Monday, February 12, 2007

A New Beginning

Welcome to the 2007 campaign at Baseball Japan. This blog was created in the waning days of 2006 as a way to communicate with English-speaking baseball fans about the game in Japan. The World Baseball Classic opened a lot of eyes to the sport on an international level, and the wave of successful Japanese ballplayers to brave the Major Leagues has increased significantly. With all that has transpired in a very short period of time, the interest in Japanese Baseball has also boomed. That's where I come in.

Prior to this post, Baseball Japan has been in a slow test mode. I've written a bit about Japan's place in the overall scheme of things, the deep roots of baseball in Japanese tradition, and even a few provocative ideas about Ichiro's future. This post marks the beginning of a fruitful future for Baseball Japan as the professional league has started its Spring Training circuit, the high school students are ramping up their training for the Spring edition of Koshien (and the preview magazines as well), and the Tokyo Big 6 League of the Japanese university level is preparing to add Yuki Saito to the rotation of the storied Waseda University team. All games will be televised in 2007!

So much to write about this year. I hope to bring you a great variety of information about Japanese baseball in 2007. Please stop back often, or click the "subscribe: Atom" link in the right margin, just below the title banner. I'm relatively new to the RSS/Atom feed system, so I would love to have any suggestion about how to improve my service. If you'd like to contact me about this, or anything at all, please click the link under "Contacts". Just drop me a line and I'll do my best top reply in a timely fashion.

What can you expect to read here in the weeks and months to come? I'll give you a sneak peek at what's coming next at Baseball Japan (not necessarily in order):

1. NPB Season Preview - A look at the stories to follow in Japanese Professional Baseball 2007
2. Kosuke Fukudome: To the Major Leagues? - A profile of the next big name to cross the ocean
3. Sho Nakata: The Future - A profile of Japan's 17 year old baseball prodigy

That's the short list of things to come back for, and there will be plenty more as the games begin. In the meantime, if you want to do some reading, I have a number of player specific blogs that you may find interesting (if you haven't seen them already):

Matsuzaka Watch - Following "Dice-K"
Uehara Watch - Following Japan's #1 Free Agent-to be
Darvish Watch - Neglected, but ready to roll for 2007, following the young ace
Yuki Saito Watch - To Begin in March!

Thanks for stopping by. Don't be a stranger. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.


At 7:15 PM, Blogger Rob Gaudreau said...

I look forward to reading about these "newcomers". Being a Japanese baseball novice...who is currently the best slugger in Japan?

At 10:44 PM, Blogger Mike Plugh said...

The best "slugger" in Japan is probably Alex Cabrera, although several other foreign players are competing for that honor. Those foreign players would include the Tokyo Giants' Seung-yeop Lee of Korea, Tyrone Woods, and Julio Zuleta. The top Japanese sluggers are Kosuke Fukudome (although he's more of a doubles hitter), Nobuhiko Matsunaka, Michihiro Ogasawara, and maybe Shuichi Murata (although he's getting a little older).

I'll write up a profile on Fukudome soon, so check back. Thanks Rob.

At 2:02 PM, Blogger Edwin said...

Since you're on the topic of new beginnings and FA's, I wonder about the following:

1) You mentioned about Uehara possibly posting next year. I heard that Kuroda from the Carp is thinking the same. Have you heard anything about that?

2) Has there been any news about Tanaka Masahiro (Komadai Tomakomai) or Oumine Yuuta (Yaeyama Shouko) since they signed with their respective ballclubs?

At 12:56 AM, Blogger Mike Plugh said...

Uehara is not going to be posted. He's a free agent. He can go anywhere.

The other two players are at Spring Training and it's still early. Not much news yet. Rakuten is using Tanaka on a lot of it's promotional artwork and so on, so it appears he's the face of the franchise from the get go....


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