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  • Archive for June, 2008

    Ong Bak 2!

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 June 21日 Saturday

    Finally, the sequel to the kick ass Thai action movie which turned Tony Jaa into a kung fu action star will be here (it’s opening in Thailand some time this year apparently). The new story doesn’t have any connection with the original, countryside kid goes to the big city and makes good story line, but looks amazing nonetheless. Anyone who mentions plot deserves at least a roundhouse kick  😛  (via Box Office Japan, and I pretty much agree with Chris’ assessment on this.)

    The trailer.

    Posted in 02_English, culture, information, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    両投げ対両打ち

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 June 21日 Saturday

    ヤンキースのシングルA のPat Venditte 投手は両利きである(六本指、網二つの特注グラブを使ってる)。先日両打ちの打者と対戦した時に面白い事態になった。そりゃもちろん右対右か左対左で投げたいもんね、投手としては。でも、確か投手がどっち側から投げるのかを打席が始まる前に決めるというルールがあったはずだが、これはカレッジだけでプロではないのかな?

    Pat Venditte 投手

    http://thebaseballcube.com/players/V/Pat-Venditte.shtml

    http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?n=Pat%20Venditte&pos=P&sid=milb&t=p_pbp&pid=519381

    そしてお楽しみの映像:

    http://www.redlasso.com/ClipPlayer.aspx?id=073860f8-cdc3-4778-92cb-ad2d20ac545d

    Posted in 01_日本語, baseball, information, random | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

    NPB Alternate Uniforms

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 June 20日 Friday

    Following the NPB throwback uniforms post, this time we have the NPB non-throwback alternate uniform special.

    First, let’s just get a general sense of what NPB uniforms look like. These are all the NPB managers wearing their home uniforms circa 2006. The only major change we’ve had since then is the Tigers who are now using their 80’s throwbacks full-time as their home unis (mentioned in the post linked above), great move!

    I don’t know of any Hiroshima Carp alternates, so I’ll just note that that’s Marty Brown pictured on the top left corner.

    Hanshin Tigers (bottom row, third from left)

    2006 Interleague Uniforms can be found from the post linked at the top of this post, they were 80’s throwbacks.

    2007 Interleague Uniforms (designed by some fancy designer… lame)

    2008 Interleague Uniforms (even worse! looks like someone took an eraser and deleted pinstripes from various parts of the unis and added yellow blotches, a much more sensible move would be to use even older throwbacks as alternates since this is a team with history)

    Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks (bottom row, second from right)

    Managed by the flamingo stance slugging legend himself, Sadaharu Oh.

    2006 Hawk Festival Uniform

    2008 Hawk Festival Uniform (both versions suck, this shade of yellow just doesn’t work as the primary colour, SoftBank unis are ugly to begin with anyways, they look like slo-pitch unis or something)

    Saitama Seibu Lions (bottom row, far right)

    2007 Summer Uniform (apparently the red lines represent fangs or claws of the lion or something, ugly)

    2008 Interleague Uniform (stars on shoulders, what is this, an all-star uniform? unnecessary)

    Chiba Lotte Marines (bottom row, third from right)

    Managed by Bobby Valentine. Fantastic fan support, ugly alternate uniforms. Get a load of this.

    2005 Alternate Uniform (black pants and white top!?!? Definitely the ugliest alternates we’ve seen in recent history – polyester heaven of the 70’s and 80’s are a whole another matter)

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, culture, information, NPB, opinion | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

    Pink baseball merchandise

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 June 19日 Thursday

    From the AOL FanHouse post, MetsGrrl.com writes

    “No real female baseball fan I know wears a pink hat,” wrote Caryn Rose, a writer living in Greenpoint, on her blog about the Mets, called MetsGrrl.com. “The pink hat exists so that boyfriends or husbands (or heck, lesbian partners of girly girls), who feel guilty that they have dragged their girlfriend to the game, can go to the team store and buy something to placate them: ‘Oh, it’s pink, it must be for a girl.’ Give me a break.”

    Of course things are very different here in Japan. Not only are there pink hats, there is pink everything for the female fans, and they’re not designed just for the casual/bandwagon/unwillingly-accompanying-the-bf-to-the-park female fans either, but then again pink is the national colour for Japanese women, and being cute is everything. So, there are hardcore female fans in Japan in the bleachers with the oendan cheer squad who stand on their feet and constantly cheer for their hitters while their team is up at bat.

    Here, a couple of Hanshin Tigers fans in their pink jerseys. I bet they’re not fairweathr fans, but I could be wrong.

    Do Japanese female fans like pink merchandise because they’re cute? Sure. Are Japanese women oppressed in society? Well, there is definitely still a glass ceiling, but Japanese wives and moms completely rule the household, controlling everything in the household from finance (holding the hammer on what to buy for the house, or receiving the husband’s entire pay cheques only to give him small montly “allowances”) to other matters like deciding on which school to send their kids to. This behind the scenes power sort of balances thing out in Japanese society where women don’t try to compete with men by becoming more like men, but are very good at controlling men anyways.

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, culture, information, MLB, NPB, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    The Sac Bunt and NPB

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 June 19日 Thursday

    Another great article on the Tokyo Yakult Swallows blog where I wrote a rather lengthy comment, so I’ll post that here too.

    I previously did some NPB v MLB offensive numbers comparisons here for 2005-07 and PL teams bunt just as often as CL teams (and way more than MLB teams).

    Now, I don’t think the sac bunt is completely useless, but NPB teams overuse it to the point of being detrimental to their offense. Then again, Trey Hillman’s Fighters repeated as PL champs and they bunted often. Hillman noted the psychologically calming effect that bunting has on Japanese players (because it’s ingrained in Japanese baseball culture), which leads to better performance. Pull up various Hillman interviews and you’ll find him saying that.

    But in general, I think the optimal strategy is to go for the big innings early in the game (ie. don’t sac bunt). But if it’s late in the game and 1 run would tie or bring a lead to the team, then I think sac bunts are valid (especially against tough pitchers where chances of big innings is very low, which is not unusual in closely fought games).

    Actually, bunting early in the game might even be justifiable when facing true aces like Darvish (especially with the low scoring Fighters lineup), as every run is precious and chances scoring 3-4 runs off of him in an inning is very slim. Then again, this may just be a truism, teams don’t tend to have big innings against aces because they bunt early and often. Hmm…?

    Anyways, I think MLB teams bunt more often in the postseason (don’t have stats with me though) when the opposing pitchers are often ace quality, both starters and relievers, instead of the dreg that they often get to face during the regular season.

    Of course, pitchers should bunt with the runner on first, this is the same in the NL, unless you’re Micah Owings or Carlos Zambrano.

    This whole thing is similar to why NFL teams shouldn’t kick until late in the game, because the rewards of a TD (equivalent to a big inning in baseball) is often greater than the higher percentage 3 points from a FG or better field position gained from punts, even with the probability of TD is not as high as FG.

    I might’ve forgot something, but that’s more or less my thoughts on bunting and NPB.

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, culture, football, MLB, NPB, opinion, Sabermetrics, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    ガイジン

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 June 18日 Wednesday

    ハァ…こんなのがニュースになってる時点でびっくりですよ。「国際化」をうたい続けて早何十年?呆れて開いた口が塞がりません… 

    ————

    日本にいる外国人が行うとびっくりする行動ランキング 

    1 難しい漢字が書ける 
    2 電話中におじぎ 
    3 方言をつかう 
    4 日本語を流暢に喋る 
    5 ことわざ・慣用句を使う 
    ————

    まあ単一民族神話がまだ浸透してる国民性もあるからしょうがない部分もあるんだろうけど…実はボビー・オロゴンは普通に流暢に日本語喋れるけど、視聴率の為にあんな喋り方するとか聞いた事あるし、もう何十年もずーーーっとアメリカに住んでないデーブ・スペクターが金髪に髪染めて青色コンタクト入れて外国事情の専門家としてテレビで解説してる現状から見ると、やっぱまだこんな感じなんだね。 

    でも移民(とその子孫)が比較的多い欧州多国でも移民受け入れの面でいろいろ問題が起きてるから、単に外国人の比率が増えれば解決するって事ではないけど… 

    (テレビでインタビューされてる人が「外人」て言うとテロップではほぼ必ず「外国人」になってるとこは細かいね、これとどう関係あるかはよくわからんが、放送禁止用語じゃないけど表示自粛用語なのか?) 

    うーん、でも今は東京に住んでるからか外人顔の人が普通に日本語喋るのには慣れたけど、田舎に住んでたらまだ自分も驚いてるかな?

    Posted in 01_日本語, culture, opinion, random | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    No ties in Korean baseball

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 June 17日 Tuesday

    From JoongAng Daily, KBO has virtually eliminated tied games starting this season, unlike Japan’s NPB where ties aren’t uncommon.

    Last Thursday, the Woori Heroes edged out the Kia Tigers 2-1 in the bottom of the 14th inning. The game began at 6:32 p.m. and ended at 12:49 a.m. 

    With a 55-minute rain delay in between, the official elapsed time was five hours and 22 minutes. It was the first KBO game ever to end after midnight and the longest game of this season by nine minutes. There were close to 7,000 fans on hand at the beginning of the game at Mokdong Stadium in western Seoul but fewer than 1,000 stayed on until Kang Jung-ho’s walk-off single in the 14th. 

    Starting this season, the KBO abolished the tying rule, whereby a tie would be called after 12 innings in the regular season and 15 innings in playoffs. Ties will still be allowed, however, if a tie game is rained out after five innings or if teams are tied after nine innings of the first game of a double header.

    Hmm.. I’ve of two minds about ties. On one hand, the baseball (and North American sports) tradition of playing endless extra innings (and overtime) until a winner is decided is charming (maybe not quite the right word  😛  ) 

    But the obsession with eliminating ties brought in the stupid shootout in the NHL. Are ties that evil? Of course, with the NHL, you can’t have the playoff style endless overtime during the regular season because the sport is so taxing on the body, but really, what’s wrong with a draw at the end of hockey or football (soccer or gridiron) matches? (Basketball is a high enough scoring sport that it’s easy to break ties in overtime.)

    So, we return to baseball in Asia. Although it’s fun to see how managers deal with never ending extra inning games, and to see the hardcore fans sticking it out, at the same time I don’t feel that ties in regular season baseball are an abomination. Maybe this is because of my exposure to non-North American sports leagues and my hatred for NHL shootouts to break up ties (Asia League Ice Hockey, thankfully, doesn’t use shootouts and accepts ties after 5 minutes of OT). There can be well fought out ties, it’s not always a matter of just settling for them.

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, baseball, culture, football, hockey, information, MLB, NFL, NHL, NPB, opinion, soccer | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    2008.6.16 NPB Update

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 June 17日 Tuesday

    Yeah, I know this is a couple of days late, but these numbers are only missing the Eagles-Giants game yesterday.

    Let’s look at the Central League first:

    Hanshin remain strong, both in the real life standings and in Pythagorean win expectations based on runs scored and runs against. But I’m starting to think that maybe the Tigers record is inflated due to the unusually weak CL this year. With interleague play almost finished CL teams have gone 53-67 against their PL counterparts so far, but then again maybe this is mostly the fault of the pathetic Yokohama BayStars who are 3-17 in interleague and sport a 16-44-1 (.267) record overall. The utter incompetence of the BayStars are probably helping other CL teams look more respectable, and tipping the balance in favour of the PL. With the slumping and injured Giants, the race for 3rd and last playoff spot in the CL is a three horse race between Yomiuri, Carp, and Swallows. (The Swallows getting it done on defence is a bit of a surprise as that’s not typically talked about.) The Dragons are doing about as well as expected, no better no less, but they are much stronger now with Kawakami back in full force.

     

    Now onto the Pacific League: 

    The Lions continue their dominance, but the reliance on the long ball didn’t work against the Tigers as the king of the jungle lost 3 out of 4, getting outplayed by a much better balanced Les Tigres team full of on base monsters (Arai, Akahoshi, and Kanemoto lead the CL, with all three OBPing over .400 and Toritani is no slouch either at .370) and killer relievers in JFK+Watanabe which makes their games 5-6 inning games. So, the Lions fortunes come October may not be so bright as they play Yankee style big ball susceptible to opposition pitching in the playoffs which usually only consist of aces.

    I’m beginning to think that the ultra-low scoring Fighters getting it done almost entirely on pitching, defence, and the cavernous Sapporo Dome last year was not a fluke, as they continue to outperform their Pythag expectations (with the staggering .718 Defensive Efficiency, far and away the best in the PL and NPB), winning one close game after another (they’re like the winning version of the Padres in this regard). 

    The Eagles are for real, they’re getting it done both with hitting, pitching, and defence (they, in fact, have the highest Pythag win% in NPB!), I expect them to pull ahead of the Hawks to secure themselves a playoff position and battle the Fighters for 2nd place.

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, information, NPB, opinion, Sabermetrics, statistics, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    2008.6.16 プロ野球のチーム成績

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 June 16日 Monday

    6月16日現在のプロ野球のチーム成績をセイバーメトリクス的観点から見たもの。総得失点によるピタゴラス勝率(期待勝率)と、インプレーの打球をどれだけアウトにしているかという守備効率の2つに焦点を当てています。

    まずはセリーグから、阪神が強いのは一目瞭然、そして中日は守備力からも総得失点からみても今の成績は妥当。でも、残りの4球団が弱いんじゃないか?2強4弱だから阪神はこれだけ勝ち星を積み重ねてるって可能性もある(まあ、交流戦も強いので、本当に現時点では日本一だと思うのだが、特に先発が6回投げれば試合に勝てちゃうJFK+渡辺がいるので)。まあ、広島巨人ヤクルトで3位争いがんばって下さいって感じですか(ヤクルトが守備力1位ってのも意外、中日はアライバは過去の栄光なのか、それともアライバ以外はダメなのか?)。

     

    そしてパリーグ。西武は相変わらず妥当な強さ(でも阪神には1勝しか出来なかったから、やっぱりいくら弱い投手相手にホームラン量産できても、中継ぎに不安材料があると阪神みたいにバランスの良いチームに競い勝つのは難しい)。日ハムは投手有利な札幌ドームと脅威の守備力で接戦をものにして2位をキープしてる。でも楽天の強さは得失点差から見ただけでも本当だというのが分かり、特に取り柄の無いソフトバンクは徐々に突き放されていくでしょう。

     

    Posted in 01_日本語, baseball, information, NPB, opinion, Sabermetrics, statistics, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    Swallows’ Hatakeyama and NPB minor leagues

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 June 15日 Sunday

    A comment I made at the great new Tokyo Yakult Swallows blog was rather lengthy so I think it deserves it’s own post here. I’m still kinda hung over from last night, so it’s just reprinted  😛  Hatakeyama is a 26 year old slugger currently batting cleanup for the Swallows and is sporting a handsome .429 OBP and .500 SLG right now, and this is no accident. 

    It’s great to see Hatakeyama doing well with the big club. He’s been steadily improving in the minors, OPSing about .800, .850, then 1.100(!) in the minors over the past 3 seasons. He’s entering his prime years as well, so we can expect continued success, hopefully (unless the big league pitchers find an exploitable hole in his swing, but he’s always been patient and has great plate discipline, so things are looking good).

    I think being drafted out of high school is tough because NPB only has a single tier minor league system, so these young kids don’t get to compete and develop against players with similar experience and skill level, but instead have to compete against career minor leaguers and rehabbing 1-gun players (taking valuable playing time away from them too).

    Bobby Valentine’s idea of forming a 3-gun league was too grand (especially since most NPB clubs themselves aren’t designed to turn a profit, let alone their 2-gun minor league teams), but loaning some players to the independent leagues seems like a feasible idea if the NPB brass have learned to become more flexible in recent years (a sliver of hope). I’m sure many potential NPB players have been wasted away because they were drafted out of high school and couldn’t get proper training and game experience that suits their age and skills.

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, information, NPB, opinion, tokyo | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »