Japan, Hockey, Baseball, etc.

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    FC Tokyo Mascot

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 January 23日 Friday

    The previously stoic, nickname-less, mascot-less FC Tokyo in the cute and cuddly mascot filled J.League (though I like the square lawnman league mascot on the far left, a weirdo exception)

    mascots

    has adopted a new mascot starting today… and it’s unfailingly cute (but a little weird in a superhero sort of way, and I guess that makes him unique or something). Introducing.. Tokyo Dorompa!  😛

    fc1 dorompa_090123_02 dorompa_090123_03

    Is it a squirrel, a raccoon, or some mystical creature?

    Posted in 02_English, culture, information, opinion, soccer, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

    Seibu Prince Rabbits to fold after 2008-09

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 December 19日 Friday

    Seibu Prince Rabbits, the perennial powerhouse team in the Asia League Ice Hockey (and also separately as Seibu and Kokudo in the Japan Ice Hockey League before their merger) will effectively cease team operations following the current 2008-09 season due to the termination of funding from the main sponsor Prince Hotel Group (a Seibu Holdings company). This announcement was made to the players from the team owner on 18 January.

    Head coach Chris Wakabayashi was in tears after the announcement, captain Takahito Suzuki was in shock and said “I can’t believe this right now. The most important thing at the moment is to finish the season, but this will be very difficult for (Japanese and Asian) ice hockey.” 

    The current economic climate also aided in this decision by the parent company to stop funding the team, which is said to cost about JPY 500 million (~ US$4.5 million) per season (equivalent to the salary for a couple of Saitama Seibu Lions star baseball players…). There is a possibility that the Seibu team will continue to exist as a club team (like how Yukijirushi (Snow Brand) became Sapporo Polaris for a season, and how Furukawa became the Nikko IceBucks as the parent companies ceased to fund these teams), but with the lack of fan base and community support, this seems like a rather unlikely scenario for Seibu, and Tokyo area hockey fans will lose their only source of watching live high level hockey. The Asia League should continue to exist in the current 7 team form next season, as the Tohoku Free Blades based in northeastern Honshu should be entering the league, barring any more unexpected team foldings.)

    On the same day, the much larger American Football X-League’s Onward Skylarks also announced that they will not be participating in the upcoming season as the team has effectively folded as well.

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, baseball, hockey, information, Japan, NPB, opinion, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

    Spain still doesn’t get it

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 August 15日 Friday

    The Spanish just can’t get enough of making slanty eye gestures to show that they’re in Beijing, China! (I saw this first reported at EWC, and now on Gen’s blog.) The tennis team got into the action as well as the well publicized basketball one. Then again, open racism in Spain’s top soccer/football league La Liga seems pretty common, so something like this coming from the Spanish delegation is ugly, but not totally unexpected.

    Last season Eto’o threatened to walk off the pitch after being racially abused by fans in a match at La Romareda in Zaragoza. Real were fined after the incident.

    A number of other Liga clubs, including Atletico Madrid, Malaga, Racing Santander and Getafe, have been fined over the last two years after fans directed racist abuse at visiting players.

    Outbreaks of racist abuse have become a common occurrence in Spanish football matches in recent years, with leading clubs such as Atletico Madrid, Real Zaragoza and Getafe receiving fines because of the behaviour of some of their fans.

    National coach Luis Aragones caused an uproar in 2004 when he racially insulted Arsenal’s French international striker Thierry Henry.

    Posted in 02_English, culture, football, information, olympics, opinion, soccer | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    Diving stars

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 April 28日 Monday

    Sidney Crosby, NHL’s newest superstar, is a well known diver which his opposing fans often points out, and it’s currently causing some commotions among New York Ranger fans as Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins are up 2-0 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals thanks to some controversial penalty calls involving Sid the Kid.

    I used to abhor the dive, or simulation as it’s known in football, but this great article on Slate changed my mind on the matter. It’s a rather valid form of self-protection for the smaller, more skilled players in these sports. And who would you rather see on the ice or the pitch, the hulking untalented brutes, or the uberskilled superstars?

    Consider the classic matchup between a skilled dribbler and a big, tough defender. The attacker must use his quickness and wit to get by. The bigger man, though, can always resort to a “professional foul”—an intentional foul in which there is no attempt to play the ball. The defender will give away a free kick, but that will hurt only in certain parts of the field. So, what is the attacker to do? If he finds a flailing leg in his way, he can do nothing except barge right into it. And maybe writhe around on the ground for a bit, encouraging the referee to hand out a card, thus discouraging the brutish defender from trying such rough tactics in the future.

    Far from being a sign of corruption, diving is, in certain ways, a civilizing influence. Divers are usually quicker, smaller players. As athletes get bigger and stronger, the little guy gets nudged aside. If professional fouls and brute force reign supreme, creative play and joyful improvisation will suffer.

    There is nothing more depressing than a player who goes to the ground when he might have scored. Ronaldinho and Thierry Henry, arguably the world’s best players, will stay on their feet at all cost for the sake of a beautiful pass or a brilliant run at the goal. But the next time you see an artful dribbler derailed by a clumsy oaf, take a minute to think about whose side you’re on. Doesn’t the dribbler deserve a somersault or two to remind the world that the only way to stop him is through violent and graceless means?

     

     

    Posted in 02_English, culture, football, hockey, information, International, NHL, opinion, soccer | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »