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    WBC Opens

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 March 6日 Friday

    But Japan only beats China 4-0 (Japan Times) (box score).

    murata

    Some thoughts:

    • China’s definitely improving, their pitchers seemed much less like batting practice pitchers this time around, but their play on the field was still sloppy from time to time. Japanese baserunning was sloppy too though.
    • Darvish was pulled with less than 50 pitches so he’s eligible to pitch again in the Asia Round.. but unless he manages to gain command of some of his breaking pitches with the WBC ball, he’s not going to be too useful just with his fastball.
    • Murata bashed a homerun, and he’ll be useful in the Asia Round in the friendly confines of the Tokyo Dome, but his big swings aren’t gonna become homeruns in Petco Park and Dodger Stadium which are pitcher’s parks. Ideally I’d like to see Hara try Uchikawa at first and Ogasawara at third, but this probably won’t happen unless Murata is a total disaster, and with this homerun he’s secured third base for himself even if he’s useless once the team travels across the Pacific.
    • Nakajima and Fukudome showed great plate discipline, but they needed guys behind them to drive them in. Super free swinger Johjima also managed to draw a walk. Japan left 24(!) runners on base, so even though they had the same number of hits as the Chinese, the game wasn’t as close as the score indicated.
    • Ichiro went 0 for 5 and looked horrible at the plate. But then again he didn’t start hitting in 2006 until the games moved to the States, and he’s a notorious slow starter even in regular MLB seasons (he seems to really start hitting in June).
    • Kyuji Fujikawa closed out the game, but his fastball wasn’t up to his usual velocity. If he doesn’t gain velocity, he’ll be an easy target for the sluggers from the Americas (but not A-Rod).
    • Japan now awaits the winner of the Taiwan-Korea game tonight. Taiwan has a depleted roster with major leaguers and half the CPBL players missing (2 of 4 teams didn’t release the players). So, it should be Korea pulling through, but stranger things have happened in baseball (China pulling a fairy dust extra innings upset over Taiwan at the Beijing Olympics, for one).
    • Koreans are going to get to see WBC games on free TV thanks to a last minute deal between the rights holder and TV stations. Korea seems to take a similar approach to big ticket sporting events where multiple TV stations share broadcasting rights. This time around TV Asahi has exclusive rights for the Tokyo Round, and TBS has exclusive rights from round 2 to the finals (though pay sports channel J Sports will show all WBC games). In 2006, NTV was also in the mix, and it’s surprising that they’re not this time around considering that Yomiuri is a sponsor for the event and a group company.
    • If the over/under for tonight’s Korea-Taiwan attendance is 20,000, I’ll take under  😛

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

    Hikari TV to broadcast AL games

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 October 30日 Thursday

    Hikari TV (a fibreoptic internet TV service) will start broadcasting AL games. As a preview of the service, they have a nice stream of the Seibu-Halla game highlights from 5 Oct 2008.

    This is good news as any additional exposure is good for the fledgling league.

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, opinion, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    Out of the Olympic Limelight (kinda)

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 August 21日 Thursday

    From 20 August.

    Japan’s Takayuki Matsumiya failed to qualify in his 5000m heat. That in itself is nothing special but take a look at this picture.

    Yup, missing left shoe. In the jostling for positions midrace he came in contact with another runner and his left shoe partially came off, so he just took it off entirely and decided to run with one barefoot, that must’ve been odd and probably painful, as he’s no Abebe Bikila, but he completed his heat.

    In other Olympic news, Paulie Walnuts of the Sopranos has been located in Beijing, and CCTV only paid about $9m for the broadcast rights for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, they should expect to pay more than 10 times as much for the upcoming Olympics with it going into triple ($100m) figures.

    In baseball action, Japan and the US faced eachother to determine who will have to play Cuba in the semifinals (the winner of the game gaining that unnecessary honour). US won 4-2 with the new extra innings rule, taking advantage of Hitoki Iwase’s 2nd inning of work. Darvish started the game and pitched 2 innings, followed by Tanaka for 5 innings. Expect this to be the end of 19 year old Tanka’s 2008 Olympic experience (and he probably gained some valuable experience for WBC 2009), and also expect to see Darvish in the semifinal game against rivals Korea, as he looked good striking out 3 Americans on the way to completing 2 perfect innings (and Hoshino will most likely dare not bring Darvish back out against Cuba if they meet in the medal game). This sets up the semifinals nicely with two regional rivalries in Korea v Japan (10:30) and Cuba v USA (18:00) on the 22nd Friday.

    Oh yeah, Usain Bolt became a double world record gold medallist in premier sprinting events of 100m and 200m, the latter with the 19.30 time besting another sprinter with a distinctive, and very different upright, form in Michael Johnson who was a 200m and 400m specialist.

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