Results tagged ‘ Japan ’

The Filibuster

What happened to the Twins?

Seth S.
Saint Paul, MN
__________________________

Ah, yes, the Minnesota Twins.  What did happen to those paragons of fundamentally sound baseball?  An analysis of such depth requires patience, dedication and an insatiable hunger for the truth, so I put the RSBS interns to the task and they have provided the following slide show:

2010

New ballpark! Yay! It’s…er… HUGE!

I CAN HAZ $184 MILLIONS!?!? IN EXCHANGE I’LL STOP HITTING HRs!

Ouch! Who turned out the lights?!?

DOH! DAMN THOSE DAMN YANKEES… AGAIN!!!

2011

Never fear! Tsuyoshi Nishioka is here!

And then… his leg is broken. Thanks for nothing, Nick Swisher! Damn you, damn Yankees!!!

And the rest of the Twins 2011 clubhouse… barely breathin’.

2012

Y U NO MOVE IN FENCES!?!? AGGH!!!

When will Justin’s ouchy-head be fixed? I need help, dammit!

Aaaaand this guy…

Nope, not even the healthy return of Morneau could make the pain of the above image go away.  In fact, 2012 sorta seems like a good time to reset everything.  Surprisingly, the Twins do have some decent offensive production (Mauer, Morneau, Willingham, Plouffe), but their pitching has been atrocious.  Like, Kent Hrbek farting in your face type of “atrocious”.  The average ERA of their six starters is over 5 and they have been blown out (lost by 5+ more runs) 23 times so far.  And the bullpen?  YIKES!  Don’t ask them to hold a lead ‘cuz it’ll be difficult!

Like old baseball men love to say, “You’re only as good as your pitching”, and, well, when your pitching resembles the bottom of a porta-potty and the rest of the team can’t stay healthy, awful is pretty much what ya get.  Don’t believe me?  Ask the perennial sCrUBS.

Hate me ‘cuz I made you look at that famous Mauer back hair guy again, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff (and interns)

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Looking East

Although most of the great non-U.S. ballplayers have come from Latin America, a fair number have also hailed from the East.  No, I’m not talking about New Jersey.  I’m talking about the land of the rising sun.  Players like Ichiro in his heyday or the sometimes brilliant Yu Darvish.  Or the professional pitcher pictured here at the right.  But aside from a couple Koreans and one or two Chinese, baseball doesn’t seem to have had quite the same effect on the rest of the continent.

We could take the time to do an in-depth study of why certain Asian cultures have successfully assimilated baseball and I’m sure there are quite a few reasond to be found.  However, we see no need to be scientific and instead decided to focus on the most important metric available in the internet age: Youtube videos.

So, in two steps, here’s why there aren’t more Asian ballplayers, moving from the west (Rinku and Dinesh??)…

…to the east:

I think that pretty much clears it up, even if the horsey dance is quite catchy.

-A

An Evening with Yu

It may not have been Strasmas, but according to the lunar calendar (and millions of Japanese people) April 9th proved to be an equally auspicious day, no matter what, because it was the very first Major League appearance by the highly touted (and valiantly unashamed to be naked) Yu Darvish.

Like you would expect, I made an evening of it.  Here’s a play-by-play:

4:30 p.m.
Still at work.  I have looked at the clock every minute for the last thirty minutes, and will continue to do so for thirty more.  I finish up the last of my TPS reports, turn them in to my boss and shriek when he yells “WHAT THE HELL IS THIS???”

5:30 p.m.
At the gym.  Working on my… nah, who am I kidding, every time I look at a hot chick working out next to me she has Yu Darvish’s face, which I find as distracting as I do disgusting.  Going home now.

6:30 p.m.
Dinner (sushi, of course) has been eaten.  Feet are up.  Beer is in hand.  Let’s DO THIS!  *Belch*

7:05 p.m.
FSSW misses Darvish’s first pitch.  Nice work, dingleberries.  The biggest pitch of the year so far and you miss it.  They come back from commercial break and the count is already 1-0 to Chone Figgins.  AGGGHH!!!  Then Darvish quickly walks him.  Um… this is not how it’s supposed to go, guys.

7:09 p.m
After striking out Ackley on a NAAASTY breaking ball, Ichiro steps in.  Japan loses its mind.  Then Ichiro singles on a blooper to left and, already, I’m realizing Yu ain’t Strasburg (yet).

7:16 p.m.
Now Justin Smoak is on first, bases are loaded with one out for Kyle Seager.  Bases loaded?  I DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR NO BASES LOADED!!!

7:18 p.m.
Two-run gapper to right and now I’m pissed.  I could have been out on a date tonight!  With a real, live woman!  And I passed it up for this crap???!!!  WTF are YU DOING!?!?!

7:23 p.m.
Darvish makes Miguel Olivo look like Johnny Bench and I’m bored.  More Daisuke, less Nomo.  Not even close to Strasburg.  He doesn’t even have a weird hitch in his delivery like all the Japanese greats do!

7:25 p.m.
He just walked in a run.  It’s 4-0.  EFF THIS.

Seriously, I know this is a small sample size, but I ain’t impressed and I’m changing the channel… to watch Freese and Holliday and Molina (they all homer)… CHAMPIONS.

Hate me.  I understand.  Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

***

Once the game was over, it was evident he battled back and settled down.  The offense helped him out and he recovered well, and even fooled some hitters.  But the hoopla was a bit much for me for him not to deliver with jazz hands.  Or maybe I’ve just been spoiled by so much great pitching the last couple years that I expect greatness every game.  Either way, I’ll check in again next time.  I just ain’t makin’ a night of it.

The Rules: Yu Darvish Pun Edition

With the Japaranian sensation Yu Darvish making his Big League career official by signing with the Texas Rangers, I thought it appropriate to lay down some ground rules for the inevitable onslaught of awful puns that are certain to tattoo newspapers and interwebs around the world.

*Note: All italicized examples come from Lone Star Ball’s Yu! Darvish Pun Sweepstakes, and commenter credit appears parenthetically.

Number One:

Yu can’t Yuse Yu as in “You” unless Yu’re clever about it.  The proceeding sentence may or may not constitute “cleverness”.  But I can assure Yu old, crotchety sports columnists (ahem, Phil Rogers) are going to think they’re so cool by substituting “Yu” for “You” and slapping it on a headline.  It’s like pornography, Yu know it when Yu see it (rooster).

Number Two:

Flip the script.  Surprise us with just how clever Yu can be.  Don’t settle for the easy route.  Dravish highlights are ridiculous.  Yu should YuTube them (Gay for Feliz).

Number Three:

The most important rule when Yutilizing Yu puns… MAKE US LAUGH.  Even if Yu have to pull a Hollywood and recycle old gags, just make sure they work.

So, Who’s on first, What’s on second and I don’t know’s on third – I get that.

And the pitcher is . . .?
Yu.
Me?
No, Yu.
That’s what I said, Me!
No Me is catching.
Proper grammar is I am catching.
No I’s the manager, the catcher is me, and the pitcher is Yu!
I can’t pitch!
Exactly, and Yu will pitch to me. Now you’ve got it.
Arrrrgh!!

(Evil Monkey)

Yu can hate me all Yu want, Yu just can’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right in the Yuniverse.

Peace,

Jeff

Setting the Mahmud

RSBS Special Correspondent and Trombonist Extraordinaire, Mr. Johanna Mahmud reports:

“Hello little man, boy, I heard a lot about you.”

The news is in the for MLB, and well, there is no news.

But Paula Deen got hit in tha damn head with a ham!!!

Wish I  threw it.

But there is a ham fighter (and occasional nude male model) on the loose. The Rangers couldn’t keep C.J. Wilson but they sure ponied up to possibly sign Yu Darvish. After the Los Angels signed Alberta de la Pujols, Texas had to do something and they definitely went BIG.

I don’t speak Farsi or Japanesy-Chinesey like Jeffy, but I’ve been all over this kid for a couple years and am eager to see him pitch in the Bigs. I finally have a Middle Eastern brother to watch!

Decision making while tired has happened many times whilst signing Asian ballplayers has been bad, (see Fukudome, Kosuke or K, Dice) but I think this cat has it going on. He’s extremely consistent statistically, has a powerful arm and my manometer is blasting! I will make a pilgrimage to Arlington to see him, which means I’ll probably have a woman shooting at me eventually. Everybody’s packing down there!

Anyway, this was early Xmas for me, (even though the Prince isn’t a Cub yet) so I got my reindeer sweater and I’m blastin this bomb.

“Jesus, that’s wet.”

Have a great whatever you do!

–Johanna Mahmud
Follow Johanna on Twitter!

Sell Me Some Access

There was a bidding war for my services once.

Okay, technically it was more of a catfight than a bidding war, but I guarantee you it was fierce.  I was in college at the time, and I somehow duped two girls into believing I was A-list boyfriend material.  A gnarly girlpocalypse ensued.

It was awesome.

Then there was also the time in middle school where, for a small fee of one US American dollar, I would open up my father’s Playboy collection for viewing, all in the name of health and sex education, of course.

But I’ve never been Yu Darvish-ed before.  I mean, I’ve never had a bunch of folks throwing MAD MONEY at me just for the opportunity to negotiate a contract.  I know, I know, it’s hard to believe, but Nolan Ryan has never gone all in on my ass…ets.  My assets.  That’s what I meant to say.

Personally, I cannot WAIT to see Yu Darvish in action.  I’ve been salivating at his proposed Major League entry since the ’09 WBC and now it looks like I may finally get my wish.  Picture a 2012 season with an Adam Wainwright, a Stephen Strasburg AND a Yu Darvish!?!?!?  Somebody douse me with Gatorade!

Meanwhile, if Yu’s people are any good, then they got their Newt Gingrich on before teams put in their final bids.  You know it, I know it and the American people know it: no one sells access like the Grand Old Party.


Oh the Dems do it too.

Ron Paul.  That is all.

And don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Setting the Mahmud

RSBS Special Correspondent and Podcast uber-stentor, Mr. Johanna Mahmud reports:

[Lennie] said gently, “George… I ain’t got mine. I musta lost it.” He looked down at the ground in despair.

Is Jim Hendry Lennie? Is Tom Rickketts? Or am I?

My dear little Cubs… so cute… so adorable. I just want to pet you and stroke you and love you… and pretty pretty pretty rabbits… DONT MAKE ME RIP YOUR HEAD OFF!!!!!

Pet the rabbit. Pretty rabbit. Snap the rabbit’s neck and do odd things to the stable boy while you’re at it.

This isn’t love.  This is obsession.

Why did he give out such terrible contracts? That’s a lot of money for crazy people.

This monstrosity is Hendry’s lasting legacy on a life wasted in futility. Thanks a lot, Jim.

What I would give for some stoicism on this team. There’s no leader from top to bottom of this rotting corpse of a franchise. There will be no Pujols. There will be no Prince.

AA meetings feel like a Las Vegas night club compared to the atmosphere of this dogged out team.  I’m going to water seal my deck now and then auto-erotic asphyxiate without touching myself. Too much work. SEX WITH A LAWNMOWER.

After Carlos Zambrano’s latest outburst of craptitude, it’s obvious even the manager can’t do anything about this self imploding behemoth.

And Quade is Bruce Kimm with better hair. “Well I guess they’ll figure it out, and we’ll try and win games and stuff kinda?…” After Z’s comments, Quade said he’d let his teammates deal with it. WOW. He couldn’t control the team’s play at all or improve it, but now it’s obvious he has no control over the players either.

Z is no leader*. His teammates HATE him. He’s a grandstander and a fraud.

You know what? Just say we stink. Don’t call out your fellow players for throwing the “wrong” pitch. Pitch selection is being questioned? Unbelievable.

“Theriot can’t hit a fastball well.” Except if Marmol throws a better slider, Theriot is out.

“We stinks” [sic] was the only worthwhile and (entertaining) thing Z said.

People who like what Carlos did, hey, are you out of your damn fool minds?!? Its b.s.  It might make the fans feel better, but it ain’t gonna do jack.

Z will waive his no trade clause, but it doesn’t matter.

The Cubs’ primed days are over. No farm system. Just beat me sadistically so my brain goes to sleep until the NBA season starts again in… January??? (gahhhhhhh!!!!!)

I would love to hear Z’s thoughts on other problematic issues like… Paul Revere: “What are you doing running around with that green lantern Paul?”  The Japanese nuclear plant issues? “That’s not the concrete pump I would have used.”   Health care reform bill?  “Yea? Well your death panel sucks.”

The team is in a total free fall. The best thing Tom Ricketts can do is be one of us. But he has pissed it all away by scuttling the true point that the team sucks and injuries aren’t the only problem.

Suspend Zambrano???

How about hiring a president that knows how to hire a real GM.

Good afternoon, real “Cubs” fan Colonel Ricketts. What’s you’re fricking plan?? It’s impossible to build without a farm. And no money. So… either borrow more money from Daddy Warbucks or do a little research and get a real living person who knows how to run a baseball team.

–Johanna Mahmud

*I have a screen grab of Carlos Zambrano’s face I wanted to include here as one of the photos; unfortunately I was naked and some/most of me is also in the picture.

We Heart Japan

i love japan.jpgSometimes it’s hard to find the right words, but these pretty much sum it up for us.

And since Japan has provided us with the talents of Hideo Nomo, Akinori Iwamura, So Taguchi, Ichiro Suzuki and many, many more, we would just like to remind them and everyone else touched by the recent disasters in the Far East that we definitely got their backs — that the power of many is stronger than the power of one.

The rebuilding process will be slow, but together we can get ‘er done.

For more information on how you can help, please visit The Huffington Post and examine its list of charitable foundations.

Peace,

Jeff & Al

So Far to Kazuo

kazuo matsui astros.jpgBillboards in New York City touted his valiant arrival.  Buzzing baseball elite charged that he would revolutionize the Mets.  Everyday fans scurried to find a suitable nickname for their new best player they’d never heard of. 

It was the Spring of 2004 and if you asked me to speak some Japanese, even I probably would’ve said: Matsui-san. Kazuo Matsui-san.

Because I, too, joined the hype.

But why?  Why was the baseball world so enamored with an import player whom no one knew anything about?  Why did we allow his persona to be so pumped up with pomp, such expectation, sight unseen?

Indeed, Ichiro Suzuki changed the landscape of Major League Baseball — allowing for the mysteriously effective small-ball game to reinject itself into the big boppin’ steroidfest it had become.  His mannerisms, his character, his magnetism — on and off the field — were a throwback to the baseball heroes of old.  Marveled by his talent, we the US American public accepted and celebrated Ichiro for resurrecting respect in a league where little remained.

So I get it.  I understand why we started to get excited about the Japanese baseball contention.

But, the fact is: for every Ichiro Suzuki there’s a Kosuke Fukudome, a So Taguchi, or worse, a Kaz Matsui.  For every Hideo Nomo, a Kei Igawa, Hideki Irabu, Daisuke Matsuzaka. 

And while it makes a good headline that the A’s and Twins are going out and bidding top dollar for the rights — yes, just the rights — to negotiate with Hisashi Iwakuma and Tsuyoshi Nishioka respectively, I still can’t help but feel sorry for the failure both are being set up for in the future.

American, Dominican, Venezuelan, Canadian, Japanese… there’s only one Ichiro.

And as proved by Kazuo Matsui’s silent saunter back home this offseason, expecting anything but is a guarantee for disappointment.

Hate me.  Whatevs.  Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

200 x 10 = 2010

ichiro_warmup.jpg

Much more than just the word my imaginary Japanese girlfriend mysteriously cries out during moments of passion, Ichiro signifies consistency and well-honed precision.  It’s a pity that he plays in Seattle where those skills will never be rewarded with the digitary hardware he deserves.  Ten straight seasons of 200+ hits, though, should definitely count for something more.

But where do these skills come from?  Was he struck by a radioactive baseball as a youngster?  Like Tyler Colvin‘s recent incident, were his parents speared by a shattered baseball bat and he vowed to take revenge?  Or perhaps it’s something much simpler, a reflection of his heritage:

I mean come on, if you had to run in unison while making sure you didn’t crash into another running someone, wouldn’t the logical next step be using that same precision to ensure contact instead?

Congratulations, Ichiro.  It’s an impressive feat.  But we’re on to you.

Happy Saturday!

-A

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