Friday, January 3, 2014

2014 Goals and a Basketball Retail Break

After a whirlwind of a 2013 that saw me return to a hobby totally different than when I left it as a kid, I'm so ready for 2014. I have finally learned to control that initial urge to rip every new thing on the shelf and I'm starting to discover myself as a collector. There's a long way to go, but if 2014 is half as exciting as 2013, then I'm in for a treat. Here's what I need to do to make that happen:

1) Spending less money = less regret when purchasing = more fun breaks. Simple concept, gotta adopt it.

2) Find my place in the blogosphere. Trust me, I never intended to be the guy begging you to sign up for a charity break every post. I don't like that guy any more than you do. The break will happen sooner than later and we'll have accomplished something awesome. Beyond that, what do I want View from the Skybox to be? I want it to just be my thoughts on cards, but I need to find a more consistent form of doing that.

3) Be more organized. This applies to everything about collecting for me. I have tried half a dozen organizing methods from separating my cards by teams, sets, years, etc. and haven't yet found one that works best. All I know is that nothing is worse than being disorganized. I've also got to be more organized with keeping track of my trade partners. I made the foolish mistake of trying to trade without creating a database to keep track of who got what and when, and I'm sure I've received some cards and haven't fulfilled my end of the deal. That's a really shitty feeling. Again, if I screwed you over, please have mercy on my conscience and let me know!

4) Be more charitable in my trades. This one will be easy to do. Now that I've got a solid database going and am finally connecting names with blogs, I'm figuring out who collects what. It's a great feeling to pull a card and think "Oh man, so and so will love this!" I want more of that feeling.

Now onto the highlights from a blister pack of 2013-14 NBA Prizm and a fat pack of 2013-14 NBA Hoops I nabbed from Target last night. 

Here was my one red parallel, and it happened to be a should-be PC card of mine! I'm a partial OKC Thunder season ticket holder, so I should be more excited about this Thabo card, but nothing about Thabo excites me.

Did you know this kid is Barry Larkin's son? I had no clue until I read it on the back.

What an awful background to Photoshop onto this card. It's the most generic-looking crowd ever and judging by the hairstyles and fashion, I'd guess the background picture is at least 15 years old.
Luckily for KG, he was traded too late for Panini to apply an awful Photoshop so they did the right thing and left well-enough alone.

Here's one of my favorite Jayhawks of all time. This shot is awesome and it's a good example of the "Gypsy Queen" effect that Panini added this year.

Here's one of my least favorite Jayhawks who I'm still happy to see finding success.

I had to blow this one up. Talk about an awful background. Half of these people HAVE to have been added in. Look at the hermaphrodite under Parker's left elbow. Why is his head almost the same size as Parker's while still being several feet away? Now look in the bottom left corner. Either the kid doing the People's Eyebrow or the token black guy with the phone are added in. Maybe both. WTF Panini?

Just a shitty editing job all around.

He's the next big thing, I'm telling you now.

And here's a gold parallel.

Poor Jeremy Evans of the Utah Jazz takes the cake for an awful editing job by Panini. "... a sports science institute, by touching a mark 12 feet and ______" And what? He touched a mark 12 feet and??? This actually sounds interesting, I want to know! Whoever can fill in the blank with the best ending (fact or fiction) will win my respect.

A blister pack of 2013-14 Prizm comes with 3 packs of 4 cards each, plus a bonus 3 card pack of these red white & blue parallels, so 15 cards for $9.99. A blaster box comes with 7 packs of 4 cards each, so 28 cards for $19.99 with no extra pack. Why does Panini suck at math? It's the same with NBA Hoops. A fat pack has 45 cards for $4.99. A blaster box has 110 cards for $19.99. So I can get 180 cards for the same price as 110 cards of the same product at the same location. Again, WTF Panini!

WTF Panini indeed. These parallels are gaudy and gorgeous. They look way cooler in person.

The light off my scanner made the border look slightly pink, but in reality it's the same crimson as Harper's jersey. If this was MJ instead of Harper, it may be the best looking basketball card of all time. Sadly for Panini, MJ has an exclusive deal with Upper Deck.
In closing, I think 2013 will be remembered as the year of the "Prizm" card. Panini launched 2012-13 NBA Prizm in early 2013 to huge fanfare. They've taken a technology that Topps cornered in 1993 and chose to make no real improvements on over the next 20 years. Go take a look at your 2012 Topps and Bowman Chrome cards, if they're like mine they're starting to curl like it's 2010 all over again. Prizm cards don't curl because they're on a higher quality stock. They sell for about the same price per card (sometimes less) than Topps Chrome, and Panini isn't afraid to switch things up. To capitalize on the success of their first Prizm product, they went overboard and added Prizm cards to damn near every release. They even did two decent MLBPA releases and two okay NFL releases, all in the same year. Hopefully they figure out how to maximize the new gold-standard for shiny and make Topps step up their game.

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