Saturday, November 8, 2014

2014 BBM 2nd Version Set

It was Christmas for me this past week - on Monday I got a box of goodies from Ryan in the mail and on Tuesday I got a package of the latest BBM and Calbee sets from Hiro. So I've been busy getting cards organized and trying to get started on all the related posts - I'm hoping to have them all wrapped up in less than a week but we'll see...

2014 BBM 2nd Version Set Summary

Size: 301 cards (cards numbered 409-696, then 13 cards of "Ceremonial First Pitch" subset are separately numbered FP01-FP13)
Cards Per Team: 19 (team card + 18 players)
Team Card Theme: Candids
Number Of Leader Cards: N/A
Checklists: 0
Subsets: 1st Version Update (36), Ceremonial First Pitch (13), Birth Of Hero (12), Power To The Team (12)
Inserts: Binary Star
Memorabilia Cards: 6 rookie memorabilia cards (numbered to 200 with a limited to 20 patch parallel for 5 cards), 9 "Art Of Auto" autographed cards
Parallels: At least one signature parallel for some of the 1st Version Update cards. Silver, Gold (numbered to 100), Holographic (numbered to 50) and Red (numbered to 25) signature parallels for subset of the regular cards (between 4 and 6 per team). Foil parallels of the "Power To The Team" and "Birth Of Hero" subsets (numbered to 100). Holographic foil parallel of "Ceremonial First Pitch" cards. I think there are two separate autograph parallels for the "Binary Star" insert set (one numbered to 100 and one numbered to 25) but I don't know the details.
Notable Rookies: None

There's something about this year's 2nd Version set that doesn't quite sit well with me but I can't quite put my finger on it. The design of the regular cards isn't bad - some circles and lines with text at the bottom of the card that doesn't get in the way of the picture. And the photography is the typically fine photography that we've come to expect from BBM:

I think my problem with the set is that although the photography is very good, the pictures are all pretty much run of the mill - pitchers pitching, batters batting and fielders fielding. There aren't any shots of players running the bases or even just sitting in the dugout or high-fiving a team mate. In past years some of the photos in the 2nd Version sets have featured some of the odd promo uniforms some of the teams will wear for a series or two during the season but other than a couple Lotte players wearing the "Chiba" jersey and one shot of Tatsuhiko Kinjoh wearing an alternate DeNA jersey, I think everyone in this set's in the standard home or away jerseys.

I will also make my annual comment that some of the players have photos in this set that are very similar to their 1st Version cards, like Yoshio Itoi:

1st Version #122, 2nd Version #530
These are minor gripes, though, as the set is quite nice. Although the grey on the backs keeps reminding me of the 1993 Classic Best minor league cards...

#656 (Tetsuto Yamada)
The stats on the back of the cards are up to May 18th this season.

Twenty seven of the players featured in the regular cards did not appear in the 1st Version set: Kenta Asakura, Tatsuro Hamada, Masato Matsui and Shinji Tajima of Chunichi; Ryota Imanari and Minoru Iwata of Hanshin; Shingo Ishikawa, Naoki Miyanishi and Kenji Satoh of Nippon Ham; Takuya Hara and Kei Igawa of Orix; Masato Kumashiro, Hichori Morimoto, Tomomi Takahashi, Naoto Watanabe and Randy Williams of Seibu; Hiroyuki Fukuyama, Wataru Karashima, Akihisa Makida, Tetsuro Nishida and Takahiro Shiomi of Rakuten; Takahiro Araki, Ryohei Kiya and Orlando Roman of Yakult; Shuichiro Osada and Shun Yamaguchi of DeNA and Yuya Kubo of Yomiuri.

Once again, there's a 36 card "1st Version Update" subset that features three players per team who also did not have a card in the 1st Version. A couple times in the past there have been players who both appeared in the Update subset and the regular 2nd Version cards but that is not the case this year. As usual, there are a number of late signing foreigners (John Bowker, Ernesto Mejia, Anthony Carter, Loek Van Mil) and other Japanese players who for whatever reason were left out of 1st Version but made more of a contribution than BBM expected - Kenshin Kawakami, Nobuhiko Matsunaka, Keiichi Hirano, Itaru Hashimoto. Or not (Yuki Saitoh). As always, I have no idea why BBM selects some players to show up in this subset rather than just give them 2nd Version cards. Significantly, the Update subset contains cards of the first two non-defector Cuban players to join NPB this season - Frederich Cepeda and Yulieski Gurriel. Since Gurriel didn't join the Baystars until early June, I was pleasantly surprised to see him in this set:

The "Birth Of Hero" subset features 12 players (one for each team) who are either rookies or close to it.  I'm a bit thrown by the fact that Carp pitcher "Allen Kuri" is labelled "Aren Kuri" both here and on his regular 2nd Version card.

The "Power To The Team" subset contains 12 cards (one per team but you probably had already guessed that).  Each of the players represented is a foreigner.  Despite the use of "Power" in the title, they aren't all power hitters - pitchers are also included (and I don't know enough about them to tell if they are "power" pitchers).

I've classified the team cards as having "candid" shots but most of them appear to be some sort of post game thing - either the team celebrating on the field (although I actually don't think this Buffaloes one is a post game celebration) or something going on during the "hero of the game" interviews.  



On the other hand, I'm really not sure what the one for the Giants is about at all:

For the first time, BBM separated the "Ceremonial First Pitch" subset into a separately numbered non-premium subset.  I have no idea why, although I wonder if they are considering making it an insert set.  This year's role call of Japanese celebrities is model Yuka Harada, boxer Naoya Inoue, comedian Eiko Kano, ski jumper Noriaki Kasai, model Ruriko Kojima (WARNING - link is NSFW), actor, screenwriter, etc Kankuro Kudoh,  volleyball player Megumi Kurihara, actress/singer Erina Mano, model Tsubasa Masuwaka, model Karen Michibata, 2014 Miss Nippon Moeka Numata, wrestler Bob Sapp and actor Nobuo Yana.

Ryan did a post on this set back when it came out in August (and I used some of his information for this post, along with SCM #106).  Jambalaya has all the base set cards, most of the inserts and a bunch of the parallel and memorabilia cards up on their site.

No comments: