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[8/6/2015] Second promotional video for 2020 Olympics released

by on Aug.07, 2015 @ 3:12 am, under International
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A new Ring of Catchball promotional video for the 2020 Olympics was released on August 5. The video features new footage mixed with material from the first release. The video will be played at baseball and softball stadiums across Japan, beginning on August 6. Interested fans can also mix their own videos using the official Ring of Catchball website and Twitter.

2m39s version

1m31s version

Source: official announcement

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The World Baseball Softball Confederation believes ticket sales could reach up to forty-five million dollars if baseball and softball return to the Olympics in 2020. The estimate is based on a total attendance of up to 600,000 (combined baseball and softball) with tickets at seventy-five dollars a pop.

Source: Sponichi 8/6/2015

[06/22/2015] Baseball and softball shortlisted for Tokyo 2020 Olympics

by on Jun.22, 2015 @ 6:50 pm, under International
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From a news update at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics website:

The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee today announced it has shortlisted eight IOC-recognised International Federations (IFs) proposing events to be considered for inclusion at the Games of the XXXII Olympiad (Tokyo 2020).

The eight shortlisted IFs are (sport alphabetical order):
 1. World Baseball Softball Confederation – WBSC
 2. World Bowling - WB
 3. World Karate Federation - WKF
 4. International Roller Sports Federation – FIRS
 5. International Federation of Sport Climbing - IFSC
 6. World Squash Federation - WSF
 7. International Surfing Association - ISA
 8. International Wushu Federation – IWUF

Source: official announcement

[3/19/2015] Promotional Video for 2020 Olympics Unveiled

by on Mar.20, 2015 @ 3:46 am, under International
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A promotional video for the return of baseball and softball at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was unveiled on March 19. There are ten versions of varying length between fifteen and eighty-five seconds. The videos will be shown during the Spring Koshien that begins on March 21. The videos will also be shown during baseball and softball games during the season.

Source: Sponichi 3/19/2015, Ring of Catchball

[11/21/2013] Softball and Baseball still a possibility for the 2020 Olympics

by on Nov.21, 2013 @ 4:57 pm, under International
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International Olympic Commitee (IOC) President Thomas Bach met Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan on Wednesday.  In speaking to reporters, he said baseball and softball still had a chance of being included in the 2020 Olympics and that there was a need for more flexibility in the rules.

From an AP report:

... "This will be under discussion," Bach said at a news conference. "We will have the first broad discussion in December in a meeting of the executive board of the IOC, then the executive board will present its first discussion paper to the IOC session in Sochi."

... "I am open for more flexibility in the Olympic program," said Bach, who was elected president in September to succeed Jacques Rogge. "But first we have to see what the rest of my colleagues in the IOC think."

For more, see the AP report here.

Source: Olympic.org 11/20/2013

[9/9/2013] Baseball-Softball fails in its bid to return to the Olympics

by on Sep.09, 2013 @ 3:15 pm, under International
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From Reuters:

Baseball and softball have vowed to make another pitch to be readmitted to the Olympics after striking out on Sunday.

... The odds were stacked against baseball and softball winning the vote. Wrestling was only kicked off the Olympic programme seven months ago, but immediately introduced a raft of reforms to win back its place.

... The IOC have never specified exactly why the sports were dropped, the most commonly cited reasons are baseball's refusal to comply with all the World Anti-Doping Agency rules and the absence of Major League Baseball players from the Olympics.

Source: Reuters 9/8/2013

From The Globe and Mail:

... Wrestling received 49 votes, compared with 24 for baseball/softball and 22 for squash in voting by delegates of the Olympic committee. The vote guaranteed that freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling would be contested at least through the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo and the 2024 Olympics, which have yet to be awarded.

... Softball apparently could not convince the IOC of its universal appeal. The United States, Japan and Australia won 11 of the 12 available medals in the four Games in which the sport was contested.

... But there is still a chance that both baseball/softball and squash could be voted into the 2020 games in Tokyo, where baseball is hugely popular and stadiums are in place.

Source: The Globe and Mail 9/8/2013

From NBC Sports:

... There have been reported scenarios that baseball-softball or squash could still get into the 2020 Olympics, by changing the Olympic Charter, the maximum number of sports (28) and cutting events within current Olympic sports to get under the maximum number of athletes (10,500).

... Baseball-softball’s highlight included a video that softball leader Don Porter pledged included full support of all professional leagues around the world. Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig appeared in the video but made no mention of MLB players committing to playing in the Olympics. That has been an issue the last few months.

... Baseball-softball played four videos in all, accompanied by music from the likes of Nicki Minaj and Christina Aguilera. WBSC co-president Porter welled up talking about the oft-reported story of the hundreds of letters on his desk, 511 he said, from girls who are aspiring softball players.

Source: NBC Sports 9/8/2013

[6/5/2013] Norichika Aoki, Ichiro Suzuki, Munenori Kawasaki, Daisuke Matsuzaka

by on Jun.05, 2013 @ 4:58 pm, under MLB
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From June 4:

Hitters

Player Tm Game Pos AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG Other
Norichika Aoki MIL OAK 3 @ MIL 4 RF 4 1 1 0 0 0 1 .294 Batted lead-off. F8, G6 (force), G3, 1B8 (R), HBP. Extended hitting streak to five games (6-for-22). ... One hit away from 1,500 NPB (1,284) + MLB (215) hits.
Munenori Kawasaki TOR TOR 1 @ SFN 2 SS 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .214 Batted eighth. F8, G3. Replaced by pinch-hitter Rajai Davis in the top of the 8th.
Hiroyuki Nakajima OAK DNP                    
Hirotoshi Onaka TEX DNP                    
Ichiro Suzuki NYY CLE 3 @ NYY 4 CF/RF 3 1 1 1 0 1 2 .262 Batted lead-off. G4, 1B7 (RBI, R), Ks, SH (E5). Move from center to right in the top of the 7th. His single in the 3rd tied him with Ted Williams on the all-time hits list with 2,654. Has hit safely in five straight (6-for-15).
Kensuke Tanaka SF LVG 6 @ FRE 5 2B 2 1 2 2 0 0   .313 Batted lead-off. 1B6-8, SF9 (RBI), 1B9 (R), SF7 (RBI).

Pitchers

Player Tm Game NP-S BF IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA Other
Yu Darvish TEX DNP                     Next start: June 8 vs Blue Jays.
Kyuji Fujikawa CHC DNP                      
Hisashi Iwakuma SEA DNP                     Next start: June 5 vs White Sox.
Hiroki Kuroda NYY DNP                     Next start: June 7 vs Mariners. [Nikkan Sports 6/5/2013]
Daisuke Matsuzaka CLE DNP                     The latest on Matsuzaka, from The Columbus Dispatch's Jim Massie: Daisuke Matsuzaka (oblique strain) got on the mound for a third bullpen session today. He will pitch a simulated game on Friday in Toledo and is a week to 10 days from coming off the disabled list. [Columbus Dispatch 6/4/2013] ... Tossed fifty pitches in the bullpen on the 4th. [Nikkan Sports 6/5/2013]
Toru Murata CLE DNP                      
Hideki Okajima OAK DNP                      
Hisanori Takahashi CHC DNP                      
Yoshinori Tateyama TEX DNP                      
Junichi Tazawa BOS DNP                      
Koji Uehara BOS DNP                      
Tsuyoshi Wada BAL DNP                      

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Olympics News and Notes

The Baseball Federation of Japan (BFJ) and the Japan Softball Association (JSA) have their sights set on obtaining 5,000,000 signatures (total population of people either playing softball or baseball in Japan) to help get baseball back into the Olympics.

Source: Nikkan Sports 6/5/2013

The NPB is open to provide the BFJ and JSA with whatever support it can, however, nothing can be guaranteed until they know the full details and have had a chance to discuss things with the twelve NPB teams.

Source: Daily Sports 6/5/2013, Sponichi 6/5/2013

[5/31/2013] Hideki Okajima, Junichi Tazawa, Ichiro Suzuki, Hideki Matsui

by on May.31, 2013 @ 4:34 pm, under MLB
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From May 30:

Hitters

Player Tm Game Pos AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG Other
Norichika Aoki MIL DNP                    
Munenori Kawasaki TOR DNP                    
Hiroyuki Nakajima OAK DNP                    
Hirotoshi Onaka TEX DNP                    
Ichiro Suzuki NYY NYM 3 @ NYY 1 PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .250 Ichiro entered the game as a pinch-hitter for Austin Romine in the bottom of the 8th and popped out to the catcher in foul territory. He did not remain in the game on defense in the 9th.
Kensuke Tanaka SF FRE 10 @ TUC 2 2B 5 0 1 0 0 0   .310 Batted lead-off. G4, F7, F8, 2B8, G4. Committed two errors (12): fielding error in the bottom of the 3rd, throwing error in the bottom of the 7th.

Pitchers

Player Tm Game NP-S BF IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA Other
Yu Darvish TEX DNP                     Next start: June 2 vs Royals.
Kyuji Fujikawa CHC DNP                     Was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.
Hisashi Iwakuma SEA DNP                     Next start: May 31 vs Twins.
Hiroki Kuroda NYY DNP                     Next start: June 2 vs Red Sox.
Daisuke Matsuzaka CLE DNP                      
Toru Murata CLE DNP                      
Hideki Okajima OAK OAK 2 @ SFN 5 6-3 2 0.1 1 0 0 0 0 0 3.38 Entered the game in the bottom of the 6th with runners on first and second, two out, and Oakland down 2-1. Allowed both inherited runners to score on a double before getting out of the inning. (WP 1).
Hisanori Takahashi CHC IOW 1 @ NAS 6 5-4 1 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3.52 Entered the game in the bottom of the 7th with a runner on first, two out, and Iowa down 6-0.
Yoshinori Tateyama TEX DNP                      
Junichi Tazawa BOS BOS 9 @ PHI 2 16-15 4 1.0 1 0 0 0 2 0 2.70 Entered the game in the bottom of the 8th with Boston up 6-2.
Koji Uehara BOS DNP                      
Tsuyoshi Wada BAL DNP                      

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July 28 will be Hideki Matsui Day at Yankee Stadium. From press release:

Matsui will sign a one-day minor league contract with the Yankees on July 28 in order to announce his official retirement that day as a New York Yankee. His parents are also expected to be in attendance at the game.

Additionally, on July 28, the Yankees will hold a special pregame homeplate ceremony for Matsui, and the first 18,000 Guests at the game will receive a Hideki Matsui bobblehead presented by AT&T - which portrays the slugger with his 2009 World Series MVP trophy.

[official announcement 5/30/2013]

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Eri Yoshida left for Hawaii out of Haneda Airport on Thursday.  She reportedly signed a deal with the Na Koa Ikaika Maui.   [Sponichi 5/31/2013]

===

Olympics Notes

  • Wrestling, Baseball/Softball and Squash made the shortlist for the 2020 Olympics.
  • Current proposal includes separate men's baseball and women's softball tournaments.  Tournaments will last six days and take place back-to-back.  Eight teams will participate in each tournament.  Changes to make the sport more appealing include shortening games to seven innings (better for TV) and playing both tournaments in the same stadium (decrease in costs).
  • Senichi Hoshino feels baseball should do whatever is necessary to make it back into the Olympics.  That includes the new proposal of seven innings games, as well as more radical changes like two outs an inning or three balls for a walk (the idea is that the Majors will be more likely to support the Olympic movement if players are put through less strain).  The biggest thing is to get the sport back into the Olympics.  [Daily Sports 5/31/2013]
  • It should be noted that Bud Selig re-stated that MLB would not pause the schedule to allow players to participate in the Olympics.  [USA Today 5/29/2013]
  • The Baseball Federation of Japan and the Japan Softball Association would like to bring Hideki Matsui on board to help with lobbying efforts.  [Daily Sports 5/31/2013]

[4/27/2013] Norichika Aoki, Ichiro Suzuki, Kensuke Tanaka, Hiroyuki Nakajima

by on Apr.27, 2013 @ 2:39 pm, under MLB
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

From April 26:

Hitters

Player Tm Game Pos AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG Other
Norichika Aoki MIL MIL 5 @ LAD 7 RF 4 0 1 1 1 0 2 .259 Batted lead-off. BB, G6, G4, 1B8 (RBI, CS), G5.
Hiroyuki Nakajima OAK DL                   Played in an extended spring training game on Friday. Started at short and batted second. Hit a single to left in his first at bat and grounded out to short in his second at bat. Was replaced on defense in the 5th. [Sponichi 4/27/2013]
Munenori Kawasaki TOR TOR 4 @ NYY 6 SS 3 1 0 0 0 1 2 .216 Batted ninth. HBP (R), L5, F9, Ks.
Ichiro Suzuki NYY TOR 4 @ NYY 6 RF 3 0 1 0 1 2 3 .243 Batted sixth. 1B5, Ks, Kl, IBB. ... Four-game hitting streak (6-for-15).
Kensuke Tanaka SF FRE 9 @ REN 8 2B 5 2 4 2 0 0   .392 Batted lead-off. G6, 2B7 (R), 1B6 (CS), 3B7 (RBI, R), 1B9 (RBI, CS). ... Fourth straight multi-hit game (11-for18).

Pitchers

Player Tm Game NP-S BF IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA Other
Yu Darvish TEX DNP                     An interesting Darvish overlay gif that has been making the rounds, created by Drew Sheppard.
Kyuji Fujikawa CHC DL                     Played catch at a max distance of about fifty meters on Friday. Also tossed a bullpen session for the first time since he was placed on the DL-- twenty-five pitches, all fastballs, had someone stand in the batter's box for the last three pitches. [Sponichi 4/27/2013]
Hisashi Iwakuma SEA DNP                      
Hiroki Kuroda NYY DNP                      
Daisuke Matsuzaka CLE DNP                      
Hideki Okajima OAK DNP                      
Hisanori Takahashi CHC IOW 4 @ OMA 5 11-9 4 1.0 1 1 1 0 1 1 3.86 Entered the game in the bottom of the 7th, with the score tied at two.
Yoshinori Tateyama TEX DNP                      
Junichi Tazawa BOS HOU 3 @ BOS 7 8-7 3 0.2 1 0 0 0 1 0 1.59 Entered the game in the 7th with runners on first and third, one out, and Boston up 6-2.
Koji Uehara BOS HOU 3 @ BOS 7 17-14 4 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1.86 Entered the game in the 8th with Boston up 6-3.
Tsuyoshi Wada BAL DL                      

===

Bud Selig will not temporarily pause the season in August for the Olympics. From an AP report:

... "Look, we can't stop our season in August. We just can't," baseball Commissioner Bud Selig told the Associated Press Sports Editors on Thursday. "You can't say to your fans: `We'll see you in the next period of time. Your club loses some players but yours doesn't."

... Some have suggested major leaguers could play in the Olympics during an extended All-Star break. Selig was clear that MLB's schedule will not be interrupted, and that weather made an earlier start or later ending impossible.

He also mentions hope for a "true World Series."

[4/8/2013] NPB meetings, home run totals, 2020 Olympics

by on Apr.08, 2013 @ 11:50 pm, under NPB
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The Central League held their usual board of directors meeting today in Tokyo and decided that all six teams will wear caps with the league slogan (セが制す! The Central League will beat them down!) during Inter-league play.

Source: Sponichi 4/8/2013

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The NPB held two meetings in Tokyo today.  The following issues were discussed:

  • The NPB and amateur organizations are in the midst of creating a new system that will allow former professional players to coach amateur players after they take a training course.  The NPB is hoping to supplement the course with a new training program.
  • A Samurai Japan team made up of NPB players will not play any international games in November.  Instead, the league approved the decision to allow teams competing at four amateur international tournaments later this year to wear the Samurai Japan uniform.
  • The CL would like to decrease the number of Inter-league games to eighteen.  The PL does not want any changes.

Source: Sponichi 4/8/2013, Mainichi Shimbun 4/8/2013, Jiji Press 4/8/2013

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Seventeen home runs were hit on Sunday (five games).  Before Sunday, August 25, 2010 was the last time seventeen home runs were hit in one day (six games).  Since the introduction of the new standard baseball: fourteen each on April 15, 2011 and May 3, 2011.

Last year, ten or more home runs were hit in one day nine times.  This year, there have already been three days of ten or more home runs: thirteen on April 5, ten on April 6, and seventeen on April 7.  This marked the first time ten or more home runs were hit each day over a span of three days since the introduction of the new ball.

The league is currently averaging about 1.39 home runs per game.  Over a year, that works out to about 1,199 home runs.  Home runs totals, beginning the year before the introduction of the new ball: 1,605 in 2010, 939 in 2011, and 881 in 2012.

Yakult Swallow Shinichi Takeuchi was quoted as saying the following: "Even when looking at footage from games, it seems like the ball is traveling more this year, compared to last year. ... It could be that everyone has finally gotten used to the new ball and is handling things better."

Source: Nikkan Sports 4/8/2013, Sanspo 4/8/2013, Sanspo 4/8/2013

UPDATE 4/9 @ 3:26pm - Sponichi notes that of the seventy-two home runs hit through the 8th, seventeen, or twenty-four percent, have been recorded by players that appeared in the WBC.  The same players hit just three home runs over the same period last year.  SP also notes that the 2011 season began in a similar way before dropping to lower levels.

Source: Sponichi 4/9/2013

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Shintaro Fujinami (Hanshin) and Shohei Otani (Nippon Ham) will appear in a video presentation at the next IBAF meeting in Japan on the 14th.  There were plans to use other players (retired/active), but the two youngsters were selected because they are considered two of the best of the next generation of candidates for the national team.

The IBAF and ISF is also planning to make a "major announcement regarding the bid for inclusion at the 2020 Olympic Games" on the 14th.  A new website (www.playball2020.com) will also open on the same day.

Source: Nikkan Sports 4/8/2013, IBAF 4/6/2013

IBAF considering seven inning baseball games for the Olympics

by on Dec.20, 2012 @ 2:43 pm, under International
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According a report published earlier today, the IBAF is considering changes to make baseball games more appealing to the International Olympic Committee, with a focus on making games better suited for TV broadcast.  Among the changes being considered: shortening games to seven innings and implementing tie-break rules for games that head into extra inning.

Source: Sponichi 12/20/2012