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Japanese Baseball Card of the Week: Yoshida Eri from the BBM Real Venus Cards 2013

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For this week, I’m going to go a different route and showcase a female baseball player.

And this week goes to Yoshida Eri (for those who found this page on a search engine, Yoshida is the family name, Eri is her first name and for this site, I go by the Japanese style of showcasing family names first).

Yoshida Eri plays for the Ishikawa Million Stars (for the Baseball Challenge League) and back in 2008, at the age of 16, was the first female drafted by a Japanese men’s professional baseball team.

She is also the first female professional baseball player in the U.S. since Ila Borders to play professionally in two countries, as she signed a contract with the Chico Outlaws in 2010.

She is also known for pitching a really cool sidearm knuckleball.

For those not familiar with BBM’s Real Venus Cards, they showcase a female athlete.  You get their profile photo, a player’s sport photo with them in action and a fashion photo of the player outside of the sport in normal or fashionable clothing.

Special shinkansen promotion brings 1,300 fans from Tokyo to Mazda Stadium in Hiroshima

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On May 16th, a special promotion was setup for a Y5,000 one way ticket to Hiroshima via Shinkansen for Hiroshima Carp fans.

The Hiroshima Carp has one of the largest fanbase and one of the most profitable teams (when it comes to ticket sales) and sure enough, many fans took advantage of the special deal leaving Yokohama DeNA Baystars fans with only so many seats.

Here is a news report of the many (many of them are women) who took advantage of the special promotion:

Still a tight race in the Central and Pacific League

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While the Giants won their last two, so has the Yokohama DeNA Baystars, who still have a 2 game lead. Still, the Central League is close in standings….while in the Pacific…the dominant Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters have dropped to third, Seibu still holds the lead but Softbank is now at second. But similar to the Central, Pacific League is also a tight race.

Japanese Baseball Card Pick of the Week – BBM 2012 No-Hitters baseball card – Eiji Sawamura (沢村 栄治)

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One of my favorite BBM card releases was back in 2012 with the NO-HITTERS release.

The baseball cards were printed on  a thicker card stock and would feature classic photos of pitchers from long ago.

As Cy Young is recognized for his achievements in the United States and awards that go to the best pitcher each year for the National and American League since 1956.

In Japan, the equivalent would be the Sawamura Eiji Award (established in 1947) in which pitchers such as Kintetsu Buffaloes’ Nomo Hideo (1990), Yomiuri Giants’ Saito Masaki (1995-1996), Seibu Lions’ Matsuzaka Daisuke  (2001), Yomiuri Giants’ Uehara Koji (1999, 2002), Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters’ Yu Darvish (2007), Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles’ Tanaka Masahiro (2011, 2013), to name a few, have won.  And in Japan, only one pitcher can win that award.

But the man behind the award, Sawamura Eiji is a legend but also a pitcher who died way too early.

In 1934, a 17-year-old Sawamura faced MLB powerhouse sluggers Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Charlie Gehringer and struck out nine batters in five innings pitch, until Gehrig hit a home run in the seventh inning.

Sawamura would join the Yomiuri Giants in 1936 and pitched his first no-hitter on Sept. 25, 1936 and his second no-hitter would come in May 1, 1937 against the Hanshin Tigers, which is the card I have selected for this week’s card of the week.  That year, he was 33-10 and had a 1.38 ERA.  From 1937 through 1943, in 105 games pitched, he had 554 strikeouts and a 1.74 ERA.

As most players were enlisted in the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II, Sawamura was killed in the battle in 1947 near Yakushima when his ship was torpedoed.

Sawamura is still remembered today for his outstanding pitching and also each year with the Eiji Sawamura Award given to the best pitcher of that year in the NPB.

Dennis A. Amith reviews “Yomiuri Giants DVD Nenkan Season ’13-’14” (DVD Review)

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It’s a bit pricey at Y3800 (which is normal in Japan) which may turn overseas fans off, but unless you are a huge fan of the Yomiuri Giants, this DVD may not be for everyone considering that the Giants came up short and didn’t win the championship.  But true fans will no doubt want to check “”Yomiuri Giants DVD Nenkan Season ’13-’14” out!


TITLE: Yomiuri Giants DVD Nenkan Season ’13-’14

DURATION: 1:03:58 (not including special features)

DVD INFORMATION: Color, Dolby Digital, 16:9 LB

COMPANY: VAP INC.

RELEASED DATE: March 2014


読売ジャイアンツ DVD年鑑 season ’13~’14 / スポーツ

読売ジャイアンツの2013年シーズンをまとめた決定版DVD! リーグ優勝&クライマックス・シリーズ優勝を果たした2013年の原ジャイアンツ。2013年ペナントレースのハイライトから、2014年度の キャンプイン映像、新戦力の紹介映像も徹底収録! <主な収録内容>●2013年シーズンハイライト ●ファンフェスタ ●2014年度キャンプイン映像 ●2014年度新戦力紹介、インタビューなど

The Yomiuri Giants, the Tokyo team that is often compared to the New York Yankees due to the team winning 36 Central League pennants and 22 Japan Series Championships.

There is no doubt pride and tradition that is tied to the team but also being one the most profitable baseball teams in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), but also receiving the ire of anti-Giants fans from other NPB teams including Tokyo Yakult Swallows fans who dislike the team for its marketing tactics.

But love them or hate them, the Yomiuri Giants are no doubt a baseball team that has had a history of championships under their belt and continue to remain dominant since debuting back in 1934 as the Great Japan Tokyo Baseball Club, before changing their name to Tokyo Kyojin and later to the Yomiuri Giants in 1947.

But with their last championship win against the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in 2012 for the Japan Series, there was a lot of high anticipation for the 2013 team.

But in 2013-2014, it was one of the most heartbreaking seasons for Yomiuri Giants fans as the team, who had the best win-loss record of that year, would take on the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in the Japan Series and would lose in a heartbreaking game 7.

But for those who are more interested in watching the Yomiuri Giants play exciting baseball for the 2013-2014 season not including the playoffs or championships, the “Yomiuri Giants DVD Nenkan Season ’13-’14” is a DVD that may be worth checking out!

About 64 minutes long, “Yomiuri Giants DVD Nenkan Season ’13-’14” (Yomiuri Giants DVD Yearbook Season ’13~`14) is a documentary featuring the team’s wonderful winning season with interviews with players, free agency and the acquiring of Kataoka and Ibata, acquiring foreign players, a visit from former Yomiuri Giants slugger Matsui Hideki to practice, Fan Festa 2013 and the up-and-coming players from their draft.

The game doesn’t go into the Japan Series and the loss against Rakuten, it pretty much goes back to the draft and training camp and preparing for the 2014 season.  So, no need for Giants fans to relive the game 7 nightmare but respect what the team accomplished that year.


 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

  • 2014 Players Guide – A text based player list.
  • 2013 Home Runs – (38:07) A compilation of all Yomiuri Giant home runs for the 2013 season.

Overall, these end of the season DVD’s released by NPB teams are strictly for fans who want to remember the great games that the team had for the 2013 season and bouncing back and preparing for 2014.

And as the team was able to have their third straight Central League Victory the following year, the truth is that 2013 was a year that the Yomiuri Giants were in perfect position to win and they had their chances but came up short.

While the team played a magnificent 2013 season, unfortunately the end result was not what the team expected but it was against a strong Rakuten Eagles pitching team which included phenom Tanaka Masahiro.

As for the DVD, it was quite entertaining and seeing the spectacular plays made by the Giants players.  You also get a 38 minute special feature showcasing all homeruns for that season.

Nevertheless, this “Yomiuri Giants DVD Nenkan Season ’13-’14” DVD is more about celebrating the great season the team had in 2013 prior to the Japan Series and rebuilding for 2014.  Nothing more and nothing less.

Sure, It’s a bit pricey at Y3800 (which is normal in Japan) which may turn overseas fans off, but unless you are a huge fan of the Yomiuri Giants, this DVD may not be for everyone considering that the Giants came up short and didn’t win the championship.  But true fans will no doubt want to check “”Yomiuri Giants DVD Nenkan Season ’13-’14” out!



Japanese Baseball Card Pick of the Week – BBM Baystars 20th Anniversary autograph baseball card – Haru Toshio (波留 敏夫)

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My Japanese baseball card pick of the week goes to the authentic autographed baseball card of Haru Toshio (20/60) of the Yokohama Baystars as part of BBM’s Baystars 20th Anniversary Baseball Cards.

Haru is a former Nihon Professional Baseball stars and is currently a outfield, defense, base-running and hitting coach for the Chunichi Dragons, a job he served for the Yokohama DeNA Baystars from 2006-2013.

But he is best remembered for being part of the machine-gun offense of the Japan Series winning Yokohama Baystars of 1998, the team’s first championship since 1960 (second Japan Series win overall), back when the team was known as the Taiyo Whales.

2015 NPB Season Standings – April 28, 2015

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While it’s still to early in the season to make any bold predictions, we do know that so far, it’s a tight race in the Central League.

Currently, as of April 28th, the Yomiuri Giants and the Yakult Swallows are tied in first place (both are 15-11).

The DeNA Yokohama Baystars have climbed their way to third, one game behind at (14-12), while Chunichi has dropped from first to fourth place and are at (14-14).  Meanwhile, Hanshin are fifth and surprisingly, the Hiroshima Carp are at 8-15 in last place.

In the Pacific League, the Nippon Ham Fighters have a small lead at first place and have the best standing in the NPB for 205 with a 16-8 record.  Seibu Lions are not far behind at 12-10, Softbank at 12-11 and Rakuten Eagles at 11-11, the Chiba Lotte Marines at 24-11 and in last place are the Orix Buffaloes at 26-8.

Standings are ever changing these past few weeks as we have seen Chunichi who had a comfortable lead weeks ago, now down to fourth, while the Ham Fighters have remained strong.

Again, it’s early in the season but it will be interesting to see how these standings change by next week.

Photo: Sugano Tomoyuki of the Yomiuri Giants  – Photo by Dennis A. Amith, J!-ENT

Podcast Plug: Japan Baseball Weekly

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One of the coolest podcasts out there is Japan Baseball Weekly hosted by Japan-based baseball reporter John E. Gibson (Twitter) and author and veteran sportswriter Jim Allen (Twitter).

Since 2011, both men have been reporting on Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) and currently release an English podcast discussing the latest in Japanese pro baseball every Sunday (in the U.S.).

You can download their latest episode on iTunes or by clicking on John’s website here.

You can listen to this week’s episode here.