This week the Fighters and Eagles faced off for a three-game series, both going into it with a 19-12 record, tied for first place. The Fighters won two games and the Eagles won one, so the Fighters moved into sole posession of the top spot! Hooray! I've been meaning to make a post all week about some of this stuff but I've been too exhausted from dealing with obnoxious junior high school students.
Makoto Kaneko was the April Pacific League MVP. This was his first time receiving a monthly MVP award in his career -- after 16 years of playing -- which was the longest time ever for a player to receive their first monthly MVP award. But he totally deserved it given what a good April he had (batting .423, the record for hitting doubles in 7 consecutive games, etc). Kaneko, ever humble, suggested that he didn't really deserve the award, and just hoped to continue taking things one day at a time and working hard. He will receive the award in a ceremony before the game against Hanshin on May 30th.
Down on the farm, Sho Nakata also got a monthly MVP, for March and April. He hit a lot of home runs, and his comment was basically "I'm hoping to make my way up to ichi-gun as soon as possible". Sho-kun gets his award on Saturday the 16th before the game at Kamagaya.
I mentioned that the Fighters ouendan made a cheer song to use for Darvish during interleague, but the words didn't make sense. Fortunately, the words have already changed, and now it goes:
雄叫びあげて 唸るその剛腕 我らのエース 日本のエース
osakebi agete unaru sono gouwan warera no ACE nihon no ACE
Meaning roughly "we give a loud cheer for your strong arm, you're our ace, you're Japan's ace". I guess it's less confusing than random numbers for his uniform number...
Speaking of new songs, over Golden Week the Fighters unveiled their new pop song for the year, "La La La Fighters", sung by Hokkaido native Miho Fukuhara. If you want to hear it, there are several Youtube videos of her performance at the Sapporo Dome. In all honesty, something about the tune sort of reminds me of the song "Lucky Star" by Madonna. However, it's still nowhere as cool as Kentaro Hayami's "Fighters Tamashii" which usually gets played at Kamagaya games (and should really be played at more, since it has such awesome lyrics).
Through some miracle, the Fighters' minor-league team is ALSO in first place in the Eastern League. (See farm stats.)
I still need to post about Fighters vs. Futures on May 2. Hmm.