Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sports Illustrated UCLA Basketball Report


Last night, while I was on reading my Twitter timeline, I noticed a tweet about the UCLA Basketball program. It was a Sports Illustrated report that went behind the scenes of the program and found out there was a 'drug' problem. At first, I thought this was going to shatter the program and there would have to be sanctions against the team that would affect them for a couple of years. The report wasn't going to be made available until this morning, so I had to wait to read it.

I checked my twitter timeline again, right before I went to sleep and noticed this tweet from Bryan Fischer:
That was good news because I thought it was going to be worse than the initial report.

If you would like to read the entire story click the link below:


This story appears in the March 5, 2012 issue of Sports Illustrated. 
On the evening of Nov. 6, 2007, legendary former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden spoke to about 600 Bruins student-athletes and coaches. The occasion was the debut of The Wooden Academy, a seminar series in which former UCLA athletes and coaches returned to campus to describe how the tenets from Wooden's Pyramid of Success had helped them in college or life.

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/magazine/02/28/ucla/index.html#ixzz1nnTElajG

To sum up the whole story:

Ben Howland is an idiot and let certain things go too far. College students acted like college students by going to parties and drinking when they were told not to do so by their coaches. Reeves Nelson was a main problem for the UCLA program and Howland should have kicked him off the team a year earlier. Howland let Nelson get away with almost anything. It's pretty much stuff that a UCLA basketball fan like myself knew already. Sports classes at sports management colleges can teach you why athletes have significantly higher rates of heavy drinking than their non-athlete peers.

I find it ironic that Reeves Nelson made the cover of SI a couple months ago.

Thanks to Sam Strong, a UCLA student and intern at Grantland, for keeping me up to date on the whole situation last night.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Upcoming Appearance - Robert Horry


Meet Robert Horry!

March 31, 2012
Time: 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

$29 - Flats 8x10 or smaller
$39 - Larger flats
$49 - Balls & Jerseys
$15 - Inscriptions
$10 - PSA Authentication (per item)

Frank & Sons
19649 E. San Jose Ave.
City of Industry, CA 91748

Presented by OC Sports Cards
Booth #220

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USC Basketball Giveaway - Maurice Jones Bobblehead


This weekend is the season finale of the USC Men's Basketball team at the Galen Center. They take on Washington St. at 3:00 pm. This is the final game at home for USC before they begin the Pac-12 conference tournament at Staples Center next week.

USC is giving away free Maurice Jones Bobbleheads for fans that attend the game. Jones is USC's current starting point guard and only a sophomore. Last time USC had a giveaway only fans in their USC gear were given a Harold Minor bobblehead. I don't know if that will be the case this weekend, but just a heads up.

Saturday, March 3rd
3:00 p.m.
Washington State vs. USC

Galen Center
3400 S. Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90007


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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Upcoming Appearance - James Worthy


Meet James Worthy!

$49 - Small (Flats 8x10 and smaller)
$59 - Medium (Flats larger than 8x10 up to 16x20, Mini balls, toys)
$69 - Large (Basketballs, jerseys, shorts, art work, flats larger than 16x20)
$25 Inscriptions (up to 5 words) 

First 100 tickets will be VIP line pass tickets.

March 10th, 2012
11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Frank & Son's Show
19649 E San jose Ave
City Of Industry, CA 91748


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Kobe Bryant Breaks the All-Time All-Star Scoring Record


Kobe Bryant was only 19 points shy of surpassing Micheal Jordan's All-Star record of 262 points.

Kobe went 5-for-6 with 11 points in the first quarter. He was looking like the early favorite to win MVP of the game until Durant & Westbrook took over in the second quarter. Kobe tied Bob Pettit last year when he was named All-Star MVP for the fourth time in his career.

Kobe finished the first half with 14 points.

Kobe wasted no time breaking the record.  But the foul that sent Kobe to the free throw line, right before tying Michael Jordan, also gave him a bloody nose. Someone tell Dwyane Wade that this is just an exhibition game.



Kobe broke the record on a fast break dunk that was started by Kevin Durant's steal. (Maybe Durant will pass him up in a decade)

Congratulations to the Black Mamba! Just another milestone for Kobe.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Jeff Haynes & @jose3030

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Mailday - Dodgers, UCLA, USA Baseball & More


The was a nice mailday that came in one package. I enjoy opening up my mail and seeing multiple cards for my collection. I purchased a couple of these cards from COMC and the rest were gathered together by my friend Dan. I traded him a WWE Blu-Ray Disc featuring his favorite wrestler Shawn Michaels.


The first card is a 2011 Topps Lineage 1975 Andre Ethier Mini Relic. These mini cards are beginning to grow on me. They are unique and the old-school look of the cards are appealing to me. The colors of pink, green, and purple don't really go well together.

The second Dodgers card in the package was a 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter James Loney Relic. The Loney card isn't a typical jersey, but it's a piece of a bat. Allen & Ginter relics are one of my favorites. I love the border design every year and the card is technically a 'mini' inside of the border. 


Some old-school UCLA Football Bruin players. The first is a 2008 Donruss Gridiron Gear DeShaun Foster #/250. I like the player timeline idea because it pictures the player in their NFL uniform and their college uniform. Foster was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the 2nd round of the 2003 draft. He played for the Panthers until 2007 before signing with the 49ers for one year. He hasn't played in the NFL since 2008.

The second card is a 2006 Press Pass legends Marcedes Lewis. His senior year at UCLA, he won the John Mackey Award for best TE. The Jacksonville Jaguars drafted Lewis in the first round of the 2006 draft. He didn't have a breakout year until 2010 where he had 700 receiving yards and 10 TDs. He failed to catch a touchdown pass this past season.


Here are a couple of ex-UCLA Bruin Baseball players. The first is a Gerrit Cole Bowman Sterling relic. Cole was drafted first overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2011 MLB Draft. He was originally drafted by the Yankees in 2008 but decided to play in college for UCLA. He helped UCLA reach the College World Series in 2010 but lost to South Carolina.

His former teammate and catcher at UCLA was Steve Rodriguez. The first card is a Bowman Platinum Autograph Relic #/740 and the second is a Topps USA Triple Relic Autograph #/219. Rodriguez was drafted in the 15th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Rodriguez had the opportunity to catch the first (Gerrit Cole) and third (Trevor Bauer) overall picks in the 2011 draft. I played in a summer league baseball game against Rodriguez during my senior year.


My favorite card in the package was this 2010 Bowman Chrome Mike Zuanich. Mike is an alumni from the same high school I attended. He was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 28th round of the 2008 draft. When I played baseball in high school, Zuanich would attend practice and help out the coaching staff when he had free time. It was a pleasure watching Zuanich hit during batting practice because the ball would land in places that none of us high school kids could reach.


My Josh Johnson collection is slowly starting to grow. I picked up a 2007 Essential Elements Josh Johnson dual relic and a 2010 Allen & Ginter Josh Johnson relic. Neither card is numbered but the Ginter jersey piece is two colors because of the black stripe. Johnson had a short 2011 season due to injury but I hope he comes back to Cy Young form. He's one of the most underrated pitchers in the game today.


I haven't really been adding Joe Johnson relics lately but Dan was holding this card for a couple months. It's a 2010-11 Certified Fabric of the Game relic. The design of this card is a lot better than some of the other sets released in Certified. I like that the jersey pieces spell out "Hawks" instead of the standard square piece.


My first Julio Jones card in my Falcons patch collection. It's a three color (white, black, red) patch with some stitching from the jersey number. It's really hard to see the red in the patch but it's visible in the top right corner. The card isn't numbered which I find odd since it's a patch card. Jones had a really slow start in his rookie year and I expected a little more from him, but he did have some amazing touchdown catches towards the end of the year. Matt Ryan needs to start looking his way more next season.


The final card is a 2006 SPx Swatch Supremacy Drew Brees relic. This was a card that I picked up for only $1 and who wouldn't pick up a Drew Bree for that cheap. The card is for trade, so if you're interested let me know. 

I'd like to thank Dan for the awesome trade. Thanks to everyone else for reading.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Product Review: 2012 Topps Baseball Series 1


Topps Series 1 returns for 2012 with a celebration of the greatest Golden Moments of Major League Baseball. Last year the theme for Topps Baseball was all about diamonds. This year's theme is gold, and who doesn't love gold?

Hobby Configuration: 36 packs per box. 10 cards per pack.

2012 Topps Series 1 Baseball Product Highlights:
  • 330-card base set (265 veterans, 30 rookies, 10 league leaders, six award winners, five Record Breakers, four World Series Highlights, ten active stat leaders).
  • One autograph or relic card per hobby box
  • Base set parallels: Golden Moments (1:4)
  • 1987 Topps Minis (1:4)
  • Golden Moments (1:4)
  • Golden Greats (1:4)
  • Classic Walk-Offs (1:8)
  • Gold Stndard (1:6)
  • Gold Futures (1:6)
  • Timeless Talents (1:6)
  • Golden Giveaway Codes (1:6)

Base: 



A 330 card set including veterans, rookies, league leaders, World Series highlights, award winners, record breakers, and active stat leaders. Even though I didn’t pull any, there are some great Short Prints including Gatorade showers, mascot, and dugout variations. There are some great action shots of players celebrating or chasing after a fly ball. It makes the cards stand out more since it’s not just them standing there waiting for a ground ball. I didn’t really enjoy seeing certain players in former uniforms that they no longer play for and it could bring up bad memories for certain fans like the Dodgers. I don’t know anyone who would want to pull a Andruw Jones card in 2012 with him in his Dodgers uniform. I did like the highlights from the World Series that were featured. It’s a nice reminder for collectors to recognize the key moments in the recent postseason. 



Design: 


The design slightly changes year after year but I enjoy the new look. The base cards are simple with not too much information on the front of the card and there’s a nice border with the team colors around the photo which was missing from last year’s set. 



The Golden Moments parallels look better in person. It almost looks like the players are popping out of these cards with the shiny gold all around them. 




The best looking design has to be the Classic Walk-Offs. There are three pictures on the front of the card with only one of them being in color. The team logos stand out since the entire card has a grey background. 




I know this product is all about Gold but Topps could’ve come up with another name for this Golden Moments insert. It’s the same name they used for their base parallels. There could have been more added to this set. The bottom of the card looks like they ran out of ink but are good for autographs. Not really a big fan of this design. I enjoy the back of the card more since there are more colors and the stories are amazing. 




Gold Standard inserts remind me of the Panini Gold Standard product. They almost have an identical design. This set recognizes the greats that have accomplished a milestone like 3,000 hits, 500 home runs, or 5,000 strikeouts. If you look closely at the coin, there’s an inscription of which close they joined during their major league baseball career. It’s a little difficult to see the faint writing of the milestone in the background. There are two black boarders on this card that make it more appealing. 




The Gold Futures set has a lot going on when you first look at it. The bright team color makes the card standout. The black border almost reminds me of the Bowman set. Not many cards have the player’s jersey number on the front anymore and Topps does a nice job to include that for these future stars. That also helps because the average baseball fan might not know about these young stars. 




The set that doesn’t really make sense is the Timeless Talents. It pairs two players from the past to the present. They have an American feel to them since there’s red, white, and blue on the front. I don’t really see the need for dual player inserts anymore. Some of the pairings don’t even make sense like Chase Utley with Dustin Ackley or Jose Bautista with Frank Robinson. It’s a little too early to compare some of these players to Hall of Famers. 




The Golden Greats set is a 75 card set, but the strange thing about the set is that they only recognize 15 players. That means each player has 5 different cards. The card would look better with a foil medallion like Topps used in the Gold Standard set. The yellow fake coin isn’t doing much for the card. It’s good to read about the amazing stories some of these greats had especially since most of us weren’t around to witness them. 




I’m not a big fan of mini cards but the 1987 mini cards is my favorite set. The cards have the original 1987 backs and were executed well. They also don’t include any retired players.


There is a chance to receive more prizes with the Topps Golden Giveaway and Prime 9 Home Run Legend programs. 
On a weekly basis, Topps will announce the “Prime 9 Home Run Legend of the Week." Collectors holding the corresponding Prime 9 Redemption card for that week (each card is denoted by a Week number (1, 2, 3, etc.) can bring the card to their local participating HTA store and redeem it for an exclusive limited edition Topps Chrome Refractor. {More Info}
For more information about the Topps Golden Giveaway visit: http://golden.toppscards.com/.
  • Find special code cards inserted 1:6 packs!
  • Every code unlocks a golden chance to win prizes!
  • Unlock exclusive die-cut cards, unlock ONE OF ONE gold-embedded die-cut cards, unlock golden digital coins to collect and win prizes!


Topps added some new hits included World Series rings and pins. They did a great job with these because it's not your average jersey or autograph card. The card is really thick and they took their time making each and everyone of these. This is a Mike Schmidt 1980 World Series Pin numbered out of 736.

Fun:
Topps Baseball is always a fun product to open. There are 36 packs to open and many base, parallels, and inserts to collect. I enjoy reading the stories on the back of the cards when I get some free time. It educates me on the history of the game. It's a product for kids and adults to enjoy.

Value:
You know what to expect from Topps Baseball every year. It's an affordable product and with a chance at autographs of Ken Griffey Jr., Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax, and Albert Pujols it has to make anyone intrigued.  There is another program beside the Prime 9 Home Run Legend and Golden Giveaway. The Gold Rush Wrapper Redemption which ends on February 29th.

FINAL RATINGS
Base - 5/5

Design - 4/5
Fun - 5/5
Value - 4/5

Total - 18/20

What I liked about the product?
There are many incentives that come along with Topps Series 1 including the Gold giveaway codes which give collectors a chance to win more prizes. Walk-offs are one of the most exciting parts of the game of baseball and Topps did a great job by including classic walk-offs this year. The 1987 mini cards were executed well and would be a nice looking set once completed. A chance to pull a World Series ring or pin rather than the typical jerseys and autographs is great for collectors.


What I didn't like about the product?
There are a few things that just don't look right. Andruw Jones in a Dodgers uniform, Vladimir Guerrero in a Expos uniform, and Johan Santana in a Twins uniform shouldn't be pictured in 2012. I understand that Topps is doing active leaders but none of those players play in those respective leagues anymore. The timeless talents set doesn't really make sense with some of the pairings. Chase Utley is still playing and Dustin Ackley hasn't really accomplished much in his one year of playing professionally. It's too early to start comparing some players like Jose Bautista and Matt Kemp to Hall of Famers like Frank Robinson and Willies Mays. The last thing was the names of some of the sets. They were almost identical to past products from other card companies.

I will be giving away some of the cards in future contests. 

I'd like to thank Topps for giving me the opportunity to review this product. For more information on all their products, visit them at www.topps.com.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Upcoming Appearance - Matt Kemp


Meet Matt Kemp!

April 28th, 2012
Time: TBA

Small: $49
Medium: $59
Large: $69
Inscriptions: $25 (Up to 5 words)

Frank & Son
19649 E. San Jose Ave.
City of Industry, CA 91748

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Contest Prizes From SportsCardBlog.Net


I would like to thank Kevin, over at SportsCardBlog.net, for running one of my favorite blogs. It's one of the best trading card blogs on the internet.

I've been busy the past couple of weeks and haven't been able to post some of my latest additions to my collection.

About a month ago, SCB had a simple contest that required readers to comment on some product reviews. For each product I gave my opinion about, I would gain one entry. A total of 4 entries for me.

I received a prize pack of SP Authentic basketball cards and a few hits from the Upper Deck reviews/mini breaks.

2011 UD SP Game Used Bobby Convey GU
2011-12 Upper Deck Hockey Series I Clarke MacArthur GU
2011-12 Upper Deck SP Authentic Jordan Brand Classic Josh Selby GU
2011-12 Upper Deck SP Authentic By The Letter Darrell Griffith Auto
2011-12 Upper Deck SP Authentic Jordan Brand Classic Tristan Thompson GU

All cards are available, so if you're interested in anything send me an e-mail.




Kevin also included this awesome 2011 Absolute Memorabilia Tony Gonzalez patch #/25 for my personal collection. In return, I sent him a couple Mike Williams relics for his Buccaneers collection.


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Super Bowl Contest Prize From The Cardboard Connection


Thanks to The Cardboard Connection for the contest.

Before the 2012 NFL playoffs began, I predicted who I thought would make it to the AFC/NFC Title games and who would go on to win the Super Bowl.

For some odd reason, I choose the New England Patriots to win it all. I just had a feeling that Tom Brady wouldn't disappoint, plus everyone else picked either the Green Bay Packers or New Orleans Saints.

Since the New York Giants decided to rain on my parade, it came down to the tiebreaker to decide who would come home with the nice prize package. Luckily for me, I choose the lower number for total points in the Super Bowl.

The Ryan Mathews autograph is for my brother's Chargers collection. The rest of the cards below are available for trade.

2011 Topps Legends Aspiring Legacies Greg Little GU
2011 Topps Legends Aspiring Legacies Edmond Gates GU
2011 Topps Legends Da'Rel Scott Auto
Rookie cards including Andy Dalton, Ryan Mallet, Von Miller, & A.J. Green


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2011 MLB Season-Long Contest Prize From Sports Card Forum


SCF introduced a new season-long contest for the 2011 MLB season called Diamond Challenge. It consisted of five different contest that included the All-Star Game, Home Run Derby, Regular Season Award Predictions, Playoff Predictions, and World Series Predictions.

The grand prize for this contest was a Mickey Mantle GU #/50, which is what I was hoping to win. In the end, I finished in 4th place and won a 2010 Bowman Chrome Donavan Tate Autograph.

I completely forgot about this contest since it was a couple months ago. Hopefully my predictions for the 2012 season are better than 2011 because I have the Dodgers winning it all!

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