Saturday, November 30, 2013

Dragons Menko & Cards

We just got a printer with a scanner a few days ago and I thought I would share some of the Japanese cards I have.  I don't have a big collection of Japanese cards, nor American cards anymore either.  I downsized my collection of MLB cards a couple years ago, but kept the ones of players who had played in Japan as well as Mariners ones and some other players I like.  The Japanese cards I have are either menko cards given to me by my in-laws or ones I've bought when I visited Japan.

These menko cards are from the 70's and look to be from a promotion by Pepsi.  At the bottom of each of the cards is the name of a soft drink. 

According to wikipedia Ron Woods has a son named Tyrone, but I don't believe that it's the same Tyrone Woods that played for Chunichi, at least I've never heard that it was.

The next two are a menko card of Tatsuhiko Kimata and a Calbee card of Takayoshi Nakao.  The menko card is probably from the 70's and the Nakao card would be from the 80's.  Kimata was Chunichi's starting catcher from 1965 to 1981.  Nakao was his successor and Chunichi's regular catcher until 1988.

And here are some more contemporary cards that I have:

Friday, November 29, 2013

My Proposed New Uniforms for the Fighters

Baseball's over for the year and even the Asia (Eastern Hemisphere) Series is finished.  I thoroughly enjoyed Rakuten's run and I'm very happy for Hoshino to finally taste a championship and for Tanaka and Norimoto, who left everything they had on the field. 

But now it's time to think about next year, free agency, new foreign players and new posting rules.

Something that would be nice for next year would be new uniforms for Nippon Ham.  I've never been a fan of the Fighters' asymmetrical uniforms, though their current ones are slightly better than the previous ones.  So I've sketched up something I would prefer.

One thing I like about their current home uniforms is that they have more of the blue color that they use.  I would make that blue a main color as well as bring back orange, which was once one of their main colors.  These are pretty simple, the alternate is a pullover and based on the 80's jersey with gold instead of yellow.  The pants that go with the alternate would have piping on only one side, a memorial to the asymmetrical uniform period.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Tanishige Named New Manager, Ochiai Returns as GM

It's been nearly a month now since Motonobu Tanishige was announced as the new player/manager of the Dragons.  When I first heard the news I was surprised, then a little disappointed, then finally okay with it.  I do think that Tanishige will be fine manager, he's probably seen everything that can be seen in Japanese Baseball as a catcher for twenty-five years and counting.  Still the player/manager thing is weird, it doesn't seem like the best possible scenario.  It's hard to say if management is really high on Tanishige and expecting him to transition into the full-time manager for the next decade or if they are just looking for a place holder.

It will be interesting to see how things work in the upcoming season.  Tanishige played in 130 games last year, but will he still be the main catcher now that he's also the manager?  There isn't currently a viable option at catcher to replace him, though there may be a couple free agent options.  If Tanishige continues as the main catcher he will have to rely on his assistant coaches quite a bit, which may not be a bad thing, but we shall see.  In Tanishige's press conference he mentioned that he will emphasize the defensive aspects of the game, which makes sense with him being a catcher and also fits with the skills of the current roster and the philosophy that led to the Dragons' success over the last decade.  Under Tanishige, Chunichi's "boring" style of baseball is likely to continue, but if it wins games I'm all for it. 

In what seems like a synchronous move with Tanishige's promotion, Hiromitsu Ochiai was named the new General Manager.  This is a move I like a whole lot, even if he isn't exactly a general manager, as has been rumored.  I believe that Ochiai is commited to winning and I think that will help in any role that he's given.  I know he's not afraid to make tough choices, and that will be important as the team begins a transition away from it's current veteran roster.  He has a lot of experience with this team and though he's had disagreements with upper management in the past, the fact that he's back already shows they have confidence in him, even though they don't always agree.  I think that will be a positive moving forward.  I believe Ochiai is the right guy for the job.