Saturday, August 30, 2014

I am particular

I love this card so much that I bumped it up in the received card package rotation -- setting off all of my OCD bells and alarms in the process -- to feature it here.

It arrived from the Junior Junkie, get a good look because I probably won't feature the rest of his cards until your favorite NFL team's season is left for dead (sorry, it's the ROTATION, man). As you can see, it is a rookie card of Eric Karros -- presented by a sausage company.

I have plenty of food issue cards. Hell, I have food issue cards from sausage companies. I adore them all.

But this one struck a chord in a way that it has never been struck before. Sure, I've often wondered why I give these particular non-licensed cards a pass while I practically spit on Panini's non-licensed offerings. But this time I thought "what the hell is wrong with me? Why do I love these so much and hate Panini's so much? Am I THAT particular? Am I THAT fickle?"

And I determined rather quickly that: "Yes. I am."

I'm a card collector. You can't explain what I like. I can't even explain what I like. Once I get past "Dodgers" and "1970s cards" I will have a terribly difficult time convincing you fully why I like the other cards that I do. DON'T DEFINE ME, MAN!

I spent a good 5 minutes in self-reflection (once again, all the time that I have) trying to explain to myself the difference between non-licensed food issue cards and Panini cards and why I am so lenient with one and unforgiving with another.

Here is what I found:

1. Expectations: While food-issue cards are often regional, Panini is issuing cards on a national basis, just like Topps. There is a certain expectation with that, whether it is reasonable or not. For a national company, I expect cards with pleasing designs, well-represented players and teams, devotion to detail, reasonable pricing, and a knowledge of the entire package. Now, I know there are plenty of people who don't like Topps and who don't believe that Topps is fulfilling those obligations AT ALL. But I just can't throw Topps in the dumpster after 40 years. Maybe it's just a logo at this point. But I can't go out and buy a box of Panini Donruss. I'd hate myself.

On the flip side, I don't know if I once thought about "expectations" when I've selected Topps over Panini or favored a food-issue card over Panini. If it's an actual reason, I am not acting on it consciously.

2. Design: People may laugh when I give a Jimmy Dean card a pass on design but not Panini. But the Jimmy Dean card does not bother me the way a current Panini card (excluding Hometown Heroes) does. Panini's designs are ugly. This may because I have a retro taste in designs and generally dislike most mid-to-late '90s arrangements. But again, I don't think about it much. It's like this: I see the card. The brain reacts. A decision is made. It happens that quickly. And I don't want it to take any more time than that.

3. Something extra: Food-issue cards, duh, come with food. In most cases, it's something yummy. Cakes, cookies, candy, gum, potato chips, deep-fried oreos, whatever you got. Panini doesn't come with anything except short-prints and an inflated price for a company printing without logos. Perhaps if Panini were to overhaul the way they packaged cards and started including them with pink-frosted cupcakes they would become the darlings of the cardboard world. But I don't know for sure if that would work.

In fact, I don't know if any or all of the above explains my preference for food-issue cards over Panini.

I do know that there is definitely something to my preference. Because I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. There are plenty of other bloggers and collectors who have said the same thing.

So, maybe there's some more free advice for you Panini. Package your cards with a grease-laden sausage patty and maybe you'll nab another collector.

Or maybe he'll just say, "ewwwwwwwwww there's a grease stain on my card!"

What can I say?

I'm a collector. I'm particular.

You'll never figure us out.


  1. Very well said.

    I, too, am not a fan of Panini's products (as a whole); there have been a few particular cards that have grabbed my attention and I've picked them up for my player collections, but they could go away and I certainly wouldn't miss them. As a team and player collector, I might be more forgiving if the Braves players looked like they played for Atlanta, not Detroit. And logo-less cards just look plain weird on chrome-looking (I mean, Prizm) cards.

    Call me a Topps homer, but should Panini ever get an exclusive baseball license...I'll be done with new cards. Thank God I'm not a football collector (save a few older Bucs).

  2. This Jimmy Dean release was produced by Michael Schecter Associates (MSA is listed on the bottom right on the back if the card). Almost all the MLB only licensed premium (oddball) issues from 1975-1995 were produced by them. I have a feeling most of the non-MLBPA cards you are a fan of can be found here.

  3. I loved that Karros, too. Amazing airbrush job.

  4. That's your story and you're stickin' with it !
    That is what collecting is all about. Each of has our own likes and dislikes and there is no right or wrong.
    If all of us loved any baseball related card that was issued, there would suddenly be 100 new companies issuing cards just because they knew we would buy them at any cost.

    So love or hate anything you want !! We'll still be friends !!