baseball

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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Five manga characters join Japan’s national baseball team for PR campaign

The Baseball Federation of Japan recently recruited five manga characters to the “Samurai Japan” national team roster—Takao Taniguchi from Captain, Tatsuya Uesugi from Touch, Gorō Shigeno from Major, Ren Mihashi from Big Windup!, and Eijun Sawamura from Ace of Diamond.

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High School Nanshiki Baseball championship sets record for longest game: 50 innings and four days

Nanshiki baseball is a variation of the sport unique to Japan where the game is played with a rubber ball rather than the typical hardball or softball. Although it’s not nearly as popular as the other sports, the competition can be fierce especially among the younger players. One example of this can be found in the 59th National High School Nanshiki Baseball Championships semifinals wherein one game turned into a 50-inning and four-day long test of endurance. And as if that wasn’t enough, the winner of that game had to proceed to the final round only a few hours after finishing.

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Yamagata high school baseball team becomes Twitter sensation with their impeccable manners

The 96th National High School Baseball Championship, better known as Summer Koshien, is now underway in Hyogo Prefecture. In other words, Japan is once again swept up by baseball fever.

The championship takes the form of a single elimination tournament between the regional champions from each of Japan’s 47 prefectures (Hokkaido and Tokyo are both allowed two teams each). One of the teams this year, which hails from northern Japan’s Yamagata Prefecture, has become an especially hot topic online, even though they were recently knocked out in the third round. The reason for their popularity is not only because of their skill, but also for their unbelievably well-mannered conduct off of the field. Introducing the team that has now become known as the most polite high school baseball team in all of Japan.

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Being punched in the face by Ichiro is the best moment of this girl’s life【Video】

On August 6 baseball magazine Baseball America chose Ichiro Suzuki as their number one on a list of the ‘Top 10 Most Prodigious Best Tools Winners Of The Millennium’, beating out greats such as Pujols and Verlander.

Of course he’s a legend in his home country of Japan, but during his many years in the major league he’s also gained plenty of American fans. To celebrate his win, we want to share this video of a ‘super happy Ichiro fan’, with ‘super happy’ being somewhat of an understatement.

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A losing South Korean baseball team filled 3 rows of seats with robots that cheer for them

Watch the video below and tell us that robots aren’t going to change everything.

The Hanwha Eagles, a South Korean professional baseball team, recently filled three rows of its stadium with robots designed to cheer in the stead of real fans watching the game at home, reports CTV News.

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This awful woman stealing a little kid’s foul ball will ruin your day

If Hell were a real place, there would probably be a special extra Hellish corner there for people like this.

While exact details are sparse as far as our Internet research has turned up, there’s a gif making the rounds on the Japanese Interwebs depicting a woman mercilessly wresting a foul ball from the hands of a small boy who will likely never know happiness again because of the woman’s selfish actions.

Join us after the jump to feel that little bit worse about humanity.

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Internet reacts to Taiwanese yoga instructor’s wildly unnecessary opening pitch striptease

When it comes to on-field spectacle and non-game antics in Western sports, baseball is without a doubt the most restrained. It eschews the cheerleaders of basketball, the super high-budget halftime shows of football and the fights of hockey for, at best, a bored guy in a cheap mascot costume doing something silly in the dugout two or three times a game.

But, in Taiwan, apparently, baseball is just all kinds of bonkers.

For your consideration, here is an absolutely crazy opening pitch from a week or so ago that saw a woman dressed in cheetah-pattern doing a ridiculous and totally unnecessary strip-tease before tossing the ball over the plate, then rubbing her half-naked body all over the catcher. Also, for a while, the catcher is blindfolded because, at this point, why not?

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A radical solution to baseball’s All-Star game problem: MLB Vs. Japan

If baseball wants to increase interest in the All-Star Game for both the fans and the players, there is a radical yet simple solution, but it requires Bud Selig to look across the ocean.

MLB All-Stars vs. Japanese League All-Stars.

While the NFL and its players continue to mull the cancellation of their Pro Bowl due to the lack of interest, Major League Baseball has taken the opposite approach and has gone to great lengths in an attempt to return their mid-summer classic to prominence.

In 2006, Selig tried to artificially increase interest by giving the winner home-field advantage in the World Series. It was a solution that was only slightly less arbitrary than the “alternating years” system that served as the previous method.

Importing All-Stars from Japan’s Nippon Professional League would create genuine interest from both fans and the players.

Here’s how it works:

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Pork skewers, spicy fish cakes, and beer backpacks – We look for baseball grub at Nagoya Dome

Even though she grew up in Nagasaki, when it comes to baseball our Japanese-language correspondent Aya cheers for Nagoya’s Chunichi Dragons. Sure, the Softbank Hawks, who play out of Fukuoka, would be closer to her home town, but ever since Aya’s Dragon-loving friend took her to her first baseball game at Nagoya Dome, she’s been pulling for the serpentine team.

The Dragons have given their fans plenty of memories over the years, with the sweetest being the club’s Japan Series championship in 2007. But do they also provide a tasty meal at their home stadium?

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