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Extra! Extra! OUCH!
2006-03-22 13:08
by Bob Timmermann

The online English version of the Daily Mainichi has this less than harrowing account of people getting hurt in Japan rushing to buy extra editions of newspapers with stories about Japan's win in the WBC.

A fortune-teller who had set up a booth near the scene saw what happened. He said about 50 to 60 people rushed at newspaper company employees handing out the Extras and people fought to get a copy.

The fortune-teller said he could hear screams of "Cut it out," "Ouch" and "Stop pushing."

Oh! The humanity! (No one was seriously hurt.)

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro threw a parade for the Cuban team. The story is in Spanish, but it's interesting that they use Jeeps to show off the team.

And the WBC will most likely return in 2009, according to this report in the Wall Street Journal because it turned a profit of $10-15 million.

2006-03-22 13:22:18
1.   Sam DC
Am I the only who thinks Jason Stark's plan to split the tournament up and play the semis and finals months after the first rounds (and to shrink those and add a bye or however he proposes it) is nuts? I really don't see people caring much about the WBC in the middle of a crowded baseball season/allstar break, without any of the tournament drama to build up and draw them in.

My proposal -- hold it in February between the Superbowl and March Madness -- in warm places and have a proper national team of folks willing to give up significant offseason time to train up for it.

2006-03-22 13:30:44
2.   Shaun P
I too think Stark's plan is nuts. I'd endorse starting Team USA's training camp much earlier, say in early February, especially for the hitters. I'd also endorse starting the WBC earlier, but still in March. I suppose if you make the same consessions to the Asian teams as this year, they could start playing in late Feb.
2006-03-22 13:35:19
3.   Bob Timmermann
Selig didn't seem to like the idea of moving the WBC into the summer either. At least not for now. There will likely be different venues in 2009 with games in Cuba and more in Asia.
2006-03-22 14:54:06
4.   joejoejoe
"Cut it out," "Ouch" and "Stop pushing."

That is actually a huge display for the very orderly Japanese society. Novelist Haruki Murakami wrote a non-fiction book, 'Underground', about the sarin gas attack on Tokyo's subway. Even as deadly poison swept through the area people tried to go about their business as usual.

From 'Underground' by Murakami (an interview with a passenger):
"In the midst of all this, a colleague from work passed by. He helped me rescue the girl from the clutches of the media. Then he suggested we walk to the office together, so I thought, "Okay, we'll walk to work." It takes about thirty minutes on foot from Kasumigaseki to my office. As I was walking, I found it a bit hard to breathe, but not so bad that I had to sit down and rest. I was able to walk.

When we got to the office, my boss had seen me on TV, and everyone was asking, "Ms. Izumi, are you really okay?" It was already ten o'clock by the time I got to the office. My boss said, "How about resting a bit? You shouldn't tax yourself," but I still didn't really understand what had happened, so I just got on with my work. After a while a message came from Personnel: "Seems it was poison gas, so if you start to feel ill you're to report to the hospital immediately." And just about then my condition was getting worse. So they put me in an ambulance at the Kamiyacho intersection and took me to Azabu Hospital, a small place not far away."

So the pushing for the WBC papers was a big deal.

2006-03-22 15:01:34
5.   Bob Timmermann
I still think it's more likely they said "itai!" than "ouch!"
2006-03-22 16:13:59
6.   tmurase
4. Well, when euphoria strikes, order breaks down. There are annual "prize bag" sales held at many Japanese department stores, where a bag could hold some stuff that the store couldn't sell (e.g. stuff no one wanted to buy) or something really valuable. I'm told such sales are madhouse scenes, as crowds swarm over the the bags piled up on tables in the store.

I propose that a new rule be instituted for the next WBC: Just as with pitch count limits, umpires should be limited to creating only 1 international incident during the tournament. We'll call this the "Davidson rule".

2006-03-22 17:37:51
7.   Spaceman Spiff
5. Good guess, Bob. If you look at the original article in Japanese, the vendor overheard, "Yamete" and "Itai, osanaide".

That translates to "Stop it" and "It hurts, don't push".

The English translation changed it into three quotes, which changes the nuance.

When I was in Japan in the late 80s, I was amazed at how small the bubble of personal space was, relative to the US.

2006-03-22 18:45:55
8.   Bob Timmermann
I just know "Itai!" from cartoons.

One thing I realized in Japan is that people there rarely if ever apologize for bumping into you. Because they do it all the time. So if they kept apologizing, they would never get anything done.

Then Americans go to visit and we bump into people and keep saying "Sumimasen" over and over again and get strange looks.

Then again I'm 6'5" so I get strange looks in Japan all the time.

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