1994 Nippon Series

» 31 October 2009 » In npb »

I stumbled across this clip a while ago, and normally I wouldn’t post it, but there’s a personal back story and with this year’s Nippon Series about to start, it seems like a good time.

1994 was the year the MLB players’ strike canceled the World Series, which I especially hated because my team, the Chicago White Sox, was in the middle of a great season and I fully expected to see them reach the Series. Chicago doesn’t win in baseball very often, and I felt like we were getting screwed out of the best team that had come along to that point in my lifetime.

So with no World Series, Chicago’s local cable sports station, SportsChannel, broadcast the Japan Series on tape delay, with the games called by Hawk and Wimpy. To that point, just about everything I knew about Japan came by way of Nintendo, and Japanese baseball was something new to me. It was familiar but different, it kind of looked like the SF Giants playing the KC Royals. The only players I knew were Dan Gladden and Mike Pagliarulo, though Henry Cotto also appears in this clip.

So this is what piqued my interest in Japanese baseball, but I didn’t really get into it permanently until 2000, when I went I went to Japan as an exchange student. And of course the White Sox won the World Series in 2005, which made up for the missed opportunity in ’94.

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  1. Patrick
    31/10/2009 at 2:09 am Permalink

    I kinda feel bad for upping the ante here, but let me just tell you I know how you feel. My beloved Expos were running the league with a .650 record when the best they ever got was a “half” division title in ’81 (incidentally another strike year, you could say Cards were robbed). More tragically, that incident was the trigger to a series of bad decisions and downright malicious acts that led to the club moving out 10 years later, with the last 3 or 4 being pure agony.

    I lost interest in MLB and a few trips to Japan and the online broadcasting of NPB got me interested in baseball again a few years ago.

    I’ll be supporting the Fighters as a proud member of the Anything But Giants online cheering squad!

  2. Patrick
    31/10/2009 at 8:48 am Permalink

    That’s true. The Expos had an awesome team in 1994. A White Sox – Expos Series would have been a good one.

  3. Patrick
    31/10/2009 at 1:09 pm Permalink

    Great link. I went to Japan after my high school senior year in ’91 and had the opportunity to see Seibu play Nippon Ham before there was a dome in Saitama.

    There was also this bizarre guy I saw on tv who’d twist his body like a tornado, of whom the announcers were saying could throw almost as hard as Nolan Ryan. His name was Hideo Nomo.

    I didn’t have SportsChannel in ’94, otherwise I would’ve killed to see this series. For the life of me, I can’t understand why there’s not at least a half-hour highlights show produced for American audiences. Or even live games somewhere in the country (with the west coast getting games from 2am-5am.) However, being able to be a part of the league this year with the internet, for the first time in 18 years, has given me a sense of happiness that’s simply unexplainable. (Or at least similar to Eli floating that pass to Plax in the Super Bowl, a game of which Y-Giants reliever Marc Kroon was at according to his website.)

    Waking up at 4/5am in the Central Time Zone has been absolutely wonderful this year with justin and KeyholeTv. I’m not happy the Giants won today, but what a great game (and Marc Kroon is my favorite gaijin pitcher over there other than Atch. I always hope the Giants lose before he gets involved, because it’s very hard for me to cheer against a Bronx Boy, and an April 1973 boy at that as well.)

    My sympathies to all ’94 victims. Keep in mind that was the last great Mattingly Yankees team, and his last, best shot at a title. The Yanks and Expos had the two best records that year. The Yanks obviously did fine without Donnie Baseball, but to play like he did through the drought and Steinbrenner’s suspension and the stinko teams, it was rough for Yanks fans to see it end like it did.