Well, 2009 Contenders has hit eBay, and that means that we finally get to see how bad this could possibly be. For those of you who have not followed along, Panini has touted through the whole thing that this set will feature on card autos, but then we find out that only a portion of the tickets are on card. The rest of the cards are stickers, and from what I have seen on facebook from the on card stuff, I think I actually prefer the stickers. The rest of the autos are bubbly and barely seen on the over crowded card, and I cannot believe that people are trying to get in on this product right at the beginning.
These new tickets feature a design that is worse than 2008's visual abortion, something I didn’t think was possible, and the autographs are mildly visible to hardly visible. I have no idea why you would even try on card autos on a foilboard surface, as the reflective coating will highlight every miserable defect of the bubbly signature. They also switched to a horizontal orientation that did nothing but give them a huge space to write 2009 ROOKIE in humoungous letters. I always like when a painted player is featured on a card, but why would you cover up part of the artwork with a font that takes away from the general design? That doesn’t make sense. Plus, if you really want to do well, how about just ditching the foilboard all together and giving us a card that doesn’t blind us in the sunlight.
I will give Panini their due for not rehashing the design, and for trying to up the on card content, but when your cards go from nice in 1998-2007 to awful, those smiles turn to scowls. Ive put together a retrospective here, and you can see what I mean when I say the design has tanked.