Two sports notes

Tidings from the Bayou
LSU 28, Florida 24
Kentucky 43, LSU 37 (3OT)
LSU 30, Auburn 24
LSU 41, Alabama 34
Arkansas 50, LSU 48 (3OT)

I’m going to miss LSU. It has produced five unforgettable prime-time games in a single season, and in my opinion, that makes the Tigers the team of the year regardless of which Midwestern school wins the national title in January. Thanks for the drama, guys. The media may call you a disappointment, but you’re the reason people watch college football.

Tidings from Nippon
The Japanese baseball season ended in a remarkable fashion this year, and I’d like to tell you all about it. The Chunichi Dragons won the Japan Series 4-1 over the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters (sadly, Nippon Ham is the team’s sponsor, so they’re technically the “Fighters,” not the “Ham Fighters”). The Dragons’ 1-0 victory in the fifth and final game was unusual, though, because it was a combined perfect game. Starting pitcher Daisuke Yamai threw eight perfect innings, striking out six. The closer, Hitoki Iwase, then retired the last three batters for the save.A combined perfect game has never occurred in Major League Baseball, and for good reason: if a pitcher has retired every single batter, and he isn’t injured, why would he be removed? Even if he were tiring, a perfect game is one of the greatest accomplishments a baseball player can have. There have been only 17 in the 130 years of top-flight American baseball, and no one ever does it twice. Yet the Chunichi manager seemed perfectly comfortable with denying his starting pitcher this feat. What did he say to his pitcher? “You’ve been perfect so far. I would seem to have no reason to remove you from this game. But being the closer is not your job. It is Iwase-san’s job. So I’m going to let him do it.” More incredibly, the media seems perfectly okay with all this. I’ve heard that playing baseball is as much a public ritual of self-sacrifice as it is about winning for some Japanese, and events like this indicate there’s truth to that. Anyway, congratulations to the Dragons for this title and for their subsequent victory in the Asia Series. They’ve had a tremendous year, and we’ll likely see their star player, Kosuke Fukudone, in the United States next year.

Explore posts in the same categories: Japan, Sports

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