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[9/18/2013] NPB raises 24,251,322 yen through Mazda All-Star Game 2013 Charity Auction

by on Sep.18, 2013 @ 5:30 pm, under NPB
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The NPB announced today that it raised 24,251,322 yen through the Mazda All-Star Game 2013 Charity Auction.  A total seventy-five items were auctioned off between August 1 and 8.

The 24,251,322 yen, plus an adjustment of thirty-two yen, was split equally into three and donated to the following funds in the Tohoku region on the 17th: the Iwate-no Manabi Kibou Kikin (Iwate Learning Foundation), the Higashi Nihon Daishinsai Miyagi Kodomo Ikuei Bokin (East Japan Earthquake Miyagi Childen's Education Fund), and the Higashi Nihon Daishinsai Fukushima Kodomo Kifukin (East Japan Earthquake Fukushima Childrens Donations).

Top Five Uniforms

  1. Shohei Otani (HAM) - 1,511,000 yen
  2. Masahiro Tanaka (RAK) - 1,202,000 yen
  3. Shintaro Fujinami (HAN) - 1,201,000 yen
  4. Shinya Miyamoto (YAK) - 1,000,000 yen
  5. Hayato Sakamoto (YOM) - 769,001 yen

Source: official announcement

[7/22/2013] Mazda All-Star Game 2013 News and Notes

by on Jul.23, 2013 @ 12:23 am, under NPB
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Quick All-Star news and notes from July 22:

  • The All-Star Series ended with zero home runs for the first time since 1953.
  • A total ten runs were scored during the series (five runs for each league).  That is the second lowest run total behind the seven that were scored during the 1953 series.
  • Shohei Otani joined Kazuhiro Kiyohara (1986, Game 2) as the only two players out of high school in All-Star history to record a shukunda (a decisive hit that scores a go-ahead, game-tying, tie-breaking, or lead-changing run) in their first series.
  • Tsuyoshi Nishioka fouled a ball off his right foot in the top of 5th and was removed on defense in the bottom-half of the inning.
  • All three Chunichi players on the roster did not make it into tonight's game: Motonobu Tanishige had a shot at making an appearance as a pinch-hitter in the 9th, but lost the opportunity when Norihiro Nakamura hit into a game-ending double-play; Yohei Oshima made an appearance as a base coach and would have gotten a chance to make it into the game as a pinch-runner in the 6th, but Wladimir Balentien grounded out to second; Hitoki Iwase was not scheduled to pitch since he already made an appearance in Game 1.
  • Morimichi Takagi decided not to drive the entire distance back to Nagoya from Iwaki after the game (about 540 kilometers).  He still, however, planned to make the drive back to Tokyo (about 200 kilometers).

Source: Nikkan Sports 7/22/2013, Nikkan Sports 7/22/2013, Nikkan Sports 7/22/2013Sponichi 7/22/2013

Mazda All-Star Game 2013: Game 3 Home Run Derby Results

by on Jul.22, 2013 @ 9:00 pm, under NPB
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First Match

Shonnosuke Abe (YOM) - zero home runs
Andruw Jones (RAK) - one home run

Second Match

Sho Nakata (HAM) - four home runs
Tony Blanco (YOK) - four home runs

* Blanco advances according tie-break rules (player with more home run derby fan votes moves forward)

Finals

Andruw Jones (RAK) - two home runs
Tony Blanco (YOK) - zero home runs

Mazda All-Star Game 2013 Game 2 Videos

by on Jul.22, 2013 @ 5:30 am, under NPB
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I was at the All-Star game at Jingu Stadium on Saturday and recorded some footage.  I have uploaded them to Youtube for anyone that might be interested.

I also created three playlists that might help your viewing experience:

Of the videos I posted, I think this is by far and away my favorite:

I have a few more random videos of the crowd cheering and the post-game interviews that I'll try to post a little later.

[7/21/2013] Mazda All-Star Game 2013 News and Notes

by on Jul.21, 2013 @ 6:20 pm, under NPB
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All-Star News and Notes from July 21:

  • Game 3 starters: Atsushi Nomi for the Central League and Hiroshi Kisanuki for the Pacific League.  Source: Nikkan Sports 7/20/2013
  • Yasuhiro Ogawa is the eighth rookie (accomplished nine times) to record a victory during an All-Star series, first since Koji Uehera in 1999 (Game 1).  He joined Kenichi Kajima (two victories in 1977) as the only pitchers in Swallows franchise history to record  victory during an All-Star Series.  At twenty-three years and two months, he is also the youngest pitcher in Yakult franchise history to record an All-Star victory since Masaichi Kaneda won a game in 1957 at the age of twenty-three years and eleven months.  Source: Sanspo 7/21/2013, Sponichi 7/21/2013
  • Four rookie pitchers made an appearance in Saturday's All-Star game and tied the All-Star record set in 1970 (Game 3, one CL and three PL).  Saturday's game was the first in All-Star history to feature four rookie pitches from the same league.  Source: Sponichi 7/21/2013
  • Hayato Sakamoto has won a Fighting Spirit Award (Kantosho) during the All-Star series three years in a row.  He also joined Shigeo Nagashima, Sadaharu Oh, Isao Shibata, and Hideki Matsui as the only players in Giant franchise history to record two All-Star modashos (three hits or more in a game).  Source: Sanspo 7/21/2013
  • Shintaro Fujinami joined Tsuneo Horiuchi (1966) and Yutaka Entasu (1967) as the only pitchers out of high school in CL history to pitch in an All-Star game.  Source: Sports Hochi 7/21/2013
  • Shohei Otani became the first rookie out of high school to bat lead-off in an All-Star game on Saturday.  Source: Sports Hochi 7/21/2013 ... He is also the fourth rookie out of high school to record a hit in an All- Star game, first since Kazuyoshi Tatsunami in 1988 (Game 1); second rookie out of high school to record an extra base, first since Kazuhiro Kiyohara hit a home run in 1986 (Game 2).  He joined Shigeo Nagashima (Games 1 and 2 in 1958), Akinobu Okada (Game 3 in 1980), Tatsunori Hara (Games 1-3 in 1981), and Yoshinobu Takahashi (Games 1 and 2 in 1998) as the fifth rookie in All-Star history to bat lead-off, first for a rookie out of high school.  Source: Sponichi 7/21/2013 ... Otani told reporters that if he manages to win an award for Game 3, he will consider donating all or a portion of the award money.  Source: Sponichi 7/21/2013
  • Takahiro Arai is the first Hanshin play to win an All-Star MVP since Atsushi Fujimoto in 2006 (Game 2).  Source: Daily Sports 7/21/2013
  • Taichi Ishiyama was caught off-guard when he was called on to pitch in Game 2 on Saturday because he was not scheduled to make an appearance -- he was notified of his outing while getting a massage in the clubhouse in the middle of the 2nd inning.  Source: Sanspo 7/21/2013
  • Matt Murton approached Nobuhiro Matsuda during PL pre-game batting practice on Saturday to exchange ideas on hitting.  "Matsuda is a good hitter.  I was curious about his swing, so I went over to ask him about it," said Murton to reporters.  Source: Nikkan Sports 7/21/2013
  • Kodai Senga struck out five in two innings on Saturday.  He was the first pitcher to strike out three in one All-Star inning since Shintaro Ejiri in 2011 (Game 3); first to strike out five in one All-Star game since Daisuke Matsuzaka in 1999 (Game 1); first to strike out five in two All-Star innings since Kimiyasu Kudo in 1991 (Game 1); and first to strike out four in a row in an All-Star game since Yukihiro Nishizaki in 1988 (Game 3).  Source: Nikkan Sports 7/21/2013
  • At the age of forty-two years and six months, Motonobu Tanishige became the oldest catcher to play out a full All-Star game.  He also became the second oldest player to play out a full All-Star game behind Hiromitsu Ochiai in 1996 (Game 1, forty-two years and seven months).  Source: Nikkan Sports 7/21/2013
  • The Pacific League holds the series lead, 78-74-10.

===

Sanspo has posted a portion of Shintaro Fujinami's post-game interview with the media:

What did Nishioka think [of your slow pitch]?

Tsuyoshi-san was happy about so I am glad.  I got a touch of the yips because throwing a slow pitch all of a sudden can make it difficult to throw strikes.

You must have felt pretty relaxed if you were able to do that.

I did not feel nervous, but I was pressing a bit.

You managed to strike out [Sho] Nakata after that.

Well, he swung at pitches out of the zone after I fell behind 3-1.  I think it was intentional, but I am glad I did not issue a walk.

You started throwing from the set position partway through.

I had a had time throwing strikes and was not sure what to do.  I struggled with my grip during my bullpen session and I had to prepare a little differently [for this game].  I suppose I had a hard time adjusting to the different situation...  The All-Star atmosphere was also different.  I was pressing the entire time.

The cheers were very loud.

I suppose.  The fans had high expectations.  I do not think I came through, but it was nice to receive so much support.

How do you grade your outing today?

About a twenty percent.

Source: Sanspo 7/21/2013

[7/20/2013] Mazda All-Star Game 2013 News and Notes

by on Jul.20, 2013 @ 3:41 pm, under NPB
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All-Star news and notes from July 20:

  • Kazuhisa Makita is thinking about throwing the ball over the top instead of from the side when he starts Game 2 today.  If he does, it will be the first time he throws over the top since his first-year in high school.  Source: Sanpso 7/20/2013
  • Takahiro Arai could get the start at first and bat sixth in Game 2.  Source: Sanspo 7/20/2013
  • Of the sixteen pitches Masahiro Tanaka threw on Friday, eleven were over 150km/h.  Source: Sanspo 7/20/2013
  • Hitoki Iwase got Nobuhiro Matsuda to ground out to first on a knuckleball in the 8th inning on Friday.  Source: Nikkan Sports 7/20/2013
  • The slow curves Daisuke Miura threw on Friday were too slow for the stadium speed gun.  Source: Sponichi 7/20/2013
  • Shohei Otani took over in left on Friday because Hideki Kuriyama did not want to remove Yoshio Itoi from right -- Itoi was having a good game and Kuriyama wanted him to try for an MVP.  Souce: Sponichi 7/20/2013, Daily Sports 7/20/2013
  • It was one year ago on Friday that Otani topped 160km/h on the radar gun during an Iwate qualifier tournament game.
  • Yasuhiro Ogawa got some tips on how to throw and use the forkball more effectively from Atsushi Nomi.  Ogawa is scheduled to relieve Tomoyuki Sugano in Game 2.  Source: Sponichi 7/20/2013
  • Kazuo Matsui (right hamstring) and Tadahito Iguchi (right calf) are a little banged up.  Both were selected to the All-Star roster by fans but did not make the starting line-up.  They did, however, make it into the game as pinch-hitters.
  • A number of fans were apparently disappointed when Hirokazu Sawamura was named MVP of the game on Friday.  Sawamura was unsure if he deserved the award and wondered if fan reaction would have been better if Itoi had gotten it instead.  Source: Daily Sports 7/20/2013
  • Akihito Fujii was Tony Blanco's home run derby pitcher on Friday.  Source: Daily Sports 7/20/2013
  • Shintaro Fujinami was able to play catch with Iwase and Miura during pre-game workouts on Friday.  Source: Daily Sports 7/20/2013
  • Wladimir Balentien is sporting a special All-Star-themed haircut (he got it cut on the 18th).  Source: Sanspo 7/20/2013
  • Atsushi Nomi is scheduled to start Game 3 for the Central League.  Source: Daily Sports 7/19/2013
  • Sho Nakata is wearing black cleats with gold accents.  Source: Nikkan Sports 7/19/2013
  • Morimichi Takagi is planning to drive to Tokyo after Game 3 at Iwaki Green Stadium in Fukushima and take the Shinkansen to Nagoya on the following day.  However, depending on how he is feeling, he might just drive all the way back to Nagoya.  Fukushima is about 540 kilometers away from Nagoya.  Source: Nikkan Sports 7/19/2013

Notes from Game 1:

  • Hirokazu Sawamura was the first Yomiuri pitcher to be named an MVP since Suguru Egawa in 1984 (Game 3) and the first pitcher to win an MVP without getting a win since Yutaka Enatsu in 1980 (Game 3).
  • Shohei Otani was: the twelfth rookie out of high school to pitch in an All-Star game, first since Masahiro Tanaka in 2007 (Game 2); the eighth rookie out of high school to hold the opposition to zero runs in his first All-Star appearance, first since Yutaka Enatsu in 1967 (Game 1); fourth rookie out of high school to pitch and hit in the same All-Star game and first to get two trips to the plate; and joined Ichiro Suzuki (1996, Game 2, from right field to the mound) as the only two players in NPB All-Star history to play in a game as both a pitcher and a position player and first to go from pitcher to position player in the same game.
  • Tsuyoshi Nishioka was the seventy-eighty player in NPB history to record All-Star appearances in either league.
  • Tadahito Iguchi grounded into the twenty-seventh pinch-hit double play during an All-Star game.
  • Masahiro Tanaka was the fourteenth starting pitcher to throw two or more perfect innings during an All-Star game, first since Kenta Maeda tossed two perfect innings during Game 1 of the 2010 All-Star Series.
  • It was the tenth time in NPB All-Star history that a game ended in a tie, first since Game 2 of the 2010 All-Star Series (5-5).
  • It was the nineteenth time in NPB All-Star history that a game ended with no home runs, first since Game 1 of the 1997 All-Star Series.
  • It was the first time in NPB All-Star history that a game ended in a tie with neither team recording a home run.

Source: Sponichi 7/20/2013Sponichi 7/20/2013, Sponichi 7/20/2013, Sponichi 7/20/2013, Nikkan Sports 7/20/2013

===

Sponichi has posted a portion of an interview with Otani:

You tossed a bullpen session with [Yusei] Kikuchi.

It felt strange.  I never thought of being in that kind of situation so it felt very new.

You played left field while Kikuchi pitched.

I did not think we would ever play on the same team.  Getting this opportunity to play defense behind him was a good experience for me.

What was the environment like in the dugout?

Everyone was great.  I did not feel uncomfortable and it was a good learning experience.

On Game 2 on the twentieth.

I heard that other 2012 draft class players will be making appearances on the mound so I am really looking forward to that.  I will do my best to hit them.  I think I will be a position player, so hopefully I can do what I can while learning some things on defense and in the base paths.

Source: Sponichi 7/20/2013