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    Posts Tagged ‘europe’

    Go Tanaka to Germany

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 June 27日 Saturday

    Japanese national team and former Seibu Prince Rabbit forward Go Tanaka has signed a one year contract with ESV Kaufbeuren (his picture’s already on the team roster page), a team that apparently just got promoted to Bundesliga 2nd division. Since this is only one level removed from the DEL, an elite European league, Tanaka figures to be closer to elite level play than Yutaka Fukufuji who has just signed to play in the Netherlands. Look for both players to represent Japan in the IIHF World Championships next year though.

    tanaka

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

    Fred Brathwaite on Team Canada!

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 April 22日 Wednesday

    Fred Brathwaite is the 3rd goaltender for Team Canada at the IIHF 2009 World Championships in Zurich, Switzerland. It’s great to see the national program recognize Fred’s success with the Mannheim Eagles this past season, and his success in Europe in general.

    Posted in 02_English, hockey, information, International, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Some random MLB Japan Opener traveblogues

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 April 3日 Thursday

    It’s always good to hear what others think about their visits to Japan and Tokyo, along with experiencing some some pro-yakyu (NPB) ball.

    Japan vet Sal Paradise sent in a report to Baseball Musings with some interesting and amusing observations:

    Despite my loud protestations (you’re cheering for the wrong team!) in Japanese, followed by angry glares from the wife, there’s no stopping the mob, so until Matsuzaka was finally yanked, there was no method to the cheering madness.

    I’m torn, really. In Japanese games between Japanese teams, there is a cheering section for each team who conduct a full brass band and sing the songs of each individual player on the team (which change every year, written by committee or somesuch). It’s a unique aspect to Japanese baseball games, but it gets tiring the 5th time that player comes up to bat. However, at least they’re cheering for the right team, and there’s no confusion.

    I think the cheer sticks were more obnoxious, but I haven’t been to a Japanese game yet this year, so it may be a case of the grass being greener…

    Japan newbie and a former Athletics Nation contributer has a good 3 part series on his Japan visit:

    A jet-lagged Stomper trudges through the infield as MLB and Tokyo Dome drones prepare the pre-game extravaganza, which had no known relation to baseball. Part of the extravaganza was a phalanx of hot girls in short, short, short hotpants, which Kevin Youkilis spent the entire show ogling while pretending to jog back and forth in front of the Sox dugout.

    Hahaha, classic!!

    Oh, and he keeps on noticing that the pitchers (Harden, Matsuzaka, and others) are throwing 2-3mph (3-5kph) slower than they usually do and gets rather worried about their conditions, but I think this is probably attributable to the difference between the radar guns in Japan and stateside. It’s a fairly well known fact here in Japan that, American guns seem to be tuned 2-3mph faster, Japanese fans have noticed that Japanese pitchers tend to gain about 3mph in their pitches when they go over to the majors, and that’s probably not just training. ESPN, I think, is especially notorious for cranking up its gun, recording some pitchers throwing over 100mph (like Zumaya).

    About Harden, because I know your heart skipped a beat when I used the words “Harden” and “troubling” in the same sentence. You went to mlb.com this morning and saw Harden’s line – 6 IP, 3 H, 9 Ks – and you figured that at least for now, all is right in Hardenland. So what’s the problem? Maybe nothing, but Rich topped out at 155 km/h on the stadium gun. That’s 96 to you and me. He only got that high once. (A first inning ball to Youkilis way up out of the strike zone.) Most of his fastballs were in the low to mid 90s, and he threw more breaking pitches than I can ever remember seeing him throw.

    I need to get my act together and post my Hanshin – Boston game review with photos and videos… soon.

    And a random note that a Dodger farmhand Frenchman is a product of the MLB European baseball academy in Italy!

    The player, Joris Bert, is one of more than 100 men in the Dodgers’ minor league system, but the only one who started playing baseball only because he missed a soccer game in Louviers. A dozen years later, Bert has found himself in the United States happily nicknamed Frenchie, with his eyes fixed on the more immediate horizon of the major leagues.

    “I’m not very good, but I know I have good potential,” said Bert, a center fielder who last June became the first Frenchman selected in the major league draft. “I don’t have enough experience in baseball to be good.”

    The Dodgers want to give it to him, and also disagree with that “not very good” assessment. They consider Bert potentially a Brett Butler-type of leadoff man, a slap hitter who forces action with his speed. Although draft picks are occasionally fanciful — spent on Heisman Trophy winners and once a general manager’s daughter — the Dodgers chose Bert in the quite legitimate 19th round.

    “This guy has tools — he was not a token selection,” said De Jon Watson, the Dodgers’ assistant general manager in charge of player development. “He has a chance to do some quality things for us.”

    Bert, 20, is the crown jewel of the European academy run by Major League Baseball in Italy. Growing up in Louviers, about 90 minutes outside Paris, Bert said he had never heard of baseball when, at age 10, he showed up late to a soccer game and saw other children playing on the next field. He gave the game a try, immediately enjoyed it and later played on a local club team in a makeshift league.

    I didn’t even know MLB had an European baseball academy, wow.

    Posted in baseball, culture, MLB, NPB, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    KHL: The Russian answer to the NHL

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 March 14日 Friday

    A good roundup on Eurohockey.net about the KHL (Kontinental Hockey League) that will replace the Russian Super League in Russia. The league aims to expand beyond Russia, and already have a Kazakhstani club Barys Astana join the league, and there are rumours about Jokerit Helsinki of Finland as well. The league will operate with 24 teams, but only have 22 teams committed so far. It will be interesting to see who the other 2 teams will be.

    I’m not quite keen on the division idea that will have ever changing divisions according to team strength (like in the soccer World Cup, teams are put into a pool, and drawn out of a hat, lottery style to determine the divisions). At least locking in the divisions for 3-5 years would create some consistency since the divisions are not geographical anyways.

    The salary cap of approximately $24 million per team will be enough to retain and regain some (marginal) Russian talent from the NHL. The salary power balance is reminiscent of the balance between MLB and NPB. Unless the KHL really takes off and can bring salary levels up to near-NHL levels (though it’s already pretty impressive at nearly half), it won’t be a truly competitive league (like in soccer with the English, Spanish, and Italian leagues). But it’s a good start, let’s hope the league has a financially viable business model.

    Incorporating drafts and player exchange trades into Europe will be a really interesting sports business experiment.

    Posted in 02_English, hockey, information, International, NHL, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »