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.