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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

2014 Suzuki All-Star Series: MLB Vs Samurai Japan

Perhaps it was "jet-lag" after all.


The MLB All-Stars are actually scheduled to play a total of seven games in Japan - it gets weird here.

1) Game 1 - or 1st Exhibition Game. On November 11, 2014, the MLB All-Star team played a joint team of Hanshin Tigers/Yomiuri Giants team - in an exhibition game at Hanshin Koshien Stadium - a game won 8-7 by the MLBers.

Hmmm… what happened to the jet-lag?

I should note that this game was also considered the Japanese Professional Baseball 80th Anniversary game. This game has no bearing on the 2014 Suzuki All-Star Series.

2) Game 2, or Game 1 of the 2014 Suzuki All-Star Series was played November 12, 2014 at Kyocera Dome Osaka, with the Japanese emerging victorious 2-0. This is the first game of the official 2014 Suzuki All-Star Series. Japan leads the series 1-0.

3) Game 3, or Game 2 of the 2014 Suzuki All-Star Series was played November 14, 2014 at Tokyo Dome, between the Samurai Japan and MLB All-Stars. Japan won 8-4. Japan leads the series 2-0.

4) Game 4, or Game 3 of the 2014 Suzuki All-Star Series was played November 15, 2014 at Tokyo Dome, between the Samurai Japan and MLB All-Stars. Japan won 4-0. It was a no-hitter for the Samurai Japan. Japan leads the series 3-0.

5) Game 5, or Game 4 of the 2014 Suzuki All-Star Series was played November 16, 2014 at Tokyo Dome, between the Samurai Japan and MLB All-Stars. MLB won 6-1. Japan leads the series 3-1.

6) Game 6, or Game 5 of the 2014 Suzuki All-Star Series was played November 18, 2014 at Tokyo Dome, between the Samurai Japan and MLB All-Stars. MLB won again! WTF Japan? MLB 3 - Japan 1. Japan leads the series 3-2.

7) Game 7, or 2nd Exhibition Game… to be played at Okinawa Cellular Stadium in Naha on November 20, 2014. It's still the Samurai Japan Japan versus MLB All-Stars… unlike that first exhibition game… but this one IS an exhibition. It does not count in the over all battle for the 2014 Suzuki All-Star Series… which, if you were keeping track, the MLB All-Stars have already lost… in fact… they lost it after the first three games of the series…

Sigh.

(L-R): Los Angeles Dodgers OF Yasiel Puig; Boston Red Sox (boo!) manager John Farrell, 2B Robinson Cano of the Seattle Mariners; and Mariners P Iwakuma Hisashi (surname first) took part in the 2014 Suzuki All-Star Series welcome party ceremony.
Hmmm...you can tell from the caption above that I seem to have some distaste for the Boston Red Sox. As a Toronto sports fan, perhaps it would help if you knew that I have a lot of distaste for all Boston teams (New England Patriots and Celtics and Bruins and Red Sox). You guys need to trade Babe Ruth again. And Bobby Orr.

Anyhow… the series did have some interesting rules: 28-man roster, Designated Hitter allowed; four umpires - two from MLB, to from NPB (Japan).

Pitcher use limitations:
A pitcher may not throw more than 80 pitches per game. However, if the pitcher exceeds the limits while facing a batter, he (or she) is able to complete the batter's plate appearance. If a pitcher throws more than 50 pitches, he (I know there's no she) must have four days of rest before being able to throw in another game. If a pitcher throws more than 30 pitches or throws for two consecutive games, he must have one day of rest before being able to throw in another game. This rule does not apply for the anniversary game or the exhibition game - and pitchers are available to blow their arms out as required.

Extra Innings: If the game is tied after the 10th inning, the game will go into a tiebreak in which the inning will begin with runners on first and second base.

Okay... this sounds cool....

The next batter up continuing from the previous inning shall bat and the two preceding batters from the previous inning will be on first and second. The game will end as a draw if both teams are tied after the 12th inning (the prize money will be halved). The anniversary game and exhibition game will not go into extra innings and end as a draw if tied after the 9th inning. That means it's nine-inning or bust for those two games.

Ball used: Rawlings Baseball - the same as the one used in the 2013 WBC. Leftovers? Or is it the same tattered ball?

The Rawlings baseballs are a safe bet... a far better choice than the Japanese balls - see HERE for an article on Japan's recent baseball scandal! And HERE for another! It's about baseBALLS! 

During the anniversary game on November 11, while the joint team of Hanshin Tigers/Yomiuri Giants are fielding, the official NPB ball was used. But apparently not while the Japanese were hitting. I'm unsure if that was just a misinterpretation of the original Japanese... perhaps this official NPB ball was used for the entire game.

Total prize money: ¥100-million (US$856,000 or domo arigato, Japan) - which is divided up as ¥50-million (US$428,000) to the winner of the series and ¥10 million (US$85,000) to the winner of each game between game 1 to game 5).

Ahhh… so it was worthwhile for MLB to have won the past two games. They got ¥20-million for their two wins. That's about $171,000 - when divided up between the 28 players - that's $6,1000 (¥712,756.90)
each - which pays for a night out with the prostitutes - plus sake! Good sake! - Oh yeah… we might have to divide that amongst the coaches… and maybe the umpires… do they get a cut? Nobody ever invites the bench coach out for booze and prostitutes.

Kidding. I'm sure everyone gets all the prostitutes they want.

Kidding.

Anyhow… the 2014 Suzuki All-Star Series marks the first time since 2006 that MLB players have played in Japan. It is also the 36th time a team of MLB players has toured Japan dating back to 1908. I'm pretty sure there aren't any of the original Japanese prostitutes left alive from that tour… but it is Japan where there are a lot of centurions.

Sorry… kidding… Hopefully everyone had a great time in Japan - and everyone donated the money to charity. Hopefully. Hey… it's not like the salaries were in 1908.

Check your listings if you get MLB.TV or MLB Network - you can at least see the last game.

Kanpai,
Andrew Joseph

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