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Pro Yakyu This Week

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Pro Yakyu This Week
I've just sent off the following dispatch to the Pro Yakyu Live mailing list. If you'd like updates like this on produced audio productions in your inbox, send me a note to my handle atMark and I'll add you to the mailing list.

The announcement:

Hello all you Pro Yakyu Live fans. I know I've been unable to get you any games recently, and I hope to have this project I'm working on completed soon, so that I can bring you more games in September and October.

In the mean time, Jim Nelson (SoftBank Source) and Ken Dick have been pushing me for a while to get a segment we'd been discussing for a couple of seasons going - Pro Yakyu This Week.

The name, Pro Yakyu This Week, is what I called my former home page space when I first started writing about Japanese baseball on the web back in 1995. So when I wanted to start up a weekly audio broadcast about Pro Yakyu, it seemed an appropriate name to revive.

The first Pro Yakyu This Week will be this evening (Japan time) at 7:00 pm.

I would really like to make this a "call-in" show, where people call in with questions and comments via Skype. I know I've said it numerous times with my game broadcasts, but perhaps this is a better forum to do so. The start of Sports Talk Internet Radio? To join in on the broadcast, just Skype to proyakyulive.

I know this is short notice, and not a very convenient time for many of you. I'm thinking that Monday afternoons JST would be better - but I'll be at Chiba Marine Stadium next Monday afternoon. And I need time to prepare.

If I don't touch on a subject that you'd like heard in the broadcasts, please feel free to post suggestions (and/or write an "article") either directly to me or to the list for discussion. I'd really like to see this audio show be more collaborative than just a one-way dictation.

As always, I hope you can all tune in live.
Re: Pro Yakyu This Week
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Sep 8, 2008 7:51 PM | YBS Fan ]

Well, it looks like I had one listener for a part of the 30 minute show this evening. If you'd like to have a listen at your convenience, download the audio here [216.6KB MP3].

While doing the broadcast, I could really feel that some things are going to need to be changed in the future. Like my script is going to have to be a little looser - and without subtitles. Please bear in mind, this was the first broadcast, there's a lot of room for improvement.

And speaking of improvement, I've already gotten some suggestions off of the forum. One is a "Player Profile" segment, where a player who doesn't necessarily get a lot of attention gets a deeper looking into. Another is a "Hero of the Week" segment, where a particularly hot player for the week is focused on, or perhaps a player who hits a big record or milestone. These are certainly two aspects I'd like to explore in the coming weeks.

Once again, I am soliciting for contributions to this segments from you. It's one thing to say "let's have a Player Profile every week." It's quite another to do the necessary research and write up something that sounds good on audio. (This is a point I need to work on - writing for audio rather than for print media. There is a big difference, and I think you'll be able to tell what I'm more comfortable with on this first broadcast.)

As next week will coincide with at Chiba Marine Stadium Day, next week's "Pro Yakyu This Week" may be a little delayed. Thereafter, though, I'd like to try to get going at a better time frame (like around 11:00am or 1:00pm JST). The more help I get, the more likely I'll be able to get a production done earlier.
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Sep 8, 2008 7:55 PM | YBS Fan ]

For the hearing impaired in our audience, and to aid in finding the audio contents itself, I provide below the original script for this broadcast. Please note, that this is not exactly what ended up coming out of my mouth. But it should clear up anything that I may have fumbled over.

Pro Yakyu This Week
September 1 to 7

WBC Manager
There was a lot of talk about who would become the next manager for the World Baseball Classic next Spring. Hoshino-kantoku, who led the Japanese to a disappointing medal-less Olympics in Beijing, is not getting much consideration - despite the general idea going into the Olympics was that he would be doing double duty.

Instead, most baseball people (or the press) want the Dragons' Ochiai-kantoku to take the job. But Ochiai-kantoku would rather concentrate on getting his team ready for the 2009 season come March. He did finally tone down his arguments against managing the WBC team with a statement that he'd do it if the selection process dictated it (like the winner of the Nippon Series getting the job). Oh-kantoku has stated that health reasons prevent him from repeating. And Nomura-kantoku grumbled something to the effect that he wasn't interested.

The only person raising his hand to volunteer for the job has been Lotte's Valentine-kantoku. In interviews over the course of the past week, Valentine-kantoku has gone from controversy (stating that there are people in the front office at Lotte wishing he'd go away), to stating that it would be very difficult for a current manager to pull off both the WBC and season preparations, so it should be left to someone like Hoshino-kantoku who doesn't have the latter responsibilities. Naturally, Bobby, the master at juggling multiple hats, feels that he'd also be able to handle the extra work load.

What it all seems to boil down to this past week, though, is that everyone is anxious for the new Commissioner to make a decision quickly so that preparations can get underway. But they also want him to take the necessary time to make the *right* choice. And, of course, any decision needs to be made with transparency in the decision making process. It will certainly be interesting to see if the former diplomat can pull off all of that.

Standings Shakeup
Central League

SoP Monday EoP Sunday
1 Tigers - 1 Tigers - vs YOK 0-2-R, HIR 1-2 = 1-4
2 Giants 6.0 2 Giants 4 vs HIR 2-1, YAK 1-1-R = 3-2
3 Dragons 12.5 3 Dragons 11 vs YAK 0-3, YOK 3-0 = 3-3
4 Carp 14.5 4 Carp 13 (.4869) vs YOM 1-2, HAN 2-1 = 3-3
5 Swallows 16 5 Swallows 13 (.4867) vs CHU 3-0, YOM 1-1-R = 4-1
6 BayStars 30 6 BayStars 29 vs HAN 2-1-R, CHU 0-3 = 2-4

Pacific League

SoP Monday EoP Sunday
1 Lions M19 1 Lions M14 vs LOT 1-2, ORX 1-2 = 2-4
2 Hawks 8 \/ 2 Buffaloes 6 vs RAK 3-0, SEI 2-1 = 5-1
3 Buffaloes 9 /\/ 3 Marines 8 vs SEI 2-1, SFT 2-0 = 4-1
4 Fighters 10 \/\ 4 Hawks 8.5 vs NIP 1-2, LOT 0-2 = 1-4
5 Marines 10.5 /\ 5 Fighters 9 vs SFT 2-1, RAK 1-2 = 3-3
6 Eagles 15.5 6 Eagles 15.5 vs ORX 0-3, NIP 2-1 = 2-4

Orix in the Black

On Tuesday, the Orix Buffaloes went over .500 at late as September for the first time since September 20, 2001 (they finished the month 2 games under). In the game at K-Stadium Miyagi, Kiyohara capped off the 10-3 victory with his first RBI in two years, a 2-run single off the right field fence.

BayStars Dominating Tigers

After wining just 2 of the first 12 meetings between against the Tigers, Yokohama has won 6 in a row to improve their record against the first place cats to 8 and 10. Miura Daisuke won his 7th game of the season on Wednesday as Yokohama defeating Hanshin 8-0. That was Miura's 4th victory over the Tigers this season, and his 37th of his career, against just 14 losses. The BayStars were leading 6-3 on Thursday before heavy rains interrupted for the second time that game and ended it - no game. That big lead that Hanshin had built up at the start of the season at Yokohama's expense is slowly dwindling away.

Caburo Leads Buffaloes to 2nd Place

Everyone knows Ichiro and Lotte's Saburo. Araibata, the two headed middle infielder for Chunichi is also quite famous. Let me introduce you to Caburo, the avec arching suketto combi for the Orix Buffaloes.

With 6 wins in a row, powered by Cabrera and Rhodes hitting avec arches for the 11th time this season, the Orix Buffaloes have moved into second place for the first time since October 8, 1998 on Thursday. Of note, when Cabrera and Rhodes have hit home runs in the same game, the Buffaloes are 10 and 1, the only loss being when the two home runs accounted for all the Buffalo scoring in their 2-4 loss to Seibu on July 29. In Thursday's affair, down 2-0 in the top of the 5th inning Rhodes hit a grand slam gyakuten home run to take a 4-2 lead away from the Eagles. In doing so, Rhodes became the 9th player to hit a grand slam in his 40s. It was also Rhodes' 8th bases loaded arch in Japan, his first in five years.

Archist Ogasawara Leading Victory Indicator

Whereas Caburo has a winning percentage of .909 when they hit avec arches, the Giants are 22-3-1 (.880) when archist Ogasawara goes deep (28 home runs through and including Thursday). While team mate Ramirez has hit more home runs (35), the Giants are 24 and 6 (.800) when he hits the ball out. Contrast this to Yokohama's slugging duo of Yoshimura (27 home runs on the year, 12-12-1 record, .500 W%) and Murata (33, 14-16, .467).

Remake Miracle

It was asked a while back how big a deficit has been made up for in the past to win the Pennant race. With Hanshin way out in the lead all season, it hasn't been until recently that anybody thought that any such thing could be possible. But with the Giants coming to within 3.5 games on Friday, Tigers fans are starting to hit the panic button. And Giants fans are starting to reminisce about the "Make Miracle" of 1996.

For those not following Japanese baseball in the 1990s, you probably won't recall some of the classic sayings that came out of Giants' manager Nagashima Shigeo. "Rocket Dash" and "Make Drama" were a couple to describe how Nagashima's Giants were supposed to start the season (but the launch was often aborted) and finish the season.

With as many as 11.5 games separating the Giants from first during the season, and 10 games behind the Dragons with 58 games to go, "Make Drama" didn't capture the odds in that 1996 campaign. It was a "Make Miracle" with the Giants clenching the Pennant on their last game of the season. As high as 13 games behind the front running Tigers this season, the Giants have come back to within 4 games on Sunday.

Greisinger Going for 2 in a Row

The Giants' Seth Greisinger is going for his second pitching title in two years. In 2007 with the Swallows, Gri won 16 games, tops in the Central League. On Thursday against his former club, Greisinger won his 14th game of 2008, leading Hiroshima's Luis in wins by 1. Luis, on the other hand, leads the Central League in ERA (2.30 to #8 Gri at 3.15) and strike outs (143 in 145 innings to 141 in 168 2/3 innings).

M Disappears for 4th and 5th Time

Meanwhile, the Central League leading Tigers, losing their 5th straight game on Friday, have their Magic Number disappear for the 4th time this season. This is the first time since the two league system that a team has lost it's Magic Number so many times.

For those who don't understand how one can lose a magic number, in Japan the Magic Number involves fun with math. [Explain math.] In this case, as of the end of play on Friday, the best the Giants could do is go 26 and 0 for a .648 winning percentage. Hanshin *just* needs to do 24 and 4 for a .650 winning percentage, so their "hidden" Magic at the time was 24. However, if one assumes that the Giants win 26, and with 5 games remaining between the two clubs, the best the Tigers could do under such an assumption is 23-5, to end at .643. Games against each other are taken into account. Because the Giants are said to "control their own destiny," the Tigers don't get their Magic Number up in lights.

Hanshin gets their Magic to light up again on Saturday at 22, just to see it blown out again on Sunday. As they say, the Pennant Race is a marathon, and it's looking like the Tigers have worn themselves out with their initial sprint.

Tamura Returns

Hawks' center fielder, Tamura Hitoshi, returned to the lineup on Saturday for the first time in 134 days. Tamura fractured his fibula in a collision with the left fielder 4 and a half months ago. Tamura went 1 for 4 with an infield hit in his return game against Lotte, a 5-4 loss. He was taken out of the game defensively in favor of Tsuji after his 4th at bat. Tamura says that his leg is still not at 100%, but that he's very glad to be back in the lineup before the end of the season. Tamura came in as a pinch hitter in the 12th on Sunday and struck out.

And Then There Were the Marines

Lotte started off the week in 5th place. They finish off the week in third, leaping over the slumping Fighters and Hawks. It was a sweep of the Hawks in Fukuoka that finished off the week. But more impressively, it was coming back from a 6-2 deficit in the top of the 9th on Sunday against Hawks' closer Mahara that really did it.

Lotte's backup catcher, Hashimoto Tasuku, pinch hitting for backup catcher, Masahiko Tanaka, with the bases loaded and one out, took a 151 kph Mahara fast ball into the right field stands to tie up the ball game, sending it into extra innings. Zuleta's solo home run in the 12th inning sealed the two-game sweep of SoftBank, knocking the Hawks into 4th and propelling the Marines into 3rd. While the Lions still sit comfortably on top of the Pacific League race, the battle for second and third place is really starting to heat up.


The race for the Central League Rookie of the Year is starting to heat up.

In his first year, the Hama Express, Kobayashi Futoshi has only a slim chance. With 4 wins to 5 losses and an ERA of 4.39, Kobayashi has had a few bouts with Ippatsu-byo to contend with. In his favor, some like to vote for a first year player, and it looks like Kobayashi is it in the Central League.

There are two second year players in contention. Hiroshima's Maeken (Maeda Kenta) who is 6 and 2 with a 4.29 ERA, getting an early reputation as a Tiger killer, defeating Hanshin twice in three games with a 1.37 ERA. The other second year, like Maeda entering the pros from high school, is the Giants' Sakamoto Hayato. Batting .253 with 6 home runs and 29 RBIs, Sakamoto has won the shortstop job from the likes of Nioka.

There are three hurling third years looking for the Rookie of the Year honor. Hanshin's Iwata Minoru (8 and 8, 2.75 in 22 games), Chunichi's Yoshimi Kazuki (8 and 3, 3.25 in 88.2 innings), and the Giants' Yamaguchi Tetsuya (9 and 2, 2.28 ERA in 56 G, 59.1 innings).

Finally, there's Akamatsu Masato, the speedy 4th year that Hiroshima took from Hanshin this past off season in compensation for free agent Araki. Akamatsu is just hitting .271 with 7 home runs and 24 RBI, stealing just 12 bases in 101 games. Akamatsu's inability to get on and steal bases has been a bit of a disappointment from what was expected of him. That, combined with his exposure with Hanshin making him not feel like he's a "true" rookie, will probably pretty much eliminate Akamatsu from competition.

Wally Yonamine

Plug this excellent book.
Re: Transcript
[ Author: Guest: zman | Posted: Sep 11, 2008 10:24 PM ]

Nice round up, really appreciate the work you put into this to recapture the week.

Stoked that Hanshin just won its third sayonara game in a row over the stunned Swallows. Live and die with the Tigers, amazing.
Re: Transcript
[ Author: Guest | Posted: Sep 12, 2008 10:45 PM ]

To reach more people, why not make this available in iTunes so people can podcast it? Hope this is possible!
Re: Transcript
[ Author: Rocksfan | Posted: Sep 12, 2008 9:52 PM | CHU Fan ]

I really enjoyed the broadcast. I listened to the mp3 on my way home from work yesterday.

Just one small request for the next one - could you raise the recording levels a bit? I had to turn the volume way up to hear you.

Or is there something I was doing wrong?


This is a site about Pro Yakyu (Japanese Baseball), not about who the next player to go over to MLB is. It's a community of Pro Yakyu fans who have come together to share their knowledge and opinions with the world. It's a place to follow teams and individuals playing baseball in Japan (and Asia), and to learn about Japanese (and Asian) culture through baseball.

It is my sincere hope that once you learn a bit about what we're about here that you will join the community of contributors.

Michael Westbay
(aka westbaystars)

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