Saturday, March 05, 2011

Takeuchi Times Two

I was reading the winter Kagayake Koshien no Hoshi magazine while on a recent trip, and while going through the Chukyodai Chukyo page, trying to memorize Junpei Morimoto's face so I can stalk him in the Hosei preseason, noticed that a 3rd-year pitcher/1B named Hirotaka Takeuchi (竹内啓貴) was going to be entering Keio this year. And in his comments, he said how "I learned so much from my older brother, I owe my baseball success to him."

Wait... a Chukyodai kid, going to Keio, named Takeuchi, talking about his older brother... my first thought was, is he Daisuke's brother? (Upcoming 3rd year Keio pitcher Daisuke Takeuchi also is from Chukyodai Chukyo HS, graduated the year before they won Koshien, sadly). From the photo in the Koshien magazine, I thought he bore a vague resemblance to my current favorite Keio lefty.

But, no. Hirotaka's older brother is actually ANOTHER Chukyodai Chukyo baseball club alum named Hiroaki (啓明), who was on the Chukyodai team that made it all the way to the Best 8 in the 2004 summer Koshien tournament. Hirotaka was in 6th grade at the time and watched his brother on TV and decided he wanted to someday play at Koshien too. So Hiroaki, who is now in grad school studying sports medicine at Tsukuba University in Ibaraki and coaching Mito Daiichi's baseball team, came down to Koshien to watch his little brother play in Senbatsu 2010. It's a nice story, really, the Japanese press loves stuff like this.

Also, someone else has scanned a bunch of the stuff from that Koshien no Hoshi, the Chukyo Story is the 2nd picture there. And the next entry mentions how Hirotaka got into Keio, too.

The notes on Hirotaka that I've seen mostly read as follows:


Basically, he passed the entrance exam for Keio, and apparently of the 11 who applied early as hopefuls for the baseball team, only 4 managed to actually pass the exam. (Keio doesn't have a "sports recommendation" entrance exam, but I think there are various reasons they'll let people apply early decision, and sports is one of them.) They mention he was on the roster for the team that won Koshien, played as a regular this past year, and his little league team was Nagoya Kita Senior, the same team that both Donoue brothers (Naomichi and Takehiro, both currently Chunichi Dragons players) and Naoki Yamaguchi (graduating from Keio this month) played on.

And, no relation to Daisuke. But I'm betting that I'm not the only person who wondered!

(For the record, Koji Fukutani, upcoming 3rd-year righty ace, was also an Aichi kid who aced the Keio entrance exam. He's also really nice and really smart (and wrote a Keio team blog entry recently, thanking the past and present baseball team faculty advisors and marvelling in that they're both professors from the department of science. I'm really psyched that I'll get to be in Japan for a bit of the college preseason, even though I won't be around for the actual season -- I think Keio will do really well this year, though.)

Oh! And just as an aside, since I haven't been writing much, but this was really cool to find out about -- Shogo Shashiki, graduating this month from Meiji, is going to be playing for the Ishikawa Million Stars in the Hokushinetsu Baseball Challenge League this year! That's really great for him, they've been a very strong team, have had guys drafted into the NPB every year of their existence, and it appears former Washington Nationals minor-leaguer and Komadai Tomakomai HS grad Naoya Washiya is also staying with them for this year as well. Shashiki had told me he hoped to play in the US this year, and even did come to the US in the fall with Yoshihiro Doi to try out for some major league scouts, but I guess nobody picked him up. A shame, but I think the Ishikawa team will be a good experience for him, and he'll be close enough to his hometown Osaka that his family can come see him, too. (He was one year ahead of Sho Nakata at Osaka Toin, they used to bat 3rd and 4th in the lineup.)

And while I'm at it... Dave over at Japanese Baseball Cards notes that he thinks there is a Big 6 Card Set this year after all, despite the lack of Saitoh. I guess BBM changed their minds, since a bunch of players had told me they were told there wouldn't be another set. Good for BBM if so, and good for the players too! (This is one case where I'd be overjoyed to be completely wrong.) I noticed that on the page from Discount Niki that Dave linked, that the set says "Featuring this year's draft candidates Yusuke Nomura and Hayata Itoh! Get your insert cards of famous Big 6 alumni like Kenshin Kawakami, Yoshinobu Takahashi, and Atsunori Inaba! 2 insert cards per box!" So, we'll see. It may not come out in time for me to actually get a copy while I'm in Japan, but so what?

Oh, so yeah, I'll be in Japan from March 16 until April 8th or so (it's still undecided; I have to be back in Seattle by April 12, but don't have my return ticket yet), by the way. I won't be there for most of the rest of the year, though, so if you want to go to a game with me, act now :) I am planning to go to Senbatsu if at all possible, as well as a bunch of preseason college games and early season pro games...


Shin said...

Ahhh, Senbatsu~~~~~ Ikitai na...

Hope u have fun and enjoy if u're going. And I will put up a few teruteru-bozu for u.

And remember to get me a baseball :)

Deanna said...

You should come to Senbatsu with me!!!!

Unfortunately the schedule isn't decided until March 15 so I don't know exactly which days I'm planning on. My main team I really want to see is Nichidai San but there are other big ones I wanna go to like Urawa Gakuin.

What baseball do you want? :P

Shin said...

I wish. But if I need to go to Senbatsu, I will need to walk into my boss' office tomorrow and tell him to do something to himself. After which I will be kicked out.

Dun really have any favorite team to cheer on this time, maybe Soushi Gakuen since their whole squad are 1-nensei, and their baseball team just formed 1 year. Altho it seems they ain't really like the manga/anime teams, but instead the squad being scouted and brought over all around the prefecture.

Btw, the media are saying there's a curse with the Jingu tournament, and therefore Nichidai-san will not win. Who knows.

Deanna said...

Wow -- Soushi is intriguing now that I look them up. Looks like they're so new that they don't even have their own baseball field, and they practice on a nearby university's field instead. It'll be interesting to try to see them.

I liked the Hokkai ace freshman Tamakuma when I saw him at the Jingu Taikai, but I think he was just outmatched by Sanko's batters at the time. I reeeeeeeeally liked Sanko's ace Yoshinaga though, so I mostly want to watch him, regardless of whether the team actually wins.

And maybe this year I can get some decent photos of the Big Red C that aren't being rained out :)

Hmm, isn't it like 4 hours to fly from Hong Kong to Osaka? You could do a weekend trip!

Shin said...

It's around 4-5 hours, but since I couldn't even get one day off (well, there's always sick leave I guess...>_>), and I also have to work the morning on Sat, weekend trip won't work as well.

Guess I'll just have to stick with livestream (if they're available this yr)

Hopefully it won't rain and you will get to take some good photos this time around. I swear I'm gonna one day go back and watch a bunch of matches...someday....

Right now I wish I was still in Toronto, so I can at least watch the games at night, albeit killing all my sleep time. Now it's gonna be hard at work. Maybe I can silently sneak my Iphone on the table and watch from there :P