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Field Of Dreams

I'm not a big pro baseball fan now, which I used to be, and not always willing to see games on TV even when I have time. But I'm still interested enough to know what's going on in the Japan League, and the Major League baseball - there are, however, so many teams in MLB that I can't (or don't wanna) catch up with them. Yeah, I know Barry Bonds is a great home-run hitter and Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling are outstanding pitchers, all of whom must be listed among the greatest ball players ever. I know the Yankees, Diamondbucks, and Braves have been the favorites in recent seasons.

So it came as a great surprise that the World Series this year was played between the Angels and Giants, right? It was big news in Japan too because the happy-go-lucky-looking Tsuyoshi Shinjo was among the players. The dude has become the first Japanese player ever to "hit a single," "succeed in a sacrifice bunt," and "cross the home plate" in the World Series. Hey, isn't it awesome?

Seems like the games were dramatic this time. I hear the Angels performed a series of "comeback specials." It's always fun for me to hear this kind of stories. I wish I had been there to share the excitement.

Meanwhile, the less-exciting Japan Series has started here. The powerful Giants have already won two easy games over the Lions. Any dramas?


When the season began last spring everybody was excited about Shinjo. Even before we knew if he would be good or not, they released a Shinjo Bobblehead:


We were really hoping for another Ichiro. But only Ichiro is Ichiro, yeah?

When the season began, Shinjo's batting wasn't so good. I remember Dusty Baker started him as the leadoff hitter, but his batting average at the time I think was in the low .200's or even lower. There was no question regarding his speed and defensively, it was pretty cool to watch him zip across the field to catch balls. But his speed was useless offensively because he couldn't get on base.

Anyway, in the end I think Dusty used Kenny Lofton in the role we had hoped Shinjo would have filled - a guy who can get on base or at least advance other players for the power hitters (Kent, Bonds) to bring on home.

I dunno, I like Shinjo - he really does have a happy-go-lucky charm to him (must be that big friendly smile of his). If he only could get on base more consistently...


Right. You can't expect another Ichiro in Shinjo. Even back in Japan, he wasn't a high-average hitter. But he has a strange charm, and will do good jobs in big games, which is why he was/is very popular here. I hear he may be back to Japan next year. I'm not sure if it's really the case though.