Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Dark Side Of The Dimensions (& Packs!)

So a Yu-Gi-Oh! centered blogpost has been long overdue on here. Let me just warn you right now that those of you who never saw the original Yu-Gi-Oh! anime or read the manga's may want to skip this one out.

I'm a millennial (shocker, I know), I skew towards the younger half of the generation that juuust missed the start of Pokemon, so I didn't really latch onto anything until Yu-Gi-Oh! happened a few years afterwards.

Yu-Gi-Oh!, the popular trading card game where the game has so many rules and things to know that your brain gives up half way through the rulebook, is Konami's big franchise has spawned countless anime series', manga series' and even a few movies.

One of those movies I saw just recently after I returned to America, The Dark Side Of The Dimensions.

This was a movie I felt obligated to see purely for nostalgic reasons. In that the story and plot of the film revolves around the characters from the first Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters. More specifically, what happens after the events of said anime series. The series I grew up with, the series that a lot of people my age grew up with and still remember to this day.

I mean look, Konami's not dumb. They weren't going to devote a whole film to anything that doesn't involve Yugi or Yami (two key characters from the original series) in some capacity. They also likely knew that the core audience that watched their Yu-Gi-Oh! anime's way back when are now older and have some more disposable income now that they're largely in their early to mid 20's (shitty economy not withstanding). And the success of Pokemon Go! last year probably made this a safer bet to take.

Without trying to give too much stuff away about the original series (or the movie), the main plot is that Seto Kaiba wants to duel Pharaoh Atem to prove he's the best duelist ever. The only things in his way are Yugi Muto (Atem's host body) and the antagonist Aigami.

I won't go into the nitty gritty but I did like (and dislike) a fair number of the things about the movie. Keep in mind that this is from the perspective of someone who came into it knowing what happened before the events in the movie.

What I Liked:

*Just seeing the characters again

Just seeing and hearing the characters from my grade-school days felt nice for the two hours I was in the theater.

*The new animation

Design-wise not much is different about the characters but the artistic style is a little different from the original series. Then again, it's been a decade since the original series ended and animation in Japan has changed. I liked it, it was clear and crisp.

*The "humor"

I saw the American version of this film (I'll get around to seeing the Japanese one eventually). The American version of the movie and the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime were both done by 4Kids Entertainment. 4Kids has largely been laughed at through the years because their methods of dubbing kinda suck. Granted, Japanese humor is very hard to translate and use in the English language, but 4Kids' methods were, laughably bad. It's clear that the 4Kids dubbing team decided to just make jokes about how silly the whole concept behind the movie is. At this point I'm 100% certain they've seen Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, so they know what to make fun of. Like Yugi's weird hair.

*Dark Magician Girl

The OG waifu that sparked an entire generation of weaboos.

What I Disliked:

*The replacement music

Something I've always disliked about the English dub of YGO is the way the US staff pretty much removed the soundtrack/music from the original. That sucks, the music is supposed to complement the animation, that's the way it was intended to be seen/heard by the staff that made it. What makes it worse is that the original Japanese Yu-Gi-Oh! series'/movies have some of the best anime soundtracks ever. I mean just listen to this,

Mmm, the orchestral soundtrack is where it's at man! Although I will cede when it comes to the English theme song. 4Kids did a great job with that one.

*The morons talking with their friends the entire time

This isn't a negative about the movie, so much as the other movie goers. I get that they were all excited about seeing the movie (for the record everybody was pretty much my age and of various races and ethnicities), but for Pete's sake, pipe down. I don't want to hear how the way that one character moved his arm reminded you of Naruto.

*No cameos by other Yu-Gi-Oh! protagonists

This wasn't necessarily something I was expecting to happen, but a small part of me wanted a small nod to the other Yu-Gi-Oh! series' that came after Duel Monsters. Like maybe a cameo appearance in a crowd shot. Granted the timelines between the series' are different and kinda disjointed, but a cameo by young Jaden Yuki (the protagonist of the spinoff series Yu-Gi-Oh! GX) would've been nice.

So do I think the film is great? Well I enjoyed it, but I enjoyed it because I was a fan of the original subject material. If you didn't grow up with this show, this movie is not a very good introduction (to be really honest) to the series, and definitely not towards the card game. If you didn't like Yu-Gi-Oh! in the first place this will definitely not change your mind. I say watch it if you're a fan of the original series and want some closure.

Right so with that half-assed "review" of the film done, let's get to what is probably more relevant to this blog, cards!

That's right, after the movie ended I wanted to bust open some Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card packs. Granted I haven't played the game in a while, but opening cards is never a bad idea in my book.

I actually brought some unopened packs from Japan with me because I knew I'd want to see the movie in America (it already ended in Japan before I got there) and I'd want some cards. So lets look at jet-lagged Yu-Gi-Oh! cards from Japan!

First up is a pack, er so "movie pack," of the Japanese Dark Side Of The Dimensions set. These are kinda costly in that it was like $6 for five cards, but there's a reason for that.

Well okay, the scan didn't do these cards justice. Let me offer a pic with my phone so you folks can better see the way these cards shine.

Can you see the near KC Royals logo in the card? Well all of these cards shine like that. They're all Kaiba Corp parallels.

Next up is a pack of the Japanese version of Duelist Pack: Pharaoh's Memories. Which focuses a lot more on the cards from the original series, somewhat modified to be more usable with modern day decks.

Silent Magician became a prominent member of Yugi Muto's deck somewhere down the line, and I got two of them.

Every pack includes one parallel where the font is written in silver gloss (the rest are just printed). Personally I think this is a path worth taking for Topps and other baseball card companies too.

Okay, fast forward to the current generation of Yu-Gi-Oh! with the current anime protagonist Yuya on the cover of the pack.

Even though 5DS is supposed to be all about pendulum summoning I got two cards used for XYZ summoning, a game mechanic associated more with the previous anime series Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL.

The parallel in this pack (which has an x-fractor shine to it) even features Number 39: Utopia, Yuma's (the Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL protagonist) signature card.

Another set based on modern times called Raging Tempest.

Yeah, sorry, as a guy who stopped following/playing the card game after the Elemental Hero days I have no clue whether I pulled anything good or not (probably not).

Here is 運命の決闘者 or the Duelists of Fate.

Simple enough for even a guy like me who gave up a long time ago. Two fusion monsters, a trap card, and a flip monster that has an effect that doesn't sound half bad.

Oh and a continuous spell to give an advantage to water-type decks.

We end this post with Maximum Crisis, which is a good way to describe how I feel trying to get back into this card game.

Ugh, yeah no. Nothing I can use for my Hero deck (obviously).

Yikes, I couldn't offer one piece of relevant commentary for any of those cards. I need to work on my trading card game knowledge.

Anyway, I'm ending this clumsy post here. As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

Monday, January 30, 2017

Off To A Decent Start

Previously I alluded to how I started putting things into action (re: goals), regarding my Star Wars Rebels goal.

BLAM. It's a sticker autograph but I don't care, it goes along nicely with the rest of the Rebels project.

Freddie Prinze Jr., is a guy some of you may have known about before as an actor, producer or author. His film roles consist of a lot of chick flicks from the 90's, but some of the more notable titles might be I Know What You Did Last Summer and She's All That. 

After a few stints as a behind the scenes guy in the WWE, Prinze the second now spends his days as a family man (he's married to Buffy The Vampire Slayer and has two kids). And he just released a cook book. He occasionally streams on Twitch every now and then, and I believe he just came out with a new podcast series titled Prinze and The Wolf.

Right, so with the bio and plugs out of the way, let's go back to the Kanan Jarrus card.

I'm only missing one member of the Ghost crew now, that's Zeb Orrelios. Given how pretty much all of these are from Tek, I'm going to go after his Tek autograph from 2015 (leaving Kanan and Ezra, the two Jedi, as the only ones from 2016 Tek).

Even though this is the autograph numbered to 25 I got a pretty sweet deal on it. A lot less than what other Prinze Jr. autographs have gone for in the past, and it came with a bonus.

The seller threw in this Sy Snootles autograph as a bonus. Interestingly enough this character has ties to the Clone Wars because she actually did appear in the Clone Wars CGI cartoon, working as an agent for Jabba The Hutt and assassinating Ziro The Hutt. A pretty cool get for a bonus.

Also, this autograph made me glad I didn't opt for a Kanan autograph from Masterwork, it's thicker than the Tek autograph. On-card autograph or not, I like my cards on the thinner side (card-body shaming!).

So yeah, five down, one more to. After that who knows (Ashley Eckstein as Ahsoka Tano maybe?). Go ahead if you want a Kanan Jarrus autograph now Fuji, I won't be bidding against you anymore ;).

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

Friday, January 27, 2017

Introducing The Shikishi (Masataka Iryo)

When you want to get an autograph on something, what do you usually prepare?

The most common answers (I'd assume) would be things like trading cards, photographs (of the 8x10 variety), ticket stubs, equipment and index cards. Maybe even jerseys.

Wel in Japan, they also have another option, a board specifically designed for autographs.

This, my friends, is what the Japanese call a 色紙 (shikishi). The direct translation is "colored paper."

In ye olden times, these were actually of various colors (hence the name) and used to write poems, haikus and short stories on. Nowadays it's primarily used specifically to get autographs of famous people. Although it's not quite the case anymore the Japanese take their penmanship pretty seriously, I know this because I took 書道 (calligraphy) classes in both elementary school and high school. The way one writes words in the world of Japanese calligraphy is said to express a lot about the writer/artist's inner thoughts and feelings.

To put it another way, writing on these boards gives you jurisdiction to write your name in the most over the top way you could ever want to write it. Like for example, I know manga/anime artists draw a quick sketch of their most notable characters and then top it off with a sig.

Now this autograph is a bit on the tamer side but you know what, it's my first ever shikishi autograph and I think it's cool. And given the Dragons' historically bad track record with fan service (they've outright banned TTM requests) I'm surprised it even existed. Although to be fair, the Dragons team store had blank shikishi's and fat black pens ready for purchase so maybe IP autographs are easier to get than I think.

Anyway the signer is Chunichi Dragons outfielder Masataka Iryo (井領雅貴).
I was pretty hyped to get this because I'd known about Iyro as a Dragons prospect and he was one of top 15 guys I knew I had to get an autograph of during my time in Japan. I got this shikishi at a store that basically had a box of these and were giving these out for free with a purchase of a box of a product they had. I didn't buy a box but the store owner did me a solid and told me I could have it for free anyway (SCORE!).

Ironically the day I got the shikishi, I was meeting with a fellow baseball card collector in Japan and they gave me three Dragons autographs, two of them will be the subject of posts for another day, but the third was Iryo. And yup, it's numbered to 60 (Japanese autographs rule!).

Of course the ultimate irony is that I already had an Iryo autograph before I got either of the other two like a week before. The vertical EPOCH specimen you see above that I picked up in Tokyo.

This one is numbered to 23 and only ran me 1000 yen ($10 aprox.).

So three autographs of a top 10 Dragons prospect (although that status is starting to fade) for a combined $10. Booyah!

So about Masataka Iryo the player. Iryo was drafted by the Chunichi Dragons in the sixth round of the 2014 NPB Draft. Iryo was already up there in age by the draft due to the fact that he spent the previous seven years of his professional career playing as an amateur for the JX-ENEOS team in the industrial leagues.

Iryo's stats in nigun (the NPB equivalent of the MiLB) show that he's a fairly good hitter when given consistent playing time. He hasn't done much in the for the big league Dragons due to him barely playing a month with the big league club, but he has had his moments like his first hit and his first home run.

According to people who're more knowledgable than I am, Iryo's batting style is "aggressive" (lots of K's but also some BB's mixed in), and he can hold his own at the plate. He's also said to possess impressive speed. The same speed that allows him to cover a lot of ground in the outfield and goes along great with his impressive arm.

What happens to Iryo going forward is unknown, I'd assume he's going to give pro ball a shot for as long as he can (he waited seven years for the biggest opportunity ever, one more isn't going to hurt) and try and stick as an everyday regular. I wish him the best.

Anyway with that tangent I'm going to end this post.

The point is that you folks can finally add the shikishi to the list of items you might consider getting autographs for next time you have the chance of meeting someone famous.

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Goals For 2017 & Grades For 2016

I'm over three weeks late with this post, but here's my annual post where I reflect on the past year and see how I did with my collecting goals while also declaring my new goals for the new year.

Unrelated Scan 1

Let's see how I fared with my goals in 2016 first.

5. Go for a week without buying any cards

This happened a lot of times in 2016. I passed.

Grade: A

4: Go for a month without buying any cards

This was so easy I did it several times.

Grade: A

3. Go for SIX months without buying any baseball cards

I had this in my grasp, but ultimately I failed and only went five months without buying any baseball cards. Better luck next time?

Grade: F

2. One TTM Return

I finished 2016 with 276 TTM returns. This would've been enough for me to accomplish my TTM goal back in 2015 for the record.

Grade: A

1. One IP Autograph

I finished 2016 with 76 TTM returns. Therefore I passed.

Grade: A

Four out of five isn't bad I guess. I'm kind of bummed I didn't accomplish the six months goal. But you know what, sometimes the best kind of relief there is, is going nuts buying a bunch of baseball cards. And I bought the shit out of Dragons singles I wanted in December (and January).

Unrelated Scan 2

Alright, with the 2016 reflection done, here's to looking ahead to 2017 goals.

5. Go Three Weeks Without Buying Cards Per Month

I'm not doing the six-months thing again. But I am going to try and go three weeks (that don't necessarily have to be consecutive) without buying stuff for every month (I'm excluding January). Leaving one week (of a varying number of days) for me to buy stuff (if I want to at all). Will it work? Who knows. I just want to control spending by any means necessary.

4. Monthly Limit for Card Purchases

It's no secret I can get very bidder happy when I see cool stuff on eBay that I feel I "NNEEEEEEDDD.' As such I've set up a $50 limit for purchases per month, whenever I go over that $50 limit, I have to deduct it from the next month. I've discarded my card-related purchases in Japan from my limit for January (otherwise I'd have to wait until around August of 2021 to buy stuff again), but I have gone over my limit already. You'll all see what I got at a later time, but for now, I have less money to work with in February. And if a unique Torrens card pops up during this time that I need, I'll just have less to work with in Februrary (and maybe even March). Luckily those months suck for cards.

3. Acquire Autographs of The Ghost crew

So one project I've been working on low-key is acquiring the autographs of the voice actors for the Star Wars characters Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.), Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray), Hera Syndulla (Vanessa Marshall), Sabine Wren (Tiya Sircar) and Zeb Orrelios (Steve Blum). I'd also include Chopper but according to the people behind Star Wars Rebels, Chopper has no voice actor.

As of this post I have Ezra, Hera and Sabine autographs in my collection. Hopefully I can get the remaining two this year as well. The key name is Freddie Prinze Jr., star of all of those chick flicks in the 90's your girlfriend made you watch. That said, I've already put some things into action here.

2. Downsize My Yankees Collection

Let me be clear, even though I'm not actively collecting Yankees anymore I have no intention of purging my entire Yankees collection. However, I still know that I have way too much of this pinstriped junk lying around and taking up space. My plan is to continue to dump Yankees cards on the usual suspects and also attempt something new, selling some of the more "finer" pieces.

1. Create a Definitive and Cohesive List of Players I'm collecting

Almost every single one of my trade partners have been demanding that I make an official list of players I collect and various projects I'm working on to make constructing packages for me easier. Well because such a task takes up time and work I never bothered doing anything beyond pressing the "New Post" button before eventually scrapping the post and turning it into another TTM roundup post.

But I'm going to at least try this time, for reals.

Nothing too in-depth, don't expect some insane Excel spreadsheet someone spent hours laboring over, but maybe just a little post about what could really help with my new collecting focus. Ultimately I can already tell at the moment that what I'd "want" in a trade are either Dragons cards, Luis Torrens cards, or cards I can use in Japan. What I mean by that last one is that, basically I want cards I can give to my Japanese contacts who in turn can give me cool stuff I can give to the rest of you guys. If you want me to make it even more clearer, I need vintage Cleveland Indians cards from the 20th century (yes, I'm including the 80's and 90's) for my friend Anco-san, and Houston Astros for another friend. And also random cards here and there for Ryan(-san?). Oh, and big leaguers who went to play in Japan too I guess. Oh boy...

I was going to also have goals about TTMs and IPs but I don't care enough about them at the moment to set any. What happens happens there.

Unrelated Scan 3

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

EPOCH Shigeru Sugishita Shadowbox

One of the cards I really found interesting were these Shadowbox cards from EPOCH. Ryan over at This Card Is Cool, has also briefly talked about these, but these are 3cm thick cards that feature a clear acetate front with a facsimile signature, accompanied by a picture of the player, with the background separated.

Apparently the color of the facsimile signature is what distinguishes what kind of card variation it is. Ryan picked up the silver version limited to 38 copies.

The one I picked up is the gold version that's limited to 10 copies. TEN!

I suppose Topps has made cards similar to this, but I think it'd be really cool if all card producing companies could continue down this, literal 3D, route in terms of cards. I love it.

Now for a history lesson on the legendary Shigeru Sugishita.

Mr. Sugishita was born back in 1925 (he's still alive and kicking at the age of 91 for the record). The right hander was known for his effective forkball, so much so that he was known as the "God of Forkballs." Apparently Mr. Sugishita's forkball was more akin to a modern day knuckleball that wobbles left and right before dropping precipitously. Mr. Sugishita had a great career but the peak year everyone talks about the most (even the shadowbox card commemorates it) is 1954, the year Mr. Sugishita won the pitching triple crown in Japan. That was also the same year the Dragons finally made it to the Nippon Series (the NPB equivalent of the World Series) and won it all. Mr. Sugishita took home Nippon Series MVP honors for his dominance in the postseason that year too.
Add in how Mr. Sugishita went 32-12 with 395.1 innings pitched that year and, yeah, his 1954 was pretty bonkers,

Mr. Sugishita is also remembered for the no-hitter he threw the following year in 1955. Being a total moron, I forgot to pick up a card that commemorated that historic achievement (that autograph was right there! GAH!). Mr. Sugishita retired for a bit in 1958, serving as a manager for the 1959 and 1960 seasons before going to the Daimai Orions (the current Chiba Lotte Marines) for his last season as an active pitcher. After that he worked as a manager for the Tigers and Dragons (for one season each) before retiring as a manager. He later went onto to work as a coach, even to this day he still works with Dragons pitchers trying to get them to work on their forkball. Gotta hand it to the guy, he's in his 90's and he's still showing up to spring training.

All told Mr. Sugishita had a mighty fine career. One good enough for him to get inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985. Depending on who you ask, he just might be Mr. Chunichi. At the very least, he is a recognizable name if you're talking to Dragons fans who bothered to look up the team's history. I'm just glad I have a card of his numbered to 10 in my collection. The card itself was already cool, but the fact that it's of such an important player to the Dragons franchise makes it all the more cooler.

As always thanks for stopping by and take care.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Wei-Yin Chen

It seems so long ago, but believe it or not Wei-Yin Chen used to be a member of the Chunichi Dragons. Chen, a native of Taiwan, took the (more uncommon that I initially thought) route of going to the NPB before coming stateside.

Chen was on several scouting radars during his high school years and was even offered opportunities to come to the MLB before he went to the Chunichi Dragons in 2004. Chen then spent the next seven years with the Dragons organization. He made his NPB ichi-gun debut in 2005 but his 2006 and 2007 seasons were lost due to injuries (Tommy John). Chen returned to action in 2008 and spent most of his time in the bullpen but he also made 14 starts and threw his first professional complete game on 9/22/2008. Chen was then inserted into the starting rotation for good in 2009. Chen went on to be a pretty reliable starter for the Dragons before eventually departing for the big leagues following the 2011 season.

As many of you know, Chen went on to join the Baltimore Orioles and became one of the many solid number 2/3 starters (the only type of pitcher the O's are allowed to have apparently). He eventually left Baltimore as a free agent following the 2015 season and has been with the Marlins since 2016.

Interestingly enough I saw a Dragons TV program in Japan where Chen spoke Japanese. It was clear, pretty fluent and I was really impressed. The same program also showed that Chen still keeps in touch with his old Dragons teammates (in the program he works out in Taiwan with Dragons pitcher Kazuki Yoshimi).

Anyway, this post is to announce that, yes, I am collecting Wei-Yin Chen. All of it, his O's and Marlins stuff too. Send them my way if you're tired of them taking up space.

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

Monday, January 23, 2017

Rehabilitating Mini's

During my vacation in Japan, I noticed one set of mini parallels that caught my attention.

Back in 2010 the Japanese baseball card company EPOCH released a set called 1977 OBクラブ (OB Club), which was a set devoted to retired legends from years past (in this case 1977).

The base card looks like this. Your typical card with a border, player names, team name and a big photo in the middle.

This is what the mini parallel looks like. It's a full bleed photo with only the product logo, the player name and team name on it.

I quite like this. If nothing else than for the novelty of a mini parallel actually looking different from the base card.

Base Back

Mini Back

Wouldn't it be worth a shot for Topps flagship to try something similar where the base had a border and the mini variation set Topps always sells online where without borders? Like imagine something similar to the 2016 Topps design, but with a border. That's your normal base card. And the design we did get for 2016 Topps can be the mini. Or maybe even the reverse.

I think it would at least help that something is different to give the mini another gimmick rather than just being a smaller version of a normal card.

I don't know, maybe it's just me but I think that this...

...looks better than this.

Again, it might just be me :P. What do you people think?

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

Friday, January 20, 2017

2016 EPOCH Central League Baseball Card Gum

During my vacation in Japan I completed two sets. One will be the topic of a future post, the other is a team set from what I thought was a neat product.

The Japanese baseball card company EPOCH released a series of baseball cards along with gum in 2016.

Each pack came with one card and one piece of gum. The gum is made by the Japanese food company Kabaya. Much like American gum the flavor was great but it only lasted for five seconds.

Anyway this set was made to commemorate the 36 best players in the Central League in the NPB. With six players per team and one "rare version" (i.e. short print) among them.

The six teams in the Central League are the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, Yomiuri Giants, Hanshin Tigers, Hiroshima Carp, Chunichi Dragons and the Yokohama DeNA BayStars.

Across the various stores I went to, a full completed set of this were sold for roughly $50 (5000 yen). A big reason for that is that Hiroki Kuroda (BIG HIROK) was one of the short prints and pretty much every store had it priced at like $20 (2000 yen). Add in how the SPs for the Giants and Tigers were Hayato Sakamoto and Shintaro Fujinami respectively and that's like another $10. Meaning the rest of the set costs like $20 lol.

I didn't feel like getting the full set or forking over money to buy two boxes worth of this stuff. So instead I bought a bunch of packs and a few singles to complete a team set.

I did spend like $15 on a bunch of loose packs (each pack was usually like 108 yen or roughly $1).

Of course I completed the Chunichi Dragons team set.

This set looks really nice in person. Dazzling actually.
These look quite pretty when they're scanned to boot. The shiny backdrop really adds to the silver facsimile signatures.

The backs feature the essentials like the names and personal info, as well as the player's 2015 stats and career stats. And with a little bit of information about the player below the stats.

The six Dragons players in this team set were:

*Yudai Ohno
*Shunta Wakamatsu
*Masahiro Araki
*Masahiko Morino
*Ryosuke Hirata
*Yohei Ohshima

Yudai Ohno is a guy I really like because his name is great for puns. He's also the Dragons ace and in the running to be the Dragons' Opening Day pitcher this upcoming season.

Shunta Wakamatsu had a really promising 2015 but he took a step back in 2016. This season he's eying major improvement in his pitching. Armed with a fastball that sits in the 87-89 mph range, a curveball, slider and a forkball, he could very well turn into a solid innings eater for the Dragons going forward.

Masahiro Araki has been on the team for over 20 years since being taken in the first round of the 1995 draft. Araki currently has 1961 career NPB hits and one of the fun things Dragons fans will be looking forward to is Araki's chase for number 2000 (the Dragons gift shop even sold items to help fans count down to Araki's 2000th hit).

Masahiko Morino, to me, is Mr. Chunichi. I have a whole post about him in the works so I'll keep this blurb short.

Ryosuke Hirata has been with the Dragons for nearly a decade and he's looked at as the veteran presence a lot of younger Dragons hitters look to for advice. Hirata is the short print in the Dragons checklist for the record.

Yohei Ohshima has found himself entrusted to be at the top of the lineup more in recent years. He's also noted for his glove work as he has four career NPB Golden Glove awards to his name.

And those were the Dragons in the 2016 EPOCH Central League Baseball Card Gum set. A fun product I'm glad was there since Calbee hadn't been released yet during my stay.

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).