Thursday, September 2, 2010

2010 BBM All Star set

Got this year's edition of BBM's annual All Star set in the mail today. It's a 67 card box set featuring 58 cards of the players on the All Star teams (29 for each league), six cards for the managers and coaches, 2 cards featuring the MVPs of the two 2010 All Star games (Shinnosuke Abe and Yasuyuki Katoaka) and one card for the number 1 vote getter (Kenta Maeda).

I give the set a hearty "meh". The cards themselves look kind of like last years - there's a big red (Central League) or purple (Pacific League) border that's thicker on the bottom (and non-existent on the top). There's big "Fan Selected" and "1st Time All Star" decorations for the appropriate players. There's some sort of weird shadow added behind the silhouette of the player - kind of like some of the Team Best minor league cards from the late 90's. I'd say the cards are slightly less busy than last year's but still kind of ugly for my tastes. Here's Hitoshi Tamura's card (#A60) as an example:

BBM made a big deal about how the pictures for this year's set would actually be taken during the All Star games - which is why the set wasn't released until late August unlike earlier editions which usually came out in mid July (and why the MVP cards are for this year's MVPs and not last year's). Well, I'll tell you - you'd be hard-pressed to tell that these pictures came from an All Star game. On most of the cards, you can only see the player who's card it is. For example, none of the cards showing batters batting show the catcher. I only found two cards where you could tell the photo was from an All Star game - Chang-Yong Lim (#A13) where you can see a Hanshin Tiger (Craig Brazell?) playing first in the background and Junji Ogawa (#A03) where you can see him fist bumping players from the Dragons and Giants:

The cards of Tatsunori Hara, Masataka Nashida and Marty Brown show them wearing league jerseys rather than their team jerseys - not worn during the games but in the workout and home run hitting contests maybe? Here's Marty Brown's card (#A34):

One other gripe I have is that about half the cards of the pitchers show a shot taken from in front of them while they were pitching, so you can see second base behind them. It's not a bad shot, but it's overused in the set. Here's Kazuki Yoshimi's card as an example (#A11):

The MVP and Number 1 Vote Getter cards can possibly be memorabilia cards with pieces of baseballs embedded in them. I only got the non-ball versions. Here's Kataoka's MVP card (#A67) and Maeda's Number 1 Vote Getter card (#A65):

There are also gold embossed parallel issues of the "Fan Selected" players available - numbered to 150. I don't know if every box has either a ball card or a gold parallel card. I do know that I got the parallel card for Norichika Aoki.

As I said last year - I used to really like the All Star sets, but I've been less and less enamored of them as time goes by. This is the 20th edition of the set - it might be a good round number for me to stop buying them at.

I do want to point out that I bought the set through AmiAmi. It took about a week for me to get the set after paying for it. It was on the steep side cost-wise: the set itself was only 1995 yen, but EMS shipping was 1500 yen. The total was about $42. (I'm ordering the 2010 BBM Tokyo Big 6 Fall Version set from them also and I'll be paying about the same again - next time I don't preorder so I don't have to pay shipping twice!). I know Bill Ellis had reported some problems trying to order through AmiAmi - I didn't have any issues. I will say that sometimes their website isn't very responsive, but that wasn't the problem Bill said he had. All I can suggest is that they fixed whatever was wrong when he tried to order.


Anonymous said...

Dumb question here ... Why are the names of the players on the Japanese baseball cards in English and why are the Japanese uniforms in English?

NPB Card Guy said...

Not a dumb question at all. I don't really know the answers though. I can tell you that baseball cards in Japan didn't start having names on them in English until 1989. I believe that the 1989 Lotte set was the first set to have English names on the cards. Calbee added them in their third series that year in reaction. With the exception of Takara, pretty much everyone since then has included English names.

As for the uniforms, I know that during the War, the team names did not appear in English on the uniforms, but they did before that. Names did not appear on the back of the uniforms until the Taiyo Whales did it in 1964 (if I'm reading "History Of Uniform" correctly) and they have always been in English.

I need to do some more research on this and maybe develop it into a full blown post.

drbillellis said...

I just completed an order with AmiAmi using PayPal, and everything went smoothly. Now I await delivery.

NPB Card Guy said...

I've found delivery from AmiAmi via EMS to be pretty amazingly fast. Let me know how your experience with them goes.

Deanna said...

Well, another point is that they seem to think it is "cool" to use English for lots of things in Japan -- and most teams also have ridiculous English slogans every year. It's killing me right now that Seibu's run-for-the-postseason catchphrase is "I believe Lions", so each game I went to this week had these videos full of people saying something like "中村選手、応援しています。頑張って下さい。I believe Lions." and I'd flinch at each one. My Japanese friends are like "Is their pronunciation so bad?" and I'm like "no... it's the GRAMMAR."

I suppose, however, that it is better than "Hit. Foot. Get." which was the bizarre English slogan Seibu used a few years back...

drbillellis said...

I took a shot at translating the intro words Deanna quoted: "Inside village (hometown?) player cheering increase - "ganbare" (persist)! Introducer (opposing team?) come down [in your] talent." Am I in the ballpark? I am a Japanese language level A (short season) rookie.

NPB Card Guy said...

I'm at the T-Ball level with the Japanese language, so I'll let someone who knows what they're doing evaluate that.

Deanna said...

Oh, no. So what they said was something to the effect of, "I'm a (Takeya) Nakamura fan. Good luck, Nakamura!"

Literally it's more like "Nakamura-player, I support you. Do your best!"

The Japanese concept of "ouen" means... well, it means support. So "ouendan" means supporters' group, literally, but it also means support as in to cheer someone on. When my JHS students go off to do tests or competitions, I pretty much say the same thing to them... "ouen shitemasu, ganbatte kudasai!" In that context it means "Hey, I'm behind you if you win or lose. Hang in there, you can do it! Good luck!" Because in English we would never say "I support you!" It just sounds weird.

But to follow it up with the English "I believe Lions." was driving me nuts. I talked to a Fighters fan friend who lived in the US for 5 years, and he's like "...yeah, they really need an 'in' there, right?"

drbillellis said...

Today I received the BBM 2010 All Star card set I ordered from AmiAmi on Sept. 9. It took 16 days by Surface Airlift (SAL)- Small Parcel from Japan. The shipping charge was 480 yen ($5.89) for a set that weighed 183 grams (6.5 ounces). I'm OK with the slow delivery - it saved me money.

NPB Card Guy said...

Cool! That's not too bad a wait. I'll have to be more patient. Saving 1000 Yen on shipping is worth it.

Thanks for the info.

lonestarr said...

What's up with those non-ball cards? I picked up a non-jersey awhile back too, and it's... gotta be one of the weirdest cards I've ever seen. Anyway, what's the story with them?

NPB Card Guy said...

I think the non-jersey/non-ball cards are BBM's way of being able to have say that there are n number of cards in a box set and still be able to randomly insert memorabilia cards. That way, if the set is supposed to have 50 cards, one of which might be a jersey card, putting a non-jersey card in the set means that you still get 50 cards. It is kind of like they're taunting you though - "Na-na na-na na-na! This is what the jersey card would have looked like if you'd gotten one!"

In addition to the non-ball and non-jersey cards, I've also seen non-bat cards.