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Articles in NEWSLETTER, Vol.19, No.1

p.1  2009 WBC in retrospect
                                                          Hiroshi Satou, President

The Tokyo Round of the 2009 WBC, unlike that in 2006, attracted much attention before it started. The “Samurai” Japan was expected to win the second consecutive championship even in a predictably difficult situation. They were watched by crowds of ardent spectators in Miyazaki camp. Coming up to Tokyo, they overwhelmed  Australia in two exhibition games. On March 5, in the first game of the Tokyo Round of the 2009 WBC, the Samurai Japan won a clear victory over China 4-0, though with a little less score than expected. On March 7, they stunned Japanese people by defeating their arch-rival Korea in a called game, 14-2, with their hard batting. The newly-adopted double-elimination format brought Japan to face Korea again in the Tokyo Round final game, competing for the Pool A Championship prize, as well as seeding in the 2nd Round at PETCO Park in San Diego. Japan lost to Korea 0 to 1 and moved on as the runner-up, forcing them to face the Pool B champion Cuba, a favorite to win the 2009 WBC title.

Masterful Matsuzaka threw 6 shutout innings as the Samurai Japan got off to a quick start with a 6-0 victory over Cuba. But in the next game, Korea pounced on Darvish in the first inning and pitcher Bong Jung Keun had a quality start as Korea reached the semifinals of the WBC with a 4-1 win over Japan. The loss sent Japan into a do-or-die rematch against Cuba. It was Hisashi Iwakuma and Toshiya Sugiuchi who jointly pitched magnificently against the Cubans and led Japan to 5 to 0 victory over Cuba. Japan joined Korea, Venezuela and the U.S. in the Semi-finals as the winner of the 2nd Round by defeating Korea 6 to 2 in their 4th matchup.

Japan took control of their semifinal showdown with a 5-run 4th inning and Daisuke Matsuzaka held the U.S. at bay after a rough beginning to lead Japan into a 9-to-4 come-from-behind win in Los Angeles. The final game in front of a raucous crowd of 54, 846, the 5th time in this Classic that Japan and Korea met splitting the first 4 games, ended in the thrilling 5-3, 10-inning victory by the Samurai Japan. No one will forget Ichiro Suzuki who snapped a 3-3 tie with a two-run single on an 8-pitch at bat against the reliever Chang Yong Lim with runners on second and third and two outs in the 10th. Daisuke Matsuzaka was named MVP for the second straight Classic.   

We are happy indeed that, with painstaking and speedy effort of NPB and its staff, we managed to put the Championship trophy on display at the Baseball Museum immediately after it arrived in Japan (see p. 2). Helped by TV coverage, it aroused an unprecedented interest of the people at large. Its exhibition, which lasted eight days (March 26 through April 2), attracted as many as 25, 405 visitors, about a fifth of the annual attendance.

(photo left; The two trophies were on display until April 2)
(photo right ; A long queue was formed even in front of the entrance)

pp.2-3   Rara avis (66)  2009 WBC Memorabilia
                                                Takahiro Sekiguchi, co-curtor
                                              
In celebration of the WBC 2009, we held a thematic exhibition, “WBC” from February 10 to April 5, hoping for a splendid performance by the Samurai Japan. We are thankful to the supporting staff of Team Japan who, by our advance request, did their best in collecting memorable items from the world tournament. We were happy to put them on display at our museum immediately after receiving them to the great delight of a lot of the visitors here.

Championship Trophy

The championship trophy of the WBC 2009 arrived in Japan on March 25 with Team Japan. The press conference at Narita on their return was held in the presence of two championship trophies: the newly-obtained 2009 trophy and the 2006 trophy which had been on display at the Baseball Museum for the past three years. The two trophies arrived there at 9:30 in the following morning and were barely in time for public view from 10:00 a.m. on the same day. They were put on display at the WBC exhibition’s special corner in the entrance hall with the three winning balls (see below). 

In only eight days (from March 26 through April 2), as many as 25,405 persons visited the Exhibition, probably because the exhibition was widely televised, and enjoyed watching (and taking two shots of) the coveted two trophies -- a privilege limited only to the visitors to the Baseball Museum. The 2009 trophy is now on national tour at each of the 12 franchise stadiums of NPB until the middle of May, and afterwards it will come back to the Baseball Museum. The time will be announced on our Website.

(photo; The Baseball Hall of Fame was jammed with visitors waiting for their turn.)

Winning balls

The winning ball from the game against China on March 5 arrived at the Baseball Museum on the following day and it was immediately put on display at the entrance hall (see above). In addition to Skipper Hara’ autograph, “March 5, ’09, opponent; China,” “Samurai Japan,” and “Japan power” are written on it by him. Likewise, the one from the game against Korea on March 7 was added to the exhibition on March 8 with similar expressions.

The winning ball from the final game against Korea on March 23 (which went into the 10th inning), arrived in Japan with Team Japan on March 25. It also found its way to the Baseball Museum with the Championship trophy on March 26 and was put on display in time for the opening at 10 a.m. The ball has a special note, too.”V2, We did it following (the inaugural) Skipper Oh.” (see photo right)

These three balls have been on display at the WBC exhibition’s special corner in the entrance hall.

Uniforms and Equipment

We received the Samurai Japan’s uniforms and equipment at NPB Office on the afternoon of March 26 and brought them to the Baseball Museum. After hours we set out to put them on display at the end of the exhibition gallery. They were put for visitors’ view on March 27, and have proved to be a popular shooting spot ever since.
Skipper Hara, 6 coaches and 27 players (excepting Murata and Kurihara) are represented by their uniforms, either home or away, with their uniform number (and their autograph nearby) on back in view (photo left, p.3)

Also on display are:

   A pair of spikes worn by Daisuke Matsuzaka, with his autograph
      and “MVP” (photo right, p.3)
   A pair of cleats worn by Ichiro Suzuki
   A catcher’s mask, protector, and shin guard used by Kenji Jojima
   A bat used by Akinori Iwamura
   A bat used by Kosuke Fukudome
   A bat used and a pair of spikes worn by Hiroyuki Nakajima
   A pair of spikes worn by Michihiro Ogasawara
   A pair of spikes worn by Yoshiyuki Kamei  (from April 3)
   A pair of spikes worn by Hisashi Iwakuma  (from April 10)
   A ball autographed by all the players
   A ball autographed by Oh and Hara
   A commemorative WBC cap
   A commemorative WBC T-shirt

 Also scheduled to be put on display (towards the end of April) are photographs reporting the 2009 WBC

p.3   Special exhibitions celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Baseball Hall of Fame
        and Museum

         The first of the five special exhibitions is “Sadaharu Oh and his 50 years of Pro
         Baseball Career, (see two photos) which is currently being held at the Exhibition
         Hall of the Baseball Museum.
         It will last until Sunday, May 31, 2009.
         (Photos are prepared by the courtesy of Baseball Magazine Co.)

         Oh made his debut as a pro baseball player in 1959, the same year that the Baseball
         Hall of Fame and Museum was opened to the public. On display at the current
         exhibition are 68 various items in artifacts, photos and panels. Main features are his
         bats whenhe hit 700th, 714th, 756th, and 800th home runs, and so-called 600th,
         700th, 715th, 755th, 756th and 800th home run balls. Among others are
         memorabiliafrom 2006 WBCand his days as manager of the Fukuoka SoftBank
         Hawks.

         Upcoming other four exhibitions are as follows.

   1. Friday, June 5, 2009 through Monday, July 20, 2009
           “50 Years of the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum”

   2. Friday, July 24, 2009 through Sunday, September 6, 2009
            “In Commemoration of the 80th Inter-City Baseball Championships”

   3. Saturday, September 12, 2009 through Monday, October 12, 2009
             “University Baseball”

   4. Saturday, October 17, 2009 through Sunday, January 17, 2010
            “In Commemoration of the 60th anniversary of 2-league Pro Baseball”

    Details will be announced on our Website one month before each exhibition.

p.4   Much to See, Much to Enjoy (30)
                  Fan-oriented Baseball Club Management Wanted
                                         Shohachi Hamada, sustaining member of the BHFM

I have been covering baseball for more than half a century from 1956, never getting weary of my work. I became captivated by baseball when I watched a game between the Hanshin and the Pacific in Kohchi (my place of refuge during WWII) Municipal stadium in 1946. The Pacific is the direct ancestor of the present Yokohama BayStars. I do not remember anything about the game itself, but I can recall vividly a comical demonstration of a pepper game done by Fumio Fujimura (the Hanshin) with his two teammates. Strangely enough, it may be through some trivial but interesting things outside games like this that people get to like baseball. For example, Ichiro Suzuki is famous for his tricks of catching balls behind the shoulders. When the Samurai Japan camped in Miyazaki, some 40,000 spectators were wildly excited by his favorite performance. Many boys and girls will come to frequent to stadiums fixing such scenes in their mind.

Baseball must be watched live at a stadium. TV watching provides a too analytical view of the game by zooming in the territory between the pitcher and the catcher. Interesting scenes outside the camera frame are apt to be neglected. Spectators at the stadium can watch simultaneously infielders who shift their position constantly according to the situation, the catcher running to first base to back up first baseman on a grounder, and an outfielder backing up another outfielder on a fly. All of them are very pleasant to look at from the stand. I am reminded now of performances faithful to the basics by recent high school players, especially those at Hanamaki East HS who participated in the National Invitational High School Baseball Tournament this spring.

One of the pleasures of going to stadiums is to watch batting practice before the game---big guns hitting balls over the fence, and a lead-off man trying to hit his balls at will to right, center and left. It is interesting to notice that some players keep their good condition in actual games and others don’t. Some players are not earnest in practice. Baseball players seem to be keen in their human relationships. They never forget to pay homage to their seniors in the opponent team who graduated from the same school or come from the same home country. It is very disappointing, however, that batting practice by the home team is already over when the spectators enter the stadium, so that they cannot see their favorite players in practice. Allegedly it is too dangerous to do batting practice using two batting cages (a privilege of the home team!) near the spectators. I hope sincerely that the Pacific League will resume the old custom of letting their home team’s batting practice seen by the early spectators.

 When I think of earnest baseball fans who root for their favorite team, I cannot but think of their possible grief at the disappearance of their favorite team. The present 2-league system started in 1950 with eight teams in the Central League and 7 in the Pacific. After several changes in 8 years, it settled down to the current 6-6 system in 1958, but it was an open secret that their operation was far from a stable one. As for me, I moved to Tokyo in 1968 after covering baseball for 12 years in Osaka, where 4 teams—The Hanshin Tigers, the Hankyu Braves, the Nankai Hawks, and the Kintetsu Buffaloes—were vying with each other. When I came back to Osaka in the summer of 2000, the Nankai Hawks had moved to Fukuoka as the Daiei Hawks. And in 2005, the Orix BlueWave (formerly the Hankyu Braves) merged with the Kintetsu Buffaloes and became the Orix Buffaloes. It might be inevitable that with the changes in economy and society in general, pro baseball world will change itself, but did the baseball people concerned ever think of the grief of baseball fans at a sudden decease of their favorite team?

The decrease of teams in Osaka and Kobe areas from 4 to 2 might be regarded as proper from the point of business or box office. It may be welcome that the reorganization of pro baseball has produced a franchise in Kyushu again, and a new franchise in both Hokkaido and Tohoku areas. But I do hope that once an owner runs a baseball team, he or she will be really earnest in keeping the team going. It will be wonderful indeed if there are hoards of people everywhere in Japan who are proud to say, “We are so-and-so team’s fan for three generations!

p.5  Inductees Remembered (23)    A Memory of Teiyu Amano, My Grandfather
                       Hiroko Amano, granddaughter of Teiyu Amano, 1973 Hall of Famer

Let me first make brief introduction of Teiyu Amano, for I am afraid he is not widely known to the present young generations. He was a philosopher versed in Kantianism and served as non-MP Minister of Education (1950-52) in the Yoshida Cabinet. Incidentally Prime Minister Aso is a grandson of Shigeru Yoshida. Later he founded Dokkyo University and died in 1980 at the age of 96.

When a child, I wondered why he was connected with baseball. Actually he loved baseball very much. In Dokkyo Middle School days, he belonged, though small, to the baseball club. But he had to abandon baseball when foot injury forced him to be absent from, and even leave school for a while. Years later, he was happy indeed when  he attended the first-pitch ceremony at Koshien stadium as Minister of Education. The photo taken then and there shows him throwing a ball in good form. In his later days, he enjoyed watching high school baseball on TV. His smile, a little boastful, is still vivid in my mind. My eldest son Yuichiro has inherited his love of baseball. In his Dokkyo Junior High and Senior High School days, he belonged to the baseball club. Though small like his great-grandfather, he was a regular second baseman. Regrettably, however, he did not inherit his DNA.

Though his eldest son, my father lived in Osaka after the war, so I used to come up to Tokyo alone to spend spring and summer vacations at my grandfather’s in Kichijoji. He would sit down at “his” place in horigotatsu and read a lot of letters sent from his students with pleasure. Surprisingly he kept early hours, and got asleep as soon as he went to bed. However, his snoring was such that a second cousin who happened to be staying there said, “Is there a pigsty near here?” It was the butt of our laughter, but it was probably the secret of his long life.

He often said, “It is natural that you will be good at study if you put yourself at the desk and study every day. Don’t forget that your value is not decided by study only. You should have something else to be good at.” It sounded as a mere consolation to me, for I liked watching TV much better than study and learned by heart the broadcasting time and contents of every TV program. He called me a TV doctor, and said amusedly, “Hiroko is more informative about TV programs than the newspaper! Don’t feel disgruntled. A TV doctor is a good doctor!”
My cousin of my age was called a car doctor, for he was fond of the sound of an engine. He is now with a support team of a car racing and always on a racing tour around the world.

I now live in the same place in Kichijoji that my grandfather lived. I confess my doctorate in TV watching has rusted a little bit. Now I am wondering what doctorate I should give to my grandchildren, recollecting my amiable grandfather.

p.6  Library Note  
                Official Reports and Guidebooks of the Olympics
                                          Taku Chinone, co-librarian

All of the baseball-loving countries are waiting anxiously for the 121st General Session of the IOC scheduled to be held in Copenhagen in October, 2009. The site of the 2016 Olympics and the number of the sports to be held (in other words, whether baseball will be included in them) will be decided there and then. If Japan’s bid for the Olympics is successful, Japan will host the Olympics fro the first time in 52 years. Thus it is high time we traced the history of the Olympic Games. Many kinds of books are available in our library on the Olympics—reports, photo albums, biographies, and others. From among them, let me show a list (regrettably omitted here) of Official Reports (1925 – 1984) and three introductory books for young people at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

   Official Reports

The first official reports on the Olympics were published in a brief pamphlet by the Japan Sports Association in 1912 to record the 5th Olympics in Stockholm in which Japan had made the first entrance. The next official reports were published in 1920 when Japan took part in the 7th Olympics in Antwerp for the second time, but they are now available only in the microfilm at the National Diet Library. Our Baseball Library owns the official reports for the 8th Olympics in Paris and also those for subsequent Olympic Games.The list shows that the Japan Olympic Committee joined in the compilation of the Official Reports in 1972.

  These Official Reports contain not only records but process of athletes’ selection and reflections on the results. Also available here are the 1932 Official Report on the Los Angeles Olympics and the 1964 Official Report on the Tokyo Olympics (French version is also available), both of them being published by the Olympic Organization Committee of the two respective host countries. Access to the Official Reports of the Olympics is available through the digital archives prepared by LA84 Foundation: http://la84foundation.org/5va/books_frmst.htm

Guidebooks on the Olympics

Preceding the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, the Ministry of Education published three kinds of Guidebooks on the Olympics; for elementary school students, for junior high school students, and for high school students & juveniles. The purpose of these publications was to make the young Japanese people well-prepared psychologically and morally to have the Olympic Games in Japan. As he Tokyo Olympics in 1940 were cancelled by WWII, the Japanese people were to have the first experience to greet thousands and thousands of visitors from around the world.

p.7  A   Sustaining members for 2009 Invited

Since its foundation in 1959 as a museum specializing in baseball, the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum has been dedicated to its functions of collecting, preserving, and exhibiting materials on baseball and its related sports. We now have about 30,000 artifacts and photographs, and some 50,000 books and magazines, and we have more than 150,000 visitors per year to the baseball museum and the baseball library. We have honored baseball greats by inducting them into the Hall of Fame through annual selections by the Players Selection Committee and the Special Selection Committee. Sustaining members are expected to endorse and support the above projects by paying the membership fees.

Privileges of Sustaining Member

Sustaining members are entitled to receive the following:

  1.  Quarterly Newsletter
  2.  Complimentary ticket (i.e., member’s card) valid throughout the year. This     ticketis also valid for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in     Cooperstown, N.Y.
  3.  5 courtesy tickets for non-members (Individual membership)
       20 courtesy tickets for non-members (Corporation membership)
  4. Occasional News Release
  5. 10% reduction to the items on sale at the baseball museum
  6. The Baseball Hall of Fame, 1959-2009  (published in March, 2009)
    (New individual sustaining members only)
  7. Baseball Museum original pin
    (New junior sustaining members only)

          There are three kinds of sustaining members. The yearly membership is valid from            April to March.

  1. Individual membership   (Membership fee is 10,000 yen)
                                              Overseas membership fee is 100 dollars)
  2. Corporation membership  (Membership fee is 100,000 yen)
                                              Overseas membership is 1,000 dollars)
  3. Junior Membership      (Primary and junior high school students.
                                              Membership fee is 2,000yen

             *The membership fee for new individual sustaining members varies according
                to the month when they join.

                From April to September:   10,000 yen
                       October to December:  5,000 yen
                           January to March      2,000 yen
         
         If you have any questions, please feel free to ask the Management
         at 03-3811-3600 c/o Takagi.

B   News from the Baseball Museum

  1. On sale  a)

       Commemorative balls autographed by Tsuneo Horiuchi (2008 Hall of Famer),
       Tsutomu Wakamatsu (2009 Hall of Famer) and Sadaharu Oh (1994 Hall of Famer)
       They are official NPB balls encased in a glass box with a pedestal.
       The supplements are a certificate published by the Baseball Hall of Fame and
       Museum, “The Baseball Hall of Fame, 1959 –2009,” and six admission tickets
       to the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
       The prices are 25,000yen. 25,000yen and 30,000yen respectively.
       For further details, please come and visit our Website at:
                              http://www.baseball-museum.or.jp

        b)  The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, 1959-2009
           ~ In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Baseball
              Hall of Fame and Museum~
             215 pages, 2,500yen, and published by Baseball Magazine Co.
                          Contents: Pictorial biography of 168 Hall of Famers
                                         Columns
                                         War memorials for fallen baseball players
                                         Rules of Elections

     2) Guide to the Baseball Museum
          The entrance is located to the right of Gate 21 of Tokyo Dome.
          Hours: 10:00-18:00 (March through September)
                     10:00-17:00 (October through February)
                (Visitors are requested to enter at least 30 minutes prior to the closing time.)

         Admission: 500yen (300yen)  Adults
                           200yen (150yen)   Primary & Junior High School students
                            (* Per person in groups 20 or more)
                            300yen                Senior citizens aged 65 or more
           
       Closed: Mondays except those 1) during the spring and summer vacations,
                                2) that fall on National Holidays,
                                3) when a pro baseball game is held at Tokyo Dome.
              N.B. In other words, from May to July, the museum will be closed on:
                               May 11, 18; June 1, 15, 22, 29; July 6
                   On the following days when the pro baseball game starts at 2 p.m.,
                   the hours will  be extended to 7 p.m.
                         May 10 (Sun.); June 21 (Sun.), 28 (Sun.); July 19 (Sun)
                         August 8 (Sat.), 9 (Sun.), 15 (Sat.), 16 (Sun.)
                         September 5 (Sat), 6 (Sun), 21 (Mon.), 22 (Tue.), 23 (Wed), 27 (Sun.)
 

  1. Editor’s Note   On June 12, the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum will
    celebratethe 50th Anniversary. Details on the commemorative events are   available on our  Website

p.8  Essay (36)    “Well, in any case, just give it a try.”
                           Hiroki Andoh, Osaka Head Office, Nikkan Sports Shimbun

I never thought of meeting with such scenes in March, usually regarded as early in the baseball season. In the final game of the second WBC, players of Japan and Korea went the full distance, throwing all their energies into play. They didn’t give the slightest impression that they would go back to their own team to participate in the pennant race which was to start soon after. I was deeply shaken by the fact that players with the highest skills in the world were concentrating on the game regardless of the consequences. I witnessed very similar scenes in Japanese pro baseball, too. They are so-called 10.19 and 10.8, that is, the double header between the Lotte Orions and the Kintetsu Buffaloes on October 19, 1988, and the pennant-deciding final game between the Yomiuri Giants and the Chunichi Dragons (the two teams with identical records!) on October 8, 1994. I was fortunate enough to cover both of the games.

As to WBC, I hear there are always dissenting opinions on its management system and special rules, such as the restrictions on the number of pitches allowed. It is true that media people are required to review the problems in question and make a proposal, if necessary. But they are side issues compared with the generally-accepted principle that such an international event is a big plus for baseball as a whole. In the middle of a whirl of pros and cons before the inaugural WBC, Oh, manager of Team Japan, declared, “Well, in any case, just give it a try.” I realized all the more keenly how important and true his remark was. The circumstances surrounding Japanese baseball world have become more and pressing. In economy, the very foundation of daily life, Japan has increasingly been engulfed by a depression. The estimate of the merits and demerits of globalization in baseball and economy will be difficult, but it is an unavoidable actual reality. If so, is it not more realistic and significant to try to activate the trend of globalization and to take measures to cope with it in the extreme situation?

There should be, as a countermeasure, some attractive events in Japan. How about an all-inclusive national tournament participated by representatives of all the organizations, pro and amateur?  It may sound bizarre, but the participants could be: CL and PL champions, winners of the two championships of the Japan Amateur Baseball Association, winners of two championships of the Japan University Baseball Association, and winners of the two championships of the Japan High School Baseball Federation. The winner of emerging independent leagues would be welcome. I dare say that they are great needs for such an event. But I was rejected out of hand when I told a person concerned that there can be such an event in fall when all of the seasons involved are over. ,

All of the organizations have their history and tradition. Circumstances are varied and liaison among them might be difficult. Even a preparatory negotiation will require much time and energy. Hurdles can be too high to overcome as was explained to me. Some organizations, it is true, on repeated trials and errors, have made various suggestions and tried exchanges between pro and amateur organizations. But as contracted equilibrium will be inevitable if policy of seclusion continues, Japanese baseball world will come to a deadlock unless domestic sectionalism is broken off as soon as possible.

The attendance of NPB by team in 2008 shows that the Tigers (1st) and the Giants (2nd) had a little less attendance than the previous year. The total attendance is 21,640,000, barely 2% more than the previous year, mainly due to strenuous efforts by community-based PL teams. But it is obvious indeed that some drastic measures are necessary to boost and raise Japanese baseball world. It is to be hoped that if and when a responsible and feasible idea, unlike my specious and wild one, comes up, there will appear an influential second Oh who says, “ Well, in any case, just give it a try.”

 

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