Wednesday, February 28, 2007

What I'm Reading Today

I've been sick this week with some sort of flu; you know, the kind that knocks you out so you don't feel like moving at all, but it also dehydrates you to the point that you spend half of your time thinking "I am thirsty... so thirsty... gosh, that bottle of water over there looks so good... but, do I really want to make the effort to move the five feet to get it?"

I have a pretty neat baseball project or two I've been working on in the sidelines though, at least while my brain is functioning properly.

Anyway, here are the some links to things as I've been catching up on the web:

The Veterans Committee decided once again not to elect anyone to the Hall of Fame this year. What's funny is the comments Mike Schmidt made about it four years ago as opposed to this year -- while he might be softening, I think his initial instinct of "It's hard to vote for anyone who didn't get in the first time around" is probably what's holding out some of these guys now.

(Of course, Mike Schmidt has apparently been talking a bit too much these days -- first he compared himself to Pat Burrell, then he had to apologize for inadvertantly calling Burrell "mediocre".)

Former Mariners outfield prospect Shin-soo Choo may end up stuck in the minors yet again as the Indians signed Trot Nixon. Poor guy. Maybe we should ask Cleveland if we can trade him back for Ben Broussard. No, just kidding.

If you like hockey and you like baseball and you like laughing, you may wish to check out the short of spring training with Clark, the Canadian Hockey Goalie.

The Onion reported that the MLB is no longer accepting new players. It's alarming how real some of the quotes in the article are!

The wealthiest man in baseball may actually not be the one that immediately springs to mind for most people, but instead, Matt White, a guy who's pitched all of 9 and 2/3 major league innings but has rocked the real estate market, so to speak, buying a piece of land for $50k that has a rock quarry worth around $2.4 billion. And yet, he's hanging around Dodgers camp as an NRI, trying to make the roster anyway. Why? "This is fun," he says.

On the other side of the planet, Paul White (no relation) is trekking through Japan blogging about spring baseball in various cities, and unlike my trip last year, he actually has a press pass and is getting paid to do this all, so his stories involve a lot more quotes from players and coaches. Check it out.

The NY Times has an article about the Yankees Japanese translators which is a good read, and Jim Allen, as always, has an incisive view of the relationship between MLB and the Far East.

I probably forgot to mention that Nori Nakamura signed a taxi squad contract with Chunichi, and Tuffy Rhodes seems to be on the verge of getting a roster spot with Orix. (Edit: Tuffy's signed, 1yr/$400k, and will be wearing Nori's old #8. Wow!)

In other news, in one of those "Dude, what gives?" sort of outings, the Marines beat the Hawks 5-1 yesterday. That in itself isn't so weird, but the funky part is Softbank starter Hideaki Takahashi's pitching line. He pitched 5 innings, threw 87 pitches, faced 21 batters, struck out 9, walked 1, and... lost the game by giving up 3 runs on 5 hits, 4 of which were doubles.

Not much has been said about Takahashi, as his top league numbers are nothing impressive, but on the farm team in 2005 he struck out 139 while walking 46 in 120.2 innings, and in 2006 he struck out 96 in 110 innings while walking 36. But that Lotte squad he faced and struck out a ton of yesterday was mostly a legitimate set of top-leaguers - Nishioka, Nemoto, Fukuura, Satozaki, Ohmatsu, Imae, Takehara, Saburo. This is yet another reason why Softbank scares me -- they've got such incredible pitching depth, it almost doesn't matter whether or not they ever get another catcher who knows how to hit a baseball with a bat.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Let the Gookie Win

You know, there's one sort of cool thing about the Mariners going into the fray this year.

See this 40-man roster?

See what isn't on it?

No, no, I know Doyle isn't on it, and neither are several other players we'd like to see there. But that's not what I'm getting at. It's something else, a little more subtle, something we haven't seen a complete absence of on Mariners rosters in almost the entire team's existence.

There aren't any 1960's birthdays.

If Arthur Rhodes (DOB 10/24/1969) makes the roster off the NRI list, he'll be the oldest guy on the team. Heck, the oldest guys on the roster right now are Batista, Ibanez, Ichiro, Vidro, J-Rod, and Richie, in that order. Everyone else is under the age of 32.

Speaking of which, if you look at that NRI list, you'll see a guy named Gookie Dawkins. Isn't that the coolest name in the world? You almost want to pull for a guy like that to make the team, just for the sake of hearing the announcers say his name.

Travis Sentell Dawkins seems to have gone on a career trip around the Midwest somewhat akin to going to Bombay India to try to become a movie star, racking up accolades such as being the last man to strike out at Cinergy Field before the Reds moved to the Great American Ball Launcher.

Three years ago, the Gookie Monster lamented being stuck behind Barry Larkin in Cincinnati. And yet, I can't really imagine he'll fare that well being stuck behind Yuniesky Betancourt in Seattle. On the other hand, just think of the nickname potential! "Gookie to Willie to Richie" has a certain ring to it, doesn't it?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Pre-season NPB game box scores

I was looking through the open season games from this weekend and figured if I was looking up some of the new player names for myself, I might as well translate for other people's good too.

(EDIT: Web host back up, going to move these to separate files)

NPB games on Feb 24, 2007
Buffaloes 3, Tigers 1
Hawks 2, Lions 1
Eagles 5, Marines 2
Fighters 7, Bay Stars 4
Swallows 4, Dragons 2

NPB games on Feb 25, 2007
Lions 6, Carp 2 (5 innings)
Buffaloes 9, Tigers 0
Swallows 8, Fighters 4
Dragons 2, Bay Stars 0

Friday, February 23, 2007

Friday Foto: Adding Ichiro

This entry is completely random. As is typical with Friday Fotos, I was just looking back through the pictures I've taken for something cool-looking that I hadn't posted before, and Ichiro is always a valid theme around here:

Ichiro NTT ad
An Ichiro NTT ad graces the wall behind a subway platform.

I can't even remember which subway station I took that in, though I'm pretty sure it was in Tokyo.

In the world of pictures not taken by me, this is the coolest photo I've ever seen of Hitoshi Tamura.

Tsuyoshi Wada celebrated his birthday on Wednesday. I'd never noticed that he wears #21 and his birthday is the 21st (like Kazuhiro Sasaki's #22 on the 22nd). I wonder what percentage of players in general wear their birthdate on their jersey -- not necessarily Carlos May style, but just in picking their uniform numbers.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Fighting History

You know, the frustrating thing about writing about Mariners spring training is that everyone else is already posting tons of links to articles, or pointing out the new blogs by various writers. Even Shannon Drayer has one now, and Geoff Baker is also blogging spring training for the Seattle Times. I can't think of much to add that hasn't been mentioned already, in all honesty.

Of course, everyone knows that the most interesting story so far out of Mariners spring training is that Ichiro has funny taste in clothes. My own opinion of the situation is that he has been hanging out too much with Munenori Kawasaki, going shopping for knit caps and crazy t-shirts together, and working out together exactly how high their high socks should be for maximum cool-dude factor.

The body part of the week, by the way, is Mark Lowe's elbow, although one could also argue that it's Kazuhiro Kiyohara's knee. I guess the bizarre ritual he did two weeks ago of pouring some sake on his knee that was stored by the late Akira Ogi ten years ago didn't actually help at all.

I had a real entry in mind to write tonight, but I found this amazing Fighters Collection page and have been looking through it for the last few hours instead. I originally found it while looking for pictures of the Fighters atrocious 1980's uniforms to reply to a post on Stop The Wave, but it's just plain chock-full of awesome pictures of players I'd never really *seen* before, just read about. And then there's fun things like a team pin set which had to be 2002 (the clue being that it's the only year Yamaguchi and Katoh were #11 and #12). But the old cards, and old Shukan Baseball issues, and such... man, this is just plain awesome. Yutaka Enatsu, Tony Solaita, Matt Winters, the other Yukio Tanaka, Yukihiro Nishizaki, Isao Harimoto, Kazumi Takahashi, (others I'm forgetting), old pictures of Korakuen stadium, even a section on the early Tokyu/Toei Flyers, who became the Nippon Ham Fighters in 1974. And then all the pictures of the various merchandise and clothes and caps and pins and noisemakers and...

Just amazing. I love stuff like this. Now I feel like I should go doing some sort of project to translate a whole lot of this into English, except I simply don't have the time right now.

By the way, happy birthday on February 22 to both Kazuhiro Sasaki and JJ Putz! Maybe it should be a requirement in the future for Mariners closers to all have this birthday.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Saving Face

Every morning I take a look at the baseball birthdays for the day on, and I see if I can pick out who they chose for the birthday of the day on my wall calendar before looking at it. I'm usually right about 50% of the time.

I look at February 20th, and several names jump out at me:

- "Baby Braves" Brian McCann and Ryan Langerhans
- Justin Verlander
- Livan Hernandez
- Bill "Gully" Gullickson, Clyde "Crazy" Wright, and Shane Spencer, all of whom have legacies of sorts in Japanese baseball
- Sal Yvars and Tommy Henrich, both of whom had roles in "The Era", which I read recently
- Muddy Ruel AND Sam Rice, teammates during the glory years of the 1920's Washington Senators

Well, it seems obvious to me, that since Sam Rice is a hall of famer, he'd be the calendar birthday. Right?

No. The calendar birthday is someone who didn't even jump out at me at ALL - Roy Face.

I'll be honest, all I remembered about Face was that he was one of the Pirates pitchers who screwed up that infamous topsy-turvy 7th game of the 1960 World Series. Last time I'd looked at the events of October 13, 1960, it was because I was thinking more about how Hal Smith would have been the Series hero instead of Bill Mazeroski, if Bob Friend and Harvey Haddix hadn't given up those two runs in the 9th which nullified Smith's 3-run homer in the 8th. But of course, when Roy Face came out to pitch in that game in the 5th inning, the score was 4-1 Pirates with runners on first and second. When he left the game at the top of the 8th for a pinch-hitter, it was 7-4 Yankees. Not the best impression to leave if that's the only game someone remembers of your career.

But then when I look at the rest of Roy Face's statistics, several things stand out as being sort of crazy. For example, in 1959, he had a won-loss record of 18-1, despite having never started a game. With wikipedia to the rescue, one can also find out that he was the first guy to save three games in a World Series, namely games 1, 4, and 5 of the 1960 series. One might note that the Pirates won every game in that Series that Face pitched in, outscoring the Yankees 24-17 in those four games, as opposed to the other three games of the series, where they were outscored 38-3 by the Yankees, making for one of the most lopsided contests in history. Games 1 and 4 had been won by a combination of just Roy Face and Vern Law, the 1960 Cy Young winner, so it's no wonder that the Pirates staked game 7 on this combination as well.

Face may not have been a super power pitcher, but he struck out more guys than he walked, didn't give up many home runs, and obviously kept his team in the game. The 1959 Pirates scored 29 less runs than they gave up, but finished with a 78-76 record, indicating that they had a little more luck, or control, of their close games. 9 of Face's 18 wins that year were in one-run games, and 11 of them were in extra innings. If Joe Page was Casey Stengel's first contribution to the world of high-leverage situational relief ace management, then it seems like Roy Face was Danny Murtaugh's.

Like many other early relief aces, Roy Face's career mostly predated the actual save statistic, which came along in 1969. 1969, however, was Face's last year in the majors. He officially saved 5 games for the expansion Montreal Expos, who were only marginally worse at 52-110 (.321) than the first Pirates team Face pitched on in 1953 at 50-104 (.325), who were one year removed from arguably being one of the worst teams in the 20th century.

So, happy 78th birthday, Roy Face, and forgive me for not realizing you deserve the honor.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Hanshin Tigers Scare Me

I realize that Iron Man Tomoaki Kanemoto is sort of allowed to do anything he wants, but the American media would never put up a photo of a player flipping someone off, would they? (I swear this is just begging for Photoshop.)

Yusuke Takahashi may not be a very useful outfielder, but he's apparently a useful transportation device. (How the heck he's carrying Lin and Akamatsu on his back AND actually moving is beyond me, though.)

Kyuji Fujikawa learns about baseball by osmosis.


Dear Esteban Yan: is that a tumor on your shoulder or just ice?

Akamatsu says, "Oh god, please let me make the team," while Kojima says, "Please God, I hope nobody notices that my hair is worse than Igawa's".

Friday, February 16, 2007

Book Review - Luckiest Man, by Jonathan Eig

Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig

I was given this book as a holiday present in 2005, and I put off reading it for two main reasons: one, I had read Ray Robinson's "Iron Horse" book relatively recently at the time, and two, reading about Lou Gehrig can be awfully depressing. But the Rattler Radio blog, which covers the Mariners minor league Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, has been putting up excerpts of "Luckiest Man" all winter, and so early last week I decided to start immersing myself in the world of Lou Gehrig for an hour a day while riding the bus to and from work.

Reading this book is a lot like watching the movie Titanic, only it doesn't suck. Titanic, in all fairness, was a beautifully crafted work, with gorgeous sets reconstructing the extravagant ship. The first two hours of the movie set up the plot and the romance amidst wonderful scenery. But everyone knows what happened to the Titanic -- and when the iceberg hits the ship, you know you're in for another hour of water water everywhere, lots of people dying, several times where it looks hopeful that they might survive, and a sad ending where the guy dies and the girl lives on. And to be honest, when I watched Titanic, I actually fastforwarded through most of the last hour -- I just didn't feel like watching it.

Well, the story of Lou Gehrig is similar, especially as told in this book. The amount of detail that Jonathan Eig has extracted from history is impeccable, painting Gehrig into a crisper image than has ever been done before. But everyone knows what happened to Lou Gehrig -- and sure enough, about two thirds of the way through the book, you hit the sentence "Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis struck Lou Gehrig in 1938." There's the iceberg. And then you know you're in for another three years of his life, watching him waste away, several times getting false hope from doctors with experimental cures, and eventually a sad ending where the guy dies and the girl lives on. And to be honest, I started reading a little bit quicker when I hit the iceberg in this too -- the amount of medical detail explained at times was just a little too intense to bear.

Despite the fact that the story of Lou Gehrig is a sad one, and that Lou Gehrig himself was said to be a boring guy in general, this book has a lot of humor injected into it, to make sure the tone is never too serious when it doesn't need to be. To some extent, there's just a lot of things that are somewhat ridiculous about that time period when viewed from the present. Alternately, Gehrig's dryness itself also manifests in wit. In addition, Lou played the straight man to the craziness of Babe Ruth for a while:
   When asked at a press conference how he planned to spend the winter, Ruth said, "I ain't doin' a thing, except you know what!"
   The reporters knew what, but they couldn't print it.
   Gehrig said, "I plan to play a lot of basketball."

Another strength of this book is the amount of detail paid to the supporting characters in the story. Eleanor Gehrig has written her own books, of course, and everyone knows about Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio, but many of the other Bronx Bombers that played along Gehrig have mostly faded away into history. In this book, though, the people close to him live on in vivid detail, such as his best friend on the team, Bill Dickey:
   William Malcolm Dickey was four years younger than Gehrig. Born in Louisiana and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, he was one of seven children. He was a quietly elegant man, long-legged and strong. Yet his face was that of a boy, with ears that stuck out like handles on a jug, and a sweet, wide grin. He looked like a lazy old horse when he walked, as if each section of each limb required a separate call to action. For such a young and lean athlete, though, he was a terribly slow runner. Everything about him seemed to operate in slow motion, most of all his speech. He didn't talk much, but when he did, his smooth Southern drawl made even the most urgent plea sound calm.
   "I signaled for a fast ball and you threw me a curve," Dickey complained once to the pitcher Lefty Gomez, in his most furious tone.
   "How are your bird dogs?" Gomez replied.
   It was nearly impossible to feel threatened by Dickey. Even Gehrig approached without fear.

The visual descriptions of people and places stand on their own, but Eig even manages to capture sensory images of history in sound as well, both in the sounds of baseball and in the sounds of people. One standout example of this is in the growth of radio, which paralleled Gehrig's career. (It seems that Gehrig would have most likely been a case of "Video killed the radio star", had he played a decade or two later.) It had somehow never occurred to me that radio broadcasts of baseball games were not always as we think of them now, but were originally essentially oral box scores, with sparse announcement of plays and vast stretches of silence in between. It was during Gehrig's first year as a player that one man changed all that:
   The sportswriters used radio the same way they used their pencils and scorecards, to record all the necessary details and none of the atmosphere. They saved their creative flourishes for their newspaper readers.
   But in 1923, a former concert singer named Graham McNamee was hired to sit beside the sportswriters and liven up their broadcasts. McNamee had a deep, rich voice, and he loved to ramble. He didn't know much about baseball, but he had a terrific eye for detail, and he described what he saw in marvelous terms. When frustrated fans put their fists through their straw hats, when Gloria Swanson arrived at her seat wrapped in ermine, when John McGraw flashed all but invisible signals to his players, McNamee called it as he saw it. He was radio's first color commentator. "The crowd is ready, yowling, and howling," he said in one typically excited moment. "I never heard such a crowd in my life... Strike one!"
   McNamee gave baseball a common language. He took the game out of the ballpark and into homes and made it a part of the sound of American life, so much so that a New Yorker could walk down the street without missing a pitch as McNamee's voice boomed from window after window. In the process, he became a celebrity -- bigger perhaps than all but Ruth. When he dropped a Thermos full of coffee and stained his suit while on the air, the incident made news the next day. Naturally, the sportswriters were jealous, and they tried, in vain, to point out that the broadcaster often seemed to mistake right-handed hitters for left-handed hitters, couldn't keep track of which man was at bat, and put runners on the bases when there were none. "I don't know which game to write about," Ring Lardner wote after one World Series game, "the one I saw today or the one I heard Graham McNamee announce as I sat next to him at the Polo Grounds."

As you can see by these excerpts, the prose in this book is absolutely fantastic. Even the times of Gehrig's life that could become dull if presented in black-and-white, such as his yearly statistics, salary negotiations, and especially, details about some games and slumps and such -- much like McNamee's broadcasts, these are given color and detail that was not touched upon before. There's always a quote or an anecdote to bring to life anything from Lou's fishing expeditions to his playing stickball with kids in the neighborhood after he'd come home from the ballpark.

And of course, Eig managed to get copies of all of Gehrig's correspondence with the Mayo Clinic, which sheds a lot of light on exactly what his condition was like in various stages of ALS, and what treatments he tried, and who he tried them from. There were details of the house he and Eleanor lived in during the last years of his life, down to the number of steps it took to get to the front porch, to the first floor, and so on (it doesn't seem like much until you remember that Gehrig was basically losing the ability to walk). Some stories have also been set straight from the versions portrayed in The Pride of the Yankees, or in Eleanor's tales. The saddest part is probably how long it seems he held out hope that he would be cured.

Anyway, this book is a solid piece of work and well worth reading. It's even reasonable as a bus book, though I recommend reading the last chapter or two at home if you're prone to crying when the profound sadness of the entire situation really hits you.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

NPB Roundup: Happy (Bobby) Valentine's Day

Actually, sadly, I was hoping to have a whole bunch of stuff to talk about the Chiba Lotte Marines in such a named post, but alas, I don't see a count anywhere of how many chocolates Nishioka or Imae or even Bobby himself received (if you're unfamiliar with the way Valentine's Day works in Japan, women give chocolates to men they like on Feb 14th, and then a month later on White Day, March 14th, guys are supposed to reciprocate. Or something).

Instead, I suppose I could mention that the Marines are finishing up their two weeks of Spring Training in Geelong, Australia, where women glow and men plunder, and the temperature was apparently around 100 degrees the entire time. This week they played two exhibition games against the Australian national team. On Tuesday, submariner Shunsuke Watanabe pitched the first two innings, striking out 5, which led to an Australian newspaper to rave about his pitching -- and spell his name wrong as "Watanbe". Oops. Kosuke Katoh was roughed up for 4 runs, but he was the only Marines pitcher to give up any runs in the outing, with Yoshihide Kanda striking out the side in the 7th and Yusuke Kawasaki pitching a perfect 8th and 9th inning. Shunichi Nemoto, Shoitsu Ohmatsu, and Naotaka Takehara contributed home runs on the offense as Lotte pounded the Australians 9-4. On Wednesday, the lineup featured a lot rawer players, with Yoshihisa Naruse getting the start and doing okay for two innings, but the rest of the game sounds like it was pretty sloppy and the Australians beat the Marines 4-3. Takehara was 3-for-4 and contributed another home run. Can you hear the thunder?

For those not familiar with Lotte's farm team, they won the Eastern League pennant last year. Takehara put up a .310/.415/.541 line with 13 home runs (tied for the lead league) and Nemoto was the league batting champ with a .343/.411/.461 line. If these guys can step it up to the top-level team this year, along with the addition of Julio Zuleta, Lotte could be pretty scary. They'll just need to get something out of their outfield and their pitching, as their infield may be the best in the Pacific League.

(A funny side note to the "Watanbe" thing I linked from Shunsuke's blog -- he explained that the Australian announcer even said his name as "Watanbe". During the Nichibei series, David Ortiz signed something to him as "Watanabi", which is the way his gaijin teammates usually pronounced his name. At the end of the entry, Watanabe ponders, "It must be a hard name to pronounce, huh?" Which personally makes ME confused, as I think it's one of the EASIER names in Japanese to get right!)

Another day in camp, Bobby Valentine made his players run dashes until they were exhausted and then he went around taking pictures of them collapsed on the ground. Maybe he's finally learning how to be a proper Japanese baseball manager.

I did originally intend to make this a silly post, though, so here's the silly part.

Masahiro Tanaka, the highly touted draft pick of the Rakuten Golden Eagles -- formerly the ace pitcher of Komadai Tomakomai high school, who had won the 2004 and 2005 summer Koshien tournaments and come close to winning the 2006 one as well -- apparently was not quite the most popular guy on the Eagles when it came to Valentine's Day chocolates, though. That honor went to "cool guy ace pitcher" Hisashi Iwakuma, who received 36 chocolates. Tanaka received 23, and tied for third on the team were Yasuhiro Ichiba and Tsuchiya Teppei with 18. However, Teppei and Ichiba are both on my All-Cute Team, and Iwakuma and Tanaka are not, so you know who the real winners are.

The guy who defeated Tanaka in the Koshien tournament this year was a Waseda Jitsugyo pitcher named Yuki Saito, who now attends Waseda University, and who is nowhere as cool as the pitcher with the same name on the Hiroshima Carp. He's such a media sensation (infact, following the Yuki Saito media will give you a good idea of what it must have been like being Matsuzaka in his Koshien days) that they still have articles just to talk about him getting over the flu. Anyway, Saito's manager joked that "He got about 500 chocolates", which is probably a little bit of an exaggeration, though the post office apparently did have preparations to deliver Valentine's presents for him from women all over the country. Oi.

The Yakult Swallows had something on their home page where you could send Valentine's messages to players. In the final tally, they received 919 messages in all, and former Waseda star Norichika Aoki led the team by far by having 260 of them addressed to him. Pitcher Ryo Kawashima was second with 96.

I know some people think I'm nuts for thinking Old Man Shimoyanagi is a big adorable teddy bear, but apparently the Hanshin Tigers female fans somewhat agree, as he led the team in chocolates with 20. Norihiro Akahoshi got 13, and below that it seems that Osamu Hamanaka (cuuuuute!), Tomoaki Kanemoto (handsome), Kyuji Fujikawa (awesome incarnate), Akihiro Yano (err...) and Shinjiro Hiyama (?!?!) all got 5 or so.

Here's a picture of Sadaharu Oh happily opening a heart-shaped box of chocolate candies he received from the press. There was also one of a slightly grumpier Munenori Kawasaki being inundated with bags full of Valentine's chocolates from female Hawks fans. Poor guy.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Japan Photos, Part 10 - Yokohama

This is my last picture post of Japanese baseball games/stadiums. In theory I have one more trip photo post to do, of the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame, but I haven't decided if I'll do it in the same format as the rest of these posts (with the thumbnails up on the blog page) or not.

Remembering that day now, it was such a damn nice Saturday afternoon in Yokohama. It was beautiful and sunny outside, and Yokohama was the only stadium I went to in Japan where they didn't have those damn fences up around the field. Before the game it was possible to go down and watch batting practice and take pictures and all, though the ushers made us all go to our proper seats way too soon. Still, some combination of the sunny weather and the fact that I only had a day or two left in Japan at this point and no need to conserve memory card space led to me taking around 500 pictures at the park that day.

Combine that with this past weekend being really busy for me (My team finished Puzzle Hunt!) and that's why it took me almost a week to get this set together, culling it down to only 120 pictures and working with them, especially since there were so many awesome pictures I really liked, but I didn't think having ninety billion shots of Yoshinobu Takahashi would really interest anyone else out there. Just kidding. Mostly.

Anyway, here's the blog entry from that day and the rest of that weekend, and the box score. It was a fairly mediocre game overall with the Giants kinda beating the Bay Stars, though to be fair, the Giants and Bay Stars both mostly spent the 2006 season playing mediocre baseball. The best part is that the same day I went to Yokohama, Chunichi's 41-year-old pitcher Masa Yamamoto went and pitched a no-hitter in Nagoya.

Full photoset with thumbnails and descriptions here:
Bay Stars vs. Giants at Yokohama Stadium, September 16, 2006

And of course, I'll put up a couple of thumbnails here to give you an idea of how many shots I got of players, mascots, cheer girls, beer girls, etc.

Yokohama Stadium, inside and out:

Scoreboard, Kazuhiro Sasaki's 250 saves marker, seat backs:

Section marker, Yokohama fans with flags, Yomiuri fans with towels:

Cheerleaders making a V, cheerleaders posing, players posing:

Tatsuhiko Kinjoh, crazy half-sidearmer Atsushi Kizuka, former closer Kiyoshi Toyoda:

Takahiro Saeki, Yokohama starter Yuuji Yoshimi, Giants starter Tetsuya Utsumi:

Warmup stretches, warmup dances, bespectacled Makoto Kosaka, Hara-kantoku offers advice, Takayuki Shimizu:

Masaaki Koike, Motoaki Hirano, Seiichi Uchikawa, Takuro Ishii!, Shuuchi Murata:

Yuuki Yoshimura, Shinji Niinuma, Ryota Wakiya, Seung-Yeop Lee, Hiroki Kokubo:

Tomohiro Nioka, Hitoshi Taneda, Shawn Sonnier, Yoshinobu Takahashi, Hisanori Takahashi:

Vendors: Kirin, Asahi, Yebisu, Sapporo, and... Yokohama Stadium:

Mascots Hosshey, Hossiena, first pitch Hiroko Sato, stack of noisesticks, and Kinjoh signing stuff:

Whew, that took forever to get through. And I can't believe it took me two and a half months to do all of these. I suck.

I'll try to actually have some real relevant content on here again sometime soon. Honest.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Friday Foto: Somewhere Over The Bullpen

I swear, I've been working on my Yokohama pictures from Sept 16th for three days now and I'm still not quite done. It was such a beautiful Saturday afternoon that I literally took 500 pictures; I've cropped and resized that set down to 130; now I just need to cull out a few more pictures and then label and thumbnail and... yeah. I'm hoping to finish them up tomorrow night before I head off to Microsoft Puzzle Hunt for the weekend, since I'll have few remaining functioning braincells after that.

So instead, I dug into my archives and found a game that I'd never really posted many of my pictures from. August 8th, 2006, against the Devil Rays, I was sitting in Row 1 in the left field bleachers experimenting with my zoom lens, but in the end the more fun pictures came from looking straight downwards:

Put me in coach, I'm ready to play!
Put me in coach, I'm ready to play!

George Sherrill did infact go into the game shortly after this picture was taken, and pitched well, but the Mariners didn't bother winning the game until the tenth inning when Devil Rays Secret Weapon Seth McClung came in to give up a grand slam to Big Richie.