On Location: Panini America’s Friday at the 2012 National Sports Collectors Convention

August 04, 2012

BALTIMORE — The slowly building surge of momentum at the 2012 National Sports Collectors Convention turned into a full-blown frenzy Friday inside the Panini America booth, with the largest crowds of the week creating overwhelming buzz and precious little elbow room.

Panini America officials kick started Friday with a special appearance and autograph session from avid collector Ryan Tatusko, a promising pitching prospect in the Washington Nationals’ organization. Tatusko dazzled every collector he interacted with and set the stage for the ensuing madness of wrapper redemptions.

Other scintillating scenes from the Panini America booth during the National’s third day included a brief visit by legendary baseball speedster Rickey Henderson . . . media stops by ESPN’s Michele Steele and Baltimore’s ABC affiliate . . . and three more riveting Box Wars contests.

Meanwhile, the Friday announcement of Panini America’s 2012-13 Kobe Bryant Anthology set made major headlines at the show — and in Times Square.

After the show ended Friday evening, we followed some of the most popular and passionate product breakers in the YouTube and Blog TV universe to the top floor of a nearby hotel for a little after-hours bust that lasted well into Saturday morning. Panini America briefly crashed the party to donate a few extra boxes to the cause and to soak in the ambiance. Filling the packed room were video-break heavyweights the likes of ThetTruth17, ads912, mynyceguy168 (BT), kingofsteak, foxborosensation11, scatshot, bbexpress2swatko4, lil bb, nosauce21, rbicru7Brianjs14, 1duh1, briophia, gustopher14, jayhawk1971, balthsar, kollectornet, tricitykid, Jasonheywardfan, wiidiis, rye eaglesAsfan7 and more.

It was another fascinating day in Baltimore that simply set the stage for more. Good thing we have Saturday . . .