Nobody shakes quite like Sugano
I’ve got the video of Friday’s Giants-Dragons game, so if I have a chance, I’ve got to go through it and find this image of Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano shaking off catcher Takumi Oshiro, because I’ve never seen anything like it.
Typically, the shake-off is very subtle, a slight head move, but Sugano, looked like he and Oshiro were playing catch in the park and playing a guessing game. Instead of shaking slightly, Sugano grins as if the sign was the punchline to a joke the catcher had started between innings.
Then the pitcher laughs and gives a, “Your kidding me” look before they settle on the pitch he wants.
Brandon Dixon and Japan’s culture
New Rakuten Eagles import Brandon Dixon has some fans on pro baseball news. The analysts on the program are all different, and see the game in different ways, but there is often a common thread about the special traits needed to play the game the right way in Japan.
Teams that sacrifice a lot are deemed to have a greater desire to score, players who slide head-first are praised, and so it was with Brandon Dixon, who was one of the Rakuten Eagles’ postgame hero interviewees.
This led to the discussion of his merits by Friday’s cast, Hiroki Nomura, Kenichi Yazawa and Yoshiaki Kanemura. Yazawa kept it pretty objective, but the other two flipped over the Japanese-baseball cultural identity cards.
Yazawa: “He can play the outfield and he fields well at first. He had a very slight takeback tonight, so it looks like he is conscious of what he needs to do against Japanese pitchers.“
Nomura: “Mr. Kanemura, what do you think? He was sliding head first yet again. You rarely see that from such a big player. He’s certainly full of fight isn’t he?”
Kanemura: “No mistake about it. I too think he’s a good fit for Japan. He’s got guts. And in the hero interview, he said he’s just so happy to be playing baseball. It seems he even likes sushi (laughs). He got 100,000 Rakuten points for being in the hero interview.“