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Coming soon, Tom K. Ryan presents the Tumbleweeds League
2007-01-23 23:00
by Bob Timmermann

The Daily Yomiuri has the story of a new professional league in Japan, called the Hokushinetsu Baseball Challenge League, a four team circuit in a part of Japan not covered by NPB. Its official page is in Japanese however.

A notable Japanese cartoonist Shinji Mizushima is one of the league's backers.

During the baseball season, Mizushima regularly sits down to work from 4:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and then watches baseball games at night. He also owns an amateur baseball team and played 110 games in his spare time last year.

His comic series "Dokaben," a story of high school baseball and pro baseball, and "Abu-san," which depicts a fictitious character from Niigata who plays for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, have run for more than 30 years.He also has a wide circle of friends in the baseball community, including Hawks skipper Sadaharu Oh and Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles manager Katsuya Nomura.

"Baseball is everything in my life. It's the way I live my life," Mizushima said.

An example of Mizushima's work.

But what's next?

A Marmaduke league which consists of just one team called the Great Danes that just plays the same game over and over and over?

A Blondie league where the players fall out of their chairs in the clubhouse when the manager yells at them and all the fans try to eat oversized sandwiches?

A For Better or For Worse League where all the teams are based in Canada and have oversized dogs as mascots?

A Drabble League where the players get dumber and dumber throughout time?

2007-01-23 23:21:24
1.   Greg Brock
How about a Cathy league where the players just complain about their weight over and over

and over and over...

2007-01-24 02:06:07
2.   xaphor
I thought the Dilbert league was in full swing featuring Selig as the clueless self-serving pointy haired boss, Loria as Wally the man who takes pride in doing as little as possible, Beane as Catbert easily taking advantage of his half-wit companions and finally the Cubs as Dilbert the lovable looser who will never break the curse of the curled up tie. With special cameo appearances of Bush jr. as Ratbert. :)
2007-01-24 08:12:23
3.   El Lay Dave
A Downstown league. At the conclusion of the season, the players gather in the infield grass and are sucked through a hole in the pitcher's mound into an undefined netherworld.
2007-01-24 08:59:49
4.   Chyll Will
Of course you know that all of this will eventually lead to Calvinball...
2007-01-24 09:58:17
5.   scareduck
The B.C. league. Players use stone bats and balls, and occaisionally spout off about orthogonal Christian topics.
2007-01-24 13:48:48
6.   Deanna
I'm not a manga/anime fan much at all, but Dokaben is awesome. I read a few of the pro yakyu series and it was actually fairly funny. Check out how Ichiro looked in the comic (from around '95):

Personally, I think these new independent leagues are really cool and offer more room for player development in Japan, which the current farm team system is drastically lacking. Two guys were drafted out of the Shikoku League in this year's industrial/collegiate draft, too -- so maybe we'll see a couple of guys coming out of the Hokushinetsu league too in a few years.

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