The upcoming Panini release calendar is packed with products. Threads, Absolute, Certified, Limited, they are all on the way, and are all sets that are not new additions to the slate. Panini uses this part of the calendar to bank on previous years’ success, mostly with a tried and true formula of a mid range price point and 3-4 hits per box. Rookies & Stars is beginning of the products I have dubbed the “Panini Blur,” as each of the products is so similar in the concept, that they actually are indistinguishable for lack of a better explanation. I stopped by Sports Cards Plus in San Antonio today to get a look at the latest batch of Panini splatter paint, and despite a nice pull from a customer there, the results were far from impressive.
Aside from the normal Panini cookie cutter of stickers, foilboard, parallels and busy designs, Rookies and Stars brings absolutely nothing of worth to the table. Its a product that rarely holds its value, the concept and content of the set hardly looks like it was designed by a professional, and it is full of rehashes that produced its share of groans from the peanut gallery at the shop. I opened a few packs after some prodding, and I was lucky enough to pull not one, but two of the stale and played out manupatch autos. Not only was one of them a redemption, but the one that was live was snooze worthy at best.
Because Topps is locked and ready to roll with the meat of their calendar, Panini desperately needs to pull their heads out of their ass to stay relevant. I mentioned in the post below this one all the reasons why I like the low end Topps products as much as I do, and I can honestly say that from what I saw, Panini did not deliver even one of them with R&S. If you can stand to save that hundred bucks you were going to spend on a box of this junk, you are going to have that much more fun opening what is coming on wednesday from Panini’s main competitor.
Personally, I love that the people at Panini use my posts as toilet paper, because it just shows the level of commitment they have to taking what people like me say to heart. I have loudly sung the same tune for 3 years, and over that time frame, Panini has gained its share of haters that function similarly to the way I do. Its funny the amount of times I have started to hear the boos on the boards, twitter, and blogs, when a product preview is posted, something that can easily catch up to your P&L statements. You cant churn out the same shit over and over again, and not expect your customer base to get tired of the apathetic approach. The brass at Panini doesnt seem to get that despite the numerous industry people letting them know how they feel.
I think that once the rest of the Panini Blur hits the shelves, we are going to start to see a lot of angry collectors start to make their voices heard. Its easy to overlook the “YES! LOOK AT THIS CARD I GOT!” when there are a lot of “Nice pull, but it looks like shit.” reactions right after it. I didnt even take the time to review this product last year because it was so terrible, and I am glad to see that Panini decided that one year of poop wasnt enough.