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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Japan Baseball All-Stars No-Hit MLB All-Stars

If it's November and the regular baseball season is over and done with, it must be time for professional ball players in North America to head over to Japan in a cash grab, er... I mean to challenge the Japanese players in a series of exhibition games called the 2014 Suzuki All Star Series.

It's not going that well for the MLB (Major League Baseball) team - having played three games and losing all three - the last one after being the victims in a no-hitter by a combined four-pitcher battery for Japan - losing 4-0.

(Pictured above) Norimoto Takahiro (surname first), who went went 14W-10L with a 3.02 ERA (earned run average over nine innings) for the Rakuten Eagles this season, pitched in Game 3, struck out six MLBers in five perfect innings before allowing his bullpen to close the door the rest of the four innings for the no-hitter.

All in all, the Japan All-Stars allowed three walks and a hit batsman while shutting down a potent squad of MLB hitters who have been left rather impotent since arriving in Japan.

"It's too good to be true," Norimoto says. "I wanted to see how my pitches would work against MLB hitters. The fact that my teammate (Motohiro) Shima was catching made me feel at ease and I was able to perform as usual. The atmosphere at the park was really nice. It was the best outing of my career."

Sakamoto Hayato and Nakata Sho (surnames first) both hit two-run home runs off MLB starter Jeremy Guthrie of the Kansas City Royals. Sakamoto hit his in the second inning, while Nakata went deep in the third. Guthrie picked up the loss after giving up four runs on five hits in five innings.

"The story tonight was in the hit column with a zero on it," MLB All Star manager John Farrell explains. "Norimoto was outstanding. He was very efficient. He has a powerful fastball and very good late action to go with his split, his slider and cutter."

No idea why Farrell is tagged with managing the MLB squad - his Boston Red Sox went an embarrassing 71W - 91L to finish last in the American League East, just one year after winning the so-called World Series in 2013. Red Sox suck.

The MLB All-Stars have lost the first three games of this five-game set, with Game 4 set for Sunday.

Seattle Mariners star Robinson Cano left Game 3 after being hit by a pitch on his right foot in the seventh inning - he has a broken toe which will inconvenience him for 3-4 weeks.

The MLB All-Stars won an exhibition game 8-7 before the start of the series but have scored just four runs over the first three games of the series.

An exhibition game? WTF??!! It's all an exhibition. Why waste time with a warm-up game? The games do not themselves imply any sort of baseball supremacy amongst the nations.

The Japan baseball all-stars have taken to calling themselves the Samurai Japan.

Yes... Japan still loves its historical connection with its long disbanded warrior past... never mind that despite being outlawed in 1868 it was still nearly a century before that since any samurai actually fought a battle. And when they... it was against other Japanese samurai.

Strangely enough... anytime any Japanese sporting event is played against another country - the term 'samurai' will be dragged out by PR firms and the media alike.

While I admire the whole samurai bushido code of 'death before dishonor' that was appropriated by the US Marine Corps (Semper Fidelis - always faithful) - really - ain't nobody dying should Japan actually lose a game in any sport.

Sigh... if you are a baseball fan, you will also know that November is still a time when your kid is at a training camp learning some good baseball instruction. That's how I spent my Saturday.

Game 4 is at the Tokyo Dome @ 6PM, with the final Game 5 scheduled for Tuesday, November 18 @ 7PM at the Sapporo Dome.

If you are in the area(s): Ticket Info: HERE.

Andrew Joseph

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