Tag Archives: Matt Shoemaker

NPB News: July 20, 2022

We came oh so close to another no hitter on Wednesday, while coronavirus cases continue to surge in Japan, shining a light on Nippon Professional Baseball’s unexpected compassion.

There have been four no-hit shutouts in Japan this year, which ties 2022 with 1943 for second most in a season after the five thrown in 1940, when pitchers threw balls of mush.

We also hit a new record for coronavirus cases, crossing the 150,000 barrier just five days after we passed 110,000 for the first time. The positivity rate in Tokyo was down to 41.8 percent but that’s way above the norm so as testing increases, you know it’s going to soar a bit more before it calms down.

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And we thought they were the assholes

While Japanese pro baseball still prohibits vocal cheering at its games, full crowds are now a thing, and players have been let off the tight leash they were on in 2020 and 2021.

The one part of the NPB picture that has barely budged since the introduction of strict coronavirus measures when NPB re-opened for business in the pandemic on June 19, 2020, has been media access to players.

We are not allowed to enter clubhouses at any time, but we do have unlimited access to dugouts, the sidelines, and most stadium corridors players have to traverse. In those spaces, we are free to talk to anyone we like, although now and then some officious PR type will harass us when players chat a long time.

Since NPB restarted two years ago, reporters have been banned from areas where players are. Many parks require advance notice of reporters who intend to report on game.

Team media availability is strictly limited to online pressers, although this year, one member of the media, who has returned a negative test, is typically allowed into the room for each team participant, and they and they alone can ask one player or coach questions. Nobody else online is allowed to participate.

During the pandemic, teams’ social media presence has exploded to fill the gap. Between that and the relaxing of most other coronavirus restrictions on players and fans, it seemed like reporters were intentionally being shoved aside with teams using the coronavirus as an excuse to be rid of us.

But on Wednesday, it occurred to me that the teams, were not being draconian toward the media but instead have been trying to keep us safe from being infected by the droves of players who are contracting the virus.

So here’s to NPB. Thanks for looking out for us.

Giant trouble

The Yomiuri Giants jumped on the corona train big time on Wednesday. As if they were embarrassed to be outdone by the Yakult Swallows having 14 people with their major league club go into isolation for COVID-19, the Giants reported 20 positive test results. Fourteen infections were among players, six among the coaching staff according to Nikkan Sports.

Continue reading NPB News: July 20, 2022

NPB news: July 14, 2022

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Jballallen.com depends on you readers to stay up and running, and your support is needed. All paid subscriptions this month get unlimited access to all content, and the free weekly newsletter as well.

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Because Monday is “Marine Day,” the national holiday where Japanese are encouraged to enjoy the seaside and many get in over their heads, literally, the Pacific League will begin its weekend series on Saturday instead of Friday.

Perhaps this will encourage more people to go to the ballpark rather than the ocean. In 2016 for example, 10 people were reported to have drowned over the three-day weekend. Unfortunately, World Drowning Awareness Day comes a week later, this year on July 25.

Anyway with a light schedule tomorrow, it’s like Japanese baseball said, “We’ve only got three games on Friday so we’d better get a lot of action in today.

Orix and SoftBank played longball, Nippon Ham is looking very much unlike the team we’ve seen the last three seasons, the Seibu Lions showed some skill at defusing explosive situations, Shogo Akiyama had a hit in Hiroshima, which was three fewer than the Yomiuri Giants managed against Hanshin, and Seiichi Uchikawa was pressed into service, making his debut in his 22nd season as a pro in his first game in the outfield in forever.

Thursday’s games

Buffaloes 3, Hawks 2: At Fukuoka Dome, Orix’s Kotaro Kurebayashi decided a home run derby with his fourth of the season, breaking a 2-2 eighth-inning tie against former closer Yuito Mori (0-4).

Continue reading NPB news: July 14, 2022