2008 Asia Series
Posted by simon c on 2008 November 13日 Thursday
The 2008 Asia Series has opened with an upset resembling the Beijing Olympics as the Uni-Presidents Lions of Taiwan (CPBL) lost 3-4 to the Tianjin Lions of China (CBA). The nightcap features the third Lions team in the NPB champs Saitama Seibu Lions hosting the powerful KBO champs SK Wyverns (who defeated Chunichi Dragons once in the previous edition of this championship). (Correction: Uni-President won the game 7-4 on a 3 run walkoff “sayonara” homerun, the official Asia Series site update puts a 0 in the scoreboard while the inning is still in progress, hence my mistake.)
The Asia Series narrowly missed out on being a Four Lions affair, as the Korean Samsung Lions bowed out in the Korean postseason semifinals, ah well. It’ll be good to see the full squad of the SK Wyverns, they could very well take this tournament as the Saitama Seibu Lions are missing half the key players from the regular season and postseason due to contract obligations (import outfielder Hiram Bocachica and closer Alex Graman), injuries (shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima, catcher Toru Hosokawa, outfielder GG Sato, and first baseman Craig Brazell), and veteran non-participations (starting pitchers Kazuhisa Ishii and Fumiya). Seibu may even drop a game against the Chinese or Taiwanese Lions.
Anyways, with the total lack of coverage and promotion for this event, it makes you wonder whether the NPB brass are trying to kill the series. Japan is in much the similar situation with the Asia Series as the US is in with the WBC. Nothing to gain and everything to lose. But both events are useful tools for international baseball promotion and NPB and MLB should really get behind these events.
There’s the issue of playing baseball in mid-November, but this is because the Japan Series is now played in early November due to the Climax Series playoffs implemented in both leagues. But with a 6 games a week schedule, I don’t see why NPB can’t reschedule make up games for rained out games on many of these days off instead of dragging the season on with meaningless make up games right through October. There’s something with Japanese labour law that requires employees not to be working for so many consecutive days, so maybe that is the cause…