Saturday, February 21, 2015

A First Look at Raul Valdes and Amaury Rivas

New foreign players Raul Valdes and Amaury Rivas made their first appearances for the Dragons in yesterday's practice game against the Marines.  A replay of the game can be seen on UStream

Valdes is a 37-year old Cuban lefthander with some experience as a reliever in the Major Leagues, but was mainly a starter in the minors.  I don't know which role Chunichi plans on using him, but he did start this game.  His severely short-armed delivery looks more like a reliever's to me, but it looks like he has a variety of off-speed pitches so he has a chance to be successful as a starter.  He pitched three shutout innings yesterday and his fastball was topping out around 140 km.

Rivas is a 29-year old righty from the Dominican.  He looks more like a traditional power pitcher with a big windup and a mid-140's fastball.  Rivas was tagged for a couple solo home runs yesterday, one on a breaking ball and the other looked like a first-pitch fastball.  He did have a nice strike out on a changeup.

Overall, I had a good first impression of both pitchers.  You can't take too much from the results of a preseason game, especially a first game, but based on their stuff I think both of these guys could be useful this year.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Katsu Burger Still on Top of Their Game

Glad to say that Katsu Burger is as delicious as ever.  Back in 2012 I did a post about a new restaurant in Seattle serving Japanese-style burgers and sides.  The original store closed last summer for a couple months, but returned in the fall under new ownership.  Local restaurant owner and Katsu Burger fanatic Stephanie Kang purchased the Seattle store and has since opened another one in Bellevue.  I've visited the Bellevue store twice and it's still one of my favorite restraunts in Seattle.  Certainly stop by if you are in the area and you think you'd enjoy a delicious katsu burger.  Try the Godzilla Attack with pork. 

Tokyo Tower

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Birth of the Modern Japanese Baseball Card Hobby Presented by NPBCardGuy

An excellent journalistic effort by NPBCardGuy can be found at the Japanese Baseball Card Blog.
He provides a great look at the beginnings of BBM through a first-hand interview and further research.  Also very interesting information about how the late-80's baseball card boom in the U.S. influenced the creation of BBM cards and influenced Calbee and the other established card-makers at that time.
Great work, I encourage everyone to check it out.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Upcoming Dragons Preseason Games on UStream

Baseball season is just around the corner.  Chunichi is already training in Okinawa and UStream has a lot of the footage.  I saw a little bit of Kaz Yoshimi's throwing session, good to see him on a mound and hopefully will be ready to go.

Here is a list of some upcoming preseason/practice games that will be shown on UStream.
UStream conveniently converted the times to Pacific Time, so PT is also included.

February 14: Dragons vs Samsung Lions 1 PM (2/13 8 PM PT)
February 15: Dragons vs DeNA Baystars 1 PM (2/14 8 PM PT)
February 21: Dragons vs Chiba Lotte Marines 1 PM (2/20 8 PM PT)
February 22: Dragons vs Hanshin Tigers 1 PM (2/21 8 PM PT)
February 24: Dragons vs LG Twins 1 PM (2/23 8 PM PT)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

I attended a gokitou ceremony for the first time today at the Tsubaki Grand Shrine in Granite Falls, WA. We have visited the shrine on New Year's Day several times before, but this is the first time I've attended a ceremony here in Washington or in Japan. I enjoyed it, the setting and tone of the ceremony was very relaxing and a great opportunity to reflect on the past year and focus on goals for the new year.

I would recommend visiting the shrine to anyone from Japan or in the U.S. and interested in Japan. It's about as close as you can come to experiencing Japan while still being in the U.S. I believe it is one of only two Shinto shrines currently operating in the lower 48 States and it's located in a very scenic wooded area near the Pilchuck River. If you are going on New Year's Day I would suggest going early because parking is limited. Also dress warm because when its a cold day it's even colder in the shade down by the water.

Happy New Year everyone, have a great 2015!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Take Me Out to the Yakyu

<a target="_blank" href="">take me out to the yakyu</a><img src="" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" />
Came across this book the other day at the library. It's an award-winning childrens' book written and illustrated by Aaron Meshon. The book gives a fun comparison of baseball and the baseball experience in the states and in Japan. It's completely full of colorful artwork and has a Japanese-English Baseball Dictionary in the back. I definitely recommend it, good holiday gift, I will be giving one. And by the way, in his bio he says he saw his first NPB game in Nagoya and his dog is named Chubu, so I'm thinking he's a Dragons fan. Happy holidays everyone!