Chaos and Kanji is the blog where I write about my adventures through Japan!

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Friday, May 23, 2014

New Release: 2014 BBM Speed & Smart Box Set

Japanese English can be fun. There are plenty of loan words, and you've seen a lot of strange titles in cards. The latest BBM box set has 24 NPB players, past and present, known for their base-running ability. The art of stealing bases seems to dying, but BBM is drawing a little attention to this art with this issue.

The art of English parts of speech is a little lacking though: speed is a noun, meaning rapidity. "He has a lot of speed." Smart, in singular form at least, is an adjective. "He is very smart." Perhaps they forgot the s, because "He's got the smarts to know when to take second base and when to stay put" is certainly a natural sentence... in baseball, at least.

Being an English teacher, noticing awkward sentences or word groups is a big part of my job, so this title irks me a bit. I still like the release, and I might get a full base set this weekend.
 The fronts have very minimal design elements, with just a small graphic in one corner with the player's name and the set's title, and another with the usual BBM logo. All the players are shown on the base paths; most are running, but a couple are taking a lead-off and a few are sliding into seemingly unattended bases. It would be nice to have seen photos with more dynamic action, such as plays at the plate or at least a close play with a fielder putting a tag on the runner.
The backs use the same general layout BBM almost always uses. Stolen bases are included in the stats but that's included on other BBM cards too. I'm probably becoming too much of a critic, but I think this would be a great place to include more details of the player's running abilities. How about a chart showing stealing percentage, or putting some more on total bases or leading the league in doubles/triples? Did they lead the league in stolen bases in a season, or are they near the top of the career stolen base list? (Okay, some of that is most likely included in the text below the stats.) "The usual" is good for flagship sets and the team sets, some of which are the only sets some players appear in. But topical sets should have more focus on the topics!

Anyway, I complain, but as I said I still like it. Each box set contains the 24 base cards, plus one special card.
There are four Speed & Smart Combination die-cut cards. I'm not sure why this image has the border; perhaps BBM packs out the cards with the die-cut portion still intact. Or maybe it's a promo card or a packaging error. The Combination cards are limited to 120 copies each.
Every base card has gold and silver foil signature parallels. The gold cards are numbered to 50 copies each. For active players, the silver signatures are limited to 30 copies, and retired (OB) players have only 25 silver signatures.
Authentic signature cards (using stickers, as always) are the big pulls here. Twelve players have autographs in this release; six active players have 10-20 copies each and six OB players have 27-115 copies each.

The Speed & Smart box set is limited to 3000 copies. There are 650 signed cards, meaning about 1:4.5 boxes have autographs. 1:6.25 boxes have the Combination die cuts; almost two-thirds of the boxes will have a parallel foil signature card.

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