A triumph of trivia

I’m really excited about Tomoyuki Sugano’s season–especially coming off a nightmare 2019. On Tuesday, the Yomiuri Giants ace won his 100th career game and also reeled off his 13th winning decision to start the season, equalling the team record set by Tsuneo Horiuchi in 1966.

Yet because no other Opening Day starter had ever won his first 13 decisions, the Giants and the media have been jumping all over Sugano’s achievement and calling it the Japan record for an Opening Day starting pitcher.

It’s cool, but it’s trivia. The degree to which Japan’s media latched on to it is probably due to the belief that news about the Giants sells.

The Japan record for wins from the start of a season is Masahiro Tanaka’s 24-0 record, which is not the “Japan record for Opening Day starting pitchers” because Tanaka was being rested on Opening Day. He had just returned from the United States, where he had been with Samurai Japan in the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic.

If you know the context, celebrate it for what it is: a fun but trivial record. Just don’t try to tell people it’s a record that anyone should care about or actually news.

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