Monday, January 22, 2007

Kazumi Saitoh in Arizona, Part 3

I've got a bunch of things going on such that I haven't had much time to work on the blogging things I wanted to. Sorry about that. I'm actually thinking of going to Mariners Fan Fest next Sunday (even though it'll make me sad that it's not as cool as Phillies fan events. Also, how about that Chase Utley contract?)

So instead, here's another translation installment of Kazumi Saitoh's blogging about training in Arizona. I forget if I explained this, but in Japan, spring training (aka "spring camp") starts on February 1st, but most players start what's called 自主トレ, or "independent training" around the beginning of January. Yeah, they're crazy, but at least it's something to read about besides contracts. Most guys just hang out in their local area -- the Fighters, for example, are training near Chiba -- but some go to various other places, and as previously mentioned, Softbank Hawks players Kokubo, Egawa, and Saitoh are in Arizona, along with Yokohama's Yoshimi.

Anyway, here's Saitoh's latest blog entry, and my translation, which is about their daily routine:
Well, I'm half done my independent training time in Arizona, and I feel like I'm almost ready to start our real spring training.
Here, let me tell everyone about the daily routine I have in Arizona. (I'm betting *some* people might wonder about it...)

First, we're all staying in separate rooms so we have slightly different schedules, but I get up at 5:30am:

5:30 AM: Wake up
6:00 AM: Breakfast
6:40 AM: Leave the hotel
7:00 AM: Arrive at the gym

Upon arriving at the gym, as soon as preparations are done, we start practice! (The coaches get there even earlier than we do.)

Each day's gym workout routine is a little different, but takes about the same amount of time, we're usually there until around 9 or 10am.
Once we're finished training in the gym, we head to the baseball stadium. It takes about 20 minutes to get there by car. And once we get to the stadium, we start our practice there!
First we do running, 12 times around the field, for lower body strengthening. Then we do 12 reps of sit-ups and other back stretches. Then once that's all over, we finally actually do something with a baseball!
We pitchers throw a baseball around, while the fielders also play catch and pepper (one guy throws the ball lightly and hits it back), and bat off a tee. We start practice so early that by the time the afternoon rolls around, we go back to the hotel and do things like playing golf for a few hours for a change of pace.
Since we get up so early in the morning, we also go to sleep early. I'm always asleep by 9pm, and before I know it, it's morning! (laughs)
This is what it's like to do "independent training".

This year, again just like last year, I'm training hard to be a new and different "Kazumi Saitoh" than before. I hope you're all looking forward to this season, I know I am!
So, "Good night!"

Nikkan Sports caught up with the guys in Arizona and put up a few pictures: Egawa hitting, Saitoh and Kokubo stretching, Saitoh and Kokubo reading off the day's routine, Kokubo hitting.

While I'm at it, there's plenty of other awesome independent training shots on Nikkan Sports:
Tigers: Spaceman Tomoaki Kanemoto, Gunner Okazaki, some new form of Torture the Rookie, Tatsuya Kojima competing for worst teeth on the team, and Mizuochi gets sent to the farm team on a cart. No, just kidding.

Fighters: A Hichori sighting!, Yagi and Takeda pose with some bored-looking kids, Naoto Inada does a DJ OZMA pose, Takahito Kudoh and "also, puppies", and outfielder Inaba is throwing in the bullpen? What?

Hawks: Tsuyoshi Wada practices archery, and uhhh, I have no idea what Matsunaka and Matsuda are doing in a picture captioned "I will make the opening day lineup". Also, this is what a coaches' meeting looks like, apparently.

Akinori Iwamura will apparently not have a Japanese teammate after all, as Shinji Mori was released on Thursday, supposedly. Well, unless Jason Grabowski counts, as a Devil Rays NRI who played (and sucked) last season with the Orix Buffaloes.

Also, the Yomiuri Giants signed Luis Gonzalez. No, not this one, this one. I hope *they* realize that, though...

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