Bizarre Japanese Sports… #1

25 06 2007

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There certainly is some weirdness in the world, and sometimes… only sometimes… I encounter stuff it in my corner of the world (Japan). When I first made this blog I said I’d include some ‘cultural’ stuff… well if I find something sports-oriented (at least… remotely) …

#1: Crying Baby competition…

Held in Tokyo in late April, a competition for the baby who can cry the loudest. Held ‘sumo-style’ in conjunction with local amateur sumo, who provided ‘support’ for the competitors.

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I’m a lil’ bit absent tomorrow…

15 06 2007

Tomorrow (well… kinda ‘tomorrow’, and kinda ‘today’ – given I live in Japan & I’m about +16 hours on the guys there…), I’m guest-writing at the excellent blog ‘Pyle of List‘ (as blogger-extraordinaire, Lunchbox is on vacation). I still should be able to get an article done here… but pop over to Pyle of List & have a read…





Top Sports Stories in Japan… (June 12)

12 06 2007

Muggy day today…

The day’s sports headlines in Nippon!

Slow day in Japan apparently…

Unlinked news shorts (because I’m reading them from my newspaper)…

  • Big Unit outpitches DiceK…
  • Masumi Kuwata makes MLB debut in loss to Yanks…
  • Zhang Na 1st Chinese to win JLPGA tourny…

If you want more details on any local story… just ask!





Flippin’ Off… (‘Possible Flip-flop Story’ Competition)

7 06 2007

What is it at the moment? What’s going on???

In the last 2 weeks, we had two of the biggest flip-flops occur in the sports-world. First, we had Kobe Bryant with his “Trade-me-wait-no-don’t-trade-me” tirade (does anyone know what he wants at the moment?), then we had Billie Donovan with his “I wannabe an NBA coachwait, no I don’t” (shortest tenure ever as an NBA coach?). How brilliant a flip-flop were both? Both were sheer head-scratching in the stupidity involved. Not to say either Kobe Bryant or Billy Donovan are stupid – both are (from what I hear/read) very intelligent guys – but the acts were (stupid).

So, it got me thinking… what reversals would we want to see? Who could perform an about-face that would rival these two?

Some examples…

Shaq returns to the Lakers… (c’mon, who wouldn’t love to see this? <rolls eyes>) The big guy could come up with a great new nickname for it (The Big Prodigal Son?), and state that he’s glad to be back – wishes he never left, and come up with a new pithy nickname for Kobe after claiming him as his ‘sidekick’. Better than Cain & Abel…

The Rocket changes his mind just prior to his first start. He wants to play in … Boston. Announcement made Friday June 8th (just prior to when he would’ve started for the Yanks) where he’s flown in by helicopter on top of the Green Monster at Fenway…

don11.jpg With Malice’s first ever competition!!! don11.jpg

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Finals? Bah… Bring on the Off-season!!!

6 06 2007

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Ok… I know the NBA finals are going to be exciting now. I get that. Lebron “Luke-the-force-is-with-you” James vs the San Antonio “Deathstar” Spurs (who really thinks the good guys are going to win this time?) – great viewing.

But the off-season this year is looking so… interesting! First, the draft. How karmic was it that Boston & Memphis did not get a top 3 choice after two of the most obvious tanking performances I’ve seen by a professional sports team?!! I heard that in the morning on my way to work, and could not stop smiling all day!

We got Portland getting the first pick – and are almost certain to take Greg Oden & take a big step in the turn-around of the franchise once known as the ‘Jail Blazers’. The only alumni left from that group is Zach Randolph, and trade rumours surround him galore. Sure, the rebuilding of Rip City started before now – and the addition of Brandon Roy/LaMarcus Aldridge last year was a coup – but with Greg Oden in the mix, the sights will be set much, much higher. And deservedly so. Exciting times ahead for Portland.

With the losses (all surprisedly so?) of Dallas, Detroit and Phoenix, we can expect at least some retooling to occur within those rosters.

With Flip Saunders expecting to stay with the Pistons , that will probably ensure that fairly significant changes will occur to the roster. Rasheed Wallace has probably received his last technical in a Detroit uniform, Chris Webber’s probably due to retire, and the changes that occur might mean that Chauncey Billups departs too – via free agency.

Even with Mark Cuban declaring unconditional support for Dirk, I’d expect changes in Dallas. Dirk’ll stay, but Jason Terry is destined for somewhere else, Devin Harris deserves to have the ball. The Warriors exposed the deficiencies the Mavericks have at close to the basket – Dirk is simply more touch than brawn, and Eric Dampier’s ever-growing-contract is an elephant for the team to carry. Jerry Stackhouse is a free agent, and it will depend on the offers he gets. But bottom line: Dallas need a big guy, who can provide muscle… and not just talk about it like Dampier.

Phoenix are interesting. But for a hit by Robert Horry…

then maybe the Spurs aren’t in the finals.

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A Right to be Angry…

5 06 2007

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Reality landed firmly with a thud for the Yankees on Monday, in the form of a 6-4 loss to the Chicago White Sox at Cellular Field in Chicago.

New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner has a right to be angry. Vexed. Pissed. New York fans have a right to be feeling something MORE than frustrated. When you weigh the salaries they pay against the results the team produces, could anyone associated with MLB’s premier franchise be anything LESS than infuriated with a 6 games under .500 showing?

Ok… they won 2 outta 3 against the Boston Red Sox, cutting the lead the Sox hold from 13-and-a-half to 12-and-a-half (yippee?), and they should feel pleased about that – but the simple fact is that they still have to get past both Baltimore (1.5 games ahead) & Toronto (2 games ahead) before they can even consider Boston. And they’ve given the Red Sox a huge buffer! Is it ok to set your sights on chasing the wildcard this early in June? I don’t think they have a choice – catching Boston would necessitate not only a massive turn-around on the Yankees fortunes, but a reversal of fortune for the Bo’ Sox would be required as well.

Chasing the wildcard is going to be a tall order too. Currently the Yanks find themselves well behind Detroit (8 games over .500), Seattle (3 games over – now there’s a surprising performance), Oakland and Minnesota (a game a piece)… but at least those targets are possibilities, if somewhat remote.

And even forgetting about the performance as a team, do you think Steinbrenner’s impressed with ever-growning injury list (including my personal favourite oft-injured player: Carl Pavano, who has pitched less than 20 games as a Yankee… for $10 million a year. Nice work if you can get it)? With Jason Giambi’s mouth? With A-Rod’s frequent faux pas, on field and off? With Johnny Damon’s lack-lustre performance? Nuh-uh… and my gut tells me that we’re in for a response from the big guy… Read the rest of this entry »





Detroit too cavalier…

3 06 2007

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Who woulda thought it? After Lebron James single-handedly demolishes Detroit, Cleveland return home to the place formerly known as the Gund Arena (c’mon… I mean the “Quicken Loans Arena”??? That’s right up with with having “Chico’s Bail Bonds” as a sponsor!), to beat the Detroit Pistons and take their place in the NBA Finals. And who would be the main man, the hero-of-the-hour? LEBRON JAMES! Ummm… Daniel ‘Boobie’ Gibson? With a statline of 31 points & 6 rebounds, Daniel Gibson stepped up when the Pistons Posse ambushed the leader of the James Gang. The first year guard out of Texas was ready to play Frank to Lebron’s Jesse, and the rest is history.

Still, James did his bit. 20 points, 14 rebounds & 8 assists is no shabby day at the office, and it was the pressure that Detroit put on Lebron that allowed Gibson to star. You cannot fault Detroit’s game-plan: no way in hell were they letting Lebron beat them – he’d done so the last game, with very little help from his team. If they were going to lose, someone else had to step up.

Today, Daniel Gibson did.

So now the Spurs… and the NBA have to be happy about this match-up. I can almost hear David Stern’s face cracking a smile. The next-big-thing, the ‘Air Apparent’… versus the Spurs. The San Antonio Spurs, who have recently lived up to the Black & Silver they share with the Oakland Raiders by getting downright dirty. The Golden Child, and his team versus the big, bad Spurs.

The finals just got interesting.