When I named yesterdays blog I intended for this pic to go with it. I love the rare smiling Hank Sr, hes usually such a morose and downtrodden guy that its nice to see him happy for the holidays. Hopefully everyone has the kind of holiday that would make even The Lonesome Cowboy feel warm and fuzzy about!
Today the US media picked up the reports that Bryan LaHair was headed east, far east! I saw he has been rumored in the American press to be close to a deal with the Softbank Hawks. For the better part of the past month, however, the Japanese press has been reporting him linked to many other teams including Rakuten and Yomiuri.
|At the center of every baseball in Japan there is the Orange and Black of the Giants|
Heads up Hairy, take a few bucks less and enjoy being a Giant - assuming that there is an offer on the table from them. The prestige would be much greater, as well as the chance to play in the postseason. It would be more work though, as all the Gaijin who come back tell me that "they dont play ball, they WORK ball" in Japan!
The HamFighters have met with Otani and there doesn't seem to be alot of indication that he wants to sign with them. I am sure he would prefer to play MLB, mostly because he has stated blankly that is the case and even warned Japanese teams they would be disappointed if they drafted him since he didnt intend to play NPB.
|A man who has already bought luggage for the trip to the states|
The HamFighers did make him an interesting offer, though not a financial one. They told him that they wanted to develop him as both a starting pitcher and a cleanup hitter. An intriguing offer but I would be hesitant to believe that it would come to pass. Hotani pitched and hit cleanup for his HighSchool team, but even in Japan they dont let guys do that at the upper levels of pro ball. The implied that he would be "groundbreaking" and while they didn't go so far as to compare him to Ruth, they made sure to paint that picture for the young prospect.
|Otani the next Ruth? A powerhitting pitcher-meets-DH for the Ham Fighters?|
Man that Wrigley kid, he just wont stop. The spicy food and warm climate have helped heat up his bat, having multiple hit games and driving in runs at a torrid pace. I would write about each of his exploits but I simply can't keep up!
Hank leads VBL in runs scored and runs batted in and is only 40 points off the batting average lead in the triple crown race with .333. Usually when I see a guy hit .333 I think, oh he has three hits in nine trips to the plate but not this time. Bad Henry has almost 130 at bats and is already over 40 hits in just 34 games.
To find Wrigley, just look for smoke rising above the diamond in Caracas - dude is on fire!
|Bad Henry was here|
That Manny Ramirez guy hit a homer in his first at bat for the hometown team, and has been rumored to be on the job hunt in Japan. I think he would enjoy it over there, but wouldnt like the small living spaces and the strict workout regimen. Still, I think the Japanese fans would love the same thing I love about Manny, he has fun playing the game and lets it show.
|Manny practicing his long distance calls from Japan?|
Mexican and Puerto Rico leagues
International FansDang, those folks are into it!
|I mean INTO IT!|
Really, we get some fans but I think America comes out on the very dull side when compared to the way fans get involved in games in other countries. Japanese fans are famously involved, working together to choreograph vast routines and learning songs for each player.
|Giants fans in Tokyo|
I really enjoy learning about the game in other places, I feel it really widens my understanding of baseball - not to mentions keeps me from freaking out when my Cubs have fallen into the basement by mid-June (again).
So when I went to find some pictures to include on the blog here, I noticed that there was a difference in the cheering squads employed in other countries to get their fans into it, as well as some obvious similarities.
|In Venezuela, maybe this is why Wrigs is en fuego|
|Dominican cheerleader - and a little tiger too!|
|Mexican cheerleaders drag the infield - probably a hit with fans and players alike!|
|What kind of cheerleaders do you get in Puerto Rico?|
Maybe its just me, but a cursory google search turned up those images, and I cant help but think there are fans across the globe that are enjoying the in-game promotions more than we are here in the states!
Ah, but I kid you Puerto Rico, I know you better than that - your cheerleaders are way more than simply a cheerful open-mouthed, flag waving cousin of Mr.Red and Mr.Met. Puerto Rico has some of the world class cheerleaders, top notch cheering and leaping that probably is working on their next championship level routine at this very moment!
|Really, the PR Cheerleaders are impressive!|