Sunday, May 24, 2009

Things I Saw This Weekend

I spent all weekend watching baseball or talking about baseball, thus I had no time to blog about baseball. So in the next day or two I'm going to try to play some catchup, but wanted to mention a few things quickly...

Final score from the Meiji-Hosei game today.

Hosei beat Meiji to take their 43rd championship title in the Tokyo Big 6 University League. I was sitting in the right field stands, taking advantage of the whole free baseball thing, though it was pretty rainy. I'll write a lot more about the game soon enough -- but in short, it was really close. Hosei won it on a walkoff solo home run by Ryo Imai, whose hero interview speech basically consisted of "YAY!" The losing pitcher was Yusuke Nomura, who was brought into the game in the 8th inning despite throwing 148 pitches the day before -- really, I know he's the best Meiji has, but it's still no surprise that he gave up a home run like that (and there's historical precedent for this kind of thing, even).

Final score from the Todai-Rikkio game.

I also caught the last few innings of the most ridiculous landslide win ever. I hope Suzuki-kun can pitch again next season so Todai might actually win a game, since they didn't manage to win a single one this season. On the other hand, I still maintain that Todai has the best marching band in the entire league.

In the realm of crazy things I saw OUTSIDE Jingu...

Masaichi Kaneda was doing a signing session.

Yes, really. Masaichi FREAKING Kaneda. The Meikyukai Man himself.

I came out of the stadium after the final ceremonies for the Big 6 championship and all, and there were several huge crowds; some were waiting to get into the evening's Softbank/Yakult game, but there were also a TON of people around this little tent. I wondered, "What on earth is in THERE?" and then I saw the sign explaining that Kaneda was doing a signing session and my jaw dropped. I have NO clue how you could actually get into it, and I basically took photos with my little camera while on my tiptoes trying to see over people, but, WOW, I was standing like 15 feet from the winningest pitcher in Japanese baseball history! How cool is that?

In the category of things I saw on Saturday...

Final score from the Marines-Dragons game at Chiba Marine Stadium.

I guess this was the weekend for crazy walkoff games, because the Dragons-Marines game also was that way. The Dragons had a narrow 1-0 lead for most of the game behind Wei-yin Chen, but as soon as he came out of the game the Marines offense caught up with the Dragons bullpen, culminating in a walkoff hit by game hero Shoitsu Ohmatsu. The only sad part is that my boyfriend Shunsuke Watanabe (seriously, I still have a knack for showing up only when he pitches) didn't get the win, though he pitched really well regardless.

In case you are wondering:

So far, the people outside of Chiba Marine Stadium with the Bobby 2010 banners have collected 63580 signatures, which is approximately the same number of people who have attended Yokohama Baystars games this year. (Zing!)

I took my usual 800 photos and have barely been able to go through them, let alone crop/resize them, so I'll just post a random one that I really liked:

Koichi Hori breaking his bat in the 6th inning.

And another topic for this post should probably be "people I saw this weekend":

In addition to all of the usual suspects around Chiba Marine Stadium, I also got to meet the authors of two other Japanese baseball blogs, which is always fun, because I love being able to put a face to a name and just to geek out about baseball with people.

After the game was over, I caught up with Steve Novosel, who writes We Love Marines, a blog about the Chiba Lotte Marines that is all about the Marines and a lot funnier than my blog. Steve managed to end up on TV the other day cheering, so now he's also getting random Marines fans coming up to him saying "OMG! I saw you on TV!"

And for part of the game and for quite a while after the game I got to talk to Gen Sueyoshi, who runs SimCentral, and very specifically writes a blog called Japanese-American Perspectives which is mostly about Japanese baseball. He writes game summaries EVERY day and translates snippets of interesting news articles, kind of like what Gary Garland used to do on japanbaseballdaily before he got burned out. I'd say that Gen and I both spend the same amount of time being obsessed about baseball, only I spend a lot more of that time going to games and singing a lot, and Gen spends a lot more time actually doing useful things like translating articles.

OH! And before I forget, technically Friday was this weekend, so this sort of counts -- you may recall I got my Fighters jersey signed by my favorite Fighters ni-gun player, catcher Ryota Imanari, a few weeks ago down in Kamagaya. Or actually, maybe not, since I didn't write about that game! Crap, add another thing to my list of Stuff I Need To Post About. Anyway, the day before my birthday I dropped off my jersey at Sports Authority to get them to put his name and uniform number on it, and on Friday they called me to say that it was finished!

Watch, now he'll get traded. Or change numbers. Or both.

The guy at the shop also told me that it was the first time he'd ever seen a gaijin come in and order a jersey with kanji on it. I told him that well, I figured that if I was going to get a jersey made in Japan, I ought to get it with Japanese on it, right?

I'm psyched, though. I'm going to try to make it down to the Fighters game in Yokohama on Thursday, even though I know I can't get there until 6:30 or so, because when the going gets tough, the tough get ouen. Or something like that.

Speaking of everyone's favorite Fighters ni-gun players, that Nakata Sho kid got called up to ichi-gun last week since Sledge got taken off the active roster for a week or two to heal a hamstring strain. Sho-kun got to be the starting DH in Saturday's game against Yakult and he got his first ichi-gun hit, which I'm sure he's delighted about. Then on Sunday he made a pinch-hitting appearance and also got a hit. If the Fighters could just clear up the logjam at 1B/DH they'd have a spot for him, although to be fair, his defense is so bad that he's not even all that dependable as a first baseman.

I'll be honest -- I'm happier to see Shintaro Ejiri up at ichi-gun again and being productive so far with his new sidearm delivery. I'm a pretty big Ejiri fan and I really want him to succeed, plus the Fighters bullpen really needs it.

If I took over the Fighters, I'd keep Sho at ni-gun for the year, and then in the offseason make some moves to open up the DH spot for him at ichi-gun, and shift the foreign talent towards pitching rather than hitting. And I'd also invent a time machine and undo the Nioka trade. Though there was a big deal a few days ago about Micheal Nakamura getting sent down to the minors by the Yomiuri Giants because he hasn't been good enough for them; I think it's just that he's still resisting the Giabbits with their big pointy teeth attempting to devour his soul. Maybe I'll just pretend that the Fighters were REALLY trading for Masanori Hayashi all along.

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