- Information on the last two of BBM's pack based team sets has been released. The Dragons set will be out in mid-July while the Hawks set will be out at the end of the month. Like the sets for the other 10 teams, each set will feature an 81 card base set. The 81 cards for the Dragons breaks down to 70 "regular" cards for the manager and players, 4 "New Face" subset cards and 7 from an unidentified subset ("main players"?). The Hawks' 81 cards are split into 60 "regular" player cards, 3 "Cutting Edge" cards, 4 "First Headlines" cards and 5 "Heavy Hitters Squad" cards. Both sets have 30 insert cards split among multiple sets. Both sets have 12 possible "Phantom" insert cards - the remaining 18 Dragons insert cards are split among five 3 or 4 card sets that aren't really identified on the web site. The remaining 18 Hawks insert cards are split among 3 sets - "No Limit" (6 cards), "Hero Comes Back" (3 cards) and "Elite Selection" (9 cards). Both sets will also have autographed cards available.
- BBM is issuing a third team box set in the "HEAT" series - this time it's for the Lions (after the previous ones for the Dragons and Tigers). Each box set contains 29 cards (a 27 card base set plus two autograph cards) and will retail for 10,000 yen. The set will be released in late July.
- BBM has announced information for their two annual cheerleader/dance squad sets called "Dancing Heroine". Hana, the first set, will be out this week (Jambalaya says Friday the 30th) while Mai will be out in late July (July 20th according to Jambalaya). Each set has 96 cards in the base set showcasing members of the cheerleaders from nine teams - the Fighters (Fighters Girls), the Hawks (Honeys), the Marines (M * Splash), the Lions (bluelegends), the Eagles (Tohoku Golden Angels), the Giants (Venus), the Tigers (Tigers Girls), the Swallows (Passion) and the Dragons (Chia Dragons 2017). The Buffloes (Bs Girls) and the Baystars (diana) squads are not included which may mean that BBM will do box sets just for them later this year. (And in case you're wondering, the Carp don't have cheerleaders.) Each set will also have nine insert cards that aren't described on the page along with autographed cards and "cheki" cards.
- BBM's other flagship set 2nd Version will be released in mid August. This year's version of the set follows the same pattern as the last few years. There's 216 player cards (18 per team), 12 team cards (I'd be willing to bet that the theme is mascots), 36 "1st Version Update" cards (3 per team), 36 "Cross Squall" cards (also 3 per team and continuing the cross set sub set started in 1st Version) and the usual unspecified number of "Ceremonial First Pitch" cards (which will include Yuriko Koike, the first woman governor of Tokyo, and the omni-present Ami Imamura). As was the case with 1st Version there will be a "secret version" of one card for each team. There will also be a "secret version" of the Ami Inamura "Ceremonial First Pitch" card. There is also a 12 card insert set that is not described on the website, a huge variety of parallels and autographed cards (including "Ceremonial First Pitch" subjects) and memorabilia cards for rookies Chihaya Sasaki and Seigi Tanaka (I think).
- Epoch has been releasing a number of reasonably priced sets this year as opposed to last year but just when you thought they'd given up on the ultra high priced sets they've announced their latest collaboration with the OB Club. The set name is being literally translated as "Journal Gaiden" which I think really means something like "Biography" so I'm going with that as the name of the set. Each box has an MSRP of 16,200 yen (~$145) and contains six cards - three base set cards, one "holo spectra" card and two autographed cards. The base set contains 40 cards - 20 of which feature players who have not been on an OB Club card set before. Just eyeballing the list I think that includes Hideki Okajima, Daisuke Miura and Hitoshi Tamura. There are 40 "holo spectra" cards and three different varieties of autograph cards - there are 40 of type A and B but there's only 10 of type C. The set will be out on July 15th.
- Topps issued their high end Museum Collection set last week and it includes a number of memorabilia cards for the World Baseball Classic. There are eleven total cards for Samurai Japan members - six "Patch Relic" cards - Hayato Sakamoto, Kosuke Tanaka, Norichika Aoki, Seiya Suzuki, Shota Takeda and Yuki Matsui - and five "Quad Relic" cards - Shintaro Fujinami, Takahiro Norimoto, Tomoyuki Sugano, Tetsuto Yamada, Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh. There are no cards for any members of the Korean team. I don't know what else Topps has planned in terms of WBC cards for the year - I'm still holding out hope for a not ridiculously overpriced 100 card set somewhere.
Lastly I want to mention that I'm a bit concerned that I haven't seen something about two sets I expected to see something about this month. The first one is the BBM Classic set. This set has been released in June in three of the four years it's been published. I guess it wouldn't stun me if BBM had discontinued it but I would be disappointed. It's also possible that they might delay publishing it until October which is what happened in 2014. The other set is a much bigger deal. Since 2003 Calbee has released their cards in three Series. Series One has always been issued in March while Series Two gets issued in June. There's been no news this year for Series Two - nothing on their baseball card website and nothing on Discount Niki's list of 2017 cards. I've looked through the news releases on Calbee's official site and I don't see any announcement regarding the set there either. So I have no idea what's going on but we're already at the point that no matter what happens this is a major change for Calbee. I'm hoping that they are still planning three Series this year and that they're just pushing back the schedule a little bit but as I said, I have no idea what's going on.