Archive > 20 April 2009

Irabu Comeback in the Works

» 20 April 2009 » In pitching » 5 Comments

Hat tip to the unintentionally prophetic EWC: Nikkan Sports is reporting noted fat toad Hideki Irabu is working out in LA and aiming to resume his career in the US independent leagues some time this season. The article says that he’s played in amateur games and is hitting 90 mph on the gun in his workouts. There’s also a lengthy quote from someone associated with Irabu:

That he’s aiming for a comeback is true. Because he’s gotten back into shape*, he came to want play again. He’s playing with a cheerful demeanor. He wants to get tryouts and find a club he can play for. He’s looking to make a comeback in the independent leagues during the season. Looking to the future, the thinking is that if possible he wants to return to a high level, like MLB or NPB. 

*the original Japanese translates more directly as “his condition has returned”, which I think is really more of an assertion that Irabu has recovered from the injuries that forced him to retire. Keep in mind that this is a guy who was known as “jellyfish” in Japan before he was ever called a toad. The jellyfish moniker was an affectionate one though.

I wonder if that’s Don Nomura talking. 

Nikkan Sports provides us with a picture of him throwing, but I think that it was taken before the WBC, when Kyuji Fujikawa was working out in LA and happened to bump into Irabu in Compton. That sounds too ridiculous to be true, but it’s what was reported. Irabu is a US green card holder and returned to the US earlier in the year. Putting two and two together, I’d say he’s looking for a spot in the Golden League.

Continue reading...

Tags: ,

Reader Poll — Which Pitcher to Look at Next?

» 20 April 2009 » In NPB Tracker, pitching » 9 Comments

The pitching data I’ve presented over the last week or so has proven to be a hit. Readers — who do you want to see me take a look at next? Please put your answers in the comments.

Continue reading...

First Pitch from Space

» 20 April 2009 » In npb » 3 Comments

The ceremonial first pitch for the first game between the Yomiuri Giants and Hanshin Tigers was thrown from a great distance. Koichi Wakata, an astronaut on a long-term mission at the International Space Station, filmed the first pitch wearing a Giants uniform (supplied by manager Tatsunori Hara) inside the station, and was shown on the scoreboard prior to the game at the Tokyo Dome.

The ball used for the ceremonial first pitch was a speciality made ball, the “School Lunch Ball.” Inside the ball was a message-filled ribbon signed by Giants captain Shinnosuke Abe and nine students selected from the School Lunch program that the Giants participate in. The “School Lunch” program involves players interacting with students and eating lunch together in school classrooms.

Wakata commented, “If I practice more, maybe I will be able to throw a pitch that is impossible to imitate in Earth. I will hope to continue reporting news of dreams and hope from space.”

A new gyro ball in the works, perhaps from outer space. Stay tuned.

Continue reading...