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

    Posts Tagged ‘ESPN’

    The real strike zone

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 June 4日 Wednesday

    A good article about the misleading strike zone box that pops up on MLB broadcasts these days. I hadn’t noticed it, but now that it’s been mentioned…

    So what could be causing this? If you look in my graphs above, you’ll see that I draw in the strike zone just before 1 foot from the middle of the plate (10 inches). That’s because while the plate is 8.5 inches wide, you have to add the width of the ball as well (about 1.5 inches) because if any part of it crosses the plate, it’s a strike. The only thing that I can think of that could have shaved a consistent 3 inches off the width of the plate is that whoever has set this up has gotten this the wrong way around and has subtracted 1.5 inches from the edge of the plate to find the strike zone instead, which would lead to about a 3 inch mistake.

    This is not just confined to Sportsnet- the same thing was happening during the playoffs and every game on ESPN I’ve seen this year. I’m pretty shocked really that the announcers haven’t complained about it being useless or the umpires haven’t criticized it for being outright slander. I’m pretty sure Questec is still floating around in some parks so MLB knows that the umpires aren’t as bad as they’re being presented so why it continues to let the fans think they are is beyond me.
    Advertisements

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, culture, information, MLB | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

    MLB in Japan

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 June 2日 Monday

    This is not news, since the ESPN Jim Caple story was posted a few days ago (following his great piece on Yu Darvish), EWC covered it, and Michael Westbay of Japanese Baseball had a conversation about it a few weeks ago with Jim Allen and Robert Whiting, both extremely knowledgeable veterans covering Japanese baseball (would’ve loved to have been a fly on the wall there).

    All the ideas that are bandied about are still pure speculation, but it’s interesting that the ideas of MLB putting team(s) in Japan or MLB absorbing NPB have gained more traction with the coming of the new NPB commissioner Ryozo Kato who is a former diplomat to the US, and absolutely loves MLB. The thought of him being a great improvement over bumbling Negoro was my initial reaction, but Kato’s US ties does bring up interesting MLB possibilities.

    Caple’s comparisons with the Dodgers and Giants moving to the west coast is interesting. Having Yomiuri (who, let by grumpy old former “owner” Watanabe, threaten to leave NPB to form their own league from time to time) and Hanshin (the 2 reliably profitable NPB teams with some financial clout), and maybe 1-2 teams from Korea and Taiwan who are similarly financially stable form the “Asia Division” of MLB might be an interesting and possibly feasible idea that hasn’t been mentioned yet. Yomiuri Newspaper did sponsor the MLB season opener which clashed with the Pacific League season which had already opened, so there’s another jab.

    Then again, neither the owners or players in the States will ever let something like this happen. Jet travel has become more accessible than back when the teams relocated to SF and LA, but it hasn’t shrunken travel time across the Pacific enough to seriously merit this idea… until a new generation of supersonic airliners are developed  😛  Even then, the time difference and jet lag will be balked at, as TV money is key in the States, and major leaguers are more delicate than normal human beings who regularly cross the Pacific and go to work the next day.

    Another pie in the sky scenario that I’ve always envisioned is the Asian Baseball League. We can include all existing NPB, KBO, and CPBL teams here, that’ll be 12, 8, and 6 for a total of 26 teams. Not bad. The problem here is that NPB (and KBO and CPBL) depend on gate receipts, and the country is small enough that teams usually count on visiting fans to boost attendance (especially in the more geographically compact Central League). Then again, up in Hokkaido and down in Fukuoka, the Fighters and Hawks seem to do pretty well drawing fans despite their geographic isolation from the Japanese mainland of Honshu, but overall the economic situation of NPB teams are much unhealthier than their MLB counterparts where they work together to promote MLB as a whole instead of NPB where the owners bicker with each other and only look after their own team’s interests, but NPB teams tend to be advertising arms of corporations so being in red ink isn’t seen as being too much of a big deal (though obviously it would be better to be a profitable entity on its own, like the Giants and Tigers).

    Incidentally, I thought the more progressive Pacific League forming an Asian League with KBO and CPBL while leaving the staunch Central League in the dust would’ve been interesting, this popped up a few years ago before CL relented to interleague play. But this still faces the same attendance problem. Asia League Ice Hockey (4 teams in Japan, 2 in Korea, 1 in China) games have much lower attendance figures for international matches than domestic matches, again because of fans of the visiting teams tend not to travel overseas (even though it’s now affordable in this region). And another thought that crossed my mind was that if Yomiuri and Hanshin tried to join MLB on their own, that move sort of mirrors the Rangers and Celtic trying to join the English Premiership from their Scottish Premier League, leaving aside obvious geographical differences, this is the big fish in small pond thing, at least financially.

    Now I’m just rambling, so I’ll stop here. Nothing will change in the short term, but the increased mainstream media attention and the new NPB commissioner does bring an interesting twist to this MLB in Japan story that reanimates itself every now and then. But for Asian baseball development, an expanded Konami Cup/Asia Series or some interlocking scheduling between NPB, KBO, and CPBL would be more beneficial than MLB rolling in as an 800 pound gorilla.

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, baseball, culture, football, hockey, information, MLB, NPB, opinion, soccer | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

    NPB Power Rankings 08.05.19

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 May 19日 Monday

    Yeah, I keep on changing the title format as well, shoot me  😛

    1. Hanshin Tigers(1) 28-13-1 .683

    Very strong hold on 1st place in CL. With setup man Jeff Williams back from injury, the invincible JFK relief trio (with Kubota, and closer and fireballer Fujikawa) is back together for the first time since opening day. This means that starters really only need to pitch 6 solid innings to give the team a chance to win. Combined this with Akahoshi, Arai, Toritani, and Kanemoto being 1, 2, 4, and 5 in the CL OBP rankings means that this team deserves its record and ranking.

    2. Chunichi Dragons(2) 24-16-3 .600

    Similar formula as the Tigers with solid pitching (2.79 team ERA good for 2nd after Hanshin’s 2.69) and hitters who get on base (Dragons have 5-10th place locked up in CL OBP rankings with Ibata, Woods, Morino, Wada, and Nakamura, respectively). The team’s Pythagorean expectations are similar to the Tigers, and its bullpen just as effective. So it shouldn’t be a surprise if the Dragons manage to narrow the 3.5 game gap with the Tigers during the upcoming 24 game (2 games each, home and away) interleague period.

    3. Saitama Seibu Lions(3) 29-16-1 .644

    This team can sure hit. It’s sluggers have launched 63 homers in 46 games, far outpacing the 2nd place teams which are the Dragons and Giants both with 45. The PL SLG leaderboard features G.G. Sato on top with .615, and Nakajima and Nakmura in 3rd and 9th. Hiram Bocachica’s been playing amazing since his short reconditioning stint down in 2-gun, he now sports 10 HR and 1.086 OPS in only 26 games. He really should replace Craig Brazell in the middle of the lineup, as this man has no plate discipline, walking only 7 times in 198 PA for a miserable .278 OBP. I reckon the league’s already figured out that you don’t have to throw strikes to him. Since he never displayed any plate discipline in Minor League Baseball, the chances of him suddenly developing this skill here is virtually unlikely, and it’ll likely be his downfall. (Bocachica’s still hitting 9th(!) and that’s a travesty.)

    4. Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles(4) 22-23 .489

    This team can score runs too, with its 203 runs only trailing explosive Seibu’s 229. With 166 RA, the team should have a winning record, as amazingly as that sounds for this recent expansion franchise.

    5. Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters(7) 25-22 .532

    Smoke and mirrors or a continuation of last year’s successful small ball? A 152 – 164 RS – RA has been helped by some offensive outbursts this month (finally).

    6. Tokyo Yakult Swallows(6) 19-21 .475

    Continues to play its near .500 ball, now with the crosstown rival Giants hot on their heels. Aaron Guiel’s continued troubles (his OPS is now down to .755) is worrisome as he’s the team’s lone pure power source. On the other hand, relievers Oshimoto (0 ER in 20 IP!), Matsuoka (0.56 ERA in 17.2 IP), and closer Lim (0.56 ERA and 12 saves in 16 IP) have been shutdown dominant. And starters led by Ishikawa (2.63 ERA in 61.2 IP) have been holding their own.

    7. Tokyo Yomiuri Giants(10) 20-23-1 .465

    As expected, the Evil Empire have finally started hitting, and winning a little more accordingly. The team’s ugly BA in the .230s have been brought up to .250 in the last few weeks, but it’s team OBP is still a CL worst .299. Expect the fight for 3rd and final playoff spot against the Swallows to continue, as this team’s not in same class with the Tigers and Dragons. Especially with regulars like Lee and Uehara missing.

    7. Fukuoka Softbank Hawks(8 ) 23-25 .479

    Continuing to plod along like this (similar to the Giants) with 191 – 210 RS – RA, the Hawks are currently fundamentally weaker than the Eagles.

    9. Chiba Lotte Marines(5) 21-27 .438

    The Marines are in a free fall, as Bobby V’s team has gone 4-13 since we last checked in. Probably not what the manager had in mind as he was featured in a student made documentary about him on ESPN.

    10. Hiroshima Toyo Carp(9) 17-21-1 .447

    Better pitching (3.35 ERA is 3rd in CL) than the Giants, but .364 SLG is worst in CL and the Carp play in an extreme hitter’s park! 

    11. Orix Buffaloes(11) 20-27 .426

    The always injured greybeard slugger Kiyohara hit a homerun… in the minors. Nothing new here, move along.

    12. Yokohama BayStars(12) 13-27-1 .325

    Yay, the BayStars brought their winning percentage above .300!

    I plan on alternating power rankings and a more sabermetric individual performance reviews every other week, unless work or real life puts up too much interference.

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

    ESPNのダルビッシュ記事

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 May 14日 Wednesday

    スポーツ専門チャンネル(とウェブサイトと雑誌)のESPN がご丁寧に日本語訳付でダルビッシュ特集を組みました。なかなか読み応えがあります。日本野球の紹介も、結構奥深い事を言ってくれるメンツ(バレンタイン監督、ヒルマン監督、ホワイティング氏等)まで用意してくれてるし。

    Posted in 01_日本語, baseball, culture, information, MLB, NPB | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »