Archive > June 2009

Blogs Around the League

» 30 June 2009 » In npb » 2 Comments

Blogs written by players are usually well-known and have their daily readers, but in recent years blogs written by front office personnel and behind-the-scenes people have been an effective PR method. It allows the fans to gain a  different perspective and increase the interest toward sport business. There are some of the blogs I found written by team personnel around NPB.

If there are others that comes up to mind, please feel free to comment.

If interested, fans can find all player blog updates in プロ野球Freak. Shugo Fujii, of the Nippon Ham Fighters leads the NPB in most updated blog entries in the last month with 92 entries.

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Darvish Takes No-Hitter into the 8th

» 29 June 2009 » In npb » Comments Off

Last Friday, Yu Darvish took a no-hitter into the 8th inning against the Chiba Lotte Marines. The Marines broke up the no-no with two singles in the eight, but Darvish still left the game without allowing a run as he picked up his Japan-leading 10th win.

Here’s how he did it:

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Fan Stadium: Website for the Fans

» 29 June 2009 » In international baseball, npb » Comments Off

To celebrating the 60th anniversary of the current two-league (Pacific and Central) system, NPB has created a website for fans called Fan Stadium. The website includes an opportunity for fans to learn, participate in games and make predictions.

Online fantasy sports have been a big part of sports business developing in the United States and it will be interesting to see what type of opportunities NPB will create for the fans to interact online and become more knowledgeable of the game.

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Global Exchange for the Next Generation

» 28 June 2009 » In international baseball, mlb, npb, sports business » Comments Off

Baseball has grown into a global game and the Boston Red Sox and the Chiba Lotte Marines are working to keep it that way for the next generation. The Japan Society of Boston and the Red Sox Foundation teamed up to bring Japanese youth to Boston in the summer of 2008, and will send Greater Boston youth to Japan in 2009.

The Chiba Lotte Marines will take part in the program this summer and is currently looking for host families for the 12 youths from Boston. If you’re interested in hosting a youth, you may download the application from the website.

Last year, Boston played host to 12 youths coming from Kyoto and Chiba (Kyoto is a sister city of Boston). This program had several meanings as Kyoto and Boston was celebrating their 50th anniversary as sister cities. Another meaning to the exchange program came from the commemoration of the official partnership between the Chiba Lotte Marines and the Boston Red Sox. Those are the reasons behind youth from both Kyoto and Chiba participating in this program.

The participants experienced the whole package of American baseball and the city of Boston in their eleven day program (including travel). Japanese native Hideki Okajima (who is also from Kyoto) and Daisuke Matsuzaka took part in the program as an instructors and for a meet and greet opportunity with the youth (pictures can be seen on the Kyoto City website).

Now the Chiba Lotte Marines will look to return the favor and will welcome the youth from Boston to experience the culture of Japan. The youth will also have the opportunity to attend a Chiba Lotte Marines game and will be interesting what else the team has planned for them.

The world has gotten smaller with the game of baseball reaching to many part of the globe. The kids in Japan are watching MLB at a younger age with their stars going overseas and the American kids are being exposed to Japanese stars on a daily basis. However the youth in each country might not be exposed to anything more than that. Youth exchange programs like this should allow the next generation to understand and experience the different cultures starting from baseball.

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Sadowski Headed North, not East

» 27 June 2009 » In mlb prospects » 1 Comment

Ryan Sadowski is indeed headed for a bay, but it’s the San Francisco Bay, not the Yokohama Bay. After watching the Giants blow a two-run lead in the ninth, I saw a blurb on the score ticker saying that Giants have promoted Sadowski and given him inconsistent lefty Jonathan Sanchez’s rotation spot. Then I got online and found this.

Sadowski attracted interest from a team in Japan this season, but vice president of baseball operations Bobby Evans said the Giants rebuffed the Japanese request to buy his contract.

Looking back at the Sanspo article that prompted my post, it said the BayStars were “acquiring Sadowski” and “planning to make an announcement in the next few days”. Looks like Sanspo got ahead of themselves, and I followed them.

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Player Profile: Chang Yong Lim

» 26 June 2009 » In mlb prospects, npb » 1 Comment

A pair of Asian-born NPB pitchers are getting some attention from MLB teams. Today I’ll take a look at South Korean relief ace Chang Yong Lim.

Lim is best known among international fans for giving up the eventual game-winning hit to Ichiro in this year’s WBC Final. By day, however, Lim is the closer for the Yakult Swallows, and he’s been lights-out this year. Through 29.2 innings, he has yet to allow an earned run for the surprising Swallows, who at 36-22 are 2nd in the Central League.

Lim is a fastball/sinker/slider pitcher who relies on a rather unsual combination of velocity and a side-arm delivery. He pitches off his fastball, which usually sits in the 90-93mph range, but will reach 96/97mph. There were reports earlier in the year that he hit the magical 160kmph (100mph) mark on the gun, but I don’t buy it. Other reports put that pitch at 155kmph (97mph), which is more believable and still very good. You can get a sense of his mechanics from these clips of his 17th and 18th saves from this season, or this clip of him striking out a couple of Chunichi Dragons last year.

What prompted me to write about Lim now was the recent revelation that he’s looking for a US-based agent, first published in Japanese tabloid Nikkan Gendai and repeated in the Japanese edition of the JoongAng Ilbo, where I found it. However, the soonest we’re likely to see him Stateside is 2011, as Yakult holds an option on his services for next year, which they’ve reportedly already decided to excercise. While it’s unclear how much the option year is worth, he’s been an absolute bargain for the Swallows so far. He earned just $300k last year, and is making $500k this season. By comparison, bullpenmate Ryota Igarashi is making about $840k this season.

Lim’s interest in playing internationally dates back to 2002. According ot his Japanese Wikipedia entry, his KBO club Samsung posted in him to MLB in 2002, but ultimately didn’t get a bid they were happy with. Lim again attempted a move abroad in 2004, negotiating with Rakuten in Japan and, reportedly, several MLB clubs before resigning with Samsung.

Next time I’ll take a look at Chunichi lefty Wei Yin Chen.

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Yokohama Adds Sadowski

» 25 June 2009 » In npb » 4 Comments

Update, June 27: Sadowski will not be joining Yokohama. Please see this post.

Sanspo is reporting that the Yokohama BayStars have acquired righthnander Ryan Sadowski from the San Francisco Giants. Sadowski had been with the Giants’ 3A affiliate in Fresno, where he’s put up rather pedestrian numbers. He’ll join fellow ex-pat pitchers Ryan Glynn and Les Walrond on the ‘Stars roster.

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SoftBank Adds American Ikusei Player

» 25 June 2009 » In npb » 3 Comments

The SoftBank Hawks have signed Andrew Toussaint to an ikusui contract. Toussaint spent four years in the Angels system, but never advanced higher than 2A ball.

For more on the ikusei system, please see Ryo’s article on the subject.

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Hiroshima Notes: Dohmann Out, Phillips In?

» 23 June 2009 » In npb » 1 Comment

According to links found on Yahoo Japan, Hiroshima is making some moves with its foreign roster. Righthanded reliever Scott Dohmann has been released. Dohmann had posted a 17.28 in 16 games with the Carp.

Word from the Kyodo grapevine is that the Carp are also looking to import Andy Phillips, who spent time in the White Sox system this season but is currently a free agent. Phillips would be the Carp’s third foreign corner infielder, joining Scott McClain and Scott Seabol. The two Scotts are struggling with identical .216 averages, but then again no one on the Carp is hitting. One of them figures to lose roster time if Phillips joins the team. The Carp have had bad luck with guys named Scott this year.

Like Todd Linden, Phillips is a 4A guy who I always thought would end up in Japan. But Wily Mo Pena was released by the Mets yesterday, and I’d like to see what he could do in Japan. Certainly he’s shown more power at the MLB level than Phillips.

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Ken-san Demoted

» 23 June 2009 » In mlb » Comments Off

Among a number of other moves, the Mets demoted 40 year-old lefty Ken Takahashi on June 22. Said Takahashi: “I was called in by the manager and GM, and I thought it might be this. In the minors I’ll probably start, and I’ll probably be able to throw a lot”. Takahashi had posted a 3.00 era with 16 strikeouts in 18 innings for the Mets.

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