On Wednesday, Japan’s last full day of the new year without pro baseball players working for a living, there was some news concerning the Chunichi Dragons.
The club held a charity auction, and are missing one of their Cuban imports, which does not worry manager Kazuyoshi Tatsunami.
Elsewhere, the Yakult Swallows’ slipups continue and the club may be hoping their prayers don’t fall on deaf ears, while the Rakuten Eagles seem confused about the concept of an anniversary.
Also, today is the last day to get in on my preseason giveaway.
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With that out of the way, let’s get to it.
Dragons auction off valuables
The Chunichi Dragons announced Tuesday that its players are donating signed equipment to raise money for disaster relief in the wake of the Noto Peninsula New Years Day earthquake. The team’s website shows some of the goods on sale, including a signed jersey from former Sawamura Award-winner Yudai Ono and a signed Yohei Oshima Cap.
Manager Kazuyoshi Tatsunami was expected to donate common sense, but the skipper is reportedly still searching for it. Lacking common sense, the Dragons will again depend on the power of superficial symbolism, as new first baseman Sho Nakata found out when he attended his first pre-camp team meeting and discovered his dyed-blonde hair style stood out in Tatsunami’s sea of conformity.
Martinez to arrive late
Dragons closer Raidel Martinez is one player unable to attend the meeting as he is due to arrive at camp late, ostensibly so he can spend some time with his family. A year after setup man Yariel Rodriguez’s defection from both Cuba and Japanese baseball, Tatsunami said he was unconcerned about Martinez.
“It was decided before he returned home (last year),” Tatsunami said. “Because of what happened last year, there are those who will be concerned, but Raidel is trustworthy and has been sending us videos (from home.”
Takatsu gets the drop
Following the unfortunate translation fuckup discovered yesterday, Yakult suffered another tiny indignity Wednesday, when manager Shingo Takatsu, players’ rep Noboru Shimizu and team officials took part in the annual pre-camp shrine visit to Naminouegu in Naha, Okinawa.
After writing “Health!!” on one am “ema” wooden votive tablet, Takatsu failed to hang the tablet’s cord properly and it clattered to the ground. I’m not all that big on the tradition, but apparently this is appears to be inauspicous when one is appealing for good luck in some form.
“Nothing happened,” Takatsu said to reporters with an awkward smile. “A lot of things go on during the season. A lot of things are going on now.”
The Rakuten Eagles are confused.
Formed as part of the settlement that ended NPB’s 2004 players strike, the Eagles are entering their 20th season, and will be wearing special uniforms in the team’s color, the crimson owner Hiroshi Mikitani uses to celebrate his Harvard school days, with the outlines of the six prefectures of northeastern Japan’s Tohoku region.
The problem is that in Japanese, it explains the concept and the actual new kit as the team’s “20th anniversary” uniforms. Unfortunately, the team wasn’t founded until after the 2004 season, so it’s a little early to blow out the candles on that cake.
Perhaps the club understands the difference, or perhaps they are depending on Google translate, which as some Swallows fans found out yesterday, can be a slippery slope.