Japanese Baseball

How’s this for lazy? Not just a rerun of a show, but of Mary’s copy!

Tuesday we’re airing a rerun because Chris has been asked to moderate an afternoon debate between Stephen Walt and G. John Ikenberry at the Watson Institute at Brown on the subject of crafting American foreign policy beyond 9/11 and the GWOT (Global War on Terror). Walt and Ikenberry had a lively exchange on the TPM blog and we’re planning to record the event to air on Open Source at a later date.

David and I voted to rerun the Japanese baseball show from last winter. The show covered the impact of Japanese baseball players like Ichiro and Dice K on the major leagues, and it holds up well as long as you overlook Dice K’s current slump, Yankee outfielder Matsui’s injury and the fact that we never talked about superstar Sox reliever Hideki Okajima. Emmett O’Connell, who suggested that show, will have to keep us up to speed on any other updates we need to know about.

Mary, in her Notes, May 4, 2007

Mary was more coy than is her wont. I think the real reason she and I wanted to re-broadcast the show is that her team (the Red Sox) and mine (the Mets) are both in first place. We want to savor this as long as it lasts.

By the way, fellow Metropolitans fans might want to check out my recent discovery, the smartest and most entertaining Mets blog out there: Faith and Fear in Flushing. And I bet you don’t have to be a Mets fan to enjoy it. It’s more about suffering and transcendance than double plays and on-base plus slugging.

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  • Ron Whiting, a guest on the original show, wrote a series of essays for the Japan Times on the effects of MLB on the Japanese Leagues. I plan on reading them tonight.

    Also, I came across this sideways argument against the sentiment in Japan that their leagues will become yet another minor league system (like the Latin leagues are) for us North American consumers. From the Biz of Baseball blog’s Baseball Economics Roundtable:

    Baseball has not yet found an effective way to exploit business opportunities internationally. The same can be said of other American pro sports, but baseball probably has the largest unrealized potential for international play. In the immediate future, the greatest opportunity is for a genuine baseball World Cup among national teams, featuring mainly players from Major League Baseball. But in a decade or so, rising incomes in Latin America and Asia could make “major leagues” (with some teams equivalent in quality to MLB) feasible there, in which case an international club championship, like the Champions League in European soccer, also would become attractive. Does MLB have the entrepreneurial capability to take the lead on these issues? Based on its feeble attempt at a baseball world championship in the spring of 2006, baseball seems in danger of missing these opportunities.

    The only difference between the Japanese leagues (any league for that matter) and MLB is the ability to pay players. With compensation comes talent and your status as a major league. This guy is saying that as incomes across Latin America, Asia and North America flatten together, new major leagues will naturally appear.

  • nother

    Thanks for that Emmett.

    Hey Emmett, I just heard some guy talking about how the Japanese baseballs are slightly smaller than the American baseballs. Do you know if there is any truth to that? It doesn’t sound right.

  • nother

    Oh yea, and keep up the good work against the Yankees. 🙂

  • It seems like splitting a series with the Yankees in the Bronx doesn’t have the Yippeee! factor it once had. Maybe when we get Felix back.

    On the baseball size question, I wasn’t able to find anything quickly, but there is a weird reference to it (so it must be true) in those essays by Robert Whiting:

    “There is still little cooperation within the leagues — there is no fair draft, no or little cooperation on selling broadcast rights, licensing or marketing . . . they don’t even use the same baseball.

    “You can choose from eight or nine different balls, and change them nightly if you want to. How in the world could they cooperate with 30 teams in North America if they can’t cooperate among the 12 over here?”

    So, I guess some teams’ baseballs might be smaller.

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  • OK, nother, since you asked I did a little search on the Japanese wiki and found an answer for you. The official pro ball in Japan is slightly smaller and slightly lighter (how much it does not say) than the ball over there. It is also made of cow leather, not horse, so the feel is a bit different. The way the seam is dealt with is also different, it says, though there is no explanation. As they say, it’s all in the details 😉

  • TEP492

    test 2

  • TEP492

    test 3

    test 3 and test 4

    test 5 and test 6