But can Shosei Togo fill a Tsushima straight?
Perhaps one symptom of the coronavirus is the inability to get bad word associations out of your head. Either that or it’s age. Since I began paying attention to 20-year-old Giants right-hander Shosei Togo, I can’t stop connecting him in my mind with Japan’s hero of the Russo-Japanese War, Admiral Heihachiro Togo.
Before anyone complains, I am aware that their names are not pronounced exactly the same and only share one Chinese character. Other than their both being from southern Kyushu, the Giants pitcher from central Miyazaki, and the admiral from neighboring Kagoshima.
On Sunday, Togo got out of a tight spot in the first inning with some really good pitching and poised that belied his youth, retiring the heart of the Dragons order after the top two hitters singled.
The biggest problem I had with Togo was that his name reminded me of one of those nightmare wedding parties that everyone goes to eventually in Japan, where someone gives an interminable speech. In this case, it was a man whose father had been an aide to Admiral Togo sixty years earlier, and who felt dutybound to relate snippets of the admiral’s wisdom to the bride and groom.
Because the man, the principal at the school where my friend and her husband taught. spoke softly, you could hear people’s teeth grinding as he droned on and on. It’s hard to believe that I went to more wedding celebrations after that. But that was the beginning of the end.
No coaching in the press box
After Saturday’s loss to the Yakult Swallows at Jingu Stadium — even after the Swallows’ hero interviews, Tigers manager Akihiro Yano and one of his coaches was jawing with the umpires.
The most obvious reason for the discussion seemed to be a close play at the plate that Yano asked be reviewed via the “request system.” The umpire had also approached Yano during the eighth inning to complain about the team getting help from a “reporter.”
The umpires told Yano they heard a reporter shouting at the Tigers’ bench “He’s safe” on the play at the plate, and warned them that they are not allowed to get help from the press box, which at Jingu is immediately behind home plate.
“It’s no big deal,” Yano told reporters Sunday. “It’s not like they were helping us steal signs or something like that.”
Game of shadows
I’m not any big “Twilight Zone” aficionado, but one episode I can’t get out of my head is “Shadow Play,” where Dennis Weaver plays a man in his dream where he is sentenced to death and the dream replays over and over with him dying in the electric chair.
It’s like every time the Hawks play the Marines, you know who the better team is but it rarely seems to matter, because like Dennis Weaver, no matter how well prepared the Hawks are, the result is they get their butts kicked by a team that shouldn’t be able to stay on the field with them.