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WBC Semifinal: USA v. Japan

Join me on my SI.com liveblog for tonight’s single-elimination showdown between native All-Stars of the two best professional baseball organizations in the world.

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1 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 22, 2009 7:29 pm

Hey Cliff, am home watching the game and following your live blog..will stick comments here though!
Japanese announcers only, you can imagine the apoplexy when Roberts hit that dinger..still better than Steve Phillips..

2 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Mar 22, 2009 7:46 pm

Hey, Tokyo! Glad to have you on board!

3 Rich   ~  Mar 22, 2009 7:59 pm

Command continues to be a problem for M'zaka.

4 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 22, 2009 8:01 pm

[2] Hey, as you can imagine people here are all over this game..sports bars open early for the live broadcast.

Matsuzaka..he can be a great pitcher but damn, when he nibbles..why not trust his great sreat stuff?? just whiffed Braun on a great pitch

5 Eirias   ~  Mar 22, 2009 8:17 pm

Japan needs Goro Shigeno.

6 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 22, 2009 8:25 pm

DeRosa at 1B...Dunn in RF...next time, hopefully someone puts some work into formulating the roster.

7 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 22, 2009 8:27 pm

[5] Hahahaha..you an "otaku", Eirias? :)

8 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 22, 2009 8:31 pm

Let me guess...Davey Johnson was making sure Oswalt got his work in? Wasn't it obvious that he completely lost it after the third?

9 Eirias   ~  Mar 22, 2009 8:31 pm

[7] An otaku? Given the social implications, not so much. Doesn't mean I can't enjoy the odd anime, though. Particularly one based on baseball.

10 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 22, 2009 8:36 pm

[9] Havnt seen the anime yet though think it's still on NHK..

11 Eirias   ~  Mar 22, 2009 8:48 pm

So Tokyo, who do you like in the NPL?

12 Eirias   ~  Mar 22, 2009 8:49 pm

Or NPB, I should say.

13 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 22, 2009 8:57 pm

[12] Yakult Swallows. I live pretty close to Jingu Stadium where they play. You follow the NPB a lot?

14 Eirias   ~  Mar 22, 2009 8:59 pm

[13] Not in the least. Just curious.

15 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 22, 2009 9:15 pm

[14] off an on fan..great live atmosphere, too much small-ball (first inning sacrifice bunting, etc)

16 Shaun P.   ~  Mar 22, 2009 9:34 pm

[6] To be fair, the US has been plagued by injuries - its a different world if Youkilis and Chipper are still there. As Cliff pointed out, that the team is also limited to the provisional roster because of the drug testing also doesn't help.

17 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 22, 2009 9:48 pm

things getting exciting! ambulance just called for Japanese tv annoucing team, think Dick Vitale on acid..

18 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 22, 2009 9:53 pm

[16] Injuries have been a problem, but not having another capable 1B on the provisional roster strikes me as short sighted.

Why would Johnson not pinch hit with the lefty? Why use Longoria, who is the least familiar with the environment. ESPN is talking about Johnson managing with handcuffs, but I think Johnson is more of a handcuff to this team.

19 tsengsational   ~  Mar 22, 2009 9:56 pm

Yeah I don't support PHing Longoria.

20 Eirias   ~  Mar 22, 2009 9:56 pm

[17] Acid? I can imagine Dick Vitale on speed or crack, but Vitale on acid would be a twisted creature speaking in eldritch tongues not heard by mortal men for millenia. The spells cast by his announcing alone would summon the Great Old Ones through spectral gates, flying to the doom of mankind. You do not want Dick Vitale on acid.

21 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 22, 2009 9:56 pm

Also, with a man on third and the infield, a guy like Victorino is exactly who you want to have up.

Not only does the U.S. need to take roster construction and preparation more seriously, but they need to hire a the best manager possible...not somone who is coming out of retirement for a few weeks.

I realize not too many Americans care, but I find the haphazard way the U.S. conducts itself in this tournament to be embarassing.

22 Eirias   ~  Mar 22, 2009 9:59 pm

[21] We are in the semi-finals, you know.

23 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:01 pm

Thorton threw 12 pitches and looked as dominant as anyone could, but now Hanrahan, who shouldn't even be on this team, is brought in. You can make decisions like that and then say you are trying to win. I can't blame American fans for not caring when the team is managed like a training camp.

24 Eirias   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:03 pm

Seriously, they're having Darvish close?

25 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:03 pm

[22] Making the semi-finals should be a given for the United States. Morgan keeps talking about not having the best players, but I think the U.S. could win this easily with a mix of major and minor leaguers. The problem is the games are managed like an exhibition and the preparation is non-existent.

26 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:04 pm

Oh Captain..not the best tournament for our man Jeter..

[20] yes, sounds exactly like that! lots of excessive screaming and odd sounds over lazy fly balls down the foul line..so imagine now with the insurance run..it's Japanese, Jim, but not as I know it..

27 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:05 pm

Not to keep pounding, but that's a routine play for Rollins. A team playing to win doesn't start one of the worst defensive players at a position instead of one of the best.

28 Eirias   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:06 pm

So, it is looking like tomorrow's game will be Dokdo vs Takeshima.

29 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:07 pm

[26] True...as frustrating as this tournament has been, the bigger concern is how poorly Jeter has looked in the Classic.

30 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:10 pm

[28] Should be a great one! Unfortunately will have to follow tomorrow on the web from the office..

[29] very poor indeed..totally inexplicable that Rollins has not been the starter..

9-4 now..time to crack a Guinness here!

31 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:11 pm

How embarrassing…the Nationals should have a lot of fun with Dunn the next two seasons.

32 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:12 pm

Ramirez and Reyes are probably more talented, but if I had one game to win, I think I'd want Rollins at SS.

33 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:13 pm

[31] well, he WILL hit 40 taters but..I think I may have better range int he field..

you too, William? If I remember correctly you mentioned playing in a semi-pro league..?

34 Eirias   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:14 pm

[22] I agree. Absenting any nationalistic beliefs, the US should crush this tournament. We have, by far, the largest farm system in our prodigious minor league set-up and, iirc, a majority of players in the majors are indeed American. I'm not sure that the fault lies primarily with poor management or preparation, though Johnson is not helping his cause.

Can you imagine the uproar if the US used Peavy to close?

35 Eirias   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:15 pm

A pitcher won 21 games last year in Japan? With their rotation system? Impressive.

36 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:15 pm

[33] Fast pitch softball...Dunn is more of a slow pitch kind of player.

Darvish to close...refreshing to see a team actually want to win this game.

37 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:16 pm

I can not wait to see Darvish in the staff with Joba and Hughes..it better happen that way

38 Eirias   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:16 pm

[36] Pitcher or fielder?

39 Eirias   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:17 pm

[37] Dear Lord I wish this happens.

40 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:17 pm

Jeter swinging 3-1 down 5 runs??

Sorry...just warming up for the season (but that was an un-captain like thing to do).

41 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:18 pm

[27] He says he has no interesting coming to the U.S.

42 Eirias   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:19 pm

[37] Like Joba, we can get Darvish to close!

43 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:19 pm

[39] He'll easily exceed Matsuzaka's posting fee though..$75million? Nippon Ham say they don't want to post him but must be salivating at the fee..

With the large Korean population in LA tomorrow's game should have a great atmosphere..WBC is so cool even with the scheduling flaws. Hope they host the finals here next time!

44 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:20 pm

[41] Darvish has said some awkward things in the past so I think his advisors have told him to clam up..he'll be in the US within the next 3 years for sure. You see Keith Law's write-up on him?

45 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:20 pm

[43] If they keep the same format and the U.S. doesn't change it's attitude, they really should play the final in Japan or Korea, because those are the two teams who will regularly be playing in it.

46 Eirias   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:21 pm

[41] Apparently this may not be true. I read the same thing... records... MVPs... etc, but I read somewhere that he was having his agent send out feelers (not that this should be taken as anything resembling truth). The Ham Fighters may need to post him anyways, for the absurd amount of money they would get.

47 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:21 pm

[44] I saw it, but he hasn't looked as good as advertised in this Classic. He doesn't seem to have great command. I could see him being a five and fly guy like Dice-K.

48 Eirias   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:23 pm

Btw, Tokyo, how did the Ham Fighters get the name Ham? Is it a Japanese word or does it refer to pigs?

49 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:24 pm

In this economy, I don't think the posting fee would surpass Dice-K's level.

The more interesting upcoming contract will be Steven Strasburg...if the reports of him are true, he could get some serious money.

50 Eirias   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:26 pm

How is South Korea so very, very good at international baseball? They placed third in 2006, won the Olympics, and are in the finals this year. Despite that, I can name maybe three Korean MLB players, though that may be just me.

51 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:29 pm

[48] Common mistake, the owner's are "Nippon Ham, Inc."..so their team name is just "Fighters"..of course, all foreigners here lovingly call them the "Ham Fighters"..

[49] Yanks can afford it don't you think? They can't let the BoSox dominate the Japanese market..

52 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:31 pm

[50] A lot of the best Korean players play in the Japan league though, much higher quality of compettition..also, maybe I have been in Asia too long and now buy into the stereotype but..their training and practice sessions are intense and their fundamentals are flawless..that does count for something in a short series.

53 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:37 pm

Jap-Kor final preview already on tv here, with accompanying Opera soundtrack and Voice of God narrator..now on to "Seperate ways" by Journey as the bgm..that's my cue to split...

54 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:40 pm

[51] They can afford it, but all things considered, I think Dice-K hasn't lived up to his billing. If Darvish is going to command a higher posting fee, then he'd have to meet an even greater standard, which I don't think is likely.

[52] Ultimately, Japan and Korea both play to win in international competition. Neither team would dream about starting a Jeter over Rollins or remove a Thorton from the game just to get other guys work. In other words, they treat the game with a great deal of respect...I think it's kind of shameful that the United States didn't do the same.

55 tsengsational   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:50 pm

If Hughes develops into our fifth starter by next year, would the Yankees even need to compete for Yu Darvish if he was posted? We've got Burnett for 5, CC for 3, possibly 7, Joba and Hughes for the foreseeable future (if they can pitch out their innings this year and avoid injuries... not a sure thing). Is Wang going to be dropped?

56 Rich   ~  Mar 22, 2009 10:52 pm

[55] That depends on their plans for Wang. Do they sign him long term, or does his low K/9 concern them enough to trade him while he is still an outlier?

57 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Mar 22, 2009 11:28 pm

Like I've said before, I think Wang's a goner. Meanwhile, pitchers who threw 30 or more pitchers were ineligible for the final, you could use that as an excuse for Johnson limiting Thornton to an inning, though I generally agree with you, especially about Jeter.

58 RIYank   ~  Mar 23, 2009 1:46 am

Mean while, in CC Sabathia's start against minor leaguers, Posada threw out three of four attempts at stealing second. That could be the most important news of the pre-season.

59 cult of basebaal   ~  Mar 23, 2009 1:12 pm

Injuries have been a problem, but not having another capable 1B on the provisional roster strikes me as short sighted.

you mean like Derek Lee?

oh, he is on the provisional roster, he's just out with an ... injury.

the US team got clobbered by injuries this time

not that that excuses Davey for playing Jeter over Rollins ...

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