Wednesday, October 04, 2006

If It Hadn't Been For Park Chan Ho, It'd Been Over Long Time Ago

Where did he come from, where did he go?

Here we go for more Postseason Hoedown. Or is that Hostseason Poe-down? Hmm.

Book Club

I can't make it to book club this Saturday at all. I am under the vague impression that it could go on without me, from what a few people have told me. Am I correct? I'm thinking that maybe it should go into a hiatus until DMZ's book comes out in February, although I may feel differently in a month or two when I start catching up on my stack of unread baseball books and want to force everyone else to read some of them too.

Most Evaluable Player

If you're a geek who thinks Win Probability is cool, the amazing and inimitable Jeff Sullivan over at Lookout Landing has been doing witty WinExp% charts for the Mariners all year, and the results are in -- JJ Putz was the WPA MVP of the team this year. Discussion ensues about where the faults in the method arise, as well, but I think we can all agree that Putz was a sensational closer. KENtastic also posted the Win Shares for the team, if you're more into the classic Bill James school of thinking. It puts Raul Ibanez at the top, and as he was the top hitter per WPA as well, this makes sense. Ibanez played in more games than Putz, of course, and he had one heck of a season (.289/.353/.516, 33 HR, 123 RBI), better than just about anybody anticipated.

A Long Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

...the Atlanta Braves didn't win a division title.

So Far, So Good, So What?

Zito 3, Santana 2.
Carpenter 5, Peavy 1.
Wang 8, Robertson 4.

I'm not allowed to make postseason predictions this year. I'm fine with pretty much anyone winning except the Yankees. If you stuck a gun to my head and asked me who I was rooting for, I'd probably say the A's, but if someone else stuck a gun to my head, I'd probably say the Twins, and then if someone else stuck a gun to my head, I'd be wondering where you all got these guns, and then suggest that it'd be delightful if Mike Cameron and Brian Giles both went yard off Jeff "Jered's Older Brother" Weaver tomorrow.

Even Kokoyakyu's a Rerun Tonight

Waseda vs. Komadai. Saito Yuki vs. Tanaka Masahiro, yet again, this time for the finals of the Hyogo Kokutai sports festival. Waseda won 1-0, with Saito pitching a shutout and driving in the only run of the game. I can't imagine this is going to make the insane Japanese media any less insane about him.

There's a Hiroshima Carp pitcher named Saito Yuki as well, who's only a year older than the high school star. One main difference is that he's left-handed. The other main difference is that he's apparently got a wicked sense of humor, and when he won his debut game the other day, he took out a red handkerchief to wipe his forehead during his post-game hero interview to poke fun of his name, playing off the blue handkerchief that started the Waseda star's "handkerchief prince" legacy. I heartily approve. (Thanks to Gary for the original pointer, of course)

Of course, if you look at their names it's obvious -- 斉藤祐樹 is Saito Yuki the 18-year-old Waseda pitcher, 齊藤悠葵 is Saito Yuki the 19-year-old Carp pitcher. Duh!

In a funny twist of fate, the Carp's Saito's victory debut game also featured my other favorite NPB name double, journeyman Kimura Takuya, currently on the Giants. It would be folly to confuse his name (木村拓也) with that of another Kimura Takuya (木村拓哉), the lead singer of the mega-popular J-Pop band SMAP, even though they too are only half a year apart in age.

(As a note, I know I've recently switched back and forth between lastname-first, firstname-first in describing Japanese players, but today I did lastname-first because of the kanji names. Also, I'm still damn inclined to spell it "Saitoh Yuuki", but I dunno, usually I've seen Japanese people romanize it "Saito Yuki", like on this book, so I'm going with that. For the record, I try to spell Japanese names the way the player does -- hence "Johjima" last winter when people were writing "Jojima", and hence "Saitoh" for Kazumi Saitoh, because HE spells it that way, it says "K. Saitoh" on his uniform, etc. And I'm pretty sure the guy on the Carp has "Saitoh" on his uniform as well.)

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