Monday, November 4, 2013

NPB Players in the Australian Baseball League

The 2013-14 Australian Baseball League season kicked off last week and once again there are a handful of NPB players who will be playing in it.  It looks like the Saitama Seibu Lions are the only team sending players this year and they're actually only sending four - Makoto Aiuchi, Komei Fujisawa, Toshihiro Iwao and Yasuhiro Tanaka.   All four will be playing for the Melbourne Aces.

2013 BBM 2nd Version #432

Aiuchi appears to have only had three cards so far.  He was drafted by the Lions last year but his signing got delayed until March due to some legal issues.  He has cards in this year's 2nd Version set, the Lions team set and the recently released "Young Lions" box set, all from BBM.

2012 BBM Rookie Edition #024

Fujisawa also appears to only have a limited number of cards.  He was drafted by Seibu in the 2012 draft so he has a card in the 2012 BBM Rookie Edition set.  He also appears in both the 2012 and 2013 BBM Lions sets as well as the "14 Stars" (or "RY Stars") "Lions Rookies and Young Stars" set put out by someone last summer.

2010 BBM 2nd Version #690

Iwao has been around a little longer and so has more cards that the previous two players.  He was a 2010 draft pick of the Lions and shows up in the 2010 Rookie Edition set from BBM as well as both the 1st and 2nd Version sets that year.  He's made the Lions BBM team set each year from 2010 to 2013 as well as this year's "Young Lions" box set.  He also appears in the non-BBM "Lions Rookies and Young Stars" box set from this past summer.

2006 BBM 1st Version #105

Tanaka has been toiling for the Lions ni-gun team for a while now.  He was drafted by the Lions back in 2006.  He's in both the 2006 BBM Rookie Edition and 1st Version sets but he hasn't appeared in a flagship set since.  He's been in the Lions BBM team set each year since 2006 and showed up in game cards for both Konami's Baseball Heroes and Bandai's Owners League sets in 2010.

I haven't gotten this to actually work yet, but I believe that you can watch ABL games for free on their streaming website.  I tried unsuccessfully to get this to work on my iPad last Friday morning but it may just not be set up for mobile devices.

Speaking of the Australian Baseball League, I just discovered that there were actually official baseball cards for the teams released last year.  A company called Select Australia put out a 12 card team set for each of the six teams.  I have no idea how to go about getting these cards from the States as Select Australia appears to only ship to Australia and New Zealand and I'm not sure if the cards are listed in any of the team's online shops (I only checked a couple).  The OZ Cards blog has a series of posts showing some of the cards and giving a checklist for each team.

UPDATE:  I am not paying close enough attention to what's going on.  There was an announcement made last week that the 2013-14 ABL cards were being released.  OZ Cards has the details here - the cards are being done by a company called Dingo Trading Cards.  A set for each team is being issued as a three eight card packs.  The first packs have just been released, the second packs will be released on December 1 and the last packs will be released on January 1.  Each pack is $5.  In addition, there's a 40 card set for last year's ABL Champion Canberra Cavalry.  Sets can be ordered from the ABL's online store and they will ship to the US.  Just for grins I put together an order for the Canberra Cavalry championship set - the set was $30 but when the Australian tax was taken off because it was an international order it went down to $27.27.  International shipping was $26.10.  So you can get them, but it'll run you.  Note that the ABL Store has an incorrect listing for the new team sets - they are 8 card packs not 3 card packs.  OZ Cards is promising to do checklists and reviews so keep checking with them for more details.  With $5 for each team pack and $30 for the Cavalry set, the full set should end up being $120 (minus the Australian tax if you're overseas).  I personally would recommend waiting until January and ordering everything in one shot to save on shipping (if that isn't obvious).

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