Archive for the 'Japan' Category

WBSC Postpones August/September Tournaments

Wednesday, April 1st, 2020

When the World Baseball and Softball Confederation start postponing August and September tournaments, it does not look good for a major league season. The Women’s Baseball World Cup that was scheduled for Mexico on September 11-20th has been postponed and the Under 15 Baseball World Cup scheduled for Mexico on August 14-23 has also been postponed.

The Under 23 World Cup scheduled for Mexico during September 30th to October 9th is still on schedule. That tournament has already been postponed and pushed back once.

Time will tell whether the CPBL will open its season on April 11. They will be playing the games in empty stadiums.

In Korea they have been working out with each team playing intra squad games. Exhibition games held between two teams have not been allowed. The players there have been practicing wearing masks. The KBO was hoping to start the season April 21 but that may now be pushed back to May with a shortened season. They had planned on shutting down their season when the Olympics began, but with the Olympics pushing back their event until next year that gives the KBO some extra days to work with. Most returning foreign players are being subject to a mandatory 14 day quarantine period before they attend their first workout, so that has complicated things.

Japan was hoping to start their season on April 24, but three Hanshin Tiger players tested positive for the Corona virus. Now there is some talk to push that season back.

Difficult for myworld to post any baseball news when there is no baseball being played anywhere.

Carter Stewart Wins First Japanese Game

Sunday, March 22nd, 2020

Japan has been playing exhibition games in front of no fans. In one of those games the Softbank Hawks beat the Chibba Lotte Marines 4-2. The starting pitcher for the Hawks was Carter Stewart. He was a first round pick of the Braves in the 2018 draft but did not sign because of a contract dispute.

Stewart signed a contract last year with the Hawks for six years and an estimated $7 million. Last year he played in the Japanese minor leagues. This year he hopes to pitch for the Hawks major league team. He got off to a good start, pitching five innings and allowing just one run. He did have issues finding the plate, walking five batters. He also struck out five. Brandon Laird was responsible for scoring the only run off Stewart with a homerun.

Three of the walks Stewart issued in the first inning to load the bases. He got out of the inning with a strikeout on a 95 mile per hour fastball. The manager did comment, according to the Japan Times, that Stewart could see some time with the Hawks if injuries depleted the Hawks starting rotation.

NPB to Postpone Regular Season

Monday, March 9th, 2020

Nippon Professional Baseball has decided to postpone the regular season due to the corona virus outbreak. The Japanese government had established a policy to discourage holding events that would draw large crowds. The NPB was scheduled to begin their season next week. On Sunday the government will review their policy.

Though no date has been set on the resumption of the season, there was some talk of late April. The soccer league, which had already started its season, postponed the season on February 25th and was scheduled to restart on March 18. It is expected they will also push back the resumption to their season.

Japan may be playing it extra cautious in order for an outbreak not to occur, impacting the start to the Olympics. Many have been calling for the Olympics to either be cancelled or pushed back. Moving it to another site appears out of the question since every country seems to be impacted by the virus.

Japan to Play Remaining Preseason without Spectators Because of Virus

Wednesday, February 26th, 2020

Japan will play the remaining 72 games of their exhibition season without fans because of the corona virus concern. The regular season for Japan baseball begins March 20. This follows the Japan Rugby Football Union postponing 16 games over two rounds of its Top League season. It will be interesting their policy once the season begins.

The Olympics are scheduled for Japan in late July/early August and moves like these could impact plans fans had for attending the games.

Source - Japan Times

World Baseball Classic Venues Announced

Tuesday, February 25th, 2020

The World Baseball Classic will be played in four venues in 2021. The two foreign venues for pool play and quarterfinals will be Taichung, Taiwan and Tokyo, Japan. Tokyo will host both a pool round and a quarterfinal.

Chase Field in Arizona will host a pool round. Tucson, Arizona is also hosting two qualifying rounds for the World Baseball Classic in March 2020. Miami will be hosting a pool round, a quarter final and the finals.

Myworld was at a pool round match between the United States and the Dominican Republic at the last World Baseball Classic. We have not witnessed a more electric crowd at a baseball game in all our travels around the world watching baseball games. It should be entertaining to have three rounds of matches played in Miami.

The one down side with playing in Miami is the difficulty getting to the stadium with the traffic. It may be best to stay in the down town area. Also, the best parking available is usually in the back yards of neighboring houses. That has got to change. Don’t know if that is the same for major league games but even spring training has gotten away from back yard parking.

Honkball Announces Five Teams

Thursday, February 6th, 2020

Haarlem is a pretty cool city to watch baseball. You have the downtown area with a number of nice eating establishments and a little out in the suburbs you have the ball park where the Honkball tournament is held. It is also held in late June/early July where the sun stays out until 10 PM, or so it seemed. Loved the fact that bicycles seemed to outnumber automobiles as the mode of transportation.

Honkball has announced five of their teams for their tournament for June 26 to July 5 at the Pim Mulier Stadium in Haarlem. Netherlands, Cuba, Germany, Japan and Taiwan are the teams that have been added to the tournament. They are looking at adding a sixth team from the United States, but Curacao is an easy alternative if they cannot attract a team from the United States.

The Netherlands is normally their national team. You may recognize some ex-major or minor leaguers from their rosters. Roger Bernadina is a name some may recognize. Japan and Taiwan are teams whose rosters are filled with players from industrial leagues or colleges. Japan is the defending champions and Taiwan has won the tournament in the past. Cuba will probably be a mixture of veterans and youngsters depending on where Cuba wants to go. Germany will probably be a team composed of their national team players that could include Donald Lutz.

So enjoy the tulips, windmills and baseball in Haarlem. It will be a week difficult to beat for a vacation.

World Baseball Classic Officially Announces Qualifiers

Tuesday, January 28th, 2020

The World Baseball Classic has officially announced their qualifiers, both to be played in Tucson in March. The games will be played at the Kino Sports Complex.

Pool 1 (March 12-17) - Brazil, France, Germany, Nicaragua, Pakistan and South Africa

Pool II (March 20-25) - Czech Republic, Great Britain, New Zealand, Panama, Philippines and Spain.

The top two teams from each pool will qualify for the World Baseball Classic that will be held March 2021. All 16 teams who participated in the 2017 World Baseball Classic have qualified for the 2021 event. Those countries include the defending champion United States, Australia, Canada, Cuba, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Taiwan and Venezuela

Japan is Number one in Both Men’s and Women’s Baseball

Thursday, January 16th, 2020

Japan has achieved the top rating in both men’s and women’s baseball. The United States is second in men and fifth in women. For men the United States team bypasses a number of tournaments such as the World Cup Under 23, and play amateurs in the Premier 12, which prevents them from accumulating the points that Japan earns. The United States women are hampered by the culture of forcing talented players to pursue softball, where it is a high school recognized sport, abandoning baseball. This eliminates talented female baseball players from continuing with the sport.

Below is the Top 12 Ranking for each gender.

Men’s Top 12

1. Japan (6,127 points)
2. United States (4,676)
3. Korea (4,622)
4. Taiwan (4,352)
5. Mexico (3,375)
6. Australia (3,249)
7. Netherlands (2,690)
8. Cuba (2,641)
9. Venezuela (2,624)
10. Dominican Republic (2,512)
11. Puerto Rico (2,013)
12. Canada (1,873)

The top 12 is significant since a team qualifies for the Premier 12 by being ranked in the top 12 for baseball.

The women’s top 12.

1. Japan (2,505 points)
2. Canada (1,947)
3. Taiwan (1,852)
4. Venezuela (1,736)
5. United States (1,524)
6. Australia (1,182)
7. Korea (955)
8. Cuba (947)
9. Dominican Republic (717)
10. Hong Kong (520)
11. Netherlands (500)
12. Puerto Rico (371)

In women’s softball the United States is ranked number one with Japan at number two. For the men in softball Japan is ranked number one. The United States is sixth, behind Argentina, New Zealand, Canada and Australia.

Under 23 World Cup Qualifying Round

Thursday, January 16th, 2020

The Under 23 Baseball World Cup qualifying round will be held in Nicaragua and Honduras. Competing in the Nicaragua competition will be Brazil, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Venezuela and the hosts Nicaragua. In Honduras, other than the hosts the competition will be Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala and Panama. Absent from the competition are the United States and Canada. Even Puerto Rico is absent in the tournament.

The Under 23 World Cup will be held October 2-11 in Mexico. Mexico are the defending champions having defeated Japan in 2018 when it was played in Colombia. Other countries who have qualified to play are Germany and Czech Republic (European qualifier), New Zealand (Oceania - Australia dropped out), Taiwan, Japan and China (Asia Qualifier), Korea (wild card selection) and Mexico as the host.

Honduras is an interesting country to choose to be a host for a baseball qualifier since baseball is not a big sport in that country. If you want to grow the game you have to expose the countries not usually exposed to baseball. Not sure why the United States and Canada chose not to participate but the major and minor league pipeline availability probably has something to do with that.

Kim Returns to Doosan, Yanagita Signs Seven Year Pact with Hawks

Monday, January 6th, 2020

It was not a surprise to see major league teams not jump at the chance to sign a potential 30 homerun outfielder from Korea. Especially since those 30 homerun days had occurred in the past. Asking your team to post you is not a good idea after you have had a bad year.

Jae-Hwan Kim had won the MVP in 2018 with his 44 homeruns and 133 RBIs while hitting .334. The previous two years he had hit over .300 with homerun numbers of 35 and 37 and RBI stats of over 100. It was after the 2018 season he should have asked the Bears to post him.

In 2019 Korea went to a new ball and the numbers Kim had put up dropped off the cliff. He hit .283, slugged only 15 homeruns and drove in just 91, respectful numbers for the KBO but not Kim worthy. He requested to be posted after that season, his age 31 season. Major league scouts had not taken a close look at Kim since there were no indications he was going to request to be posted. Were injuries a reason for his numbers to drop? The change to the new ball? A drop in ability?

So Kim returns to the Bears. If he puts up good numbers will he again try to pursue a major league opportunity? Or will he be satisfied with his KBO career?

Another player the major leagues will not have an opportunity to sign is Yanagita. Yuki Yanagita, a star in Japan would obviously be a starter on any major league team if he had forced the Hawks to post him. The Softbank Hawks have yet to allow their players to be posted to the major leagues. Instead, Yuki recently signed a seven year contract with the Hawks, which means his career will remain in Japan. Major league teams will have to be content with watching Yuki in international events such as the World Baseball Classic and the Olympics. At 31 years of age now, Yanagita will be 38 when that contract expires.

Last year Yanagita missed most of the season because of a knee injury. The injury caused him to miss most of the season, putting him short by 13 days of service time to allow him to become a free agent. If he could have played in 2019 Yanagita could have declared for free agency after the 2019 season. Because of the injury he would have had to wait until after the 2020 season, when Yanagita would have been 32 years old to declare free agency. Major league teams do not sign 32 year old outfielders to rich contracts.

When Yanagita’s career ends, and if he can avoid injury, he could put up numbers that will make him one of the ten best players in Japanese history, up there with Sadahara Oh and Ichiro Suzuki.