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You Gotta Have 'Wa'

Robert Whiting's Homepage at

You Gotta Have 'Wa'

by Publishers Weekly (Apr 14, 1989)

Digitized by Jessica Suchman and Catherine Nissley

The "wa" one must have is the group harmony that is the essence of Japanese "besoboru," or baseball. (Japanese baseball fans view individualism as the fatal flaw in the American game.) This interesting comparative study of the sport as it is played on both sides of the Pacific concentrates on the American stars who have gone to play in Japan. Whiting (The Chrysanthemum and the Bat) shows how Americans abroad have adapted to punishing spring training and pregame practices throughout the season in Japan, and their adjustment to such aspects of the sport as the sacrifice bunt, the hit-and-run and the squeeze. He also chronicles American athletes' problems with tyrannical managers and coaches and umpires bent on saving face. The conclusion: American and Japanese baseball are vastly different games.

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