Month: December 2017

Walking away…

Walking away…

There has been a lot of re-evaluating in my life in recent times.  I began following kokoyakyu in 2005 because of the romanticism of it, and thought that it was worth sharing with the masses in general.

I knew the area was niche, even niche-r than following NPB. But I thought the idea of it was worth putting all my effort into.

But to be honest, the fruits of those efforts have not necessarily turned out to be as perhaps I thought it would be. The Ootani craze over the last couple of weeks somehow drove that home.

Combine that with (a) the fact that kokoyakyu for me has turned from romanticism to cynicism, and (b) there are others that perhaps are more social media savvy than I am and (c) there are other projects that I am working on that are making better headway it’s time I walked away covering kokoyakyu for the masses. I’ll still watch it, but the coverage I’ve done will for the most part disappear. The blog and the twitter handle will still exist, but it will just be things I find interesting.

If you’ve been following me, I’m sure you’ve found others who cover this in some ways that will do as good or better job than I. But I think much like Kajisha-kantoku above, it’s time to officially walk away publicly.

See you all from time to time.



An Open Letter to Ootani Shouhei


Congratulations on making it to the big leagues. You’re finally realizing your dream of playing at the highest level. It was something you were eyeing in your senior year at Hanamaki Higashi, and to be honest I even had a post saying you were as good as gone. But you followed the path of your senpai Kikuchi Yuusei and stayed in the NPB. Which is good because you were able to show that you were even then too good for that league. You proved that there was nothing left for the league to challenge you and now is the time to come to the states. And the fact that you’re foregoing a bunch of money now means that while money might matter, the idea of competing means much more.

The story goes that you’ve already started eliminating teams from your destination list. The questionnaire you sent is good. Allows you to figure out where you have the best chance to succeed. The bidding process leaves you at the whim of the highest bidding organization for better or worse.

To be honest, I don’t really have a reason to write this letter. Sure I’d like you to go to a particular team, but if it’s not a good fit for you, then it’s not a good fit. I’m sure there are factors you are building in for the future, such as teams that will help give you good numbers on both sides of the ball so that you can get that huge second contract that you’re foregoing – if that even matters.

I guess I’m writing this to wish you the best of luck. America is a different beast than Japan, and I’ve already heard stories of the collectors who were out to get your signature for $$ and then basically be racist behind your back. It comes with the territory here. People tend to be out for the almighty dollar, which is why some are incredulous (*ahem*Eric Byrnes*ahem*) that you’re just leaving money on the table. You’ll be shielded from that for the most part, or at least not exposed to that side of it, or perhaps you’ll limit that to begin with. Doesn’t matter, basically you’ll be able to negotiate whatever you want since whatever team gets you is getting you on the cheap. Leverage is such a nice thing.

Probably the biggest difficulty for you will be the fact that the team that gets you, even if it’s for peanuts compared to your value, their fans will expect the moon and the stars, and perhaps at this point the universe from you. You’re like the Holy Grail, the Excalibur and any other one of a kind item rolled up into one. You’re expected to be the panacea to whatever is ailing their favorite team. And if you don’t quickly live up to that, they’ll be disappointed.

Let them.

This is your journey, one that you’ve had in mind for now. Don’t care what anyone else thinks. Perhaps not knowing English in that case will be good (though I imagine some hecklers will still Google Translate some insults to give to you because Americans can be like that). Keep your head down and work on becoming the best you can be. That’s what you came here for.

So that’s it, no sales pitch, no “PLEASE COME TO ***** TEAM OMG WE NEED YOU NAO.”. I generally wish any Japanese player who comes to the states the best of luck (except when facing my team), because I want people to know that Japan isn’t just some AAAA farm team for the majors. It’s an uphill battle because people think America is the best thing since sliced bread, but whatever. I think you can succeed in some capacity here, even if two-ways doesn’t work for you. But ignore the nonsense here and get your shit done, because those of us who have followed you for a while know that you can.