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ianrobo1
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Plus in Japan, draught beer is served at your seat by young girls with a keg of beer strapped to their back - this alone is worth a visit.

And then these young maidens are tentacle raped, I presume? :D

Not seen that yet, but it might help spice up an evening if the game's not going well!

I agree with what you said about the balance of team and individual, it's a pretty unique sport in that regard. Most players go through hot and cold streaks hitting-wise, and it's when the majority of guys on the team are all 'hot' when the team can get some momentum, just one guy on a streak by himself won't be of much use overall.

The guy with the most influence is the pitcher, but even if he's on fire, it's not much good if the team's not hitting, or the teams fielding sucks. So the balance is perfect in my view.

There are so many nuances to the game that I love. And I also love the sense of history and tradition in the sport, much like football has.

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The guy with the most influence is the pitcher, but even if he's on fire, it's not much good if the team's not hitting, or the teams fielding sucks. So the balance is perfect in my view.

And even there, the pitcher is unlikely to be on the mound for more than a seventh of the season, thanks to rotation of starting pitchers and the substitution of relief pitchers.

Only 38 pitchers last season pitched at least 200 innings (a major league baseball team should play at least 1458 innings over a season)

It does the Yankees no good if Chien Ming-Wang pitches a stormer (which he's quite capable) only to have one of the worthless guys the Yankees have in the bullpen blow the lead. About all that does is provoke howls of mirth in the Nation... :D

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The guy with the most influence is the pitcher, but even if he's on fire, it's not much good if the team's not hitting, or the teams fielding sucks. So the balance is perfect in my view.

And even there, the pitcher is unlikely to be on the mound for more than a seventh of the season, thanks to rotation of starting pitchers and the substitution of relief pitchers.

Absolutely, though (I believe) starters in Japan pitch more complete games than in the MLB, overall they're still only on the mound for a fraction of the season.

Talking of the Yankees, for the last few years it's been pretty much mainly their games screened over here due to the (evil) Matsui factor. And the coverage comes from the Yankee's own YES network with some dude named Michael Kay doing the play by play. My lord do I want to strangle that man.

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Talking of the Yankees, for the last few years it's been pretty much mainly their games screened over here due to the (evil) Matsui factor. And the coverage comes from the Yankee's own YES network with some dude named Michael Kay doing the play by play. My lord do I want to strangle that man.

Trust me, if you've heard the radio broadcasts of the Yankees, emotions will go beyond strangulation and into all sorts of tortures you never dreamed you would ever think of.

John Sterling and http://youtube.com/watch?v=PePGaKx1JpQ...

IINM, the Red Sox are getting somewhat more coverage over in Japan thanks to Matsuzaka. How much are the Japanese coming around to the right side of things?

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Class move by Boston bringing Billy Buckner back to throw out the first pitch for Opening Day. He was wiping tears away as he walked across the field. At a press conference later he choked up again when someone asked him if he had second thoughts about accepting the invitation. He said that he did, because he still has a hard time accepting the way he was treated by the press, but he almost said "fans". So-called fans who threatened the man's life and his family. I hope those scumbags sunk into their chairs in disgrace when Buck got that ovation, and showed his emotions like that.

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IINM, the Red Sox are getting somewhat more coverage over in Japan thanks to Matsuzaka. How much are the Japanese coming around to the right side of things?

Well, they are coming around a little. You definitely see a fair amount of Boston caps around Tokyo which you didn't see before Daisuke's move. And the Boston games (in which Matsuzaka pitches) are being show on TV over here.

However, although Matsuzaka was a hero from his Koshien High School tournament performances, he played baseball in the unpopular Pacific League in Japan. His team, the Seibu Lions, play just up the road from where I live, to average crowds of around 10-15,000 people. Not to mention that NO Lions games are shown on regular TV. Japanese fans suddenly pretended to love him to bits after his WBC performance and subsequent move to the MLB (I exaggerate a little here, but the point remains, almost no one in Japan watched him pitch in Japan bar the fans that attended games in person. The same point applies to Ichiro, but to a lesser extent as he was somewhat of a pioneer for the Japanese - the first position player to play in the MLB, so the Japanese started to love him because of this).

Hideki Matusi on the other hand, played for the Japanese equivalent of the Yankees (times 10), the Yomiuri Giants, who play in front of sell out 45,000 crowds every night and are the ONLY TEAM whose games are shown on national TV (until the last couple of years every game, but more recently almost every game). The Giants (as well as my Swallows) play in the more popular Central League. So Matsui is really so much more popular and 'seen' than Matsuzaka, with almost everyone having seen him play on TV at some point.

So the Yankees fans are always going to outnumber the Red Sox fans over here, but things are starting to change a little with the two Japanese players on the Boston team. But Matsui will always be the poster boy for Japanese baseball as long as he's still playing.

Needless to say I HATE the Yomiuri Giants and feel similarly about the Yankees for much the same reasons. They are the Tokyo Swallows' local rivals, we are the Mets to their Yankees if you like.

The bitter rival of the Giants, and Japanese Red Sox equivalent, are the Hanshin Tigers (and I hate them too just for the record).

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Trust me, if you've heard the radio broadcasts of the Yankees, emotions will go beyond strangulation and into all sorts of tortures you never dreamed you would ever think of.

John Sterling

Just listened to this one and gotta say, I hear you loud and clear.

"ThEeEeEeEeEeEeEEEE, Yankees win!!"

Holy shit. John Sterling, kill yourself (maybe a little harsh, but fair I feel).

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No posts here for a while..

The teams I follow closely:

-Yankees: Bad start to the season, only .500 at 30-30, 6 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East

-White Sox: Having a good start to the year, above .500 and 2 games clear at the top of the division. With the rest of the division being average or struggling, could be playoff bound!

-Mets: Doing okay, above .500, but in a decent division which is a problem.

Cubs have the best record in the majors, unfortunately, and the Red Sox and Angels are tied as the best teams in the AL. Marlins are doing surprisingly well, I expected them to be shite again, but they look like they could have a respectable season.

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  • 3 months later...

***BUMP***

I'm thrilled that the White Sox made it into the playoffs with a dramatic win in the tie-breaker with the Twins.

John Danks was superb, pitching eight shut-out innings.

Any thoughts on the playoffs?

I can't look past the Red Sox to win it all - although Ozzie's record in the playoffs as a manager and coach (with the Marlins) is damn good!

pTwSxRq5.jpg

Happy days

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Fox and TBS are thrilled with this playoff slate:

Six big-market Goliaths (Red Sox, Phillies, Cubs, White Sox, Angels, and Dodgers)

Two small-market Davids (Rays & Brewers)

Fox is probably hoping for Red Sox-Cubs, but any pairing of the big-market clubs will probably be acceptable (as long as it's not an "El" or a Freeway Series, which are notorious for getting low viewership.

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Divisional Series fixtures:

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Wednesday

Red Sox @ Angels (Lester vs. Lackey)

Thursday

White Sox @ Rays (Vazquez vs. Shields)

Red Sox @ Angels (Matsuzaka vs. Santana)

Friday

White Sox @ Rays (Buehrle vs. Kazmir)

Sunday

Angels @ Red Sox (Saunders vs. Beckett)

Rays @ White Sox (Garza vs. ????)

Monday (if necessary)

Angels @ Red Sox

Rays @ White Sox

Wednesday (if necessary)

Red Sox @ Angels

White Sox @ Rays

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Wednesday

Brewers @ Phillies (Gallardo vs. Hamels)

Dodgers @ Cubs (Lowe vs. Dempster)

Thursday

Brewers @ Phillies (Sabathia vs. Myers)

Dodgers @ Cubs (???? vs. Zambrano)

Saturday

Phillies @ Brewers (Moyer vs. Suppan)

Cubs @ Dodgers

Sunday (if necessary)

Phillies @ Brewers

Cubs @ Dodgers

Tuesday (if necessary)

Brewers @ Phillies

Dodgers @ Cubs

Think the Cubs, Rays, and Phillies will advance... I'm nervous about the Red Sox against the Angels.

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Wouldn't mind seeing a Cubs-White Sox series...

With Tuesday's 1-0 victory over Minnesota launching the White Sox into the American League playoffs, Chicago can savor something not seen for a century: the thrill of having both the Sox and the Cubs play in the postseason.

Talk about a once-in-a-lifetime event. The last time this happened was in 1906, when there were a mere 45 U.S. states. The Model T was not around yet. And Geronimo still was.

So dare we think the impossible: a Sox-Cubs World Series?

"It'd certainly be unlike anything people in Chicago have witnessed in their lifetimes, unless they're 112 years old," says Jayson Stark, senior baseball writer for espn.com and author of "The Stark Truth: The Most Overrated and Underrated Players in Baseball History."

Baseball in Chicago is often defined by the rivalry between the North Siders and the South Siders. Imagine, then, the whole world watching—as Cubs fans and Sox fans go for each other's throats.

"You know the impact even just from when the White Sox play the Cubs in the regular season, how impressive that is," said Andrew McKenna, who has straddled both sides of town, having served as chairman of both the White Sox and Cubs. "It's a real buzz just during the regular season."

So imagine what a World Series meeting would mean to a rivalry so deep and so heated.

Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf told USA Today that Sox fans would be very upset to lose to the Cubs in the World Series, to the point that maybe they would rather their team not even go to the Series if it meant losing to the hated North Siders.

"It's just the way it is in this city," he said.

Cubs manager Lou Piniella is relatively new to town, but he gets it.

"I understand you've got to choose sides," he told The Associated Press last month. "Either north or south."

Of course, Sox manager Ozzie Guillen is always there to calm the waters.

"One thing about White Sox fans, they show up and watch the game," he said earlier this season, a shot at those who are perceived to come to Wrigley for fun, not games.

And "the Cubs haven't won in [100] years, and they're the [bleeping] best. [bleep] it, we're good. [bleep] everybody. We're horse[bleep], and we're going to be horse[bleep] the rest of our lives, no matter how many World Series we win."

With such strong feelings, it's no wonder Stark says, "My sense is the town would be so stoked that it would be an awesome thing."

Chicago certainly was stoked the last time this happened. In 1906, the American and National Leagues' pennant races and the World Series captivated the city. As the Sept. 9 Tribune put it: "Chicago has gone stark, staring mad on baseball."

The 1906 World Series was the first one featuring two teams from the same city. The White Sox, huge underdogs, prevailed in six games over the Cubs, who had won 116 games during the regular season, 20 more than anyone else in baseball.

A 2008 Sox-Cubs World Series would be a wildly different event. Start with the economics: Back in 1906, the total payout to the White Sox for winning was $25,051. Now, a World Series in Chicago could mean a $120 million economic boost for the region, according to MDS Group, a Chicago consulting firm.

And it might even provide a bit of civic enrichment.

Stark points to the two most recent subway series—between the Yankees and Mets in New York in 2000, and between the A's and Giants in the San Francisco Bay area in 1989

"It was all anybody thought about, talked about or cared about," Stark said. "And if the Cubs and White Sox were in a World Series, it would be that times a thousand. ...

"There's just not a lot of times in your life where that happens. Where everybody you know, everybody you meet on the street, everybody who sits down at a table next to you at lunch, has the same thing on their mind. And it's a sporting event.

"That's more than a sports experience. That's a life experience."

Getting to that World Series, of course, won't be easy—for the teams or their fans. But Chicago was recently named the most stressful city in the United States by Forbes magazine, so we can hack it.

"I did an informal survey of Cubs and Sox fans here, and I think it would make the city extremely happy," says Dr. Barry Ravin, the medical director of Linden Oaks at Edward, a behavioral health hospital affiliated with Edward Hospital in Naperville—and a Cubs fan. "It would bring a lot of joy to the city."

As for the idea that some Sox fans would rather not have their team face the Cubs—and vice versa—Ravin says: "I think that's there for some. In my informal survey 10 or 15 percent would really dread this because they don't want to lose to the other side."

Then there's the family dynamic.

Cubs fan Dave Duschene, 42, of Oak Park had many a battle with his Sox-loving brothers growing up, and adulthood has scarcely cooled the rivalry. When he landed White Sox World Series tickets through his public relations job in 2005, he passed them onto his family but refused to attend himself.

"I'm glad they got to enjoy it," he said, "but there was no reason for me to."

His brother Dan, 46, of Tinley Park, didn't understand until Dave put it another way.

"His retort to me was, 'Would you wander into Wrigley Field if the Cubs were in the World Series?' " Dan said.

The answer, of course: No.

For the White Sox, whose own long championship drought ended in 2005, playing the Cubs in a World Series would put the team in an especially tough spot.

If they lose to the Cubs, their fans will be crushed. But even if they win ...

"If the White Sox beat the Cubs in the World Series," Stark says, "the perception of not just Cub fans, but a lot of people in America, would be that the White Sox just screwed up the greatest story in sports."

Sox fans, no doubt, would disagree.

Obligatory sport & class note: generally speaking, Cub fans tend to be more affluent than White Sox fans.

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Sad to see my Yankees missing out on the play offs for the first time in years. Part unlucky with injuries to key players, part simply not good enough. The likes of Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy have delivered sweet f... all (they could have gotten us Johan Santana), ace Chien-Ming Wang has been out for months, as have Posada and Matsui and a player like Melky Cabrera was sent down to tripple A after contributing nothing to the team. Next year will have to see a significant improvement of the rotation in particular if we want to be there in october.

Were I a betting man my money would be on the Angels. Anyone but the Red Sox will do me fine, though, eh Levi? ;)

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watching the Brewer/Phillies match now and one question why do they wear gloves in baseball makes it so easy for them

Heheh, have you ever tried to field a hard hit 90mph line drive?

To do that with bare hands is risking all your fingers.

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