Friday, July 31, 2015

The 30-Day NPB Challenge

(I originally wrote/published this post on May 1st but I wanted it to be top of the blog AND I hope to finish all the entries by the end of July, so it's been redated to then.)

About a month ago, a Tigers fan that I only know as "Nice Pitcher Nohmi!" on Twitter started a #30DayNPBChallenge thing. Now, at the time, I was in Japan enjoying my normal try-to-cram-4-months-of-baseball-and-friends-and-stuff-into-2-weeks thing so didn't really have time to take on anything, but I decided that when I got back to the US I'd try to do this.

I don't guarantee that I'll actually do 30 days in 30 consecutive days, but I'll try to get through this by the end of, say, June or July.

The rules are in this post:

Since I dislike having them in an image only, they are:

1. The first NPB game you watched (Fighters-Blue Wave Sept 2003)
2. Your all-time favorite NPB player (Shunsuke Watanabe)
3. Favorite CL team (Swallows)
4. Favorite PL team (Fighters)
5. The moment you became the fan of a player (Yohei Kagiya)
6. Favorite pitcher (Brian Sweeney)
7. A batter you'd put all your bets in (Sho Nakata)
8. A fielder you enjoy watching (Hirokazu Ibata around 2004-2009)
9. A player you think is the most difficult to play against (Okawari-kun now, Matsunaka 10 years ago)
10. Favorite battery (Daisuke Takeuchi/Masahiro Nagasaki, Keio 2010)
11. A reliever/closer who gives you shivers when he takes the mound (Tetsuya Yamamoto)
12. A pitchers' duel you enjoyed or think you would enjoy (Game 5 of the 2007 Japan Series, Fighters' Darvish vs. Dragons' Yamai/Iwase perfect game - boxscore)
13. Most impressive moment in an NPB game (Benny's kubinage throw of Toru Hosokawa after the Lions hit 3 Marines players with pitches in one inning, Sept 24 2008: video)
14. Most disappointing moment in an NPB game (Hisashi Takeda giving up homers to Kamei and Abe in the 9th inning of Game 5 of the 2009 Japan Series)
15. Funniest scene in an NPB game (Marty Brown throws bases, May 7 2006)
16. Favorite team anthem (ファイターズと共に by TRIPLANE -- love the song but the "Fighters ver." video with so many friends and so many memories is the best)
17. Favorite team logo (Tokyo era Fighters logo)
18. Favorite mascot (Fighters ni-gun mascot Cubby)
19. Favorite uniform (Swallows alternates navy/black/etc 2011)
20. Favorite stadium or dome (Sapporo Dome OF, Jingu IF watching college baseball)
21. Coolest chance theme (Baystars "Rising", Swallows "Natsumatsuri", Fighters Sendai songs and Kansai)
22. Favorite ouenka (Alltime: Yukio Tanaka, current: Kenshi Sugiya with his switch-hitting switch-melody)
23. Manager you trust the most (Trey Hillman and Bobby Valentine)
24. A coach you wish he was yours (Masato Yoshii, come back to the Fighters!)
25. A young player you have expectations on (Daiki Asama)
26. Favorite farm player who you hope makes it to the first team (The four pitchers who I knew at Hosei University who are now on the Baystars and having various issues: Kisho Kagami '10, Tomoya Mikami '11, Kazuki Mishima '12, and Kenta Ishida '14)
27. A player you wish he was in your favorite team (Koji Fukutani)
28. Favorite rivalry between two NPB players None. My favorite rivalry is Keio vs Waseda, or Everyone vs the Giants.
29. A player you wish he was your friend that you'd be proud to show around (Hiroshi Kisanuki, baseball's biggest train nerd and nicest guy)
30. Your dream team (See post; Fighters dream team of sorts)

I may not make separate posts here for ones that need 130 characters or less to answer, such as the first one, which is just going to be: September 2003, Fighters vs. Orix Blue Wave.  I wrote an entry on here about it a few years later.

(and I suppose several of these are just going to be links to old entries on here, in all honesty)

Sometime this summer I'm hoping to write up a guide to watching baseball in Japan since people ask me all the time and I'd like to have something good to link them to.  It may have to wait until after Google I/O, though :)