Japan 10, Cuba 6
(a good play-by-play account is at japanbaseballdaily; I'm too lazy to write one)
That was a really fun game. Despite Japan running away with the 4-0 lead from the first inning, the Cuban team played well and played hard, and came really close to tying it up in the later innings, getting to 6-5 with the help of a few Japan errors. The errors were a bit frustrating to see, but some of the really nice plays made up for it; Ogasawara was great in the field, even though he didn't hit a home run for me. (The 3 RBI without actually getting a hit made up for it.) Tamura didn't kill himself today. Matsunaka was hilarious lumbering down the basepaths. Kawasaki barely grabbing a tiny piece of home plate while being blocked by the Cuban catcher twice his size was pretty impressive; Ichiro nearly somersaulting over the plate a bit later was pretty funny. After the first batter or two, Matsuzaka really did show his true form, which was pretty damn good. Getting to see Watanabe pitch again for a bit was a treat as well. I really enjoyed the game overall, especially the part where I got to see all my favorite players celebrating their victory at the end. And unlike the Japan Series, I didn't have to stay up until 6am for it!
What I really wish, though, is that we'd come up with the ESPN Announcer Drinking Game *before* tonight so we could put it into action! Now I'll have to wait three whole years to use it!
The Japanese Baseball ESPN Announcer Drinking Game
Sip every time the announcer says:
- "The legendary Sadaharu Oh"
- "868 home runs"
- "Bobby Valentine"
- "Bobby Valentine's Japan Champion Chiba Lotte Marines"
- "41 stolen bases last year"
- "These guys are masters at bunting."
- "His knuckles practically scrape the ground!"
- "These Japanese pitchers really can throw strikes!"
Drink every time the announcer:
- Confuses one player for another
(drink twice if they do the same thing twice in a row, as in when they kept saying Matsunaka was playing first base instead of Ogasawara for about two innings straight)
(drink three times if the ESPN *display* actually has the wrong name, such as the other night when Kosuke Fukudome went out to play CF and the screen showed him as "Seung Hwan Oh")
- Mispronounces a player's name
("Matsuzaki", "Oooeeey-hora", "Fuku-doom", "Aki", "Osawagara... er... I mean, Guts!")
- Tries to say "Kantoku" (manager); drink twice if it comes out more like "Kon-tiki"
- Mentions how Aoki got 202 hits last year and is the only person in Japanese baseball besides Ichiro to ever achieve that
Drain your glass when the announcer:
- Attempts to say something in Japanese and fails miserably (ie, "Watashi wa Petco Park ni orimasu")
- Tries to explain the name of the Nippon Ham Fighters
- Actually has more than a sentence to say about someone *besides* Ichiro or Sadaharu Oh