I've ragged on Panini baseball products for at least a decade on this blog. It's getting to be repetitious -- heck, it already is -- so it's good that Panini will be stepping aside from making baseball cards when the Fanatics-Topps deal kicks in next year. You won't have to hear it from me no more. It's for the best.
But how about just one more time, since I received several Panini cards, mostly from the recent Diamond Kings set, from Johnny's Trading Spot.
I've been willing to give Diamond Kings a pass among Panini products in recent years because:
1. It's the set that reminds me most of the one-and-done 2013 Hometown Heroes set that is the only thing Panini has done that I loved.
2. It's got old-timey players in it.
3. I like the card stock.
4. Often, during the pandemic period, it was the only card thing available to buy.
However, not even that is going to cut it anymore. I've seen this year's Diamond Kings and I am alarmed by how much I don't like it.
The Miami Hurricanes orange-and-green design irks me. I know Panini intends the green part to be grass (what's the orange, infield dirt?). But I just see an ugly color combo.
I went on a rant about using the same photos year-after-year in Diamond Kings last year with Carl Erskine as the example. Those are Diamond King cards from 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Here is the Erskine from 2022:
OK, it's black-and-white this time. Otherwise, I don't know what to say. It's not good.
That's my want list for 2022 Diamond Kings (the gold names are coming from the Nachos Grande group break). Please note that there are five SPs in the base set. Panini should be thrown out on its ear (my old math teacher's phrase) just for doing that.
OK, that's not a Diamond King card, nor from 2022. But it did arrive from Johnny with the other Diamond King cards and it served as a reminder that Trevor Bauer is part of one of the insert checklists in 2022 Diamond Kings. I thought I had put aside the nightmare of collecting Dodger cards of Bauer in 2021 and Panini is still pretending he's pitching for them?????
Panini's card backs have always been abysmal, across all baseball products. The worst part of it is I can't even read what little it writes back there.
But I do admit that this year's Diamond Kings card back isn't quite as bad as previous versions. Take a look at 2017:
I didn't get to this until Reason #6 but ... NO LOGOS!!!!
Even if this was the only problem with Panini's products it still would be enough for me to ignore it most of the time.
Johnny also sent me some non-Panini cards:
These are all 2022 team set cards with the guys he collects removed, I'm assuming. I am baffled that he's buying a team set for a team I'm pretty sure he rooted against this past weekend, but at least I don't have to buy half the set now.
So, anyway, this might be the last -- or one of the last -- times that you read me pointing out Panini's flaws. Yeah, yeah, some of their inserts are OK, but I don't collect to accumulate inserts.
And it's for the best, for everyone, if I just stop talking about them.