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    Archive for November 17th, 2008

    Claude Lemieux in China

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 November 17日 Monday

    Claude Lemieux, who had been working out in Arizona to prepare for an NHL comeback attempt, was somehow convinced to play hockey in Asia with the China Sharks. The move happened quickly and he has already suited up for the Chinese team against Anyang Halla in the Asia League games this past weekend and recorded his first point with an assist in the Sunday game

    I’m definitely going to go see their games against Seibu next weekend in Tokyo! Wade Flaherty is keeping the Sharks in many many games that they have no business being in either, but they’re falling just short of earning points. A legendary agitator making a comeback from retirement, this reminds me of Esa Tikkanen’s years with Anyang Halla.

    Shanghai’s far away from the NHL and this comment he made just recently:
    “I’m not doing this just to play one game in the NHL and that’s it. I really think I can still help a team make the playoffs, and into the playoffs,” he told the Post. “It would sure be nice to get that fifth Stanley Cup.

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    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

    Asia Series in financial trouble

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 November 17日 Monday

    There’s a brief article in Sankei Sports explaining how the poorly attended Asia Series (all group games drew less than 10,000 and the final less than 20,000, had a popular NPB team made it to the Series, attendance figures would’ve been quite different) is in financial trouble, its future may be in jeopardy, and of course the current financial climate does not help. Here goes the rough translation:

    Asia Series Lack of Sponsor Means Trouble

    17 November 2008 Sankei Sports (via Yahoo news)

    The NPB commissioner Ryozo Kato commented on November 16th that he wanted the Asia Series to “continue no matter what” beyond next season, indicating the NPB’s stance on the Series’ future.

    The title sponsor the for the first 3 incarnations of the Series, Konami, withdrew their sponsorship which was a 3 year 3-oku yen (approximately $3 million) deal. There was no terrestrial television coverage of the Series either. Therefore, the 1-oku yen prize and operational costs (Ed: including airfare and accommodation for the foreign teams) were all paid for by the NPB. There are dissenting voices among the 12 NPB teams, endangering the future of the Series.

    Commissioner Kato further commented that “the Asia Series is a necessary step for Japanese teams to aim for the world in the future. I want Japan to take leadership on this issue and continue with the Series”. The future of the Series will be under discussion within the executive committee, where issues such as finding new sponsors and decreasing the prize money will be raised.

    Original article (Japanese) preserved after the break:

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in 02_English, 03_Translations (英訳ポートフォリオ), baseball, information, NPB, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    Submarine knuckleballer… and it’s a she!

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 November 17日 Monday

    This story is full of goodies for the obscure baseball lover.

    The newly formed Kansai Independent League, which will begin play in 2009, has just held its draft. This is the 3rd independent league in Japan to start operation this decade, after the pioneering Shikoku-Kyushu Island League and the Baseball Challenge League (Hoku-Shinetsu region).

    yoshida_press 

    yoshida_test

    The Kansai league features the first female owner of a pro ball club in Japan as the Kobe 9Cruise (yes, that’s the team name) is owned by Kazuyo Hirota who runs a local mineral water company. The league held an open combined tryout on 4 November, and the draft on 16 November where Kobe selected Eri Yoshida, a 16 year old high school girl who is a submarine knuckleball pitcher (got all that?), with one of its picks after they saw what they liked in the tryout. Yoshida passed the first and second tests of the tryout, then pitched an inning where she struck out the first batter on a knuckler, walked the second batter, then got the next two batters to ground out to second and pop out to short.

    She received a compliment from a former Yomiuri player and new Osaka pitching coach that her knuckler and fastball both have the same delivery. Her fastball is in the high 60s, so I assume she relies almost entirely on the knuckler. It’s reported that she’s considering transferring to a Kobe high school, and indie games tend to be played on weekends, so I guess this could somehow all work out, it’ll an interesting story to follow as Yoshida becomes the first professional female baseball player in Japan (in a men’s league, there was a women’s league for 2 brief years following the war).

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, high school, information, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »