The Beckett Blog


Buster Posey: NL Rookie of the Year & BSCM cover star by Chris Olds

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America selected San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey as the 2010 National League Rookie of the Year on Monday.

On Wednesday, he’ll begin arriving in sports card shops around the country on the cover of the December issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly.

We’re just sayin’ …



Live from the Ice: An Update from the 2010 NHL Rookie Showcase by Tracy Hackler

Editor’s Note: Beckett Hockey correspondent Gus Katsaros, the Pro Scouting Coordinator for McKeen’s Hockey Prospects and a writer for MapleLeafsHotStove.com, is in Toronto today covering the 2010 NHLPA Rookie Showcase in Toronto. Look for his updates throughout the day.

The afternoon session at the 2010 NHL Rookie Photo Shoot included a lunch for the players and gathered media (which disseminated fairly quickly after the morning skate). There is a pick-up hockey game that will end the afternoon events before the rookies take the bus back to the host hotel.

A most curious and interesting scenario, however, occurred as the rookies were taking their photos and video rolls. A bunch of young kids were using the ice for a practice. The awe in the eyes of the children as they saw their dreams and aspirations personified walking among them made for a much more spirited effort in training sessions.

Inspiration, it seems, comes from the most unlikely places and surprise times. These kids didn’t expect to see actual drafted NHL players in what was surely just a routine practice. Their surprise and elation will form a deeper root in their commitment.

Lunch intersected the sessions and the ’95-born Toronto Marlboros took to the ice for their own practice. While the interaction wasn’t as extensive as they likely preferred with the potential NHL Rookies, similar to the younger kids, the practice was high energy and focused.

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Real-Time Photo Gallery from the 2010 NHL Rookie Showcase by Tracy Hackler

Editor’s Note: Beckett Hockey correspondent Gus Katsaros, the Pro Scouting Coordinator for McKeen’s Hockey Prospects and a writer for MapleLeafsHotStove.com, is in Toronto today covering the 2010 NHLPA Rookie Showcase in Toronto. Look for his updates throughout the day.

TORONTO — After this morning’s media scrum cleared, the next phase of the 2010 NHL Rookie Showcase had players on a brief skate for action photos. As the players skated away and toward the camera, taking various shots, some rookies started showing off shooting skills on Nashville netminder Chet Pickard after Milwaukee Admirals teammate Jonathan Blum fired some preliminary warm up cannons from between the face off circles.

The cold arena, coupled with heat-wave-like conditions surrounding Toronto set up a thick fog across the ice surface that even skating players couldn’t lift. Skating through the fog gave the appearance of waif-like creatures emerging in battle fatigues, ready for action.

Players lined up in their respective organizations’ uniforms and participated in a small video roll. Florida Panthers rookies Eric Gudbranson and Jacob Markstrom participated in a hilarious video shoot, set up with various comical situations (including a funny bit with two dolls and a proposal of a female assistant on the ice) set up through the NHLPA.

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Panini Vows Sweeping Changes to Distribution Procedures by Tracy Hackler

Panini America officials headlined Monday’s first full day of the Sports Collectibles Industry Summit in Las Vegas by announcing sweeping, comprehensive changes to the company’s distribution network.

“These are things we’ve wanted to do for 10 years,” Panini VP Mike Anderson told a room that included more than 100 hobby shop owners. “We are no longer turning a blind eye to the problem that has been killing margins for hobby stores.”

Anderson and Panini hobby sales director Rodney Alsup outlined their plans – slated to launch in the fall – that strives to address one of retailers’ most pressing concerns: Online sellers’ negative impact on brick-and-mortar profit margins and key buyer relationships.

Among Panini’s pledges to an enthusiastic retailer audience at the Summit:

* Re-authorizing all brick-and-mortar hobby shops. Only authorized stores – and potentially, a handful of authorized show retailers – will be able to purchase and sell Panini product directly.

* A dramatically reduced wholesale distribution network.  Anderson noted that, currently, as many as 50 entities operate as quasi-wholesalers, through online services such as DealernetB2B, eBay, individual websites or through a sub-distribution sales force. Going forward, Panini will appoint and promote a select number of authorized distributors – perhaps as few as four nationally, Alsup said.

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Dallas Collector Gets His Day in the Sun (in the Snow) by Tracy Hackler

Not even a freak March Texas snowstorm could freeze the spirits of 14-year-old Dallas collector Ryan Wolfson last Saturday. Not with 15 of his closest buddies around to keep him warm until Cowboys receiver Patrick Crayton arrived at his front door.

Indeed, that’s how last weekend started for Wolfson, the grand prize winner in the 2009 NFL Players Player of the Day contest. Following an informal shindig with Crayton, Wolfson and his buddies at the Wolfson family home, the party moved – via limousine – to Nick and Debbie Redwine’s Dallas-based Nick’s Sports Cards.

Once there, the party grew to more than 200 guests, all of whom received free autographs from Crayton and otherwise made themselves comfortable with hobby heat while Wolfson received a $250 shopping spree.

“I am thrilled for Ryan and his family,” said namesake owner Nick Redwine. “He is a regular customer at my shop and a big football card collector and Cowboys fan.  I’m glad to be a part of his special day.”

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NHL Executive: ‘This Was a Difficult Decision’ by Tracy Hackler

By TRACY HACKLER | BECKETT MEDIA EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

While the move may have lacked the controversy and surprise of other trading card announcements in recent months, the NHL’s decision to add Panini as a second licensee beginning with the 2010-11 season was a headline-maker.

Today’s news signaled the effective end to Upper Deck’s five-year exclusive on the category and turned Panini into a three-sport manufacturer.

In this exclusive interview, Dave McCarthy, NHL Enterprises’ Vice President of Integrated Marketing, addresses, among other things, Upper Deck’s exclusivity, Panini’s potential and the 10 things that helped shape the decision.

Beckett Media: What does adding a second manufacturer say about the vibrancy or popularity of the NHL as a “trading card sport?”
Dave McCarthy: The NHL brand has tremendous momentum behind it, and all of our vital signs are good – attendance, TV ratings, web traffic to the NHL.com network, corporate sponsor appeal and, ultimately, consumer product sales. This decision will allow two companies the opportunity to put their resources to work to fully capitalize on this momentum while offering both passionate and new collectors products that appeal to them.

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Box Busters: 2009 Playoff National Treasures by Tracy Hackler

Beckett Football‘s overly giddy duo nervously devours two boxes of the highly anticipated 2009 Playoff National Treasures. Check out the goods — some of which will be up for grabs soon — right now.