24 March 2014

I Got it at Sportlots 8: What eBay Hath Wrought 56: A Bunch of Power Players

I have added a lot of Power Players code cards to my collection over the last couple of months. The set is made up of 110 different cards, with different numbering but using the same pictures as the 2014 Topps Base Set. To further complicate things, the set is split in half, with 55 of the cards being available only in Hobby packs and 55 being available only in retail. Most of these recent acquisitions are of the Retail variety, as I got almost all of the Hobby set from a case breaker shortly after Series 1 released.

The Retail cards have proven more difficult to track down. People don't bust cases of Retail product like they do Hobby, so I've had to pick them up in ones and twos from across the internet, mostly from eBay and Sportlots. As of right now I am only missing one card from the Series 1 set, Clay Buchholz. He isn't popping up too often lately, but I should be able to complete the set soon. Then I just have to wait until Series 2 hits to start chasing that set. I will probably follow a similar plan of grabbing a Hobby set from a bulk breaker and then trying to piece together the retail cards over the next couple of months.

When you enter the codes on the Power Players website, that player's card is added to your 'Locker,' a fancy name for a list of the cards you've unlocked. You can then choose to activate cards individually to be eligible for drawings during the season. So far Topps hasn't held any of those drawings, but they are supposed to choose a player or more per week, randomize the list of all of the users who have activated that player's card, and select people to win special parallels or autographs. You can activate multiple copies of a particular player's card, but there is an upper limit on the maximum number of cards you can activate. I kept things simple by activating each different player once.

There is also a small chance that you could win a prize upon entering a card's code. This has happened for me once. After putting the card number in, I got a little pop-up telling me that I had won a special Parallel card. I guess people who get 30 cards from each Series will also get a prize, either parallel cards or coin cards.

But the big hook is that people who collect all 220 Power Players codes will be entered in a drawing to win one of 5 sets of 40 autographed cards. I don't know what the autographed set looks like or whether there are any big names in it, but it would be a cool thing to win regardless. Honestly, Topps probably doesn't even know what it looks like at this point.

I also don't have a reliable way of knowing how many people will be competing for the 5 prizes. The leaderboards only show a small number of people, and so I know there are at least 20 people with the full Series 1 set. I would imagine there are quite a few more than are shown on the list. One of those five winners will also get their picture on a trading card, which the contest rules warn may not actually be placed in a card product.

I spent much of the weekend trying to sort out just how I am going to handle sorting my cards and entering them into the Zistle database. I started sorting them out by year, but I could see that I would lose steam quickly and give up on the project if I tried to sort everything out before putting it into the system. So I took all of my 2014 Topps and 2014 Heritage, collated those sets only, and put them into Zistle. Now those cards are quarantined from the rest of my collection, so anything I add to those sets can be put into Zistle at the time of purchase without me losing track. I will continue in that fashion, sorting cards in blocks and moving them into a quarantined area, so that I can sort and upload at my leisure without having to do the whole thing all at once.

One thing I have enjoyed doing is putting images up for cards I own if the Zistle entry lacks one. For the most part the front images are taken care of, but I was able to add quite a few card backs to 2014 Heritage and even a couple of front images to the Heritage SPs. It makes me feel like I'm giving something back to that community for making such a database available. I will probably wind up buying a membership to gain access to all of the features they offer. At $29 annually it seems like a pretty good deal, especially if I wind up using it a lot. I am interested to see how well the trade suggestion feature works.

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