Saturday, March 30, 2013

2013 BBM Rookie Edition

I'm going to interrupt the posts on my trip again and talk about the 2013 BBM Rookie Edition set.  With it being Opening Weekend and all, a lot of the big rookies have been making their debuts.  Shohei Ohtani was the Opening Day right fielder for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, going 2-4 with a double and an RBI while batting eighth.  Tomoyuki Sugano started the second game of the season for the defending champion Yomiuri Giants, giving up 5 hits, 1 walk and 1 run over 7 innings while striking out 9.  And Shintaro Fujinami will be starting the third game of the season for the Hanshin Tigers tomorrow afternoon.  So I thought I should get caught up on the set (which has been out since the end of February).  (Just as an FYI - I didn't pick this set up in Tokyo although it certainly was available.  I got it through my usual source.  It was waiting for me at home when I returned.)

The set is 96 cards, which off hand I think is the smallest number of cards in this set ever.  83 of the cards feature players taken in last October's draft, including the afore-mentioned Ohtani, Sugano and Fujinami.

The draft pick cards are pretty much like all the other draft pick cards in the previous Rookie Edition set - posed shots of the players holding balls or bats, making "guts" poses or faking a pitching motion.  I think the poses are a little more vanilla this year than most - no one doing the splits, no one playing "air violin", everyone in their team's uniform rather than a suit.  About the only oddity in the set is that because Ohtani and the Fighters have been toying with the idea of him being a two-way player, BBM included two cards of Ohtani - one with him "pitching" and one with him holding a bat.  Both cards have the same number (#42) but it appears that both are treated as equal parts of the set - the set contains 96 cards that are numbered 1-95 with an extra card 42.

Here's some example cards:


#42 "pitching"

#42 "batting"

There's a one card checklist listing all of the draft pick cards (although only listing one card for Ohtani).  Unlike previous years, the card doesn't show any pictures of the players - it's just a straight checklist card.

The checklist card does not list the 12 card "Then And Now" subset for the set.  Each card in this subset features one draftee from each team (it's the number one pick for each team except the Marines - it's third rounder Tatsuhiro Tamura for them) along with a vintage picture of some other player.  Trying to figure out the connection between the draftee and the other player has frankly been the most interesting thing about this set.  Sugano is paired with Tatsunori Hara, his uncle as well as his manager with the Giants).  Koji Fukutani of the Dragons is shown with Shoze Etoh, a former Dragon as well as Fukutani's coach when he was at Keio University.  Hiroyuki Shirasaki of the Baystars and Tamura of the Marines are paired with their managers - Kiyoshi Nakahata and Tsutomu Itoh respectively.  Bizarrely, Fujinami shares his card with Tsuyoshi Nishioka, pictured from his press conference announcing his signing with the Tigers.  I have not figured out the connections on the other cards - Taichi Ishikawa and Tatsuji Nishimura, Swallows; Hiroki Takahashi and Sachio Kinugasa, Carp; Ohtani and Mitsuo Yoshikawa, Fighters; Tatsushi Masuda and Shigekazu Mori, Lions; Nao Higashihama and Kenichi Watatabe, Hawks; Yudai Mori and Masahiro Tanaka, Eagles and Takahiro Matsuba and Hiroshi Kobayashi, Buffaloes (Kobayashi is actually shown as a member of the Orix Blue Wave).  Here's a couple sample cards:


All the cards can be seen here.


Anonymous said...

I'm confused. Shohei Otani, the kid with the 100 mph gas, is starting off his NPB career playing RF?

Greg Dunn

Anonymous said...

Okay, I should have read down the article a little further. Nevertheless, it's hard for me to imagine a MLB club risking a kid with that kind of arm by playing him in the field.

Greg Dunn