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    Posts Tagged ‘matsuzaka’

    Seibu Lions Classic

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 June 29日 Monday

    This season’s Lions Classic games have begun with Seibu wearing its home uniforms from the dynasty era. (Koji Akiyama #1 and Hisanobu Watanabe #41 flanking Kazuhiro Kiyohara #3.)

    seibu_80s

    Well, the uniform design was used until quite recently as it can be seen here with a young Daisuke Matsuzaka wearing it.

    matsuzaka

    However, the Lions were unable to replicate their success of the awesome uniforms as the team has lost its first two games wearing it against the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks managed by former Lions star Koji Akiyama. Incidentally, another former 80’s Lions star, Hisanobu Watanabe, is currently managing the Lions, so the ceremonial first pitch for Sunday’s game was old teammates Watanabe facing off against Akiyama, and Koji fouled the pitch off to the third base side.

    watanabe

    Saitama Seibu Lions looking great (except for the lack of stirrups and addition of the Nike logo) in losing the first two games wearing these classic uniforms 3-10 and 5-7.

    seibu

    You can see the ceremonial first pitch here, Akiyama’s front foot slips but he still makes contact with NabeQ’s pitch.

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

    松坂のポスティング費の行方

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 May 3日 Sunday

    な、なんと埼玉西武ライオンズがあの世界のニューヨークタイムズにフィーチャーされました。記事の趣旨は松坂のポスティングによってボストン・レッドソックスがワールドシリーズを勝ちとっただけでなく、西武ドームを改修できてその上に2008年の日本シリーズ(そしてアジアシリーズ)に勝ったので、松坂のポスティングは両球団にとって有利な結果だったという結論を出しています。

    記事の中では特にトイレの改修・増築と日本のウォッシュレットの素晴らしさについて触れています(笑)が、その他にも費用が人工芝の張替え、クラブハウス改修、電光掲示板のリニューアル、フィールドシートとテラスシートの設置、新売店の設置、選手の補強にも使われたと書かれています。

    気になる当時約60億円($51m)のポスティング費の内訳は、なんと40%以上の約26億円が税金で、約28億円が球場の改修、そして約6億円が選手補強にあてられたそうです。

    Read the rest of this entry »

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

    Darvish, Matsuzaka, and Iwakuma

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 March 21日 Saturday

    WBC 2009, Daisuke Matsuzaka (Boston Red Sox) will start in the semifinals at Dodger Stadium against Roy Oswalt (Houston Astros) of the USA. Hisashi Iwakuma (Tohoku Rakuten Eagles), the groundball machine, who pitched 6 shutout innings against Cuba in Round 2 will start the finals if Japan makes it there. The most sought after Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish (Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters), who pitched 1 poor inning and 4 great ones against Korea in Round 2, will be used out of the bullpen for the semifinals and/or finals.

    http://sportsnavi.yahoo.co.jp/baseball/jpn/headlines/20090321-00000017-kyodo_sp-spo.html

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

    WBC warm up games for Asian teams

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 December 18日 Thursday

     

    2/24(Tu) 19:00 Japan vs Australia Kyocera Dome Osaka Goes on sale 

    17 Jan 10am~

    2/25(We) 18:00 Japan vs Australia
    2/28(Sa) 12:00 China vs Yomiuri Giants Tokyo Dome
    19:00 Japan vs Saitama Seibu Lions
    3/1(Su) 12:00 China vs Saitama Seibu Lions
    19:00 Japan vs Yomiuri Giants
    3/2(Mo) 12:00 Korea vs Saitama Seibu Lions
    19:00 Taiwan vs Yomiuri Giants
    3/3(Tu) 12:00 Taiwan vs Saitama Seibu Lions
    19:00 Korea vs Yomiuri Giants
     

     

    World Baseball Classic 2009, Asian teams warm up games that take place in Japan has been officially announced.

    Interestingly Australia will play 2 games early against Japan (in 2006 it was Japan vs PL and Japan vs CL at Fukuoka, if I remember correctly).

    Also, Japan seems to have set up the warm up games and tournament schedule with full control of the schedule, giving Team Japan 3 days rest between the last warm up games while Korea and Taiwan only get 1 day of rest. And Japan gets the first of 2 wins needed to enter round 2 of WBC out of the way early with its opening match against China all but guaranteed. It’s obviously rigged in Japan’s favour as hosts for the Asia round, but this tournament is still in its infancy and this is one of the kinks that needs to be worked out in the future ensure better fairness.

    Giants and Lions are rewarded(?) with the right to play against the 4 Asian WBC teams in warm up games. Well, Yomiuri’s involvement is obvious what with Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper being a WBC sponsor.

    tournament

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

    Lions Win Lions Win!!

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 November 10日 Monday

    The Saitama Seibu Lions are the 2008 Japanese champions having won a thrilling game 7 against archrival, and the New York Yankees of Japan, Yomiuri Giants 3-2 in the deciding game. The guys at the Tokyo Yakult Swallows blog has what I know as the fastest championship game write up

    The Lions overcame many obstacles, like missing sluggers GG Sato and Craig Brazell (well, the latter was an OBP black hole so I don’t think he was missed much) from September on, and losing the starting catcher with some pop in Toru Hosokawa and having 5 tool shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima injured in game 5 where the team outhit the Giants but were unable to come up with any clutch hits or extrabase hits (except for a late solo shot).

    Some photos and movies from game 5 at the Seibu Dome on Thursday 6 November.

    Cheering for Nakamura in a scoring opportunity:

    “We are the Lions” (the flags give a neat crowd effect when cheering):

    Reliever Chikara Onodera warming up:

    pb060584

    Dude sitting in front of us with a creative “hyaku-ju no oh” (rhymes with 100 10 0) meaning “king among beasts” Lions uni:

    pb060590

    7th inning stretch jet balloons:

    pb060594

    Game 6 swung the other way as the Giants were unable to capitalize on numerous opportunities, and Seibu in a desperate move brought in game 4 starter Takayuki Kishi on 2 days rest in the 4th inning to put out the fire. He went on, incredibly, to finish the game. It was like watching high school baseball with the ace always ready to pitch in any game. Hopefully Kishi’s arm hasn’t received any permanent damage from this, many Japanese pitchers have their careers ruined by overuse, but then again some have genetically freaky rubber arms like erstwhile Lion and current Boston Red Sox Daisuke Matsuzaka. 

    Game 7 was a thriller from start to finish, with declining veteran and long time team ace Fumiya Nishiguchi being handed the ball to start off the game. He was shaky and gave up 2 runs in 2 innings and was substituted for pinch hitter Akira Etoh. Then the Lions pitchers proceeded to shut down the powerful Giants lineup with 2 innings each from starters Kazuhisa Ishii and Hideaki Wakui, an inning from reliever Tomoki Hoshino, then 2 innings from closer Alex Graman, all perfect in relief not allowing a single runner on base.

    On the offensive side, the second pinch hitter in the game Hiram Bocachica hit a homerun to make it a 1-2 game (then he proceeded to swing for the fences on succeeding at bats being easily struck out by high fastballs out of the zone, but that’s here nor there). Then in the 8th Giants reliever Daisuke Ochi became shaky in his 2nd inning of work and hit leadoff hitter Yasuyuki Kataoka (who was delighted to be able to get on base and even clapped his hands after being hit) who promptly stole 2nd on the very next pitch, then Takumi Kuriyama bunted him over to 3rd and Nakajima drove him in with a grounder to short to tie the game. Inexplicably (but luckily for the Lions) Ochi was left in the game to walk cleanup hitters Takeya “Okawari” Nakamura and Taketoshi Goto before allowing the hit by Hiroshi Hirano to drive in the game winning run, and that’s all Seibu needed to seal the deal (though driving in Shogo Akada from 3rd with no outs in the 9th would’ve been a nice insurance).

    Kishi took home the series MVP having won 2 games. His first win was an absolutely impressive complete game shutout in game 4, then he went on to save the day in game 6 on 2 days rest.

    Anyways, congratulations Saitama Seibu Lions, you are the 2008 Japanese chamions!!

    Japan Series banner sign:

    japan_series

    Series MVP Kishi being tossed high into the air by teammates:

    doage_kishi

    More portly manager Hisanobu Watanabe’s doage:

    doage_watanabe

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

    2008.8.11 Koshien Update and Kitajima Wins Gold with WR

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 August 11日 Monday

    Sports world has kicked into an ultra high gear during my absence as Koshien continues, Japanese Olympic baseball team played preparation games against CL and PL selects (more on that in a later post, hopefully), Olympics has started, and NPB continues to chug along.

    Kosuke Kitajima just won gold in the 100m breast stroke with a world record time (58.91, first time the 59 second barrier has been broken) despite being 3rd at the 50m turn. Impressive. Of course, this race, moment, and his post race interview (with tears) will be played ad nauseum from here on in, so I’ll quickly lose interest, but it’s great at the moment. (The Japanese national anthem during medal presentation wasn’t greeted with jeers and whistles like during the Asia Cup football tournament in 2006 in China, the Chinese government is reigning in hard with the crowd control and behaviour.)

    Through a quick glance of the Koshien match results through day 8 after all 55 teams have played their first game, we see that there were no major upsets. Some interesting game results and notes (though I didn’t get to see most of the games):

    • Northern powerhouse Aomori-Yamada (Aomori) narrowly defeated Nihon-Koku (Yamanashi) 2-1 in the first round, then was just the better team right now as they won convincingly 4-0 against the young Honjo-Daiichi (North Saitama) in the second round game that has just concluded right now on day 10.
    • Toho (West Aichi) and Hokkai (South Hokkaido) played a slugfest on day 5 as the former defeated the latter 15-10. Hokkai kept on coming back from behind but that just wasn’t enough. In the mean time, powerhouse Osaka-Toin (North Osaka) crushed the minnows Nitta-Rinko (Oita) 16-2 in the biggest win of the tournament so far.
    • Tainted Kiryu-Daiichi (Gunma), a 2nd year non-roster player groped a girl after the team got to Osaka for Koshien, thankfully lost their first round match against Kanazawa (Ishikawa) who feature many usable arms, but will be hardpressed to win against Osaka-Toin tomorrow on day 11.
    • There were a couple of powerhouse matchups in the first round. One of the tournament favourites Yokohama (South Kanagawa), and Daisuke Matsuzaka’s alma mater, pulled off a 6-5 victory against Urawa-Gakuin (South Saitama). And the 53rd and 54th schools to enter the tournament, in the battle of powerhouses from small prefectures, Kurashiki-Sho (Okayama) defeated Saga-Sho (Saga) 2-0.
    • In round 2 games that started on day 8, Komadai-Iwamisawa (North Hokkaido) easily handled Morioka-Dai (Iwate), the 55th team and final team to play it’s first game in the tournament, 8-3. And in matchups of powerhouses, Chiben-Wakayama (Wakayama) beat another tournament fave Kisarazu-Sogo (East Chiba) 5-2, meanwhile their sister school Chiben-Gakuen (Nara) barely lost to Hotoku-Gakuen (East Hyogo) 4-5.
    • As for teams with rooting interests, Kanto-Daiichi (East Tokyo) beat baseball school Naruto-Ko (Tokushima) 5-2, and Urasue-Sho (Okinawa) won against Chiba-Keidai (West Chiba) 12-9 despite Chiba’s late 6 run come back in the 7th inning.
    • Surprisingly, the remainder of round 2 doesn’t offer tantalizing powerhouse matchups, but it’ll be interesting to see if Kanazawa’s 4 pitchers can keep Osaka-Toin’s powerful bats off balance long enough to steal the game on day 11 tomorrow.

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, culture, high school, information, olympics, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    D. Cabrera v Dice-K

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 July 14日 Monday

    Daniel Cabrera (BAL) faces off against Daisuke Matsuzaka (BOS) today in the last game before the All Star break, some interesting comparisons of their numbers to date this season.

    Oh, look at their idential numbers:

    D.Cabrera 69K 51BB 1.37WHIP
    Dice-K 70K 52BB 1.37WHIP

    And their disparate numbers:

    D.Cabrera 6-4 4.40ERA 124.2IP
    Dice-K 9-1 2.84ERA 82.1IP

    Funny aren’t they?

    There are some interesting comparisons here:

    • Identical K, BB, and WHIP numbers despite Cabrera pitching 50% more innings than Dice-K.
    • Obviously luck and run support is playing a huge part in Matsuzaka’s 9-1 record.
    • Dice-K’s FIP is 4.10 and Cabrera’s is 4.95, so there’s definitely a gap their in their true performance, but it’s nowhere as wide as their W-L records and ERA indicate (thanks to diverging luck and run support their experiencing and receiving so far this season).

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, information, MLB, opinion, Sabermetrics, statistics | 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 »

    Okinawan Schools at Koshien

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 April 3日 Thursday

    Okinawa Shogaku made it into the semifinals of the 2008 Spring Invitational Koshien High School Baseball Tournament by beating powerhouse Tenri high school from Nara in a hard fought 4-2 win in the semis, along with Himeji. And today, Chiba (having just won the first semifinal played this morning by 4-2 over Seibo of Saitama) have made their ways into the finals. Okinawa Shogaku is playing the Himeji right now in semifinal game 2 (yup, games on consecutive days, Okinawa was trying to preserve its ace Higashihama yesterday, but had to bring him in midway through the game. This is how promising kids arms get blown out at young age, but also how monster rubber arms like Matsuzaka and Kuwata emerge.)

    There’s always a special place in my heart for Okinawan schools, heck I just like Okinawa. The subtropical islands were an indepent nation for a centuries (though paying tributaries to China and later the Satsuma clan, part of Tokugawa shogunate in the Edo era) before being completely annexed by Japan shortly after the Meiji Restoration. Imperial Japan ordered mass suicides in Okinawa, after using it as a last line of defence, then gladly handed it over to the States for a few decades following the war. Its citizens have long received second class treatment by the national government, while having significant US military presence on the main island. No wonder they’d be weary of outsiders.

    Okinawans have always received the short end of the stick, typical for minority groups in most nations, and has most of the American military bases in Japan, and US bases occupy a significant chunk of the land. But at the same time, time movers slower there, like in many tropical locales, it has beautiful beaches, friendly laid back people, unique music, and tasty food. Much like Hawai’i, the islands economy relies mainly on the military presence and tourism, and some sugar canes. It has all the trappings of tropical paradise without the usual accompaniment of price gouging, shady characters, and crime (though a segment of miliatry personnel have been a constant source of problems). It’s like taking the best parts of Japan and South East Asia and putting them together.

    Anyways, that was longer than what I intended to write. I’m cheering for Okinawa Shogaku high school through the semifinals and finals (hope they make it). Anyways, another treat about the Okinawan schools at Koshien is that they have distinctively Okinawan fight songs complete with Okinawan tunes and whistling, instead of the usual stuff strutted out by the rest of the schools in the country. Watch this clip from the 2:00 mark and the 5:00 mark (from the 2006 summer tournament, amazingly a neighbour island school made it to the tournament and turned in some heroic performances).

    Another footage, amazingly this is the 1982 Okinawan high school tournament finals, someone digitized their VHS tape! The now familiar Okinawan fight songs aren’t heard here. I’m not sure if that’s special for Koshien (to show Okinawan pride) or the fact that song styles changed significantly over the past 25 years. It’s more likely the latter. I remember NPB games in the 80’s having similarly simple fight songs, they’re sometimes elaborately complex these days (too much, some would say, and many agree, as they’re difficult for new fans to learn and enjoy, which is usually the point of attending games, after all).

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