Monday, November 10, 2014

2014 BBM Giants

My teenage daughter sat down next to me at the kitchen table a few years back and said "Dad, we need to talk about something I found in your office."  She pulled out a Yomiuri Giants hat.  "What is this?  Has everything you've ever said been a lie?" I had to explain to her that my sister's husband had had a couple of month internship* in Tokyo back in the summer of 1989 and they'd brought me back a few Japanese baseball souvenirs - a Giants hat, a Giants mascot car window thing-y and the 1989 edition of Wayne Graczyk's annual Japanese Baseball guide.  At the time I didn't know a whole lot about Japanese baseball and they're not really sports fans so none of us really had much of an opinion regarding the Giants.  It wasn't until I learned more and started following things closely that I developed a dislike for the team.  But I still have the hat (and the car window thing-y) sitting around my office.

*My brother-in-law has always worked in academia since he got his doctorate so when I was recently asking my sister where he had done his internship in Tokyo and she said "Ricoh", I kept thinking she meant "Rikkio", one of the Tokyo Big Six universities.  It took a little bit before it got through my head she meant the printer company.

This was going through my head this past summer when BBM released their annual team set for the Giants.  I don't usually get team sets and I really don't like the Giants that much but this year's set is really attractive, so after much reflection on it (and deciding how to break the news to my daughter*), I decided to pick up the set.

*She really doesn't care all that much

Ryan's excellent post about the set kind of makes what I'm about to say redundant, but I'm going to go ahead anyway.  The base set is 108 cards, a little larger than the 90-99 cards that the other 11 team sets contain.  There are 80 "regular" player cards - this includes manager Tatsunori Hara, 64 players on the Giants official roster (that can be up to 70 players) and 14 ikusei players (the Giants have the second largest roster of ikusei players in NPB after the Hawks).  I'm pretty sure that this is everyone on the Giants roster this past year with the exception of Hector Mendoza, who didn't sign with the Giants until after this set went to press.  So for once here's a BBM set that I can't complain that they left someone out...

Anyway, the base cards in this set are really striking.  There are black bars at the top and bottom of the card that frame the photo well without being obtrusive.  Probably half the cards use a horizontal format which works really well.  The photos themselves for the most part are quite good.  Here's some examples:





I will point out that a couple of the cards of ikusei guys used head shots instead of action shots and this format didn't quite work for those:

BTW - I don't know where those dots by his eyes came from.  They're not on the card and not in my scan.  Somehow Blogger has added them when it loaded the image.

Mercifully, BBM limited the mascots to a single card in the set, which also functions as the checklist:

There's three subsets in the set.  The first is a five card subset called "Giants Chemistry".  Each of these cards features two players - one of whom is a newcomer to the Giants in 2014.  The pairings are Kan Ohtake & Tomoyuki Sugano, Seiji Kobayashi & Shinnosuke Abe, Yasuyuki Kataoka & Hayato Sakamoto, Hirokazu Ibata & Yoshinobu Takahashi and Leslie Anderson & Jose Lopez.

Next is a four card subset called "Coming Giants".  This features several promising young players for the Giants - Tomoyuki Sugano, Shoki Kasahara, Seiji Kobayashi and Itaru Hashimoto.  I think Sugano is more of a guy who has arrived rather than is on the way but that may not have been so obvious when the set went to press.  There's actually four cards of Sugano in the set - his regular card and he appears in all three subsets.  You'd think he was related to the manager or something...

The final subset is the 18 card "Giants Pride" subset.  This has become a staple of the Giants team sets the last five years at least.  The cards show posed shots of Hara and 17 of the Giants biggest stars in various places around the Tokyo Dome (bullpen, dugout, corridors, batting cage, etc).  They may not be as attractive as the regular player cards, but they're pretty distinctive on their own.


You can see all the cards at Jambalaya.

No comments: