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Nippon Series Thoughts

by Patrick Newman (Nov 1, 2009)

The Giants took game one of the Japan Series last night, beating Nippon Ham behind a rather hittable Dicky Gonzales. This is another post I had meant to go to prior to the Series starting, but that's the way things go some times.

So on to the scattered thoughts and observations...

  • If you would have told me at the beginning of the year that Gonzales would start game one of the Japan Series, I would have laughed pretty hard.
  • Deanna and Gen went to their usual levels of detail in covering game one.
  • Yu Darvish has been out of commission for quite a while now, but he it looks like he's starting game two for Nippon Ham. Tetsuya Utsumi gets the call for the Giants.
  • Speaking of Darvish, he's been throwing lefthanded again.
  • I know a game has already been played so it's too late to say this, but I like Yomiuri's roster over Nippon Ham's. I like Yomiuri's depth in this series.
  • On the other hand, the last time Nippon Ham won the Japan Series (2006), Darvish was partnered at the front of the Figthers' rotation by Tomoya Yagi, who won the Rookie of the Year award that season. After winning in '06, Yagi promptly faded into injured-list oblivion, and Darvish became the best pitcher in Japan. This year, Yagi made a comeback, posting a 2.88 ERA in 122 innings, and Ham is back in the Series.
  • It's interesting to see Nippon Ham playing Yomirui in the Series. Prior to Ham moving to Hokkaido, the Fighters shared the Tokyo Dome with the Giants, and seemed to be operating in Yomiuri's shadow. It seemed like the Fighters used to frequently sign ex-Giants, but the only notable example I can think of is Hiromitsu Ochiai. Once the Fighters moved to Hokkaido and got out from under the Giants' shadow, they got competitive.
  • I missed a chance to post on this earlier, but I'll do so now - when Nippon Ham eliminated Rakuten from the Climax Series, it marked the (latest) end to manager Katsuya Nomura's career. I wouldn't call myself a Nomura fan, but he is certainly a character, and as such I suppose this picture of him putting away his uniform for the last time is a little sad. After Nippon Ham's win, both sides honored Nomura with the traditional celebratory douage (click the link if you don't know what that is). This is, I think, an important distinction for Japanese baseball from American baseball. Nippon Ham won the game and the series, and it was very much their day, but the winning players and Nippon Ham fans still celebrated Nomura after the game.

I don't think I'll be up to watch the game tonight, so if anyone checks it out on justin.tv, please click the 'watch later' link, and paste the url into a comment.


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