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
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.
As a fan of the Tigers, I saw some pretty amazing catches in center field over the past few years. Granderson has skills, even if he chose to turn them over to the Evil Empire, and Austin Jackson has turned some heads as well. When I was younger, I also got to see Griffey at old Tigers’ Stadium when the Mariners came to town and that was nothing short of amazing.
However, all of those pale in comparison with what you’re about to see:
And even that looks mundane when compared to what a teammate of his did a couple weeks earlier:
The only way I can explain these feats of spectacularity is that the team plays in Hiroshima. Hey, if Peter Parker becomes Spiderman because of a radioactive spider, it stands to reason that these guys become baseball’s spidermen for the same reason.
Thanks to MW for the link and Big League Stew for the vid.
I have a confession to make. I did not watch the MLB All-Star Game. But I also didn’t watch the Pro Bowl, the NBA All-Star Game and whatever it is the NHL is doing these days. Most of it was apathy, part of it was being busy. But it’s hard to feel strongly about something that seems so contrived.
I suppose it’s somewhat blasphemous to have missed the mid-summer classic. After all, it is an annual rite of passage and ever since King Bud decided to imbue it with meaning, it has taken on slightly more importance. But really, why would I watch Ichiro and friends when I can watch Ichiro’s countrymen instead:
Seriously, Japan. What are you guys doing over there?
Say what ya want about the mighty market divas of the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Dodgers. Go ahead and hate on A-Rod, slam Manny, spit on Youk… whatevs. Sometimes they deserve it; sometimes they don’t. It’s all a part of professional sports.
But no matter how infantile and annoying MLB superstars can be (yes, I’m looking at you, Milton Bradley), none of them quite qualify as being as toxically asinine as Nicolas Anelka and his band of busted b!tches that once formed the French national soccer team.
You think Roberto Alomar spitting on John Hirschbeck was bad? Imagine Roberto Alomar spitting on John Hirschbeck during the World Series, with a big nasty particle-filled loogey, and all his teammates joining in.
Yeah. That’s sorta what France’s World Cup was like. But at least it’s over. And now we can think about… things that are worse than France. For instance:
Duh. You knew that was comin’.
Rob Blagojevich’s Image
For all of you who live outside of Illinois, be glad you do; ‘cuz this Blago crap is just now gettin’ started for real. The lego hair, the smarmy and disingenuous smile, the creepy way he talks to every woman as if she were a dumb, money-chasin, cheap-trick-happy cocktail waitress… this dude is going to the joint. Eventually.
You knew that was comin’ too.
It makes me sick that he was in my neighborhood. It makes me even more sick to know that he was at Sox Park. And it makes me Bush-Sr-Throwin-Up-On-Japanese-People sick to know he tossed the first pitch to Mark Buehrle!
You didn’t think this could end with anything worse, did you? I’m pretty sure I heard the Astros’ team on-base-percentage was the worse on-base-percentage in the history of time, including all dimensions — even those we are unaware of yet…
That’s why they’re called the LOLstros.
Hate me. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
As a proud paragon of Redbird loyalism, I still pompously refuse to forgive and forget the awful defeat handed to us by the Houston Astros during the 2005 NLCS. That… was… awful. I think I went on a two week bender.
I don’t remember.
But I do remember one thing: I do not like the Astros. So you can imagine my grief, dear readers, as I watched their bid for an 0-162 season come to an end on Thursday… again, against the St. Louis Cardinals.
WTF IS IT THAT MAKES BUD NORRIS SO UNHITTABLE TO THE BIRDS ON THE BAT?!? EH!?!? WELL!?!?!
That one little win (their first win) is just that: one little win. It doesn’t change the fact that the Astros suck.
And it’s times like these — when jaded, seething, vexed — that I turn to Japan… for a little glimpse of happy time:
Ah… nothin’ makes me smile like a psilocybin-fueled walking canine with a crowned doll head pushing doggie treats to unmonitored and impressionable little kids.
Happy Friday, Y’all!
*Special thanks to Shan for coining (and sharing) the term “LOLstros”, which is effing hilarious (and true). You can follow her on Twitter here: @Shan_Cake