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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Mariners beat A’s 9-7 with help from homers, a bat flip, and endless love for Ichiro

The first pitch of the 2019 MLB season was thrown at 5:36 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, or 6:36 p.m. local time in Tokyo. Ladies and gentlemen, we have baseball.

There were a lot more 2019 firsts on the way to the Seattle Mariners’ 9-7 win over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday morning. A’s starting pitcher Mike Fiers threw the season’s first strike. Seattle’s Jay Bruce got the season’s first hit. Fiers’ teammate Stephen Piscotty scored the season’s first run and hit 2019’s first home run at the same time.

We’ll have to wait for our first pitcher’s duel, though. The crowd at the Tokyo Dome was treated to a bash fest, with 16 hits and five home runs between both teams. Seattle’s starter Marco Gonzales had a rough start, allowing four runs in his first three innings, but settled down and managed to throw three more scoreless innings.

After all those posts leading up to the game, it would be indecent not to link to an actual account of the game itself.

QLE Posted: March 21, 2019 at 08:22 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, japan, mariners, neutral site games, opening day

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

MLB players revel in Japan’s ‘carnival’ stadium atmosphere

Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball aren’t really so different on the field. Everyone is playing the same game and the rules are more or less the same, with some exceptions.

But as the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics found out during their exhibitions against the Yomiuri Giants and Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, respectively, the leagues are worlds apart in the stands, where Japanese fans take an active role in creating an atmosphere that’s a lot different than in MLB.

“That was awesome,” Mariners second baseman Dee Gordon said after facing the Giants. “It was awesome. They care about baseball. It’s an exhibition game, 46,000 people here (actual attendance: 46,315). That’s awesome. You don’t see that very often.”

Hopefully, none of them were disappointed that they didn’t have to actually fight hams….

 

QLE Posted: March 19, 2019 at 03:33 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: japan, neutral site games, stadium

Sunday, March 17, 2019

‘Rookie’ Kikuchi in spotlight in major league debut in Japan

TOKYO -Talk about a pressure situation.

Just as he was adjusting to life in the United States, Yusei Kikuchi is back in Japan getting ready to make his major league pitching debut in front of a sellout crowd at Tokyo Dome.

From his new teammates, to his Japanese fans to his family and friends, everyone will be expecting Kikuchi to come up with a dominant performance when he takes the mound for the Seattle Mariners on Thursday in Game 2 of the season-opening series against the Oakland A’s.

So, how well do you suppose that you’d do, under these circumstances?

QLE Posted: March 17, 2019 at 07:23 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: japan, mariners, yusei kikuchi

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Ichiro arrives in Tokyo, a sure sign baseball only days away

Ichiro Suzuki has arrived in Tokyo, a sure sign the Major League Baseball season is only days away from starting.

Wearing a gray and black hat pulled down to cover most of his head, the 45-year-old Seattle Mariners star slipped quickly through the arrival gate on Friday at Haneda Airport with hundreds of reporters and fans getting only a quick glimpse.

The Seattle Mariners and the Oakland Athletics arrived within hours of each other on Friday on charter flights from the United States. They play on Wednesday and Thursday at the Tokyo Dome in the first two games of the 2019 season.

Ichiro could have ended winter six weeks sooner, if he wanted to….

 

 

QLE Posted: March 16, 2019 at 08:24 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: ichiro suzuki, japan, neutral site games, opening day

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Athletics excited about starting season in Japan next week

MESA, Ariz. (AP) — Oakland Athletics pitcher Liam Hendriks wants to taste soy sauce ice cream. Teammate Marco Estrada is hoping to spend a day at Tokyo Disneyland. Athletics manager Bob Melvin just needs to pack.

Melvin and the Athletics head to Japan on Thursday for the major league opening series against the Seattle Mariners at the Toyko Dome on March 20-21. The A’s and Mariners also faced each other in the last opening series in Tokyo, splitting two games in 2012. The Chicago Cubs and New York Mets played there in 2000, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2004, and the Boston Red Sox and Oakland in 2008.

Oakland went on to win the AL West seven years ago and reach the Division Series.

Billy Beane, meanwhile, is considering threatening to move the team to Tokyo if Oakland doesn’t have over half of downtown for a stadium.

 

QLE Posted: March 14, 2019 at 06:08 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, japan, neutral site games, opening day

Monday, March 11, 2019

Mariners, Athletics name starters for Tokyo series

The Mariners and Athletics will kick off the regular season a week before the other 28 teams with a two-game series in Tokyo, Japan March 20 and 21. The clubs have announced their starters for both series.

For the Mariners, Marco Gonzales will start the first game, followed by Yusei Kikuchi. For the A’s, Mike Fiers will start the first game, followed by Brett Anderson.

In other news, it sure doesn’t feel like the regular season should begin by the end of next week….

 

QLE Posted: March 11, 2019 at 09:42 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, japan, mariners, opening day

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Mariners can’t wait to see reaction for Ichiro in Japan

PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) — Jerry Dipoto never met Ichiro Suzuki in person until the day he was reintroduced as a member of the Seattle Mariners during spring training in 2018.

Suzuki’s one request for the hoopla that surrounded his return to the Mariners was the news conference and ensuing activities be kept, in his words, “casual.”

“The entourage arrived, and it looked like the CIA arrival for the president. It was dark windows, suburbans, and Ichiro rolled out and he walked into my office in what I can only describe as something off the runways type of suit,” Dipoto, the team’s general manager, recalled. “It was like a $5,000 suit that looked as crisp and clean as you can imagine. Impeccable knot in his tie with the dark sunglasses. My first reaction to him was not to shake his hand and introduce myself or the like, I slapped him in the chest and said, ‘I thought we were going casual?’ He said to me, and this was my intro to Ichiro, he said to me, ‘To me, this is casual.’”

 

 

QLE Posted: March 07, 2019 at 03:56 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: ichiro suzuki, japan, mariners

Friday, January 25, 2019

Mariners won’t promise spot to Ichiro after Japan trip

The plan seems to be in place for Ichiro Suzuki to be on the Seattle Mariners’ expanded roster when they open the regular season with two games in his native Japan.

After that?

Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto isn’t promising anything to the 45-year-old, especially if it gets in the way of developing some of the younger players who are part of the club’s rebuilding plans.

I’ll take “Things We All Saw Coming” for $40, Art.

QLE Posted: January 25, 2019 at 02:14 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: ichiro suzuki, japan, mariners, roster battles

Monday, January 07, 2019

Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto Expects Ichiro Will Be on 2019 Opening Day Roster

Ichiro Suzuki, who has been playing professional baseball since his Pacific League debut in Japan as an 18-year-old in 1992, could have a spot on the Seattle Mariners’ Opening Day roster in March.

Per Greg Johns of MLB.com, M’s general manager Jerry Dipoto said Thursday that “Ichi will be on our team when we go to Tokyo. He’ll be an active player.”   

The 45-year-old Suzuki is a baseball legend who took the league by storm when he joined the Mariners in 2001. He won the American League’s MVP and Rookie of the Year that season and proceeded to make the All-Star team every year through 2010.

Turns out that Ichiro can complicate everyone’s calculations involving the coming Hall of Fame candidates because he wants to.

QLE Posted: January 07, 2019 at 08:24 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: ichiro suzuki, japan, jerry dipoto, retirement tour

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Dipoto: Ichiro will be on Japan Series roster

Possibly the worst kept secret in the history of baseball?

While Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto says there are many questions to be answered as the upcoming offseason plays out, one answer is already known. Ichiro Suzuki will be on the Major League roster when Seattle opens its regular season in Tokyo against the A’s in the Japan Series next March, as long as he is healthy.

vortex of dissipation Posted: October 04, 2018 at 04:54 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: ichiro, japan

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Jim Kaat: Will we finally get The Real Deal?

Kaat Said: Orientalism.

A couple of short stories about Asian pitchers and Irabu: I was announcing Yankee games in the mid-90s when I said over the air, “I wonder if we’ll ever see an Oriental position player in the Major Leagues?” Dion James was playing for the Yankees at the time, and told me about an exciting 19-year old named Ichiro Suzuki who had a chance to be the first. We all know that story. Big fan of Bernie Williams from watching Yankee games in Japan. Wears number 51 because of that.

So, I get a letter about a week later from an Asian baseball fan. Not a malicious letter but scolding me gently for referring to Asian players as “Oriental.” He said, “Noodles and rugs are Oriental, not people. We are Asians.” Fortunately for me, he put his phone number in the letter, so I called him.

We had a pleasant conversation and I told him I certainly didn’t intentionally say “Oriental’ as a slur or condescending remark. It was said innocently out of ignorance. He understood. I asked him if he would be watching the next game we televised. He said he would. He was a huge baseball fan and was complimentary of our telecasts on the MSG Network. I asked if he would please watch and listen in the top of the 4th inning. He said he would.  I took the opportunity to clear up the Oriental/Asian situation.

...So, I’lll be keeping a close eye on Yu Darvish and see if he is finally the one to be able to challenge and dominate our bigger, more powerful big league hitters. For his and the Rangers’ sake, I hope he does. It will be good for the game and the Rangers profit and loss statement!

Repoz Posted: January 21, 2012 at 06:20 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: announcers, history, international, japan, media, rangers, yankees

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Fox: Morosi: Darvish, Texas agree to six-year deal

Apparently there’s an opt-out for Darvish after the fifth season.  All seems fair enough.

The Texas Rangers and Japanese pitching star Yu Darvish have agreed on a six-year contract, the team announced Wednesday.

The deal is worth close to $60 million, one major-league source confirmed to FOXSports.com. It does not include deferred money.

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 18, 2012 at 06:38 PM | 57 comment(s)
  Beats: japan, rangers

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Brewers sign Japanese slugger Norichika Aok

This “slugger” hit four home runs and slugged .360 in 643 PAs. In Japan.

The Milwaukee Brewers have signed three-time year contract with a club option for 2014.

The Brewers won the negotiating rights to Aoki on December 19.
The 30-year-old Aoki has played his entire eight-year professional career with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, batting .329 with 84 HR, 385 RBI and 164 stolen bases in 985 games.

The Central League batting champion in 2005 (.344), 2007 (.346) and 2010 (.358), Aoki won the CL Rookie of the Year award in 2005. He is also a six- time Golden Glove Award winner.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 17, 2012 at 07:11 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, japan

Monday, January 16, 2012

Oakland manager Melvin excited about Japan series

The Athletics and Seattle Mariners open the regular season with a two-game series at Tokyo Dome on March 28-29. Many hoped the series would feature a showdown between Matsui and countryman Ichiro Suzuki, but Melvin said the A’s likely wont be re-signing the 37-year-old free agent Matsui.

“Matsui was a great fit for us last year and we all loved having him on our team,’’ Melvin said at a press conference on Monday to promote the series. “But this year it doesn’t look like a fit for us based on the personnel we have going forward.’‘

...Suzuki also had a down season in 2011. For the first time in his career, He failed to reach 200 hits - finishing with 184 - and hit a career-worst .272. Other numbers were lower too, including on-base percentage, infield hits and home runs, while he struck out a career-high 69 times.

Former Seattle star Ken Griffey Jr., who now serves as a special consultant to the Mariners, said he expects Suzuki to bounce back this season.

“Ichiro is going to be fine, you can ask these two guys (Melvin, Wedge) if a guy had 184 hits they wouldn’t be complaining,’’ Griffey said. “But you are looking at a guy who is a special athlete. He had one hiccup in his career and come this time next year we won’t even be talking about this. He is going to come into this season determined and with a little fire.’‘

Hiccup?...That was a freakin’ Dave McNally tally if ever!

Repoz Posted: January 16, 2012 at 06:06 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, international, japan, mariners

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Nakajima, Yankees unable to reach deal

The Yankees announced on Thursday that they were unable to sign infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima, who will instead continue to play for the Seibu Lions of Japan’s Pacific League.

“We unfortunately could not come to an agreement with Hiroyuki,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said in a statement. “We wish him the best of luck during the upcoming 2012 season.”

The Yankees acquired the rights to negotiate with the 29-year-old Nakajima through the posting process on Dec. 7, offering a reported $2.5 million bid that gave them 30 days to speak freely with Seibu’s shortstop and team captain.

Sayonara!

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 05, 2012 at 07:18 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: japan, yankees

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Yahoo: Passan: Rangers win bidding for Yu Darvish

The Texas Rangers won the rights to negotiate with star Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish by placing a record $51.7 million bid in a posting auction, sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Darvish’s team in Japan, the Nippon Ham Fighters, will accept the bid, which means the Rangers have 30 days to negotiate a contract with Darvish. If they cannot work out a deal, Darvish would return to Japan for the 2012 season and the Rangers would be refunded the posting fee.

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 20, 2011 at 04:12 AM | 82 comment(s)
  Beats: japan, rangers

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Nationals do not bid on Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish

The identity of the team that won the right to negotiate with Yu Darvish has yet to be revealed, but it was not the Nationals. Washington did not submit a posting bid, according to multiple people with knowledge of the situation, opting to stay on the sideline of a sweepstakes that will cost whomever lands the Japanese superstar upward of $100?million.

Damn it.

By the way, there’s another wonderful WaPo headline for Andy. Time to go back to grammar school.

Dan Evensen Posted: December 18, 2011 at 03:18 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: business, international, japan, nationals

Brew Crew reportedly wins negotiating rights for Aoki

Hardly seems fair that large market teams like the Brewers can just replace their MVP left-fielder with a three-time batting champ.

The Brewers reportedly submitted a winning $2.5 million bid to negotiate with Japanese outfielder Norichika Aoki, a three-time Central League batting champion with the Yakult Swallows.

According to a tweet by Yasuko Yanagita of Hochi Shimbun, the Swallows announced that they accepted the Brewers’ bid for Aoki. The Brewers now have negotiating rights for Aoki for the next 30 days….

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound left-handed hitter slipped to a .292 average and four homers in 2011, after going for career highs of a .358 average and 209 hits in 2010. He was the 2005 Central League Rookie of the Year, batting .344 in his first full season.

Aoki will turn 30 on Jan. 5, and could join a Brewers outfield that includes Ryan Bruan, Corey Hart, Nyjer Morgan and Carlos Gomez.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 18, 2011 at 02:58 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, japan

Friday, December 16, 2011

Japan Times: Asao, Uchikawa win league MVP awards

This news is actually a couple of weeks old, but I’m posting it mainly because I thought people might be interested to know that a set-up man, Chunichi Dragons reliever Takuya Asao, won the MVP Award in Japan’s Central League. After the controversy about Verlander’s MVP win, and some writers questioning whether pitchers should be eligible for the MVP at all, it’s interesting to look overseas and see not a starting pitcher, not a closer, but a set-up man walk away with the hardware…

“I can’t believe it,” Asao said at a news conference.

...

Asao played a vital role out of the bullpen for the pennant-winning Dragons, making 79 appearances and recording 45 holds. He finished the season with 10 saves, 100 strikeouts, a 0.41 ERA and didn’t allow a single home run in 87? innings on the mound.

“I was determined to do my best the entire year,” Asao said. “I didn’t believe I would ever be named MVP. I’m really surprised.”

vortex of dissipation Posted: December 16, 2011 at 06:15 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: awards, international, japan

Orioles sign Japanese lefty

Wada relief.

rlc Posted: December 16, 2011 at 07:49 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: japan, orioles

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Yahoo Sports: Passan: Darvish bidding process is a cloak and dagger affair

The deadline for bids on Darvish is today at 5 pm (eastern time).  Passan makes the whole process sound like executives have spent several years in Australia bulding up an immunity to iocane powder just for this moment.

The Texas Rangers, for example, have told rivals they’re cash-poor this offseason. A TV deal that will net them $80 million annually doesn’t kick in until 2015. The purchase price of the team for the ownership group – jacked up in an auction by Mark Cuban – wound up tens of millions of dollars higher than expected and sucked up the $90 million signing bonus Fox Sports delivered. And the TV contract itself wasn’t nearly as lucrative as Chuck Greenberg, the club’s deposed CEO, purported it to be.

To which one GM said: “Yeah, right.”

And another executive said: “They’re sandbagging.”

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 14, 2011 at 03:02 PM | 66 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, japan, nationals, rangers, yankees

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Bill Conlin: Rollins in the Cards

I once had a fleshy Conlinesque druncle who’d freak out whenever I’d flick juice-less, hence disposable, boogers his way at the dinner table. Strange man.

When I’m King of the World . . .

Manager Mike Scioscia likes to run. He has a lineup filled with rabbits, including Erick Aybar and two of the game’s fastest players in outfielders Peter Bourjos and Millville’s Mike Trout, 19.

With that kind of speed in front of him, if Trout is ready to lead off or bat No. 2, Pujols might drive in 150 runs.

Ah, but what has the Pujols signing done for a Rollins re-signing that seemed close to dotted-line time until the Angels surfaced as the “Mystery Team” that had been lurking in the shadows while the Cardinals and Marlins tried to wrap him up? No doubt it will get him a fourth year and a better price from the Phillies. Or, horror of horrors, the Cardinals, who just saved themselves $250 million, go all in and decide to upgrade their shortstop situation with the best infielder out there? Could happen. Be very afraid.

When I’m King of the World . . .

Phils will dive into the deep end of the International talent pool just to see what it’s like . . .I’m talking a big, expensive, defecting Cuban five-tooler like Yoenis Cespedes, who is said to be the centerfield equivalent of 106 mph power arm Aroldis Chapman. They say the 26-year-old has the opposite-field power of Vlad Guerrero and the size and running speed of No. 1 prospect Trout. And all he wants is $30 million, a bargain considering you don’t have to pay a “posting” bounty to Fidel Castro, the way suitors for Japanese phenom Yu Darvish must pay the Nippon Ham Fighters just for the right to negotiate with their gas-pumping righthander.

Repoz Posted: December 10, 2011 at 01:25 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, international, japan, phillies

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-7-2011

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, December 8, 1941:

CHICAGO, Ill., Dec. 7—“It is impossible just now to say what effect the war will have on baseball,” said William E. Benswanger, president of the Pirates. “I do not know any more about it than the other fellow, but one thing is very certain at this time: We must keep our heads cool and keep our feet on the ground.”

The Pittsburgh executive had a radio installed in his suite…it was his intention to hear a concert on the air this afternoon, but shortly after tuning in the news of a naval engagement was flashed and Bill spent the remainder of the day listening to reports of hostilities at sea.

Bummer. The guy just wanted to hear some tunes, man.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 07, 2011 at 10:40 AM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, international, japan

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Japanese astronaut plays baseball in space

They found the ball Pujols hit off Lidge.

cardsfanboy Posted: December 06, 2011 at 04:56 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: international, japan, media, television

Friday, December 02, 2011

NPB hopes Japan will take part in 2013 World Baseball Classic

Japanese baseball owners on Thursday said they want Japan to participate in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

“We’ve been having peaceful and cooperative talks with WBC organizers. For Nippon Professional Baseball, we want Japan to take part,” said Rakuten Eagles owner Toru Shimada.

Shimada headed a negotiating team representing Japan’s 12 pro club owners, who were seeking a bigger share of the profits from the WBC, during talks in October with Major League Baseball, the tournament’s organizer.

Gamingboy Posted: December 02, 2011 at 02:32 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: international, japan

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