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[9/11/2013] Yakult Swallows: Wladimir Balentien News and Notes

by on Sep.11, 2013 @ 4:17 pm, under NPB

Former Seibu Lion Orestes Destrade told reporters he thought Balentien would most likely break the NPB's single-season home run record and could perhaps hit over sixty home runs.  He also said the slugger was capable of hitting the ball to all fields and was doing a better job handling off-speed pitches this season.  Destrade hit forty-two home runs in 1990 and feels he could have hit fifty-five if he played his home games at Jingu Stadium.

Source: Sponichi 9/11/2013

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Former Hanshin Tiger Randy Bass hit his fifty-fourth home run with two games to go in 1985.  After the game, he could not understand why his teammates were telling him it was too bad he could not tie the record.  The last two games of the season were against the Yomiuri Giants.  He finally understood what his teammates meant when the Giants' catcher turned to him and apologized.

He walked six times in the last two games and could not tie the record.

In looking back at what happened in 1985, Bass said to reporters, "[Sadaharu] Oh was always good to me and I did not think it was coming from him.  I still respect now.  I still managed to win the triple crown and the team won the Nippon Series, so all was good."

He added, "Records are meant to be broken.  I do not think it is a racial thing.  Even if it is broken, I do not think Oh or anyone else would be upset."

Source: Sponichi 9/11/2013

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Balentien on the ball he hit for a home run on Tuesday: "It was a high pitch I should not have swung at, but since there was only one off-speed pitch, I was looking fastball.  I was able to hit the ball at an angle that put a lot of backspin on it."

Balentien set a new speed record by cranking his fifty-fourth home run in his team's 121st game.  The previous record of 128 games was set by Randy Bass in 1985 and Tuffy Rhodes in 2001.  It took Rhodes seven games (thirty-three plate appearances) to reach fifty-five home runs in 2001 and Alex Cabrera four games (twenty plate appearances) in 2002.

Source: Sponichi 9/11/2013

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Kenta Maeda walked Balentien in the 5th inning and said after the game, "It can not be helped.  I did not avoid pitching to him because I wanted to avoid pitching to him."

Kenjiro Nomura added, "As the ace of the staff, I can understand his desire to face [Balentien].  We asked him to pitch around him."

Source: Sponichi 9/11/2013