Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Chunichi Dragons

There is a baseball game on TV, so I thought it was appropriate to talk about baseball for a little bit.

Baseball is by far the most popular sport in Japan, followed by soccer (about half as popular), and Sumo (about one third as popular). In Japan, baseball teams are not from places (for example, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees). Instead, teams are sponsored by companies. The teams still play in a certain city, but the home city is nowhere in the name. The Nagoya team is the Chunichi Dragons, sponsored by Nagoya's major newspaper company (中日新聞/ちゅにちしんぶん/Chunichi Shinbun). My personal favorite is the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, sponsored by Nippon Ham.

The Chunichi Dragons are part of the Central League in Japan (there is also a Pacific League) along with five other teams from Western Japan.

In 2007, The Chunichi Dragons won the Japan Series, a seven-game championship played by the two best teams from the two baseball leagues. Before 2007 the Chunichi Dragons had only won one other Japan Series title in 1954. In contrast, the team with the most Japan Series titles, the Yomiuri Giants (another newspaper), has won the Japan Series 21 times and been runner-up eleven more times. The Chunichi Dragons have been runner up only six times.

There were several players that I thought stood out more than the rest.

I think it's pretty clear why he stood out. Tony Blanco is an infielder from the Dominican Republic. After several years of playing professional baseball in the MLB he moved the Nagoya. After coming to Nagoya he hit the first ever home run in the history of the Nagoya Dome, and then went on lead the Central League in home runs (and another statistics that I don't know anything about) that season with 39 home runs.

He looks like a kid! Oh wait... he is. Toshiya Okada was drafted this year from Chiben Wakayama High School. He was born on December 5th, 1991. He is 18. And playing professional baseball (he's a pitcher). Mom and dad, I'm sorry I'm not a better daughter.

Next, we have another newly drafted player who also hurt my self confidence a lot. Ryuuya Ogawa was drafted from Chiba Eiwa High School. He was born on September 3rd, 1991, making him and 18-year-old professional pitcher, too.

I don't know what kind of dragon that is. It looks more like a koala, I think.

Dragons won!


Anonymous said...

Ok, so you may not be an 18 year old baseball player, but you can climb rocks like a beast!!

Lena Ray said...

Well thanks, anonymous person :)
Sadly, I also don't get paid millions of dollars like professional baseball players. Or at all.

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