Thursday, September 21, 2017

2017 Calbee Series Two

Calbee's Series Two set this year was released about two weeks ago - about 2 and a half months after it would normally have been released due to the lack of a suitable potato crop for making chips.  Despite the delay, it's pretty much what we've come to expect from a Calbee set so if you've liked the previous ones, you'll like this one too.

Like Series One earlier this year, Series Two has 72 "regular" player cards that are split evenly between the 12 NPB teams so there are six cards per team.  The set includes a lot of stars - Seiya Suzuki, Shogo Akiyama, Takeya Nakamura, Daichi Suzuki, Seiichi Uchikawa, Shintaro Fujinami, Kosuke Fukudome, T-Okada, Yusuke Nomura, Kazuo Matsui, Yuki Matsui, Eigoro Mogi, Yasuaki Yamasaki and Shuichi Murata are all in the set.  I'm fairly certain that none of the players who had "regular" cards in Series One are in this set.

I had a minor gripe with the photographs used in Series One.  I felt that they used too many of the "pitchers pitching and batters batting" shots that kind of plague BBM's sets.  I think things have improved somewhat with this set.  There seems to be more diversity in the shots and even the "batters batting" shots aren't the standard "batter standing waiting for the pitch" shots.  Here's some sample cards:






The base set also includes a couple subsets.  The first is a 12 card "Draft Pick" subset that contains cards for the 2016 1st round draft picks for each team.  Here's a sample card of Yuya Yanagi of the Dragons:

The other subset is the ubiquitous four card checklist subset.  The fronts of the cards highlight events from the first week or so of the regular season - Marines rookie Chihaya Sasaki winning his first start on April 6th, Baystars rookie Haruhiro Hamaguchi winning his first start on April 9th, Lions rookie Sosuke Genda batting in his NPB debut on March 31st and Tigers catcher (and not rookie) Fumihito Haraguchi hitting a walk off home run against the Swallows on April 6th.  Here's the Haraguchi card:

All the cards (including the Star insert cards and the mail-in box set) can been at Jambalaya.

Normally Calbee does three sets a year and the third set is typically released right around now.  But that's all up in the air now with Series Two being delayed so long.  I don't know if and when a Series Three will be released.  I've sent questions to Calbee and their response basically has been to tell me to wait and see.  Obviously it would be disappointing if they didn't put out a third set, especially because many of the very top players in NPB - Shohei Ohtani, Tetsuto Yamada, Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh, Takehiro Norimoto, Tomoyuki Sugano, Yuki Yanagita and Hayato Sakamoto for example - did not have "regular" cards in either Series One or Two.  Most of these players were in the "Title Holder" subset in Series One and it's not unheard of for a prominent player to not have a "regular" Calbee card - Masahiro Tanaka only had cards in the "Title Holder" and "Opening Day Pitcher" subsets in 2012 for instance - but this would be a LOT of players without "regular" cards.  But all we can do is wait and see.

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