Monday, December 29, 2008

VIP Gift Bag #6: Kasey Kahne

And the winner is...

Joe Hoptowit of Toppenish, WA.

Congrats Joe!

Stay tuned for future winner announcements.

Monday, December 22, 2008

VIP Gift Bag #5: Jimmie Johnson

And the winner is:

Bob Schneeman of Abingdon, MD.

Congratulations! Stay tuned for upcoming Gift bag drawings.

Monday, December 15, 2008

VIP Gift Bag #4: Kevin Harvick

And the winner is:

Adam Miller of King City, OR.

Congratulations! Stay tuned for upcoming Gift bag drawings.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Coin Collecting

I’m a numismatist – coin collector. I’ve been in and out of the hobby over the years; each time I’ve given it up, I’ve managed to show a reasonable profit but just couldn’t stay away from it for long.

I automatically look closely at the coins and bank notes that I receive in change. I actually received a 1954 proof nickel in change from a soft drink machine at work; sadly it had picked up a few scratches along the way and a $20.00 coin is now worth at best $1.00
So what is it that is so addictive about coins; what captivates a person and draws them into this fascinating hobby? In my case it’s the beauty and history of a coin or bank note.

For example, the 2001 American Buffalo Commemorative Coin, which is based on the original Buffalo Nickel, is a magnificent 1.5 inch diameter silver coin. I remember saving three months to purchase one.
Other people are drawn to the hobby for different reasons; I know a coin dealer who got involved because he wanted to own a coin that had circulated when Jesus was alive. Now he owns his own ancient coin business. It is an awesome feeling to hold a coin in your hand that is over 2,000 years old and wonder whose hands it had passed through on its journey to yours? Perhaps those of Jesus - you never know!
People often ask how can I afford to collect coins and bank notes – my response is fairly simple – my hobby is self financing and it saves me money, no pun intended.
Remember a coin has different values; its face value, its metal value and its collectable value.
Example - the 1927 gold Quarter Eagle -
Face value $2.50
Metal value $150.00 (depending on spot gold price)
Collectable value $225.00 - $1,500 (depending on condition)

The above 1927 $2.50 gold Quarter Eagle is worth $2.50 as a US coin – but – as we are no longer on the ‘Gold Standard’, the metal value has soared as has its collectable value.

Happy collecting – whatever it may be!


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

VIP Gift Bag #3: Carl Edwards

And the winner is...

Paul Cantine of Santa Ana, California.

Congratulations! Stay tuned each week as we reveal the winner of each VIP Gift Bag.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Go Wolfpack!

Everyone has their favorites. For some it is Dale Jr. For others it is Troy Aikman. For a few it is the Boston Red Sox. But for me nothing can come close to North Carolina State University football!

I remember the moment that I was hooked. My sister attended NCSU from 1992-1996. But it was two years after she graduated when I realized that it was always going to be the Red and White for me. It was Sept. 12th 1998. I was thirteen years old and a freshman in high school. My family had season tickets since 1993 and no matter what was going on even if it was pouring down rain if there was a game we were there. It was a Thursday night and I was sitting on the grass behind the goal posts. I watched wide-eyed as NCSU made history and defeated Florida State. It was the first time that Florida State had lost since joining the ACC.

I don’t remember the final score or who the play makers of the game were or who the coach of NCSU was at the time, but I do remember that feeling. It is something to watch your team win a huge game.

I am very proud of my Wolfpack because this year they went from being considered possibly the worst team in the ACC to being Bowl Eligible. While I got to experience that historical win sadly I’ve never been to a bowl game. I’ve watched my fair share of them on television like the Orange Bowl back on January 1, 2003. I would have given anything to see Philip Rivers beat Notre Dame. I can’t image what that experience would have been like.

So to all you hopefuls out there with your fingers crossed that your team (cough…Florida…cough) make the big game I hope that you get to experience the glory that is college bowl games whether it be on the television or in person. I hope to some day see NCSU win the big game.

Go Wolfpack!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

VIP Gift Bag #2: Martin Truex Jr.

And the winner is...

Eric Wiegelman of Hooksett, New Hampshire.

Congratulations! Stay tuned each week as we reveal the winner of each VIP Gift Bag.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

VIP Gift Bag #1: Tony Stewart

And the winner is...drum roll please:

Patrick Neeley of Goshen, IN.

Congratulations! Stay tuned each week as we reveal the winner of each VIP Gift Bag.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Sad as it is for all us true NASCAR fans, what has been an exciting season of Toyota domination, MANY back flips by Carl Edwards (I'm dizzy just thinking about them) and three close series points battles, the 2008 NASCAR season has come to an end. What better place for it to come to an end than with the final races being held at Homestead-Miami Speedway where the weather was hot, sleep was NOT an option and the hunger to win championships caused many a stomach to rumble.

I myself never thought that the #3 would again play such a role in the world of NASCAR after Earnhardt was taken from us back in '01. But leave it to a guy like Jimmie Johnson to change that. Having worked with Jimmie during our annual Press Pass photoshoot during Daytona Speedweeks and having the opportunity to chit chat with him between the clicks of the camera, I realized from that exact moment why he was by far one of the greatest drivers in the industry today. Not only does he have the mad skills to win big at his job, he has a great attitude towards life and a genuine heart that ties the entire package together. I'm not a band wagon type of girl-I've known JJ was a bad a&* driver for sometime, but to be that cool-well it only made me more of a supporter to Jimmie and his Team Lowe's members.

Good driving skills, fast engines, and record pit-stops no doubt will get you to the front of the field, but it is the confidence JJ and his team have in each other as friends, family, and teammates that empowers them to win.

After winning his third championship this past weekend Jimmie stated: "I could go race again next week and start the season and go for four ... It's on our minds. It's not that we're chasing a number, we just know what we're capable of. We know we can do better. It's a search to do the best we can".

Congratulations to Jimmie Johnson and Team Lowe's on their 3-peat!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Legends Racing Contest Winners

The following users won a box of Legends Racing.


Thanks to all that entered.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Steeler Nation in the Nation's Capitol

Last Monday I was in Washington, DC on business with a couple of Press Pass colleagues and was fortunate enough to score some prime location tickets to the Monday night Steelers-Redskins matchup at FedEx Field. Aside from the great seats, there were many things that stood out about this game vs. other games I've attended over the years. The Monday Night Football atmosphere was great, We arrived early to avoid traffic, tailgate, and watch the players warm-up. Several times over the course of the 90 minutes of warm-ups, the classic old-school MNF theme blared over the top notch sound system---awesome. A Redskin player played catch with people in the stands for a solid 15 minutes. Throwing to the first row to 20 rows up; it was a fun atmposhere. The enormity of the 92,000 seat stadium also stood out. It sells out every game and the waiting list for season tickets is long beyond belief. The 'Skins could probably sell out a 150,000 seat stadium!

However, the thing that stood out the most to me was the amount of Steeler fans present. There were Steeler jerseys all over---from Franco Harris to Troy Polamalu to Big Ben. I know that the Steelers are perennially one of the top selling teams in terms of NFL merchandise. Each year at we sell more Steeler diecast than any other team. This fact was reinforced by what I saw at FedEx Field. During the player introductions and throughout the game, the infamous gold "Terrible Towels" were everywhere! At times you had to wonder if you were in DC or Pittsburgh, I think quite a few of the Redskin season ticket holders made some large cash selling their Monday night tix to members of the Steeler Nation. While the majority of fans were rooting for the hometown Redskins, I bet a solid 25-30% were cheering on the Steelers. The fact that the Steeler fans had a lot more to cheer about in the 23-6 victory made their presence seem even larger. If the Steelers come to vist your stadium, prepare to cheer extra loud for your team (or make a bundle selling your tickets!).


Monday, October 27, 2008

A few more suggestions for NASCAR…

Not that they are listening. Is anyone else sick of seeing qualifying for Sprint Cup races rained out? I know I am and I’m sure the fans at the track for the weekend are even more so. That was the story this past weekend at Atlanta once again. According to Jayski, this was the 10th qualifying rain out of the year out of 33 races. 30% are you kidding me? Of course when this happens, they line up by points which obviously translates into a major gift for those near the top of the standings. Of those 10 races, every winner had a starting position inside the top 10. I can understand if it rains for two or three days straight, but they could have easily qualified on Saturday this past weekend. If they did this, Joey Logano may already have his first Sprint Cup win by now.

While we’re on the subject of qualifying, please let’s get rid of this “top 35 make the race regardless of how slow they qualify” rule. Make every competitor qualify on speed. If someone crashes on their qualifying run, allow them a second lap with a backup car.

On another note, I think it would be interesting to see fewer tires used during the race similar to Nationwide. If there was a rule allowing only a certain amount of tire sets per team for the race, this would allow much more strategy and give teams with lesser funding more of a fighting chance. Say for instance they have a 300 lap race and the tires last 50-60 laps. Allow each team 7 sets of tires maximum for the race. This will keep the big money teams from going to new tires if there are cautions every 20-30 laps. It will force them to think about no tires or two tire stops versus always coming in for four tires.

My two cents…feel free to post your comments!

PS – lots of great comments posted about the Legends blog/contest below. However, many of you posted without leaving any type of contact information either in your profile or your post. It’s time to pick some winners so if you could please update your profile with an email, phone, or other method of contact! Thanks

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Preview: Legends Nickname and Inscription Autographs

For the collector that’s looking for a little something extra, you’ll want to check out the upcoming release of Press Pass Legends. Drivers were asked to sign a handful of their Legends Autograph cards with an added nickname or inscription, and they didn’t disappoint!

NASCAR drivers have some pretty interesting nicknames, several of which you’ll find in Press Pass Legends 2008…you’ve got “Texas Terry” (Terry Labonte), “Sliced Bread” (Joey Logano), “Rowdy” (Kyle Busch), “Mr. September” (Harry Gant), and “The Fox” (David Pearson) to name a few.

Many drivers chose to include an inscription about some of their career defining accomplishments such as “2006 & 2007 Champ” (Jimmie Johnson), “69 Indy 500 Winner” (Mario Andretti), “2003 Champion” (Matt Kenseth), “85 Cup Wins!” (Bobby Allison) and “2 Time NASCAR Cup Champion” (Ned Jarrett).

The driver with one of the most unique Press Pass Legends Autographs is Darrell Waltrip. In addition to his signature plus #17, his wife Stevie Waltrip has also added her signature to some of his cards.

Click on the images below for a look at some of the inscription and nickname autograph cards available.

Leave us a comment and tell us which one is your favorite. Two winners will be selected to receive a free box of 2008 Press Pass NASCAR Legends trading cards.

Press Pass Legends releases in late October. Check our website each week to find out more information about this product that uniquely combines legendary racers from the past along with current stars and up and coming legends of the future.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Don’t let me down, Kyle

I’m a Kyle Busch fan. Yeah, I said it. Now I know 80% of you reading this probably despise Kyle, and you’re rolling your eyes as you sit in your National Guard pajamas and take another sip of your Amp Energy drink. Your loyalty will always remain with the driver of the #88, and I respect that. But I like being different. I also like the fact that the guy can wheel a race car around a track like no one I’ve ever seen. I had a Camry in high school, and I guarantee you it wouldn’t have made nearly as many trips to victory lane as the #18 did this year. Apparently not all Camrys are the same.

After being replaced with a "better driver" at Hendrick Motorsports, Busch found refuge in a stable of other drivers who are also driven by their innate desire to win. It didn’t take long for Wild Thing to make sure Joe Gibbs didn’t regret adding him to the team. With eight wins in the Cup Series and 19 total wins across all three series in the regular season, I was confident going into New Hampshire that Kyle would have a championship trophy to add to his collection come November.

Enter race four of the Chase and Kyle finds himself in last place, behind four drivers who failed to visit victory lane even once during the season. Kyle won eight times! How did this happen? I’ll admit that in previous years, Kyle’s recklessness and inexperience severely contributed to his demise, but with those issues resolved, or should I say seemingly under control, this was going to be Kyle’s year! What happened?!

There are seven races left, and sitting in 12th place in the standings Kyle has nothing to lose. But, maybe that’s how he wanted it. Maybe he was so bored with being all alone at the top of the field that he wanted to create some excitement and wanted a challenge. Maybe he thrives off of racing like he’s got nothing to lose. Maybe there’s a reason he feels at home in the middle of a three-wide pack. Maybe he wants to give fans of other drivers a glimmer of hope that their precious driver might win the title before he dominates the field once again.

The next few weeks will determine how this chapter in Kyle Busch’s racing career will unfold. No, I’m not burning my Kyle Busch man purse just yet, and I may or may not be mischievously lobbing M&M’s at the #88 car when the field comes to Charlotte in a few weeks. In the meantime, I’ll reflect on the highlights of a dominating 2008 season.

Remember this?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Breaking Down The Chase For The Sprint Cup

Despite the fact that Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, and Jimmie Johnson have won 18 of the first 26 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in 2008, now that the Chase roster has been determined, 12 drivers set their sights on winning the 2008 Sprint Cup. Here are some interesting facts that you may or may not know about this year's Chase contenders.

*Jimmie Johnson & Matt Kenseth are the only two drivers to make the Chase since it's inception in 2004. Kenseth's top finish was a 2nd place effort in 2006. Johnson is going for his third straight Cup title in 2008, a feat that has only been accomplished once, when Cale Yarborough won three in a row from 1976-1978.

*Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, and Carl Edwards certainly have momentum on their side. Starting with the July 5th Daytona race, they combined to win 9 straight events up through the final race before the Chase at Richmond on September 7th.

*All 12 drivers in the 2008 Chase for the Sprint Cup are Chase veterans. In addition to Johnson and Kenseth participating in all five years of the Chase, this is at least the second Chase for the Cup that the other 10 drivers have been a part of: Jeff Gordon & Tony Stewart (4 times), Jeff Burton, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Denny Hamlin, and Kevin Harvick (3 times), and Greg Biffle & Clint Bowyer (2 times).

*Four drivers in the 2008 Chase have yet to win a race in 2008: Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, and Tony Stewart. Entering the 2007 Chase they had a combined nine wins between them.

The Chase for the Sprint Cup has truly given NASCAR a "playoff" atmosphere. With a little luck, any one of these 12 drivers can step up and claim the title. There are a lot of interesting stories in this year's Chase. I don't have a favorite, but I would love to see a close race that gets decided in the final laps of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bowl Me Over….

In terms of fitness and athletic prowess, one of the most popular sports in America—bowling—pales in comparison to the superhuman feats of the “ultramarathoners” referenced in Aaron’s recent blog below. However, I’m sure we bowlers have more fun (and less chafing!). As another bowling season starts up, it’s time to not just set records of mediocrity--and hopefully roll the elusive 200 game!--but to also bond with neighbors and friends seldom seen in the “off season.”

While pitchers of your favorite cold beverage are the usual backdrop to league night, the most common bond at the alley, a bond that runs thru the fabric of America, is sports. Sports are on the numerous TV monitors and big screens. Sports are also on the minds of bowlers of every size and shape. Bowlers often don the attire of their favorite team or school on bowling night—particularly if they’re on the big screen that evening.

From Saturday college football games to speculation on how the new rookies will impact their NFL teams to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup to the MLB pennant races, it's easy to find that common ground. When the conversations with new acquaintances move towards “where do you work?” it’s fun to see most people light up when I tell them I market “trading cards and sports licensed diecast vehicles.” It’s a fun product line/hobby that people can relate to, and a hobby that helps feed a fan’s passion for sports and gets them a little closer to the athletes and teams they cheer on.

So head on out to the alley and strike up a conversation (sorry, couldn’t resist).


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Athletes of another order

I’ve been mulling over in my mind what to write about this week and my thoughts go back to my most recent vacation. Some wouldn’t exactly call it a vacation but it is one of my favorite things to do. My dad and I went backpacking for 8 days in the Weminuche Wilderness of Colorado on the Continental Divide Trail. The CDT runs for nearly 100 miles through this wilderness area crossing only one remote dirt road near the end and stays above 10,500 feet in elevation the entire time. Physical fitness is a must as covering that kind of mileage in eight days at that elevation with a 40lb pack is no small task. Adding to the physical challenges are the mental aspects of putting one foot in front of the other and making that slow, steady progress. The scenery provided rewards at every turn and the ultimate reward was reaching our goal at the end.

While challenging for us, it’s a walk in the park compared to some of the seemingly super human accomplishments I’ve seen and read about recently. I’m not referring to Jeff Gordon or Carl Edwards roughing it for a few hours in triple degree heat during a Sprint Cup race. I’m talking about someone like Dean Karnazes otherwise known as The Ultramarathon Man ( Karnazes recently completed 50 marathons, in 50 consecutive days, in 50 states. Not impressed? How about running without stopping for about 80 hours and covering 350 miles in the process? Now we’re getting somewhere! The guy obviously has it together physically and mentally. It makes me wonder what exactly is the physical limit for running non stop above 350 miles.

Another name that comes to mind: Ed Viesturs ( Viesturs is a mountaineer of mountaineers. Among his many great mountaineering feats, he has climbed Everest six times and has topped out on all of the world’s 14 highest peaks (all above 8000 meters). Then you have the more recent and better known names like Lance Armstrong and Michael Phelps who are head-and-shoulders above their peers. And what about a name like “Flyin’ Brian” Robinson – first known person to hike the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide Trails within a single calendar year logging 7,000+ miles in the process.

So you may not find these names on the ESPN top 100 athlete list, but from an endurance standpoint, they are most likely in better shape than most on that list and just about anyone we see playing a major sport on television these days. They are athletes of another order.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fanatical Sports Fans…

It never ceases to amaze me how fanatical sports fans of all walks of life are in relation to their favorite sport, team and/or, individual personality. They clamor for everything-there-is regarding their personal interest, from history, statistics, etc., all the way to sharing their passion with the ownership of cherished licensed sports collectibles and souvenirs. They proudly show, wear, eat, drink, sleep and still can’t get enough of their fill.

Have you been to a collectible/souvenir section/store/website recently? It seems like anything and everything is fair game. This frenzy of the thousands of items fans could purchase is fed by the companies who produce them, who are limited only to their imaginations of what the next prized piece might be.

Whether you’re an all-consuming serious or a casual fan, there’s something for everyone whether it’s a pennant, trading card, bumper sticker, die-cast car/truck, or one of the other thousand items. Personally, I get a charge out of being part of a company (Press Pass) who produces officially licensed sports trading cards, die-cast cars-trucks-choppers and knowing we’re a piece of that overall sports fan's pride and passion.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Olympic Sized Design

I'm not a collector, I'm a fan of sports and competition in general. I've always casually checked out the Olympics when I turned on the television and they happened to be on. This year was different for me. I am sure most of you witnessed those amazing opening and closing ceremonies with all of the synchronicity and cool technologies playing together. I was blown away! But then it went even further for me. I started to notice how much art and design have become an integral part of sporting events - especially The Olympic Games.

Every logo, each athlete's uniform, the graphics displaying results, and even the Olympic torch, medals and the stadium itself are all works of art. This year's Olympics have changed the way I will watch sporting events. I now have a full appreciation for the behind-the-scenes design teams who add almost as much excitement as the athletes themselves.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Full Circle

I went to my first NASCAR race on July 4th 1984, the Firecracker 400 in Daytona Beach, Florida. I don’t remember much about the race save that we had infield camping tickets and that Richard Petty and his #43 STP Pontiac won the race. I don’t even remember what year we went to the race or if I was 8 or 9 years old. I asked my mom and she didn’t remember the year either, just that “The King” won. With little help from Wikipedia I was able to find out that Richard Petty won the 1984 Firecracker 400 so I was 8 when I saw my first NASCAR race live.

My family ended up spending a total of five Fourth of July weekends making the trip up the Florida coast to watch the Firecracker 400. I remember the last race much more than the first race for two reasons. My mom’s favorite driver, Bill Elliot, won but also the race wasn’t actually held on the 4th of July. We celebrated Independence Day and set off fireworks at home that year since the race was on July 2nd. My parent’s enthusiasm for racing combined with actually going to a few races has made me a NASCAR fan since my youth. From Cale Yarborough and Richard Petty to Dale Earnhardt and Bill Elliot to Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson I’ve enjoyed spending the last 25 years watching cars go fast and turn left.

An even greater passion of mine is collecting cards. My grandfather turned my brother and I into sports cards collectors. My grandfather had given me a Dale Murphy card, when Dale was the reigning National League MVP. That card mixed with TBS broadcasting (RIP Skip Caray) every game is what made me a die hard Atlanta Braves fan. I eventually moved from sports cards to trading card games. I was fortunate enough to get a job in the trading card industry almost seven years ago.

I started at Press Pass in early 2005 to help form the trading card game division. While I’d worked in the trading card industry for a few years before Press Pass, my previous company didn’t have any sports products. As much as I enjoy TCGs I am a much bigger sports fan than a TCG fan. Press Pass was my first chance to start mixing my childhood passions. Although I worked for Press Pass, my efforts were focused on making the TCG division successful. I didn’t get to spend near enough time working with the NASCAR or football product teams for my liking. I’m a sports fan - what fun is working for a sports-licensed company and not working on the sports products!

All of that changed this past April when I moved into the customer service/sales department. Now I get to be involved, at least a little bit, in every product that Press Pass produces. My racing passion might have faded some over the years, at least compared to baseball or football, but I do still remember being that 8 or 9 year old trying to stay cool in the Florida heat at infield at Daytona International Speedway while watching cars zoom by. Seeing some of the great NASCAR products from beginning to end brought back my racing enthusiasm pretty quickly.

Since moving over in April the first product I’ve seen from the very beginning was Press Pass VIP 2008. Even though we aren’t directly part of the product team, a member of CS/Sales takes part in the product meetings for each product and VIP 2008 was my first NASCAR product. I got to see early card rosters, autograph mock-ups, designs, and possible memorabilia pieces. Every year VIP is one of our best products and it was great that I was able to take part in the process from early planning to the logistics involved in making sure fans can get their cards on the release date.

Not everyone gets to relive a childhood passion in their job almost 25 years later. Being more involved with NASCAR really has certainly made following racing more exciting. I try and watch at least some of every race. I even repaid the 24-year-old favor to my dad and took him to the Coca-Cola 600 here in Charlotte this past May. VIP 2008 releases next week and I couldn’t be more excited. I hope you join me next week in opening a few packs looking for that Triple Grip or the Dale Earnhardt Jr. AMP Four Wide.


Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fourth Elvis Artist Sketch Card Revealed

Our latest Elvis trading card release Elvis By The Numbers will feature unique artist sketch cards of Elvis Presley. These "Mini Masterpieces" feature original hand-sketched artwork from renowned Elvis artist Joe Petruccio. Previews of the first three pieces can be seen on our website. This is the fourth (and my favorite)!

Elvis Is Back!

Forty years ago 33 year-old Elvis Presley put on what many feel was the greatest performance of his career. Although commonly referred to as the '68 Special or the '68 Comeback the spectacular production was simply titled Elvis.

Now, I wish I could write about what it felt like to share NBC's studio with the King of Rock 'n' Roll on that hot Thursday in Burbank California and hear him energize the crowd with classic hits like "Hound Dog" and "Heartbreak Hotel". I would even settle for being able to write about how it felt to see Elvis in his stunning black leather outfit sitting in a cozy circle next to Scotty Moore and DJ Fontana and belting out classic hits like "That's All Right" which made the 1-inch speaker on my 9-inch black-and-white television rattle on a cold Tuesday in December of 1968 when the show first aired. Sadly, I cannot. Unfortunately as an Elvis fan, I didn't come to existence until four years after his death (and hadn't even heard of the '68 Special until 2005). Now, the closest I have ever get to the Comeback Special is seeing it play in the visitor center across from Graceland's gates in Memphis as I wait for the bus to take me to Elvis' front steps for another tour of the house, which is where you can find me in two weeks.

Although I will never truly get to experience Elvis as so many of his fans did, I am lucky enough to get to help preserve his legacy. As Product Manager for our Elvis trading card brands I have had the pleasure of working with and getting to know some of those who were close to him. I must admit, when I hang up the phone after talking with Scotty Moore, DJ Fontana, or James Burton I often sit in silence for a minute and think about how surreal it is to talk to someone who was that close to perhaps one of the most famous entertainers in the world. And when I received the Elvis-worn Japanese kimono that we purchased for our latest trading card release, I swear you could feel Elvis' presence in the office.

It's a pretty powerful thing to hold in your hands a piece of clothing that he once wore, and one of the joys of what we do at Press Pass is getting to share that feeling with our collectors. Many of you probably can't afford to go out and purchase the red western shirt that Elvis wore in the movie Stay Away, Joe or a weekend Army pass that Elvis signed while he was in Germany serving our country. However, you don't have to because we get to bring a piece of him to you. When we tossed around the idea of cutting up shirts that Elvis once wore for a trading card my initial thought was "No way!" It just seemed so wrong. But as I got to know Elvis through my research and I found out more about the man he was, I realized that Elvis' fans meant the world to him, and he recognized that they were the ones who helped him along his rapid rise to fame. I also learned that Elvis was a giver. He always gave to his friends, his family, and his fans. So when I was faced with the dilemma of whether to let an Elvis shirt sit in a dark attic in some collector's house, only to be seen by a handful of people, or let thousands of Elvis' fans and admirers own their very own piece of Elvis, the choice was pretty simple.

You can own your very own piece of Elvis history with our latest trading card release Elvis By The Numbers which releases next month. If you're lucky enough to be at the Elvis Expo in Memphis during Elvis Week, stop by the Press Pass booth and you can be one of the first to open the newest release. Check our website for more information on Elvis By The Numbers.

Friday, July 25, 2008

I Was There!

So often you hear sports fans share their stories about some of the significant sporting events they have witnessed in person - a no hitter in baseball, a playoff clinching NFL game, a Tiger Woods US Open victory, etc... There are some things that just having the memories of "being there" mean a lot more than watching it on TV ever could.

In June, I had the opportunity to attend the third ever Subway Series between the Yankees and the Mets. The games themselves weren't particularly spectacular (unless you enjoy watching each team beat the other by 9 runs in the other's stadium). However, considering that both teams will be getting a new stadium in '09, it will go down as the last Subway Series played in either one of those ballparks. As a baseball fan, I was excited to witness that in person, and get the full experience of trying to rush out of one ballpark to get to the other in time for the first pitch.

It got me thinking about some of the other significant sporting events that I've been able to witness in person. Looking back, the two events that standout to me the most are a NASCAR race and a tennis match. I attended the Coca-Cola 600 back in 1994. The race itself wasn't spectacular, but the winner was. Jeff Gordon walked away with his very first NASCAR Cup Series victory in that race. Since then he has gone on to capture 80 more victories and four series titles. The other event that sticks in my mind as significant is a 2006 US Open third round tennis match. Like the Coca-Cola 600, the tennis match itself wasn't a top performance, but the result was meaningful. It was Andre Agassi's final match before his retirement. After he lost, he grabbed the microphone and gave a moving speech to the crowd. He walked off the court to an incredible standing ovation, where everyone in Arthur Ashe Stadium, regardless if they were an Agassi fan, understood how much he had contributed to the sport over the last 21 years.

So now that I've shared my "I was there" memories...what are some of yours?

Monday, July 14, 2008

“I got a Basketball Jones….”

Each year I look forward to the NBA draft in late June. There are many reasons...First of all, I enjoy watching college basketball; particularly the "Big Dance" in March/April. One reason is that my alma mater, the University of Memphis, usually has a competitive basketball program. This year the Tigers came as close as they ever have to winning the National Championship. If it weren’t for a lucky shot by Mario Chalmers, the Tigers would’ve have been #1 instead of Kansas. Of course, Jayhawk fans and alum (including our Press Pass Customer Service Manager, Terri) may disagree about the “lucky” part, but I digress…

Another reason I enjoy the draft is because, we (Press Pass) get to see where all of the rookie prospects (who we negotiate autograph deals with in April, May, & June) end up. We take pride in assembling a strong roster of the top rookie prospects each year. This year was especially gratifying for me since 3 Memphis Tigers were drafted (Derrick Rose, Chris Douglas-Roberts, & Joey Dorsey) and all 3 will be included in our set which ships in late July. Particularly satisfying was to see Derrick Rose be chosen first overall by the Bulls. While Memphis didn’t win the National title game, at least Memphis took the top spot in the draft! March Madness and the Final Four--that’s all old news now anyway! The “here and now” is NBA Summer League and rookie potential. I look forward to Derrick, CDR, and Joey making an impact at the next level---Go Tigers!

P.S. Oh yes, as difficult as it was for me to be objective, we also signed up a few of those Kansas Jayhawks to be included in our 2008 Press Pass Basketball releases…even that Chalmers guy.


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Nascar, take a right

As many of you diehard or casual Nascar fans may know, the three national series are filled with cookie cutter ovals of varying length. We even see multiple visits to the same tracks, many of which are nearly the same configuration like Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. While I love watching the races each weekend, even I wonder why so many keep watching when most of the tracks are so similar. Sure you have a couple road courses thrown in here and there(2 out of 36 events), but the vast majority are cookie cutter mile-and-a-halfs. To top it all off, Nascar runs all of these ovals in a counter clockwise direction.

My solution: let's run some of these tracks in a clockwise direction to mix things up. Just think about it, most of the drivers are engrained with turning left. I think at least for a few of the drivers that making right turns around these tracks would be somewhat of a challenge. In addition, the car itself is setup specifically to make better time through a left turn.
Having to go around the track in the opposite direction would not only be a challenge for the driver, but for the pit crew and team as well. Setting up the car would be totally different and making a pit stop could be quite interesting.

While I am sure Nascar will continue running the same direction for years to come, they could very easily run a Nationwide or Truck race clockwise as a test platform for the Sprint Cup. So come on Nascar, take a right!


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Why we love sports...

Has anyone been paying attention to the baseball pennant races lately? Specifically the American League Eastern Division. In case you haven't noticed, the name at the top of the standings does not feature the city name of either Boston or New York. It's not even Baltimore or Toronto. Who's left you ask? Why it's the Tampa Bay Rays. These aren't your old Devil Rays anymore.With an infusion of young stars like Evan Longoria (he's no Desperate Housewife), B.J. Upton, Scott Kazmir, James Shields and the superstar Carl Crawford these Rays are no longer laughable. Despite some key injuries (Closer Troy Percival and Slugger Carlos Pena) this team just keeps getting better.There's a lot of baseball left to be played but you know what they say about underdogs...the longer they hang around the more dangerous they become. The Red Sox are currently getting a taste of the new Rays having dropped two straight in a head-to head showdown.So just when you thought it was another cakewalk to the playoffs for the mighty Red Sox and Yankees along comes cinderella wearing a stingray on her baseball cap. The clock hasn't struck midnight just yet and we're going to find out if the Beantowners and Bronx Bombers can swim...