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    Posts Tagged ‘AL’

    Seibu oldtimers game and AL’s future

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 April 3日 Friday

    On 28 March 2009, as part of the Seibu Prince Rabbits fan appreciation day, there was a Seibu Railways (Polar Bears) – Kokudo (Bunnies) oldtimers game (Seibu Prince Rabbits are a result of the merger between Seibu Railways and Kokudo teams, both owned by the Seibu Group, in 2003. In fact, the Seibu Railway team split into Kokudo in 1972, shortly after the club was formed in 1966, a now jailed Tsutsumi CEO project, he was a huge hockey fan who even took Daisuke Matsuzaka to a Seibu hockey game shortly after he was drafted to the Lions).

    Here are some great photos and story (Japanese) from the oldtimers game. The advert-less unis look wonderful, as the old rivals squared off for one last time. There were 44 Seibu oldtimers and 29 Kokudo seniors. Seibu had a ringer in current Nikko IceBuck Hideji Tsuchida (sorta like Mark Messier in the Canadiens v Oilers oldtimers superstars match while he was still an active Ranger). The oldtimers game ended in a fitting 5-5 tie.

    Apparently more than 20 companies made inquiries about taking the Rabbits off Seibu’s hands, but the 5-oku (~$5m) operating cost and average attendance of 1,000 was the deal breaker (in the 70s(?) hockey was able to draw crowds of 10,000 at Yoyogi Arena). Though I doubt that any of the discussions went too deep, because it’s possible to run an Asia League hockey club on less than half that budget, like the Nikko IceBucks are doing. Something tells me that Seibu wanted to get rid of its hockey arm, as part of eliminating the Tsutsumi colours, what with the former group president being convicted for large scale fraud. (And I suspect that’s the similar reasoning behind the Saitama Seibu Lions moving away from the sky blue and Osamu Tezuka Leo logo towards almost-black navy and the weird lion palm and baseball logo, though the faux-Detroit Tigers unis are classy.)

    Here’s the official statement from the AL Chairman about Seibu folding. The one positive is that he mentions that the league is rather positive about accepting new teams into the now 6 team league (same size as the old Japanese Ice Hockey League). This is good news for the Tohoku Free Blades who have an exhibition game against the Oji Eagles  on 5 April at 13:00 at the Bandai Atami Ice Arena in Koriyama, Fukushima (one of the Blades’ home towns). The Blades have already played an exhibition match against the AL last place team Nikko, so the increasing involvement with AL teams is positive development for the Blades to join the AL. (I’m also hoping that the western Japan powerhouse Surpass Kagawa will eventually join the AL as well, but there are no current rumours.)

    So, there’s a decent chance that the AL will still be a 7 team league next season, despite being weakened by the loss of Seibu (though this opens the door for the Korean and Chinese teams, which is a welcome change). Apparently 12-15 Seibu players have a chance of catching on with another team in Asia or Europe next seasons, others are likely to become regular Seibu Group employees. Though with the lack of funding for the Blades, they look unlikely to be taking on the expensive Seibu players.

    A short Q&A was held with the Seibu hockey club owner (president) Koyama on 31 March when the official team folding was announced. Here’s the abridged version (full version in Japanese here).

    Q: What was the reasoning behind the timing of this press conference?

    A: Each team must submit player transfer/release list by mid-April, hence the timing.

    Q: How will the players be treated going forward?

    A: Individual interviews will be conducted with each player during April. The key question is whether players want to keep on playing hockey or joing the company (Seibu) full-time and start working on regular jobs. We will support the players as much as possible.

    Q: What are the specific plans to support the players?

    A: Players will be able to stay in the team dorm until July. Request has been made to the company so that the (semi-pro) players will be given a 2 year sabbatical from the company to pursue their hockey careers if that is their wish.

    Q: What will happen to company referees and coaches who contribute to the AL?

    A: Immediately pulling them out will cause trouble for the league, so we are in discussion with officials such as the federation for their future. The rink (Higashifushimi) will continue to operate as usual (as the home of the women’s Princess Rabbits team, figure skating, and public skating.)

    Q: What were the reactions inside the company regarding the hockey team folding?

    A: The company itself is undergoing major restructuring, so this issue went rather unnoticed compared to the past.

    Q: How did the discussions go with prospective buyers of the team?

    A: 20 to 25 companies from Tokyo and outside Tokyo expressed interest. They were interested in hockey as a sport, but the average attendance of 1000+ made serious discussion difficult, and ultimately ended in failure.

    Incidentally, 2008-09 average attendance:

    1: Oji Eagles 1498 (all games over 1000)
    2: Seibu Prince Rabbits (attendance boosted after team folding announcement)
    3: Nippon Paper Cranes 1211
    4: Anyang Halla 1052
    5: Nikko IceBucks 1013 (used to have over 4000 supporters when the club first formed 10 years ago)
    6: High1 488 (all tickets are free, but no advertising, sponsor must be loaded)

    7: China Sharks (many comp tickets given out, attracting thousands of fans at some games, hopefully they gained some traction in the Shanghai student town.) 

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    Posted in 02_English, 03_Translations (英訳ポートフォリオ), Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, Japan, opinion, press releases, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Realistic Asia League expansion team for 2009/10

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 November 10日 Monday

    There have been rumours over the years about adding teams to the Asia League, anything from a Kazakhstani team to a third Korean team to the most recently floated idea by the China (and San Jose) Sharks brass about bringing back a second Chinese team (and my hope that Amur Khavarovsk will send one of its minor league teams to the AL).

    But this time there is a serious financial backer with a seemingly realistic plan. Xebio’s capitalization and annual sales are both over $1 billion, which should be enough to sponsor a few million dollars a year budget of an AL team, but the company’s about 1/10th in capitalization when compared to Seibu, Oji, and Nippon Paper. I’ll translate the short article that appeared in the Hokkaido Shimbun newspaper’s Doshin Sports daily.

    Xebio has established an ice hockey team

    8 November 10:14

    Xebio Co., Ltd., a sporting equipment retailer, announced on 5 November 2008 that it has established a new ice hockey team with the aim of joining the Asia League Ice Hockey next season (Ed: 2009/10). Details will be revealed in upcoming press releases including one in Koriyama city (Ed: Fukushima prefecture).

    The team will call the entire Tohoku (northeast) area of Japan as its home territory, and its training base will be in Hachinohe city, Aomori prefecture (Ed: the Tohoku hockey hotbed). The managing company Tohoku Ice Hockey Club has already been established with former Nikko IceBucks president and current Xebio employee Keisuke Araki as president. About 10 new student-athletes from various universities who will be graduating this upcoming spring have already accepted their offer to join the team.

    Currently, the Asia League features 7 teams of which 4 are based in Japan including the Oji and Nippon Paper teams. According to the league agreement, adding expansion teams requires the consent of the league general assembly where the tentative club will be judged on criteria such as financial stability and its ability to ice a competitive team.

    Original Japanese article after the break:

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in 02_English, 03_Translations (英訳ポートフォリオ), Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, Japan, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    ひかりTV、AL配信プレビュー

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 October 30日 Thursday

    めでたく、光回線インターネットのひかりTVがアジアリーグの試合の中継を配信する事になりました。

    新サービスに先駆けて、10/5の西武-ハルラの試合の良質ダイジェストがアップされています。

    メディアの露出が増える事はとても良い事です。でもひかりTVってどれくらい普及するんだろ?

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

    2008.5.27 NPB Update

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 May 27日 Tuesday

    We’re a week into interleague play now, and that changes the day off to Tuesday, so that gives us an opportunity to look at some overlooked numbers in baseball, especially NPB.

    Def Eff
    守備効率

    F%
    守備率

    FIP

    ERA
    防御率

    W%
    勝率

    CL
    セリーグ

               

    0.685

    0.989

    4.13

    4.49

    0.304

    BayStars
    横  浜

    0.689

    0.988

    4.00

    3.56

    0.477

    Carp
    広  島

    0.688

    0.990

    3.18

    2.87

    0.587

    Dragons
    中  日

    0.669

    0.988

    3.51

    4.19

    0.49

    Giants
    巨  人

    0.713

    0.989

    4.24

    3.55

    0.457

    Swallows
    ヤクルト

    0.693

    0.991

    3.15

    2.73

    0.681

    Tigers
    阪  神

     In CL we see that defensive competency is actually keeping the Giants and Swallows closer in the standings than they really should be, as the Giants have better pitching but worse ERA due to having the worst defenders in the league (no big surprise here for a team that is always assembled full of sluggers).

    DER
    守備効率

    F%
    守備率

    FIP

    ERA
    防御率

    W%
    勝率

    PL
    パリーグ

               

    0.678

    0.988

    4.19

    4.49

    0.415

    Buffaloes
    オリックス

    0.697

    0.987

    3.36

    3.28

    0.529

    Eagles
    楽  天

    0.709

    0.984

    3.79

    2.94

    0.547

    Fighters
    日本ハム

    0.682

    0.985

    3.61

    3.90

    0.481

    Hawks
    ソフトバンク

    0.699

    0.984

    3.63

    3.22

    0.627

    Lions
    西  武

    0.679

    0.985

    3.82

    4.26

    0.407

    Marines
    ロッテ

    In the PL, Fighters have great pitchers, but it’s their defense that makes them a winning team (with league leading ERA) despite their pathetic offense (team OBP of .300 is by far the worst in the league). Eagles are for real, with their solid pitching, defense, and league leading .350 OBP and run scoring prowess, they should actually be winning more games than they currently are. Look for them to solidify their playoff position in the coming weeks.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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

    Some NPB v MLB offense comparisons

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 May 5日 Monday

    Just did some comparisons of NPB and MLB offenses for 2005-07. Just scratching the surface here, so nothing deep yet.

    R/G

    Year・年

    CL・セ

    PL・パ

    NPB

    AL・ア

    NL・ナ

    MLB

    平均試合

    2005

    4.40

    4.46

    4.43

    4.76

    4.45

    4.59

    得点

    2006

    4.12

    3.92

    4.03

    4.96

    4.76

    4.86

     

    2007

    4.11

    3.94

    4.03

    4.90

    4.71

    4.80

     

    OPS

    Year・年

    CL・セ

    PL・パ

    NPB

    AL・ア

    NL・ナ

    MLB

     

    2005

    0.739

    0.739

    0.739

    0.754

    0.744

    0.749

     

    2006

    0.712

    0.705

    0.709

    0.776

    0.761

    0.768

     

    2007

    0.724

    0.701

    0.713

    0.760

    0.756

    0.758

     

    Although Japanese baseball is known for its small ball from top to bottom (even though WBC was won with timely big bats), in 2005 NPB and MLB offenses exhibited very similar R/G and OPS numbers, then they diverged rather extremely after that (I don’t have NPB data for years before 2005, and wasn’t going to go beyond 3 years for analysis anyways, but it looks like a future project).

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, information, MLB, NPB, opinion, random, Sabermetrics, statistics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

    2008 AL semifinals result and finals preview

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 March 11日 Tuesday

    Games 3 and 4 of the 2008 Asia League Ice Hockey semifinals were played last week.

    2008.3.5 Oji 4 – 1 High1

    (Oji wins series 3-0)

    2008.3.5 Cranes 7 – 2 Seibu

    2008.3.6 Cranes 2 – 1 Seibu

    (Cranes win series 3-1)

    Oji handily swept the 2nd place team in the regular season High1, outscoring them by an aggregate of 17-8 in the 3 games. High1 seems to have gone down without much of a fight (except for game 2), the team’s definitely got potential, so I’m hoping for a better playoff performance from them next season. Oji makes its first ever AL final (it has been Cranes – Seibu (Kokudo) every season in this league’s brief existence). For this once glorious team that won numerous Japan League and Japanese Championship titles, this could be a return to glory (though, getting to avoid Seibu and the Cranes leading up to the finals was probably the biggest blessing). Oji’s last Japan League title came in 1994, so they’ll be gunning for the trophy for sure.

    Cranes vs Seibu, this has been the staple of Asial League championship every season (and in Japan League championships leading upto the creation of the Asia League in 2003). Yet again, the Cranes won a playoff series on the back of their new goalie Jamie McLennan. Though the Cranes demolished Seibu 7-2 in game 3, McLennan won game 4 all by himself making 36 saves in the 2-1 win to seal the series at home while in Kushiro, Hokkaido. He has been absolutely stellar throughout the playoffs posting 93.75% save percentage in round 1 against Halla, and a 92.8% save percentage against the most explosive offense in the league in Seibu in the semifinals. Other than getting involved in some rough stuff in game 2 and taking some penalties that led to Seibu power play goals, Jamie has been just amazing. If he keeps his cool, the Cranes can take the Hokkaido derby final and defend their AL title. Oji’s best bet to dethrone the champions may be to get under McLennan’s skin. After all, a goalie fresh out of the NHL (he was a backup only last season) is well above the level of play in this league (AL is probably a similar in level to a less physical ECHL).

    Semifinals games 1 and 2 review.

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, NHL, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    AL Press Release: Oji promotional events at upcoming home games

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 January 11日 Friday

    Oji logo

    Oji Paper v High1

    15 January 2008 (Tue) and 16 January 2008 (Wed)

    Faceoff 18:30 at Tomakomai Hakucho Arena

    A medal presentation ceremony will take place prior to the game on the 15th as Oji players will give out medals to the Tomakomai Meirin Junior High School team, winners of the Oji Cup*.

    *Oji Cup is awarded to the Tomakomai junior high school hockey tournament champion.

    Oji Paper v Anyang Halla

    19 January 2008 (Sat) and 20 January 2008 (Sun)

    Faceoff 14:00 at Tomakomai Hakucho Arena

    A junior game between Oji Juniors and Halla Juniors will take place prior to the senior match.

    12 noon practice, 12:10 faceoff (3 periods of 15 minute running clock)

    MVP of the junior game will be awarded after the match.

    *Tickets for the senior Oji-Halla match will be necessary to attend the junior game.

    On site FM broadcast

    The now familiar live FM broadcast of the game will take place in the arena, as usual.

    Colour commentators will be former Oji players Yajima-san and Sugisawa-san.

    *Event details may change without prior notice.

    Original AL press release (10 January 2008):

    http://www.alhockey.jp/news/2008Jan/0110_main.html

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in 02_English, 03_Translations (英訳ポートフォリオ), Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, Japan, press releases | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »