Friday, August 01, 2008

NPB All-Star Game, Part 1: Osaka Dome

Yesterday, the Pacific League finally won an All-Star game for the first time in several years. With the CL ahead 4-3 in the ninth, Rick Short scored the game-tying run on a single by Nobuhiko Matsunaka, and then Tsuyoshi Nishioka scored the winning run on an RBI single by Takeshi Yamasaki.

In Japan they play two All-Star games every year, one in a CL stadium and one in a PL stadium, and this year was no different, with the first game in the Osaka Dome and the second at Yokohama Stadium.

To me, one of the most fascinating things was looking through Sportsnavi's rosters for the game -- Central and Pacific -- and note how many players have homepages. I got pretty sidetracked reading player blogs for a while!

Anyway, I had to work for the evening and couldn't watch the game itself, just the highlights afterwards. If you want English summaries, you can look at Japanball, Daily Yomiuri, or the Asahi Shinbun.

My translator script did translate the game, although there's a bug in the team names that I will fix later this weekend when I have a chance: Central 4, Pacific 5

Some great photographs are up at Mainichi: Central League players and Pacific League players.

I watched highlights on FujiTV around midnight, when they had Hiroyuki Nakajima, Norichika Aoki, and Kyuji Fujikawa on as guests for the sports news, to talk about the ASG and about the olympics. It was Nakajima's birthday and he felt very embarrassed about that error he made. Aoki, for his part, is really the best TV personality of any of them. He's really intelligent and well-spoken, says kind things about his teammates, and has good observations to make. (Although he, like the others, admitted that he thinks Hoshino is kind of scary. Also, they all said, basically, "Gold medal or bust!")

I am also wondering when Hichori is going to pull some crazy stunt. Maybe for the second game?

On a weirder note, I recently came across a really great New York Times article about Hiromitsu Ochiai, the Central League ASG manager. The catch? It was written in 1987. Well worth a read if you have a minute.

Game 2 is tonight at Yokohama Stadium. No, I'm not going to that one either. Grrr.

While I'm at it, since this is a links post:
Simon Currie posts NPB defensive numbers at the break and shows that the Fighters are still the best at defense.

The Koshien teams and schedule is up. Koshien starts TOMORROW -- August 2nd. I almost can't decide if I should ditch my plan to go to Sendai this weekend and head down to Osaka instead. Sadly, the match I really want to see -- Urawa Gakuin, my local team, vs. Yokohama HS, the powerhouse, is on Thursday afternoon while I have a class. Sigh.

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