Saturday, January 02, 2010

Choji Murata is STILL awesome!

Yeah, I'm cribbing from a post title two years ago. But it still stands.

I'll try to write a bit more a bit later, but basically, tonight I went to see the Pro Yakyu OB All-Star Athlete's Cup game at the Tokyo Dome. This year the Master's League found itself in somewhat dire financial straits with a lack of sponsors and so on, so rather than playing a ton of games, they only played two games, an East-West game back in November and the Pacific-Central game today.

The big deal today on the program was having 65-year-old Yukio Ozaki pitch to 65-year-old Isao Shibata, as a reinactment of Koshien 1961; Ozaki from Namisho would go on to be Rookie of the Year in 1962 with the Toei Flyers (the former Fighters, who won the Japan Series that year), but Shibata from Hosei #2 would go on to be the leadoff batter for the Oh-Nagashima V9 Giants.

But the big deal for me was seeing Choji Murata pitch. He just turned 60 years old this November, and HE STILL THROWS 135KM/H (about 83 mph). Seriously! I was amazed by him 2 years ago and am still amazed now. See, a lot of the guys who play in this event, they are mostly names in a book for me, and even now seeing them in these OB games, it's like, "Look at the old dude". But for Murata -- the first 4-decade player in Japan, as well as the first guy to have Tommy John surgery -- seeing him now is not entirely unlike seeing him 20 years ago! He still throws with the same high-kick motion, and still throws really fast, although I realize in his prime he could kick it up to the mid-150's.

Anyway, I'll try to write a bit more about the game soon (the Pacific beat the Central 7-2, but I'm not sure it really is all that relevant), but for now, some Murata photos from tonight:










The last one is just to prove that I'm not joking about the speed. I only caught the scoreboard with him at 131, but still.

And here's my scorecard transcribed:

Central OB 2 - 7 Pacific OB
Saturday, January 02, 2010

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Central League OB 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 2 12 0
Pacific League OB 1 0 0 0 5 1 0 0 0 7 17 1

Central AB R H RB K BB SH SB E 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Wakamatsu, rf 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 G5 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
Nagashima, rf 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .. .. E6 .. G4 .. .. .. ..
Tatsukawa, c 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .. .. .. .. .. .. S9 .. ..
Ichikawa, c 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. G4
Takahashi, ss-cf 5 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 G5 .. F8 .. S9 .. D7 .. f5
Suzuki, 3b 4 0 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 F8 .. KC .. S9 .. s9 .. ..
Komada, 1b 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .. F8 .. S9 G6 .. L6 .. ..
Fukui, 2b-ss 4 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 .. D9 .. F7 KS .. .. S7 ..
Yashiki, cf 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 .. G6 .. KC .. .. .. .. ..
Satoh, ph-2b 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .. .. .. .. .. G3 .. S7 ..
Gotoh, lf 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .. F7 .. S9 .. .. .. .. ..
Ishii, ph-lf 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .. .. .. .. .. S8 .. d5 ..
Matsumoto, lf 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
Sugiyama, c 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .. .. G6 F5 .. .. .. .. ..
Kawabata, ph-rf 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .. .. .. .. .. d6 .. G1 ..
Kawato, dh 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .. .. S3 .. .. .. .. .. ..
Matsumoto, pr 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
Kameyama, ph 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .. .. .. .. D8 .. .. .. ..
Matsumoto, pr 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
Shibata, dh 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .. .. .. .. .. .. F7 .. ..
Wakana, dh 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. G5

Central IP BF H HR K BBH WP RA ER
Awano 1 5 2 0 0 0 0 1 1
Endoh 1 5 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ohkawa 1 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Nakata 1 5 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
Saitoh 1 9 6 0 0 0 0 5 5
Masumoto 1 5 2 0 0 0 0 1 1
Hashimoto 0.1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ishige 0.2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Maeda 1 4 2 0 0 0 0 0 0


Pacific AB R H RB K BB SH SB E 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Ishige, ss 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 D7 F9 .. F9 .. .. .. .. ..
Ozeki, ph-cf 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .. .. .. .. F8 .. .. S6 ..
Motonishi, 2b 3 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 D9 .. G5 .. D9 .. .. .. ..
Takashiro, 2b 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .. .. .. .. .. G3 .. .. ..
Muraoka, ph-2b 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. d4 ..
Matsunaga, 3b 5 2 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 F8 .. G4 .. D7 T8 .. T7 ..
Yoshinaga, c 3 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 G3 .. S3 .. S9 .. .. .. ..
Arita, c 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .. .. .. .. .. G5 .. .. ..
Ohmiya, c 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. G1 ..
T.Murakami, cf-ss 4 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 F8 .. F7 .. F7 D7 .. .. ..
Fujimoto, 1b 3 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .. S8 .. F1 S9 .. .. .. ..
S.Murakami, 1b 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .. .. .. .. .. F3 .. .. ..
Kazu Yamamoto, dh 4 1 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 .. S4 .. S8 T8 .. F9 .. ..
Takahashi, lf 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .. F7 .. D7 F7 .. F7 .. ..
Ohtsuka, rf 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .. F8 .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
Hirano, ph-rf 2 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 .. .. .. G5 S7 .. .. .. ..
Ryutaro, ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .. .. .. .. .. .. G4 .. ..

Pacific IP BF H HR K BBH WP RA ER
Yamada 0.1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Nonaka 0.2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Kohno 1 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Matsunuma 1 5 1 0 1 0 1 0 0
Sano 1 5 2 0 1 0 0 0 0
C.Murata 1 6 3 0 1 0 0 1 1
Yamazaki 1 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ozaki 0.1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
T.Murata 0.2 4 2 0 0 0 0 1 1
Iwamoto 2 7 2 0 0 0 0 0 0

(BTW, it's not a typo that Matsumoto pinch-ran twice and also played left field. That's the same Tadashi Matsumoto, late of the Giants, wearing #2 -- he pinch-ran twice, and then when Masahiro Ishii fell over fielding a ball in left field and got carried off the field on a stretcher -- not a joke -- Matsumoto took over in the field.)

All around, it was a fun game. There were vague ouendan in the outfield, there were tons of kids yelling for baseballs, there were lots of AWESOME old uniforms (rather than the crappy Master's League uniforms), there was Shigeki Sano's hat flying off, there was Masanori Murakami coaching, a 53-year-old Hiromichi Ishige diving for grounders at shortstop, and there was Norihiro Komada looking a lot thinner than last time I saw him. Oh, and Tsutomu "Maido!!" Iwamoto pitched to Tatsuo Ohmiya for 2 innings to finish out the game in a Fighters battery, though he totally ran out of steam in the 9th inning and couldn't even get up to 100 km/h. Poor guy :(

You know what's scary? Ozaki and Shibata are 65 -- the same age as my childhood hero Steve Carlton. And Choji Murata is 60 -- the same age as Mike Schmidt. That's startling when I think about it, but also puts their careers into a little more context for me, timeline-wise.

Anyway, I'll try to put up more photos soon, but I'm leaving shortly for a trip to Obama City, and then after that going to the US for a month and a half. But I really do want to put them up -- the old uniforms were so very very cool!

1 comment:

NPB Card Guy said...

To paraphrase what they used to say about Tommy John, sure, Murata's 60, but his elbow is only 27...