Archive > March 2009

A Classic Worthy of The Name

» 24 March 2009 » In international baseball » 14 Comments

Last night’s Japan-Korea final was certainly the best WBC game I’ve ever seen, and probably the best one in the WBC’s short history. The live chat I hosted during the game was missing a few of the usual suspects but was a great one — thanks everyone who participated.

Here are my bullet points on the good…

  • Both Japan and Korea should be proud of the game they played. Both teams had a chance to win and I think they both earned a lot of respect internationally. I’ve always been interested in Korean baseball, but I’ll certainly follow the KBO a little more closely this year. Rather than winning bragging rights over each other, I think they’ve both earned bragging rights in the international baseball world.
  • For my money, Hisashi Iwakuma was the tournament MVP.
  • Japan executed small ball tactics pretty well over the last three games. I saw at least three successful hit and run plays, and a number of good bunts and lots of good defense. 
  • The Japan-Korea rivalry created an electric atmosphere. I’d love to see the two countries get together for something like The Ashes.
  • Everyone is second-guessing Korea manager In-Sik Kim’s decision to pitch to Ichiro in the 10th, but to me the decision wasn’t totally cut and dry. Ichiro hadn’t performed in the WBC until the final game, and Hiroyuki Nakajima had had a pretty good tournament. I’m not saying I agree or disagree with his call, but had he walked Ichiro we might be wondering why he loaded the bases for Nakajima.
  • I actually think Hara made pretty good moves over the last few games. 
  • Unheralded players of the tournament for me are Toshiya Sugiuchi and Satoshi Komatsu.

And the less good…

  • Yu Darvish really struggled with his command in the 9th inning last night. Ultimately it made the game more exciting, but he could have challenged hitters with his excellent fastball a little more, particularly with no one on base.
  • Daisuke Matsuzaka, like Darvish had a bad habit of nibbling until he got into trouble, and then challenging hitters. Guys, you have good stuff! Go after hitters.
  • Japan played five games against Korea, two against Cuba, and one each against China and the USA. It didn’t detract from the final, but the seeding game was pretty mellow compared to the others. 
  • Japan won despite having Yoshiyuki Kamei on the roster.


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WBC Final: Japan vs Korea Live Chat

» 23 March 2009 » In international baseball » 3 Comments

This is it — the seemingly pre-destined Japan vs Korea WBC championship game. Hisashi Iwakuma takes the mound for Japan, while Jung Bong gets the call for Korea. Yu Darvish will be available for relief work for Japan. This game may be for bragging rights, but I think that both teams can brag that they’ve defeated several strong competitors to make it this far. It should be a great game.

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Tazawa Optioned to AA Portland

» 22 March 2009 » In mlb prospects » 2 Comments

47News tipped me off to the info that the Red Sox have optioned Junichi Tazawa to the minors. A glance at the Red Sox transactions page confirms that he will start his American career at AA Portland, as expected. Tazawa generally impressed in the Red Sox camp. He’ll have a lot of adjustments to make over the course of his first professional season, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in Boston at some point this year.

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WBC Japan vs USA Live Chat

» 22 March 2009 » In international baseball » 3 Comments

The WBC live chats have been good fun so we’ll do another for the USA vs Japan. All are welcome for an evening of talkin’ baseball.

Game time is Sunday, March 22, 5:00pm PDT (time in your area), and the anticipated starters are Daisuke Matsuzaka and Roy Oswalt

The winner moves on the Championship game, the loser will go back to spring training.

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ESPN = Thumbs Down

» 21 March 2009 » In international baseball » 1 Comment

I’m sitting here trying to watch tonight’s Korea-Venezuela game, but ESPN is showing college wrestling instead. Why??? How can this possibley attract more viewers than the WBC game? 

The game is on ESPN Classic until the wrestling is over, but that channel isn’t included in my cable package. I guess I’ll either have to wait for find a live feed.

Update: Okay, the wrestling ended and they switched back to the WBC, 19 minutes after game time and just in time to see Korea jump out to a 1-0 lead. The wrestling match was in overtime, which I didn’t know they had in wrestling.

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WBC: Murata Injured, Kurihara to Stand In

» 21 March 2009 » In international baseball » 7 Comments

Japan cleanup hitter Shuichi Murata is out of the WBC with a pulled a hamstring, suffered rounding first on a single in Thursday night’s win over Korea. Despite replacing him in the game with scrub Yoshiyuaki Kamei, Japan won the game. Manager Tatsunori Hara has called on Hiroshima Carp infielder Kenta Kurihara to take Murata’s spot. Kurihara bats cleanup for Hiroshima but doesn’t have Murata’s power and hasn’t played much at third recently. 

Maybe Hara will have Kurihara DH and play Munenori Kawasaki or Yasuyuki Kataoka at third.

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Building a Sports Community: Yokohama BayStars

» 21 March 2009 » In sports business » 1 Comment

A non-profit organization, “Sports Community” is spreading the importance of sports to the Yokohama community. Former players from NPB, former and current players from the Yokohama based industrial league team ENEOS, and former players from women’s softball league make up the teachers in the Sports Community. Their goals are to teach the importance of sportsmanship and the excitement of sports in the right way. They also stress family relationships and communication within the community. Baseball and softball classes are held for the children and also provides family participation events throughout the year.

The Yokohama BayStars are building a community with knowledge of sports management as they build a partnership with Sanno University. Both sides are trying to create a win-win situation as the students of the sport business programs of Sanno University are gaining experience and learning from the real life situations with the Baystars and their minor league team, the Shonan Searex.

Another big part of community service and creating awareness during the BayStars games is blood donations. Before games at certain times of the year, the prefecture’s Red Cross Society comes out to the games and call out for donations before the game. For the participants, the Baystars provide a free sticker and an opportunity to be in the drawing for an on-field event after the game.

There are other projects that the Baystars are involved with such as the Make a Wish to the Stars Project, where the players visit local elementary schools to teach the importance of having a dream to the children. Other members of the Diana team, which is the cheerleading squad, are involved with the Pink Ribbon Project which creates awareness and collects donations for breast cancer. Kanagawa prefecture is second in Japan in deathes due to breast cancer and the Baystars are trying to help the community become aware of the disease.

The BayStars are another team that will have a new look for the 2009 season with their first new home and away uniforms since the 1992 season. The transition comes in the year of  Yokohama harbor celebrating their 150th anniversary since opening the harbor to the world. As the city will be in celebration mode throughout the year, the Baystars hope to add on to the excitement with their new style.

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SF Giants Cut Yabu

» 20 March 2009 » In mlb » Comments Off

Update, March 22, 11:39am: And to close the loop, the Giants did indeed re-sign Yabu to a minor league deal

Update, March 20 10:18pm: Nikkan Sports adds that Giants released Yabu to get him off the 40-man roster, and there is a chance they’ll re-sign him to a minor league contract.

According to Nikkan Sports, the Giants have released veteran righty Keiichi Yabu. Yabu came off the scrap heap last year to put up solid number by the Bay, but had given up 7 runs in 2 2/3 innings in the Giants’ camp this spring. He had already been optioned to AAA on March 5th.

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WBC Japan vs Korea (again) Live Chat

» 19 March 2009 » In international baseball » 3 Comments

Japan and Korea square off for the fourth time in this year’s WBC, with Korea holding the edge 2-1. Tetsuya Utsumi gets the start for Japan, while Jang Wonsam gets the call for Korea. This game determines the seedings for the semifinal round, but both teams are guaranteed to move on.

US-based fans can see the game on ESPN; Japan and Korea-based fans can certainly watch the game locally, we’ll see if we can find a live feed for others.

The live chat will be moderated and trolls will not be tolerated.

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WBC Japan vs Cuba Live Chat

» 18 March 2009 » In international baseball » 1 Comment

Update: For the March 19 game, please click here.

Update: Very touch ‘n go schedule for me tonight. We’ll start now 8:00pm, but I’ll be interrupted.

We’ll do another live chat for tonight’s WBC game. Should be a good one — another rematch of the 2006 final, only this time the loser goes home. Hisashi Iwakuma takes the hill for Japan, while Yuneski Maya goes for Cuba. Tonight’s game will be on ESPN2 in my area, so I don’t anticipate messing around with tonight.

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