Saturday, April 27, 2013

2012 Panini Prizm Baseball Review

Wow, what an epic weekend of card reviews for The Cardboard Review! Earlier today two basketball reviews were posted, and now... here's a third one for you! This review is the first ever baseball product review on my site! Huge thanks to Tracy at Panini for providing this box for review. If you watched the break video, I must apologize for the name pronunciations! I thought hockey was traditionally the difficult sport for names!

Base Card Design -
Prizm baseball is the third iteration of the Prizm card line. Panini had previously released Prizm for both football and basketball, both with high collector interest. This baseball version looks to continue on the success these cards have already had. The Prizm base cards come on a sturdy foilboard cardstock. This is the first time I've encountered a Panini Prizm card, and it shocked me a little. These base cards are firm and rigid... very much unlike, say, a Topps Chrome or Finest card - which is what I first expected them to be like. Those cards tend to bow naturally over time. I do not foresee that happening with these cards. These are tough little base cards!

In terms of design, the cards are very shiny and reflective. Though the card is all foil, Panini has chosen to give the card different textural elements. The borders, for example, have a bumpy, pounded metal look to them. The use of clean graphics and fonts give these base cards a very current feel, though with a hint of nineties mixed in as well. An aspect of these base cards that I found myself particularly enjoying was the background. Though these Prizm cards have a solid silvery border, Panini chose to include a natural background within it - rather than just having the entire card silvered-out. It's a nice contrast seeing the soft focus background and the bold player amongst the rest of the card - it all blends nicely. 

Worth noting is that since Panini does not hold an MLB license, they cannot use official team logos or names on the cards. You'll see a Player Association logo and the city they play for, but that's the extent of the identifying information Panini can include.

The back of the Prizm cards have a wealth of information for collectors to look at. Though the cards only carry one line of statistics, Panini has included full write-ups for collectors to read and learn from. The designers have chosen to use the same image on both sides of the card. While the front image is in full-color, the back is done in a dark sepia-type tone. Like the front, the back is laid out and presented well. All the elements come together cohesively.

Rounding out the base set are the Prizm rookie cards. Though the design of these rookie cards are very different than their standard base card counterparts, the Prizm foil technology instantly connects the two. In a way, it's good as it makes all the cards within the set uniform... but at the same time it shows that the foiling technology can negate design differences that usually make the cards stand apart from each other. Perhaps the use of a different color foil would have been a nice way to differentiate the cards a bit more... but then again, the designers could have been going for that total uniform set look that I mentioned earlier. And if that were the case, they hit a home-run with that effort!

Base Card Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
The Prizm box states that there should be two autographs per box. Autographs can range from the newest prospects to current players to retired stars. Inserts and parallel cards can also be found within Prizm boxes. Unfortunately, there are no jersey or patch cards inserted in 2012 Prizm Baseball.

The insert cards found in Prizm all have unique designs, but as I mentioned with the rookie cards, it can be hard to differentiate these cards because the foiling technology renders all the cards too similar to each other. This Jeter insert is an example of a great look - the United States flag in the background - but in a stack of other Prizm cards, this card could get lost in the mix. Some of the other inserts, such as Dominance and Brilliance, do have more radically different designs, but they all share that same problem - they just feel the same! These inserts remind me of the ones you'd find in a standard Score release where most of the insert cards are printed on the same cardstock as the base cards. To me, inserts need to be set apart more from the base cards... otherwise, just make them a subset at the end of the base set.

Can you see the difference between this Joe Kelly card and the Darvish above? Hopefully you'll notice that this card is has a brighter hue. Scans cannot pick up the difference well, but in person, you can clearly see that this is a Prizm parallel card (similar to a Topps Refractor). While the standard inserts do not stand out in a big stack of cards, these Prizm parallels do, and collectors seem to love the different levels of parallels that you can find. This particular parallel card is the most common type to get, but there are those that you can pull that have different textures and colors associated with them. The rarest versions are numbered to ten or less!

The standard autographed cards are parallels of the base card design with a space allocated for the signature. Many collectors, myself included, would prefer a hard-signed card, but at least these autographs are done in a very clean, well-presented way. The blue ink used looks good with the silver foil backing. Besides the regular version of these cards, you may be lucky enough to find a Prizm parallel numbered to only 25.

Mixing it up a little are these Elite Extra Edition base and autographed cards. It was an unexpected pleasure to find these cards within my box. I wonder if these hits were bonuses, as this was the third autograph out of this box. After going through a ton of Prizm cards, these red-themed inserts were definitely a breath of fresh air. Seeing these Elite cards come out made me yearn for some more variety in Prizm. As this brand was so popular this year, hopefully when it returns next year, there will be more varied content to be found!

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Rating -
Even though Panini does not hold an official MLB license, they amaze by creating great looking and desirable cards. Prime Cuts was an example of that, National Treasures was the same, and so is Panini Prizm Baseball. Unlike those other two that I just mentioned, Prizm is affordable for the mid-level collector. Boxes of it can be found for under $100. And with twenty packs per box, it makes for a very fun opening experience.

Prizm has already established itself as a strong product in the Panini pantheon of card lines. Collectors know to look for the limited parallel cards and autographs here - Prizm is definitely a solid bet to buy. I recommend for baseball collectors of all levels.

Overall Rating:

Check out my box break of 2012 Panini Prizm Baseball:


  1. What's up man! Nice thorough review for Prizm! I really like the Prizm product myself. What I liek the most is the base cards are really nice looking. It is like each card is an insert and not just a "base". Keep making these reviews! I enjoy watching and reading man! thanks

  2. I like the box design. The glossy look is a nice touch with it.

    Extra Edition - Great looking card. I like the colours that were used and the overal lower half design blends well together. The picture is excellent considering they do not have a license.

    Base - I like how the base cards follow the same design as the box with the edging and the glossy look and feel.

    Dominance - Even though it looks like the base cards at first I like the texture effect it has. It looks like a piece of bubble wrap. Which can be pretty dominating considering you don't stop untill they are all popped.

    Relevance - Really wish the design would have been different. It is the exact same texture and design as the Dominance card but with Rookie on it. However I do like the use of blue for the writting that really goes well with the silver.

    Team MVP - It is big and it is bold and I like it. That is all that needs to be said about that card.

    Autograph - Even though it looks like a base card the area where the autograph goes is smooth and different from the rest of the card. I had a really hard time telling if it was a sticker or not. On camera it was impossible to tell untill you said it.

    USA - Even though I am not from the USA I will admit it is probably my favourite card from this box. The background how the card is going in the wind with the player dead set in action is great. Really words cannot describe how awesome those cards look.

    Brilliance - I like how they mixed it up a bit. They changed the texture to look like - instead of dots. The baseball edging is an awesome look for the card as well.

    Overall I would give this product an 8 out of 10.
    It is new and it looks great but they could improve the design of some of their cards so they don't look the same.
    Other than that great product.

    Youtube: Starnsfan00

  3. Meh. They are nice looking cards but the lack of license kind of kills it for me. I think ITG Hockey really knows how to do lack of license justice. The logo-less hats remind me of cards I used to get off of Kraft Macaroni or Tombstone Pizzas in the 90s. Love Panini but this one falls a little short. I wish they could get a license!


  4. I really hate this stuff. It reminds me of that Classics Ultimate hockey... I won't be surprised if the retail of this stuff (if there even is a retail) ends up in $3 3 pack value boxes at walmart lol. I rate this 0.9 / 10.

    YouTube micerule934

  5. The Panini Prizm Baseball is actually my favorite panini baseball products of the year.

    Base: Has a nice glossy texture to it and had a nice design IMO. It also has a clean design, which is a 8.5/10.

    Elite Extra: even though Panini does not have a baseball licence it is always nice to include cards from different product in one product, such as last year's 11 12 Rookie Anthology, which had Pinnacle, Contenders, and Crown Royale all in one product. 8.5/10 as well.

    Prizms: all though they are hard to catch or can take 5 seconds to see if it is a prizm or not, it reminds me of the refractor in Topps Chrome and Bowman Chrome. Select Basketball is like a remake of Prizm because of how they obviously their Prizms. 8/10

    Dominance: has a decent looking design on it, and is not one of those rarer inserts to get. 7.5/10

    Autos: They are just exactly like the base card except have a white space at the bottom of the card for the player to sign. Most of the autos as usual are not the best autos at all, such as the Grant Balfour and Max Muncy. 7.5 as well

    Overall this break had to get an 8/10 for sure.

  6. I like the USA inserts and the autograph designs, but Panini not having the license kinda kills this product. ITG does the no license justice when it comes to hockey cards. When I see a card without any team logo, it makes me want to collect it less, kinda like if hockey decided to hide all the logos on the jerseys. Great review Luke.
    YT- bmurphy1325

  7. I always thought Prizm football was cool and was very excited to hear that there is now a baseball version. I really like the overall design but I (like many others) hate the sticker autos. I like the mix of prospects and veterans, but I wish the prospect autos were not just a prizm version of elite. I love elite but was hoping for a newer and different design of the prospect autos. I think it is pretty stupid to have alot of these cards as rookies. Most of the "rookies" are actually not. Overall I think it is an OK product and rate it a 7.5/10. Love the review though.
    YT: 49ersfan619

  8. Baseball cards and baseball is the that I don´t know much because and I´m in Finland and we play the other kind of baseball which Tahko Pihkala invented when he saw youre baseball in when he was wisiting America.

    The cards look kind of nice but it´s weird that panini have´t got the license. 2 autos is kind of normal number of hits in panini products.


  9. Love this product! The only thing that hurts it is the uniforms in my opinion. The prizms are sharp, the rookies will hold value, there are nice names on the autograph checklist, and there are great prospects included as well. Thanks for the break and review!

    Youtube: baseballpackopenings

  10. I think the base card design is very nice. All the rcs and prizms look anazing. Only downpart of this product is the logos.

    Youtubename: vancanuckman1234

  11. It's really nice to see what Panini can do even without MLB-license. You don't even really think about that when looking at the cards (something to learn of ITG!). Maybe Prizm is a product where everything looks just the same way, and I personally get a bit tired of that silver foil after a pair of packs.. More variations, thanks!

    Youtube: Majlfp

  12. Hey Luke! Thanks for another great review. Although I do not know too much about baseball I did play it and I like to watch the Jays. Right now they are kind of like last year's Leafs. You keep hoping for the best but they really disappoint.

    Now to the product; I think that the base is great if I'm going to start somewhere. Nice and shiny. Hockey seems to be grasping this too if my better judgement serves me right. I also like how cheap most baseball products are. I wish it was that way for hockey. But what can you do?

    I like the autos for sure. They are much different from hockey in my eyes. I see a lot of base version auto's where that is a bit harder to find in hockey. I do like that touch to it. But maybe it is a bit over-played in baseball.

    When it comes to inserts, a lot of people may say hockey has too much but it seems that baseball doesn't have much either. Or at least in this product. But then again, this product didn't seem to have too much variety but a lot of single category hits. By that I mean it had a lot of rookies for example. I'm not sure why, nor am I sure how I feel about that.

    One of my favorite things about this product and baseball cards was the refractors. But this product didn't seem to yield much which didn't appeal to me. Maybe it's just me bu when I think "baseball cards", I think refractors.

    If there was one thing that kind of turned me off in this product was the boredom it gave me. Luckily the guy opening the boxes is pretty entertaining but the product didn't have anything too special. Even if it is an insert, I want to be able too say "oooh nice" at least once if I'm opening a box.

    Overall, I liked the product but it didn't wow me. Maybe I need to see another box be opened.

    Thanks again for everything! I think it's about time panini gives you a case of something!

    - NothinButHockeyCards

  13. I'm really not the biggest baseball fan and if i am honest i really don't watch it. But the things about cards are that they bring you closer to the sport. So i will try to get some baseball cards and maybe i will start a baseball collection. About you review i think that my tots are the same. Thanks for the contest!

    1. oh forgot
      youtube- Irbehockey cardcolect

  14. I love this stuff it way better than topps chrome the football is sweet to bad they don't have the MLB rights would make the baseball even better ifthat is possible!!

    "the hitman"

  15. Prizm is awesome i love the look of the cards and the quality is amazing too. The prizms are sick cards and i love the team USA inserts they are awesome as well! its over all a great product in my opinion cause even the base are very nice cards! i hope to get some soon even just try to get some base cards cause they are soo nice! Hopefully panini will decide to bring this product to hockey cause that would be an amazing product! i would give this product a 9/10!

    Thanks for the contest!


  16. Prizm is great this year with there design in baseball as Panini usually does with baseball, I do not buy baseball cards all that often anymore but I have more baseball cards than any sport I have so I do usually buy a pack or two of a product and I may do that with this product because it looks like a very nice design and with two autos in each box this can be a good very selling product so I very much do recommend this despite having no license for Panini baseball products.

    Youtube: mncards22 thanks for the contest

  17. Another great review by Luke. This product reminds me of Panini Elite hockey which I found to be the best of the middle end products of last year. Lots of packs, 2 auto per box. Lots of fun.