year there was not a single jersey card without an auto on it. It was either a patch or nothing. National Treasures is completely stickers with few exceptions on the rookie front, and the rest looked like an over priced version of Donruss Threads. Complete poop. Triple Threads is even worse in that department because of how terrible the cards look. A lot could be solved with a little bit of reimagining when it comes to the way the high end products are produced.

5. Less is More

Panini has become famous for using weird lines and oddly placed elements on a card front. Topps has become famous for trying to stuff 89 relic windows onto a card front. Why? Topps low end products are wildly successful because Topps never tries to do more than is needed. SPA was the best looking product because Upper Deck wasnít afraid to use negative space to their advantage. You know that addage "KISS - Keep it simple stupid"? That most definitely applies here. There is nothing prettier than a field shot and a border. No need for a photoshop bonanza. Just give me the player and the field, and let the rest speak for itself. This is overkill. This is worse. This is makes my head hurt. This is more of what we need.

6. Parallels have no place in a mid to high end product

You know why Chrome can use parallels? Because for 50 bucks a box, its catering to a different audience. When you start getting up into the products like Limited and Platinum, there is not a need for 123 parallels of one card. Panini has a formula, and that formula makes me want to take a human life. You have the normal card, the numbered normal card with 10 parallels, the normal card with a jersey, the normal card with a patch, the normal card with an auto, the normal card with an auto and a jersey, the numbered card with a patch, and then ten parallels of that card. Is any of that necessary? Not at all. If the product cost nothing, then fine, parallel the #@#@#@#@ out of it. But if that product is National Treasures then there is a MAJOR problem. Did someone see that any given player in Triple Threads can have have up to 3,500 cards? That is parallel hell. How about developing unique content instead of just stuffing parallel after parallel into the set? Interesting idea, no?

7. Use Player Pictures To Your Advantage

Cards look better when the subject of the card is the focus, not the jersey pieces. Panini has gotten MUCH better at this, but Topps is a complete EPIC FAIL. To the Topps design team, its more important to have 73 different relic pieces than it is to have a player picture bigger than a pinky nail. We collect cards for the players on them, relics are the add ons. Not the other way around. I actually avoid buying cards with crappy pictures, even if they feature everything else I am looking for. The picture can make or break a card, and its time for the companies to start considering that.

8. Re-evaluate Where Scrub Autos Fit In to the Industry

I get it. The best players charge out the ass for signatures. Even the rookies charge a ridiculous cost per card. Thatís a given. But, when I pay a bunch of money for a box, and the box hit is an undrafted free agent, I swear off buying more of that product unless there is something else in the box to make up for it. The problem is that when the cost of obtaining autographs is rising at rapid rates, the need for cheap autos is essential. However, then you consider #3 on this list, you are taking even more out of the products than just star autos. Not every box can be a winner, but every box needs SOMETHING. Put the sweet patch cards in the boxes with the scrubs. Redo seeding in the products that feature scrub autos as box hits. If there is a scrub in the box, give it value SOME other way. Thatís where the 1/1 parallels need to go. Panini has actually done a better job of seeding the boxes with the crap autos, but there is still a lot of untapped potential that could be used.

9. Offer a Loyalty Program That EVERYONE Can Participate In

I have no idea why this wasnít done before, and I am not talking about the diamond club for UD where only the whales get the preferential treatment. Im talking about getting something in the works that rewards people who buy the cards that the companies want them to buy. If the companies showed appreciation to the customers on every level, it would give us another reason not to go to ebay for singles. For example, for every X number of packs or boxes, give me a shot at an exclusive unreleased card. Offer lotteries for good prizes. There is so much here and it is completely unexplored.

10. Find a Way For The Best Common Box Hit To Be Worth More Than the Price of a Box

If I can go on eBay and buy the best card in the set for less than the cost of a box, something is wrong. A lot of this is a result of the numbering on the card, the strength of the rookie class, or even the looks of the cards, so its time to make the best rookie hit worth enough for people to consider spending money on the unopened product. 1/1s only go so far in a product.

11. Speaking of 1/1s, Make Them Important Again

Triple Threads features over 4,000 1/1s in the product. Many of them being crap parallels or printing plates. That doesnít give me any reason to want them. Upper Deck was notorioous for making most of their 1/1s worth the time of the collectors who bought their products. Especially high end. If companies want to create the chase element, learn from rule #6 and take the one of one in a brand new direction. If it says 1/1 on the card, it needs to bring something than no other card brings in the set.

12. Enough With The Lame Subset Names

In most Panini products, all of the autos are coming from the subsets in the set. But when the subsets have terrible names as well as terrible designs (like they usually do), the whole product suffers. It is paramount to create a theme for the set and build on it, not just throw words together and hope they make sense. Why do you even need a name? Cant you just throw different player pics with different designs on it and let us sort it out?

13. Hire Some Consultants

Products are conceived months, sometimes years in advance, which gives ample time to consult with people before heading to production. As I have said before, I can think of no less than 500 people who would do it for free, myself included. I honestly think that I could easily offer some valuable advice before something like this hits the production line.

Thatís all I can think of right now, but im sure there is a lot more that the blog community can offer.

Sports Cards Uncensored: The Industry and Moving Forward at Half Strength
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Old 07-26-2010, 11:08 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The Industry and Moving Forward at Half Strength
July 26, 2010 at 10:44 AM


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9. Offer a Loyalty Program That EVERYONE Can Participate In

I have no idea why this wasnít done before, and I am not talking about the diamond club for UD where only the whales get the preferential treatment. Im talking about getting something in the works that rewards people who buy the cards that the companies want them to buy. If the companies showed appreciation to the customers on every level, it would give us another reason not to go to ebay for singles. For example, for every X number of packs or boxes, give me a shot at an exclusive unreleased card. Offer lotteries for good prizes. There is so much here and it is completely unexplored.
This is a good read. I would like to point out that Sportkings has what I consider a loyalty program right now. You can redeem so many boxes for special "exclusive, unreleased" cards. I'm hoping they build on this concept. It's the future of the hobby I believe.

Currently, if you send them 6 empty Sportkings Series D boxes, they will send you a card numbered to 10. If you send them 24 empty SK D boxes, they will send you a 1/1 card and if you send them 40 empty SK D boxes, they will send you a double-sided 1/1 card.
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Old 07-26-2010, 12:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Currently if you buy 6 Sportkings boxes, you are likely to lose about $600 on your purchase. The numbered card they send you of Warren Sapp should pull back around $3. If I open 40 boxes I then wont be able to afford the postage to send the box lids in because I LOST so much money buying the garbage. Might as well have Dr Price pull my teeth out instead. Also, you talk about a company with boring hideous designs, Dr Price has that wrapped up with his products hand down. Id rather look at Panini products all day long ahead of cards with no player pictures, autographs signed where you cannot even see them (St Pierre SK), and painted boxing photos. I dont think Sportkings/Ringside/Famous Fabrics/ etc etc would be the answer to this guys needs.
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Old 07-26-2010, 12:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Is Richard McWilliam writing this blog? Sure seems like a lot pros for a company that ruined the industry to this point. Who do you think introduced overproduced jersey cards and 1/1's? Who introduced the mass production of sticker autos and hits in boxes that get you back $5 of the retail price? Who started producing high end that held no re-sale value or delivered less than stellar breaks? UD is no better than any of the other companies. If you are tired of boring designs for Classics and Elite and some of the other products, nothing has changed. Those designs have been similar for years. If McWilliam isn't writing this than someone sure is gargling on something.
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Old 07-26-2010, 12:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I saw the title and knew who wrote this piece of sh!t. I would really like to know why Blowout posts this crap on here. This guy and his outlook on the hobby is not what is needed right now on this hobby message board!
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Old 07-26-2010, 01:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by mwheeler27 View Post
This is a good read. I would like to point out that Sportkings has what I consider a loyalty program right now. You can redeem so many boxes for special "exclusive, unreleased" cards. I'm hoping they build on this concept. It's the future of the hobby I believe.

Currently, if you send them 6 empty Sportkings Series D boxes, they will send you a card numbered to 10. If you send them 24 empty SK D boxes, they will send you a 1/1 card and if you send them 40 empty SK D boxes, they will send you a double-sided 1/1 card.
Thats exactly what I was talking about.
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Old 07-26-2010, 04:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Currently if you buy 6 Sportkings boxes, you are likely to lose about $600 on your purchase. The numbered card they send you of Warren Sapp should pull back around $3. If I open 40 boxes I then wont be able to afford the postage to send the box lids in because I LOST so much money buying the garbage. Might as well have Dr Price pull my teeth out instead. Also, you talk about a company with boring hideous designs, Dr Price has that wrapped up with his products hand down. Id rather look at Panini products all day long ahead of cards with no player pictures, autographs signed where you cannot even see them (St Pierre SK), and painted boxing photos. I dont think Sportkings/Ringside/Famous Fabrics/ etc etc would be the answer to this guys needs.
Looks like I'm going to have to prove somebody else wrong.

So SK D boxes are retailing for around $85 right now. Of course you can find them a bit cheaper and a bit more expensive depending where you shop.

So 6 boxes at $85 each comes to a total of $510. Yet you say, and I quote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by cruiserdaddy7 View Post
Currently if you buy 6 Sportkings boxes, you are likely to lose about $600 on your purchase.
Hmmm...Looks like someone else either has absolutely no idea what they're talking about, or they are extremely poor at math. In cruiserdaddy's case, I'm hoping it's not both. Even if you give every single card away in those six boxes, you will only lose $510, not $600. There is no way on earth you're going to loss close to the $600 you falsely claim.

You're just another hater with mindless mudslinging comments that carry no value at all. Honestly, you're not to be taken seriously either as posts of yours like this one make absolutely ZERO sense.

Once you figure out the facts, and you post accurately regarding those facts, maybe, just maybe, people will begin to take you seriously again. You have a long road to haul in front of you though. Good luck!

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Originally Posted by deltapi1049 View Post
Thats exactly what I was talking about.
Yep...Sportkings is ahead of the curve in yet another way.

Don't worry...the bigger companies are sure to follow suit yet again. They're getting better at copying SK's ideas.
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Old 07-26-2010, 04:27 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Well say you pre-ordered 6 boxes at $90, thats $540. Unless you like the current price which reflects the second release from Price to drop in a row, which it will continue to drop further because the cards hold no VALUE. There is only one maybe two fools out there who seriously collect Price products, care to guess who one is? So now your down $540, then you have to pay postage to mail those lids in, and fees on eBay to fixed price list cards that wont sell. There is your $600. UNLESS, you can pull a MANUFACTURED patch card that some clown will overpay for, any clue who that is? Sportkings is ahead of the curve you say, yet why do their products CONTINUE TO DROP?
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Old 07-26-2010, 04:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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And in regards to being taken seriously, you and Dr Price are easily the least liked individuals on these boards ASIDE from people in the scamming section. You collect and spend money on a product and company who people flat out dont care about. You need to stop trying to convince folks that these products are good. The FACTS are showing a CONSISTENT downward trend in both the singles AND the unopened product. The products have very little put into the card design. Hey lets make one silver and one gold and say the gold are rare. Well do people even care other than Wheeler? Lets make a bunch of parallels and say they are rare but nobody cares also. We wont serial number them because we know nobody even want the print run of 10 and nobody is dumb enough to open enough of our product to find them all. Basic stuff to 99% of board members except for one. The number of different people in here not liking these products should tell you alot. And as others have said, the rest that may have are turned off by the actions of you and the owner of this company. Notice he isnt in here anymore playing nice with you. Ship was sinking and Dr Price was smart enough to bail and leave his little cabin boy behind.
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Old 07-26-2010, 05:10 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Just admit it, you're bad at math.

And as far as your other false claims...sticks and stones my friend, sticks and stones.
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Old 07-26-2010, 05:49 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I havent seen other products put hits in a $90 box that can bank in the thousands have you? Not even exqusite can do that!! These cuts are selling for a lot!!! I agree with wheeler 100% in everything he says!!!
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Old 07-26-2010, 06:03 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Army-
'Yes I have seen YEARS of a product the sells for UNDER $90 a box that has hits worth THOUSANDS. Its called LEGENDARY CUTS BASEBALL. Ever heard of that one? 2007 Used to be about $50-60 a box, probably still is. Ruth cuts bring good money. 2 cut autographs a case as well. Please make that argument a little more difficult to debunk.
Wheeler- It appears you have turned one to the dark side.
In regards to you calling me a hater, not quite true. Unlike most I have bought the products in case form, so I do have an educated opinion on these. Whether one buys them or not, we all can have an opinion.
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Old 07-26-2010, 06:10 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I decide to read this thread and guess what...another Sportkings argument in another thread. This is really getting old.

For what it's worth, I will miss a couple of Upper Deck's products, but they produced too many different brands. If each company Topps, Panini, and UD would only make about 5 products each at different price points it would be better than what happens currently.
If Panini's football line is like their basketball, the first 3 or 4 products are mostly forgettable. Topps has trouble doing a good high end product and Upper Deck is in the position they are in because of their own doing. I guess I will continue to live vicariously through everyone else!
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Old 07-26-2010, 06:12 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by cruiserdaddy7 View Post
Army-
'Yes I have seen YEARS of a product the sells for UNDER $90 a box that has hits worth THOUSANDS. Its called LEGENDARY CUTS BASEBALL. Ever heard of that one? 2007 Used to be about $50-60 a box, probably still is. Ruth cuts bring good money. 2 cut autographs a case as well. Please make that argument a little more difficult to debunk.
Wheeler- It appears you have turned one to the dark side.
In regards to you calling me a hater, not quite true. Unlike most I have bought the products in case form, so I do have an educated opinion on these. Whether one buys them or not, we all can have an opinion.
How many hits did Legendary Cuts Baseball have that could bank in the thousands? I know SK D has quite a few, and they only made 9000 boxes. How many boxes did Legendary Cuts Baseball make?

Cruiserdaddy, "please make that argument a little more difficult to debunk". Let's see how educated your opinion really is.
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Old 07-26-2010, 06:18 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Any time I opened a box of Legendary Cuts at retail price from ANY year, I felt like it would have been more fun and equal value to just set that money on fire.
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Old 07-26-2010, 08:00 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Wheeler,
UD actually had many cards from the set pulling in the thousands. Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, Paige, Cobb, Foxx, Johnson and I could go on. Sportkings has 1 goofy guy who goes around and offers absurd amounts and people know it. Legendary Cuts singles have and did have ALOT of action in the bidding process. Sportkings not so much. One good thing about Sportkings is I know that if I have a manufactured patch and want someone to offer way too high an amount they could never recoup, I know who to go to. Single cuts, Dual cuts, quad cuts etc. I could name TONS of legendary cuts cards that brought over 1k. Sure some of the boxes stunk, but to STATS above, have you hit a Warren Sapp jersey for Sportkings yet? Thats about an $80 loss, atleast with legendary cuts your fire would burn longer and cheaper my friend.
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Old 07-26-2010, 08:22 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Wheeler,
UD actually had many cards from the set pulling in the thousands. Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, Paige, Cobb, Foxx, Johnson and I could go on. Sportkings has 1 goofy guy who goes around and offers absurd amounts and people know it. Legendary Cuts singles have and did have ALOT of action in the bidding process. Sportkings not so much. One good thing about Sportkings is I know that if I have a manufactured patch and want someone to offer way too high an amount they could never recoup, I know who to go to. Single cuts, Dual cuts, quad cuts etc. I could name TONS of legendary cuts cards that brought over 1k. Sure some of the boxes stunk, but to STATS above, have you hit a Warren Sapp jersey for Sportkings yet? Thats about an $80 loss, atleast with legendary cuts your fire would burn longer and cheaper my friend.
How many boxes did Legendary Cuts Baseball produce?
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Old 07-26-2010, 08:53 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I havent seen other products put hits in a $90 box that can bank in the thousands have you? Not even exqusite can do that!! These cuts are selling for a lot!!! I agree with wheeler 100% in everything he says!!!
Wheeler someones drinking the koolaid!!! Actually this years Sportkings has been very nice so far and it is very reasonable. Even a bad box and you get at least half your money back from what I have seen. So maybe 250 buck loss at worst....cruiserdaddy why argue with him, he hasn't really lost this arguement yet.

And the /10 card will get you some decent coin don't hate.
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Old 07-26-2010, 09:08 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I agree that the designs of Sportkings has lacked in some areas, however the athletes that have signed have been impressive. Besides how is the company going to make money if every box is percieved to be worth more than what you paid. You are buying a lottery ticket. Only difference is you get to keep something if you lose. Economics 101. People gots to make money. Thats why we call it a HOBBY!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 07-26-2010, 09:15 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Just admit it, you're bad at math.

And as far as your other false claims...sticks and stones my friend, sticks and stones.
The other $60 he's missing is the charge to clean the barf off of the carpet after he saw the design of the cards
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Old 07-26-2010, 09:17 PM   #21 (permalink)
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The other $60 he's missing is the charge to clean the barf off of the carpet after he saw the design of the cards
LOL...I know some people don't like the designs. Others happen to like them.

Can anyone deny this is a great looking card?:
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Old 07-26-2010, 09:48 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Hey wheeler just an fyi the 1/1 of the guy who played tarzan (lee whisemueller sp?)has been pulled here in charleston, wasnt me unfortunately.
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Old 07-26-2010, 10:43 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Tell them to put it on eBay and ask an insane price and someone named Wheeler will come swooping in to buy it. Better hope Wheeler sees it, because nobody else will want it. Should I be impressed with the signers? The St Pierre autographs you cant even see? The Golic autos that dont sell. The $20 Craig autos and $15 Rodman autos? The Warren Sapp game used, love those! I get someone has to make money. Problem is, its Dr Price making it all. Just look at Ringside boxing. HAS TO BE the worst value of the year.
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Old 07-26-2010, 10:47 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwheeler27 View Post
LOL...I know some people don't like the designs. Others happen to like them.

Can anyone deny this is a great looking card?:
It looks like a first grader designed it
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Old 07-26-2010, 11:25 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Tell them to put it on eBay and ask an insane price and someone named Wheeler will come swooping in to buy it. Better hope Wheeler sees it, because nobody else will want it. Should I be impressed with the signers? The St Pierre autographs you cant even see? The Golic autos that dont sell. The $20 Craig autos and $15 Rodman autos? The Warren Sapp game used, love those! I get someone has to make money. Problem is, its Dr Price making it all. Just look at Ringside boxing. HAS TO BE the worst value of the year.
I think you're still in need of that hug.
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