Aside from the fact that it remains a BLATANT rip off of Upper Deck’s tremendous original set from 2009, I think there was some definite potential to have a nice rebound year in 2013 from Panini’s version of Black. As I mentioned before, I thought 2012 Black was a terrible excuse for a high end product, with poorly designed cards and little to no on card content. For this year, it looks like many of the designs were improved significantly, but the on card content is still yet to be determined.
Panini posted a QC preview on their site, and now that we are seeing some of the finished product, I have some thoughts.
Rookie Patch Autos
Last year’s RPAs were the best designed cards in the set, but as per usual Panini, thick paint pens were used to sign them. Not only did this not turn out well for a lot of the signature quality, but it also made the cards significantly more ugly. Topps struggled with this in 2012 Inception as well, losing signature quality in favor of more quick drying pens. Topps had had MASSIVE success in a banner year for 2011 Inception, and the Black autos would have been awesome with the thin pens. This year, they switched to blue, offering a ghosted out white space for the rookies to sign. The cards look A LOT better, and I might chase a few of them.
Rookie Base Autos
This is where 2012 Black really missed the mark in every way, shape and form. Because Panini wasn’t smart enough to design the cards with a background light enough to show the stickers they wanted to use, they opted for the BIG SILVER BOX! It not only looked horrendous, but only served to make an ugly design more unappealing. This year, that has changed, and the cards are vastly improved. I thought most of these would be on card, but Panini really let us down with ANOTHER batch of stickers. Some of them look to be on card, but most look to be stickers.
Veteran and Retired Autos
As I mentioned above, the 2012 vet autos were PLAGUED by the big silver box that someone decided looked good enough to ship. This is where I am a bit confused, as I thought the vet autos were going to be on card. I guess that might only be the case for some of them, which only cheapens this high end product more than it already is. At least they look pretty good without that stupid box.
Rookie Jersey Showcases
I don’t know if you can technically call these shadowboxes, but that is definitely the effect they were going for here. I absolutely hate the idea for these cards, even if they were executed perfectly. No player pictures on a card always piss me off, and this just takes it to the extreme. Instead of giving us mini jerseys encased in a card and then signed, or something of that design, we get this shit. Its literally a picture of a jersey casually laid out on a table, and then covered with signed acetate. Yes, Panini couldnt even be bothered to stretch the jersey appropriately for the shoot, instead opting to do it in a lackadaisical fashion. Well, it shows. I cant understand why anyone would want these.
Here are what REAL shadowboxes should look like:
Here are these atrocities:
Metal Rookies and Vets
I think these cards might be the coolest of the previews, only because Im not really sure how to describe them. If they have signed versions of these, Im in. They look pretty cool.
Here are some of the metal cards Topps did for Sterling Baseball:
Here they are:
Here are some of the other cards from the preview as well. Many of them I wouldnt buy with someone else’s money:
Although I am sure there is more to this set that we haven’t seen, so far I am very much on the fence. If we see that there are some veteran sigs, on card, and a lot of nice looking stuff without significant amounts of redemptions, ill have a different assessment. It seems as though that wont be the case, however. Unfortunate, as usual.