What Happens Next, Take Two

» 06 April 2011 » In npb »

Preamble: I tried this before but I was too tired to put my thoughts into words. We’ll see how I do this time.

It’s been nearly a month since the Great Tohoku Earthquake. There are many hardships ahead for the people of the affected regions, but things are progressing. The content at the news outlets I keep an eye on has shifted from coverage of the shocking devastation, to grievance, to stories of survival and recovery, albeit tempered by persistent radiation fears. I must admit that it has been difficult watching the situation unfold from across the ocean.

Baseball is getting back to normal as well. After a couple rounds of negotiations, the NPB players and owners agreed to open their season on April 12th, with the power-saving provisions of not holding night games in the Tokyo area until May, and not playing extra innings at all this year. There was pressure from some quarters (ahem, Yomiuri, I’m looking in your direction) to start the season as previously scheduled and to hold energy-consuming night games, but the more sensitive ideas prevailed. Hanshin third baseman and Players Association chief representative Takahiro Arai deserves a healthy chunk of the credit for pushing the scheduling issue to resolution. In contrast, there was no such controversy over the schedule of the annual Koshien Senbatsu high school tournament, which went on as scheduled and wrapped up over the weekend. I didn’t pay much attention to the tournament at all this year (I left that to Ken), but the significance of the Tohoku High School players as the first post-quake inspirational figures on Japan’s athletic landscape was not lost on me.

It’s not really fair to compare NPB with Koshien here — the Senbatsu is a short tournament played in the Osaka area, which was not affected by the earthquake — but I think both groups arrived at the appropriate outcomes. NPB is a business run by adults, and it took responsible, mature leadership to determine an acceptable response the circumstances. Beyond the business though, baseball is a game for children, and I’m glad the kids got the chance to play. Looking past the inspirational and unity stuff, Koshien is the biggest stage most of the players involved will ever see. And at the end of the day, the burden of recovery is really on the adults.

Trackback URL

  1. Patrick
    07/04/2011 at 2:31 am Permalink

    Not sure if NPB will be able to very many games in the summer at all. The electricity shortage in the summer months will be very acute, much more so than immediately after the quake.

  2. Patrick
    07/04/2011 at 7:05 am Permalink

    This mind sound sarcastic or something, but it’s not meant to be… I hope Japan comes with a more sane summer energy policy. Japanese offices and grocery stores at kept at freezing temperature levels during the summer, which always seemed unnecessary and wasteful to me. Koizumi was trying to change that, but I’m not sure how successful he was.

  3. Patrick
    Michael Westbay
    07/04/2011 at 7:40 am Permalink

    It’s time to invest in alternative energy generation. I’ve got my eye on a do it yourself vertical wind turbine generator. I just need to learn a little more about regulating the alternating current to be consistent no matter how fast the turbine is spinning. Oh, and storage technologies. Much to learn.

  4. Patrick
    07/04/2011 at 11:12 am Permalink

    Man, I cannot type any more. My brain and hands must not be on the same planet in the mornings.

  5. Patrick
    07/04/2011 at 6:57 pm Permalink

    Japanese offices and homes actually aren’t kept freezing cold (about 18 C) like North American offices and homes. For several years now, the “eco” thing to do was to set the AC to 28 C, which actually gets a lot of complaints from Westerners in Japan that “it’s barely cooling the building”.

  6. Patrick
    Billy D
    08/04/2011 at 10:50 am Permalink

    Yeah, I was thinking of watching at least one game per week and follow Ken on his chatroom. Just didn’t work with … work.

    Why NPB cannot just shorten the season? This is worse than a strike-shortened season in MLB; did the owners realize that?

    The economy still needs time to recover, so a 120 or 130 games between 4/29-10/1 seems right. Then it gets cold in Japan, so I can imagine more electricity needed for the heating. Five reactors down, little people are not ready to pay at the ballpark, and Rakuten had lost its home support while being moved away from Tohoku.

  7. Patrick
    10/04/2011 at 6:08 pm Permalink

    It’s a tough balancing act. You want to ensure that there is sufficient electricity for people to live, but at the same time you don’t want to restrict too many economic activities because that will just delay the recovery.