Tuffy Rhodes has retired after the Cincinnati Reds released him this past weekend. Rhodes may not be remembered for his MLB career, but he leaves a long legacy behind in Japan. Not many foreigners manage to play in Japan so long that they gain free agency and no longer count against the foreigner quota; and no other foreigner ever managed to tie Sadaharu Oh's single-season home run record.
In other Reds news, besides the Arroyo-Pena trade, the Reds also acquired catcher David Ross from the Padres. David Ross is another one of those players I have an irrational attachment to for no apparent reason, even if he does sort of look like that jerk catcher/DH Jake Parkman from the movie Major League II. I sort of hoped he'd finally get some playing time with the Pirates last year in Jason Kendall's place, but didn't; then he got traded to the Padres, who then picked up Doug Mirabelli and Mike Piazza; hopefully maybe he'll finally settle in with the Reds this year.
It also sounds like with Pena gone, rather than moving Adam Dunn to first base in Sean Casey's wake, they'll keep Dunn in the outfield and let Scott Hatteberg play first, which is also cool for the Pickin' Machine.
I saw a lot of cool shots of the Japan team 胴上げ (throwing the manager up in the air in victory), but my favorite post-WBC picture is this one:
Japan WBC Team with trophy
Even Ichiro's smiling. I wish I could have a picture like this as a wall poster.
Speaking of funky Japanese baseball-related pictures, Bobby Valentine posted this one to his blog the other day -- it's a poster advertising their home opener series next week between the Chiba Lotte Marines and the Nippon Ham Fighters. But that's not why it's cool. It's cool because I hadn't noticed this particular 2006 Marines font thingy before.
2 00 6 Marines-Fighters poster
See, much like the "12th man" deal here, the Marines do not have a player wearing number 26 on their roster -- number 26 is reserved for the fans, the "26th person on the bench". So the fan club is called "Team 26" or "Club 26" or what have you. Conveniently, the year 2006 is the number "26" with two 0's in the middle, which makes for some really interesting gimmicks, such as this one where they're using an infinity symbol for it. It's neat and symbolic and clever.