Saturday, October 31, 2009

Semi-liveblogging: Japan Series, Game 1

For various reasons I'm home to watch the first game of the Japan Series. At least this year I *can* see it on BS1. I probably won't be home for any of the other games, though.

I'm liveblogging, but I'm not going to be translating every batter -- more like, as stuff happens that I want to call out, I'll note it here. To be honest, I'm still working on Draft photoposts as I watch the game. I've been discovering neat things about some of these guys as I work on it.

There's also a chatroom on japanesebaseball.com if you want to come in and chat about the game.

                     

Sakamoto ss Kensuke 2b
Matsumoto cf Hichori lf
Shaven Doppleganger 3b Inaba rf
Rami-chan dh Shinji 1b
Turtleface rf Sledge dh
Tani lf Koyano 3b
Shinnosuke c Itoi cf
Kimutaku 1b Tsuruoka c
Furuki 2b Kaneko! ss

---------- ----------
Gonzalez Masaru Takeda


6:16pm: Sakamoto strikes out to start the game. That makes me happy.

6:21pm: Hey, how many former Fighters can you spot in the Giants' lineup? (There are three.) Or more like, can you guess how many guys in their lineup were actually DRAFTED by the Giants? (There are three.) Whereas the Fighters lineup has exactly one guy in it that has played for any other teams in Japan -- everyone else came up through our system or in the case of Sledge was signed with us first.

Anyway, three up three down in the first for the Giants. Whee.

6:26pm: Three up three down for the Fighters in the first. Also, Shinnosuke Abe looks like freaking BATMAN with this weird orange thing on his chest protector. WTF.

6:31pm: uh, Yoshitomo Tani just hit a ball into the front row of the Fighters' cheering section in left field. So uh, 1-0 Giants. But everyone else went down peacefully in the top of the 2nd.

6:39pm: Terrmel Sledge shows Tani how a REAL MAN hits a home run and sends one about 10-15 rows back IN CENTER FIELD. YEAH! 1-1!

6:48pm: Two on! Two on! Two hits! And sadly Makoto Kaneko is rung up on a called third strike to leave Itoi and Tsuru-chan standing there. Two innings down.

6:54pm: Highlights from the 1981 Japan Series on BS1! Korakuen showdown! And the Fighters ouendan are singing "Shiroi Ball Fantasy", the Pacific League song, which is usually only for interleague. Cool!

7pm Inaba singles, Shinji hits one to short that even Wonderboy can't come up with, Sledge... grounds out. Oops. That's three innings...

7:05-9pm Soka-soka boy Koyano dives for a nice play on Matsumoto. Ogasawara's clean-shaven doppleganger singles, and it's really weird seeing him standing next to Shinji both wearing #2. Rami hits one out to the gap in left-center but Itoi is too good to let it fall. And Kamei grounds out to Kensuke!

7:24pm I don't like how the Giants have so many guys on base. But at least Shinji saved Masaru from totally bobbling a bunt there. Now if only he could strike out Wonderboy to end this threat.... CRAP, Wonderboy hits it to left. At least it's not a home run, it bounces against the wall just below the yellow line, but that's gonna be a double and score both of the dudes currently on base. 3-1 Giants.

7:38pm Hey, Kensuke and Hichori singled and now Inaba's up and there's an Inaba jump and only one out in the bottom of the 5th, I should pay attention! Except Inaba strikes out :( And Shinji grounds out. And that's 5 innings gone.

7:58pm Bottom 6th, two on, Itoi at bat, no outs, Genghis Khan chance theme!

7:59pm BUNT FAILS. Two on, Tsuboi pinch-hitting, one out, still chance theme.

8pm ...Gonzalez has left the building. Now introducing Yamaguchi...

8:04pm ...now introducing pinch-hitter Nioka instead...

8:08pm and Nioka singles to left, Koyano scores! 3-2 Giants still, but we're catching up!

8:11pm Chitty Chitty Bang Bang chance theme sees Kaneko strike out and Kensuke hit a fly ball out to center. Sigh.

8:15pm Great, Yoshinori Tateyama takes the mound for us. Fortunately the Giants already have the lead, so he can't possibly give it to them.
8:18pm And Hayashi is already out there. So both recent former Giants have appeared.

8:21 Shinnosuke on second, Tani on third, and Kimutaku batting, no out. I hates Giants, I do.

8:29 I went away for a minute or two and suddenly Ejiri is pitching and Seung-Yeop Lee is batting and singling in a run. Grr. 4-2 Giants.

8:31 Ejiri strikes out Wonderboy!

8:56 It's the bottom of the 8th and nothing's really changed. Though Daisuke Ochi is out there now, so maybe they will.

9:15 I'm so lazy. Now Marc Kroon is out there, for the top of the Fighters order...

9:17 Kensuke hits a weird grounder just over Kroon that takes a weird bounce that Wonderboy can't get either! Infield single.

9:21 Hichori grounds out to short (on like a 3-1 pitch), Kensuke to second. Mound conference for Kroon, eh?

9:23 Inaba, fly ball to right, Kensuke tags up to third, but...

9:25 SHINJI HITS A DOUBLE TO THE WALL! Kensuke scores, 4-3 Giants. Kita no Kuni Kara chance theme continues...

9:29 Sledge walks, on a pitch in the dirt, after a full count and some fouls. OMG SUSPENSE.

9:34 Koyano gets called out on a third strike. WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT CALL?

Man, that sucks. I hope the Fighters win tomorrow, they really need to at least split the Sapporo games.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Foto: NPB Draftees, Part 1 - Central League

I said I'd compile a post with photos of all the 2009 NPB draftees that I've taken, so here we go. These are from all sorts of amateur baseball games, from the Koshien HS tournament to college baseball league games and tournaments, to the industrial league tournament, even to some independent baseball like the Shikoku-Kyushu Island League.

Let's try this in team order by 2009 standings, especially since that puts my least favorite guy up first.

Giants

Hisayoshi Chono (OF, #1 pick, Chikuyo Gakuen HS -> Nihon University -> Honda)

If you don't already know, there isn't a single amateur player out there that I despised more than Hisayoshi Chono. And fortunately, there isn't a single team out there that I despise more than the Giants. So this is going to be a good combination.

Chono basically said straight out that he refused to play for any pro team besides the Giants. Sure, there are a LOT of kids who grow up as Giants fans thanks to either their parents, or their area of the country only getting Giants games on TV, or whatever, but most boys with aspirations of becoming a pro baseball player realize that it's more important to PLAY BASEBALL than it is to BE ON THE GIANTS.

Chono first pissed off most of the entire island of Hokkaido in 2006 when the Fighters drafted him out of Nihondai -- right after winning the Japan Series -- and he said "You guys suck, I'll only play for the Giants." Then in 2008 the Marines tried to draft him too, out of Honda. Bobby personally went to try to visit him and was repeatedly rebuffed -- "what part of 'only for the Giants' didn't you losers understand?"

I don't really know exactly why the Giants took him now, but good riddance. What I want to see is his first few ni-gun appearances at Kamagaya and Lotte Urawa, to see how the Fighters and Marines fans react to him :) For quite a while, if I typed 長野 (Chono) into my cellphone, it suggested I wanted to auto-complete it with 馬鹿 (idiot). This actually started because one of my other friends had dubbed him Chono-moron and sent it in enough emails my phone decided it must be his name.

Anyway, here he is in the 2008 Intercity Tournament, during a moment where I stopped booing him long enough to take a photo:



Genki Kawano (C, Ikusei #2, Kyushu Kokusai Univ HS)

Actually, I barely really saw Kawano play. The Kyushu Kokusai vs. Shonan game was the third game on August 16th, and I had been at Koshien since 7am to see Aomori Yamada, Nodai Niko, Teikyo, and Tsuruga Kehi. By the time the 3rd game started I was sunburnt and had a terrible headache, which I later figured out was the start of heatstroke. So rather than staying at Koshien all day and getting sick, I went home after the first inning of that 3rd game, and recovered from the heat.

(Which, in retrospect, though, SUCKS, because the fourth game of that day was Meiho vs. Saijo. So I missed seeing Meiho's Imamiya-kun, who I'd fallen in love with on TV, and also this uppity Akiyama kid from Saijo, apparently. Alas.)

Anyway, Kawano was the catcher and #5-spot batter for their team. So I essentially saw him play as a catcher for one inning, and then I left before his first at-bat. But I DID see him play! Really!


(He was ready to bat in the 1st inning but then didn't have to, so here he is hastily doing a Use Armor proficiency check, with a +2 on the roll for help from a party member.)

Dragons

Ryoji Nakata (OF, #1 pick, Meitoku Gijuku HS -> Asia University)

I saw Nakata for the first time in a Toyodai-Asiadai game last fall. I was there and sitting on the Toyodai 1st-base side taking photos of Hiroki Ueno.

So it was VERY hard to NOT notice that there was this GIGANTIC dude playing first base for Asia. I mean, seriously, he is HUGE. Easily twice as wide as almost any other player out there, though not actually any taller. Rumor says he was scouted as a sumo player at one point but loves baseball too much to do anything else.

Nakata scared the crap out of Tohto league pitchers when he batted .314/.405/.713 as a freshman in the fall of 2006 with 4 home runs, although that ended up being pretty much his best semester. (Funny part is, he wasn't even in the top 10 batters in the league that semester, and both Hisayoshi Chono and Kei Nomoto beat his HR total.) He had a great college career in general though, going .278/.355/.438 overall and getting 103 hits over 8 semesters, no small feat. He also walked 44 times.


Mr. Big!


He's a big bunter, but not a big bunter.


Chasing down a foul ball -- the boy CAN run, actually.

I am mostly looking forward to him getting to ichi-gun because I am sure there will be a REALLY good Ryoji bento someday. :)

Swallows

Takahiro Araki (IF, #3 pick, Teikyo #3 HS -> Kinki University)

Okay, I don't actually have any good photos of him, though I've seen him plenty in the college ball magazines this year. At first I always got him confused with Fumiya Araki, the shortstop for Meiji, who is also a solid player and who also plays both shortstop and centerfield and is known for getting on base and stealing bases once he gets there, and Fumiya is from Nichidai Sanko and Takahiro is from Teikyo Sanko... yeah, you get the idea.

I saw this Araki play once, in the Japan-US All-Collegiate tournament. In that game, he struck out three times and was hit by a pitch once, so nothing impressive, though he played shortstop and did a decent job of it.

Maike Magario (OF, Ikusei #1, Aomori Yamada HS)

I had a LOT of time to read magazines on my 12 hours of local train riding to get to Koshien a la Seishun 18, and so I was reading info for all of the teams that I was likely to see there, when I came across an intriguing name on the Aomori roster: 曲尾マイケ. At first I thought it was actually a typo and it was supposed to be マイケル, or Michael, and they just ran out of space due to most Japanese names not taking more than 5 characters. Except that's kind of silly since names CAN take 6 characters sometimes.

Anyway, as it turns out, he was born in Brazil, but moved to Japan when he was 5 years old, and started playing baseball in elementary school. Most articles refer to him and his family as being "Nikkei", or being of Japanese descent, but it's unclear what percentage Japanese exactly -- perhaps entirely Japanese-descended Brazilians, something like that. I'm sure there will be more about it surfacing in the next few weeks, especially with him joining the same team as Daniel Yuichi Matsumoto, and last year's Ikusei pick Rafael Fernandez...

The game I saw Maike in was the morning of August 16th. He was playing right field and batting sixth, and didn't really do anything extraordinary until the 9th inning of a game that had been tied 1-1 since the 3rd. With two outs in the bottom of said 9th, Maike hit a grounder deep into the hole at short for an infield single, stole second during the next batter's at-bat, and then unfortunately had to hold up on third during the next batter's single to left, so he was still on third when the next guy lined out. Nodai Niko scored a run in the 10th inning and won the game 2-1, sending Aomori Yamada home in their first match.




Dugout conference.

Will be interesting to see how he develops with the Swallows, who already have some Brazilian connections.

Tigers

Kazuhito Futagami (P, #1 pick, Kochi HS -> Hosei University)

Futagami is one of two guys in this draft who I actually have MET, even if it was essentially just to say "Dude, you rock, I've been watching you for years, can I get a photo with you?"

Seriously, if you haven't heard me talk about Futagami enough already, go back and read all of my Hosei posts. I would make a Futagami tag, except that I'm unlikely to ever see him again now that he's with the Tigers. But essentially, almost every single time I've ever seen Hosei play, Futagami was pitching. It was a bizarre coincidence, really, that I inadvertantly watched him grow from being some nobody kid from Kochi into a first-round draft pick. He's been there for all of my Tokyo Big 6 time, and next year he won't be, which is kind of weird. So even though I *still* like the oft-injured Kisho Kagami better, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Futagami.


(A few weeks ago, outside Jingu. He had just thrown a complete-game 1-0 shutout win against Waseda. I'm the dorky white girl, if you couldn't guess.)


And this is still my favorite photo I've ever taken of him -- from the fall 2008 semester.

Fumihito Haraguchi (C, #6 pick, Teikyo HS)

Much as I'm not usually the type to root for powerhouses, I'm somewhat of a Teikyo fan. The school is less than 10 minutes from my house by bike, thus making it my "local" team, but in addition, several of my absolute favorite players come from there. Hichori Morimoto, Hiroki Ueno, Atori Ohta, just to name a few. So I came back from Koshien with a Teikyo keychain and cell charm, and when quizzed at a booth there which team I was supporting, I said, "Teikyo!", of course. I've taught English to a few Teikyo students in the past, and one of my current 8th-graders told me he's aiming to go there, too.

Anyway, the overall gist is, I'd been watching Teikyo all along anyway, so of course I saw Haraguchi -- he seemed like an all-around good player, lots of poise, great catching arm and instincts, etc. In the game I attended he went 2-for-4, hit an RBI double and scored a run himself, and also totally nailed a runner at 2nd base for a strikeout double play. He caught Hirahara and then also caught Itoh, the freshman flamethrower.


Haraguchi waiting to bat.


Haraguchi with the Teikyo ace pitcher Hirahara.

Be forewarned, though, that last time Hanshin drafted a catcher that I adored watching at the Koshien tournament, he basically disappeared into a yellow-and-black hole and was never seen or heard from again (Ryohei Hashimoto, Chiben Wakayama HS, 2006). Especially now with them signing Johjima, and Kanoh coming into his own, I'm filled with a vague sense of dread for the future of poor Haraguchi-kun.

Kenichi Tagami (OF, Ikusei #2 pick, Soka HS -> Soka University)

I saw Tagami play at the semi-finals of the All-Japan college tournament this summer, where Soka faced off against Fuji. However, Tagami was completely uninteresting to me and I didn't get a single photo of him. In the game, he played right field and led off, and only got on base by way of an error and a fielder's choice.

It doesn't surprise me too much that the comment about him on one of the draft sites is, "Will make a good bench player."

Carp

Shota Dobayashi (IF, #2 pick, Chukyodai Chukyo HS)

Ah, Chukyodai Chukyo. This year's Koshien champ. The school that has won Koshien more times than any other school, and is the only team in history to win 3 consecutive summer tournaments, and I believe has produced more pro players than any other Aichi prefecture high school, although recently they haven't had many, except for one EXTREMELY important one named Atsunori Inaba.

Anyway, I was high on Dobayashi before I even arrived at Koshien, having read about him and seen him on TV and all. He seemed like one of those guys with raw talent who was just Good At Baseball, at least on the high-school level: he could pitch, he could run, he could hit, he could field, he could do it all. As everyone knows, he almost Didn't Do It All, and I remember following the Koshien final game on my cellphone while trapped on a train making its way across Shikoku, and almost seeing him give up a 6-run lead in the 9th inning. But it did all work out okay in the end for him and for the team, and he seemed destined for the pros.

In the game I saw him at, he started in right field and batted cleanup, hit a double in the first inning that drove in the first two runs of the game for Chukyo, then immediately got himself picked off second base. But he also pitched the final 4 innings of the game and limited the Kwansei team to one more run. He did walk a lot of guys (4) and didn't seem to be at his best, but still pretty decent.

Of course, I found myself somewhat enraptured with the Kwansei Gakuin pitcher-catcher-pitcher-catcher Hiroki Yamasaki at the same time. However, Dobayashi is a much bigger kid, and if he can fill out his frame and do some training to avoid injury in the future, I think he could definitely become an impact player in whatever position he eventually decides on.


Dobayashi at bat.


And here he is pitching.

Hisashi Takeuchi (P, #3 pick, Tokushima Joto HS -> Hosei University)

Takeuchi is the other of the two guys in this draft who I have met. Unlike Futagami, who was surrounded by fans, talking to Takeuchi was as simple as going up and saying hello to him (I asked him to take off his face mask so we could get a photo together, though).

It's a little weird -- two years ago, Takeuchi was being hyped as the future ace of the Hosei staff, and he played in some international tournaments, and supposedly was hitting 154 on the radar gun at Jingu when pitching in relief. Scouts probably saw his huge frame (he's actually built more like a US pitcher than a Japanese pitcher at 6' and 200ish pounds) and thought "Awesome!" but then he got injured and had some shoulder pain over the winter of 2008-2009 that kept him from pitching at all in the Spring 2009 semester, and the team won the championship without him. It was unclear if he would make it back for the fall, but he did, and he pitched well, though nothing about him screamed "DRAFT ME NOW" like it did with Futagami :)

Then again, this is why I'm not a scout. I'm sure there is a lot more to evaluating these college players than what goes on in the actual league matches.


Takeuchi warming up on the sidelines, Sept 26th. His glove says 真っ向勝負 which basically I think means something to the effect of "Bring it on". Literally, it's "challenge things head-on", I think.


Takeuchi pitching at Hosei's final game this semester.

Baystars

Takehiro Fukuda (P, #5 pick, Ohtani HS -> Kochi University -> Kyoto University -> Ritz Baseball Club -> Kagawa Olive Guyners)

Now this was probably the biggest WTF moment of the draft for me, seeing Fukuda get drafted by the Baystars.

Back in August, while on my Seishun 18 trip barnstorming across the entirety of the western half of Japan, I took in two Shikoku-Kyushu Island League games. The first one was a Kagawa-Nagasaki game in Sasebo which randomly happened to be one of the total high points of my entire trip, as I went completely out to the middle of nowhere, saw some great scenery, met some awesome people, and watched some surprisingly interesting baseball.

And well, the starter for Kagawa just happened to be this guy Takehiro Fukuda. I had never heard of him before that day, but he seemed decent enough. He gave up 2 runs in the first inning, both unearned (the leadoff batter reached base on an error) and then didn't give up anything for the rest of the 8 innings he pitched in the game, which eventually resulted in a 2-2 tie.

Unfortunately, since the Saints were the home team and I was sitting on their side and stalking their players after the game, I didn't really learn much about the Kagawa players, relatively, so I can't really tell you THAT much about this guy.

I can, however, show you photos:





Also, he has a blog, but it seems to mostly be about food he likes to eat :)


Alright, next up will be the Pacific League draftees...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

2009 NPB Draft Liveblogging

Here is the table of information about this year's NPB draftees.

Liveblogging commentary has been moved below. The short version: Seibu gets Kikuchi. Life goes on.

This is being done in the same format as previous years' drafts.

I'm planning to make a separate photopost of the guys I've actually seen play (about 20 or so).

Update 2pm Saturday: Finished the Central League Draftees Photopost, with photos and stories. Check it out!

Update 10am Friday: Err... reversed the names so they would be First Last rather than the other way around.
Update, 8am Friday: All in, all info. Woohoo! Thanks to Sanspo for having the rest of the obscure guys available.
Update, 10:30pm: All draftees entered, all ikusei draftees entered, but birthdates missing for 3 players still. Draftees names and information confirmed on the respective team pages.
Update, 7pm: All basic draftees entered, about 75% of information entered. Ikusei will go in after I go eat some dinner.


Name Pos HS/Univ/Company B/T DOB Ht/Wt
-------------------- --- --------------- --- ---------- -------
Giants
1. Hisayoshi Chono OF Honda R/R 1984.12.06 180/80
2. Masato Kiyashiki C Kinkidai HS R/R 1991.06.19 180/82
3. Kyohei Tsuchimoto P JR Tokai R/R 1985.10.13 175/73
4. Tomoya Ichikawa C Saginomiya R/R 1985.05.09 176/76
5. Junpei Ono P Nihon Bunri Univ R/R 1987.04.05 178/81

Ikusei:
1. Masumi Hoshino P BCL Shinano Grandserows L/L 1984.04.04 181/72
2. Genki Kawano C Kyushu Kokusaidai HS R/L 1991.06.14 179/75
3. Naomasa Yokawa IF Konko Osaka HS R/R 1991.07.17 180/80
4. Kyohei Ohdachi P Okazaki Shoka Univ L/L 1987.08.20 178/70
5. Naoki Kanda P Gunma Univ R/R 1988.01.18 180/82

Dragons
1. Toshiya Okada P Chiben Wakayama HS L/L 1991.12.05 181/68
x Yusei Kikuchi
2. Ryuya Ogawa P Chiba Eiwa HS L/L 1991.09.03 182/72
3. Ryoji Nakata IF Asia Univ R/L 1987.11.03 171/115
4. Yusuke Matsui OF Tokyo Nodai R/R 1987.07.10 183/78
5. Yohei Ohshima OF Nihon Seimei L/L 1985.11.09 176/74
6. Takao Suwabe P Honda R/R 1988.07.31 178/83
7. Masato Matsui C Jobu Univ R/L 1987.11.19 177/78
8. Toshikazu Yoshida C Nara Sangyo Univ R/L 1987.04.27 178/70

Ikusei:
1. Kento Yachi P Takaoka Law Univ R/R 1988.01.15 180/68
2. Ryuichitaro Akada C Aichi Univ R/L 1988.01.07 178/80

Swallows
1. Masato Nakazawa P Toyota L/L 1985.02.16 179/77
x Yusei Kikuchi
2. Tetsuya Yamamoto P Mitsubishi Kobe R/R 1985.09.04 178/73
3. Takahiro Araki IF Kinki Univ R/R 1987.07.26 178/76
4. Ryo Hirai P Teikyo Dai 5 HS R/R 1991.04.23 183/75
5. Jun Matsui OF Nichidai Kokusai Univ R/L 1987.11.27 177/88

Ikusei:
1. Maike Magario OF Aomori Yamada HS R/R 1991.11.18 187/82
2. Tomofumi Aso IF Nichidai Kokusai Univ R/R 1987.06.28 177/83

Tigers
1. Kazuhito Futagami P Hosei Univ R/R 1987.06.03 183/80
x Kikuchi Yusei
2. Masanori Fujihara P Ritsumeikan Univ L/L 1988.01.14 181/77
3. Yuhei Kai OF Fukuoka Univ R/R 1988.03.15 185/84
4. Takumi Akiyama P Saijo HS R/L 1991.04.26 186/92
5. Shunsuke Fujikawa OF Kinki Univ R/R 1987.08.17 177/72
6. Fumihito Haraguchi C Teikyo HS R/R 1992.03.03 178/74

Ikusei:
1. Shuhei Takada P BCL Shinano Grandserows L/L 1985.06.03 178/79
2. Kenichi Tagami OF Soka Univ R/L 1987.12.12 180/76

Carp
1. Takeru Imamura P Seiho HS R/R 1991.04.17 183/83
2. Shota Dobayashi IF Chukyodai Chukyo HS R/R 1991.08.17 182/79
3. Hisashi Takeuchi P Hosei Univ R/R 1987.11.29 184/85
4. Hayato Shoji IF Tokoha Tachibana HS R/L 1991.06.21 175/70
5. Kota Itoh P Morioka Univ HS L/L 1991.07.25 186/80
6. Taketo Kawaguchi P Oji Seimei L/L 1985.08.15 173/78

Ikusei:
1. Mitsuhiro Nagakawa P Ryukoku Univ L/L 1987.11.02 189/78
2. Kosuke Nakamura C Yokohama Shokadai HS R/R 1991.04.02 180/80

Baystars
1. Yoshitomo Tsutsugo IF Yokohama HS R/S 1991.11.26 184/88
2. Shigeru Kaga P Sumitomo Metals Kashima R/R 1985.04.13 181/82
3. Taketora Anzai P Kojo HS R/R 1991.10.28 190/75
4. Takayuki Makka P Tokaidai Boyo HS L/L 1991.04.19 187/76
5. Takehiro Fukuda P SIL Kagawa Guyners R/R 1983.04.09 181/83

Ikusei:
1. Yuki Kuniyoshi P Shugakukan HS R/R 1991.09.24 194/88
2. Kota Kobayashi P Tamadai Hijirigaoka HS R/R 1991.09.01 183/71

Fighters
1. Masaru Nakamura P Kasukabe Kyoei HS R/R 1991.12.11 183/75
x Yusei Kikuchi
2. Yutaka Ohtsuka P Soka Univ R/R 1987.12.20 182/83
3. Masatoshi Katoh IF Kyushu Kokusai Univ R/L 1987.04.28 173/76
4. John Clayton Unten P Urasoe Kogyo HS R/R 1992.03.27 180/70
5. Hirotoshi Masui P Toshiba R/R 1984.06.26 181/67
6. Yuji Arahari C SIL Tokushima Socks R/R 1989.04.24 177/80

Eagles
1. Kenji Tomura P Rikkio Univ R/R 1987.10.20 185/78
x Kikuchi Yusei
2. Tetsuro Nishida IF Kansaidai Daiichi HS R/R 1991.09.04 180/75
3. Shota Koseki C Higashi Chikushi Gakuen R/R 1991.09.06 182/85
4. Kazuya Takahori P Mitsubishi Okazaki R/R 1987.06.11 183/70
5. Tomohiro Tsuchiya P City Light Okayama R/R 1985.08.18 178/70

Ikusei:
1. Koji Matsui IF SIL Nagasaki Saints R/R 1984.12.02 174/66

Hawks
1. Kenta Imamiya IF Meiho HS R/R 1991.07.15 171/71
2. Hiroyuki Kawahara P Fukuokadai Ohhori HS L/L 1991.08.23 183/75
3. Yuki Shimooki P Kosei Gakuin HS R/R 1991.09.08 180/78
4. Keiji Nakahara OF Asia Univ R/R 1987.07.10 183/80
5. Koji Toyofuku IF Tosu HS R/L 1991.05.17 180/76

Lions
1. Yusei Kikuchi P Hanamaki Higashi HS L/L 1991.06.17 184/83
2. Satoru Misawa IF Daiichi Kogyo Univ R/R 1988.03.03 181/75
3. Toshihiro Iwao P Beppu Univ R/L 1987.07.20 179/68
4. Mitsugu Ishikawa OF Toho HS R/L 1991.06.16 180/76
5. Kenta Matsushita P Waseda Univ R/R 1987.08.17 179/72
6. Yosuke Okamoto P Yamaha R/R 1985.09.27 177/75

Marines
1. Tadashi Ogino OF Toyota R/R 1985.10.21 172/76
2. Tomohisa Ohtani P Toyota R/R 1985.02.14 176/83
3. Shota Ohmine IF Yaeyama Shoko HS R/R 1991.09.17 180/78
4. Ikuhiro Kiyota OF NTT Higashinihon R/R 1986.02.11 180/85

Ikusei:
1. Koshiro Yamamuro P Aoyama Gakuin Univ R/L 1987.07.14 183.82

Buffaloes
1. Shuichi Furukawa P Nihon Bunri Univ L/L 1987.07.15 175/80
2. Motoki Higa P Hitachi R/R 1982.12.07 177/77
3. Nobuyoshi Yamada P Tsuruga Kehi HS L/L 1991.09.19 184/78
4. Yuji Maeda P BCL Fukui Elephants L/L 1986.01.10 180/67
5. Toru Anan P Nippon Express L/S 1984.07.28 182/73


Note: I am not positive what the 日本大学国際関係学部 is and just have it down as "Nichidai Kokusai Univ".

Note: Sometimes it is unclear what position some of these kids have been drafted for (that is, Hiroshima's page lists Dobayashi as an infielder, so does Sportsnavi, but I saw him primarily as a pitcher/OF in Koshien... but he's here as an infielder.)

Note: Height and weight seems to vary by 1-2 from different sources like Shube, Sponichi, team websites, etc. The biggest discrepancy so far is Hisashi Takeuchi being listed as 184/83 most places, but the Carp have him as 185/95. Yikes! Having actually met the guy I admit I think he's heavier than 83 but I don't think he's 95...

Note: Tsutsugo is listed as a lefty batter most places though the Baystars site lists him as a switch-hitter. Sponichi also calls him a switch-hitter. What gives? Is this another scam out of Yokohama HS like Waizumi also calling himself a switch-hitter?

Note: Kuniyoshi Yuki is said to be one-quarter American (one of his grandfathers). Unten John Clayton has an American father and a Japanese mother. Magario Maike was born in Brazil but moved to Japan when he was very young -- I think his parents are basically Brazilian-born Japanese.

Note: Would you believe that Shube uniformly lists Kikuchi's birthday as June 19th while most other places have it as June 17th? Eek.

Note: Team names in the Shikoku-Kyushu Island League and the Hokushinetsu Baseball Challenge League have been abbreviated. Notably the Tokushima Indigo Socks, the Fukui Miracle Elephants, and the Kagawa Olive Guyners.

Note: Two little brothers were drafted by the same team as their older brother in this draft. The Marines pitcher Yuta Ohmine's little brother Shota is the obvious one, but the Carp also took Mitsuhiro Nagakawa in the ikusei draft. He's Carp closer Katsuhiro Nagakawa's little brother.




Liveblogging commentary, mostly untouched, follows...

3:55pm: And the TV broadcast is ON!

First, a big flashback to all the Kikuchi stuff, the Koshien games and his speeches to the press about whether to stay or go and so on. Lots of tears.

Then our second big featured guy is... HISAYOSHI CHONO? Ugh. Big flashback to his college and amateur career, in college and at Honda, and how he turned down the Fighters and the Marines when they drafted him. Jerk.

4:10pm: Finally, we get some actual draft picks!

Here are the picks named for the first round:

Buffaloes: Furukawa Shuuichi (LHP, Nihon Bunri Univ)
Baystars: Tsutsugo Yoshitomo (IF, Yokohama HS)
Marines: Ogino Tadashi (OF, Toyota)
Hiroshima: Imamura Takeru (P, Seiho HS)
*Seibu: Kikuchi Yusei (P, Hanamaki Higashi)
*Hanshin: Kikuchi Yusei
Hawks: Imamiya Kenta (P/IF, Meiho HS)
*Swallows: Kikuchi Yusei
*Rakuten: Kikuchi Yusei
*Chunichi: Kikuchi Yusei
*Fighters: Kikuchi Yusei
Giants: Chono Hisayoshi (OF, Honda)


Wow -- crap, that means my coveted Imamiya-kun is going to the Hawks :( :( :(
I REALLY wanted the Fighters to get him.
Good on Hiroshima for taking Imamura, though.
BAD on Yokohama for going for another slugger they don't need rather than pitching they do need.
And of course... YAY for Chono going to the Giants so I can continue to HATE HIS GUTS! Wheeeee!

4:15pm: Everyone takes the lottery envelopes... Nashida fumbles taking his despite it being the ONLY ONE LEFT... and let's see WHO IS GETTING THE BOY...

CRAP! IT'S HISANOBU WATANABE FROM THE SEIBU LIONS! KIKUCHI IS GOING TO SEIBU!

CAN ANYONE SAY MATSUZAKA PART TWO? I KNEW YOU COULD.

Okay, next the first round people pick their consolation prizes:

Hanshin: Futagami Kazuhito, P, Hosei Univ (NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO)
Yakult: Nakazawa Masato, P, Toyota
Rakuten: Kenji Tomura, P, Rikkio Univ (aww)
Chunichi: Okada Toshiya, P, Chiben Wakayama HS (nice pick)
Fighters: Nakamura Masaru, P, Kasukabe Kyoei HS. (Ehh?)

Thoughts:
Damn -- since Futagami went to the Tigers I'll pretty much never get to see him.
Tomura, at least I can see my favorite "pile of skinny arms and legs" at Kamagaya sometimes when he comes there with Rakuten. (But Tomura-kun? A first-round pick? REALLY?)
I didn't get to see this Nakamura kid play in the Saitama taikai, though reports are calling him the "Darvish of Saitama". I guess we'll have to see.

Second round...

THE CARP TOOK SHOTA DOBAYASHI :(
So much for Chunichi taking him... not that Okada was a bad pick though.

As the rest of the picks go on, we don't actually see them on TV -- instead we're getting more of the Kikuchi show... films of him cleaning the toilets at his high school, or sitting in computer classes, or reading books... he says he can't talk to girls, no he doesn't have a girlfriend, etc. I'm sure that'll change soon enough (if it's even true to begin with).

Oh, hey, more Sasaki-kantoku on TV, that is always good! It's been a while.

The TV broadcast is off for those of us on TBS now, so I'm going to work on entering these guys (so far taking stats from Shukan Baseball magazine, btw).

The Fighters took Yutaka Ohtsuka with the second round pick, which is... interesting. He's good -- something like 41 victories over his college career! -- but I'm terrified his arm is going to fall off, as I think he also pitched a bazillion complete games.

3rd round starts...
Chunichi took Ryoji Nakata! Dang! I was really hoping for a Ryoji-Okawari bookend field in Seibu... wait, what the heck will Chunichi DO with him? It's not like they NEED another 1B, and they can't use a DH, and he can't really play anywhere else...

WOW! Lotte took Yuta Ohmine's little brother Shota! How cute!

And... and... I don't believe it. I don't BELIEVE it but Hiroshima took Hosei's Hisashi Takeuchi. Holy carp! We were all making bets about whether Takeuchi or Waizumi were going to get drafted this year... wow! (But much like Futagami I am highly unlikely to ever see Takeuchi again either.)

Nice pick by Yakult in getting Takahiro Araki, he's a solid player from what I recall.

Orix took Yamada from Tsuruga Kehi, the lefty kid whose hat flew off after every pitch. Dang...

Later round comments as I translate this stuff

That's NUTS! That random guy I saw pitch for the Kagawa Olive Guyners when I went to a random SIL game in Nagasaki... Takehiro Fukuda... got drafted! By Yokohama! Crazy!

Also, that awesome catcher from Teikyo, Haraguchi, got drafted! Unfortunately he got drafted by Hanshin :(

Can't believe Hiroshima picked up Imamura, Dobayashi, Hayato Shoji... that's a pretty big chunk of the Koshien "stars" right there.

WHAT THE HECK ARE THE FIGHTERS DOING DRAFTING ANOTHER CATCHER? ARE WE NOT ALREADY SWIMMING IN THEM?

And, hey, wait a minute... I guess this means Nobuaki Nakabayashi was NOT drafted!
Wonder where he'll end up -- maybe at one of those pockets of Keio guys like JFE Higashinihon.

I already heard that Shota Waizumi should be going to Toshiba since he wasn't drafted...




Alright, I think that's about it for me for this draft for now.

As always, what will be the most interesting part is watching this basically turn from a list of random names of guys into a group of familiar faces. I'm still amazed just to go back and look at a draft 2-3 years ago and realize how much several of those guys have already had a major impact on the game here. That's the nice thing about Japan's lack of a real developmental system, that a guy can become an impact player pretty quickly. (The bad part is that some of these other guys don't really get the proper chance to develop, though.)

Going to start working on that photo post now.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tokyo Big 6 Photopost: Hosei vs. Meiji - Futagami's Last Stand (No, Really, I Mean It This Time)

The school I work at cancelled classes from Tuesday to Friday this week because half of our students have the flu, so they figure if nobody comes to school, the uninfected students won't get infected, and besides, we can't really do a lot when our classes are all half empty anyway.

In theory, teachers are still supposed to come there, but since I was feeling sick over the weekend and I'm ahead on planning all of my lessons anyway, they told me it'd be okay to stay home and rest and recover for a few days rather than come to school and do nothing for 9 hours a day.

So I decided my rest-and-recovery routine would be best kicked off with going to Jingu for a sunny afternoon of watching some Tokyo Big 6 baseball. What could possibly be more relaxing than that?

The Hosei-Meiji rubber match had been rained out on Monday, so it was postponed to Tuesday.

I decided to sit on the 3rd-base side just because I figured anyone I wanted to photograph was going to be a right-handed pitcher or a left-handed batter. What this meant, though, was that I was on the Meiji side rather than the Hosei side... sitting in the middle of a group of college baseball fan acquaintances who are mostly around twice my age. (The other regular in the group who's closer to my age showed up in the 7th inning or so and yelled his lungs out on Meiji cheers right in my ear, which was helpful.)

Meiji predictably started Yusuke Nomura, as they would have done whether the 3rd game was Monday or Tuesday. Hosei, on the other hand, started... Kazuhito Futagami? AGAIN? On two days' rest, two days before the draft? Something seemed odd here. Part of why Futagami has been so effective, in my opinion, is that he has only been pitching once per weekend for the last few semesters, and hasn't been subjected to the typical 300-pitches-per-weekend thing.

As for me, I just chalked it up to another case of Futagami following me or vice versa. And hey, at least this meant I was going to see his last ever college game for the second time!

So, Futagami. Wonder when the next time I'll see you on a mound will be. I don't think seniors will be in the U-26 vs NPB game, so...




Kazuhito Futagami (4th-year, Kochi)

And here's Yusuke Nomura. If nothing else, I know the next time I see him on a mound should be sometime around April 11th, assuming I'm still here. Wow, that's a long time, though.




Yusuke Nomura (2nd-year, Koryo)

Anyway...

Fumiya Araki, playing centerfield, led off with a walk, and was bunted up by captain Yuta Tohyama. Junpei Komichi ALSO walked, which was kind of crazy -- Futagami usually gives up two walks per complete game, not two walks in the FIRST INNING. But anyway, Takayuki Chida came up with two on and one out, and he... struck out. Oops. But Shogo Shashiki got the job done -- kind of. And worse, I didn't really see the play. He hit an infield single to short that led to some bizarre things like a collision by second base and a rundown between 2nd and 3rd, and in the end the result was that Araki scored and Komichi was tagged out by Chida on the basepath, which ended the inning at 1-0.


Fumiya Araki (3rd-year, Nichidai San) comes up bunting.




Shogo Shashiki (3rd-year, Osaka Toin) bats in the first run of the game.

Hosei quickly made it clear they weren't going to take that lying down. Shota Waizumi led off with a single to right, and Kaoru Kita bunted him up. Hiroshi Taki singled to center, moving Waizumi to third, so with runners at the corners, Masatoshi Matsumoto hit a big fly ball to center for a sac fly, the fleet-footed Waizumi having no trouble tagging up and running in, 1-1. Kento Kameda grounded out after that to end the inning.


Shota Waizumi (4th-year, Yokohama) leads off with a single.


Waizumi slides in as Meiji catcher Ryota Yasuda (4th-year, PL Gakuen) waits for the throw.


Meiji continued their attack in the top of the 2nd inning. Hayato Tada led off with an infield hit to second (it was a nice stop by Masatoshi but no time for a throw), and then Takashi Uemoto hit a double out to left, and Tada ran, and ran, and kept running all the way home, making it there at about the same time as the ball, but he was apparently safe. 2-1. Ryota Yasuda bunted Uemoto up to third, and then Uemoto ended up scoring on a wild pitch to Yusuke Nomura. 3-1.

Nomura, for his part, managed to hit a single to left! He advanced on a wild pitch to Tohyama and went to third when Tohyama hit another similar infield single, but that's all that happened as Komichi hit a fly ball out to end the inning.

Oddly, I just looked and Nomura finished the year with a .267 batting average, which is better than many Meiji batters, including even cleanup and 5-spot batters Chida and Shashiki.




Hayato Tada (4th-year, Nichidai San) slides into home plate as Hosei captain Shuhei Ishikawa (4th-year, Oyama Nishi) gets the ball as well. But Tada was called safe.


Takashi Uemoto (1st-year, Koryo) runs to third on the bunt.


Futagami attempts a pickoff at third.


Uemoto slides into home on the wild pitch under Futagami covering the plate.


Uemoto is called safe.

Anyway, stuff simmered down for a few innings until the bottom of the 5th, when Waizumi struck again, this time with two outs. He hit a ground ball down the right-field line that took a CRAZY bounce off first base and went right over Shashiki into right field for a single. Kaoru Kita followed that up with a scorching liner down the left-field line that went through a diving Chida for a double into the left-field corner, and Waizumi showed off his speed again by scoring from first, though it was a really close call at the plate. 3-2.


Waizumi slides in yet again.


And he's safe!


But Yasuda doesn't think so. And I don't blame him.

Anyway, neither team scored any more so the game ended at 3-2. Hosei made it DRAMATIC though by loading the bases in the bottom of the 9th, but Takayuki Morita ended the game by striking out Hiroshi Taki. There was actually a reasonable amount of craziness in the 9th inning overall, with hit batters, fielder's choices, stolen bases, close calls at the bags, and a bunch of smart fielding to get runners out at third base rather than first, which kept each team from scoring a point, I think.

Also, this means Futagami lost the game, as he gave up those 3 runs. Sucks to be him -- not nearly as high a point to go out on as it would have been had Sunday REALLY been his last game!

So, since I'm running low on time, Go Go Gadget Photopost!


Fumiya Araki at bat in the 7th.


Araki steals second.




Hosei's Tomoya Mikami, 2nd-year from Ken Gifu Sho. He's 190 cm tall, and a big stringbean. He pitched 2 outs of the 8th inning.


Suguru Fujita, Hosei 4th-year out of Marugamejo Nishi. I am fairly sure he was only in this game because he's a senior and it's his last appearance. He got one out, then gave up one hit, then left. I couldn't really get a good shot of him for some reason, plus he has a bizarre lefty sidearm delivery anyway.






Kazuki Nishijima, big (186/89) left-handed 3rd-year guy from Yokohama HS. He really stepped up for Meiji in a big way this semester once Nanba started struggling.






Takayuki Morita, 2nd-year, from Ogaki Nichidai HS. Pitched the bottom of the 9th, which means he's responsible for getting into that huge jam but also getting out of it (with a little help from Shogo Shashiki).






Hisashi Takeuchi, Hosei 4th-year, from Tokushima. Takeuchi is a big kid who can throw pretty fast, and he wants to be drafted, but who knows what'll happen. Unfortunately, he also hit Takashi Uemoto with a pitch, which looked pretty bad... but then got his act together and finished out the top of the 9th.


Here's Uemoto getting helped up by the plate umpire after taking a Takeuchi fastball. I'm not even sure where it hit him exactly, but he went down quick.


This is what happens when first baseman Masatoshi Matsumoto overcharges on a bunt. WHOOOSH! He ended up sprawled on the ground, though he didn't seem unhappy about it.


This was almost a double play, but not quite. Alas. (Chida throws to Tohyama.)


Nishijima in the dugout... not sure if he is encouraging people or directing them or just heckling, but it was funny.


Final score.


Both teams bow to their respective fans.


Ryota Yasuda waves to the Meiji cheering section, as this was his final game as a senior.


The game hero types gather with the press after the game.


Team captain Tohyama gives a post-game interview.


Tatsuya Yasui, the Meiji team manager, was crying. Basically, with Meiji winning this.. if Waseda loses Soukeisen, Meiji will get the championship. It's not likely, but possible, so he was pretty happy about that.

And here are just some more photos that don't really fit into the story, but I feel like posting anyway. Big 6 is pretty much my sports photography practice ground in some ways :)

Actually, they're all of Hosei players...


Kento Kameda (3rd-year, Chiben Wakayama)




Takashi Nakao (2nd-year, Hotoku Gakuen)


Shota Waizumi at 3rd, with Hiroshi Taki in the background behind him.




Hiroshi Taki (1st-year, Sakaide). I hoped to get a good photo of him to get signed one of these days, since I think he's going to be a superstar someday.

Anyway, the draft is upon us, so I'm going to end this and maybe add to it later, we'll see.