I would talk about last night's White Sox-Mariners game, except that I didn't go, and losing 13-3 looks a lot more like a football score, which is depressing.
On the other hand, perhaps I could spend a sentence mentioning that I still have a crush on Joe Crede. Or not.
Have you all been reading Baseball Between the Numbers? Don't forget, the next book club meeting is on May 6th at 4pm to discuss it! I'll see you all there, right? (I'm finally trying to put up a separate page so you can tell all your friends about book club! It's still a skeleton page but I'll add more to it this week.)
I've had some link roundups in mind as I've collected them in the last week, so I'll unload those for now. Most are NPB-related, aside from a funny post full of quotes on Baseball Prospectus (funny to me because of Byrnes content), and uh, Papelbon's mohawk, which may actually be even weirder than the Mariners hair-dye fad last year.
Today is (well, due to time differences, April 26 was) Kosuke Fukudome's birthday, so the Chunichi Dragons had a Fukudome Day at the Nagoya Dome. In appropriate fashion, Fukudome knocked in the winning run in the 7th inning. No, I don't have English links for either of those yet.
Last week, Tsuyoshi Shinjo announced he plans to retire at the end of the 2006 season. In typical flamboyant Shinjo style, he not only announced it in a post-game hero interview after belting a grand slam, but he also didn't tell anyone beforehand, so it was a shock to even his closest family.
Now, despite how I think Shinjo is a complete nutcase, I know he's been a great asset to the team in the last few years. He's done a ton to help make the Fighters' move to Sapporo a smooth one, both on and off the field, and I hope they can maintain a fanbase without him. I like what Bobby Valentine had to say about him, anyway.
Another interesting Fighters game while I was gone was where lefty rookie Tomoya Yagi pitched ten innings of no-hit baseball and still didn't get the win as he, Hisashi Takeda, and Micheal Nakamura combined for a 12-inning no-hitter against the Hawks. The Fighters didn't push a run ahead until the top of the 12th inning. Man. It's still a great accomplishment for a rookie though, especially against potent hitters like Zuleta, Matsunaka, and even Jolbert Cabrera.
However, the day after that, as the Fighters blanked the Hawks 4-0 for a second day straight, Julio Zuleta totally lost it in the 6th inning after being hit by a pitch by the Fighters' veteran pitcher Satoru Kanemura, and charged the mound and beat him up. There's a bunch of pictures of the incident up on Japan Baseball Daily, but all in all, it sounds like the Hawks lost one of their best hitters and the Fighters lost their best pitcher as Zuleta was suspended 10 days and fined and later given a community service sentence as well, and Kanemura was put on the DL while they check out his injuries resulting from the attack. That's just one bad situation all around.
Since this is a Fighters-centric report anyway, I'll mention that Japanball claimed the Mets released Yusaku Iriki, although I am under the impression he is still playing at Norfolk and just was just DFA'ed off the Mets' 40-man roster and passed waivers.
By the way, in non-Fighters news, when I was so happy the injured Takahashi on the Giants was Hisanori instead of Yoshinobu a few weeks back, I apparently jinxed Yoshinobu, who is now out with a strained/bruised oblique, although unlike Spiezio, I think this one is for real. Unfortunately it looks like he'll be out for a few weeks, though reports say he's been hiking and otherwise making sure to stay in shape.
Speaking of name collisions, there was an amusing game the other day when Seibu trampled Rakuten 11-1. That's not the amusing part. The amusing part is that Daisuke Matsuzaka started for Seibu, and rookie Shingo Matsuzaki started for Rakuten. Considering how many people here *already* get Matsuzaka's name wrong, I can only imagine how completely confused they'd be in a Matsuzaka-Matsuzaki pitching matchup.
In another bizarre circumstance, there's actually a good article about the NPB on mlb.com, although the guy who wrote it is Stephen Ellsesser, who has my dream job; he's an English language sports beat reporter for the Japan Times. Still, kudos to mlb.com for getting an article from an authoritative source for once, even if it was like two weeks after Kanemoto's consecutive-inning-streak record-breaking game and all that.