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Posted on January 30, 2010 – 11:10 am | Author: chrisolds
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The transformation of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling continues on a weekly basis as the company is under new leadership in Hulk Hogan (Am I writing in kayfabe? I’m not sure.) and there’s been an influx of new talent as the familiar names evolve.
One such evolution (Oh, wait, is that a WWE-exclusive word?) is with long-time TNA main-eventer A.J. Styles, who is now managed by “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair. The 16-time world champ’s flair for being a limousine riding, jet-flying (… long-time fans know the rest) is being applied to Styles — so much so that the TNA champion is nearly emulating Flair in his demeanor — just short of some “wooooos.”
Fans who watched Thursday night’s TNA iMPACT! show were subjected to a promo where Styles was introduced to an array of fine custom-made suits in preparation for a champion’s vacation, and Flair got in a chuckle-worthy “Space Mountain” reference in within miles of the “other” Orlando, Fla., landmark.
And the third wheel in the promo? She’s someone that collectors might recognize — she is one of the Topps Rip Girls, Rachael Tinsley.
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Posted on January 29, 2010 – 9:23 pm | Author: chrisolds
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By CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Baseball Editor
While Upper Deck declined to comment to Beckett Media regarding its two recently released baseball card sets that feature MLB players in uniforms displaying MLB logos, the Carlsbad, Calif.-based company sent a letter to its distributors on Friday defending its products after MLB Properties issued a statement Friday morning that said MLBP will “vigorously use all legal means to protect the intellectual property of Major League Baseball and its member Clubs.”
Upper Deck’s letter was in response to a letter sent to distributors by MLB Properties on Friday asking them to not sell the sets that are in question — 2009 Ultimate Collection and 2009 Signature Stars as well as the forthcoming 2010 Upper Deck set.
“Although MLBP contends in its letter that Upper Deck may not lawfully use images of professional baseball players in uniform, there is absolutely no law to support this position,” said Upper Deck in its letter, which also tells distributors that it has “reached out to MLBP” and offered to meet next week on the subject.
The letter also promises its own legal response: “If we cannot do so, then the issue will be resolved in court.”
More after the jump …
Posted on January 29, 2010 – 7:59 pm | Author: chrisolds
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Saturday might be normally reserved for “Hockey Night in Canada” but this week Saturday also marks National Hockey Card Day for Canadian fans.
As part of its celebration, Upper Deck is giving away thousands of NHCD card packs free to collectors at Canadian hobby shops and selected retail stores as part of the second-annual celebration of Canada’s unofficial national pastime.
“Hockey is the national sport in Canada so Upper Deck wanted to come up with a way to celebrate that incredible devotion,” said Chris Carlin, Upper Deck’s sports marketing manager. “We started this program last year and it was a huge success with countless hockey fans and trading card collectors visiting hobby shops and retailers across Canada. We expect the same kind of excitement this time around.”
See a video about NHCD along with a checklist and details about how Canadians can get these cards after the jump.
Posted on January 29, 2010 – 3:37 pm | Author: chrisolds
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Topps released the basic set information and preview images for its second series of 2010 Baseball cards on Friday, just days after the arrival of the first series.
Scheduled to arrive on May 24, the second series will include 330 more cards with 20 more photo variation cards — those will be limited to just 3,000 copies per card.
Each 36-pack hobby box will include one autograph or Relic card, while HTA Jumbo boxes will include three.
While the set will largely continue where Series 1 started, there are a few new features, including the Topps 2020 inserts, Topps Vintage Legends Collection, a 25-card History of the World Series set and Hall of Fame Buybacks (1:4 packs)
Also back will be 10 Red Hot Rookie cards, which have been a staple of the second series for the last few years. They will showcase players who are hot during the season but don’t yet have cards.
What else is new? The second series will include original T206 cards as well as original Topps cards as part of the Million Card Giveaway, which are code cards that can be found six per hobby box and one per jumbo pack. (The codes can only be redeemed for original Topps cards in Series 1.)
See more images after the jump.
Posted on January 29, 2010 – 9:47 am | Author: chrisolds
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Major League Baseball Properties issued a statement to Beckett Media on Friday regarding a pair of 2009 baseball card sets from Upper Deck that use MLB logos as part of the cards, despite Topps‘ role as the exclusive licensee of MLB.
“We are surprised and disappointed that Upper Deck, a former partner of ours, would violate our contract by clearly using our intellectual property without our permission,” said the statement issued by Matt Bourne MLB’s Vice President of Business Public Relations.
“We will vigorously use all legal means to protect the intellectual property of Major League Baseball and its member Clubs.”
Posted on January 29, 2010 – 12:49 am | Author: hackler
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If 2009 Topps Platinum truly is the venerable cardmaker’s final football release for a while, it’s nice to know that the granddaddy’s swansong product provides a respectful departure befitting an icon with 55 consecutive years of football trading cards under its belt.
Platinum won’t blow you away with clear-out-the-inventory excess. What it will do, based on the two boxes we opened Thursday, is provide sleek, simple aesthetics, a wealthy share of rookies, still-stunning-after-all-these-years Chrome cards and Refractors and three autographs per box – all for about $5 a pack.
Boasting a relatively simple set makeup, Platinum benefits greatly from some of the most attractive autograph Relic cards the company’s produced all year. In that sense, perhaps Topps officials were saving their best for last.
Be sure to visit Beckett.com on Friday to watch another must-see episode of Box Busters featuring 2009 Topps Platinum. Until then, enjoy this sneak peek . . .
– Tracy Hackler
Posted on January 28, 2010 – 10:07 pm | Author: hackler
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SA*GE president Tom Geideman on Thursday released to Beckett Media several preliminary images of 2010 SA*GE HIT Low Series Football, the company’s first product of the year that includes crisp photography and an overall design that’s striking in its clean simplicity.
Although product details are slight at the moment, this much is known: The product will release in early March, deliver six autographs per box and will be, according to Geideman, redemption-free.
Stay tuned to Becket.com for additional details on the product. See all of the card images after the jump.
Posted on January 28, 2010 – 1:08 pm | Author: chrisolds
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Update: See MLB Properties’ statement by clicking here.
By CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Baseball Editor | COMMENTARY
There has been plenty of speculation (though some might say it’s obvious) about just what Upper Deck will do with its baseball cards for 2010 as its products will only be licensed by the Major League Baseball Players Association and not also by MLB Properties.
A pair of 2009 sets — Ultimate Collection and Signature Stars – arrived this week with statements on their boxes and the cards themselves that the products are “not authorized by Major League Baseball or its member teams” and with cards that, while they do not use the team logos as part of the cards’ designs, do include team logos on the players’ uniforms in the photographs used on the cards.
The Carlsbad, Calif.-based company had not released any preview images for these two products — nor for any of its four announced 2010 sets — prompting and reinforcing the speculation that it would not be digitally editing out team logos or producing cards without game-action photography.
While it’s unclear whether the photo usage would be completely allowable given Upper Deck’s agreement with the MLBPA, Evan Kaplan, the MLBPA Category Director/Trading Cards and Collectibles did say this on Thursday:
“Upper Deck is a current MLBPA licensee which provides them the right to feature active Major League baseball players on their baseball cards.”
Whether that will be challenged legally by Major League Baseball Properties remains to be seen — one thing that’s been historically a given is that MLB and the MLB Players Association don’t always see eye to eye. One thing is clear, though — that these 2009 cards indicate the direction that Upper Deck will be taking in its 2010 releases. (They’ve been released after its deal with MLB Properties has expired — Topps became the sole MLBP-licensed trading card manufacturer on Jan. 1.)
A message to MLB Properties regarding the cards was returned but MLBP had no comment at this time. Upper Deck officials also declined to comment on the issue.
However, if there is not any “coverage” so to speak with Upper Deck’s deal with the MLBPA then one has to look no further than the Donruss-MLB Properties lawsuit last year, which was settled in a U.S. District Court. MLB sued Donruss alleging that its products were in violation of MLB’s trademark rights as well as the terms of its expired license among other claims.
In a handful of 2008 baseball sets, Donruss (a former MLB licensee whose deal expired in 2005) digitally obscured some logos on cards, digitally replaced others and did not alter some logos at all on other cards.
According to that complaint, MLBP argued that the cards “depict certain Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball players in their team’s proprietary uniforms. The trademarks featured on the uniforms (as well as the overall trade dress of the uniforms) remain visible and identifiable to consumers, despite Donruss’ calculated attempts on some cards to have such marks modified or partially obscured.”
MLB argued that the Donruss products would cause confusion in the marketplace, and that they were leading consumers to falsely believe that the cards were “associated with, authorized, endorsed or sponsored by” MLB or other corporate entities.
Posted on January 28, 2010 – 10:31 am | Author: chrisolds
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This just in from Topps…
Topps has confirmed that the following five memorabilia cards in the recently released 2009 Tribute Baseball include pieces of stadium seat:
Babe Ruth Dual Relic — Bat/Old Yankee Stadium Seat
Babe Ruth Triple Relic — Old Yankee Stadium Seat/Uniform/Old Yankee Stadium Seat
Ty Cobb Dual Relic — Bat/Tiger Stadium Seat
Jackie Robinson Triple Relic — Ebbets Field Seat/Bat/Ebbets Field Seat
Mickey Mantle Triple Relic — Old Yankee Stadium Seat/Uniform/Old Yankee Stadium Seat
Topps will replace any of the above cards with a pack of 2009 Topps Tribute Baseball or comparable product for collectors that are not satisfied with their card(s).
In addition, every card in 2009 Topps Sterling Baseball features game-used bat and game-used uniform except for one subject — Carl Erskine, which features Erskine’s autograph with stadium seat. Topps will replace this card with a pack of 2009 Topps Sterling Baseball for collectors not satisfied with their card.
Moving forward, to ensure no confusion, stadium seat pieces will not be used as memorabilia pieces unless it’s part of a special stadium seat-specific insert.
Please send all items intended for replacement to the address listed below. Please allow 2-4 weeks for delivery.
The Topps Company
ATTN: Seat Relic Replacement
401 York Avenue
Duryea, PA 18642
Posted on January 28, 2010 – 12:38 am | Author: hackler
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By TRACY HACKLER | BECKETT MEDIA EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
Never in my career did I think I’d have the occasion to write this about a sports card product: I discovered one today that made me wish I still dipped Copenhagen snuff.
That’s a good thing. I really loved Copenhagen snuff.
To be honest, I chuckled Wednesday afternoon when Press Pass’ Nick Matijevich presented me with a two-box preview of his company’s newest release. My first reaction? “Don’t give me that bull.” My subsequent reactions? “Give me this bull. And that one over there. And that one, too, the one they call ‘Chicken on a Chain.’ ”
Indeed, by the time our packs had been busted, not only did I want all of the bulls in Press Pass’ new 8 Seconds Professional Bull Riders set, I also wanted all of its bull riders, bullfighters, entertainers, on-card autographs and memorabilia cards.
That’s no bull.