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A tour through the Champuru League
2007-02-20 21:21
by Bob Timmermann

Paul White of USA Today is blogging a trip through Japan visiting spring (and winter) training sites in Okinawa and other parts of Japan.

The linked entry is to White's stop in Nago City where the defending Japan Series champion Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters train. White spoke to Fighters manager Trey Hillman about the Japanese media portrays the Fighters success stemming from Hillman's willingness to bunt more and play for one run.

"Give me a break," he said, more in exasperation than anger, as if he's heard this one more than a few times from the large and opinionated media contingent that covers every team in Japan. "We scored the same amount of runs per nine innings the year before when we weren't bunting as much. We bunted hardly at all then because we didn't have the pitching staff to play for one run. Last year, we also had the best ERA in the league. I can bang my head against the wall with the media, but I just ask them, "Be fair, look at the big picture."

White is definitely going off the beaten path in Japan and going to cities far less visited by American tourists like me.

2007-02-21 09:26:17
1.   bhsportsguy
I thought this was a perfect story for The Griddle.

2007-02-21 09:43:05
2.   Bob Timmermann
You mean like this?

2007-02-21 15:04:33
3.   Deanna
Ah, come on, most American tourists don't tend to go to Sendai, for example. And I still haven't been to Sapporo, and you have!

One of my fellow Mariners bloggers is spending a year in Okinawa right now (about a mile from Nago), and it sounds like there's actually a fair amount of Americans in the area -- but most are working or in the military rather than tourists. Though to be fair, someone visiting with a USA Today press pass is also working, not a tourist, I'd say.

Also, how on earth anyone can think Yu Darvish is like Bronson Arroyo is completely beyond me.

2007-02-21 15:44:06
4.   Bob Timmermann
Sendai is one rainy city.

At least judging by the three days I was there.

2007-02-21 19:59:43
5.   Deanna
Weird, you had the exact opposite experience I did - the day I spent in Sendai was beautiful, sunny, and gorgeous (and I'm not just talking about Kazumi Saitoh). Sometime you should take a look at my Japan baseball trip pictures, since I'm finally done with them for the most part... although I'm pretty sure I didn't go anywhere that you didn't.

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