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Patrick Newman

NPB Tracker Archives

Following Japanese Baseball, Part 1: Online Text

by Patrick Newman (Mar 3, 2014)

Back when I announced my return to writing, one of the topics I intended to pursue was some guidelines for how to follow Japanese baseball without knowing the Japanese language. It took me almost a year to get to it, but here we are.

One of my frequently asked questions is "how can I follow Japanese baseball from the US?" I'm happy to say that thanks to the Web, it's pretty doable. But unfortunately some of this stuff is fairly well-hidden, my hope is to have something of a guide available. My plan is to break this into three or four posts: this one for writers, another for Twitter, one for video, and then any miscellany if necessary.

On with the show. If you want to read up on NPB or Japanese baseball in general, you now have plenty of options. Here are my favorites:

The Beat

  • Japan Times columnist Wayne Graczyk is probably the dean of active Yakyu writers.
  • Robert Whiting is kind of the dean emeritus to Wayne's dean. I don't think he's regularly publishing articles, but he does turn up from time to time.
  • The Japan Times has doubled its quality coverage with Jason Coskrey, who has also written for ESPN.
  • John Gibson writes for the Daily Yomiuri and One World Sports. I don't think his Yomiuri work is online, but his One World Sports work is.
  • Jim Allen has been writing about Pro Yakyu since the mid-90′s. He's currently with Kyodo, and I suspect his work is buried behind a paywall. But fear not! Because the next bullet point makes up for it.
  • Additionally, John and Jim host an excellent weekly podcast, which can be downloaded from iTunes or John's page on Japanesebaseball.com. They were even kind enough to have me on a couple months ago.

The Blogosphere

  • Any summary of the Yakyu Blogosphere has to begin with Michael Westbay, the founder and operator of JapaneseBaseball.com. JapaneseBaseball.com has been an invaluable resource to me, particularly early on in my pursuit of Pro Yakyu knowledge in the late-90′s/early-00′s. Without JapaneseBaseball.com and it's vibrant community, I never would have learned enough to start this site. Westbay-san also blogs, has written for Baseball Magazine, and did a video podcast throughout 2013.
  • Any summary of the Yakyu Blogosphere has to continue with Gen Sueyoshi and YakyuBaka.com. If you want a place to keep up with the daily and even hourly goings-on of Japanese baseball, YakyBaka.com is the single best resource available.
  • Deanna Rubin doesn't seem to be actively updating her Marinerds site, but the archives are well worth a visit. You'll find tons of pics and information about college ball, ni-gun, indy leagues and minor league ball. Plus, Deanna got recognized by a reader last year when we went to the WBC final in San Francisco.
  • Japanese Baseball Cards is, helpfully, exactly what it sounds like.
  • I hadn't looked at A Noboru Aota Fan's Notes for years before writing this post, but it's still going and still deeply historical.
  • If you happen to speak Spanish, check out Claudio Rodriguez's Beisbol Japanes.

Team-Specific Blogs

  • Love the Chiba Lotte Marines? So does Steve Novosel.
  • The Hanshin-devoted Tiger Tails blog is a wee bit on the pessimistic side.
  • The TokyoSwallows.com is probably closest thing any NPB team has to an English-language online beat. The TS team of writers publishes notes on pretty much every game.
  • I hope Dan Kurtz doesn't mind me lumping MyKBO.net in to this category.

Did I miss anyone? It wasn't intentional. If I did, please drop me a line in the comments or via email.

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