31st Japanese American Association Foreign Minister Cup Nanshiki Baseball Tournament 2016

The nanshiki baseball team I play on, the Brooklyn Dumbos, is in the playoffs.
(Nanshiki means soft type. We use a sturdy rubber ball, not the conventional hardball.)
The first round (quarter final) is on Sunday, August 7 at 8 a.m. at Field 6 in North Meadow in Central Park (by subway: 96th St on the B or C; 96th St on the 6). We play last year's champions, the New York Radiators.
The games are 7 innings with a 2-hour time limit, so it's baseball with restrictions (due to limited field permit availability) but it's a pretty competitive league with some former pros, top division college players, and players who made it to Koshien, the high school tournament that is in many ways a bigger deal than pro ball in Japan.
If you enjoy baseball, please stop by!

The ball:

The Quarter Finals:

Photos, results and more at: http://jaabaseball.blogspot.com (mostly in Japanese) 


Zebra hits NYC


Zebra's at the Starbucks @ W16th St and 8th Ave.
He's sharing free portraits of Yankees and others.
He'll be there tomorrow, too, and at the Mets game Friday.

He'll be at Yankee Stadium around 4 p.m. 


Conversation between Sadaharu Oh and Akio Chiba (creator of ‘Captain’)

New Year’s Special Feature in the January 1978 issue of Monthly Shōnen Jump
Chiba: Mr. Oh, congratulations on hitting home run number 756. I was watching on TV, and I couldn’t help but jump up when it happened.
Oh: Thank you. I was able to hit it thanks to everyone’s support.
Chiba: After that home run, you raised your arms in a “banzai” celebration. You don’t usually express a lot of joy, even after hitting a home run.
Oh: That’s right. Our manager [Shigeo Nagashima], during his playing days, would express joy with his whole body after hitting a home run, but I just can’t do that. Kuni-san [Hitting Coach Akira Kunimatsu] always tells me: “The fans are happy for you, so you should gesture in response.” But... I’m just not a showman by nature.
Chiba: I think if you took even more time rounding the bases, that would be good... But you’re being exactly who you are, Mr. Oh, and I think that’s good.
Oh: If one tries too hard to make it look a certain way, wouldn’t that be strange? Regardless, with number 756, fans all over Japan were looking forward to it, and so were my teammates, so I wanted to do it as soon as possible. So when I actually did it,

Masahiro Tanaka comments on ‘Captain’

Captain shows you that effort pays off. This story is wonderful in the way it depicts the bond between teammates and the solidarity born from overcoming difficulty together. My favorite characters are Taniguchi and Igarashi. The team doesn't have many reserve players, so the further they progress in the tournament, the tougher things get for everyone. But they battle through it. That left a strong impression on me.”

Source: http://www.animax.co.jp/press/2011/110718-01

Ichiro talks about ‘Captain’

Back in elementary school, I was deeply moved by this graphic novel. It was all I thought about.

Interview and original text by Yūta Ishida
Published in Playboy (Japan), Vol. 37, No. 34, September 17, 2002, Shueisha

“Which manga moved you deeply? Ichiro answers without hesitating. He names a timeless masterpieceone about ordinary baseball-loving kids. Thats right, its that manga we all lovedCaptain.

Ichiro wasnt always a superstar. While he now competes for the batting title in the major leagues, he started out as a baseball-loving kid just like any of us.
Captain is a classic baseball comic by the late manga creator Akio Chiba. Its a story about ordinary junior high school kids on an average baseball team. They work extremely hard toward their goal of competing with powerhouse baseball teams. Captain is a long-form manga that depicts four captains of the baseball team at Sumiya Junior High School No. 2.
Ichiro: I was in elementary school when I first heard about Captain. To give you an idea of how influential it is,


Yu Darvish posts thoughts before Tommy John surgery

English translation:


March 16, 2015

Tomorrow, I will undergo right ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction.

A tendon in my right wrist will be transplanted into my elbow.

It will take one year to make a comeback.

Looking back, in elementary school, junior high, and high school, I had a low tolerance for pain, and I was physically susceptible to injury.

Still, I entered professional baseball in 2005, and I think I have thrown a lot over the past ten years.

Until the middle of my second year as a professional, I was physically and mentally weak, but


River Ave. Blues

Way back in January, I opened Yahoo! Japan and saw an in-depth interview of Hiroki Kuroda by Sponichi Annex.

I translated it into English and forwarded it to Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues, the excellent New York Yankees blog.

A couple of days later, this graced the Internet: