Japan, Hockey, Baseball, etc.

Mostly about Asian ice hockey, Japanese baseball, other sports, and random tidbits

  • Categories

  • 人気の記事

  • Archives

  • 2008 2009 anyang baystars beijing buffaloes canada carp china cl cranes darvish eagles fighters free blades giants halla hanshin High1 Hiroshima hokkaido humor humour Ice Bucks icebucks ice hockey ihwc IIHF Japan KHL korea koshien lions lotte marines nikko nippon paper Oji OPS pacific league pl prince rabbits rakuten saitama sapporo seibu sharks swallows tigers tohoku uniform wbc yakult yokohama yomiuri アイスホッケー アメリカ オリンピック カナダ スウェーデン セイバーメトリクス ドイツ バンクーバー プロ野球 メジャー ユニフォーム ロシア 世界選手権 中国 五輪 日本 日本代表 札幌 西武 野球
  • Pages

  • Meta

  • Advertisements

    Archive for August, 2008

    NHL 2008-09 シーズン

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 August 18日 Monday

    先月ですが、NHL の2008-09 シーズンのスケジュール発表されましたね

    今季のハイライトは:

    • 10/4-5 に欧州で開幕。スウェーデンのストックホルムでは急成長中のピッツバーグ・ペンギンズ対落ち気味のオタワ・セネタース。チェコのプラハでは、タレント揃いのタンパベイ・ライトニング対古豪NYレンジャーズ。それぞれのチームは、地元のチームとプレシーズンマッチを組んでいます(レンジャーズは初のビクトリアカップで欧州王者との対戦も組まれている)。
    • 名門モントリオール・カナディエンズの創立100周年記念シーズン。
    • 11/8-10 にトロントでホッケー殿堂祭
    • 正月に2009 Winter Classic。シカゴ・カブスの本拠地で、風情たっぷりなリグレー・フィールドで、若いタレント揃いの古豪復活シカゴ・ブラックホークスが、スタンレーカップ覇者のバランスの良いデトロイト・レッドウィングスを迎え撃つ。映像や写真が楽しみです。
    • 1/24-25 モントリオールでオールスター・ウィーケンド。
    • 地区内相手の試合数が年8試合から6試合に減少。これで毎年全チームが多カンファレンスの全チームと1試合はする事になる。良い事です。
    • レギュラーシーズンは2008/10/4 – 2009/4/12
    Advertisements

    Posted in 01_日本語, hockey, information, NHL, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Koshien Final and more Olympic Baseball

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 August 17日 Sunday

    Well, my team in Koshien, Okinawa’s Urasoe-Sho, got bombed out 9-4 in the semifinals by hard hitting Tokoha-Kikugawa (Shizuoka) based on their 9 run 2nd inning. The team had engineered 10 and 7 run innings to win their previous 2 games as well, showing the Japanese baseball world how big ball can be played and that, yes, you don’t have to always bunt over a runner every time. Kikugawa will face Osaka-Toin (Osaka) who also won comfortably 9-4 over Yokohama (South Kanagawa) in this final-worthy matchup. Toin has looked stronger as the tournament goes on, defeating better opponents with ever more ease. The finals will pit upstart Kikugawa against hometown Toin in what should be a slugfest (but will probably turn into a pitching duel against all expectations, as these things tend to do) at 12:30pm on Monday 18 August.

    Incompetently managed (both on and off the field) Japan also lost to Korea in Olympic baseball action (boxscore). A pretty resounding 5-3 defeat. I don’t even know where to start on this one, but I’ll list some of the shortcomings of Team Japan as managed by Senichi Hoshino (who has never won the Japan Series as manager, and indeed there might be a reason why).

    • Despite the limited 24 man roster (NPB uses an expansive 28 man roster), the team took injury question marks Kawasaki and Murata with them to Beijing. Nishioka’s injury on top of this didn’t help matters, as the team was down to 11 position players at full health for the Korea game (though Murata played).
    • This forced Hoshino’s hand and he started all glove no bat Araki at second and solid hitting catcher Satozaki at DH. These wouldn’t normally be bad decisions except he let Araki hit second even though he is by far the worst hitter on the team (classic old school baseball move). And for some unknown reason he, yet again, let incompetent Abe catch instead of the defensively superior Satozaki catch, and this cost the team a run when Abe’s errant throw to second scored a Korean run.
    • Hoshino also left pitchers in too long in the game, with pretty good relief corps, he should’ve pulled Wada earlier in the inning, and he has admitted to this mistake. And he also left reliever Iwase in for too long even though he is clearly more hittable this year and is not a shutdown reliever like he used to be (or like Fujikawa, who didn’t get to enter the game).

    Good news is that, despite Hoshino’s bumbling management, the team still has a decent chance of making medal rounds due to Canada always coming up just short (tough 1 run losses to Cuba, USA, and Korea), and Taiwan recording their first ever loss to China in pixy dust extra inning rules (China might be onto something though, as they managed to pull Korea into extra innings as well, though this time they lost 1-0). Korea and Cuba are both unbeaten at 4-0, but Cuba looks like the team to beat. Since Japan still has to play Canada, chances of both teams making it into medal rounds is slim to nil, considering that USA now has a relatively easy schedule having already played the 2 undefeated teams.

    Cuba 4-0

    Korea 4-0

    USA 2-2

    Japan 2-2

    Canada 1-3

    China 1-3

    Netherlands 1-3

    Taiwan 1-3

    This Kuricorder Quartet version of the Imperial March might sum up my feelings pretty well at the moment, after waking up with a hangover from an all you can drink birthday party on the day of those defeats.

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, high school, information, olympics, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

    2008.8.17 Koshien Semifinals

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 August 16日 Saturday

    Koshien fever is reaching its peak as we see the field wittled down to the final 4 in the quarterfinal action over the last 2 days.

    Urasoe-Sho (Okinawa) won in dramatic fashion as the boys from the south defeated the prestigious Keio (North Kanagawa) boys in a come from behind extra innings victory. Urasoe was down 2-3 after Keio scored 2 in the bottom of the 7th, but Urasoe came right back and scored 1 run each in the 8th to tie, then another run in the 10th to win the game. Ace Iha pitched the final 4 innings for the victory.

    In the first semifinal game tomorrow, Urasoe will be up against Tokoha-Kikugawa (Shizuoka) who outslugged Chiben-Wakayama (Wakayama) 13-10 earlier today to stake their claim in the semifinals. Tokoha had led 13-2 after their monster 10 run 6th inning, but Chiben almost came back scoring 4 runs each in the last 2 frames, but fell short of fulfilling a comeback. But they didn’t give up and made the game interesting. Tokoha plays big ball (hardly bunts) and it shows with their big bats, but their pitching is questionable (won 11-9 in the previous game), so their date with Urasoe should be interesting. Although it’s good to see some teams playing a different variation of ball rather than the usual automatic sacrifice bunt style prevalent in Japanese baseball, Tokoha-Kikugawa is tainted with sexual harassment scandals by its former manager and player which is sort of kept under wraps since they involved female beat writers for the Mainichi and Asahi dailies, the papers supporting the Spring and Summer tourneys, respectively). The deeper you look into Japanese highschool baseball, it starts to resemble NCAA Football or Basketball in many of their uglier sides.

    Osaka-Toin (North Osaka) won comfortably over Hotoku-Gakuen (East Hyogo) 7-4 in the battle of local schools yesterday. And Yokohama (South Kanagawa) is in the process of humiliating Seiko-Gakuin (Fukushima) right now with a 15-1 lead in the 8th inning. The semifinal will pit the powerful Yokohama team against a well balanced Osaka-Toin team. (UPDATE: Game ended 15-1)

    Interestig tournament in that many big hitting teams have advanced further into the tournament than teams relying on a single ace playing small ball.

    8.17 Day 16 (Semifinals)

    11:00 Urasoe-Sho (Okinawa) v Tokoha-Kikugawa (Shizuoka)

    13:30 Yokohama (South Kangawa) v Osaka-Toin (North Osaka)

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

    Beach Volleyball Cheerleaders

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 August 16日 Saturday

    Beach Volleyball is getting no coverage here in Japan because no Japanese team qualified for the Olympics. But how could the Japanese broadcasters be missing out on the only Olympic sport to be featuring bikini clad cheerleaders like these!? I didn’t even know that beach volleyball competitions had cheerleaders, as if the women’s competition wasn’t eye pleasing enough  😛

    Conspicuously, Olympic beach volleyball involves cheerleaders. At first blush, this might seem to argue in favor of its worthiness, but you must understand that these are nonpartisan cheerleaders. To quote NBCOlympics.com, the young ladies simply “use a variety of dances to make sure the fans stay rowdy.” Beach volleyball seems to be alone in Beijing in employing such bikini-clad rabble-rousers. Please correct me if I’m wrong and, in fact, the gals will be prancing over to the track for the triple jump or out to the shooting range for the skeet final.

    Posted in 02_English, information, olympics, random | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Japan v Korea! (Olympic Baseball)

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 August 16日 Saturday

    Yesterday’s games featured 2 games decided using the new fairy dust extra innings rule in the early games, and the 2 late games were both shutouts. Get the gory details from EWC for the new superball extra innings that led to Chinese victory over Taiwan and Cuba’s win over the US, and also for Korea and Japan shutting out Canada and the Netherlands, respectively.

    China’s victory over Taiwan was huge (possibly) for Chinese baseball. But this was engineered through having Taiwan play the night before against Japan after a rain delay at 8pm, while the China-Korea game was suspended because of the same rain, then the fatigued Taiwanese had to play the Chinese at 10am the next morning. Coincidence? Likely not.

    US is put in a tough spot with a 1-2 record, but their 2 losses are against the only undefeated teams in the tournament, Cuba and Korea.

    Though, the Korean lineup seems to definitely lack punch, as they were unable to score a run against China, of all teams, in 5 innings before the game was suspended scoreless. Then the lone run against Canada came on a homerun against a pitcher (Mike Johnson) who was below average when he did play in the majors, and that was 7 years ago!

    But Japan, in a seemingly stupid move by stubborn manager Senichi Hoshino (whose knowledge of PL baseball is often put into question), used their best pitcher Toshiya Sugiuchi against an easy opponent in the Dutch (though this does put Sugiuchi on schedule for the final round robin game against the States), and Kenshin Kawakami closed out the game, so the starter of the Korea game is the only unused pitcher in this tournament, Tsuyoshi Wada, who has been very effective the past 3 years, but is having a subpar season by his standards (3.78 ERA, 83/29 K/BB). But seeing how ineffective ace Darvish was against Cuba (though they were very patient), and Wakui succeeding against Taiwan (whose squad may be weaker than usual), who knows how Wada will perform tonight, we may see Hoshino magic(!) after all.

    Canada’s fought valiantly against both the Cubans and the Koreans, losing both games by the smallest margin of 1 run. But they were clearly the inferior team. So, Canada, along with fellow 1-2 record holders Taiwan appear to be out of the running for the medal rounds. The US also has a 1-2 record but they’ll be facing relatively weaker opposition from here on in.

    Standings after day 3 (Korea-China game is suspended and will resume play on the 17th):

    3-0 Cuba

    2-0 Korea

    2-1 Japan

    1-1 China

    1-2 USA

    1-2 Canada

    1-2 Taiwan

    0-3 Netherlands

    Games today (day 4):

    10:30 USA-Canada

    11:30 Cuba-Taiwan

    18:00 China-Netherlands

    19:00 Japan-Korea

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, NPB, olympics, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    グーグルのトイレ

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 August 15日 Friday

    どうやらカリフォルニア州Mountain View 市にあるグーグル本社のトイレは、Toto 製のウォシュレットらしい。

    日本の会社では当たり前の事だが、海外ではウォシュレットの存在自体が珍しいので、会社のトイレがウォシュレットだなんて超ゴージャスって事なんです。さすが世界のグーグル、そしてToto てとこですか。

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

    2008.8.15 Koshien Quarterfinals and Olympic Baseball

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 August 15日 Friday

    Koshien

    Quarterfinal action started in Koshien today. After the last three games of round of 16 yesterday (yesterday’s games were all close, as Keio of North Kanagawa squeezed by Aomori-Yamada 2-0, Osaka-Toin outhit Toho of East Aichi 7-5, and Yokohama defeated Sendai-Ikuei 3-2), the stage has been set for the quarterfinals which has already kicked off with its first game Hotoku-Gakuen (East Hyogo) v Osaka-Toin (North Osaka) in the battle of local schools. Here’s the schedule:

    8.15 Day 14

    11:00 Hotoku-Gakuen (East Hyogo) v Osaka-Toin (North Osaka)

    13:30 Urasoe-Sho (Okinawa) v Keio (North Kanagawa)

    8.16 Day 15

    11:00 Chiben-Wakayama (Wakayama) v Tokoha-Kikugawa (Shizuoka)

    13:30 Seiko-Gakuin (Fukushima) v Yokohama (South Kanagawa)

    Since both Osaka-Toin and Urasoe-Sho played their round of 16 games yesterday, they’re at a disadvantage of having to play on back to back days. And Urasoe seems to only have a single reliable arm, as it looks like Urasoe’s Iha’s set to go in the afternoon session, after a complete game yesterday. Iha is pitching on back to back days after already accumulating a lot of innings in a relatively short time period. Not only could Urasoe lose because of this, but Iha’s arm could be seeing an early demise in his career. (UPDATE: Osaka-Toin won comfortably 7-4 to advance to the semifinals. Uechi is starting for Urasoe instead of Iha, who starts in right field, that’s good to see.)

    Anyways, there are some interesting storylines here. Game 1 today is the battle of local schools, as Koshien Stadium is located in Hyogo near its border with Osaka. Game 2 today features Urasoe who defeated Spring Koshien champs Okinawa-Sho in their prefectural qualifier finals against the first Kanagawa team in the quarters and one of the most prestigious private schools in Keio. Game 1 tomorrow is the battle of ever present Chiben-Wakayama against the almost no-bunting attacking baseball of new powers Tokoha. And, finally, game 2 tomorrow features tournament favourites and the second Kangawa team remaining, Yokohama. We should see some exciting, close games over the next few days as the tournament heats up to the finals.

    ————

    Olympics

    Beijing was thunderstorming yesterday with a torrential downpour for a good part of the day. This added a twist to the baseball tournament which is being played in temporary outdoor stadiums. Even in those weather conditions, the US had no problems dispatching the Netherlands (Antilles) 7-0 in the game called after the 8th because of the weather. And No.1 draft prospect and only amateur on the US team, Stephen Strasburg, dominated, going perfect for 4 2/3 and keeping a no hitter for 6 1/3 innings. The other game that was being played at the same time was Korea-China, and surprisingly the it was still scoreless when the game was postponed after 5 innings, the game will resume on the 17th, an off day on the calendar.

    I was sitting in a faux British pub in Tokyo last night with Garrett from the Tokyo Yakult Swallows blog, not really expecting the Japan-Taiwan game to be played after hearing about the weather in Beijing, when suddenly the TVs in the pub showed the stubborn Japanese manager Senichi Hoshino on a live feed! We were getting the game after all. Well, we watched the game between consuming alcohol and talking, so I was far from my attentive self when I watched the Cuba game. But Japan’s inability to figure out Taiwanese starter Hsu Wen-Hsiung (5IP 3H 4K 1BB 1ER on a Yomiuri Giant catcher Shinnosuke Abe’s homerun no less, after we’d been bitching about how he should’ve been replaced in the starting lineup by the Marines’ Satozaki as Abe’s not particularly having a good season) and Japanese starter and Saitama Seibu Lion Hideaki Wakui’s more than competent performance (6IP 3H 6K 2BB 1ER) made the game very tight and exciting until the very end…

    when Japan managed to score 4 runs in the top of the 9th to ease Koji Uehara’s first Olympic appearance an easy one, protecting a 6-1 lead, though Uehara did look impressive as he had good stuff and command and set the side down in order. Regular closers Hitoki Iwase (Chunichi Dragons) and Kyuji Fujikawa (Hanshin Tigers) were the setup men, blanking the Taiwanese in the 7th and 8th innings while protecting the 2-1 lead. Iwase allowed a hit, but Fujikawa was particularly impressive striking out the side. He looked very different from the man who was hit very hard by the Cubans and was lucky to put the side down in order (not much of a surprise as Fujikawa’s high heat would be fairly normal in Cuba, but pretty rare in Taiwan). We’ll see how Uehara does protecting a closer lead, and we’ll also see how long Hoshino sticks with Takahiro Arai as the cleanup hitter, he’s so far only had one sacrifice fly in 8 PA and hasn’t looked sharp at the plate. But Hoshino is very loyal to his men, and both Uehara and Arai were integral parts of the Japan team that qualified for the Olympics last November.

    In the other game Canada put up a valiant effort against the Cubans, barely losing 6-7. But it’s apparent that the Cubans are obviously the superior team despite being outhit 9-5 in the game. Their command of the strike zone was impeccable, yet again, drawing 6 walks to Canada’s 1. And only striking out 5 times compared to Canada’s 12.

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, high school, information, olympics, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Spain still doesn’t get it

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 August 15日 Friday

    The Spanish just can’t get enough of making slanty eye gestures to show that they’re in Beijing, China! (I saw this first reported at EWC, and now on Gen’s blog.) The tennis team got into the action as well as the well publicized basketball one. Then again, open racism in Spain’s top soccer/football league La Liga seems pretty common, so something like this coming from the Spanish delegation is ugly, but not totally unexpected.

    Last season Eto’o threatened to walk off the pitch after being racially abused by fans in a match at La Romareda in Zaragoza. Real were fined after the incident.

    A number of other Liga clubs, including Atletico Madrid, Malaga, Racing Santander and Getafe, have been fined over the last two years after fans directed racist abuse at visiting players.

    Outbreaks of racist abuse have become a common occurrence in Spanish football matches in recent years, with leading clubs such as Atletico Madrid, Real Zaragoza and Getafe receiving fines because of the behaviour of some of their fans.

    National coach Luis Aragones caused an uproar in 2004 when he racially insulted Arsenal’s French international striker Thierry Henry.

    Posted in 02_English, culture, football, information, olympics, opinion, soccer | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    中国シャークスの新外国人選手

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 August 14日 Thursday

    五輪真っ只中に中国シャークスが重要な発表!

    本拠地を北京から上海に移したアジアリーグの中国シャークスが、新外国人として選手兼コーチのSteve McKenna 選手(昨シーズンはHigh1)と、ゴーリー兼コーチのWade Flaherty 選手を獲得

    McKenna 選手は昨シーズン30試合で2G+11A=13P そして64PIMのタフガイ。ネット前で重要な働きをしてくれるディフェンスマンです。そして、最近オーストラリア代表のコーチとしてディビジョンII を優勝した経験もあるので、指導者としても価値のある獲得です。

    そして40歳のFlaherty 選手ですが、未だに毎シーズン30試合以上AHL で出場していて、GAA2点台の.910以上のセーブ率の好成績を収めていますので、アジアリーグではかなり強力な助っ人となり、シャークスの為に一人で何試合も勝ち取ってしまうでしょう。そしてアジアリーグの少ない試合数は、彼みたいな大ベテランにも丁度良いだろうし。

    あと、ECHLで主にプレー経験のあるAdam Taylor 選手(RW)とも契約していましたね。昨シーズンは主にAHLでプレーして苦労したみたいだけど(第4ラインとかだった?)、それ以前はECHL で試合平均1ポイント獲得しているので、西脇選手並の攻撃力はあるでしょう。

    本拠地が上海になった事で、外国人選手も住みやすい環境になったでしょう(昨シーズン2試合だけ帰国しちゃったゴーリーがいましたが、さすがに準備万端な今シーズンはこれは無いだろう)。

    Posted in 01_日本語, Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    2008.8.14 Koshien and Olympic Update

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 August 14日 Thursday

    Koshien

    Urasoe-Sho (Okinawa) is leading the game against Kanto-Daiichi (East Tokyo) 3-1 in the top of the 9th right now. (UPDATE: Iha pitched a complete game in the 3-1 win and looked very strong even at the end of the game, getting strike outs (127 pitches, 9 strikeouts) and even hitting 145 on the radar gun. Kinda worried about his arm though, he’s pitched all 27 innings for Urasoe so far at Koshien. Kanto-Daiichi lost without using their ace Matsumoto, who had pitched 4 days earlier on the 10th in the round of 32, instead they used a couple of younger pitchers who gained some valuable experience for next year and beyond.)

    Follow up to yesterday’s action, the remaining games after Tokoha’s (Shizuoka) dramatic win was powerhouse Chiben-Wakayama (Wakayama) absolutely destroying Komadai-Iwamizawa (North Hokkaido) 15-3 with Chiben’s slugger Sakaguchi smacking 2 homeruns in the 11 run 8th inning (a Koshien first). The last game yesterday saw Hotoku-Gakuen (East Hyogo) win 7-3 over Kagoshima-Jitsugyo (Kagoshima).

    A draw will be held after game 1 today (5th game in the round of 16) to determine the quarterfinal matchups. (UPDATE: Draw has been held, here’s the quarterfinals)

    8.15 Day 14 (tomorrow!)

    11:00 Hotoku-Gakuen (East Hyogo) v Toho – Osaka-Toin winner

    13:30 Urasoe-Sho (Okinawa) v Aomori-Yamada – Keio winner

    8.16 Day 15

    11:00 Chiben-Wakayama (Wakayama) v Tokoha-Kikugawa (Shizuoka)

    13:30 Seiko-Gakuin (Fukushima) v Yokohama – Sendai-Ikuei winner

    Now I’m really worried about Urasoe’s Iha’s arm if he’s going to pitch in the quarters, not sure how good their second pitcher is, as I haven’t seen him (I don’t think hardly anyone has).

    ————

    Olympics

    It looks like Saitama Seibu Lion Hideaki Wakui will start against Taiwan tonight in Beijing. This likely means Japan’s rotation will go something like this (if Hoshino is sane).

    8.13 Darvish v Cuba

    8.14 Wakui v Taiwan

    8.15 Wada v Netherlands

    8.16 Sugiuchi v Korea

    8.17 off

    8.18 Darvish v Canada

    8.19 Wakui v China

    8.20 Wada v USA (hopefully a meaningless game)

    8.21 off

    8.22 Sugiuchi (semifinals)

    8.23 Darvish (medal game)

    Don’t count your chicks before they hatch and all that, but this looks likely (hopefully), as Sugiuchi has been one of the best pitchers in Japan this season, and Kawakami was a disaster in the warmup game against CL selects last week so he’ll likely be used in relief, this rotation would make sense. (Yeah, I know I’m doing a 180 from saying that Kawakami is ace 1A next to Darvish, but this rotation will probably work best for Japan at the moment, and Kawakami could be valuable out of the pen.)

    ————-

    Swimming

    Kosuke Kitajima has just won the 200m breaststroke in Olympic Record time. With his double gold (100 and 200) in consecutive Olympics, the little man has shown that technique matters more than height and size in this discipline. (Kinda like how another short man, Shimizu, won the 500m speed skating in Nagano, surrounded by much taller opponents with longer strides.)

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, high school, information, olympics, opinion, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »