I really just needed an excuse to pass along this Sports Illustrated Q&A with Kei Igawa which is the funniest sports interview I've ever read in my entire life. You have to wonder if he was trying to be deadpan, or if things got lost in translation, or what. Make sure you read the second page as well. (Thanks to mijow on the jb forums for posting it; it gave me a huge laugh when I really needed one.)
The Lotte Zuleta deal became official. So did Guiel with Yakult.
Fighters pitcher Tomoya Yagi, 2006 PL ROY, cut his hair really short and it looks weird.
Well, you know I'm a huge Makoto Kaneko fan, and I hadn't noticed that he was still doing Weekly Mack radio interviews even after the Japan Series, though the last one is from Christmas, talking about Christmas memories and about how he got his nickname and random other stuff. Also, the 2007 Jan/Feb wallpapers on the official Fighters site are of Kaneko and of manager Hillman. I've got the Kaneko wallpaper up; it's cute because it looks like he's staring in confusion at all my desktop icons.
Nikkan Sports has been doing daily "New Face" articles on the new Fighters draftees and I was thinking I'd translate and compile highlights of them when they're all done, but if you want to read what's there so far, today's was of Ken Miyamoto, their college/industry kibouwaku pick from Waseda. They did articles on the high school picks first, with Mitsuo Yoshikawa, Yuusuke Uemura and Romash Tasuku Dass.
Michihiro Ogasawara's clean-shaven doppleganger is training at his old stomping grounds at the NTT Kanto facilities in Funabashi, where he played in the industrial leagues. His theme for this year is 挑戦, "Challenge". He apparently got a little sunburned while travelling in Hawaii over New Year's. See, that's what he gets for shaving his beard off and leaving the Fighters!
There's a rumor that Nolan Ryan might coach the Fighters for a week or two during spring camp, helping out fellow Texans Trey Hillman and Dave Owen. No idea if there's any substance to it, but that'd be damn cool if it came to pass. Also, maybe he could help straighten out the Ryan Glynn / Andy Green name issue by being another "Ryan".
Actually, players are doing personal training all over the place -- you know, the training they do BEFORE reporting to Spring Camp on February 1. Fortunately, reporters are following them all over the place. While several of the Hawks are going to Guam, Hiroki Kokubo and Kazumi Saitoh are apparently coming to Arizona to train for a few weeks, actually, but of course, I have no idea where in Arizona exactly.
On a sadder note, Giants slugger Seung-Yeop Lee's mother died of a brain tumor today. That sucks.
I don't feel like making a whole separate entry for these links but:
Kazuo Fukumori goes to Todaiji and tries to fit through the "nose of the Daibutsu" hole in a wooden pillar near the Buddha. I swear to god my best friend and I spent like twenty minutes watching various people try to do this when we went there in September. It was hilarious.
Nikkan Sports has a little part of their site called Darvish's Room. You know, just so there can be a nice little section of the web that is All Darvish, All The Time. I love it, I really do. It goes perfectly with their Shinjo Legends page...
EDIT 1/8> Keisaku Itokazu and Kazunori Yamamoto were added to the Fighters new faces, so I'm keeping track here.