Just Barely Squeezed In A Win: Yesterday’s Scores That Matter and Some Light World Cup Notes [Wednesday Morning Quarterback]
Jun 30th, 2010 by Dan

Sliding Back to First

It's from the Baltimore series, but there was no way I could make it to Puerto Rico for this one.

Leo Nuñez likes giving everyone near heart attacks. He blew the save last night, but Florida still managed a win thanks to Dan Uggla.

29 June (David’s Birthday!)

Yomiuri Giants (12) at Hiroshima Carp (9). Six Giants homered (Ramirez homered three times) to put the Giants way ahead of Hiroshima who managed quite an offense themselves. An ugly game that puts them at 27-40-2. At this rate Yakult might pass them.

Rakuten Eagles (0) at Orix Buffaloes (3). Few teams play more erratically than the Orix Buffaloes, but they’re doing consistently well against the Eagles this year. Tanaka’s Tuesday role is not doing the Eagles any favors as he gives up three over eight and the team moves to 32-38-2, good for last in the PL.

Oakland Athletics (4) at Baltimore Orioles (2). A pretty solid start for Brian Matusz, but it just wasn’t enough to keep the Athletics at bay. I’m a little bitter that I’ll be missing Matt Wieters bobblehead night today, so that’s all I’ve got for Baltimore. They are 23-53.

New York Mets (6) at Florida Marlins (7). The Marlins were lucky to win this one in the ninth thanks to a walk-off single by Dan Uggla. The game also featured a Hanley Ramirez grand slam, but far fewer homers than the night before. Florida remains in fourth, but now holds a 37-40 record.

Tampa Bay Rays (5) at Boston Red Sox (8). The pitching just wasn’t there for Jamie Shields who gave up a few too many to an ailing Boston team. Tampa needs to take two out of three in this series to regain second and the wild card. The Rays now sit at 44-32 in third.

Washington Nationals (7) at Atlanta Braves (2). The Nats do everyone in the East a favor by knocking down the Braves and winning their first in ages. It’s a good thing, because Washington starters whose names don’t contain Strasburg have been seriously struggling of late. Their last place record improves to 34-44.

I Saw A Game At Wrigley: The Weekend’s Scores That Matter [WMQ]
Jun 21st, 2010 by Dan

The Chicago Bean

I wasn't at the Bean, but it's also in Chicago. My photos aren't uploaded yet.

Lots of action this weekend, including a game I attended in the Friendly Confines that will not be mentioned because I don’t cover the Cubs or the Angels.

18 June

Yakult Swallows at Hiroshima Carp. Rain delayed.

Rakuten Eagles at Chiba Lotte Marines. Rain delayed.

Chicago White Sox (2) at Washington Nationals (1). Strasburg went out for his second home outing and pitched another stellar game, allowing only one over seven innings and striking out another 10. This kid is insane. The game is lost on a bad throw in the 11th, and Strasburg gets his first no decision.

Tampa Bay Rays (4) at Florida Marlins (7). I turn off my Rays switch again to root for another great Marlins game. I’m super bummed I missed it, but this game had Mike Stanton’s first home run and boy was it a doozy. First homers don’t get any better than grand slams.

Baltimore Orioles (2) at San Diego Padres (3). The Padres are the biggest surprise this year. The Orioles, not so much.

19 June

Swallows (1) at Carp (5). The Carp have to wait a day to kick off non-interleague play, but they come out with a bang. It’s no surprise Yakult’s score is so low, it was a Kenta Maeda start. That guy is a monster.

Eagles (3) at Marines (0). Iwakuma returns to form against the PL as he blanks the hard-hitting Marines.

White Sox (1) at Nationals (0). Jake Peavy throws an incredible game and the Nats just keep on losing and sliding down.

Rays (9) at Marlins (8). A wild game that went into extras was blown by Jorge Sosa walking in two in the 11th. The Marlins came within one, but couldn’t tack that final one down.

Orioles (5) at Padres (4). Stop the presses, Kevin Milwood FINALLY got his first win of the season. Congrats, buddy, you didn’t deserve to go this long without one.

20 June

Eagles (1) at Marines (3). Rakuten went through with its plan to separate Tanaka and Iwakuma, but that means they won’t be winning back-to-back almost every Saturday and Sunday. Rakuten closes the weekend in fifth with a 30-34-1 record.

Swallows (4) at Carp (2). I hate losing to the Swallows. A lot. It’s especially bad when it’s all thanks to the bullpen. The Carp are now 26-35-2 in fourth

Rays (1) at Marlins (4). Price vs. Johnson was one of the best matchups of the weekend, but David was no match for the Fish while the Rays struggled against the Marlins ace. Way to go Florida, you’re now 33-36 in fourth while Tampa drops to 42-27, tied with Boston for second.

White Sox (6) at Nationals (3). The losing streak continues. It’s starting to get really ugly in Washington again. They are now 31-39 in last. Do they have any other rookie phenoms to call up?

Orioles (4) at Padres (9). 19-50. Yikes. Enough said.

Swept By the Mets: The Weekend’s Scores That Matter [WMQ]
Jun 7th, 2010 by Dan

Shea Home Run Apple

The old Shea home run apple. I hate this thing.

My friend Lee has somehow got his girlfriend into baseball, probably by pure force of will. This would be great, except she’s a Mets fan now and she loves to trash talk each time the Mets beat the Marlins. Thanks, Lee.

4 June

Softbank Hawks (4) at Hiroshima Carp (5). A huge fourth inning, including two RBIs by Eric Stults, puts Hiroshima just far enough ahead to win the game.

Rakuten Eagles (12) at Yokohama BayStars (0). Rakuten’s bats awoke in a BIG way, with four home runs, three of which were solo shots, off of Yokohama.

Boston Red Sox (11) at Baltimore Orioles (0). Didn’t I already recap this game? Oh yeah, this is an MLB game. Juan Samuel’s managerial debut didn’t seem to go very well at all.

Cincinnati Reds (2) at Washington Nationals (4). Liván Hernández pitches what should have been a win, but the offense doesn’t pick up the pace until the 7th.

Florida Marlins (3) at New York Mets (4). Anibal gives up one too many and that was all the Mets needed.

Tampa Bay Rays (6) at Texas Rangers (9). Seems like every time Wade Davis gets above 0.500 with his record, he’s gotta lose one to make up for it. It’s not all that bad, though. Longo homered.

5 June

Hawks (9) at Carp (3). Takahiro Aoki had a tough day, giving up five in 3.2, dooming the Carp.

Eagles (5) at BayStars (4). A much more respectable effort by Yokohama. Also a surprisingly weak start by Iwakuma that is won thanks to a Randy Ruiz blast in the 9th.

Marlins (1) at Mets (6). The less said about this start the better. I wish Nate Robertson could only pitch against the Phillies.

Rays (1) at Rangers (6). The Rays slide continues. Lucky them that New York is having some difficulties too, but Boston is playing Baltimore. They need to step it up.

Red Sox (8) at Orioles (2). I’m only upset about this because it helps the Sox look respectable against the Rays.

Reds (5) at Nationals (1). Man, everyone had trouble today, didn’t they. It’s just a guess, but I think Atilano isn’t long for this rotation starting Tuesday when Strasburg comes up.

6 June

Eagles (10) at Yomiuri Giants (4). I always take great pleasure in seeing the Giants stomped, even if Ma-kun gave up an unprecedented three runs. This win streak is also great for a team that needs to start winning if it doesn’t want the NPB to fire all of its American coaches. Their record improves to 25-29-1. I can almost smell 0.500!

Orix Buffaloes (6) at Carp (1). So much for capitalizing on opportunities when the Giants lose. This disappointing loss puts their record at 21-31-1. 0.500 baseball is a long way off.

Marlins (6) at Mets (7). The Fish manage to screw up yet another Ricky Nolasco start and give the Mets a sweep and Yin something to goad about to me. Nice work, Marlins. You are now 28-30 in fourth.

Red Sox (3) at Orioles (4). Nick Markakis gets the walk-off win to salvage this series for Baltimore whose abysmal record improves to 16-41.

Reds (5) at Nationals (4). An extra innings loss. The Nats normally get much better relief work from Capps, but he’s been human the past few starts. They are in last with a 27-31 record.

Rays (9) at Rangers (5). Not Garza’s best stuff, but it gets the job done. Their record improves to 37-20, but New York and Boston are knocking on their door if they can’t hold it together.

Memorial Day: The Holiday Weekend’s Scores That Matter [WMQ]
Jun 1st, 2010 by Dan

leave the BBQing to the Aussies

I’m gonna blame Memorial Day weekend for making me forget that I was supposed to do this yesterday. All those barbecues were so good!

28 May

No games (with the Carp or Eagles)

Baltimore Orioles (0) at Toronto Blue Jays (5). Division rival mega match! Ok, I can’t keep a straight face on that one. The AL East’s two least interesting teams (to me) start a series that will inevitably bore me to death.

Philadelphia Phillies (3) at Florida Marlins (2). A close one that could have gone either way, really. Volstad gets the hard-luck loss.

Chicago White Sox (4) at Tampa Bay Rays (2). I’m so used to David Price being so amazing that it catches me by surprise when he loses. After the Alex Rios home run in the fourth the Rays couldn’t quite catch up.

Washington Nationals (5) at San Diego Padres (3). What should have been an unimportant series suddenly becomes an interesting one about two teams far outperforming expectations. Lannan notches the win and Capps notches another save.

29 May

Hiroshima Carp (2) at Rakuten Eagles (3). My teams face off yet again. Katsuhiro Nagakawa, fresh off the DL, gets the loss in a walk-off in the 10th. Hiroshima should still be proud after scoring two on Iwakuma.

Orioles (2) at Blue Jays (5). You know, the Jays are actually a really good team this year. It’s too bad that there are already three other good teams in the AL East.

Phillies (1) at Marlins (0). Oh my god, how did I miss this? Roy Halladay threw a perfect game and Josh Johnson served up a magnificent effort himself allowing only one unearned run. Why are Florida teams surrendering so many perfect games?!

White Sox (5) at Rays (8). Wade Davis finally gets himself another win. Way to go, rookie. PS: I hate the White Sox.

Nationals (2) at Padres (4). J.D. Martin takes the loss to a Padres team that’s hitting pretty well.

30 May

Carp (2) at Eagles (4). I love Ma-kun (Masahiro Tanaka) as much as the next guy, just not when he’s beating my team. Oh well. Hiroshima’s record is now 20-31-0 in fifth while Rakuten sports a 24-28-1 mark.

Orioles (1) at Blue Jays (6). The battle of the birds comes to a close with the Orioles (predictably) getting the series loss. The Orange Birds end the weekend at 15-36, but get a breather before moving on to the Yankees.

Phillies (0) at Marlins (1). After the Phillies blank the Fish, Florida comes back and blanks the Phils, but not with a perfect game like the night before. Anibal Sanchez was in his dominant form and the Fish struggled to put just one on the board against Jamie Moyer, as usual.

White Sox (8) at Rays (5). The Sox return the favor against Shields. Sad.

Nationals (2) at Padres (3). 11th inning walk-off loss. They can go either way at that point. Tough break for Washington.

31 May – Memorial Day


Milwaukee Brewers (5) at Marlins (13). The Fish return to their hitting ways, and how! Cody Ross and Cameron Maybin both knock in some mashers and plenty of RBIs are scored. The Fish record sits at 26-26 in a three-way tie for third with the Mets and Nats.

Nationals (14) at Houston Astros (4). The Nats also got in a hitting mood. What a showing! As stated before, their record is 26-26.

Rays (2) at Blue Jays (3). Garza just couldn’t keep the Jays low enough to keep the win. The Rays are still in first with their 34-18 record, 4.5 up on the Yanks.

Feeling Kind of Sick Today: Yesterday’s Scores That Mattered [WMQ]
Apr 22nd, 2010 by Dan

Unrelated picture of Hanley Ramirez and his sweet glove.

I don’t feel very good today, but that won’t keep me from posting scores.

21 April

Hiroshima Carp (2) at Hanshin Tigers (1). I love seeing the Carp win the close ones. Hiroshima is 10-12-0 and only half a game away from third.

Chiba Lotte Marines (6) at Rakuten Eagles (0). Rakuten seems to only be able to put together solid performances a few times a week (notably when Iwakuma and Tanaka pitch). They won’t make the Climax Series this way. Rakuten falls to 9-16-0 and I’m quite frankly surprised that the Fighters are still doing worse.

Colorado Rockies (4) at Washington Nationals (6). Another game I was there for and the first Nats win I’ve seen in person this year. The Nats are now 8-7 and tied with Florida for third.

Florida Marlins (4) at Houson Astros (5). I thought this would be a much easier series for the Marlins, but they seem to keep dropping games to one of the worst teams in baseball. Pull it together Florida, you’re already tied with Washington with your 8-7 record.

Tampa Bay Rays (12) at Chicago White Sox (0). A nice drumming of my least favorite AL Central team. Tampa Bay rises to 11-4, half a game back from the first place Yankees.

Baltimore Orioles (1) at Seattle Mariners (4). As I predicted, King Felix held them down. Baltimore is down to 2-14 and still looking awful.

A Cold Night in Philadelphia: The Weekend’s Scores That Matter [WMQ]
Apr 19th, 2010 by Dan

The Phanatic likes to mess around with everyone, including reporters.

I spent a far-too-cold night at Citizens Bank Park freezing my butt off, but enjoying a Marlins victory over Fish-killer Jamie Moyer. A review of the park should be hitting soon, but I’ve got to finish writing it first.

16 April

Chunichi Dragons (3) at Hiroshima Carp (4). If I’m not mistaken, this one was won in extra innings. A thrilling victory for the Carp.

Rakuten Eagles (1) at Softbank Hawks (9). The losing streak continues

Florida Marlins (6) at Philadelphia Phillies (8). Roy Halladay throws 8 innings of 2-run baseball that’s almost ruined by his relief in the 9th. Florida doesn’t have enough to get the last two, but they make it interesting.

Milwaukee Brewers (3) at Washington Nationals (5). Is this a two-game win streak I smell?

Baltimore Orioles (2) at Oakland Athletics (4). It just gets uglier and uglier for the Os.

17 April

Dragons (7) at Carp (8). It’s always refreshing to see my other Fish manage so many runs. More late-inning heroics push Hiroshima up and give them the series win.

Eagles (8) at Hawks (3). The Golden Eagles have tons of run-scoring potential, but they’re often unable to get it done. When you’ve got Iwakuma and Ma-kun pitching Saturday and Sunday, respectively, you’d better score runs to capitalize on good pitching performances.

Brewers (0) at Nationals (8). Liván Hernández shows, once again, that he is still an amazing pitcher. I’ll never forget his performance for the Fish in 1997 and it makes me happy that he’s still going so strong. 3-game win streak for the Nats.

Orioles (3) at Athletics (4). More ugliness. How much longer will Dave Trembley have a job if things continue like this? Is there some unspoken Baltimore-Washington rule that one of the teams must be terrible?

Marlins (5) at Phillies (1). The game I was at. What a beauty. Good thing the Fish got to Jamie Moyer early, because the bats were mostly silent after the first inning.

Tampa Bay Rays (3) at Boston Red Sox (1). This game started on Friday, but was rain-delayed in the 9th inning at a 1-1 tie. It resumed and went for 12 before finally getting resolved in Tampa Bay’s favor.

Rays (6) at Red Sox (5). Should have been more of a blow-out for the Rays than it was, but Longoria’s home run turned out to be the difference.

18 April

Eagles (0) at Hawks (1). Masahiro Tanaka throws a gem of a game that the Hawks win with in the bottom of the 9th while Ma-kun tried to get his 27th out. It’s a shame that he goes for so many and his offense does squat for him. Rakuten finishes the week in fifth with 8-15-0 with a huge 8.5 game deficit.

Dragons (2) at Carp (4). Was this what I think it was? A series sweep by the Carp! Could this mean fortune is beginning to favor Hiroshima? The Carp close the weekend 9-11-0 in fourth and only three games back from first.

Marlins (2) at Phillies (0). Lefty Nate Robertson does what he was hired to do: kill Phillies left-handed hitters. The Marlins win yet another series and raise their standing to 8-5 putting them half a game back on the Phils.

Rays (7) at Red Sox (1). An amazing performance by Matt Garza puts the Rays ahead of the Sox yet again. If Tampa Bay can manage one more win in this long series, they’ve got themselves a sweep on their hands. Should they manage said sweep, it would be the second sweep of the Sox at Fenway in Rays history. The Rays are 9-3 and tied for first with the Yankees.

Brewers (11) at Nationals (7). Jason Marquis has the ugliest performance of his career, giving up seven runs in the first inning without recording an out. He’s pulled and the Nats give up three more. They make a strong comeback effort, but it’s not quite enough. They’re playing 0.500 baseball, folks, with a 6-6 record that puts then in fourth, but only two games back from Philadelphia. Also great is that they’re two games above New York. Fantastic baseball being played so far.

Orioles (8) at Athletics (3). The skid ends for Baltimore, but the damage has been done. Baltimore is only 2-11 and a gigantic (for this point in the season) 7.5 games back. Ouch.

Super Ichiban Travel Blog W Jersey Special [II]
Nov 13th, 2009 by Dan

The pride of my trip to Japan no doubt has to be the 12 jersey collection I brought home with me. Here is a quick rundown of each of the jerseys, a little background behind each, and what I think of it. I’m gonna cover them in the order that I got them, so that puts the Giants jersey a little later, even though that was the first game I went to.

Jersey #1 – Orix Buffaloes

The genesis of the Jersey Project began on a ridiculously sunny day outside Skymark Stadium. As you may or may not remember, I collect fitted, official baseball caps at each of the MLB stadiums I go to, so I was looking for something similar to collect at the Japanese parks. Unfortunately, neither of the two teams I’d seen had fitted caps. I had initially ruled out jerseys in the states because I knew how expensive they ran, but then I noticed that the Buffaloes jerseys they had for sale in their outdoor stalls were only ¥3500 (about $40 at the exchange rate I suffered). That was only $10 more than I was used to spending on caps in America!

My first NPB jersey!

My first NPB jersey!

It’s a pretty nice jersey and after I tossed it on in the ballpark I was certain that I’d made a good souvenir choice. The B’s on the front and the Orix patch on the left are both legitimate, sewn on patches. It’s a pretty sharp color scheme too. The white contrasts very nicely with the dark blue and the red/yellow trim around the sleeves and patches looks pretty good. All that said, it’s still kind of a generic jersey. There’s no team name, no city name, no prominent company name. I like it, but the other, more creative jerseys just look better.

Rank: 8 of 12. Solid, but just too generic.

Jersey #2 – Hiroshima Toyo Carp

Hiroshima is a city that’s really dear to my heart. Of all the places I visited in Japan, it left the most lasting effect on me, both from the team spirit and the indomitable spirit of the people who rebuilt the city with vigor. Beyond all that, the team’s most prominent color is red and, to quote Andy Bernard, my blood runs Big Red. Housed in Mazda Stadium, a brand new ballpark with all the amenities, the Carp had one of the more robust team stores filled to the brim with red from boxer shorts (complete with catcher signs over the crotch) to the all-important jerseys and caps.

One of my favorite jerseys.

One of my favorite jerseys.

This time the jersey fetched a heftier fee, ringing up at around ¥5500, if I remember right, with the premium version selling for ¥6500. Concerned with saving money, I’m pretty sure I went with the cheaper edition of the jersey, which is kind of a shame now that I think about it. I’m not sure if the more expensive one actually had sewn on names (or even if the real jerseys do), but the names on the jersey are printed on and it lacks the ridges on the premium jersey. Despite all of that, the Carp jersey gets extra points from me for being red, quite fetching to look at, distinctly Japanese with Hiroshima printed across the front, and it features my favorite Japanese ballplayer, Akihiro Higashide.

This guy hit his 1000th hit with me in the stadium watching. I love this guy.

This guy hit his 1000th hit with me in the stadium watching. I love this guy.

With all of these things going for it (and it being the jersey of my favorite team), one would expect it to top the bill, but I have to take some points away for its cheaper design and printed text. If it weren’t for those things, it would definitely rate higher.

Rank: 3 of 12. Ok, it doesn’t rank all that low, but still, it’s not #1!

Jersey #3 – Saitama Seibu Lions

You all remember how this jersey believes lions, right?

Makes me laugh every time...

Makes me laugh every time...

There’s one thing that the brand-conscious among you will notice right away upon viewing a picture of the jersey. I’ll give you a second to check it out…

Kind of plain, but made with nice material. Whats up with the armpits though?

Kind of plain, but made with nice material. What's up with the armpits though?

That’s right, the Lions are sponsored by none other than Nike, no doubt a deal that was penned (if it wasn’t already in place) following their victory in the Japan Series last year and, wouldn’t you know it, a brand-name jersey costs a lot more than the regular Joe editions pushed by the other teams. Already not a fan of the Lions because they play in the Pacific League in a strange quasi-dome, here I had to pay something like ¥7200 for this jersey. My little quest was starting to get quite expensive and I wasn’t happy about it.

Beyond that, there’s nothing really wrong with the jersey. It’s got a solid, old-school baseball look, but there’s not much to it beyond that. Grey is a terribly bland color (I suppose I could have bought white, but those were even plainer. There weren’t even blue highlights, if I remember correctly. The Saitama patch on the right arm and the Lions-ball-grasped-in-a-paw patch are both pretty generic looking too. The best feature is the “i believe lions,” but you can’t see that if the jersey is buttoned up or even in normal wear. All of that pales in comparison to the bizarre underarm of the jersey. For some godforsaken reason, the jersey does not have full armpits. Instead there are these vents, I guess to help get air to the underarm. I always wear an undershirt, but with these little vents exposing my armpits to the world, this jersey kind of forces the point.

Rank: 7 of 12. What’s up with the armpits on this thing?

Jersey #4 – Tokyo Yakult Swallows

By the time I showed up at Meiji Jingu for the Swallows game, I’d already seen the team play once. Counting that day, I was to see them play three more games. If you’ve been reading the blog, you know that I’m not a fan of this team, but they’ve actually got one of the nicer jerseys that I picked up.

That top red button really sells it for me.

That top red button really sells it for me.

The Swallows have a jersey that’s just different enough from the MLB sets that it really sells the whole “Hey, we play baseball in Japan, not America” thing. From the red accents on the side (can you tell I love red?) to the great patches on both the arms and above the team name, to the coup de grace, the red top button, it’s just a well-designed jersey. I don’t have the other buttons done, but they’re white, not red, which would normally annoy someone so obsessed with symmetry and patterns, but I love it in this case. It’s like the rising sun sits right at the top of the jersey. Best of all, the jersey returned to a more reasonable price. I don’t remember how much I paid for it, but it was definitely between ¥4000 and ¥5000. I still can’t believe how much I paid for a Lions jersey that doesn’t even have a marketable player’s name on the back.

Rank: 5 of 12. It’s the Rising Sun on my jersey!

Jersey #5 – Yomiuri Giants

The Yankees of Japan. What team do I hate (fourth) most in the states? Which jersey do I loathe from my collection?

This one hurt to buy.

This one hurt to buy.

I’ll admit, this is a jersey I hate for completely non-aesthetic reasons. Aside from being rather plain, I am a fan of the orange and black on the jersey. Beyond that, there is one major reason why I hate this jersey. Make that 12000 reasons. That’s right, I had to pay ¥12000 to get this thing. Why?

1. They’re the Giants. The most popular team in Japan
2. It’s another name brand. Adidas

I dont even know who this guy is...but he does have a great number.

I don't even know who this guy is...but he does have a great number.

Since I didn’t know that I was collecting jerseys on this trip when we saw the Giants the first night, this one comes from the day Dave left and I went to Tokyo Disney Sea. I will say that I saw the jerseys in the store that night and thought they were far too expensive, but here I was, stuck buying the premium jersey. Why? I hear you ask. It’s because there are no non-premium jerseys. Pay less than ¥12000 and you can get a t-shirt that looks like a jersey, but you will never get a jersey. I bit the bullet and bought the thing, but I still get mad thinking about it.

Rank: 11 of 12. Sure, I’m being petty, but it’s my list and my criteria.

Jersey #6 – Fukuoka Softbank Hawks

After paying so much for my Giants jersey, prices became mostly trivial, so my dislike of the Hawks jersey comes not from paying between ¥6000 and ¥7000 for the thing, but more from an aesthetic dislike.

White jersey with yellow armbands. Way to break the creativity bank guys...

White jersey with yellow armbands. Way to break the creativity bank guys...

Uninspired and lazy is what I think when I see this jersey. The most creative part of it is the goofy-looking Hawk mascot on the right sleeve and we all know how I feel about that bird and his kin. Two yellow stripes? That’s the best you can come up with?

Worse, the Hawks are thinking of changing their jersey next year to be more like the BayStars. Just you wait until I get to that abomination…

Rank: 9 of 12. Stupid mascot and yellow bands.

Jersey #7 – Chunichi Dragons

It’s probably time to call me inconsistent, but I rather like the Dragons jersey. Maybe it’s the old-school look with the linked ‘C’ and ‘D’ or maybe it’s the delicious shade of blue that the team uses (it’s the closest to Cubs blue that I saw in Japan and I love me some Cubs blue), but I really like it.

Its all about letter design.

It's all about letter design.

The player is pretty forgettable, but they don’t really sell Fukudome jerseys in the stadium anymore. I hear he’s a veteran who’s been playing a long time and he had a decent game, but he didn’t call out to me like Higashide or Toritani.

Araki is getting close to the end of his career, but I love his number and the fact that he plays second base.

Araki is getting close to the end of his career, but I love his number and the fact that he plays second base.

Beyond that, I like the wedge-shaped highlights on the sleeves and up the sides, but it’s a shame that the jersey doesn’t really have any patches.

Rank: 6 of 12. A solid effort, but the ones above it either have more sentimental value or sharper designs..

Jersey #8 – Hanshin Tigers

This is a jersey done right. Everything about it just exudes tight design. Pinstripes are a staple of baseball while the black and yellow interact fantastically everywhere they’re paired together.



Even the textures are nice on this sucker, with everything sewn on and a ridged surface, it’s also really nice to feel. Check out that fierce Tiger patch. Scary.

Toritani! My second favorite Japanese baseball player.

Toritani! My second favorite Japanese baseball player.

I almost unintentionally ended up falling in love with numbers and players that were part of the middle infield. While I’ve got a few pitchers thrown in there (and a first baseman), I’m pretty sure most of the jerseys I own with names belong to the middle infield. If that’s not supported by the data, then my favorite ones do, so can it. Takeshi Toritani is a fine shortstop and he was a clutch performer in the games that I saw.

Rank: 2 of 12. The highest ranked “traditional” jersey, this guy just gets it in all the right places. Pinstripes, black accents, yellow trim, and a badass tiger.

Jersey #9 – Hokkaidō Nippon-Ham Fighters

Back-to-back superstar jerseys. The Nippon-Ham I bought has everything going for it that you’d want in a Japanese jersey. How’s about a quick peek before we go over all the highlights.

Worth it just to see the faces as they read Nippon-Ham

Worth it just to see the faces as they read Nippon-Ham

Sure, Fighters jerseys fetch about ¥9000, but you really get what you pay for in this case. When the Fighters moved to Sapporo (they used to play in Tokyo and share the Dome with the Giants) they totally revamped their image and went with this completely non-traditional look. The most glaring difference is the left sleeve. Beyond the nifty, sewn-on patch, it’s an entirely different color from the rest of the jersey (this is the case for the home, away, and interleague versions of the jersey too). That bold accent, coupled with the hilarious Nippon-Ham adorning the front already seal the deal on this being my favorite jersey, but the best part is the player I got.

I was so close to seeing Darvish pitch...

I was so close to seeing Darvish pitch...

Yu Darvish is a superstar. No other pitcher in Japan approaches how great this guy is right now. He was hurt for most of the season, but he even came out to pitch in Game 2 of the Japan Series while hurt. Instead of pitching to his usual velocity, the guy just relied on curveballs and other tricky pitches and still only gave up two runs on one home run. The guy’s a stud on the mound. I really hope he comes to pitch in the states one day.

Rank: 1 of 12. Darvish + the off-color arm = win

Jersey #10 – Yokohama Baystars

From first to absolute worst. I don’t even know where to start with this guy…

Worst. Jersey. Ever.

Worst. Jersey. Ever.

Oh wait, how about the fact that its NOT EVEN A JERSEY! The traditional jersey has buttons. There are no buttons on this jersey. Everything on it is printed, even the cheesy stars on the shoulders that, I kid you not, I did not notice until two minutes before I wrote this sentence. Everything about this jersey screams forgettable.

Is he any good? Who would know on this team.

Is he any good? Who would know on this team.

At the very least Uchikawa is pretty good. He led the league in 2008 in batting average, but, beyond that, I couldn’t care less. He plays for a garbage team.

Rank 12 of 12. I’m so glad I only had to pay ¥4000 for this thing. It’s not even a jersey!

Jersey #10 – Chiba Lotte Marines

When I first saw these jerseys I thought they looked kind of cool. The different colors and zig-zag of the sleeves look kind of cool from far away, but something about this jersey soured me to the idea not long after I got it.

What kind of a jersey sponsor is The Hartford?

What kind of a jersey sponsor is The Hartford?

When you look closely at the jersey, the most bizarre thing pops out at you. They prominently display the logo of The Hartford. An investment firm on a baseball jersey? Just doesn’t feel right.

I think I have more corner infielders than middle. Oh well, I still like the middle fielders more.

I think I have more corner infielders than middle. Oh well, I still like the middle fielders more.

I know I’m being nitpicky here, but I don’t really like the design they chose for the numbers on the jersey. I also don’t like that it cost me ¥11000 and it doesn’t fit all that well.

Rank: 10 of 12. I can’t explain precisely why I don’t like it, but it’s not that great.

Jersey #12 – Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles

I was really pulling for the Eagles to make it to the Japan series this year. After seeing them battle back and beat the Hawks with a grand slam and watching Masahiro Tanaka turn in a stellar pitching performance, the team became my favorite in the Pacific League.

Check out the wings on the team name!

Check out the wings on the team name!

Beyond that, just look at what they did with a fairly simple jersey design. There are no fancy patches or color swatches, but they did do something neat with the logo on the jersey. Instead of going with the regal, refined look, they put freaking wings on the thing. It’s sweet.

Tanaka - my second favorite Japanese pitcher.

Tanaka - my second favorite Japanese pitcher.

The plentiful red is always appreciated and so is Tanaka’s name. A fine jersey and one of the better teams I saw on the trip.

Rank: 4 of 12. Wingtips! On the name!

What do you think of the designs? Would you arrange them differently?

Postseason Progress [Wednesday Morning Quarterback]
Oct 21st, 2009 by Dan

It’s time for Wednesday Morning Quarterback, your weekly sports round-up.

Things aren’t looking good for the Dodgers. Their supposed strong point, their bullpen, is being totally trashed by the brutal Phillies offense. In fact, their starting pitching, Kuroda excluded, has been their most dominant factor and the only thing that’s been keeping them afloat most of these games. Still, you can only blow so many leads before I stop believing that your team can actually put wins on the board. In fact, the Dodgers are nice and down three games to one with little hope of winning tonight to actually make this a series. Padilla will be pitching against Cole Hamels and, since Vicente is responsible for the only Dodgers win, this is really their last chance.

In American League news, the Yankees are totally annihilating the Angels. The games have all been close, sure, but the relentless Yankees lineup just won’t cut the Angels any slack. It’s tough to play a team when you know that no matter what kind of lead you put up, no matter what inning it is, there’s always a chance for them to come back with the win. Yankees relief has been top notch while the Angels have all but given away the games that they’ve lost.

The big story of the playoffs this year has to be the rampant bad umpiring. Whether it’s the abysmal foul ball call on Mauer’s hit in the ALDS or the constant close plays that are being repeatedly missed. I have yet to see a game go by without some complaint by the announcers about the calling and a call for automated umpiring. While some of these calls are absolutely ridiculous, what would they do to fix them? Put sensors in the ball and along all the lines? It doesn’t seem like the right answer. I like the human element of baseball umpiring, but there’s also no glory or joy in seeing your team win or lose based on an incorrect call. Perhaps the proper thing to do, for now, would be to train these umpires better, because they’re doing a terrible job this year.

Besides, Bud Selig has made all the changes he needs/wants to make. Nothing more will happen along these lines until we have a new commissioner.

In other postseason baseball news, the NPB is ready to begin its semifinal round, the Climax Series. The best of three series between the Swallows and Dragons and the series between the Eagles and Hawks have resolved in precisely the way I’d want them to. Despite my hatred for DH baseball, I found myself quite fond of the Golden Eagles after seeing them play out in Japan. Darvish is still my favorite Pacific League player, but the Eagles have got to be my favorite team. They completely spanked the Hawks 11-4 in the first game and dispatched them with similar ease with great games from their starting pitching. Tanaka, Iwakumi, and the Eagles will go on to face the Fighters, sans Darvish, who is currently out with a back injury.

While my beloved Carp may not have made the playoffs, I’ve still got my second favorite Dragons to root for and they had an exciting series against the Swallows after losing the first and coming back with two wins to make it to the Climax against the Giants. Can they manage to beat the behemoths of the Central League? I certainly hope so.

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