It's odd what history Panini has chosen to resurrect in the past few years with the Donruss/Score/Playoff names. I always get the feeling with Playoff that their goal is to create designs with as many straight lines and corners as possible. Is this supposed to copy the rigidity of the football field? Remember, Playoff primarily issued football cards until 2001. Many of the Panini designs seem to have the Playoff feel, which looks great when you're showing pictures of men covered in 50 pounds of plastic and foam, but not when you're showing guys playing on grass.
Donruss has a good bit of history, though, and Playoff had some highlights in the five years they produced licensed baseball cards. Here are some of the cards I like. I would love to see the concepts resurrected at some point!
Fans of the Game: This line has carried over from baseball to the three other sports Playoff and now Panini have licenses for. I'm sure it will return. It's a simple concept - celebrities who have a favorite team, plus an autograph version. I'm waiting for an Alyssa Milano card, but I'll have to fight all the other Alyssa Milano fans, Dodger fans, and set builders. Why hasn't Elisha Cuthbert been featured on a hockey card set yet? She dates hockey guys all the time.
Here's an idea completely off the top of my head. Instead of 150 cards showing players standing in front of a studio wall during spring training, arrange to photograph the players in the offseason to see what they do when they're not at the ballpark. Are any of them working a second job? They don't really need to anymore, but you never know. What are their hobbies? Do they do charity work? Do they stay in shape by doing something unique during the offseason? Do they have a nickname other than X-Rod? Where did it come from? Can you create a photo shoot around some of their traits (look at the Rickey Henderson card above)?
Remember, Panini: Your goal is to show collectors and MLBP that you are bringing something special back to the hobby. Part of that is bringing attractive designs - especially with inserts that mean something. The inserts (and sets) above mean something or provide something worth collecting.
None of this:
Panini's Return to Baseball:
- Panini Swings the Bat
- Coolness on Cardboard
- The Good
- The Bad
- The Ugly
- BBA: My Own Set