Mitch said, “now, see, that there… that should’ve been a basehit.”
“The number’s lighter.”
Now that, my friends, is hilarity.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
It may not have been Strasmas, but according to the lunar calendar (and millions of Japanese people) April 9th proved to be an equally auspicious day, no matter what, because it was the very first Major League appearance by the highly touted (and valiantly unashamed to be naked) Yu Darvish.
Like you would expect, I made an evening of it. Here’s a play-by-play:
Still at work. I have looked at the clock every minute for the last thirty minutes, and will continue to do so for thirty more. I finish up the last of my TPS reports, turn them in to my boss and shriek when he yells “WHAT THE HELL IS THIS???”
At the gym. Working on my… nah, who am I kidding, every time I look at a hot chick working out next to me she has Yu Darvish’s face, which I find as distracting as I do disgusting. Going home now.
Dinner (sushi, of course) has been eaten. Feet are up. Beer is in hand. Let’s DO THIS! *Belch*
FSSW misses Darvish’s first pitch. Nice work, dingleberries. The biggest pitch of the year so far and you miss it. They come back from commercial break and the count is already 1-0 to Chone Figgins. AGGGHH!!! Then Darvish quickly walks him. Um… this is not how it’s supposed to go, guys.
After striking out Ackley on a NAAASTY breaking ball, Ichiro steps in. Japan loses its mind. Then Ichiro singles on a blooper to left and, already, I’m realizing Yu ain’t Strasburg (yet).
Now Justin Smoak is on first, bases are loaded with one out for Kyle Seager. Bases loaded? I DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR NO BASES LOADED!!!
Two-run gapper to right and now I’m pissed. I could have been out on a date tonight! With a real, live woman! And I passed it up for this crap???!!! WTF are YU DOING!?!?!
Darvish makes Miguel Olivo look like Johnny Bench and I’m bored. More Daisuke, less Nomo. Not even close to Strasburg. He doesn’t even have a weird hitch in his delivery like all the Japanese greats do!
He just walked in a run. It’s 4-0. EFF THIS.
Seriously, I know this is a small sample size, but I ain’t impressed and I’m changing the channel… to watch Freese and Holliday and Molina (they all homer)… CHAMPIONS.
Hate me. I understand. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Once the game was over, it was evident he battled back and settled down. The offense helped him out and he recovered well, and even fooled some hitters. But the hoopla was a bit much for me for him not to deliver with jazz hands. Or maybe I’ve just been spoiled by so much great pitching the last couple years that I expect greatness every game. Either way, I’ll check in again next time. I just ain’t makin’ a night of it.
This Wednesday officially kicks off the 2012 MLB season and even though I’ll probably be fast asleep while it unfolds in the Far East, I’m sure the Japanese will be plenty excited about watching two awful teams compete against one another, especially since there’s at least one Suzuki per nine.
On this side of the pond, we have much, MUCH more to look forward to. In fact, I might need a good tazing before the Cardinals open up in Miami, just so I’m forced to sit down!
Here are some of the things that have me baseball-tweaking:
The GOOD Blue Jays Uniforms Are Back!
Still mesmerized by the awful logo redesign and poor color scheme that killed Joe Carter’s Blue Jays look in 2003, I can’t tell you how happy I am to see the old logo back. And royal blue! No gray! Alongside the Cardinals, Yankees, Dodgers and Red Sox, I gotta say the classic Jays uni is about as smart and sleek as baseball uniforms come.
Grant Balfour Finally Gets to Be a Closer!
The 34-year old Aussie has been quietly waiting in the wings of every team he’s been on and now, finally, the Oakland A’s are giving him a shot at the closer role. I still think closers are overrated, but I like to think that maybe, if Balfour performs well in his new role, he might finally get paid what he’s worth. His numbers are fantastic and most people don’t even know who he is. I’m afraid playing in Oakland won’t help his popularity, but maybe Billy Beane will throw him another peanut. (Also, if you’re wondering, yes, Balfour’s fastball does have an Australian accent.)
I love Bobby Valentine. For myriad reasons. He’s cocky. He’s loud. His feelings get hurt. He’s controversial. He pisses off players, coaches, umpires. And he’s a goddamn baseball genius. HOLLA!!!
Good grief. The dude is gonna be FIFTY this year. FIFTY YEARS OLD. And he’s still gettin’ guys out. I absolutely love that. I love him! How can you not?!?!
And finally… you probably knew this was coming but…
WE ARE CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD.
Hate me ‘cuz I’m loud, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
And since Japan has provided us with the talents of Hideo Nomo, Akinori Iwamura, So Taguchi, Ichiro Suzuki and many, many more, we would just like to remind them and everyone else touched by the recent disasters in the Far East that we definitely got their backs — that the power of many is stronger than the power of one.
The rebuilding process will be slow, but together we can get ‘er done.
For more information on how you can help, please visit The Huffington Post and examine its list of charitable foundations.
Jeff & Al
When it comes to teams I really wish I could get behind, it starts and ends with the Seattle Mariners. Yes, I admit: my heart really goes out to the city of Seattle and its long moribund baseball team. Since that magical 2001 season, things haven’t been too bright in the Emerald City.
They lost their NBA basketball team. Their football team is… well, it has had its ups and downs, (mostly downs). And the M’s… well, let’s just say that maybe Safeco Field would be better suited to host the Ichiro Show than an actual full nine every day.
In fact, Ichiro is to Kim Kardashian’s bum as the Mariners are to Kim as a whole. The bright spot in Kim’s persona is that beautiful backside, whereas Kim the person, is pretty much an embarrassment to human development. As soon as she opens her mouth and begins talking, it is instantly evident that no matter what she says, listening to her is a colossal waste of time, each word acting as an individual assassin of brain cells.
And I’m totally okay with that.
So don’t hate me. ‘Cuz I’m right.
Billboards in New York City touted his valiant arrival. Buzzing baseball elite charged that he would revolutionize the Mets. Everyday fans scurried to find a suitable nickname for their new best player they’d never heard of.
It was the Spring of 2004 and if you asked me to speak some Japanese, even I probably would’ve said: Matsui-san. Kazuo Matsui-san.
Because I, too, joined the hype.
But why? Why was the baseball world so enamored with an import player whom no one knew anything about? Why did we allow his persona to be so pumped up with pomp, such expectation, sight unseen?
Indeed, Ichiro Suzuki changed the landscape of Major League Baseball — allowing for the mysteriously effective small-ball game to reinject itself into the big boppin’ steroidfest it had become. His mannerisms, his character, his magnetism — on and off the field — were a throwback to the baseball heroes of old. Marveled by his talent, we the US American public accepted and celebrated Ichiro for resurrecting respect in a league where little remained.
So I get it. I understand why we started to get excited about the Japanese baseball contention.
But, the fact is: for every Ichiro Suzuki there’s a Kosuke Fukudome, a So Taguchi, or worse, a Kaz Matsui. For every Hideo Nomo, a Kei Igawa, Hideki Irabu, Daisuke Matsuzaka.
And while it makes a good headline that the A’s and Twins are going out and bidding top dollar for the rights — yes, just the rights — to negotiate with Hisashi Iwakuma and Tsuyoshi Nishioka respectively, I still can’t help but feel sorry for the failure both are being set up for in the future.
American, Dominican, Venezuelan, Canadian, Japanese… there’s only one Ichiro.
And as proved by Kazuo Matsui’s silent saunter back home this offseason, expecting anything but is a guarantee for disappointment.
Hate me. Whatevs. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Much more than just the word my imaginary Japanese girlfriend mysteriously cries out during moments of passion, Ichiro signifies consistency and well-honed precision. It’s a pity that he plays in Seattle where those skills will never be rewarded with the digitary hardware he deserves. Ten straight seasons of 200+ hits, though, should definitely count for something more.
But where do these skills come from? Was he struck by a radioactive baseball as a youngster? Like Tyler Colvin‘s recent incident, were his parents speared by a shattered baseball bat and he vowed to take revenge? Or perhaps it’s something much simpler, a reflection of his heritage:
I mean come on, if you had to run in unison while making sure you didn’t crash into another running someone, wouldn’t the logical next step be using that same precision to ensure contact instead?
Congratulations, Ichiro. It’s an impressive feat. But we’re on to you.