Tag Archives: SoftBank Hawks

A small step for Tanaka

At Nagoya Dome, Masahiro Tanaka allowed two runs over four innings of relief on Saturday as headlines trumpeted his “preseason game debut” as opposed to his practice game debut from two weeks earlier. Welcome to my world of nonsense.

Tanaka struck out six in his 70-pitch outing in a game in which he spent most of his time working on his slider until he got it right in the Rakuten Eagles’ 2-1 loss to the Chunichi Dragons.

“I used to be basically a slider pitcher. When I was able to get a tighter break on it, I could get swinging strikes,” he said, according to Nikkan Sports.

Manager Kazuhisa Ishii said, “He’s improving step by step. He’s not quite there with his mechanics, but I think he’ll be at a high level before long.”

And teams are now playing preseason games in front of fans for the first time since the end of last February. Here are some of the highlights from Saturday.

Buffaloes’ rookie looks good

In Yokohama, rookie Orix lefty Hiroya Miyagi, the Buffaloes’ first pick out of high school in 2019, struck out three and walked two in five scoreless innings in 5-0 win over the DeNA BayStars. Adam Jones went 2-for-3 with a home run for Orix.

Sasaki gets ready for 1st game

The Lotte Marines are inching closer to letting Roki Sasaki, their flame-throwing first pick from the 2019 draft, actually pitch in a game. On Friday, Sasaki threw in a simulated game.

Osera looks fit in 4 scoreless innings

Daichi Osera, tabbed to start on Opening Day for the Hiroshima Carp after coming off arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow in September, threw four scoreless innings in a 1-0 win over the Yakult Swallows.

Sands homers again against Hawks

Jerry Sands homered for the second straight game for the Hanshin Tigers in their preseason series against the four-time defending Japan Series champion SoftBank Hawks.

Doing the Dragon twist

The Chunichi Dragons became the latest Japanese team to edit their official cheer song to suit changing times. With their ballpark’s naming rights sold this year to “Vantelin Nagoya Dome”, the club consulted with the composer of “Let’s Burn it up Dragons” to edit out the line about a “jam-packed” Nagoya Dome to “Battle Chunichi with strong dreams.”

I don’t have the complete list of all the teams that have kept their official songs but only swapped out offended lyrics. I do know that the songs of the DeNA BayStars, SoftBank Hawks and Hanshin Tigers were all written for their clubs’ old names. In the Hawks’ case it was simply a matter of swapping the name of the club’s former owner, supermarket chain Daiei, for SoftBank.

The Tigers’ iconic “Rokko Oroshi” was written when the team was known as the Osaka Tigers. In 1961 the team ditched Osaka for the name of its then parent company, the Hanshin Railroad, the “Osaka” in “Oh, oh, oh, Osaka Tigers, hurray, hurray, hurray,” was switched out to “Hanshin.” This is not as awkward as it might sound, and a lot of really old fans really hate it I understand, but I’ve never known any different.

The same cannot be said of the new hiccup in the DeNA BayStars team song.

When internet game company DeNA bought the club in 2012, it replaced the catchy, “Yo, yo, yo, Yokohama BayStars” with the horrible “Yo, yo, yo, DeNA BayStars.”

Yo, yo, yo, DeNA, fix your damn song.

Just in case you’re unfamiliar with what people are saying when singing “Let’s burn it up Dragons!” I’ve kind of translated it one main version of it. The Dragons are famous for alternate versions and I don’t claim to know where this one fits in, although it is a recent version meant to include interleague opponents.

 Hear the dragon's roar echo far away in the night,
 At jam-packed Nagoya Dome*.
 We shiver together
 Way to go, do your best, let's burn it up Dragons!
 Defeat the tigers, catch the carp,
 Cloud over Hama's starry constellation.
 Drop the swallows and the big guys.
 Hold your breath, we'll win.
 Way to go, do your best, let's burn it up Dragons!
 Catch a lion, hunt a hawk,
 master a buffalo and span the sea.
 Both the northern fighter and golden eagle
 will prostrate before the Dragons as we win.
 Way to go, do your best, let's burn it up Dragons! 

Way to go, do your best, let’s burn it up Dragons! It’ s not quite the Four Tops, but it is the same old song.

Here’s a version celebrating the Dragons’ 1974 champions, giving a shout out to each of the players in the lineup and the pitching staff and the bench and coaching staff as well.