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Thursday, April 10, 2014

New Release: 2014 BBM Yakult Swallows

The first two BBM team sets for 2014 came out at the end of March. Well, I should say, normal team sets, because some anniversary sets were released earlier this year.
As expected, the design is similar to others used in the past. I wish BBM would try more throwback-style designs with the team sets like they did in 2012. I noticed that some of the themed sets had throwback-style designs, though, or at least less "modern" designs - the No-Hitters and Foreigners sets use earthy tones and classic design elements. I wonder if a certain manufacturer talked to BBM about their throwback designs. The backs are the standard design you'd expect from a BBM card.
 The lone subset is "2013 Title Holder" which shows team and league award winners. The same photo appears three times on this card, once in color on the front, and once each on the front and back in sepia/black and white. Title Holder cards are #73-81; there are two mascot cards (#70 and 71) and a checklist (#72) with the team logo on front. The set is complete at only 81 cards.

There are no parallels this year for the base set as far as I can tell. This is a first in a few years.

 There is one insert set in the Swallows team set, called Counteroffensive. It seems to be bad English, because counteroffensive in baseball would probably be the defense. Unless your team is always coming back from behind to win. Given the Swallows performance last year, I suppose their offense isn't exactly proactive. I wish BBM would do more than slap some basic text on the back of a shiny rare card and call it an insert. But I suppose when you're the only manufacturer of cards in Japan, you don't have to do too much work.
Counteroffensive has a parallel using the cracked ice foil design. These are serial numbered on the back out of 100.
I count 72 autograph cards in the checklist. There are no parallels and they are all horizontally oriented; almost every card has 60 copies. Yasuhiro Ogawa has 50 cards plus a special autograph limited to 10 cards; Balentien has only 40 cards, and I am guessing that the other 20 signatures were used for another set (probably the Icons set I posted about yesterday).

Each pack has 7 cards with a suggested price of 400 yen - that's more than 50 yen per card. A 20-pack box thus retails for 8000 yen.

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