baseball

“Don’t thinking! Just swing!” Munenori Kawasaki is our favorite thing about baseball【Videos】

It’s turning out to be an interesting post-season in Major League Baseball. In the American league we have the Toronto Blue Jays coming off a stellar late regular season and into their first real World Series attempt since the 90s. Meanwhile, over in the National League the Cubs are inching closer to a possible first World Series win in over a century, made even more eerie by its prediction in Back to the Future II (minus the Miami Gators).

As an added bonus, more games for Toronto means more interviews with infielder Munenori Kawasaki. Charged up by their victory over Texas in the AL Division series, Munerin was in rare form.

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Modern samurai demonstrates that he could make it in Major League Baseball【Video】

The master swordsman Isao Machii has been dicing up whatever has been thrown at him so far. Whether it’s shrimpfruit, or soybeans, this expert has left his cutting mark in a field of sliceable items.

One field he hasn’t turned his sword on yet is baseball, but considering how much Japan loves the game, it was only a matter of time before Machii would step up to the plate, and he’s done so in an impressive display of swordsmanship you won’t want to miss.

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At 41, Ichiro Suzuki continues to amaze by making professional pitching debut

Even if you’re not a fan of baseball, you’ve probably heard of Ichiro Suzuki. He was a starter for the Seattle Mariners for a number of years before heading to New York to play for the Yankees and then to the Miami Marlins for the 2015 season. He’s broken a number of records, received dozens of awards and is widely known to be a charismatic and respectful player. Since his debut as a professional baseball player, he’s played almost exclusively in the outfield because of his wicked throwing arm.

As one of Japan’s most prolific baseball stars, the country and the Internet collectively lost its mind when Ichiro pitched one full inning on the last day of the Major League Baseball regular season.

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South Korean dancers stun baseball fans with an unexpected, gravity-defying first-pitch【Video】

In many countries where baseball is a major form of sports entertainment, it’s common to see celebrities grace the mound for the ceremonial first pitch. Earlier this year, we saw Japan’s infamous robotic dancing group World Order execute a seven-man pitch which incorporated their signature dance moves.

We never thought we’d see another seven-man pitch this soon, but this group of South Korean performers raised the bar with an amazing gravity-defying pitch! See the whole routine after the jump!

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Losing high school baseball team’s manners continue to impress, this time at a hotel

We’ve seen impeccable displays of manners from Japanese high school baseball teams on many occasions before, from the respectful bowing of Yamagata Chuo High School to the classy stadium-cleaning deed of Kyukoku just the other day. It seems like the annual Koshien high school baseball tournament in Hyogo Prefecture really does bring out the best in the promising young players, as another team from Akita Prefecture has proven after being eliminated from this year’s tournament with their grand display of thanks in a regional hotel. 

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Japanese high school baseball players are all class, immediately clean stadium after road loss

Any good athlete obviously needs some measure of speed, strength, and stamina, but the list of necessities starts getting much longer if we’re talking about good student athletes. Youth sports are supposed to be as much about developing character as physical skills, so any proper high school athletic program should want its players to be just as dedicated to sportsmanship and integrity as they are to on-the-field performance.

That’s why we think Fukuoka Prefecture’s Kyushu International University Senior High School (called Kyukoku for short) is doing a fine job with its baseball team, since after a heartbreaking loss on the road, players from Kyukoku immediately started cleaning the stadium.

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Hisashi Iwakuma becomes the 2nd Japanese pitcher in MLB history to throw a no-hitter

Citizens of Japan and fans of baseball were treated to an incredible feat on August 12, 2015 when Hisashi Iwakuma became only the second Japanese born player to throw a no-hitter in a Major League Baseball game. Even if you don’t sport sports, you’ll want to read on to see why this is so amazing after the break!

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Japanese baseball player shows us the craziest batting warmup we’ve ever seen 【Video】

In Japanese high schools, it’s customary for the band to accompany the baseball team to important games. Saitama’s Namegawa Sogo High even mixes in some modern musical stylings, as Queen’s “We Will Rock You” showed up on their set list for a recent contest in the prefectural championship tournament.

Of course, such a bombastic tune coming from the stands requires equal flamboyance from the players, and one student athlete responded with the craziest batter’s box warmup we’ve ever seen.

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New Bases Loaded game coming to PS4, ability to bunt a home run may be intact

On 26 June, 1987, Moeru!! Puro Yakyu (Burn!! Pro Baseball!!) hit the Japanese gaming market and one year later came to North America as Bases Loaded. It was a revolutionary game at the time with new features such as a television camera viewpoint, the ability to make batters charge the mound, and a world in which Hawaii was given a major league team.

Now it’s back and possibly better than ever with a new Bases Loaded title announced for the PlayStation 4 in winter of 2015. However, despite the leap from the NES to PS4 technology, it appears that they intend to keep as much of the original game’s character intact as possible, and and means we may once again be able to hit home runs by bunting.

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U.S. baseball player joins Tokyo’s Yomiuri Giants, but it’s his wife that’s getting the attention

People really love sports, don’t they? If, like me, you grew up lacking the gene that makes watching a bunch of strangers whack balls around somehow fascinating, then it sometimes seems like a whole alien world. Still, I can appreciate that televised sports bring a lot of excitement to people’s lives. What I can’t understand, however, is when people get all excited about sports players’ wives and girlfriends.

Miles Mikolas, a baseballer from the U.S., joined the Yomiuri Giants for the 2015 baseball season and it seems that a lot of people in Japan are much more interested in his beautiful, blonde wife than in him. And this is a guy who apparently ate a lizard whole during a game.

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Two Japanese baseball mascots meet in the outfield for a kick to the face and shot to the head

Japanese sports in general place an emphasis on discipline, sportsmanship, and respect for the game. Even though baseball was imported in fairly modern times from America, these traditional values are still in full play, as showboating and taunting on the diamond are frowned upon as much as they are in the sumo ring.

Normally, these high standards of conduct extend to everyone in the ball park, players, fans, and stadium employees included. One recent game, though, saw an odd bit of violence between opposing mascots, including a boot to the face and baseball remix of a gangland-style execution.

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We brave fastballs from the world’s fastest (and most terrifying) pitching machine

If there were ever going to be some kind of cheesy, baseball-themed horror movie, we’re almost certain the mechanical antagonist would be this Shizuoka Prefecture pitching machine – the world’s fastest at a pitching speed of 230 km/h (143 mph) – which would probably be depicted firing a fastball directly through the torso of some cocky coed.

Record-setting and somewhat terrifying? You bet we had to go and take a shot at hitting one of those blazingly fast pitches. Well, like, not us. We’re too young and handsome to die. We sent one of our Japanese-language writers, instead.

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Yokohama Baystars get a shojo manga makeover in a bid to wow female fans

There’s only one thing better than a life-size replica of your favourite Japanese baseball player, and that’s a manga-style life-size replica.

A large-scale illustration of eight players from Yokohama DeNa Baystars goes on show this week in the run-up to a special festival for the Baystars’ female fans.

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Actress’ incredible swing in new Toyota commercial has people talking 【Video】

In Toyota’s newest commercial, the downtown area of a small city is turned into a massive baseball arena, where manholes are bases, the simple push of a button brings anyone into play, and pretty much anything goes. It’s a really fun watch, to say the least, and has already been viewed over six million times on YouTube.

Being a commercial, obviously most of what you see is fabricated by the film crew and enhanced with “movie magic”, but there is still a lot of raw talent to be seen, most notably from the actress in the final scene, whose killer swing has gotten her a lot of attention.

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Not that Western cheerleading really has all that much to do with football or anything, and – last I checked – baseball in the US didn’t even have cheerleaders at all, but the logic goes that cheerleaders are there to get the crowd pumped up and into the competitive spirit. At least on paper, anyway.

In Taiwan, on the other hand, the cheerleaders at baseball games just kind of dance around in skimpy outfits like booth babes that got lost on their way to the auto show or something. It almost looks like they’re doing the exact opposite of what cheerleading is (ostensibly) all about, actually diverting spectators’ attention away from the game and pretty much guaranteeing that the men in the audience will need to remain seated (that’s a boner joke, you guys).

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Attack on Titan teams up with Yomiuri Giants baseball club for special tickets, exclusive merch

Translation isn’t always an exact science, but there are certain conventions that translators seem to implicitly agree on. For example, look up gakuen in a Japanese dictionary, and it’ll tell you it’s another name for gakkou, or “school.” However, the more sophisticated, traditional ring that gakuen has to it means that it’s almost always rendered in English as “academy.”

Likewise, dictionaries define kyojin as “a person with an extraordinarily large body.” Nine times out of ten, kyojin gets translated as “giant,” which is also the term one of Tokyo’s two professional baseball teams, the Yomiuri Kyojin/Giants, goes with.

But if you spend more time watching anime than sports, you might favor “titan” as a translation, seeing as how the monsters from Attack on Titan are also called kyojin in Japanese. Since they’ve already got a linguistic link, the baseball team and manga/anime franchise are joining forces for four games this summer as part of a special campaign with its own exclusive merchandise.

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Robotic dancing troupe World Order kicks off the new baseball season with seven-man pitch 【Video】

Springtime means one thing for sports fans: baseball! While Major League Baseball is still toiling away in spring training and pre-season games, the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league has already kicked off their season with the first games occurring at the end of March.

Since spring signals the time for new beginnings, what is more precious than the beginning of the first home game of the year? And with it brings the first opening pitch of the season. For the 2013 Japan Series winners, the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, they asked Genki Sudo and his group World Order to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

But how do you ask seven people to throw out one ball?

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Woman loses an eye from foul ball at Sapporo Dome, sues team for millions of yen

Imagine you’re sitting in the Sapporo Dome, cheering for the Nippon Ham Fighters home team, when suddenly you hear the unmistakable crack of a bat. You look up to see where the ball is, only to have it come crashing down right in your eye. Quite the painful end to your evening, sure, but that’s barely the tip of the iceberg; you’re now blind in that eye.

That’s exactly what happened to one woman back in 2010 when a foul ball hit her full in the face, blinding her in one eye. And after years of deliberation, the Sapporo courts have finally reached a decision on her case against the stadium and team.

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Baseball players like Frozen too: “Let It Go” chosen for Spring Koshien baseball tournament

That’s it, we’ve seen it all now! The lead song, “Let It Go!” from Disney’s Frozen has really taken over Japan now (in case you weren’t already 100 percent positive that it had)! We already knew that it was the only song to breach the top 20 karaoke list for all age groups in 2014, it was translated into regional Japanese dialects, and even an NPO used it to advertise a serious cause. But the latest news about Japan’s beloved “Let It Go~ Arino mamade” might surprise you; the song was chosen for the opening ceremony of the 87th annual “Spring Koshien” high school baseball tournament. 

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Japanese baseball fans disappointed by filthy conditions visiting Major Leaguers left dugout in

Every year, Major League Baseball sends a delegation of players to Japan for a series of games against a team of Japanese all-stars. Since the contests are held after the conclusion of both the World and Japan Series, the players are all technically in their off-seasons, but there’s still some impressive skill on display.

The teams and fans all seem to come away with good memories of the games, but the Major Leaguers also left something behind: a ton of trash in their dugout at Tokyo Dome.

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