I just finished reading every post on the blogosphere about Panini's new MLBPA license. Every post that was put up on blogs I follow at least.
I'm not overly impressed with this new deal. Personally, I'm just not a big fan of cards without logos. Without the logos, the cards are just little pictures of guys. Some of them won't even be "baseball" like pictures. There won't be any "action" photos from games. There won't be any play at the plate shot (yikes!). That's not to say I don't have some unlicensed issues from the past in my Rangers collection, because I do. (Before you Obak lovers start leaving nasty comments, I think Obak is an exception. It's got some funky historical stuff that I like.)
I'm not big into football, basketball or hockey cards, so I'm no expert on Panini products. It just appears to me that their products are all the same. Slick card stock, vanilla designs and very little effort to put create unique products. Again, it hasn't been a problem for me since I don't collect those other sports, but I would purchase a sampling of Panini baseball cards if they had the full license of MLB.
If this leads to the end of the Toppsopoly and Panini can get a full license from MLB, then great. It will give collectors another legitimate choice and competition is good right? The best thing to come out of this will be for Topps not to have the security of the monopoly. Maybe some real innovation and great designs are on the horizon. Maybe. I just don't see them coming from Panini. I would love to be wrong about that.