Sunday, August 28, 2016

An Unfortunate Series of Events

We just returned from our trip to Japan, and while I'd hoped to post some things on the trip, I was unable to because of some computer access issues.  In my previous post I had mentioned that I hoped that the Dragons would still be relevant in the Central League race when I got to Japan.  I guess I should have been more specific, as the Dragons were still in the race when I arrived in Japan, but immediately fell on their face and by the second week of my stay were dead in the water and then decided to fire their manager.  Chunichi was 6 and 14 while I was in Japan has been 10 and 25 since the All-Star break after playing close to .500 ball for the first half of the season.   Fortunately Ichiro's chase for 3,000 hits and Koshien were also going on too, so there was no lack of interesting baseball stuff to follow.

It's hard to say how much of the blame falls on Tanishige, Chunichi's fired manager, I would say that the team's lack of depth has been the biggest factor in their mid-season collapses the last several seasons.  Certainly a portion of the blame should fall on General Manager Ochiai, who has to this point failed to rebuild the depth of team to the neccesary level.  Of course rebuilds are never easy and Chunichi had a string of poor drafts prior to Ochiai coming back onboard.  Still the coming offseason is a big one for Ochiai.  There is talk that top Dragons' players Hirata and Ohshima are tired of Ochiai's miserly ways, and yearly contract disputes.  Both players will be domestic free agents this offseason for the first time, and if Ochiai fails to bring them back for next season, he will have pretty much torpedoed the team's chances to build a team in the near future.  Ochiai has a lot of support from the front office for previous success as a manager and likely also for cutting payroll, but if Ochiai can't keep Chunichi's core together for next season he will certainly lose my support. 

View from the Outfield Panorama

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Dragons Hanging Tough

Chunichi's big win last night clinches at least a series win against the Giants at Tokyo Dome, always sweet! The win was highlighted by Dayan Viciedo's 2 home runs in one inning, per YakyuDB, he's only the second Dragon to do that. 

The Dragons currently are tied for third, but only one game out of first place.  So far, outside of their struggles against the Carp, Chunichi has played very solid ball.  I feel though that they may be at a bit of a crossroads.  Going into the season I saw depth as a major concern for this team.  Injuries are starting to pile up already, but to this point they have weathered some key ones.  Of the best players on this team: Yoshimi, Ohno, Hirata, Viciedo, Takahashi, Oshima and Nanita, over half have already been affected by injury.  Ohno and Takahashi will be out for a while, Hirata is back now and Yoshimi is being treated very delicately (for good reason).  Not to mention Issei Endo, who was supposed to be a contributor on this team, but struggled out of the gate and then got banged up.  He's now back playing with the ni-gun team.  The good news is that Chunichi hasn't lost anyone for the season, the question is can they keep things going in the right direction until they get guys back. 

I think they can, but we will have to see if they will.  Since rejoining the team Hirata has been red-hot, that has covered the loss of Takahashi so far, who was off to a very promising start to the season.  Hirata along with Viciedo and Nanita , who have been mashing to say the least, will have to stay health and productive to power the offense.  The back end of the bullpen, last year's Achilles heal, has been good, especially Fukutani and Tajima.  They need to keep that going and hopefully get a bit of improvement from some of the middle relievers.  The starters just need to tread water for the most part, a good bullpen can make up for a lack of depth there, plus they may have found something special with Jordan Norberto.

We will see, but interleague play may prove to be a blessing as well.  If the Pacific League dominates again, the Central League teams will likely stay packed together like last year.  If they can hang in it until late-summer, then anything can happen down the stretch.  This is a team that was pegged for last by a lot of the media, but thus far they are looking improved. I'm hoping for a competitive season and really hope they will still be relevant this summer when I will be going to Japan.  Maybe the re-build will be short lived, I do see a young core coming together. Let get fired up for 2016 and beyond Dragons' fans!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

There is a New Dragons Blogger in Town

Chunichi is off to a respectable start at 3-3 after losing their first series of the year at Hanshin and following it up with a series victory at home versus the Carp.
Dayan Viciedo and Shuhei Takahashi have been doing a lot of the damage offensively, with Takahashi hitting a huge Grand Slam late in the Dragons' most recent game propelling them to a comeback win.  It was exciting week of baseball, get fired up Dragons fans!

Following all the action is a new Dragons Blog in English called Dragon Soul.  It already has a lot of good information on it, including some write-ups on Chunichi's first series and coverage of the Ni-gun team's Western League games.  I'm excited to have a new source of Dragons information in English and will surely be checking in on it frequently.

Friday, January 29, 2016

New L.A. Dodgers Spring Training Caps get the Dragons some U.S. Pub

Above is the new cap the Los Angeles Dodgers will be wearing for this year's Spring Training in Arizona.  From what I've read the Dodgers have never worn a script "D" like this ever before. 
There is though another team that has, that team being your Chunichi Dragons.  Since it was announced several American blogs (Uni-Watch & True Blue L.A.) have picked up on the fact that it has been worn before, mainly though from the Hollywood movie that we all know and love "Mr. Baseball."

This photo has been tied to it showing Tom Selleck's approval:

Here's a baseball card showing Chunichi's version:

The Chunichi version can be purchased from New Era Japan.
The L.A. version should be available very soon.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Article on Former WSU Wheatshocker and Current Hiroshima Carp Kris Johnson

Nice article here on Hiroshima Starting Pitcher Kris Johnson from the L.A. Daily News.  Interesting that his Grandmother is Japanese.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Jordan Norberto Highlights Comp

Some highlights of the newly signed Dragons pitcher from his stint in the Major Leagues.
Posted by Youtube member Pisty Chan

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Japanese Baseball Cards Blog Masahiro Yamamoto Tribute

Check out NPBCardGuys' Masahiro Yamamoto post here.
He's got card's of him from nearly every year of his career.