baseball

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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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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10 types of baseball spectators in Korea

As you probably already know, the world is currently in the grip of World Cup fever, with almost every channel on TV and website riding the wave. For soccer (or football) fans, this might be the best time in four years, but for the non-fans who are instead getting annoyed by soccer highlights popping up on TV and flooding their Facebook timelines, here’s an article about baseball for a change!

Korean internet content giant Naver’s trend reporters show us the stereotypes of baseball spectators in Korea! What type of baseball fan are you?

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Déjà vu? Japanese baseball’s movie poster spoof is sure to get fans’ attention

When we first saw the above poster advertising a Hanshin Tigers farm league baseball game, we did a double-take and sat there scratching our heads for a few minutes. “That poster looks so familiar…but something seems just a little off,” we mused. After mulling it over for a few minutes, it finally dawned on us: “Oh, that image is almost an exact copy of a recently released movie’s promotional poster!”

Can you figure out which movie this poster is parodying?   

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What does this Japanese candy have to do with the Red Sox? Quite a lot, actually

The Boston Red Sox have consistently had Japanese players since 2007, when they signed Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima. There’s one thing Japanese players bring to the team that’s been overlooked until now, though: delicious imported Japanese candy.

People around the world love Japanese candy, be it endless varieties of Kit Kat flavours, or do-it-yourself candy sushi. There are even companies that will mail it to you monthly for a small fee (or a hefty fee – choose wisely, readers!). And it seems that recently, Red Sox players and staff have been going crazy over Japan’s long-standing fruit chew top-sellers, Hi-Chew.

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Darth Vader makes Japanese pro baseball debut with killer home run 【Video】

Darth Vader is a multi-talented guy. From choking subordinates with an invisible force to performing impromptu amputations on members of his family, he can perform all kinds of amazing feats. But did you know he’s also a major league slugger?

It’s true! As part of a collaboration between Lucasfilm and Japan pro-baseball’s Pacific League, Vader stepped up to the plate to show how the game should be played: with light-saber bats!

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Aliens attend baseball game, thrown out, never heard from again

“Could there be life somewhere else in the universe?” The recent discovery of the Earth-sized planet (Kepler 186f) is about the same distance to its sun as the Earth is to ours. Is it possible that life does exist outside our planet?

A recent picture from Twitter only helps to increase our hopes while also dragging them away as the aliens are seemingly escorted from “America’s favorite pastime”.

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Tuffy Rhodes, all-star baseball player in Japan, wows basketball crowd with kindness

As many of our readers probably already know, baseball is incredibly popular in Japan–in fact it sometimes seems as if Japanese folks love the sport more than people from the US. Japanese fans can be truly fanatical and they gladly follow everything from the local team to the major leagues, which makes it no wonder that so many Japanese players eventually make their way to the US.

Of course, it’s not uncommon to see players going the opposite direction across the Pacific, with MLB players coming to Japan to play professionally. One of the best example has to be Tuffy Rhodes, who played for the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox before moving to the Nihon Professional Baseball league in the mid-1990s. Tuffy recently became a bit of an Internet sensation thanks to his good will and kindness at sports games. The weird thing was that it wasn’t even a baseball game!

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Kanna Hashimoto’s rise to fame continues with major commercial appearance

About a half a year ago, the charming face of a local idol from Fukuoka was plastered all over the internet. Kanna Hashimoto’s genuine charm and cuteness had won over the country literally overnight. Shortly afterwards, we were able to meet the up and coming star and buy a pair of glasses. There we found Hashimoto’s charm wasn’t just a fluke of the original photo that shot her into the spotlight.

Now we’re happy to see that her rise to fame hasn’t slowed down one bit with a recent appearance in the hugely popular SoftBank commercial series featuring the Shirato family. Not only that, she has also thrown the ceremonial first pitch at Opening Day of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks 2014 season.

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What will Ma-kun mean for New York?

New York Yankees’ pitchers and catchers report to spring training on February 14, and among the new faces will be Masahiro Tanaka, a 25-year-old phenom from Japan who signed a seven-year, US$155 million deal in late January.

Ma-kun, as Tanaka is affectionately known (“kun” is an informal Japanese suffix generally used to address young boys or subordinates), is coming off an unbelievable season, going 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA. He also had eight complete games, more than any MLB team in 2013. Now it’s time to test his arm against MLB lineups.

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Masahiro Tanaka’s tweet leads to mass confusion but reveals his taste in idols

Perusing Japanese Twitter feeds, you’re likely to come across the word “nau” at the end of a sentence. This word has the same meaning as the phonetically similar “now” in English. It’s used to simply state what the tweeter is doing at that given moment. Examples include “Unko Nau” (pooping now) or “Jishin Jiko Nau” (physical injury now).

Even Nippon Professional Baseball star Masahiro Tanaka, fresh off his perfect season got in on the action and tweeted out what he was doing nau. However, when you’re a pro-pitcher rumored to be imminently signed to a Major League Baseball team, an innocent little tweet can create unusually big ripples.

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South Korean netizens fume over president’s footwear faux pas

South Korean netizens are apparently up in arms over their president’s choice of shoes that she wore when throwing the opening pitch of the third game of the Korean Series baseball tournament in Seoul on October 27. Her fashion crime? President Park Guen Hye had the “audacity” to show up wearing a Japanese brand of sneakers!

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Ichiro’s 4,000th hit ball and Munenori Kawasaki remind us what baseball’s all about

Like many a baseball player in Japan, Munenori Kawasaki looks up to Japanese baseball legend Ichiro Suzuki. But Kawsasaki has been especially well known for his unflinching support of the future Hall of Famer. Even during his younger days of playing the sport in Kagoshima his style was compared to that of Ichiro.

Years later, on 21 August it would seem the stars aligned just right for Kawasaki as he found himself on the field just as Ichiro made his 4,000th professional hit in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays. But Kawasaki’s pure enthusiasm that night might have even eclipsed his hero’s milestone.

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Battle ensues for Korea’s queen of the ceremonial first pitch

Only a little over a month ago we were in awe of South Korean gymnast Shin Soo-ji and her 360° wind up pitch as it made waves over the internet. And yet already, a new challenger has stepped into the arena of making first pitches look like a Tekken move.

Actress Tae-Mi was scheduled to make a first pitch during a game between the SK Wyverns and Doosan Bears. Taking to the mound she appeared to limber up for your typical overhand pitch when she suddenly flipped out – literally.

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