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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Ex-major leaguer Matsuzaka walks away from baseball with love for game

Former Boston Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka said Tuesday he is glad he can end his 23-year baseball career still loving the game.

The 41-year-old seven-time Japanese Golden Glove winner pitched one last time for the Seibu Lions, the Pacific League club where he started his career at age 18, at MetLife Dome on Tuesday night.

He took the mound against the Nippon Ham Fighters wearing No. 18, the “ace number” he wore in 1999 when he turned pro straight out of Yokohama High School….

Matsuzaka announced his retirement on July 7 after failing to recover from a cervical spine surgery last year. Before he signed with Seibu for the 2020 season, he was with the Central League’s Chunichi Dragons for two years and saw minimal action in 2019.

In discussing his decision to retire on Tuesday, Matsuzaka said he began setting things in motion after a bullpen session in late April, during which he nearly hit a batter in the head with a pitch.

Numbness in his right hand following the surgery had left him “scared of throwing balls,” he said. “I thought to myself, ‘I can’t throw anymore. I have to quit.’”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 19, 2021 at 10:46 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: daisuke matsuzaka, japanese baseball

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Why there isn’t a single Asian player in the Baseball Hall of Fame

For the Japanese athletes in the league, particularly those who paved the way decades ago, this has been a major hurdle. Because of the nature of the agreement between the Japanese League and the MLB for acquiring Japanese talent, Japanese players’ careers are often shorter, and they don’t have sufficient time to showcase their skills and rack up the stats in the U.S., Burgos said. And unlike other sports, the Baseball Hall of Fame does not take into consideration a player’s dominance in international leagues. Many players like Matsui, who was placed on the ballot in 2018 but not elected, had long, phenomenal careers in Japan before signing with an American team.

The politics of language also affects players’ chances of induction, experts say. Ryan Reft, historian at the Library of Congress, whose work is included in the anthology “Asian American Sporting Cultures,” said that the voting bloc is largely made up of sportswriters….

Amid these challenges, one question arises, particularly when discussing Nomo: Shouldn’t impact, or a player’s role in blazing a trail for others, factor into Hall of Fame discussions? Burgos said that to make it in, there are three paths individuals can take: as a player, as a manager or an executive, or as a contributor to the game — and a person can only be evaluated on one of those three paths. This limitation has affected pioneers of color in the past, Burgos said, such as Buck O’Neil, a first baseman and manager for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues, who made history as the first Black coach in the MLB with the Chicago Cubs.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 08, 2021 at 10:40 AM | 89 comment(s)
  Beats: japanese baseball

Friday, August 27, 2021

Summer Koshien: Dreams are made, crushed

The tournament began in 1915, 21 years before the first professional baseball game in Japan. Since then, it’s been held every year—being canceled only for World War II and last year because of the pandemic. Heartbroken seniors who missed their chance to compete on the grand stage were instead mailed keychains containing dirt from the stadium to atone for what they lost.

Like with America’s college sports conference tournaments or England’s FA Cup, some 4,000-plus teams across the country first battle in their prefectures for the right to become one of the 49 selected to go to the prized tournament that every player and coach dreams about.

The roots of Koshien and the attitudes that surround it go back to the earliest days of Japanese baseball.

“The Japanese adopted baseball in 1873. And by the turn of the century, their high schools and colleges had grafted the philosophy of the martial arts onto baseball, meaning endless training, total dedication. Instead of it being a spring and summer sport, you had to play all year from New Year’s to Christmas,” Whiting said.

“The whole idea of self sacrifice, group cooperation, total obedience and development of spirit,” Whiting added. “And that’s what all the foreign sports that they adopted, they grafted this same philosophy on it. You can see the same thing in the school system, in the corporate world, entertainment world, Sumo world, the actual world, that same dynamic that came from martial arts, from the samurai ethic.”


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 27, 2021 at 11:45 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: japanese baseball

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Covid hit prompts Japan to rethink rules on sports gambling

Japan’s government has begun internal discussions to legalise gambling on football and baseball in a move that would create a combined sports betting market estimated at more than $65bn a year.

The secret discussions, which were described to the Financial Times by two people with direct knowledge of the situation, means that betting on Nippon Professional League baseball could be deregulated as soon as 2024.

Fuller deregulation of betting on football’s top-tier J-League, which is already partially legalised through a pools-style lottery system, could come in the same year.

The discussions break a longstanding taboo against opening up opportunities for the Japanese public to bet freely on the nation’s two most popular sports.

While political sensitivity around sports betting remains high, people familiar with the talks said that resistance to the idea had been significantly lowered by Covid-19 and the economic damage it had caused to professional sport.

In the first six months of 2020, the Japanese professional sports industry suffered a loss of $2.5bn owing to the cancellation of games and absence of spectators, according to an estimate by Kansai University.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 27, 2021 at 11:53 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: gambling, japanese baseball



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