Tuesday, September 29, 2009

From My Desk: Comments About The "2009 Lotte Soap Opera"

Hello all. It's been quite sometime since I've written on my blog here. I've been doing other things these days in regards to my personal health and job so there hasn't been much time for Yakyu. But I've still managed to keep up with things on the various sites and I came across this little tidbit on the Chiba Lotte Marines from Yakyu Baka. But before I talk about that, I'd like to say that Gen does a wonderful job with his site and that if he ever reads this, I'd like to personally shake his hand and thank him for all the hard work he does in bringing Yakyu to the eyes of people who can't follow the game on a regular basis.

With that being said, I feel that I'm too passive when it comes to giving my opinions about the game itself. Reporting on games alone simply isn't my style so I've decided to let my opinions on certain subjects come out and I hope to enhance discussion about Pro Yakyu itself.

Now as we all know, there has been much drama in regards to the Chiba Lotte Marines this season. They've decided to make a change in their management by not renewing the contract of American manager Bobby Valentine. Totally understandable from the team's perspective as this sort of thing happens but how they went about announcing this change was extremely unprofessional and it made the entire Chiba Marine front office look like a bunch of jackasses to be frank. By dragging Bobby Valentine's name through mud and by keeping this drama in the sports news all season long, it created a buzzkill in which the performance of the team became secondary to the status of Bobby Valentine. Now I'll admit, I didn't really like Bobby at first but after weighing the good and bad, I came to the conclusion that the good outweighs the bad when it comes to Bobby V and all he has done for Pro Yakyu. So my personal opinions about Bobby V aside, I feel that Lotte's fans have gotten the short end of the stick because of an incapable and downright stupid management group(and believe me, I know a stupid management group when I see one -coughs Yokohama coughs-).

Now naturally, Lotte's fans didn't take to the announcement kindly and they started to become more vocal with their opinions. And eventually, things got so tense that Lotte's management dropped the ball by giving their opinions about the Chiba fans by saying something along the lines of "being nothing more than Carp in a pond who will eat whatever we feed them". Honestly, I feel that this rock song pretty much sums up how the fans by the bay in Chiba are feeling these days:

Now in regards to the banners that were held up that day,while some of the content the the Lotte Ouendan presented could be seen as going too far by some people (calling for the heads of their front office members), I personally don't think so as I feel the fans should be able to say what they please as long as they don't get physical and disrupt the actual games themselves. I can see why they said what they said but fans and or entertainment seekers of all kinds have a right to express themselves when it comes to their preferred form of entertainment as they pay their hard earned money to do as they please with. As a professional sports fan (NPB, NFL, NBA, NHL, and yes MLB to an extent still), I find it very refreshing to yell at the visiting team or express myself when my team does badly. It’s part of being a fan and I think that most players will say that it’s also part of their jobs to hear what fans say on a nightly basis. Again, the fans by the bay in Chiba are rightfully fed up as they should be and I applaud them for speaking out and voicing their opinions. In a country where “being part of the group” is fostered over individualism, it’s really refreshing to hear people speak their minds and let their voices be heard, however small they may be.

As for Nishioka, I feel he was totally in the wrong not because of his opinion and thoughts (which he is entitled to) but how he presented what he thought. Funny how he speaks out on something he finds offensive and chastises the fans for “taking away from the hard work of the players“ but when the Lotte fans were gathering signatures earlier in the season and holding up massive banners saying how many said signatures were collected in order to keep Bobby V in Chiba, we never heard a peep out of him.

An old proverb came to my mind when I read this and that was: “biting the hand that feeds you". The bottom line is that Nishioka angered the very people who support the team he plays for. And by support I mean that these people buy tickets to the games, food, and Lotte merchandise, which allows Nishioka to make a living and feed his family among other things. So, what did he expect to accomplish by expressing his opinion on a public forum such as a “Hero Interview”? Not to mention the fact that it was a Marine’s victory no less. Again, Nishioka is not wrong for his opinion and thoughts (which he is entitled to), but by expressing said thoughts in a post game interview does the very thing which he spoke out against which was “taking away from from the hard work of the players” and makes him look like a hypocrite in the process as that what Lotte’s management has been doing all season long with their public comments about Bobby V. So in essence, he’s no better than Lotte’s management by saying what he said at the time in which he said it.

In closing, I’d like to send a personal message to Nishioka and that is:

If you want to express what you feel, by all means do it on your blog (if you have one) or on another forum. What you do on your own time is your business and if you had expressed such feelings during said time, I think that the fans would’ve understood and taken a bit more kindly to you. You were totally unprofessional in how you acted and came across as blowing off steam and personal frustration because of what your team’s management has put all of you through this season. I believe that you owe Lotte fans a public apology in how you treated them and you need to admit that you were wrong in the fact that what you said totally took away from the hard work that you and all of your teammates put in that day to get a victory. You have a right to your opinions and I respect that but when it comes to your job there’s only four simple words I can say to you:



Saturday, September 5, 2009

Pro Yakyu Super Summer Extravaganza Day 9: Nippon Ham vs. Seibu @ Sapporo Dome 08/16/09

Okawari-kun is feeling down because of the Lion's recent string of losses.

There are a few old sayings in the English language that go as follows:

“The third time’s the charm.”

“If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.”

So, what do these have to do with this game? Well, it seemed that after 2 attempts at taking down the mighty Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, the Saitama Seibu Lions FINALLY had Nippon Ham’s number. But, things aren’t always as they seem, as I would soon find out in this game. Also too, it was Yu Darvish’s birthday so that made the stakes even higher in this game.

The starting pitchers for this game were Ryoma Nogami for the Lions and Masaru Takeda for the Ham. If there is a light at the end of the tunnel for Seibu in regards to pitching, then they have something special in Nogami in my opinion. He really impressed me with the way he pitched and showed a lot of potential. If he can stay the proverbial course and keep making his starts, I feel he has the chance to become something really special. But for this game, he started out decent by only giving up 5 hits in 5 and 2/3 innings of work although one of those hits was a 3 run home run.

Ryota Nogami. My hope is that he one day becomes a great pitcher for Seibu.

Nogami after throwing a pitch.

Seibu’s struggling offense got off to a hot start by pounding Nippon Ham starter Masaru Takeda early on. After Takumi Kuriyama was hit by a pitch in the top of the 1st, Hiroyuki Nakajima walked to put runners on first an second for G.G. Sato who doubled to left center and put Seibu up 2-0. Following that, Kuriyama added another run in the top of the 3rd via a home run to center (which was the first of the series too) and made it 3-0 Lions. In the 6th, G.G. Sato added his third RBI of the game with another double to left center which brought Okawari-kun in all the way from 1st base to make it 4-0.

Masaru Takeda. He got hit early in the game but was saved by Inaba & Company later in the game.

Takeda again.

Be it the Miso ramen that most were eating in Sapporo Dome or the weather which was a little on the hot side, the Fighters started to heat up. In the bottom of the 6th, Eiichi Koyano smacked a 3 run home run to left center to make it 4-3 and just like that, the Fighters were back in the game. But not to be outdone, Okawari-kun hit a 2 run home run of his own in the top of the 8th to widen Seibu’s lead to 6-3 and I thought that was it. There couldn’t possibly be any way that the Ham could come back and win, could there?

Nippon Ham catcher Shinya Tsuruoka at the plate.

Now here's a face I haven't seen in quite a while. I didn't recognize Masanori Hayashi here at first because he wasn't wearing a certain black, orange, and white uniform that had a #13 on the back. Also too, he's got a goatee thing going on. Pretty hard to tell from the picture but it's there.

Hayashi on the mound. Since he's been doing pretty well for the Ham and so has Nioka (that's debatable I guess), would it be safe to say that the Ham got the better end of the trade they made in the off season with you know who?

In the bottom of the 9th, after a walk to Kensuke Tanaka, Yoshio Itoi doubled to left and that brought Atsunori Inaba to the plate, which also brought everyone in the dome to their feet as well. Inaba proceeded to please and shock the crowd by smacking a 3 run home run to right center on a well played 9 pitch at bat which tied the game at 6-6 which almost blew the top off of Sapporo Dome and silenced the visitor's cheering section.

We then went to the bottom of the 10th where Yoshiro Sato walked to get on base for the Ham. After that, Satoshi Nakajima hit a sacrifice bunt back to pitcher Chikara Onodera who tried for the out at second but was unsuccessful and that put runners on first and second. Then, after a pitching change by Seibu (Jonah Bayliss), Kensuke Tanaka eventually hit a single to first which loaded the bases and the winning run came on a wild pitch while Yoshio Itoi was batting to give Nippon Ham a walk-off victory and a sweep against the Lions.

It seems that the Seibu manages to shoot themselves in the foot one way or the other these days by either having bad pitching or a dead offense. Whatever their problem is, September is almost upon us and the "Road to Climax" will officially begin where every game will count just as much if not more because of the pennant race. I know that the Ham will be a lock for the post season this year but my main question is what about the Lions? I guess only time will tell.

Kuriyama crossing the plate after his home run in the 3rd.

Koyano crossing the plate after his home run in the 6th.