Stadium Fantasium

…Where Life's a Pitch

(Who) Do Ya (Collect?)

Back on Saturday, May 18th, I was at the Rose Bowl (Pasadena) and saw that it was hosting two events simultaneously. The bigger event that drew vastly more people was the Amgen Tour of California bicycle race (stage 3 of the women’s race, stage 7 of the men’s race). Adjacent to the finish line of each race stage, there is a “Lifestyle Festival”. According to the Amgen Tour of California website:

While fans await the cyclists at each day’s finish line, they can partake in the race’s popular daylong Lifestyle Festival. Designed to provide and promote healthy lifestyle and cycling-related experiences, the Lifestyle Festival offers a day of no-cost entertainment and fun for everyone, from families to first-time race visitors to veteran fans.

Located adjacent to the daily finish line, the Lifestyle Festival is an engaging and interactive space with more than 40 exhibitors daily, family activities, food and drink, live race streaming on large video screens, cancer and cardiovascular awareness education and more…

Lifestyle Festival at the 2019 Amgen Bicycle Tour - Pasadena
Lifestyle Festival at the 2019 Amgen Bicycle Tour - Pasadena

The picture above shows a part of race’s accompanying Lifestyle Festival, held out in one of the parking lots of the Rose Bowl. Note the giant TV monitor which happens to show the racers cycling on the road between the festival and the hills in the background. You may have also noticed the helicopter in the sky, which provided aerial coverage of the race.

With all the bicycling fans, exhibitor booths, time and money spent on this event, it made me wonder…are there card sets out there for bicycle racing (past or present)? I’m pretty sure there’s a few cards of bicycle racers in products like Allen & Ginter. But a whole set?

Speaking of cards, as I first arrived at the Rose Bowl parking lot, I spotted this eye-catching vehicle which turned out to be the Panini mobile company van. How many of you Panini collectors wouldn’t mind having this bad boy for your own personal vehicle?

Panini van, front
Panini Mobile Vehicle

Walking from the parking lot towards the stadium, I came across the sign on the right. Later in the afternoon (after spending some time at Amgen’s Life Festival), I headed down toward the stadium field and saw the sign on the left. That’s when I knew for sure that it was the annual NFLPA Rookie Premiere event where a large group of NFL rookies take pictures on the field in their NFL uniforms for Panini. From a Beckett article on the NFLPA Rookie Premiere, here is a list of attendees:

JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Philadelphia Eagles – WR
Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers – DE
Miles Boykin, Baltimore Ravens – WR
A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans – WR
Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens – WR
Hakeem Butler, Arizona Cardinals – WR
Parris Campbell, Indianapolis Colts – WR
Noah Fant, Denver Broncos – TE
Ryan Finley, Cincinnati Bengals – QB
Will Grier, Carolina Panthers – QB
Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs – WR
Damien Harris, New England Patriots – RB
N’Keal Harry, New England Patriots – WR
Dwayne Haskins, Washington Redskins – QB
Darrell Henderson, Los Angeles Rams – RB
Justice Hill, Baltimore Ravens – RB
T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions – TE
Andy Isabella, Arizona Cardinals – WR
Josh Jacobs, Oakland Raiders – RB
Gary Jennings, Seattle Seahawks – WR

Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers – WR
Daniel Jones, New York Giants – QB
Drew Lock, Denver Broncos – QB
Bryce Love, Washington Redskins – RB
Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings – RB
Terry McLaurin, Washington Redskins – WR
DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks – WR
David Montgomery, Chicago Bears – RB
Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals – QB
Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys – RB
Hunter Renfrow, Oakland Raiders – WR
Riley Ridley, Chicago Bears – WR
Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers – WR
Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles – RB
Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills – RB
Darius Slayton, New York Giants – WR
Irv Smith Jr, Minnesota Vikings – TE
Benny Snell Jr, Pittsburgh Steelers – RB
Easton Stick, Los Angeles Chargers – QB
Jarrett Stidham, New England Patriots – QB

Ordinary casual fans were able to sit in the bleachers but were not allowed in the player/Panini area. Luckily I was able to get relatively close to some of the tents and players and snap a few photos for you.

Signing cards at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere
How many players can you identify signing cards at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere?
Can you find the Panini Contenders Draft Picks Bowl Ticket (Eric Dickerson) card?
Can you find the Panini Contenders Draft Picks Bowl Ticket (Eric Dickerson) card above?
On the Rose Bowl field at the 2019 NFLPA Rookie Premiere
On the Rose Bowl field at the 2019 NFLPA Rookie Premiere
Could this be 49ers rookie DE Nick Bosa?
Could this be 49ers rookie DE Nick Bosa?
Carolina Panthers rookie QB Will Grier
I'm 99.99% sure this is Carolina Panthers rookie QB Will Grier

So that’s my rather brief close encounter with Panini (#whodoyoucollect) and NFL rookies. This day for the rookies was part of a multi-day event. For more in-depth information about the NFLPA Rookie Premiere, check out this other Beckett article.

As summer approaches, my workload has been increasing substantially. That’s why new Stadium Fantasium blog posts have slowed down even more than before. I’ll still be posting but not nearly as often as I would like. I’ve got at least four blog posts in the works that I hope to create sooner rather than later. Until then, stay tuned…

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About Me

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Long time set collector with a particular passion for Topps flagship baseball cards along with some cards from other sets/sports (almost no Upper Deck, Panini, high-end or hockey to see here).

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