Really Good Stuff

» 27 January 2014 » In npb, something else »

Japanese TV never fails to entertain. During my most recent trip to Japan, I saw things like a girl dressed in a French maid’s outfit, water skiing down a river to deliver an omelette to a guy on a boat; and a guy ride a horse through a false wall in an office building in on some unsuspecting business men in a meeting.

But the thing I’d like to share with you is this short clip from the New Year’s Eve Kyokugen program, from a segment where former Seibu and Yomiuri slugger Kazuhiro Kiyohara was attempting to hit a final home run to honor his aging mother. Kiyohara was to face off against four all-time great NPB pitchers, getting three at-bats against each one.

Kiyohara’s first opponent was former Lotte ace, Choji Murata. When I saw Murata, I thought to myself “ahh, I hope he doesn’t just go up there and throw batting practice.”

I wasn’t disappointed. Murata is 64 years old, but still hits 135 kmph (83 mph) on the gun. He attacked Kiyohara with a series of fastballs, and the only solid contact Kiyohara managed was a foul ball. Then, with Kiyohara down 1-2 on his last at-bat, Murata dropped this splitter on him:


(helpfully gif’ed by one of the netizens on

Sick. Murata is 64 years old. Oh, I already said that. Well, he’s also a Tommy John survivor; in 1983 he became the first notably Japanese pitcher to undergo the procedure. And Murata must be in great shape to repeat those mechanics at age 64.

It was a little disappointing that Kiyohara couldn’t handle Murata’s best stuff, but that just showed it was a competition; he was going to have to earn that home run. We changed to the typical New Year’s Eve boxing matches after Murata, but I found out later that Kiyohara got his home run off lefty Hideyuki Awano. Happily ever after.

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  1. Patrick
    NPB Card Guy
    27/01/2014 at 11:15 am Permalink

    I wondered what the hell this was. I caught the last part of this on Justin.TV the morning (in my part of the world) on New Year’s Eve. I saw the home run off of Awano – IIRC it was barely a fair ball. Manabu Kittabeppu was one of the other pitchers along with maybe Koji Ota? It looked like they were doing this in Yokohama with absolutely no one in the stands.

    I was struck by how fat Kiyohara looked. I heard something on Twitter that he’s doing ads for KFC now – maybe he’s getting paid in food.

  2. Patrick
    28/01/2014 at 1:14 am Permalink

    Is Koji Ota still doing endorsements in Japan despite his not so flash pro career, I wonder if Yuki Saito will be the next Koji Ota or Daisuke Araki, living off their Koshien Stardom and little else

    Anyway, how did Kitabeppu go against Kiyohara out of curiosity

    I am not suprised about Choji Murata, I saw footage of an old timer game years ago and he was still up there

  3. Patrick
    28/01/2014 at 4:20 am Permalink

    BTW, saw a youtube clip of it

    So there was Nishizaki of the Fighters as well!

    It all looked like great fun

  4. Patrick
    NPB Card Guy
    28/01/2014 at 6:26 am Permalink

    Ahh – it was Nishizaki, not Ota. I mis-remembered.

    I’ve seen commercials with Ota in them on in the past year or so.

  5. Patrick
    31/01/2014 at 12:13 pm Permalink

    I still have a little hope for Yuki Saito…