Japanese TV never fails to entertain. During my most recent trip to Japan, I saw things like a girl dressed in a French maid's outfit, water skiing down a river to deliver an omelette to a guy on a boat; and a guy ride a horse through a false wall in an office building in on some unsuspecting business men in a meeting.
But the thing I'd like to share with you is this short clip from the New Year's Eve Kyokugen program, from a segment where former Seibu and Yomiuri slugger Kazuhiro Kiyohara was attempting to hit a final home run to honor his aging mother. Kiyohara was to face off against four all-time great NPB pitchers, getting three at-bats against each one.
Kiyohara's first opponent was former Lotte ace, Choji Murata. When I saw Murata, I thought to myself "ahh, I hope he doesn't just go up there and throw batting practice."
I wasn't disappointed. Murata is 64 years old, but still hits 135 kmph (83 mph) on the gun. He attacked Kiyohara with a series of fastballs, and the only solid contact Kiyohara managed was a foul ball. Then, with Kiyohara down 1-2 on his last at-bat, Murata dropped this splitter on him:
(helpfully gif'ed by one of the netizens on 2ch.net)
Sick. Murata is 64 years old. Oh, I already said that. Well, he's also a Tommy John survivor; in 1983 he became the first notably Japanese pitcher to undergo the procedure. And Murata must be in great shape to repeat those mechanics at age 64.
It was a little disappointing that Kiyohara couldn't handle Murata's best stuff, but that just showed it was a competition. He was going to have to earn that home run. We changed to the typical New Year's Eve boxing matches after Murata, but I found out later that Kiyohara got him home run off lefty Hideyuki Awano. Happily ever after.