Category Archives: Baseball

Tracking Yusei Kikuchi

Yusei Kikuchi may have put his major league ambitions on hold in 2009, when he turned pro with the Seibu Lions, but it’s something he’s been building toward ever since. On Wednesday, a source said Kikuchi has been earnestly studying English once a week for years and is keen to be the first Japanese player to give his opening remarks at his first press conference here in English.

Read my story on Kyodo News here.

Trackman data is fairly new to Japan. In a nation where mind-numbing repitition is considered the biggest single key to success, even nutrition and strength training are still viewed by some teams as esoteric endevors.

Video review system under review

NPB’s executive committee on Monday mooted a change to the video review system introduced this past year according to a story in Sport Nippon. Unlike in MLB, where the decision is made by umpires at another location. Japan’s “request system” sees the umpires all trot off the field to look at a monitor under the stands.

A participant in Monday’s meeting reported HERE that a move is being considered to exclude the umpire who made a call under review from taking part in the decision to uphold or reject that on-field call.

Osamu Ino, a former umpire who chairs NPB’s umpiring technology committee, told last month that the system was by and large a success but had been hampered in its execution by the poor quality of some of the monitors umpires used to review the calls.

The low point came when a foul ball call was overturned and a tie-breaking, 10th-inning home run given to the Hawks’ Akira Nakamura that led to a SoftBank victory over Orix. After the game, the umpires realized the poor quality of the video had led them to believe the ball was fair when they first reviewed it.