Sunday, March 15, 2009
The Knuckleball Princess causes quite a commotion at "Hamasta".
What's up everyone? I'm still trying to get in a groove with the blog here but with the Japanese School Year ending, I should have a lot more free time. That being said, the WBC Recaps will be posted eventually. I've decided to take my time with those as they do take a while to get done but they will get posted eventually.
With that, this brings us to this post. I decided to make the long long trek from Chichibu City in Saitama to my old stomping ground at Yokohama Stadium (about 2 and a half to 3 hours) on Sunday March 15th. To be honest, I really didn't go to see the Baystars but rather I went to see a girl. Now, I know some of you maybe thinking that it was a waste of time,but this was not just any girl. This was Eri Yoshida, the 17 year old side-arm knuckleballer who was drafted by the Kobe 9 Cruise of the Kansai Independent League a few months back. I must say that it was very unique and awesome at the same time. I felt that "Yoshida-Senshu" was very humbled by the experience and was seen bowing to everyone on the field . She also looked really nervous too. But, she took the mound and threw one of her famous pitches to Baystars catcher Toshihiro Noguchi who caught it and the crowd cheered loudly. Again, it felt really cool to see her throw out the first pitch and I wish her nothing but the best in her young (and hopefully long and successful) baseball career.
The funny thing is that I met up with one of my friends from the outfield stands at the stadium and it turns out he went to the same high school in Kawasaki as she did (I believe she has since transfered to another school in Kobe to be closer to the team and to finish her studies). Albeit, they went there at different times being that he's in his late 40's but still, it is indeed a small world.
Also, here's a video of the opening ceremony. I'm sorry for the quality of the video. I kind of shook the camera a little while she was actually throwing the pitch but you can still see it nonetheless. And just as a quick note to all you readers, my Yakyu Youtube account is "Hamanchu2015". So feel free to check it out as I'm planning on shooting more videos this year and uploading stuff from previous years as well.
As for the game itself, the starting pitchers for today were Chihiro Kaneko for Orix and Yuji Yoshimi for the Baystars. The game was about 2 hours and 45 minutes and I was glad when it was over. Orix dominated the entire game as a result of the Baystars pitchers giving up way too many home runs. In fact, all but one of Orix's runs came via the longball which was one of the main problems last season. I believe "Dr."Michael Westbay from JapaneseBaseball.com has used the medical term "ippatsu-byou" in regards to the Baystars pitching staff on numerous occasions and I feel that they still are infected (they tend to give up way too many home runs is what it means).
But thanks to some nice timely hitting at the expense of Orix pitcher Hidetaka Kawagoe, they managed to score 4 runs in the 9th innning and win the game. Kawagoe couldn't get a single out in the 9th as he faced 7 batters and walked 2 (Saeki was intentionally walked).Yokohama ended up with an amazing 15 hits and Yukiya "Big-Yo" Yokoyama got the win in relief while Kawagoe was tagged with the loss.
Oh yeah and new Baystar Dan Johnson hit a monster 2 run home run in the 6th as a pinch hitter on the second pitch he saw. Man, he crushed that ball. I don't know where he'll fit in the lineup though as the roster seems pretty crowded at this point but we'll have to wait another 2 weeks.
It also should be noted that Tuffy Rhodes, Keiji Ohbiki, Alex Cabrera, Jose Fernandez (2 run), and Tomotaka Sakaguchi all hit home runs for Orix.
And Now It's PICTURE TIME!!!!!!!!!
Pre-game warm up with John Turney
Orix Starter Chihiro Kaneko
Yokohama Starter Yuji Yoshimi
Orix's Tomotaka Sakaguchi getting ready to bunt
Baystars rookie Kejiro Matsumoto fouling off a pitch
I think we already know who this is...
The Final Score
And finally, any Baystars post would not be complete without my good friend simply known as "Sign Guy" :