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Japanese Baseball Newsbeat

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Back-to-back perfect games? Almost

One week after throwing Nippon Professional Baseball’s first perfect game in 28 years, Roki Sasaki nearly did it again.

The Chiba Lotte right-hander struck out 14 over eight perfect innings against Nippon before being pulled. The 20-year-old struck out the side in the eighth inning while reaching 101 mph, but was lifted with the score tied 0-0 after throwing 102 pitches. Chiba Lotte would go on to lose the game, 1-0, in 10 innings.

Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 14, 2022 at 08:37 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: japanese baseball, perfect games

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Japanese phenom Roki Sasaki, 20, throws 19-strikeout perfect game in record-setting performance

Pitching phenom Roki Sasaki had 19 strikeouts while throwing a perfect game in a record-setting performance Sunday in Japan’s top professional league.

Sasaki, 20, recorded the first perfect game in Nippon Professional Baseball since 1994 and the 16th in league history, according to multiple Japanese media outlets.

Sasaki, a right-hander for the Chiba Lotte Marines, tied an NPB record with his 19 strikeouts against the Orix Buffaloes. He also struck out 13 consecutive batters at one point, a record in Japanese pro baseball, according to Kyodo News.

“This is the greatest,” Sasaki said after the game, according to multiple outlets. “Honestly, I wasn’t thinking about the possibility [of a perfect game]. I figured it would be OK if I gave up a hit, so I just pitched and put my trust in [catcher Ko] Matsukawa right until the end.”

Saturday, March 26, 2022

‘Big Boss’ era begins in appropriate fashion

In October, Shinjo was hired to be the manager of the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, and he doesn’t go by his given name in his role. No, he goes by his new nickname in Japan, “Big Boss.” Wait, it gets better.

On Thursday, the Ham Fighters opened their 2022 season, and Shinjo made an appropriately boss entrance, complete with smoke, spotlights and a glow-in-the-dark sign flashing “Big Boss” across the front of his uniform.

The manager-showman then stood in the batter’s box for the ceremonial pitch, caught the ball on the fly and ran it back to the pitcher with his right arm raised triumphantly as if he had just snagged the final out of a World Series.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 26, 2022 at 10:46 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: japanese baseball

Monday, January 31, 2022

Masanori Murakami, the overlooked trailblazer

The problems didn’t end there. When Murakami arrived at Shea Stadium, general manager Chub Feeney asked him to sign a new contract and officially join the team. Since he was already contracted to the organization, Murakami was wary of signing something new.

“My family and people in Japan told me to be careful with contracts because I didn’t know how Japanese contracts worked—and even worse how English contracts worked,” Murakami said. “I was very reluctant to sign on the dotted line.”

With the clock ticking and time running out, Feeney rushed to find a solution. After some frantic searching, the team found a Japanese speaker in the crowd who helped explain that Murakami needed to sign this new contract to officially join the Giants and be eligible to play. With about 15 minutes to go before first pitch, Murakami signed.

“I still believe that I am the first—and maybe the last person—to ever hesitate or deny signing a contract when Major League Baseball was just at my fingertips,” Murakami said with a laugh.

Really terrific read, I don’t think I’ve ever read this much about his story.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 31, 2022 at 10:30 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: japanese baseball, masanori murakami

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Notable MLB free agents are signing in Japan and South Korea during lockout; will bigger names follow?

The holiday weekend alone saw third baseman Rio Ruiz, a veteran of parts of six big-league seasons, and Chris Gittens, who appeared in 16 games with the New York Yankees, sign with Asian league teams. They join a growing list of departees that includes Yasiel Puig, Freddy Galvis, Ivan Nova, and so on. Former Pirates top prospect Gregory Polanco was also reportedly close to a deal in Japan. It’s enough to make a casual observer wonder: is there an exodus underway, and could even bigger names flock overseas if MLB’s lockout endures into the spring?

“I’m actually not sure that is the case,” an Asian league scout told CBS Sports when asked if players seemed more willing to move to Japan or South Korea. “I’d like it to be, I thought it might be, but it looks a little ‘business as usual’ to me.”

To the scout’s point, the most notable players heading to Asia have had extenuating circumstances surrounding their exits. Puig, for example, had trouble landing a MLB contract even before he settled a civil lawsuit alleging he had sexually assaulted a woman. Galvis, meanwhile, signed a contract that could pay him up to $6 million over two seasons, a fair amount more than he would’ve received in the majors. As for Polanco … well, even MLB front-office types aren’t sure how to explain that one.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 29, 2021 at 02:47 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: japanese baseball, kbo, korean league, npb

Friday, December 10, 2021

Japan’s Giants to establish women’s baseball team

The Yomiuri Giants Japanese professional baseball club says it is forming a women’s team.

The club introduced the new team’s first four players on Wednesday. The four appeared in uniform before fans in an event held in Tokyo. The Giants manager, Hara Tatsunori, put caps on their head.

One of the women, Shimano Ayuri, said they will work hard to contribute to the development of women’s baseball.

The Giants, which have won the Japan Series 22 times, hope more people will play baseball and more women will become fans of the sport.

The club says it is considering allowing the women to join training sessions of the Giants in February, and that it will hold tryouts and use other means to find more players.

The club says it wants the women’s team to take part in an amateur baseball league in 2023.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 10, 2021 at 02:55 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: japanese baseball, women's baseball

Friday, December 03, 2021

Masahiro Tanaka to remain with NPB’s Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles for 2022 season

Earlier this week, Major League Baseball’s owners voted to lock out the players, bringing the league’s offseason to a halt. Just because MLB is on ice until a new Collective Bargaining Agreement can be ratified by both sides doesn’t mean other leagues around the world are paused.

To wit, the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball announced on Friday that veteran starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka will return to the club for the 2022 season, according to Yahoo! Japan.

Tanaka, 33 years old, is best known to American audiences for the seven seasons he spent as a member of the New York Yankees rotation. Prior to signing a seven-year contract with the Yankees worth $155 million ahead of the 2014 season, he had spent seven years as a member of Rakuten’s roster.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 03, 2021 at 04:49 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: japanese baseball, masahiro tanaka, npb

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Swallows outlast Buffaloes to win Japan Series title

The Tokyo Yakult Swallows overcame the best pitcher in Japan to become the best team in Japan.

Pinch hitter Shingo Kawabata hit a bloop single to left to bring in the go-ahead run in the top of the 12th, and reliever Scott McGough closed out an entertaining Japan Series as the Swallows won the title with a 2-1 victory over the Orix Buffaloes at Hotto Motto Field Kobe on a chilly Saturday night.

Yakult won the series 4-2.

“It was a really difficult season,” Swallows manager Shingo Takatsu said. “It was even more difficult because we sunk to last place last year and the year before that. But I think the joy is even greater.”

Either the Swallows or the Buffaloes were going to cap their worst-to-first story with a Japan Series crown and the clock struck midnight on the Buffaloes in the 12th.

“It’s really tough because we lost,” Buffaloes manager Satoshi Nakajima said.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 27, 2021 at 05:49 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: japanese baseball



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