Monday, November 7, 2016


One of the things I like about trading is seeing what my trade partners think of the packages I send.

I mean I know that when you're on the receiving end of a pretty casual trade you generally don't think too negatively or critically of a trade/trade partner, but I like to get feedback on my trades. How my packages fared. Against past trades the partner had with me or past trades the partner had in general.

I don't mean to come across as a conceited asshole, but I do pride myself in being a trade partner known for being "generous." It means that I've been able to provide a favorable experience to another collector who took time out of their short mortal lives to engage in some sort of exchange with me.

Every now and then someone asks, jokingly, why I'm "generous" with my packages. I usually just laugh it off because I don't think I'm being too generous. But recently I engaged in a trade that at least provided a possible reason.

It's a Japanese thing.

Now please don't take that out of context. I don't mean to say that you need to be Japanese to be "generous." I'm practically the only Japanese guy on this section of the blogosphere (no offense Fuji) and I've found that everybody else here is just as generous as I am. But what I do mean is that it's the reason why I personally am generous.

In Japanese culture, presenting yourself as a nice person and giving a person or entity you're engaging in some sort of exchange/business with is extremely important. It's why the Japanese usually go above and beyond when they're hosting people from overseas who go to Japan for various occasions. Japanese hospitality (at it's best) is something that can't easily be matched and it always surprises many outside the culture of just how far the Japanese are willing to go in the name of being seen as pleasant or favorable.

I'll show you just what I mean in the form of baseball cards.

Recently I engaged in a trade with a Japanese collector known as Springer (yes, after George Springer). As their name suggests, they are an Astros fan. I was interested in a few Asia Black Bowman Chrome parallels they were able to pull from a box of 2015 Bowman Asia Edition. What I got back made what I sent (some retail only Astros and MiLB issued Astros) look like dogshit.

Let's start this Japanese hospitality showcase with the first thing we see and observe, the packaging.

The cards all came in this tin of 2016 Panini Immaculate Baseball. You know you're dealing with a legit collector when cards come in packages like this.

This is why I usually try and put some effort in how I send cards (if I can). Anyone can just stuff cards in team bags and ship them off. Admittedly I do get lazy and just do that sometimes, but it's why I save my wrappers and repack cards. It's why I create custom hobby boxes or PWE's on PED's (albeit only for The Lost Collector because the Yankees are the only team I have the appropriate amount of cards of to do such a thing). I want it to be different. I want to be more interesting. I strive to make you feel overwhelmed and as if you're in for something big right out of the gate. Unless I can't and just end up throwing a pretty cruddy and thin bubble mailer your way.

Right so let's actually go inside the tin.

There were eight large stuffed team bags filled with cards.

Over 100 cards at that. The bulk of these were the Asia Black refractors from 2015 Bowman and 2015 Bowman Draft. I was overwhelmed. I had just asked for Yankees (and a few other teams). Instead I got this behemoth. Springer-san sent a lot of these hoping I can use them for TTMs. I will. Some of these names were new to me too (just goes to show how I'm losing touch).

These were the four "base" black ref Yankees.
Kaprielian made his return to the mound last month as part of the Arizona Fall League. A healthy Kaprielian would make the Yankees' farm system the undisputed best in all of baseball.

Refsnyder's future with the Yankees is a question mark. He could go to a team that favors offense over defense (like the A's, who've reportedly had interest in Refsnyder before). Considering what the A's gave up Josh Donaldson for, who knows what the Yankees could get for Refsnyder.

I also got these two current Yankees in their old organization uniforms.

Domingo German came over in the Eovaldi-Prado (and others) trade. German is back on the 40 man roster. Making the 40 man roster crunch even more difficult for Cashman and co.

Dillon Tate came over in the Carlos Beltran trade. The fourth overall pick in the 2015 draft has struggled mightily this year. He's more of a high upside reclamation project. Tate was pitching in the Arizona Fall League until recently he was taken off the roster (his last outing was also a while ago).

My very first Asia Black refractor autograph! Of Jeff Degano at that.

These are very cool and I never thought I'd own one myself. But Springer-san told me that this was coming and I was very excited.

These are numbered to 35 and make the lives of super collectors very difficult.

And that concludes the Yankees portion of the black refractor showcase. I just wanted to look at other significant black refs that were in the lot.

Like these four Dodgers (because the Dodgers are significant).

Jose De Leon's made it to the big leagues this year. Going forward Dodgers fans can expect a solid middle-to-back-end of the rotation starter with lots of strikeouts, lots of fly balls and a few fly balls that turn into home runs.

Julio Urias also made his MLB debut this year. His ceiling is much higher.

Alex Verdugo had an okay year. Still has a promising bat and strong arm.

Grant Holmes is now with the A's.

Carlos Rodon has solidified himself as a big leaguer. Rodon came up through the White Sox system in approximately five seconds because the White Sox can do that (just look at Chris Sale). Rodon figures to be really important for the White Sox going forward. That's exactly why he's already in trade rumors and inspiring many to think he might be a Yankee next year.

There were more black refractors but they're either TTM fodder or fun surprises for many of you in future Zappings.

Here are all eight of the black wave refractors that were sent my way. These are very shiny and impressive.

I understand that these have autographed versions too (because of course they do).

These are the red-black paper parallels. Here you can see Touki Toussaint who the D-Backs gave away to get rid of Bronson Arroyo's contract, Aaron Judge leading a barrage of cards I didn't bother scanning individually, and future Yankee Carson Fulmer at the top left.

So yeah. I kind of did a disservice by shrinking 100+ cards into a few scans but I didn't want to spoil the surprise too much.

Anyway Springer-san also sent along more goodies with these refractors.

This trio of Orange Shimmer refractors from 2016 Bowman Chrome.

Appropriate for the tin all of these cards came in, there was this incredible pinstripe jersey relic of #GREGBIRD from 2016 Panini Immaculate. As you can see it's numbered 43/49. Oof, I owe Springer-san big time.

Serial numbered Yankees legends.

Now we get to the last, but fun portion. Japanese baseball cards. This is a very cool pinstripe relic of Tetsuto Yamada of the Yakult Swallows.

Limited to 100 copies (100!). I imagine that these small print runs are due to how, unlike Topps, BBM doesn't print out so many cards that, once accumulated, it could fill up all of Lake Erie.

This isn't from BBM. It's actually a Bikkuriman sticker (stickers that come with chocolate wafer treats). The two depicted are Hanshin Tigers stars Kanemoto and Toritani. This sticker is really really shiny.

Former Rakuten Eagle (and current Mariner) Hisashi Iwakuma. Iwakuma is who I call the middle-incomer's Hiroki Kuroda. He's less consistent that Big Hirok, but he is durable.

This one is numbered to JUST 75 copies!

Mr. Three-Run Home Run!

This is a very shiny (too shiny for my scanner to handle) insert of Chunichi Dragons (my team!) legend Masahiko Morino. His nickname was "Mr. Three-Run Home Run" for a while because his home runs tended to be three-run dingers most of the time. Morino has spent his entire career with the Chunichi Dragons (ever since they drafted him in the second round back in 1996!). He continues to serve as the face of the franchise but unfortunately his time as an active player may be coming to a close very soon.

This Morino is numbered to 150. If American inserts were numbered to 150 I'm sure the hobby would be a lot different.

This is a very cool 2014 BBM Genesis card of Motonobu Tanishige. Tanishige enjoyed a 27 year long career as a player in Japan (27!). I quite like the designs of these Genesis cards. They're always very slick. Even if they almost never resemble an actually field where people play baseball.

This fine specimen of the former catcher-manager is numbered 50.

Finishing off this epic package are these two rookie cards of Japanese pitching phenom Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani's seen as one of the best non MLB affiliated baseball players in the world thanks to his fastball (and his bat too I suppose). Ohtani was recently a key part of the Fighters' victory in the Nippon Series (the NPB equivalent of the World Series) over Big Hirok's Hiroshima Carp.

When Ohtani comes to the US remains to be seen but I'd wager that it's not this year (although he'd get all of the money in this lousy free agent market). Personally I want him to go to the Dodgers so he can continue hitting (albeit in small doses). Sure his ceiling as a hitter is probably Seth Smith but, that's better than most of the automatic outs pitchers the NL trots out to the plate.

And that was my latest trade with a Japanese collector. Woof. I was not expecting such a large package. My additional package for Springer-san will have to really up the ante. No more messing around.

After all, I am part of this culture (somewhat).

Big thanks to Springer-san for the awesome stuff.

And as always thanks for stopping by and take care :).


  1. I've been following Ohtani's career and he is quite the talent for sure.
    The orange shimmer parallels are quite eye-catching. I suppose those are my favorite of the lot.
    For the record, you are one of the top five most generous bloggers I have traded with... that puts you in the same company as the two madmen (BWTP & JBF). Which, is really good company. :)

    1. Thanks Tom. And I agree, the shimmers are quite something.

  2. Whoa, what a great group of cards! If I meet up with you next time I'm in NYC I expect a big stack of Cutch autos because you are Japanese. I would be insulted if that didn't happen.

    In all seriousness you are the man Zippy. We've had a bunch of fun trades over the last few years. It works out well as the Yanks are a constant pipeline for the Bucs :)

    1. Oh no, Cutch autographs are overpriced!

      That's true, all I have to do is purge myself of various former Yankees in our packages.

  3. I've read that Ohtani stayed in Japan for the first part of his career specifically because he has a contractual clause which requires him to play the field & hit two or three games of every five in between starts. He's a hell of a talent -- I saw a clip of him hitting 103 or 104 MPH. Just crazy.

    1. That's true, that duel weapon clause (as I like to call it) is why he stayed in Japan. Although in retrospect I'm not sure if he used the MLB teams for leverage.

  4. That is quite the generous package. Yes I believe your packages are some of the most generous out there. Thanks for posting these

  5. What an awesome package. I actually think the Black Bowmans are better looking than the base.

    I haven't seen the Orange Shimmers yet. They are really cool too.

    Gotta agree you are one of the most generous out there, and now it makes a bit more sense...although I still think you are over-genereous, Japanese or not!

    1. Thanks TLC. I do like the Black Bowmans better too.

  6. "... and inspiring many to think he might be a Yankee next year."

    NO!!!!!! Keep your damn grubby Yankee hands off our few decent players!

    1. Okay fine, we'll just take Carson Fulmer and leave...

  7. Yep, yep, and yep. There isn't a blogger out there not excited to get a zapping. One heck of a shiny package.