baseball

Japan baseball chiefs admit lying over ball change

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By Shigemi Sato

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© 2013 AFP

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Mizuno initially said the increase was due to foreign batters hitting so many home runs and was also related to the higher number of games being played in domed stadiums, where wind is not a factor, Kyodo News reported.

Yep, blame it on the "gaijin" as usual. Once again just goes to show that JPB is a bush league. So what, change the ball and tell people about it. Fans love seeing home runs and it's the fans that pay to keep BB going.

Commissioner Kato—a former Japanese ambassador to Washington—originally ordered a change in the make-up of the ball back in 2011, to bring it into line with the model used in the U.S.

Ok, so at least he admits that Japan is not on par with the US. Ok, I get that part.

At the time, the organization said the change would help Japanese players get accustomed to international standards.

They said it right the first time. It isnt "international" standards that they want to compete with, it's MLB. Japanese hitters are not on par with MLB's when it comes to power hitting, that's a fact.

The foreign hitters are just doing their jobs and blaming them is idiotic. One announcer on TV commented that he was worried that some foreign hitter would challenge Oh's season record and it wouldn't be right for the record to be officially recognized if it came from the juiced up ball being used now. First he forgot that the record is currently shared with a "gaijin" player.

More importantly he and everyone seems to forget that Sadaharu Oh, while being a Japanese citizen is Chinese.

5 ( +12 / -8 )

former ambassador to US Mr. Kato should resign and games played so far should be declared null and void. NPB season 2013-14 should start only after commissioner resigns, also appropriate legal measures should be taken against Mizuno.

0 ( +7 / -6 )

also appropriate legal measures should be taken against Mizuno.

For what exactly? Creating a juiced balled placed on order by the head of JPB? Come on, be for real, Mizuno did nothing criminally wrong here.

Oh I agree however with your point about Kato resigning.

There is nothing wrong with a juiced ball, MLB played with it, and changing the ball is no biggie. But the players union has a valid point about players contracts and that is Japanese baseball's problem not Mizuno.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

@Yubaru : "The organization also made Mizuno the sole ball supplier, dropping its three rivals." legal experts may find some reason there...

0 ( +6 / -6 )

@Yubaru : "The organization also made Mizuno the sole ball supplier, dropping its three rivals." legal experts may find some reason there...

What? A monopoly? The problem entirely lies with the JPBL, it's their choice of supplier and any possible problems start there.

But it seems to me that you are just looking for an excuse to justify your prior comment, ok I get that.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The organization also made Mizuno the sole ball supplier, dropping its three rivals.

That's a bit harsh. But i guess the saying; '4 can keep a secret, if 3 of them are dead' applies.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

It was odd that so many averages are up this year. Also, the amount of field errors is up too (I wonder if it's the action on the ball?). Been a pitchers nightmare for so many (even the lefties are getting rocked) and quite frankly, pitching and fielding are what make a game exciting - along with hitting. The imbalance so far this year is obvious. Too compensate for weak domestic batters is a lame excuse, but getting interest in the sport without PEDs is not all bad. Just don't lie or blame the foreign batters for doing their job.

NPB probably should axe the season - Yubaru you are correct - in order to restore fairplay (and so my Swallows don't sit in the basement all year).

4 ( +5 / -0 )

Yubaru

I dont think they are blaming foreign players in this case. It is true that many foreign players are showing terrific performances this year, while not so many Japanese players are showing better performances than last year. Blanco, Balentien, Murton, Bowker and Lee Dae-Ho are showing nearly their best performances in NPB. Many new comers, like Abreu, Luna, McGehee, LaHair and AJ, are also doing really good, probably more than expected.

But I agree about the HR season record. It is ridiculous to worry that a foreign player rewrite the record...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

One would think there would be a "world standard specification" for a baseball. wonder if Japan is messing around with soccer balls, volley balls, basket balls, etc?

5 ( +5 / -1 )

Seriously, people need to be fired

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I dont think they are blaming foreign players in this case. It is true that many foreign players are showing terrific performances this year, while not so many Japanese players are showing better performances than last year. ......

I agree, yet on just about all the sports papers and news broadcasts all they showed were shots of foreign players whacking the cover off the ball. And repeatedly showed the one shot, I think it was Ballatine, hitting the ball outside the ballpark.

They did not have to say anything specifically really, the implications and message were quite obvious and would be subconsciously noted by the average viewer. I believe we "gaijin" are more attune to seeing these types of scenes than the average Japanese viewer.

But I agree about the HR season record. It is ridiculous to worry that a foreign player rewrite the record...

Ahh, I take it you don't recall Randy Bass or Alex Cabrera or Tuffy Rhodes. Both Cabrera and Rhodes hold the record with Oh, and all three rarely if ever saw pitches to hit when they closed in on the record including getting intentional walks with no one on base.

JPBL religiously wants to keep Oh's name in the record books all by itself, and not ONE announcer, when discussing it added Rhodes or Cabrera's name when discussing the issue of who holds the record and the chances of it falling this year. It would be sacrilegious for any announcer here to include their names with Oh in the discussion.

In fact here is something for you to try on any Japanese friend. Ask them who holds the season record for most homeruns, I think you'll be surprised at how many don't know about anyone other than Oh.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I get so tired of hearing "it would cause confusion" as an excuse for yet another cover-up or less-than-ethical policy decision.

16 ( +15 / -0 )

I don´t really see the point to why NPB needed to use the same balls as MLB in the first place. It had something to do with Japan being better prepared for WBC. I also don´t see the point of changing the order with having Balls first then strikes and not strikes first and balls which was the norm in Japan. BSO instead of SBO. But now that they told the public that they would change, I don´t see the point of them changing it and then doing it secretly. A whole lot things which I don´t get.

The MLB balls don´t carry so far as the balls used in NPB. I quite liked how it used to be. There was not standard baseballs. Each club could use balls that they wished in NPB for each game. Which meant a hitter friendly park team such as the Giants would see juiced balls and we would see a whole lot of home runs where as a pitcher friendly park such as Miyagi we would see balls which would not carry.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Where have you seen the order changed? Japan changed the order to strikes then balls, not the other way around. Seeing as how the game came here from the US, Japan's way is different. Not better, not worse, just different.

I don´t really see the point to why NPB needed to use the same balls as MLB in the first place. It had something to do with Japan being better prepared for WBC

This doesn't make sense to me. The balls here changed after the fact, and was unknown by the players or teams, so I don't get your point here.

Each club could use balls that they wished in NPB for each game. Which meant a hitter friendly park team such as the Giants would see juiced balls and we would see a whole lot of home runs where as a pitcher friendly park such as Miyagi we would see balls which would not carry.

This is truly unfair as players salaries are directly related to their performance on the field. If one ballpark had one ball used, and seeing as how basically each team plays half of it's games in their home park, it would be an unfair advantage to the players playing in a ballpark where the balls are juiced.

Japanese balls traditionally have been different than MLB, the balls are somewhat smaller, and harder, meaning easier to handle and get hit farther.

If MLB used the same balls as Japanese do it would be conceivable for a player to hit 100 home runs in a season. Ordinary fly balls would be home runs in comparison. That's not fair either. Physically speaking Japanese players are smaller and have less overall power compared to MLB players and the power differences are showing more this year with the new ball.

All JPB had to do was announce it was using new balls this year and no one would have said anything I'd bet.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

In what sport(s) is Japan not engaged in scandal these days? It's almost like the 'Sports' section should be called 'Crime2'.

This isn't as bad as killing young sumo wrestlers with pipes, beating on kids in basketball clubs till they kill themselves, or raping or otherwise assaulting women in Judo, but it is still a scandal and some heads deserve to roll.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

In Japan they used to call strikes first then balls. They did this for 100 years or so, then I really didn´t see the point of them reversing the strike ball call after all these years simply because they wanted to have the same as international standards. This to me was strange. Further in a sport where there are no standards in baseball field dimensions. You have big fields and small fields. I didn´t see the point of changing the NPB balls which have been used for decades in Japan to MLB balls in the first place. It worked completely fine. Why fix something which was not broke? Japan did win back to back WBC title when they were using NPB balls. Nevertheless, this is a scandal. In scandal ridden MLB, MLB too juiced their balls together with the players therefore you had players hitting 70 home runs in a season in 1990s. Add to the fact that the corked their bats such as Sosa. I doubt MLB players would be hitting 100 home runs in the States without being juiced simply using NPB balls.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Lack of ethic is spreading everywhere like a virus nowadays, this is the new "El Dorado" for all the mediocre people, soon the only way to make money ? Monopoly, cheating, falsification, misuse of public funds, lack of politician background screening, etc..., there is an urgent need of a Japanese equivalent of Mr Judge Giovanni Falcone.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

What are things in common among the following organisations, TEPCO, Olympus and NPB, ?

Seriously, it's not just about this association that we should be looking at. This sort of attitude, - the we-better-not-say-it-as-it-would-confuse-others attitude - taken as a Japanese virtue of being considerate of others, can hurt people more sharply and bring bigger trouble to others in the end. How many more examples do the Japanese need before they realise this attitude often doesn't help???

9 ( +8 / -0 )

Correction. I should have said, WBC balls and not MLB balls. MLB balls too are not international standards. The closest thing to an international standard are the WBC sized balls. Darvish have said that the balls used in MLB carry further than NPB. Further in Cuba where there is an embargo they have to use balls which are different than USA. Conclusion. NPB should just stick with the balls they have used for decades. Secretly changing the balls though is a scandal and heads should roll.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

In Japan they used to call strikes first then balls

They still do. Oh and btw it's the broadcasters choice.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What I don't understand is what people can't simply be honest about these kinds of things. Why can't the commissioner of Japanese Baseball say "Look folks, ticket sales have been slumping lately, and we're really looking for an edge wherever we can, so we decided to make it more exciting by making super-bouncy baseballs."

And then Mizuno can say "Look, we're really greedy, and we want to screw our competitors by agreeing to a contract where we are the only ones who can make Bouncy Balls. Because man, I mean just look at us. Our balls are so....bouncy!"

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Because man, I mean just look at us. Our balls are so....bouncy!"

Freudian slip?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Completely intentional, I assure you.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Before they used to call strikes first but after WBC they said that they needed to change the Japanese game to make it more international therefore they started to call balls first. The problem though is that some channels and teams stil call strikes first and other channels and teams call balls first so now you really don't know what a 2-1 count means. Depending on team and channel it could either mean 2 strikes or 2 balls.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Say it ain't so, Kato!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When NHK starts calling it differently at Koshien everyone will get on the bandwagon. It's minor really, but confusing to those not accustomed to it that is for sure.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That baseball chief wouldn't be the first Japanese dude to lie about the quality of his balls. And I enjoyed how he suspected the change in stats was because foreigners had superior performance with their balls.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It's not about the specs of the ball but about juicing up the balls. If you are to have universal balls you'd have to monopolize the supplier which would be impossible so the idea of having a standard ball was to begin with stupid.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The baseball commissioner said he did not know the balls had been changed. If he didn't know, who did? Surely somebody in Japan's baseball world knew about this secret.

As for lively baseballs, I enjoy seeing home runs. Over the years gaijin players have hit some fantastic shots. I always enjoyed watching Ralph Bryant, Boomer Wells and Charlie Manuel bang the balls out of the park. And in the present group, the BayStars' Blanco also sends balls soaring deep into the stands ... and even out of the stadium.

Lighten up the balls even more ... and enjoy those home runs ...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'd be PO'd if I were a pitcher.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The balls are still standard balls as they are the same size and weight, it's just that the balls they use now carry further. There will be held a press conference on Friday. I hope many heads will roll and that NPB stop using Mizuno balls.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'd be PO'd if I were a pitcher.

Tell that to Seibu's Hikuchi last night. He threw a one hitter, in fact he had a no hitter going until 1 out in the ninth!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The NPB secretary general Kunio Shimoda has so far denied to have any prior knowledge of what has been going on so it is a conspiracy. I was one of those morons who thought the players had adapted to the new changes.

From Hochi Sports.

The changes has to do with 反発係数. If someone could help me out here with the Japanese but I think it has something to do with how well the ball bounces. Not size but "hanpatsu" How a ball reacts when it´s hit or dropped, bounced. The limit was 0.413 of "hanpatsu". Then it was changed to 0.416 in 2013.

As much as I love the game in Japan, it´s disappointment over and over. First how by the way they run the teams here, then don´t get me started about the broadcasting, then how teams would not tell the real attendance figure. I would not be surprised if there are talks about match fixing in the future.

Don´t let them get away with it!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The old, "We thought it would cause CONFUSION if .... (fill here with suitable excuse such as, "tell the truth")", excuse. Got love people like these guys.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This sad, sorry yet silly situation brings new meaning to the term "foul ball."

We in the U.S. survived a corking-the-bat couple of years several decades ago, when Sammy Sosa's broken bat revealed enough cork to keep the wine-bottling business afloat for a while. (If they'd only, earlier, checked the bats' origin name: "Made In Cork, Ireland.")

What I'm wondering now is, why are so many MLB bats being broken per game? Never used to happen anywhere near that often. Maybe Louisville made a $ecret deal with Spaulding to iron-coat their baseballs.

What's next? Maybe spraying some stay-sticky glue on fielders' gloves?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There's no international organization that governs baseball, so there's no one to institute or enforce rules about balls, bats, gloves or anything else. It's not much different from golf - the Royal and Ancient and the USGA collaborate on rules, but that doesn't dictate what's done elsewhere.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The credibility of the Japanese players inflated statistics will suffer the consequences if they want to play in the MLB. The U.S. teams will look at the players accomplishments in Japan similar to steriods statistics.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Both Darvish and Kuroda keep saying that balls used in MLB travel further than the ones used in NPB.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

ultradarkmelvin, Hideki Matsui hit 55 home runs for Japan's Yomiuri Giants and the most he could hit in MLB with the Yankees with the short right field stands is only half of that. I guess Matsui is saying balls used in MLB travels shorter.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

sfjp

Matsui played in Tokyo Dome the most hitter friendly park in Japan. I'll take Kuroda and Darvish's comments over yours, Also while I think this scandal is sad I find the drug abusing which occurred in MLB and the juiced up balls and the corked bats to be more scandalous.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

ultradarkmelvin,Jun. 14, 2013 - 07:38AM JST Matsui played in Tokyo Dome the most hitter friendly park in Japan.

That is nothing but an excuse. Then why should the baseball world take the home run record of Oh seriously when the right field porch was 302 ft? Matsui only played half the season in the dome and rest outside of Tokyo dome.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Just saying .....

About the ball maker - Mizuno. ....

Masato Mizuno is the former chairman of Mizuno Corp (sports goods manufacturers) and a Japan Olympic Committee Vice President. ****

Very cosy relationship. ****

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

sfjp, you say

Matsui only played half the season in the dome and rest outside of Tokyo dome.

and yet you also said

Hideki Matsui hit 55 home runs for Japan's Yomiuri Giants and the most he could hit in MLB with the Yankees with the short right field stands is only half of that

So his homers in Japan were not due to the short distance to the stands in Tokyo Dome, but as a Yankee he didn't hit a lot of homers despite the short distance to the stands in Yankee stadium? By the way, the most homers he hit as a Yankee was 31.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

http://www.mizunousa.com/corporate/media-center/press-release/masato-mizuno-appointed-ceo-tokyo-2020-bid-committee

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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