Thursday, October 2, 2008

UDX Review

Sticking to the mantra that every card release has its good points and bad points and yet maintaining my integrity to call ‘em like we see ‘em, quite simply put, on a whole, UDX is a dud. I’d really like to keep to the saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say . . . .”, but I don’t think it would serve the best interests of the collector. So instead I’ll break this review down into four parts; the good, the bad, the ugly, and the pulls.

The Good:
The eXponential Dimensional inserts. Featured in 4 different variations; X, X2, X3, X4 are inserted at a rate of one per pack. The X version is the most common with X4 having been printed in such quantities that they fall at a rate of only 1 per box. The metallic, foil-like finish showcases a bold design with a close-up action shot and a complex montage of the letter X.

The autographed card design of UDX Signatures utilizes a very tasteful way to display the sticker autographs so that they almost blend into the card and are hardly recognizable as stickers. This was VERY well executed and all future brands, from any company, should take a cue from this offering.

The Bad:
The 1 per pack die-cut X inserts look just like the base cards but have simply been die cut. Poorly at that, with every single X insert having “hanging chad” like notches still intact at the top and bottom of the X. I can’t believe I’m about to say this but it would have been better if they had been serial numbered to something simple like 199. Quite honestly the design and execution just look lazy as if somebody simply took a bunch of the base cards and hacked them into the shape of an X.

The two-per box autographs I can only characterize as, why bother? Of the 30 players included in the checklist only UD spokesmen Ken Griffey Jr. and Derek Jeter are household names, the rest, are mostly, as yet unproven up-and-comers with no name recognition, the exceptions being those of Evan Longoria, Ian Kennedy, Clay Buchholz and Alexei Ramirez.

The Ugly:
It was very hard to decide which card to list as ugly vs. bad, they are equally interchangeable. However, the base cards are just an eyesore. Think 1990 Topps ugly. Someone in the design department has a very unhealthy obsession or fixation on the letter X which is used in some sort of repetitive pattern in the backdrop.


The Pulls:
UDX signatures of Jonathan Albaladejo and Evan Meek. Albaladejo’s Wikipedia entry states, “Albaladejo was selected by the San Francisco Giants in the 34th round (1021st overall) of the 2000 amateur entry draft, but didn't sign. The following year he was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 19th round (564th overall), and signed on June 6, 2001. He spent a number of years in the minors in the Pirates system as a starting pitcher, and then in 2005 was converted to a reliever. On May 3, 2007 he was signed to a minor league contract by the Washington Nationals, and played most of the season at AA Harrisburg, compiling a 4.17 earned run average in 21 appearances. He moved up to AAA Columbus and finished the season extremely well, posting an ERA of 0.78 in 14 appearances. When rosters expanded in September, the Nationals, then leading the league in innings pitched by relievers, brought him up.”

Meek’s Wikipedia entry is similar, “Meek made his major league debut on April 2, 2008 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He would record his first career loss in extra innings against the Chicago Cubs on April 7, 2008. Meek made nine relief appearances, going 0-1 with a 6.92 ERA, before being designated for assignment on May 4, 2008. He was offered back per Rule V guidelines on May 14. The Pirates paid cash to keep him and sent him down to their minor league teams. After pitching 9 games with the Double-A Curve, Meek was promoted to the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians.”

Damage Report: Besides the “hanging chads”, none.

Favorite Card(s): X3-DL Derek Lee

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