Tagged: japan

That darn Olympic 11th inning thing

Good job Olympic breaths.

The 11th inning let’s get the hell out of Dodge and bust rule specially conjured for the last baseball Olympics (for a while) is a real loser.
Talk about sucking the excitement out of a baseball game.
Extra innings generally are interesting, even thrilling. The Olympic artificial flavoring of an ending — not so much.
They start the inning with runners on first and second and each team picking where to start in the lineup.
Why not just stage a simulated game from the start or a rousing game of over-the-line while you’re at it. Who needs innings. Just play it on the computer and reveal the results.
The reason for this lame format is just as lame. Get the games over with since the tourney only lasts two weeks.
USA USA  got burned by Cuba last time. This time they beat Japan (barely) for the honor of a rematch.
Can you say bronze medal?

Barry Bonds and why not the…Rays? (Also, an Olympic  moment).

Let’s put the devil back into the rays.

At this point, the Bonds baggage actually can be a good thing. Really.
The Rays need a power left-handed bat. Bonds can DH.
The steroid stuff is so tired and old. We all know he’s going to prison for perjury next year. So, he has six weeks to help a cinderella team win the pennant.
It’s all good PR. And Bonds can help the Rays.
Since the steroids are a given and we know he has to be clean, the controversy on this point is moot. Barry is at St. Pete to play ball and win the pennant so who can doubt that each day the focus wll be on the team and the win, not so much on Bonds. And since everyone knows the baggage situation, nobody is going to care all that much. And if Bonds does deflect some attention, that’s good too, since it takes media glare off other players who can relax and play loose.
It’s surprising this hasn’t taken place as of Aug. 15.
I predict it will happen…
(And speaking of which in a strange paradoxical thought pattern that popped just in my brain now: What about Dale Berra?)
Olympics Aside

The U.S. baseball team really choked against South Korea the other day — or was it night.
They rebounded against the Dutch, ha-ha.
Davey Johnson looked sick to his stomach in the Korea loss and with good reason. Surely, these guys can respond better to pressure. Unfortunately not, as they did a redux against Cuba the other night/day.
Can you say sayonara? The Japanese team is loaded with top pros and the Cubans are the Cubans, despite half their real team now playing in the U.S. 
But who cares, I got a badminton match to watch. What’s the birdie over/under on Malaysia-Sri Lanka?

From Japan with love

You may want to use this trivia question to win an iced tea bet at the local library.

Who are the four pitchers in Major League Baseball history to toss no-hitters in each league?

The first three are pretty good. Cy Young. Jim Bunning. Nolan Ryan. Start a rotation with that bunch, why don’t you.

And then there’s that elusive fourth man. Hideo Nomo who threw a no-no in that least likely of venues, the only one in fact in the history of Coors Field. Nomo repeated his feat for the Red Sox at Camden Yards. The first one there.

And now the Tornado is back.

Nomo’s baseball history easily is as convoluted and downright different as his tortuously twisting delivery. A delivery so unusual that even in Japan, the land of weird fits of pitching fancy and mojo delivery gyrations, he was famously named the Tornado.

Nomo also broke the Japanese financial mold. He got an agent — unheard of at the time — who got him out of a contract on a technicality and did a dastardly deed considered dishonorable at the time. He defected, er, let’s say, signed with the Dodgers. Since Nomomania — not quite Fernandomania, but as with L.A.’s Japantown, a nice touch for a while — he moved around quite a bit and had a solid U.S. career.

Which brings us to the present day as Nomo got back into the Major Leagues after a long hiatus. His usual Number 19 already was taken by Brian Bannister on the Royals, so the contrarian in Nomo went with Number 91. Get it?

Lo-and-behold, Nomo pitching and the matchup of the day in a way. Hideki Matsui came to the plate. Matsui’s career with the Giants, Yomiuri division, began in 1994 just as Nomo nearly dearly departed Nippon. And Matsui is legend in Japan, sort of a Hank Greenburg type, dominant power hitter. He’s been very, very good in the States, too, but his power numbers aren’t quite the super-colassal-happy-fun numbers of his play in Japan. Yet an all-star here.

Matsui is considered a solid citizen, but has some considerable quirks. He likes women. Really, really likes women. He boasted about dating five women at one time. Perhaps that phase is over since he recently married. But he couldn’t afford to divorce. After all, who would get his porno film collection? He is said to have more than 50,000 items and has spoken openly about the collection. Sorry, a bit too creepy for me, not the concept, but the size. And don’t go there…

There it was Japanese Central League fans: Kintetsu Buffaloes v. Yomiuri Giants. Nomo versus Matsui. The Tornado versus Godzilla. All on a wet Kansas City field with about a dozen people in the stands somewhat outmaneuvered by the few dozen Japanese media people hanging around the dugouts.

Great moment. Not. The at-bat was short and sweet. Matsui hit a weak pop-up and so it went. Maybe next time Nomo will face Matsui’s arch-rival, the inimitable Ichiro, and we’ll see some fireworks.

Other Notes From the Field:

C.C. No. No. Sabathia looks way over the weight limit and someone is going to have to throw him back back back. His fastball looks very straight and he is getting bombed, and not at the local hoo-hooery hole in a good way…

Talk to the hand says Jake Peavy. Does anyone who saw his hands as he left the mound after shutting out the Dodgers doubt he was as covered with pine tar as George Brett’s legendary bat? Put it this way. That wasn’t magic mud fairy dfust. With the whole world watching the reprise against the Dodgers, he clearly was not doing the dirty hand dance. Looked clean and pitched well, but not quite as well as the previous effort.

The Arizona Diamondbacks. They are hot. And as such, they look like Colorado looked at the end of last year and then some. With all the Rock-stuff last year, people tend to forget the D-Backs won the most games in the National League. They look better than last year. Fittingly, the Rockies have been their latest victims.

But it’s only April. So, all enjoy the Birds (Orioles, Jays, Cardinals, et a;) and the Bees (Salt Lake, best I could do) and all that jazz…