Donruss, oh Donruss … how could you do this to us?
No, I’m not talking about the factory set debacle that ticked off some set collectors for life. I’m talking about the resurrection of our beloved Diamond Kings brand minus actual artwork. You already have one strike against you due to the massive number of collectors who avoid and/or despise non-licensed baseball cards. I myself was once completely against unlicensed cards until recently when I began to see some of the work both Leaf Trading Cards and Panini America is putting out.
I’ve been away from the hobby for five years but after watching 3-4 box breaks on 2014 Donruss Baseball, I must say that I’m impressed. You’ve got a low-priced product that gives collectors a lot in return. For starters, 193 total cards per hobby box which includes 2 autographs, 1 relic card, 16 parallels or inserts, a box topper, and short-print base cards (which Panini murdered). If you can get past the airbrush and cleverly cropped photographs, it’s one of the best non-licensed baseball products I have ever seen.
That’s still no excuse for replacing the cheesy artwork of Dick Perez in favor of photographs with 2-3 Instagram filters applied to it. Perhaps Panini America was unable to obtain Mr. Perez’ services due to his relationship with the Topps Company but there’s 100 other artists out there who could have done a respectable job out there. Much like Donruss Baseball has a long history with collectors, Diamond Kings has the same adoration and should have been given a much better return with Donruss’ 2014 comeback.
I will be making my way to Tampa this weekend since my beautiful city of Sarasota has ZERO card shops and will make it my mission to find, purchase, and bust a box of 2014 Donruss Baseball. I will also wait with an open mind to see what Panini America has in store with their sophomore release. As much of a Topps fanboy as I am, competition breeds excellence and it would be nice to see them face off against another licensed card manufacturer in the future.
Let’s just hope Panini has learned a lesson after witnessing Upper Deck’s very public downfall.