Friday, September 16, 2011

Inspiration for Panini

I don't have very many thoughts about Panini's advancement into the baseball card market. After all, I'm not moaning in a fetal position about the Topps monopoly, although I certainly welcome more cards to view.

Also, Panini, to this point, has operated in areas that don't interest me. I don't care at all about collecting other sports. When someone posts about hockey cards, I try really hard to pay attention, but it's almost like trying to learn a foreign language. I know it's good for me, but please, please, please make it stop. It's even worse for football or basketball or, god forbid, auto racing or wrestling. I simply change the channel without reading a word.

So, Panini has been a non-entity so far. That is, until Josh Hamilton started popping up everywhere yesterday wearing his gold chain and T-shirt on a sample Panini baseball card.

The card, I will say, is ok. "OK" in lower-case letters on purpose. If all the other cards look like that, I see myself buying maybe three packs.

But it's not really because I'm a logo snob or anything. I do prefer MLB logos on my cards, but I also like oddball sets and many oddball sets feature logo-less players.

The problem is the set-up. I absolutely do not want to see posed shots in studios. This may have been the worst trend to come out of the early '90s. I can't stand studio shots of ballplayers.

If you take them out of their uniforms, and put them in work-out gear, and pose them in some hideous senior class photo pose, and they're in a studio while all this is happening, then I'm not interested in the least. You remember those awful early '90s Bowman and Stadium Club cards of prospects in their horrible sweaters and button-down shirts?

Don't ever do that again.

Here is what I want if you're going to be logo-less:

Make it an action shot and just photoshop the hell out of every last logo in the ballpark. I can live with that.

That Post card isn't a bad card. Maybe not terribly professionally done -- I hope Panini can come up with a slightly better design, front and back -- but as far as the photo, it's cool and it's charming. You're making an effort to get an action photo, yet the player isn't violating any MLB agreement rules. It's wonderfully off-beat, while still being baseball.

To a certain extent, dorky is good. I absolutely love odd-ball issues. I don't have a problem with an entire set looking like something you get out of a cereal box. In fact, I would admire a company for mass-producing a 600-card series of logo-less players. They would get some of my business.

But they have to be action shots.

I'll even permit this -- if it's mixed in with mostly action shots. At least Mr. UPS driver Jack Clark is on a baseball field.

But the minute I detect an Olin Mills presence to any of the cards. If you have players posing on motorcycles or anything that I could find in GQ -- and I'm not talking about Gypsy Queen -- then you've lost me.

That Josh Hamilton card isn't going to make me want to complete a Panini baseball set. Actually, I don't think there is anything that could make me want to complete a Panini baseball set.

But if you go the action-picture route -- and don't get cute like Upper Deck did -- then it's a start.

Give me a reason to pay attention to you, Panini. So far, I've got nothing.


  1. I agree with pretty much everything you say. I didn't really talk about logos in my post today, but I'll get to it eventually. And logoless action photos have been done properly, as you pointed out. A full 600-800 flagship card set (Score? Donruss I hope) with mostly action photos would be perfectly fine. Contenders won't be that flagship set, and will most likely be around 100 players. I don't have a big problem with studio shots done like Donruss Studio was in some of its best designs - portraits with the city skyline (or a ballpark) behind. A ~100 card set like that is fine. Perhaps they'll take my advice (or already be on the same page) and issue only a few sets, which means only airbrushing about a thousand pictures, and getting some logo-free art done for a painted set.

    I can't believe anyone would take hockey over football. I'm not a fan of any of them, but I can at least watch football for a while. Leave me out of wrestling, and I'll only watch the highlights (aka crashes and GoDaddy commercials) of racing, if I even care for that. I'd rather watch tennis or softball than any of those other choices though.

  2. I guess you've been avoiding my blog of late since it's filled with Cam Newton posts and a 2011 Topps WWE pack break, eh? It's OK, I'll be getting back to posting some baseball goodness soon. My Marquee boxes arrived today and I'm chomping at the bit to open the 3 boxes of Fleer for this month's break as well.

  3. " I guess you've been avoiding my blog of late since it's filled with Cam Newton posts and a 2011 Topps WWE pack break, eh?"

    lol, If I can still get traffic, ANYONE can. :)

    Not feeling the Panini. I'd rather have UD and Goudey back to be honest.

  4. UD made some good products. I wouldn't mind having them back on a limited basis too. Maybe let Panini and UD have up to 6 releases a year each, max.

  5. There are two kinds of products I would consider buying with heavily airbrushed or posed photos. (neither of which will ever get made).

    The first gets it's inspiration from the old Fleer/Skybox Metal Universe line. Photoshopped action shots with super shiny insanity occurring in the background. This isn't something Donruss ever did in the past, but I would love to see something like this again. The airbrushed logos would definitely be secondary to an exploding star or whatever they decide baseball players doing baseball things would look awesome in front of.

    The second is a retro product with posed photographs. Find a pasture and dress the players up super old-timey with some vintage equipment (and as long as I'm dreaming here perhaps some mutton chops and handlebar mustaches would be cool too). Heck, stage a game like in the old Conan O'Brien segment. Finally a less anachronistic mini set!

    Anything else and I will probably pass unless it comes with some cereal.

  6. I have an inspiration post coming up too. But I think our heads are in two entirely different places.



    I did some mock ups of how I think they could at least improve THIS design.