Monday, July 24, 2006

Roundup: Weirder than Shinjo, and Fasa-NOOOOOOO

Sal Fasano Designated For Assignment. I feel sort of bad for the guy, especially after he started off the season so well and ended up with a fan club and everything. Honestly, the part I don't get is why he won't accept an assignment to AAA - September roster expansions are a month away, and all things considered, Mike Lieberthal is a perennial DL-spot waiting to happen, and who knows if Coste can maintain his current pace in the bigs? (Though I hope he can. I like Chris Coste.)

Today is Barry Bonds's birthday, and he's the birthday listed on my ballparks calendar, but if you look at the list of other people born on July 24, would you be able to guess offhand who I think is the most interesting person?

Well, the Fasano reference should serve as a hint -- it's Jack Clements, who became a Phillies catcher in 1884, their second year of existence, and hung around there until 1897. He was part of the group of great hitters of the 1890's Phillies that included HOFers Billy Hamilton, Sam Thompson, and Ed Delahanty. But even more unique about Jack Clements is that he was major league baseball's only true left-handed catcher.

"Weirder than Shinjo?", you ask.

Well, last weekend was Japan's All-Star Break, and the Central League beat the Pacific League in both games, 3-1 and 7-4. I could write up more myself, but Gary Garland has, as usual, done a great job summing up both games in English at japanbaseballdaily: Game One / Game Two.

Only thing he didn't mention is the out-weirdoness of the two outfielders from the Nippon Ham Fighters with their antics in the first game.

I mean, everyone EXPECTS Shinjo to do crazy stuff. Apparently he wanted to land a helicopter on the field to make his entrance, which was not allowed... so instead, he wielded a rainbow-colored bat and wore an LED display on his belt that supposedly said, in English, "Never mind whatever I do!!! Fan is my treasure!!!" They also apparently decided Shinjo was the game's "MBP" - "Most Bakushou Player", which means amusing.

Here's a picture of Shinjo with the crazy belt and the rest of the colorful crap he was wearing.

But, that's not all.

Another Fighters outfielder, Hichori Morimoto, who was also on the All-Star roster, decided to dress up as an alien during the first game, and in effect, out-weirded Shinjo. Morimoto painted his entire head bright green and put on alien ears and antennae, and sat around in the dugout and the pre-game festivities dressed as such. Here he is on the bench between Kazuhiro Kiyohara and Daisuke Matsuzaka (who looks like he can't decide whether to be scared or amused), and later on they had him coaching third base (pictured here as Tomoya Satozaki ran by after hitting a solo home run).

Funny freaky Fighters.

Anyway, as for the rest of the weekend, after Friday's game, I ignored the Mariners on Saturday and Sunday, and as a result they won both games. My softball team lost again on Sunday, but I personally wore baseball pants and high socks and ended up being 3-for-3 at the plate and scored a run, so I can't be too unhappy about it.

Batgirl has a Lego version of Pat Neshek's delivery, and even Neshek himself thought it was funny. Speaking of which, reading his blog is really pretty cool -- the way he talks about baseball and about baseball cards almost just sounds like another random fan, except then you think, whoa, he's a major league pitcher! Fun stuff.

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