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  • Posts Tagged ‘taiwan’

    Familymart entrance melody remixed!

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 September 11日 Friday

    This should be familiar to those living in Japan, Taiwan, and Korea.

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

    WBC uniform watch

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 April 3日 Friday

    I’m sure many people noticed this, but some WBC uniforms are alarmingly similar to MLB uniforms. Guess that’s template at work (and lack of creative colour schemes due to flag colours, though not every nation adheres to their flag stripes). Anyways, without further ado, here they are:

    Australia

    wbc_australia_h

    South Africa

    wbc_sa_h

    It was difficult to tell them apart on quick glance, especially since they played in the same pool in Mexico City.

    wbc_sa_v

    Oakland Athletics

    mlb_oak_h

    mlb_oak_v2

    Different font, obviously, but pretty similar otherwise.

    Canada (home)

    wbc_canada_h1

    LAnaheim Angels

    mlb_laa_h

    Canada has the faux vest thing going.

    Canada (away)

    wbc_canada_v

    Arizona Diamondbacks

    Cardinals Diamondbacks Baseball

    Reverse the font colouring, and you’re basically there.

    Dominican Republic

    wbc_dr_h

    wbc_dr_v

    Future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez pitching for his homeland, earning a job with the Mets in the process.

    Texas Rangers

    mlb_tx_h3

    mlb_tx_v

    There’s that annoying underarm panel in many WBC jerseys, and the helmet bill’s different colour, but otherwise…

    Italy

    wbc_italy_v2

    LA Dodgers

    mlb_dodg_v3

    (Immortal Manny at work)

    Obviously. Was this done because of the Piazza-Lasorda connection from the first WBC?

    Netherlands (the Cinderella!)

    wbc_ned_h

    Baltimore Orioles

    mlb_bal_h

    Cap colours need to be reversed, and MLB teams seem to be fond of cursive fonts while WBC unis tend to use block fonts.

    Now for the more far fetched connections after this jump

    Read the rest of this entry »

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

    Korea 9 – 0 Taiwan

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 March 7日 Saturday

    The non-story in the WBC today was Korea thrashing Taiwan 9-0. Well, the Taiwanese starter could not find the strike zone. Taiwan starter C. Lee had one of the wildest outings I’ve ever seen with a 0.1IP 2H 6ER 3BB 1HBP 1GrandSlam (and he seemed to only hit the strike zone about 10-20% of the time).

    Game 2 of the Asia Round determines the winners and losers brackets. Saturday, Japan will face Korea in the nightcap in the Japan/East Sea rivalry and depleted Taiwan will attempt to avenge their Beijing Olympics loss to China in the day game in the battle of the Taiwan strait. 

    The announced crowd was a little north of 12,000, I should’ve set the over/under at 15,000 instead of 20,000, but I got it right nonetheless  😛

    Both the Korean and Taiwanese crowds were small in number but pretty loud, creating decent atmosphere. Attendance for non-Japanese games seems to be better than the Asia Series. Must be the marketing and the national teams factor.

    There seemed to be a couple of nationalistic incidents where both Korean and Taiwanese fans displayed large banners and were told by security to withdraw them. The Taiwan banner (we were sitting in the Taiwan section) clearly spelled out “Taiwan” (台湾) in Chinese characters (hanzi), so this may have had something to do with the no politics in the WBC policy.

    Photos after this break:

    Read the rest of this entry »

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

    WBC Opens

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 March 6日 Friday

    But Japan only beats China 4-0 (Japan Times) (box score).

    murata

    Some thoughts:

    • China’s definitely improving, their pitchers seemed much less like batting practice pitchers this time around, but their play on the field was still sloppy from time to time. Japanese baserunning was sloppy too though.
    • Darvish was pulled with less than 50 pitches so he’s eligible to pitch again in the Asia Round.. but unless he manages to gain command of some of his breaking pitches with the WBC ball, he’s not going to be too useful just with his fastball.
    • Murata bashed a homerun, and he’ll be useful in the Asia Round in the friendly confines of the Tokyo Dome, but his big swings aren’t gonna become homeruns in Petco Park and Dodger Stadium which are pitcher’s parks. Ideally I’d like to see Hara try Uchikawa at first and Ogasawara at third, but this probably won’t happen unless Murata is a total disaster, and with this homerun he’s secured third base for himself even if he’s useless once the team travels across the Pacific.
    • Nakajima and Fukudome showed great plate discipline, but they needed guys behind them to drive them in. Super free swinger Johjima also managed to draw a walk. Japan left 24(!) runners on base, so even though they had the same number of hits as the Chinese, the game wasn’t as close as the score indicated.
    • Ichiro went 0 for 5 and looked horrible at the plate. But then again he didn’t start hitting in 2006 until the games moved to the States, and he’s a notorious slow starter even in regular MLB seasons (he seems to really start hitting in June).
    • Kyuji Fujikawa closed out the game, but his fastball wasn’t up to his usual velocity. If he doesn’t gain velocity, he’ll be an easy target for the sluggers from the Americas (but not A-Rod).
    • Japan now awaits the winner of the Taiwan-Korea game tonight. Taiwan has a depleted roster with major leaguers and half the CPBL players missing (2 of 4 teams didn’t release the players). So, it should be Korea pulling through, but stranger things have happened in baseball (China pulling a fairy dust extra innings upset over Taiwan at the Beijing Olympics, for one).
    • Koreans are going to get to see WBC games on free TV thanks to a last minute deal between the rights holder and TV stations. Korea seems to take a similar approach to big ticket sporting events where multiple TV stations share broadcasting rights. This time around TV Asahi has exclusive rights for the Tokyo Round, and TBS has exclusive rights from round 2 to the finals (though pay sports channel J Sports will show all WBC games). In 2006, NTV was also in the mix, and it’s surprising that they’re not this time around considering that Yomiuri is a sponsor for the event and a group company.
    • If the over/under for tonight’s Korea-Taiwan attendance is 20,000, I’ll take under  😛

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

    2008 Asia Series

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 November 13日 Thursday

    The 2008 Asia Series has opened with an upset resembling the Beijing Olympics as the Uni-Presidents Lions of Taiwan (CPBL) lost 3-4 to the Tianjin Lions of China (CBA). The nightcap features the third Lions team in the NPB champs Saitama Seibu Lions hosting the powerful KBO champs SK Wyverns (who defeated Chunichi Dragons once in the previous edition of this championship). (Correction: Uni-President won the game 7-4 on a 3 run walkoff “sayonara” homerun, the official Asia Series site update puts a 0 in the scoreboard while the inning is still in progress, hence my mistake.)

    The Asia Series narrowly missed out on being a Four Lions affair, as the Korean Samsung Lions bowed out in the Korean postseason semifinals, ah well. It’ll be good to see the full squad of the SK Wyverns, they could very well take this tournament as the Saitama Seibu Lions are missing half the key players from the regular season and postseason due to contract obligations (import outfielder Hiram Bocachica and closer Alex Graman), injuries (shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima, catcher Toru Hosokawa, outfielder GG Sato, and first baseman Craig Brazell), and veteran non-participations (starting pitchers Kazuhisa Ishii and Fumiya). Seibu may even drop a game against the Chinese or Taiwanese Lions.

    Anyways, with the total lack of coverage and promotion for this event, it makes you wonder whether the NPB brass are trying to kill the series. Japan is in much the similar situation with the Asia Series as the US is in with the WBC. Nothing to gain and everything to lose. But both events are useful tools for international baseball promotion and NPB and MLB should really get behind these events.

    There’s the issue of playing baseball in mid-November, but this is because the Japan Series is now played in early November due to the Climax Series playoffs implemented in both leagues. But with a 6 games a week schedule, I don’t see why NPB can’t reschedule make up games for rained out games on many of these days off instead of dragging the season on with meaningless make up games right through October. There’s something with Japanese labour law that requires employees not to be working for so many consecutive days, so maybe that is the cause…

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

    Koshien Final and more Olympic Baseball

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 August 17日 Sunday

    Well, my team in Koshien, Okinawa’s Urasoe-Sho, got bombed out 9-4 in the semifinals by hard hitting Tokoha-Kikugawa (Shizuoka) based on their 9 run 2nd inning. The team had engineered 10 and 7 run innings to win their previous 2 games as well, showing the Japanese baseball world how big ball can be played and that, yes, you don’t have to always bunt over a runner every time. Kikugawa will face Osaka-Toin (Osaka) who also won comfortably 9-4 over Yokohama (South Kanagawa) in this final-worthy matchup. Toin has looked stronger as the tournament goes on, defeating better opponents with ever more ease. The finals will pit upstart Kikugawa against hometown Toin in what should be a slugfest (but will probably turn into a pitching duel against all expectations, as these things tend to do) at 12:30pm on Monday 18 August.

    Incompetently managed (both on and off the field) Japan also lost to Korea in Olympic baseball action (boxscore). A pretty resounding 5-3 defeat. I don’t even know where to start on this one, but I’ll list some of the shortcomings of Team Japan as managed by Senichi Hoshino (who has never won the Japan Series as manager, and indeed there might be a reason why).

    • Despite the limited 24 man roster (NPB uses an expansive 28 man roster), the team took injury question marks Kawasaki and Murata with them to Beijing. Nishioka’s injury on top of this didn’t help matters, as the team was down to 11 position players at full health for the Korea game (though Murata played).
    • This forced Hoshino’s hand and he started all glove no bat Araki at second and solid hitting catcher Satozaki at DH. These wouldn’t normally be bad decisions except he let Araki hit second even though he is by far the worst hitter on the team (classic old school baseball move). And for some unknown reason he, yet again, let incompetent Abe catch instead of the defensively superior Satozaki catch, and this cost the team a run when Abe’s errant throw to second scored a Korean run.
    • Hoshino also left pitchers in too long in the game, with pretty good relief corps, he should’ve pulled Wada earlier in the inning, and he has admitted to this mistake. And he also left reliever Iwase in for too long even though he is clearly more hittable this year and is not a shutdown reliever like he used to be (or like Fujikawa, who didn’t get to enter the game).

    Good news is that, despite Hoshino’s bumbling management, the team still has a decent chance of making medal rounds due to Canada always coming up just short (tough 1 run losses to Cuba, USA, and Korea), and Taiwan recording their first ever loss to China in pixy dust extra inning rules (China might be onto something though, as they managed to pull Korea into extra innings as well, though this time they lost 1-0). Korea and Cuba are both unbeaten at 4-0, but Cuba looks like the team to beat. Since Japan still has to play Canada, chances of both teams making it into medal rounds is slim to nil, considering that USA now has a relatively easy schedule having already played the 2 undefeated teams.

    Cuba 4-0

    Korea 4-0

    USA 2-2

    Japan 2-2

    Canada 1-3

    China 1-3

    Netherlands 1-3

    Taiwan 1-3

    This Kuricorder Quartet version of the Imperial March might sum up my feelings pretty well at the moment, after waking up with a hangover from an all you can drink birthday party on the day of those defeats.

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, high school, information, olympics, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

    2008.8.15 Koshien Quarterfinals and Olympic Baseball

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 August 15日 Friday

    Koshien

    Quarterfinal action started in Koshien today. After the last three games of round of 16 yesterday (yesterday’s games were all close, as Keio of North Kanagawa squeezed by Aomori-Yamada 2-0, Osaka-Toin outhit Toho of East Aichi 7-5, and Yokohama defeated Sendai-Ikuei 3-2), the stage has been set for the quarterfinals which has already kicked off with its first game Hotoku-Gakuen (East Hyogo) v Osaka-Toin (North Osaka) in the battle of local schools. Here’s the schedule:

    8.15 Day 14

    11:00 Hotoku-Gakuen (East Hyogo) v Osaka-Toin (North Osaka)

    13:30 Urasoe-Sho (Okinawa) v Keio (North Kanagawa)

    8.16 Day 15

    11:00 Chiben-Wakayama (Wakayama) v Tokoha-Kikugawa (Shizuoka)

    13:30 Seiko-Gakuin (Fukushima) v Yokohama (South Kanagawa)

    Since both Osaka-Toin and Urasoe-Sho played their round of 16 games yesterday, they’re at a disadvantage of having to play on back to back days. And Urasoe seems to only have a single reliable arm, as it looks like Urasoe’s Iha’s set to go in the afternoon session, after a complete game yesterday. Iha is pitching on back to back days after already accumulating a lot of innings in a relatively short time period. Not only could Urasoe lose because of this, but Iha’s arm could be seeing an early demise in his career. (UPDATE: Osaka-Toin won comfortably 7-4 to advance to the semifinals. Uechi is starting for Urasoe instead of Iha, who starts in right field, that’s good to see.)

    Anyways, there are some interesting storylines here. Game 1 today is the battle of local schools, as Koshien Stadium is located in Hyogo near its border with Osaka. Game 2 today features Urasoe who defeated Spring Koshien champs Okinawa-Sho in their prefectural qualifier finals against the first Kanagawa team in the quarters and one of the most prestigious private schools in Keio. Game 1 tomorrow is the battle of ever present Chiben-Wakayama against the almost no-bunting attacking baseball of new powers Tokoha. And, finally, game 2 tomorrow features tournament favourites and the second Kangawa team remaining, Yokohama. We should see some exciting, close games over the next few days as the tournament heats up to the finals.

    ————

    Olympics

    Beijing was thunderstorming yesterday with a torrential downpour for a good part of the day. This added a twist to the baseball tournament which is being played in temporary outdoor stadiums. Even in those weather conditions, the US had no problems dispatching the Netherlands (Antilles) 7-0 in the game called after the 8th because of the weather. And No.1 draft prospect and only amateur on the US team, Stephen Strasburg, dominated, going perfect for 4 2/3 and keeping a no hitter for 6 1/3 innings. The other game that was being played at the same time was Korea-China, and surprisingly the it was still scoreless when the game was postponed after 5 innings, the game will resume on the 17th, an off day on the calendar.

    I was sitting in a faux British pub in Tokyo last night with Garrett from the Tokyo Yakult Swallows blog, not really expecting the Japan-Taiwan game to be played after hearing about the weather in Beijing, when suddenly the TVs in the pub showed the stubborn Japanese manager Senichi Hoshino on a live feed! We were getting the game after all. Well, we watched the game between consuming alcohol and talking, so I was far from my attentive self when I watched the Cuba game. But Japan’s inability to figure out Taiwanese starter Hsu Wen-Hsiung (5IP 3H 4K 1BB 1ER on a Yomiuri Giant catcher Shinnosuke Abe’s homerun no less, after we’d been bitching about how he should’ve been replaced in the starting lineup by the Marines’ Satozaki as Abe’s not particularly having a good season) and Japanese starter and Saitama Seibu Lion Hideaki Wakui’s more than competent performance (6IP 3H 6K 2BB 1ER) made the game very tight and exciting until the very end…

    when Japan managed to score 4 runs in the top of the 9th to ease Koji Uehara’s first Olympic appearance an easy one, protecting a 6-1 lead, though Uehara did look impressive as he had good stuff and command and set the side down in order. Regular closers Hitoki Iwase (Chunichi Dragons) and Kyuji Fujikawa (Hanshin Tigers) were the setup men, blanking the Taiwanese in the 7th and 8th innings while protecting the 2-1 lead. Iwase allowed a hit, but Fujikawa was particularly impressive striking out the side. He looked very different from the man who was hit very hard by the Cubans and was lucky to put the side down in order (not much of a surprise as Fujikawa’s high heat would be fairly normal in Cuba, but pretty rare in Taiwan). We’ll see how Uehara does protecting a closer lead, and we’ll also see how long Hoshino sticks with Takahiro Arai as the cleanup hitter, he’s so far only had one sacrifice fly in 8 PA and hasn’t looked sharp at the plate. But Hoshino is very loyal to his men, and both Uehara and Arai were integral parts of the Japan team that qualified for the Olympics last November.

    In the other game Canada put up a valiant effort against the Cubans, barely losing 6-7. But it’s apparent that the Cubans are obviously the superior team despite being outhit 9-5 in the game. Their command of the strike zone was impeccable, yet again, drawing 6 walks to Canada’s 1. And only striking out 5 times compared to Canada’s 12.

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

    Lions manager Watanabe and Taiwanese baseball

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 June 13日 Friday

    I didn’t know that one time ace of the Seibu Lions during their dynasty in the 80’s and early 90’s and now manager of the team Watanabe spent time in Taiwan as a player-coach, and that his appreciation for the power game is partially responsible for the Lions success this season, especially with the long ball. The Lions have half the number of sacrifice bunts (42) as the ultimate smallball team, the Fighters (84). But the team up in Hokkaido is more of an exception, as the rest of the PL teams have sacrificed 36-51 times so far this season.

    Watanabe, who once graced the cover of Sports Illustrated as the Lions starter in Game 1 of the 1994 Japan Series (featured because the majors were on strike that year), has come a long way since he was considered the pop idol of the otherwise-stodgy club.

    After retiring from Japanese ball, Watanabe went to Taiwan, ostensibly as a coach.

    “It was funny. My career was over and I was there as a coach. But I couldn’t speak a word of Chinese so I had to demonstrate,” Watanabe told The Hot Corner early this season. “And I could still throw hard–so I became a player-coach in camp.”

    Living in a rural town between Tainan and Taichung, Watanabe studied with a tutor and within a year his Chinese language skills were “fairly useful.” He is still fond of the country and its game. Although Taiwan’s baseball people have a lot of respect for Japan’s skill level, Watanabe says the thinking there is somewhat different.

    “They’ve had Japanese coaches going over there for the last 20 years, so they look to Japan,” Watanabe said. “But they aspire to a more powerful game; the hitters take big swings.

    “I liked that.”

    In Watanabe’s early days as a pro, the Lions were the hardest hitting team in Japan. But that didn’t prevent managers Tatsuro Hirooka and Masaaki Mori from steering the club toward a painfully predictable Japanese-style game, picking opponents apart with sacrifice bunts, pitching and defense.

    I have a pet theory that the fact that Watanabe is letting his team run wild on the bases with league leading 53 steals might help because that places runners in scoring position without sacrificing an out, thus leading to higher probabilities for big innings (especially with all those homeruns). But then again, being caught stealing 24 times is too undisciplined, as a success rate below 70% must surely be detrimental, but maybe it’s still better than bunting.

    Then again, the big bats of Seibu were no match for the shutdown bullpen (JFK + Watanabe) of Hanshin Tigers, as the CL leader took 3 of 4 from the Lions in their interleague games. The fact that the Tigers don’t have to leave their starters in games accumulating fatigue and losing effectiveness with every pitch over 100, coupled with the powerful bullpen and lineup full of on base machines means that the Tigers are a way more balanced squad than the Lions and the best team in the nation at the moment.

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