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Friday, March 27, 2020

Coronavirus could prevent Hanshin Tigers from breaking the Curse of the Colonel

The coronavirus pandemic has had all sorts of unfortunate effects on the world of sports, both in America and around the world. Just as Major League Baseball is on indefinite hold, so too is Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. Commissioner Atsushi Saito has said that he hopes to pick things up sometime in April, but it’s unclear whether or not that’ll happen. Calls to postpone July’s Tokyo Olympics have already begun.

That’s bad news for everyone involved in NPB, including the Hanshin Tigers. The Tigers haven’t won a title since 1985, and some attribute it to a curse involving not Babe Ruth, but Kentucky Fried Chicken. No baseball in 2020 would mean Hanshin won’t get a chance to break the Curse of the Colonel.

The finger-lickin’ curse was placed on the team following their triumph in the 1985 Japan Series over the Seibu Lions. Revelers took to the streets of Osaka in celebration of their favorite team’s first championship, and many of them gathered on Ebisu Bridge for a familiar ritual.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2020 at 01:15 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: japanese baseball

Japanese baseball players test positive for coronavirus

TOKYO (AP) — Hanshin Tigers pitcher Shintaro Fujinami and two teammates have become the first professional baseball players in Japan to test positive for the new coronavirus.

Fujinami was examined at a hospital on Tuesday and Wednesday, and a doctor recommended he have a test. Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported Friday that the result was positive.

The 25-year-old right-hander reported losing his sense of smell, although he exhibited no other symptoms before the test.

After checking the pitcher’s activities over the past two weeks, it was determined that two other players who dined with Fujinami reported a diminished sense of taste. They also tested positive, according to national broadcaster NHK.

 

QLE Posted: March 27, 2020 at 01:16 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus, japanese baseball, shintaro fujinami

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Coronavirus could prevent Hanshin Tigers from breaking the Curse of the Colonel

The coronavirus pandemic has had all sorts of unfortunate effects on the world of sports, both in America and around the world. Just as Major League Baseball is on indefinite hold, so too is Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. Commissioner Atsushi Saito has said that he hopes to pick things up sometime in April, but it’s unclear whether or not that’ll happen. Calls to postpone July’s Tokyo Olympics have already begun.

That’s bad news for everyone involved in NPB, including the Hanshin Tigers. The Tigers haven’t won a title since 1985, and some attribute it to a curse involving not Babe Ruth, but Kentucky Fried Chicken. No baseball in 2020 would mean Hanshin won’t get a chance to break the Curse of the Colonel.

The finger-lickin’ curse was placed on the team following their triumph in the 1985 Japan Series over the Seibu Lions. Revelers took to the streets of Osaka in celebration of their favorite team’s first championship, and many of them gathered on Ebisu Bridge for a familiar ritual.

Japanese baseball fans are like soccer fans. They don’t stoically sit in the grandstand and only make noise when prompted to by organ players or jumbotrons. They have chants and songs for all sorts of occasions and for every player, with brass instrumental accompaniments. Japanese baseball, you see, actually encourages fun.

The story of a curse- goofy, yes, but we’ve all seen goofier…..

QLE Posted: March 22, 2020 at 12:25 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: curse of the colonel, fans, hanshin tigers, japanese baseball

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

NPB to delay start of regular season due to ongoing COVID-19 outbreak

Nippon Professional Baseball has made the decision to postpone the start of its regular season as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, the league announced on Monday afternoon.

The decision comes nine years after the 2011 campaign was postponed in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

“We’ve decided to postpone the start of the season,” NPB Commissioner Atsushi Saito said during a news conference. “We’d like to prioritize playing 143 games with the fans. We will listen to the experts’ advice and we would like to open the season by at least the end of April.”

Earlier Monday, NPB and the J. League held a meeting of their joint task force, which was created to help the leagues make informed decisions amid the crisis.

 

QLE Posted: March 10, 2020 at 12:57 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus, japanese baseball

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

With season in doubt, Japan’s baseball taps virus experts

TOKYO (AP) — The opening of the Japanese baseball season is in doubt because of the outbreak of the new virus, officials said Monday, as the nation’s baseball and soccer leagues tapped three medical experts as advisers.

Baseball commissioner Atsushi Saito said protecting fans, players and coaches was critical. Preseason games are being played in empty stadiums, with a hope the regular season can begin as scheduled on March 20.

But Saito acknowledged assessing whether the regular season can open — and with or without fans — is a delicate decision, noting the virus outbreak wasn’t expected to subside soon.

“That is the difficult part,” Saito said. “At this point, we still can’t say what action we will take under what conditions.”

 

QLE Posted: March 03, 2020 at 01:17 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus, japanese baseball

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Japanese baseball to play remainder of preseason without spectators due to virus fears

Nippon Professional Baseball announced Wednesday it will hold all 72 of its remaining preseason games behind closed doors, becoming the latest Japanese sporting body to take drastic steps to address the spiraling coronavirus crisis.

It follows an announcement by the Japan Rugby Football Union earlier in the day that it will postpone 16 games across two rounds of the 2020 Top League season.

Representatives from NPB’s 12 teams decided at an extraordinary meeting to hold the popular sport’s preseason in empty stadiums a day after the Yomiuri Giants said fans would be barred from two preseason games this weekend at Tokyo Dome. NPB’s regular season is slated to open on March 20.

“This was a bitter decision to make. Because we can’t determine the situation, I won’t say anything right now about (opening day),” NPB Commissioner Atsushi Saito said. “If possible, we all want to go ahead on March 20.”

 

 

QLE Posted: February 27, 2020 at 12:39 AM | 51 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus, japanese baseball

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Unlikely chain of events created a trailblazer

Although pitcher Carter Stewart did not set any records last year, by signing with the SoftBank Hawks instead of a Major League Baseball team, the 20-year-old made history as the first elite American amateur to sign his first pro baseball contract in Japan.

Stewart was the eighth player chosen among the 1,214 players selected in MLB’s 2018 amateur draft, and only the most bizarre set of circumstances and the intervention of a neighbor changed his course and brought him to Japan.

But the book appeared to slam shut on the fairytale story after the Atlanta Braves discovered an old injury, using that as a rationale to offer him a much smaller signing bonus.

After an arbitrator ruled on a players’ union grievance in the Braves’ favor, the Stewart family was receptive to an offer from Japan. They then visited Fukuoka to scout out the territory before making a decision and signing at the end of May.

Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 20, 2020 at 05:43 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: atlanta braves, draft pick compensation, japanese baseball

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Longtime Oriole Adam Jones ready to start his international baseball career

Former Orioles star Adam Jones is getting ready to start his international baseball career with the Orix Buffaloes in Japan after spending fourteen seasons in MLB.

Jones, a five-time All-Star, spent eleven seasons with the Orioles from 2008-18 before joining the Arizona Diamondbacks for the 2019 MLB season.

During his time with Baltimore, Jones won four Gold Gloves (2009, 2011, 2012, 2013) and was named a Silver Slugger (2013).

 

QLE Posted: February 09, 2020 at 01:32 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: adam jones, japanese baseball

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Electronic sign stealing: A scandal two decades ago in Japan

TOKYO (AP) — If anyone thought that using technology to steal catchers’ signs had only blemished Major League Baseball and the Houston Astros — or it’s something new — think again.

Japan went through a similar scandal just over 20 years ago. The Japanese revere baseball as much as Americans and have straddled the same thin line between gamesmanship and cheating.

In a widely covered scandal in 1998, a camera in the Fukuoka Dome was discovered to be focused on the catcher. Officials of the Daiei Hawks — now the SoftBank Hawks — reportedly monitored the signs and relayed them by walkie-talkie to fans in the stands, who then used signals to batters to indicated the coming pitch.

There was no trash-can banging, as the Astros did. Instead, a fan would hold up a megaphone in front of their body to indicate, say, a fastball. Holding it to the right meant curve. On the left was, say, a change up.

A discussion of a current scandal from an international perspective.

 

QLE Posted: January 22, 2020 at 01:07 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: japanese baseball, sign-stealing, softbank hawks

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Pair of Japan players made available to major league teams

NEW YORK (AP) — Two players from Japan, Shun Yamaguchi and Ryosuke Kikuchi, have been made available to major league teams through the posting process.

Clubs have until Jan. 2 (5 p.m. EST) to negotiate with them, Major League Baseball said Tuesday.

Yamaguchi, a 32-year-old right-hander with the Yomiuri Giants, was 15-4 with a 2.91 ERA and 188 strikeouts in 170 innings. He led the Central League in wins and strikeouts, helping Yomiuri to its first Central League pennant in five years.

Kikuchi, a second baseman who turns 30 in March, hit .261 with 13 homers, 48 RBIs and 14 stolen bases for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.

Another type of off-season signing to follow, for those with an interest in it.

 

QLE Posted: December 03, 2019 at 10:32 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: japanese baseball, posting rules, ryosuke kikuchi, shun yamaguchi

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Justin Bour agrees to play for Japan’s Hanshin Tigers, report says

TOKYO—The Hanshin Tigers of Japan’s Central League are set to acquire major league free agent Justin Bour.

Per the Kyodo News agency, Tigers general manager Osamu Tanimoto said this week the team has reached a basic agreement with the 31-year-old Bour, who played first base for the Los Angeles Angels last season.

Free agents running off to foreign countries in response to current conditions are the new market inefficiency.

QLE Posted: November 30, 2019 at 10:23 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: hanshin tigers, japanese baseball, justin bour

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Gerardo Parra Signs With Japan’s Yomiuri Giants

Veteran outfielder Gerardo Parra has reached an agreement to sign a contract with the Yomiuri Giants of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, the Giants announced Wednesday (hat tip: Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker, on Twitter). The Giants have announced the move in a press release on their official web site. It’s a $2MM deal that includes a $3MM vesting option for 2021, per Jose Rivera of ESPN Deportes (via Twitter).

The 32-year-old Parra, a client of Octagon, won a World Series ring with the Nationals and will now head overseas for the next chapter of his career. He signed a minor league contract with San Francisco last offseason but ultimately landed with the Nats after being cut loose by MLB’s Giants.

No word yet as for where Baby Shark has signed.

 

QLE Posted: November 20, 2019 at 01:07 PM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: gerardo parra, japanese baseball, yomiuri giants

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Hiring 2005 White Sox is the hottest managerial trend in Japan

In Major League Baseball, the hottest managerial trend is hiring guys with no experience, grabbing them out of the front office or broadcast booth to helm World Series contenders.

In Japan, the hottest managerial trend is hiring members of the 2005 White Sox.

Last week, the Yakult Swallows named former White Sox reliever Shingo Takatsu their latest skipper. He joins Tadahito Iguchi as a manager in Japan’s NPB. The former White Sox second baseman managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in each of the last two seasons.

All kidding about White Sox connections aside, obviously these guys have every reason to be managing in their home country. Takatsu pitched for the Swallows for 13 seasons before coming to the U.S. to pitch for the White Sox and another two seasons after returning from the big leagues. He first managed way back in 2012, when he was a player-manager in an independent league in Japan. He spent the past three years as the manager of the Swallows’ farm team.

Somewhere, Ozzie Guillen is wondering if he should consider such a trip….

QLE Posted: October 10, 2019 at 01:16 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: 2005, japanese baseball, white sox

Monday, October 07, 2019

Japan’s all-time wins leader Masaichi Kaneda dies at 86

the lefty was known for his fastball and big breaking curve, and won at least 20 games for 14 consecutive seasons starting from 1951.

In addition to the most wins in Nippon Professional Baseball, Kaneda owned career records with 365 complete games, 298 losses, 5,526⅔ innings pitched, 1,808 walks and 4,490 strikeouts.

 

DanG Posted: October 07, 2019 at 03:19 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: japanese baseball, masaichi kaneda, yomiuri giants

 

 

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