billinnagoya's profile

Name: WF Purcell
Location: Nagoya, Japan
Member since: June 22, 2006
Last visit: February 21, 2019

billinnagoya has posted 9 links and 86 comments to SportsFilter and 0 links and 0 comments to the Locker Room.

Sports Bio

Having grown up at the North Jersey shore, I am a lifelong Mets fan (and Yankee hater!!) and NY Giants fan. I also like the Nets and the Islanders!! (When I left Jersey the Devils were still the Colorado Rockies!)

A longtime resident of Japan, I am also a loyal Chunichi Dragons fan (Cut me and I'll bleed Dragons blue), and enjoyed the excitement of being in the stands at Nagoya Dome when YAMAI Daisuke and IWASE Hitoshi combined to pitch a PERFECT GAME in fifth (and final) game of the 2007 Japan Series.

The US is starting to get excited about soccer, but in recent years I've discovered the beauty of RUGBY, especially since my oldest son started playing. (Now I wish we knew the game when I was a kid!)

Recent Links

Japan Professsional Baseball: Balentien sets new single-season home run record: September 15, 2013: Wladimir Balentien of the Yakult Swallows set a new single-season home run record for Japan Professional Baseball, hitting #56 in the first inning off Hanshin pitcher Daiki Enokida for a two-run shot, and then extending his own record with #57, a solo shot (also off Enokida), in the third inning. The former record of 55 had been set by world homerun champion Sadaharu Oh of the Yomiuri Giants in 1964 and then equalled by Tuffy Rhodes (Kintetsu Buffaloes) in 2001 and Alex Cabrera (Seibu Lions) in 2002. Since the end of the 1985 season, when the record was first seriously challenged by Randy Bass (Hanshin Tigers), Oh's mark has sometimes been labelled the phoniest record in professional baseball because of the extent to which Japanese pitcher and coaches had gone to prevent foreign players in particular from surpassing it. Unlike Bass, Rhodes and Cabrera, Balentien's chase has not been frustrated by a similar chain of intentional walks as he has closed in on 55. Further, his accomplishment comes with 19 games still remaining on Yakult's schedule, so it will be interesting to see how far he can extend the new record.

posted by billinnagoya to baseball at 08:11 AM on September 15, 2013 - 6 comments

AP source: Yankees tell Reggie to steer clear: The New York Yankees have reportedly order Reggie Jackson to stay out of the Yankee clubhouse and avoid other team events following reports about critical comments he made to Sports Illustrated, questioning the validity of some of Alex Rodriguez's in the wake of Rodriguez's admission to using PEDs. Jackson's comments also questioned the qualifications of Gary Carter, Kirby Puckett, and others for inclusion in the HoF.

posted by billinnagoya to baseball at 08:18 PM on July 09, 2012 - 2 comments

Nakase says goal is to coach in the NBA: Natalie Nakase, a third-generation Japanese American and head coach of the Saitama Broncos in Japan's JB-League, is the first female head coach in the male league's history. Nakase, at 5'3", was a point guard during her playing days at UCLA. While she is enjoys the challenges of coaching in the JB-League, Nakase says her ultimate goal is to coach in the NBA.

posted by billinnagoya to basketball at 01:42 AM on February 27, 2012 - 1 comment

AP source: Pena, Cubs agree to $10M, 1-year deal: First baseman Carlos Pena and the Chicago Cubs have agreed to a $10 million, one-year contract, a person familiar with the negotiations tells The Associated Press. Pena spent the last four seasons with Tampa Bay. He had a down year in 2010, hitting .196 with 28 homers and 84 RBIs, down from a .227 average with 39 homers and 100 RBIs the previous year, when he was selected for the AL All-Star team.

posted by billinnagoya to baseball at 12:11 AM on December 09, 2010 - 7 comments

New to Boxing Hall: Tyson, Chavez ... and Rocky?: Two of boxing's biggest stars of the 1990s are going into the Boxing Hall of Fame. It was no surprise that Mike Tyson and Julio Cesar Chavez, who combined for 157 wins, got the nod. Tyson was the undisputed heavyweight champ while Chavez was a title winner in three divisions. The day's shocker, though, was that the name Sylvester Stallone appeared alongside the boxing legends. That's right, Stallone is going into the BHOF for his contributions to the sport through film. Stallone gained worldwide fame between 1976-2006, playing the fictional character "Rocky Balboa" in six movies. An interesting inclusion, considering the impact the character may have had in reclaiming some popularity for professional boxing at the time. Consider the fact that Abbott and Costello are enshrined in the Baseball Museum at Cooperstown (though NOT the Hall of Fame).

posted by billinnagoya to boxing at 07:35 AM on December 08, 2010 - 9 comments

Recent Comments

Only Japan-Born Sumo Grand Champion Retires

I have felt sorry for Kisenosato since his promotion. Howard_T is right in that there has been no native-born Yokozuna since Wakanohana (III) was promoted in 1998. The next five after him have been either Americans (1--Musashimaru) or Mongolians (4). Mongolians in particular have dominated the upper echelons of sumo for the last fifteen or so years, to the point that the sumo associate has been overly eager for some time to promote a native Japanese. Kisenotsato turned into their "great white hope" and they promoted him at the first conceivable opportunity. In the end, I feel, the pressure to succeed and reclaim Japanese dominance in the sport was just too much for him.

posted by billinnagoya at 11:04 PM on January 18, 2019

Rugby (Union) World Cup Starts Tonight

Two big surprises so far, and it's only the first day: Georgia-Tonga and then Japan-RSA. The Japan-RSA game was one of the most exciting I've ever seen. The Japanese team has certainly come a llllllllloooooooooooonnnnngggg way. Scotland and Samoa had better watch out or they'll go down just like the Springboks.

And if Georgia has really gotten that good, I wonder if they'll be replacing Italy any time soon in the Six Nations--or expanding the event to Seven Nations?

If this first day is a hint of what's to come, it will be a great World Cup.

posted by billinnagoya at 04:11 AM on September 20, 2015

Coming of Age

Your lead threw me. I thought "Australian football" was referring to "Aussie rules."

posted by billinnagoya at 03:54 AM on February 02, 2015

MLB umpire Dale Scott comes out as gay in quietest way possible.

Taking Dale Scott's action as a spearhead for change, umpire Angel Hernandez came out today as "stupid", while C.B. Bucknor came out as "blind", and both are hoping for the same tolerance and acceptance from the fans and players that Scott has received.

Thanks, Grum. I got a good laugh out of that.

posted by billinnagoya at 02:55 AM on December 03, 2014

Baylor Center and NBA prospect Isaiah Austin has been diagnosed with a career-ending genetic disorder.

As sad (and disappointing) as it must be, I must agree with Howard T that this is a blessing in disguise. Far better for him and his loved ones that the condition is discovered now rather than after he falls over dead on an NBA court. If I were his parent/sibling/partner/friend, I'd rather have him alive and growing old together as a working-class-stiff (Joe the plumber) than as a departed-much-too-young multimillionaire NBA player.

posted by billinnagoya at 07:47 AM on June 24, 2014

An oldie but a goodie

Thank you, Dr.John. Ahhh, the memories!!! My first big league game was at the Polo Grounds--during the Mets' inaugural season. Looking back at it now, it was really a dump by then. But to an eight-year-old kid going to his first game it was a real adventure!

posted by billinnagoya at 03:14 AM on October 19, 2013

Rays, Rangers Meet in One-Game Playoff for Wild Card Spot

If the plate umpire calls swing, don't even think of having the base umpire overrule the call, justified or not.

You've got me curious, Howard. Can a batter appeal a check swing call? I've never seen it.

posted by billinnagoya at 05:47 PM on October 01, 2013

Rays, Rangers Meet in One-Game Playoff for Wild Card Spot

I can't believe Leonys Martin got away with that trap in the seventh, which could have been huge but sadly wasn't. His flourish at the end sold six umps!

I soooooooooooo understand your feelings, Rcade. But what is the alternative? Having the umps go to the video on every questionable call? Already I get annoyed with those catchers who appeal to the first- or third-base ump almost every time the batter flinches. The umpires' misses are part of the human element of the game, like it or not.

posted by billinnagoya at 09:37 AM on October 01, 2013

Rays, Rangers Meet in One-Game Playoff for Wild Card Spot

Go Rays!!!!!!!!!!!!! Paraphrasing Buzz Lightyear: To Cleveland, and beyond!!!

posted by billinnagoya at 08:36 AM on October 01, 2013

Closing Scene: Hugs and Tears in Rivera’s Last Home Game

.... if only he could have done it all wearing a different uniform.

(You gotta remember, in my perfect world the Mets win the division/NLCS/WS and the Yankees go Oh-for-the-season)

posted by billinnagoya at 05:28 AM on September 28, 2013

Yankees Out of Playoff Contention

How's their farm system looking? Are there players at the Triple A level that are ready to move up and make an impact?

Don't the entire American and National Leagues constitute the Yankee farm system?

posted by billinnagoya at 09:00 PM on September 26, 2013

Japan Professsional Baseball: Balentien sets new single-season home run record

You have anything more on this? Google search didn't turn up much.

I first came across reference to it quite a few years ago in one of Robert Whiting's books on Japanese baseball (The Chrysanthemum and the Bat, You Gotta Have Wa, The Samurai Way of Baseball), but which one I don't remember off hand. Whiting mentions it often, such as this 2008 three-part column for the Japan Times, or this 2007 column for the New York Times. Jack Gallagher, executive sports editor for the Japan Times, also talks about it in a recent article. Gallagher adds that such bats were finally outlawed by the Japanese leagues in 1982--two years after Oh retired.

posted by billinnagoya at 06:33 PM on September 16, 2013

Japan Professsional Baseball: Balentien sets new single-season home run record

私は彼がパフォーマンス向上薬を使用しなかったと思います。 僕も。または、報道者の間でも薬物使用の噂もない。

As for the NYT article dfleming linked discussing the lively ball controversy, the article is of course chocked with hyperbole (i.e. check swing hits flying out of parks). More to the point, though, as the article notes near the end, the reported outrage has more to do with the power the Yomiuri Giants have long enjoyed to dictate their will on the leagues than it really is about increased offensive production. Nor have any of the sports writers here pursued that line of critque to cast a shadow over Balentien's challenge to the record. I would imagine they realize any advantages Balentien MAY have received from the new ball are offset by the livelier "compressed" bats that were legal in Oh's day (and which Oh used) and the shorter fences in the ballparks of that era.

posted by billinnagoya at 07:14 AM on September 16, 2013

Ichiro reaches 4,000 hit milestone between Japan (1,278) and MLB (2,722 and counting).

So he's still in pretty select company no matter where you put the Japanese leagues.

Amen to that!

posted by billinnagoya at 09:42 PM on August 23, 2013

Ichiro reaches 4,000 hit milestone between Japan (1,278) and MLB (2,722 and counting).

True enough, Japan Professional Baseball is on a somewhat higher level than triple-A, but it is still not the major leagues.

The perenniel argument. Of course, the Japanese like to believe JPB is major league level. And, in fact, there are more than just a few major-league level players, of which Ichiro is the prime example. (Heck, Ichiro is perhaps one of the three or four best all-round ball players I've ever seen.) However, there are far more startng players in these leagues who would do little more than ride the bench in MLB. Again, for every Ichiro, among the Japanese who tried to make the jump, look at how many flops have there been: Matsuzaka, Igawa, Fukudome, Kawakami; a little earlier, Irabu. (And these are just names off the top of my head.) At the same time there are more than a few players who were either marginal in the majors or who had little more than cup-of-coffee experience at that level who were very successful here: Boomer Wells, the Lee brothers, Charlie Manual, Ken Macha, Tyrone Woods, Matt Murton, Tony Blanco.

In sum, JPB is definitely high quality, but not major league, and the biggest reason is the restrictions on the number of foreign players a team can have on the roster or field at any given time. Can you imagine what that would do the the quality of play, considering the fact that nearly 30% of the MLB players are foreign-born? The teams would be forced to elevate native-born players from the minors who otherwise not earn serious consideration.

If the Japan league is that much lower, why did his hits stat take that dramatic jump when he switched to the majors?

In fact, his statistics did not really jump: his career BA is higher in JPB than it is in MLB. Rather, the 20+ extra games per year in MLB gave him 80-100 more at-bats each season, which in turn increased his total hit production.

When all is said and done, Ichiro is still one hell of a player--and his JPB stats should not be counted towards some world record. (The only record from JPB that did at one time deserve acknowledgement was Sachiyo Kinugasa's Ironman record of consecutive games played--which has since been eclipsed by CCal Ripkin.)

posted by billinnagoya at 06:07 PM on August 23, 2013