Wednesday, February 27, 2019

March 2019 Fantasy Sumo Wrestling Card Game

Hakkeyoi!  Welcome to another iteration of my custom Fantasy Sumo Wrestling Card Game that we play over on Facebook's BBM Sumo Card Collectors group.  The cards just went out in the mail today so keep a lookout to those that are playing.  The January 2019 game was a big hit from what I can tell and we are now up to 10 players for the March 2019 tournament!  This means each player will get 5 cards with 2 card ready to go from the bench in case someone's wrestler gets hurt and has to withdraw from the tournament.  This tournament's cards are blue-bordered and the company I used to print the cards went with a new printing company and they turned out really nice.  Take a look!

I switched up a few of the ways to score to keep things interesting, but overall the game is the same.  Check out this 5-minute video I did of the card deck:

For those interested, here are the basic rules to the game:

1. Each player gets 5 random cards and on the back of those cards are ways their card/rikishi earns points as the 15-tournament day progresses.  As mentioned before, I ship those cards to all the players free of charge...really, no catch.
2. Some points are daily points while some points are awarded at the end of the tournament.
3. Scores are recorded at our Facebook BBM Sumo Card Collectors group page on our scoring spreadsheet.
4. Each player is encouraged to update the score sheet several times a week, daily if possible, to help keep the game active and competition exciting.
5. The winner is the player with the most total points added up among all their cards.
6. The runner up receives a specially-printed Jun-Yusho card that only he/she gets.
7. The winner receives both a specially-printed Yusho card as well as a full deck of the cards.

Thanks for swinging by my blog and thanks to those who signed up to play this tournament!  Until next time, cheers!

Monday, February 25, 2019

2018-2019 BBM Japanese Basketball B.League Cards - Box Break

One of the annual BBM releases I look forward to every year is the B.League basketball sets.  Broken into two halves, First Half & Second Half, these boxes yield almost a full base set with few doubles.  The First Half typically releases in January and Second Half releases in February/March which is somewhat odd since the season is over by May.  But no complaints...better late than never.  There are 100 cards in the box consisting of 20 packs of 5 cards each.  As a base set builder, it is somewhat on the spendy side to chase the 90 card base set which can be had for about 1/3 the cost of the box.  For those that collect autographs and inserts, this set is a must have.  Autographs come about 3-4 per box with the inserts falling about 5 per box.  Here is the set breakdown:

90 Base Cards (72 from the First Division (B1) & 18 from the Second Division (B2))
18 Contenders Inserts (These Fall about 3-4 per box)
18 Black Label Inserts (These fall about 1 per box)
18 Franchise Inserts - each numbered to 50 (These fall about 1 per box)
Autographs come in both vertical and horizontal layout.

So how did I do?  If you have time, check out my YouTube video below:

Here is the written rundown:

81/90 Base Cards - Only 10 doubles!
4/18 Contenders Inserts
0/18 Black Label Insets
1/18 Franchise Inserts
4 Autographs

Here are some scans of the highlights:

Base Card #009 - Yuta Tabuse

The 4 Contenders Inserts

The 1 Franchise Insert - #24/50

The 4 Autograph Cards - All numbered to 90 or less.

There you have it.  What are you thoughts?

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

New YouTube Channel - SumoMenkoMan

One of my 2019 goals was to expand the sumo wrestling card reach to YouTube by starting a BBM box opening channel.  There are several channels out there already, but I wanted to bring an English-language perspective to opening BBM cards and boxes.  Plus, my son wanted some practice and experience with editing videos so he was some extra motivation to give it a go.  Since there are only a few sumo wrestling sets released every year, the channel will focus on Japanese BBM cards in general (Pro Wrestling, Basketball, multi-sport, etc...)  Maybe a few boxes of baseball, but since there are some great Japanese baseball card resources out there already, I'm not sure it'll be much value added.  I appreciate the support and I am always open to constructive feedback or any advice.  Thanks for tuning it!

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Blog Bat A Round: What's your Card Hobby / Card Industry Score?

I think mine is H8.  Intrigued? Read on!

Blogging is extremely important in the sports card hobby.  Why?  It seems to be the only/most effective/purest/best perspective look at what the backbone of this hobby is all about, what we want, what is missing, and the general frustration with the hobby/industry tension.  You want a great read on this topic...check out Collector's Crack State of the Blog.  The fact is, card companies are so far removed from the hobby base (no, gamblers and speculators are not part of the hobby base) that it's hard to imagine them really caring.  You want to know how bad it is, check out this recent post by The Collective Mind.  In a capitalistic country and economy, the card manufacturers are chasing the easy, non-sustainable money.  Gamblers' and speculators' money is too loud!  Card companies have to work through wholesalers, then either group breaking companies or cards shops, and then in many cases the unwanted portions of the products (base cards, non hits) has to work through the speculators and gamblers to get in the hands of the hobbyists.  The easy money is to cater to gamblers and speculators.  Seems dumb to ignore the group that is your long-term survival net....and a lot of overhead costs passing through all these people that the hobby base doesn't want and hates.  It's a weird system and all I can picture is the card bubble bursting at some point and the hobbyists putting our arms around all of the card industry (not just the card companies) and softly saying "I told you so, now let's fix it."

How does all this have to do with your Card Hobby / Card Industry Score?  Let me explain really quick.  One thing that has been unintentionally creeping into the hobby/industry is groups and entities mispresenting where they stand in the hobby/industry which leads to confusion on what is good about the hobby, what they can do to fix the hobby, and what things they can affect for continued growth.  Why is this happening?  The main reason, in my opinion, is that people are breaking the proven rule of "Where you sit is where you stand."  People are trying to be something they are not and the hobby/industry is letting them, because they are confused about where we all sit.  There is no scoring system or visualization to all this.  The lines have been blurred.  To help clear up this confusion, I built a Card Hobby / Card Industry Scoring System with an explanation of each area.  Some might call it irrelevant, not needed, interesting, or even controversial, but I think it is important to know where others stand in this hobby.  You are either A) a pure Hobbyist, B) a Pure Industryist, or C) part of the "grey" area in between.  In fact, the majority of us are in this grey area. 

The bottom line, though, is the further left you are toward an H10 Pure Hobbyist, the stronger and more relevant voice you have within this hobby.  Keep blogging.  Don't let the gamblers, speculators, eBay, COMC, Card-Grading Companies, Card Shops, Group-Breakers, and Industry ever speak on your behalf.  Ask them what their Card Hobby / Card Industry Score is.  Tell them what yours is!  You are the voice!

Blog Bat A Round: What is one thing you'd correct about this scoring system?  What is your Card Hobby / Card Industry Score?

H10 Pure Hobbyist: This the foundation of the hobby.  These are the set builders, blog content creators, TCDB scanners, traders, and pure enthusiasts.  Profit is not in their vocabulary and they do it for the love of sorting, cataloguing, and collecting.  Part of the Hobby Base.  (Best Example:  Billy at the Cardboard History is pegged at H10!)

H9 TCDB: One of the best tools for the Hobby Base which relies on crowdsourcing.  You can trade, catalogue, sort, blog, discuss, chat, and connect with others.  Part of the Hobby Base.

H8 Part-Time Seller for Sustainment: Hobbyists who dabbles in selling part-time to recoup some of their collecting costs.  H8s are an important part of the hobby since they are married to the hobby, but dabble enough on the industry side to understand some of the issues.  Part of the Hobby Base.

H6 Part-Time Seller for Profit: Hobbyists with more focus selling part-time to sustain and grow their collection via profit.  H7s are an important part of the hobby since they are married to the hobby, but participate enough on the industry side to understand the issues.  Part of the Hobby Base.

H5 Long-Term Speculator: Collectors who are expecting to make a long-term profit on their cards with an eventual selling of their collections.  Speculators are a niche subset of the hobby, but important because in this capitalistic economy, their money currently sustains the industry and keeps the card companies in business.

H4 Gambler / Short-Term Speculator: Collectors who look to make a quick profit through card flipping and participating in online box breaks.  Gamblers/Speculators are a niche subset of the hobby, but important because in this capitalistic economy, their money currently sustains the industry and keeps the card companies in business.

H3 Full-Time Dealer: Dealers whose livelihood depends on making a profit buying and selling cards.  They are usually very in tune with the hobbyists and gambler/speculators, but are married to the card industrial complex.  They are along for the ride with little input to Industry, but can speak somewhat on behalf of the hobbyists and gambler/speculators.

H2 Card-Show Organizer: A person bringing together hobbyists & gamblers/speculators, dealers and industry but is more in tune with dealers and the industry than with hobbyists and gambler/speculators.

H1 Hobby Journalist: A journalist who reports on the state-of-the-hobby, but also brings in Industry topics for a fair perspective.  (Best Example: Ryan at Sports Card Radio)

0 Agnostic: My wife

I1 Industry Journalist: A journalist who reports on the state-of-the-industry, but also brings in Hobbyists for a fair perspective (Best Example: Eric from the Fat Packs Podcast)

I2 The National: A group bringing together hobbyists & gamblers/speculators, dealers and industry but is more in tune with dealers and the industry than with hobbyists and gambler/speculators. (Best Example: The National)

I3: COMC/eBay: Another venue to bring together hobbyists, gamblers/speculators & dealers, but focusing on set builders and singles.

I4 Auction House: Another venue to bring together hobbyists & gamblers/speculators, but focusing on the higher end cards.

I5 Card-Supply Company: Hobby agnostic, for the most part, but a big part of the card industry supplying protective and storage products for cards.  The more cards out there, the merrier!

I6 Card-Grading Company: Hobby agnostic, for the most part, but a big part of the card industry supplying a third-party grade and protective case for cards.  The more cards out there, the merrier!

I7 Card Shop: In theory, this is a one-stop-shop where you can get all your cards, supplies, reading material, and submit for grading but focusing on set builders and singles.  Card shops are a mere allocation extension of the wholesalers. (Best Example: Mike's Stadium Sportscards)

I8 Group-Breaking Company: A mere allocation extension of the wholesaler focusing on higher end cards, hits, and gamblers/speculators.  (Best Example: Doug and Dan from MoJo Breaks)

I9 Wholesaler: I get the role of card wholesalers, but in this day and age of the internet and reliable shipping, are they even necessary anymore?  A mere allocation extension of the card manufacturer. (Best Example: GTS Distribution)

I10 Pure Industryist:  These are the card manufacturers.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

European Handball - I just can't get into it

I feel like I have a pretty diverse interest when it comes to sports, but when it comes to European Handball, I just can't get into it.  Even as an Olympic sport it is isn't my jam.  There is something about it being a game that focuses too much on the offense and scoring seems way too easy.  Pull up YouTube and let me know what you think.


European Handball, described as a mix of soccer, water polo, and basketball is extremely popular over here in Germany.  There are tons of local clubs and the German Handball Bundsliga, or DKB, organizes the teams and players as well as controls merchandizing.  DKB issued a license this year to Victus GmbH to manufacture these stickers which is something I can get into even if I can't get into the sport itself.  Issued in paper packs with 5 stickers to a pack (see above), this method of distribution and manufacturing is popular here in Europe as collectors like to stick their cards in albums rather than plastic sleeves.  I don't have the album unfortunately.  Let's take a quick look inside this pack:

Card 1 (#184) is of Hendrik Pekeler, a 2016 Bronze Medal Olympian and winner of the 2017 World Staring Contest.

Card 2 (#437) is a mascot card of Viaduck of the SG BBM Bietigheim team.  (Wait what, BBM??)

Card 3 (#19) sparkly trophy card.

Card 4 (#494) A team photo of the Second Tier team Handball Sport Verein Hamburg.

Card 5 (#9) This looks to be the last sticker of a 9-sticker puzzle of the championship team victory celebration.  The guy holding the trophy looks a lot like Tony Romo, but it can't be since he is on a championship team.....zingggggggg.

Obligatory scan of the back.

There you have it, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this set!

Thursday, February 7, 2019

2011 Bowman Chrome Baseball Superfractor - Brandon Laird 1/1

A month or so ago I was updating the Brandon Laird section of the Trading Card Database with photos and cleaning up a few other odds and ends.  I noticed the empty photo holes for the 2008 and 2011 Superfractors and figured they would stay empty for a long time.  A few weeks ago, however, eBay worked its magic and the 2011 Bowman Chrome Superfractor popped up.  The seller and I worked a deal and now I finally own a graded first ever....although I will likely crack it out of its plastic prison soon.

The good news is that I have far exceeded my #11 collecting goal this year with this purchase.  Maybe I'll add a few inexpensive Yuta Tabuse cards and call that goal complete.

By the way, Brandon moved teams in the offseason and will now be playing for the Chiba Lotte Marines.

Unfortunately my scanner really sucks with graded cards, but it is on our list of new things to purchase this year so maybe I'll get a better scan at some point

Monday, February 4, 2019

2019 BBM Japanese Sumo Wrestling Cards - Box Review

I hope everyone is recovering from Super Bowl Sunday...or Super Bowl Monday if you are over here in Europe or Japan.  The 1230 am kickoff is going to be brutal for me, but a once-a-year shock to the body that will definitely be worth it.

Back to sumo cards, the 2019 BBM Sumo Wrestling Card Set hit the shelves a few weeks back and for the first time in I don't remember how long, I am not able to bust a box right away.  It seems the company I've been using regularly for 5ish years decided they didn't want to ship to a military post box anymore. Oh well.  It could be worse and I'll eventually get my box, but have to live the experience through my collecting friends.  One of those friends being Tony offered up some of his thoughts for this post:

Overall thoughts on the set?
Overall, I felt the set is pretty good, but the background colors aren't as elaborate as the 2018 set.  The backstage pass cards are cool. (Ryan's thoughts.....the pre-release photos showed them with rounded corners, but it was only a rounded-corner image on a regular trading card...booo).  It's nice seeing the rikishi having a good time and there seems to be more hits in these boxes.  So far we're 3 for 3 on the Facebook Group's boxes getting an autograph.
Favorite Card?

I could honestly say it's my Abi autographed card I got, but that would be a given.  My favorite base card is the Takayasu backstage pass where he is playing baseball in his mawashi.  You can just see how much fun he is having.

Favorite Part of the Design?

I like the gloss on the card.  I think most all [BBM] cards are like that now.  But I think it adds so much more to the color.  They really pop for sure.  And I like that they're adding the names in English as it helps with us gaijin fans.
How close were you to completing the base set?

I was 9 cards away from completing the base set.  So 80/90 is pretty good odds (Ryan's comments: The set is numbered to 90, but card #21 was removed from the set since Maegashira Takanoiwa was kicked out of the Sumo Association for assaulting a fellow wrestler.  Instead of renumbering the set, BBM simply removed 21 leaving only 89 cards in the base set.)
Any other comments?

I really hope they're [BBM] reading our comments online and adding more hits to the boxes.  It makes it much more worth buying an unopened box rather than buying a complete set off line for more than half the price.  I think the base cards could use some more action poses that pre-Tachiai poses.  There are some great pictures of flips and throws that would make awesome cards.  Similar to the fight series in last year's set.  Maybe if we could get some retailers here in the States as well.  All in all, I'm happy and will continue to buy them as long as they make them.  (Ryan's comment's:  I couldn't agree more.  BBM is stagnating in the creativity department for their sumo set.  It's like the interns and new designers get the sumo sets to get their feet wet in the basics and then move on to the harder, more interestingly designed sets.)
Thanks Tony for contributing to this week's blog post and best of luck trading!