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    Posts Tagged ‘scandal’

    2008.8.17 Koshien Semifinals

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 August 16日 Saturday

    Koshien fever is reaching its peak as we see the field wittled down to the final 4 in the quarterfinal action over the last 2 days.

    Urasoe-Sho (Okinawa) won in dramatic fashion as the boys from the south defeated the prestigious Keio (North Kanagawa) boys in a come from behind extra innings victory. Urasoe was down 2-3 after Keio scored 2 in the bottom of the 7th, but Urasoe came right back and scored 1 run each in the 8th to tie, then another run in the 10th to win the game. Ace Iha pitched the final 4 innings for the victory.

    In the first semifinal game tomorrow, Urasoe will be up against Tokoha-Kikugawa (Shizuoka) who outslugged Chiben-Wakayama (Wakayama) 13-10 earlier today to stake their claim in the semifinals. Tokoha had led 13-2 after their monster 10 run 6th inning, but Chiben almost came back scoring 4 runs each in the last 2 frames, but fell short of fulfilling a comeback. But they didn’t give up and made the game interesting. Tokoha plays big ball (hardly bunts) and it shows with their big bats, but their pitching is questionable (won 11-9 in the previous game), so their date with Urasoe should be interesting. Although it’s good to see some teams playing a different variation of ball rather than the usual automatic sacrifice bunt style prevalent in Japanese baseball, Tokoha-Kikugawa is tainted with sexual harassment scandals by its former manager and player which is sort of kept under wraps since they involved female beat writers for the Mainichi and Asahi dailies, the papers supporting the Spring and Summer tourneys, respectively). The deeper you look into Japanese highschool baseball, it starts to resemble NCAA Football or Basketball in many of their uglier sides.

    Osaka-Toin (North Osaka) won comfortably over Hotoku-Gakuen (East Hyogo) 7-4 in the battle of local schools yesterday. And Yokohama (South Kanagawa) is in the process of humiliating Seiko-Gakuin (Fukushima) right now with a 15-1 lead in the 8th inning. The semifinal will pit the powerful Yokohama team against a well balanced Osaka-Toin team. (UPDATE: Game ended 15-1)

    Interestig tournament in that many big hitting teams have advanced further into the tournament than teams relying on a single ace playing small ball.

    8.17 Day 16 (Semifinals)

    11:00 Urasoe-Sho (Okinawa) v Tokoha-Kikugawa (Shizuoka)

    13:30 Yokohama (South Kangawa) v Osaka-Toin (North Osaka)

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

    Ichiro article in the SF Chronicle

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 July 21日 Monday

    Another usual Ichiro article, but there are some interesting points and I’ve got something to add.

    He reveals having to change his ever-crucial rhythm at the plate because most pitchers, unlike so many Japanese pitchers, don’t hesitate at the top of delivery. Before he reached the age of 20, he was rejecting the advice of respected hitting coaches because he knew he was right. He says virtually all of his home runs – usually stunning shots highly reminiscent of a power hitter – are intentional. He speaks of deliberately playing certain hitters shallow in the outfield, just to make them angry, “so they lose their temper a little bit and try to hit the ball too hard – but never once did a ball get past me.”

    Even when the mood becomes angry and confrontational on the field, you’ll find the man in character. If is a pitch is thrown straight at Ichiro’s head in the midst of a beanball episode, “I refuse to believe it was intentional,” he says. The pitch just got away, that’s all. Better to maintain his focus and concentration.

    Does anything ever break the man? Perhaps it came on a day in Oakland in 2003. Chasing 200 hits, his most cherished statistic, he’d been in a deep slump. When he finally got the hit (Sept. 20), he cried in right field, admitting, “That’s how much it meant.”

    He cried, however, behind the shield of sunglasses. No one knew.

    That’s very Ichiro. Determined, cool, hard working, and intelligent ballplayer. Then again, he was very openly emotional on the WBC champion Team Japan in 2006, but this took the Japanese public by surprise as well.

    Then there’s this:

    I suspect there isn’t much to know – not in a negative sense. Maybe he’s got a few secrets he’d just as soon keep to himself, but the Japanese media, like their counterparts everywhere, can be cruelly intrusive. As we’ve seen with Hideo Nomo and so many others, writers and photographers dutifully record every move, right down to the adjustment of a belt buckle.

    In the glowing reports about the latest Japanese pitching sensation, Yu Darvish (he has an Iranian father), we learn that he once posed naked for a magazine and actively cultivates an image that finds teenage girls swooning all over him. Tsuyoshi Shinjo, who played on the Giants’ 2002 World Series team, turned out to be most skilled in a modeling studio. And then there is Ichiro, his image spotless. It seems that his life away from baseball is a series of refreshingly blank pages.

    But weekly tabloid Friday reported in 2001, Ichiro’s magnificient rookie year, that the already married Ichiro was linked to a 20 year old Japanese exchange student and the weekly even got hold of a tape with their sexual conversation. That, and before marrying his wife Ichiro had relations with a married woman in his last year in Japan. Those are the only off the field scandals for Ichiro Suzuki. Still a pretty clean slate when compared to typical superstars (in any field), I’d imagine  😛

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

    NPB draft system

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 April 6日 Sunday

    The NPB draft system is really screwed up.

     

    Firstly, the high school draft and the draft for the rest of the players are held separately.

     

    Secondly, in both drafts, the 1st round is not a straight up waiver based on previous year’s team records. But instead, teams stake claims on certain players that they want to pick. If there are multiple teams for the same player, then their names are tossed into a box and the winner is drawn out of the hat in a true lottery style, no weighing based on season records (rather stupid, IMO).

     

    Thankfully, NPB abolished the right for first rounders to pick the teams they wanted to be “drafted” by, after under the table payment scandals. The Giants already have everything skewed in the leagues in their favour already. NPB really needs to adopt a straight up waiver draft (maybe with the bottom 4-6 teams in a weighed lottery) for the sake of clarity and fairness.

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

    Recycled Paper Scandal to hit Japanese Hockey?

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 February 13日 Wednesday

    Now that my work had settled down a bit, I was going to write Asia League 2007-08 Regular Season review and Playoff preview articles. But, there may be bigger issues at stake in the world of Japanese hockey.

     

    Japanese hockey has endured through much travail in this century. Starting with Yukijirushi (dairy products manufacturer) folding its hockey team following a food poisoning scandal in 2000, Furukawa Electric dropping its hockey team which forced the team to become the first fully professional hockey team in Japan, the Nikko IceBucks. Then there was the insider trading scandal by the big boss of Seibu Group and the biggest backer of Japanese hockey, Tsutsumi Yoshiaki, this forced the two group teams Seibu and Kokudo to merge in a cost cutting measure. This reduced the number of top level Japanese club teams to 4 from 6 which in turn forced the hands of JIHF to create the Asia League (as the number of pro hockey clubs in Korea and China were on the decline as well), and this has been great for increasing the level of play in Korea, and encouraging international hockey relations and more competitive play in the top league.

     

    However, on the heel of all this, a new scandal has hit Japanese hockey. The two Hokkaido (northern island of Japan) based teams are owned by major paper companies, Nippon Paper and Oji Paper. And it came to light in the New Year that majority of Japanese paper companies had been falsifying the percentage figures of recycled paper used to create their products. (Industry is trying to shamelessly shift the blame on the increasingly competitive market for recycled paper, and China being a big buyer, who knew?)

    http://www.enn.com/pollution/article/29560

    http://kdd.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200801180095.html

     

    If this scandal hits both Nippon Paper and Oji Paper hard enough, could we possibly be seeing the demise of these teams, or a possible merger, in the hockey heartland of Japan? I hope not, as that could really signal the end of top level pro hockey in Japan and East Asia.

     

    So, I guess this is no time to be joking about how the Oji team has an eagle as a mascot and the bird even adorns its uniform, but the team has no nickname when it should obviously called the Eagles, it would make for easier and better marketing as well. Or wonder why last season’s the treble winner (AL Regular Season, Playoffs, and All Japan Championships) Nippon Paper Cranes are struggling despite the great performance of former NHLer Jamie McLennan in goal who joined the team midway through the season and promptly posted the 2nd best save percentage in the league. Incidentally, the big paper companies are most likely the cause behind the always beautifully produced Asia League program booklets.

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, Japan, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »