Life in the Land of the Rising Sun

Friday, November 02, 2007

Omedetou, Dragons!

The baseball season has finally come to an end. For Japan it has been quite a ride.

It was shot in the arm enough when the Boston Red Socks took the World Series. The BoSox had been Japan's current Major League darling thanks to the enrollment of Japanese star pitcher Daisuke ("Dice-K") Matsuzaka. Even better was the fact that he came out of a month-long slump to make a good accounting of himself in the series championship by both pitching and batting well.

Well, the Japan Series has just ended, too, and it is definitely one for the books. The Chunichi Dragons won game five of the championship series 1-0 to take the pennant for the first time in fifty-three years! Yes, the Japan Series does tend to seem like reruns a lot of the time, so it's always good to see one of the lesser names win for a change, but for the Dragons, long a perennial "also-ran" ball club, to come out on top is nothing short of spectacular. They earned it, too; both Dragons pitcher Daisuke Yamai and Nippon Ham Fighters pitcher Yu Darvish put on strong showings, but Dragons batter Ryosuke Hirata finally punched one through to win. The Dragons worked hard for this win, and I say bravo!

(source: The Japan Times Online)

Congratulations, Dragons! Now...what can we expect next year?

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  • Moody Minstrel,
    did (do) the Japanese have any national 'team' sport of their own

    before they adopted baseball

    By Blogger QUASAR9, at 5:13 PM  

  • Darn, I was (not) rooting for the Giants. How did the Blue Wave do?

    By Blogger Don Snabulus, at 12:46 AM  

  • Quasar9
    Apparently not. As far as I know, the only competitive sports that existed in Japan before the Meiji Restoration and subsequent opening to the West were sumo, archery, kendo, and various martial arts. Of course, none of those are team sports per se.

    At least as far back as the 9th century there was a game (name I don't recall), played by aristocrats, that was kind of like a cross between soccer and hackey sack, but it involved a group of individuals rather than a team and wasn't really competitive. You just had a circle of men kicking a ball around to each other trying to keep it aloft.

    They don't exist. After the 2004 season the Orix BlueWave and Kintetsu Buffalo teams merged. Now they are the Orix Buffaloes.

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 1:03 PM  

  • Hi Moody,
    yeah I thought it was peculiar
    We have soccer, we have american football, we have rugby, we have baseball, we even have hockey and basketball ...
    but I couldn't think of any common team sport before these ...
    I guess warring with the next village or rape & pillaging were the most 'common' sports or team activities in olden times.

    All the rest seem to be individual competitions, whether horse racing chariot racing olympic games or even 'marathons'

    I guess pyramid building was a sort of 'team' sport or activity - lol!

    By Blogger QUASAR9, at 6:05 PM  

  • Well, historically games of football (before it evolved into all those different versions) and baseball were played between the menfolk of entire villages. In football's case the team sizes weren't standardized; if one village had 100 men and the other 30, those were the team sizes. The distance between the goals wasn't set, either, and it could sometimes be quite far.

    Lacrosse was similar. Whole Native American tribes would compete against each other, and the goals were often miles apart. Since there were few rules and no referees, those early games tended to be quite violent.

    Then we had to go and ruin everything with that "civilization" noise...

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 9:41 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Olivia, at 2:12 AM  

  • When did Japan take so enthusiastically to baseball, and how did it happen?

    Also, I deleted my previous comment because I noticed someone mention the Giants and assumed it was about the Giants/Dolphins game here in London....

    By Blogger Olivia, at 2:16 AM  

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