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Samsung Lions beat Softbank Hawks to win Asia Series

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Will another loss to Korea be a subject of debate soon in the Diet? Once again, this result proves that in a tournament format comprising just a few games for each team, any reasonably competitive team can win, and not the team considered most talented on paper.

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Hawks are chokers, that's all. Chunichi was just a bigger bunch of chokers this Nippon Series. I can guarantee 2010 Chiba Lotte would never have lost to Samsung Lions had they held the series last year.

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now this is more like a " world series " !!!

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"now this is more like a " world series " !!!"

@jinjapan: No, not with their limits on foreign players. MLB may have all but one of its teams in the U.S., but it employs players from all over the world, with between 25-30% foreign-born players on rosters in recent years. MLB is far and away more open than a league like NPB, which is another reason why most of the world's best want to try to ply their trade, if given the chance, in the majors.

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but if Samsung take on the Cardinals,surely the winner can truly profess to be World Champion !

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which is another reason why most of the world's best want to try to ply their trade, if given the chance, in the majors.

The main reason is $$$$$$. MLB pays a heck of a lot more than NPB. I'm sure most Japanese players would rather be superstars in their own country than semi-anonymous cogs in an MLB team, but the MLB team will pay them 2x, 3x, 5x more...

I don't see how the limits on foreign players hurts NPB. There aren't that many superstar foreign players despite the much higher average salaries than the Japanese players. There's no indication at all that if more foreign players were allowed the quality of baseball would be much improved.

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"but if Samsung take on the Cardinals,surely the winner can truly profess to be World Champion !"

The St. Louis Cardinals, represented in the World Series by a 25-man roster comprising players from not only the U.S. but also Mexico, the D.R., and Venezuela, are the World Champs by virtue of winning the title of best team in MLB, which plays overall the best baseball in the world.

NPB is superior to the KBL overall, the Samsung Lions victory over NPB's Hawks notwithstanding.

Knowledgeable baseball fans don't want to see the World Series champs playing the Asian Series champs annually. We just saw a team of MLB stars sweep 5 games from Taiwan's stars in Taiwan, for example. The best teams from Japan, Korea and Taiwan would lose again and again to MLB's best in 5 and 7 game series.

MLB plays too much baseball each year anyway, so it's not going to happen. I guess you might be able to look forward to the preseason WBC again every 4 years from 2013, if that helps you get your international baseball fix.

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@Patrick Whatever execuse you come up with, it is a joke that they call it "World Series". I can organize a ping pong tournament at my place and call it "World Series", hey, anyone is welcome to join my tournament :) I don't deny that the level of Major league is above NPB but if they want to use the word "world", then they should officially invite champion teams from japan, korea, taiwan, or any other country.

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"5 games from Taiwan's stars in Taiwan, for example. The best teams from Japan, Korea and Taiwan would lose again and again to MLB's best in 5 and 7 game series. " Japanese teams would do the same thing against Taiwanese Champions. Bobby Valentine suggested that they should have an international tournament, I'm pretty sure he knows more about baseball than you,

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@Hide Suzuki: I have a simple question for you. Would you support the Hawks playing a series against the Cardinals this year? If so, would the Hawks use Cabrera, Ortiz, and standout foreign pitchers like Falkenborg and Houlton? If you think this is what most Japanese baseball fans would want, then you should go back and look at certain "Japanese" NPB players who were kept off previous Japan rosters for the WBC because they weren't Japanese enough, for example they are ethnic Koreans.

"Bobby Valentine suggested that they should have an international tournament"

Bobby V says a lot of things, some sensible, some incomprehensible, and Boston fans will soon learn this. I know a lot more baseball than most, and I certainly know more about Japan as a foreigner than Bobby V will ever dream of knowing.

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@pawatan:

"The main reason is $$$$$$. MLB pays a heck of a lot more than NPB."

No, many of the Japanese players that have moved to the U.S. have made LESS money on their original contracts than they did in their final years in Japan because so much of the money was paid to the Japanese team they left in the form of a posting fee. For example, check out Ichiro's original deal with the Mariners-half of the money went back to the Blue Wave. Dice-K is only going to receive about half of the $103 million deal he signed since his posting fee was just over $50 million. There are many other examples.

Hideki Matsui went to MLB as an FA and in his prime and got huge money, but Yomiuri had offered essentially a blank check to stay the rest of his career with the Giants. They were willing to pay him whatever the Yankees paid.

The main reason Japanese players go to the U.S. is the same as why the best soccer/football players go to Europe to play-because they want to challenge themselves against the best.

If there are any players on the Samsung Lions that have enough service time in the KBL and are good enough to try MLB in the near future, I wouldn't be surprised to see them move across the Pacific.

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@Patrick, Yes, i would support Hawks. I don't really understand your questions. It should be just like soccer, there is a world cup every four years, where countries complete agianst each other, but they also have a champion ship that decides the best club, and players can come from many different countries. If you are so confident, then that's more of a reason why you should want internaional tournaments. you are being like Japanese farmers, who says their rice is the best in the world, but at the same time they are against the TPP saying that it will ruin their business :)

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I have a simple question for you. Would you support the Hawks playing a series against the Cardinals this year? If so, would the Hawks use Cabrera, Ortiz, and standout foreign pitchers like Falkenborg and Houlton?

Absolutely. And absolutely. Why wouldn't they use their entire roster? It's a club championship, not a national competition.

If you think this is what most Japanese baseball fans would want, then you should go back and look at certain "Japanese" NPB players who were kept off previous Japan rosters for the WBC because they weren't Japanese enough, for example they are ethnic Koreans.

Yes, like half-Iranian Darvish Yu. It was a shame they left him off the 2009 roster. Wait, he pitched in more games than anyone? He started game 1, and got the win in the final? I forgot how much Japanese fans HATED that!

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Dice-K is only going to receive about half of the $103 million deal he signed since his posting fee was just over $50 million. There are many other examples.

Well, of course the posting fee takes a chunk out of the overall compensation. But you think Matsuzaka would get US$10M/yr from Seibu? Or Gojira would get US$13M/yr from Yomiuri? Or Ichiro would get US$18M/yr from Orix (his current salary)? That's more than 50% of an entire NPB roster (not named Yomiuri or Hanshin).

If Ichiro could get $18M/yr here, he'd be here. He'd be very, very lucky to get 40% of that. Darvish is the highest paid player in Japan - approx. US$6M.yr at current exchange rates.

http://baseball-data.com/ranking-salary/all/

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Time for the right-wingers to march in protest against superior Korean goods! haha.

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Lions win! Lions win!! Oh....

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@pawatan:

Ichiro's original 3-year deal was for only $14 million. He did not make more in the U.S. than in Japan til after this deal. He desperately wanted to play in the U.S., first and foremost, to prove himself against the best. The big money came later.

Hideki Matsui turned the equivalent of a 6-year, $64 million deal from Yomiuri to go to MLB. The Giants most definitely do have the resources through their parent company to retain a player of his caliber, and tried to do so. His dream was also to play against the best, and to have a life of his own in the U.S., away from the endless nonsense of the J-media.

Matsuzaka's Red Sox contract could come out to an average of $10 million per if he meets ALL incentives by the end of next year. I don't have Scott Boras' # to check on it, but I doubt very seriously he will do so. The point is that if he has averaged $8-9 million per by the end of next year, this is not hugely more than Seibu could have paid him. He was such a draw at the Seibu Dome over the years, myself included on numerous occasions, that they could have continued paying him in the equivalent range of $5-6 million annually, regardless of the financial and legal troubles of ownership at the time.

As I stated in my first post, I said the "original" contracts of "many" of NPB's best over the past 15 years since Nomo showed up in L.A. have not paid more than what they were making in Japan in the final season or two. The biggest paydays for them have often, not always to be sure, come after some of them established themselves in the majors.

As far as players left off previous WBC rosters, I'm talking about those of Korean heritage. If you don't know those who were because of their questionable status as Japanese, then you don't pay much attention to NPB. This issue doesn't concern "half" stars like Darvish or former manager Oh.

And, no, I don't believe many Japanese fans would like to see an NPB champ win a series against the MLB one if up to 4 of the regular players who play significant roles on the team are foreigners.

As a final point, I've enjoyed the fact that the Samsung Lions beat the Hawks for the Asian title. The Hawks are a better team overall than the Lions. This win by the Lions proves once again that if teams do not play at least a 5-game series, it does not show which team is the best, which is my main complaint against competitions like this and the WBC.

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Patrick

Matsuzaka's Red Sox contract could come out to an average of $10 million per if he meets ALL incentives by the end of next year.

Matsuzaka is getting paid $10M next year regardless of incentives. As I showed you in my link, that's 2x the highest amount paid to any player in Japan. Likewise with Gojira - maybe Yomiuri "could" pay $10M (still less than $13M/per he made with the Yankees) but they wouldn't, and won't. Nobody gets paid that much in NPB, and nobody will ever get paid that much in NPB. There's just no incentive, NPB is poorly marketed and just doesn't generate that sort of revenue.

He was such a draw at the Seibu Dome over the years, myself included on numerous occasions, that they could have continued paying him in the equivalent range of $5-6 million annually, regardless of the financial and legal troubles of ownership at the time.

Still half of what he's making in the US, and he doesn't have to work in Saitama and play at the crappy Seibu Dome to do it.

So players will always talk about 'proving themselves against the best', but it's mostly just a great way to get paid, and very well. After you play in MLB, you can always come back and get paid well again as an "ex-MLB player" even if you are currently crap. Witness Iwamura and Kaz Matsui for that...

As far as players left off previous WBC rosters, I'm talking about those of Korean heritage. If you don't know those who were because of their questionable status as Japanese, then you don't pay much attention to NPB.

Nice job insulting me there, Patrick. I go to minimum 50 games every year in person and watch many more on TV, as well as participate in the blogosphere and on NPB fan sites. I'd say I'm more familiar with NPB than 99% of Japanese people.

The Hawks are a better team overall than the Lions. This win by the Lions proves once again that if teams do not play at least a 5-game series, it does not show which team is the best, which is my main complaint against competitions like this and the WBC.

It doesn't matter who is BEST. It matters who WINS. Chiba Lotte was most definitely not the best team in Japan last year but they WON. That's all that counts! The Hawks have frequently been among the best in recent years but haven't gotten it done until this year. Best has little to do with it.

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@pawatan: Ichiro's original contract for 3yrs./$14 million proves my point in one instance. You're wrong. H. Matsui's original 3-year deal with the Yanks for $21 million total pales in comparison to the 6yr./$64 million offered at the same time by Yomiuri. Wrong again, pawatan. I'll grant you that Matsuzaka in the second half of his contract with the Red Sox is making more than Seibu could've paid and kept the rest of their roster paid fairly. The big money often comes later for many of NPB's stars, which was my point all along. Their main reason for going initially is to play against the best-period.

I won't disagree with you about returnees like Iwamura and K. Matsui. Kaz Sasaki is another example. He gave up his last year's contract with the Mariners and the J-media in most respects said how great it was for him to return under those circumstances, but then he got more over a 2-year deal with Yokohama, all the while knowing his damaged arm wouldn't allow him to be very good anymore.

As far as the "insult" you perceived from some of my comments, you shouldn't have responded with the Darvish comment. If you'd known what I was talking about, you would've had something relevant to say in return.

"It doesn't matter who is BEST. It matters who WINS." It matters if the competition is played in a format like the Asian Series or the preseason WBC. It doesn't prove anything other than who might've got lucky in one game here and there. The reason behind playing long regular seasons and 5-to-7 game postseason series is to prove that the winner in the end is not only best, but deserves to be champ.

Regardless, this loss by the Hawks will more than motivate next year's NPB champ to avenge the loss. We'll see what happens.

And congrats once again to the Samsung Lions!

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Patrick

As far as the "insult" you perceived from some of my comments, you shouldn't have responded with the Darvish comment. If you'd known what I was talking about, you would've had something relevant to say in return.

Oh, so I am supposed to be a mind reader now? Here's what you said (emphasis added):

"If you think this is what most Japanese baseball fans would want, then you should go back and look at certain "Japanese" NPB players who were kept off previous Japan rosters for the WBC because they weren't Japanese enough, for example they are ethnic Koreans."

For example, you say. "Weren't Japanese enough", you say - the very reason Darvish was able to be drafted by Nippon Ham - the more "Japanese" clubs didn't think much of a "haafu" player. The reason Nagashima was so much more popular than Oh, despite Oh being the record-setting power guy. So which is it? Ethnicity matters, but only if they are Korean, not Iranian, not Taiwanese?

The big money often comes later for many of NPB's stars, which was my point all along. Their main reason for going initially is to play against the best-period.

Of course MLB is a stronger league than NPB. But the NPB guys wouldn't be going there if the payday wasn't so good. Their marketability increases once they play overseas - look at Matsuzaka, still all over ads despite being somewhat of a failure in Boston. Notice NPB talent didn't flow to the West until the West started paying so much more. Or did I miss where Ochiai, Kiyohara, Hara played in the MLB, even though it was the superior league in the 80s and 90s, too?

It doesn't prove anything other than who might've got lucky in one game here and there. The reason behind playing long regular seasons and 5-to-7 game postseason series is to prove that the winner in the end is not only best, but deserves to be champ.

Lucky enough to get to the final. Lucky enough to win your domestic league. Sure gotta play a lot of games to get "lucky", don't you?

Regardless, this loss by the Hawks will more than motivate next year's NPB champ to avenge the loss.

Pretty much any other NPB team wouldn't have choked to the Samsung Lions this year.

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In regards to H. Matsui offer from the Giants, he was offered 5 year 5 billion yen at the end of 2001 which is a season before he could become a free agent. Going by the currency rates at that time (121 yen/$), that's roughly $4.13 million per season. Instead, he declined and signed a one year contract at 6.1 billion yen which is about $5 million.

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Patrick HattmanNov. 30, 2011 - 03:32PM JST. If there are any players on the Samsung Lions that have enough service time in the KBL and are good enough to try MLB in the near future, I wouldn't be surprised to see them move across the Pacific.

Shin-Soo Choo who is from South Korea plays for Cleveland Indians is better than most top player from Japan. Although he had off year in '10, in 09, and 10, he batted around .300 and hit over 20 home runs. He strikes out alot but he has a potent bat. There are few Korean players, if trained right could play in the MLB. Most MLB teams have cold feet on Japanese players. They are overated on statistics by far and injury prone. Japanese baseball is equivelent to "AA" ball in the states, if that.

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@sfjp330 "Japanese baseball is equivelent to "AA" ball in the states, if that" Right, that explains why the US won the WBC twice in a row, oh wait, Japan did that

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Funny how Americans are so eager to put down japanese baseball players, but they can't and don't want to prove it. Look what happened to your basketball "Dream Team" who lose to Spain. Their best athletes go to soccer, not basketball and they beat your "DreamTeam", it's the same thing in baseball as we saw twice in the WBC. They talk a lot but can't prove it

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Hide SuzukiDec. 01, 2011 - 05:28AM JST. Japanese baseball is equivelent to "AA" ball in the states, if that" Right, that explains why the US won the WBC twice in a row, oh wait, Japan did that

The WBC happened in March, and is worthless for MLB players. MLB players do not want to risk injuries during the spring training. They have large contracts with teams and there is no need to play 100 percent during the training period. MLB don't care if any other country wins.

If Japan baseball is so good, tell me about Kaz Matsui or Fukudome, who batted .330 in Japan, but barely 260 in the U.S. Are these guys worth the money the received in the U.S. They were supposed to be a impact player but what happened. They are bunch of overated crap players. Look at your famous pitcher Igawa, 3 year $21 million from the Yankees or Irabu, Matzuzaka? What a flop. Tell me any player that is other than Ichiro that played equal as in Japan?

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"The WBC happened in March, and is worthless for MLB players. " It's the same thing for Japanese players, they don't get paid extra, it's right before their season starts. Do you know that having best players doesn't make a best team ? Baseball is a team sport, one of the problems with American players is that it's all about themselves, team work or team play doesn't seem very important. to them. Look at Manny Ramirez, an excellent roided batter, who is completely useless when it comes to defense, why ? He gets paid mostly because of his homeruns. In general, roided up American players > japanese players, and Japanese teams > American teams Any other execuse ?

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Hide Suzuki. You didn't answer my questions. Tell me about the stats Japan League of Kaz Matsui, Fukudome, Irabu, Igawa, Irabu and compare stats in MLB. Compare stats that are full seasons in MLB to full seasons in Japan Baseball. If Japan baseball is so good, why are these players not performing up to level of what they did in Japan? You know what, some of the top single "A" team in U.S. could beat any Japanese team in a 7 game series. Guys like Buster Posey, Sandoval, Linciculm, Bumgarner were playing in single "A" three years ago in a same Giants farm system, and there is alot of talent there.

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Softbank beat Samsung 9-0 earlier in the competition. So what ?

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@sfjp330, I did answer your questions. I said roided up MLB players are better than Japanese players individuallly, which doesn't lead to a better team. WBC was held under the same condition for everyone, withslight advantage to the US team since it was in the US, and Japan won twice in a row. By the way, Saito Takashi improved his record after he moved to MLB, older, not so great Japanese pitchers do well in the MLB, styles make a difference.

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sfjp330

You know what, some of the top single "A" team in U.S. could beat any Japanese team in a 7 game series.

This is the most ludicrous statement I have read on the sports section of this site in a while. You are always spouting such nonsense, always very very negative on NPB. Why do you bother posting regarding NPB, then?

You'll see that Darvish is a very coveted MLB player this offseason with lots of teams offering lots of money for his services. But hey, I guess you know more than scouts and GMs from the 32 MLB teams, right?

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@nigelboy:

"In regards to H. Matsui offer from the Giants, he was offered 5 year 5 billion yen at the end of 2001 which is a season before he could become a free agent. Going by the currency rates at that time (121 yen/$), that's roughly $4.13 million per season. Instead, he declined and signed a one year contract at 6.1 billion yen which is about $5 million."

And what is your point? He was offered the equivalent of 6 yrs./$64 million to stay in Japan after that season when he became eligible for FA, which was a ton more money than what the Yankees paid him for his first 3 years in the U.S.

@sfjp330: NPB is not "AA" level overall. It is something like AAA+.

@HideSuzuki: Manny Ramirez is not American, and a disproportionate # of Latin American players have been nailed for PED use in the U.S., especially with the minor league testing in place for longer.

Additionally, any knowledgeable baseball observer of both NPB and MLB sees the reality, which is that MLB overall is better in nearly all aspects of baseball-from hitting to fielding to pitching. There are outstanding individuals in NPB capable of performing well in MLB at all times, and there had been for a long time before Nomo in '95. But NPB from top to bottom is inferior to MLB, hence there is no reason for the World Series champ to play the NPB champ each year.

Countries like Japan put everything into preparing for the WBC, and this was in large part responsible for Matsuzaka's continuing arm troubles and Ichiro's absence early in the '09 season for the Mariners. The biggest reason Japan obsesses about the WBC is that it gives Japan a chance to massage its national ego since Japanese men do so poorly overall in most major international sports-individual and team.

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@Patrick "Countries like Japan put everything into preparing for the WBC, ". The WBC happens in March, players should be ready for April anyways, the US or Japan. And no, Japanese baseball players don't grow up, dreaming to play in the WBC, it doesn't have the prestige that World Cup soccer has. Matsu didn't even bother to play in the last WBC. "it gives Japan a chance to massage its national ego" LOL, and you Americans are good at coming up with millions of execuses why Japan has won twice in a row. It hurts when you can't prove what you are so proud of, huh A game is a game, if you lose, you are a loser. Lions won this time, they are the winner this time. Japan won the WBC twice in a row, so Japan is the champion. You don't become a champion by logic or argument, you do so by winning :)

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"NPB from top to botom is inferior to MLB" = Your opinion Japan has won the WBC twice in a row = Fact

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Exactly Hide,MLB has too much to lose by playing the Asian Champ.This is the national sport,losing the WBC and a truer club World Championship would be the ultimate humiliation for the country 'better in nearly all aspects of baseball'....as any knowledgeable baseball observer would know..

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pawatanDec. 01, 2011 - 08:30AM JST. This is the most ludicrous statement I have read on the sports section of this site in a while. You are always spouting such nonsense, always very very negative on NPB. Why do you bother posting regarding NPB, then?

Here is the problem with Japan baseball. You got guys like Tsyoshi Nishioka, who is at the peak of the game at 26 hit .330 in Japan in 2010, comes over to Minnesota, and barely hits his weight at .200. The guy has weak arm. You tell me why Nishioka couldn't hit. If some of you saids the Japan ball is "AAA+" level, your dreaming. I know this guy couldn't hit "AA" ball in U.S. and comparing to AAA+ is so ridiculous.

Darvish will not make it U.S. He pitched too many 150+ and 140+ games. He has a flat fastball that doesn't do much. Better for him to stay in minor league ball in Japan.

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Patrick HattmanDec. 01, 2011 - 08:31AM JST. @sfjp330: NPB is not "AA" level overall. It is something like AAA+.

Then you explain to me why there is a substantial drop off from Japan League stats to MLB? Igawa, Irabu, Fukudome, Nishioka, Kaz Matsui, Matsuzaka, etc. I thought they were superstars in Japan? Were they just acting? If you were a GM in MLB, and if somebody told you that Japan league is equal to AAA+, I'd be laughing, what a bad joke. Most of the Japanese teams are barely a "AA" team.

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@sfjp330, I will repeat the obvious one more time. You become a champion by winning, not by argument or logic. Who won the WBC ?

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"Better for him to stay in minor league ball in Japan." LOL, and the US team lost to a minor league team then, LOL The more you put down Japanese baseball, ythe more ou are humiliating your own country, how ironic.

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@sfjp330, I will repeat the obvious one more time. You become a champion by winning, not by argument or logic. Who won the WBC ?

Well, did MLB send pitchers like Cliff Lee, Halladay, Kershaw? Hitter like Kemp and Braun? That answers my question.

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@sfjp330, Japan didn't send their best players either, we set a max number of players they can get from each team, since managers didn't want their playeres injured so the condition is the same. Any other execuse? This is getting pretty funny, Americans are so creative when it comes to coming up with execuses, LOL. You think you guys are so great ? Why don't you prove it by WINNING, instead of arguments ?

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Hide SuzukiDec. 01, 2011 - 09:37AM JST. Japan didn't send their best players either,

Who is the pitcher that is in the calibur of Iwakuma, Darvish, and Matsuzaka that they didn't send?

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I'm with Hide Suzuki on this one! Hide keep up the good work and I look forward to the boys winning the WBC yet again! Hehehehe! Winning the WBC is easier than bobbing for apples in a barrel! Congrats to the Koreans, as thay can play a good game of baseball!

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They certainly sent SOME of the best players but not all. Again you should prove that you are number 1 by WINNING, not by arguments. I can admit, the Lions won the asia seris this year, so they are the Asian champion,, until someone beat them in the future. But I guess your American ego makes it difficult to admit the truth, huh. "We lost twice in a row but we are the best", LOL, yeah, that's a very convicing argument, sfjp330

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Hide Suzuki, my question is if Japan didn't send their best players either, then who was better than Iwakuma, Darvish, or Matsuzaka that they didn't send?

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You got guys like Tsyoshi Nishioka, who is at the peak of the game at 26 hit .330 in Japan in 2010, comes over to Minnesota, and barely hits his weight at .200. The guy has weak arm. You tell me why Nishioka couldn't hit.

I could have and in fact did tell people the Nishioka wouldn't be worth a damn in the Majors. I thought his defense would be better than it was as he does have good range but it's not at all surprising that he wasn't a very good hitter this year.

Darvish will not make it U.S. He pitched too many 150+ and 140+ games. He has a flat fastball that doesn't do much. Better for him to stay in minor league ball in Japan.

Again, very glad to see that you know much more than the MLB scouts, some of which think he can be an ace in the US. And why do you insist on calling NPB "minor league ball"? Are we fans supposed to feel insulted by this witticism? I could just as easily call MLB "That league built on PEDs".

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Patrick

But NPB from top to bottom is inferior to MLB, hence there is no reason for the World Series champ to play the NPB champ each year.

We don't play games to establish who is superior and who is inferior. It's not a math exercise. Baseball tournaments are supposed to be FUN,entertaining! What could be more fun than a global club championship? European football does this with the Champions League and it is immensely entertaining.

I'm sure the Hawks could play a fun, competitive series with the Cardinals. Would the Cardinals win? Oh, most likely. But would people watch, be entertained? Definitely. Look how much fun the old MLB/NPB exhibitions used to be.

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pawatanDec. 01, 2011 - 09:52AM JST. And why do you insist on calling NPB "minor league ball"? Are we fans supposed to feel insulted by this witticism? I could just as easily call MLB "That league built on PEDs".

It's not insult, just facts. Because almost most teams that signed big buck Japanese players got burned. All MLB teams are shying away from Japanese players. The stats are so inflated. Seattle signed star catcher, such as Jojima to build teams around. Jojima hit .320 in Japan, but never lived up to expectation. He was a major flop for $20 million. Pitcher Jerod Washburn talked about how difficult he was and not having any communication. There are some exception like Ichiro, Hideki Matsui, and Hideo Nomo, but hardly a drop in the bucket. I rather sign top U.S. AAA and AA players for cheap price that get players from Japan.

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pawatanDec. 01, 2011 - 09:52AM JST. Again, very glad to see that you know much more than the MLB scouts, some of which think he can be an ace in the US. And why do you insist on calling NPB "minor league ball"? Are we fans supposed to feel insulted by this witticism? I could just as easily call MLB "That league built on PEDs".

You got dreams of hope that you had with Matsuzaka, Igawa, Irabu. Darvish is no exception. He is too skinny and I doubt he has endurance to last long season of 162 games in MLB for many years. He will end up having arm problem in the MLB. He has a good stuff but how long will his arm survive in MLB? Every team in MLB has 3-4 guys that throw just as hard or harder than Darvish. If he start losing 3-4mph in his fastball, he will get hit hard.

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sfjp330, "It's not insult, just facts" , Wrong, it's your opinion. What is a fact is that Japan won the WBC twice. I guess you don't even know what is a fact and what is an opinion, LOL. Whether Japan or the US team had their possible best players is not a fact, since we can never agree on who are the best. Life will be easier if you can admit the obvious truth sometimes, You lost, we won, accept it.

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"You got dreams of hope that you had with Matsuzaka, Igawa, Irabu." You used to have dreams that you are the number 1, sorry we crushed it twice in a row LOL, and without having home court advantage

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If he start losing 3-4mph in his fastball, he will get hit hard.

This can be said about 99% of professional pitchers.

He is too skinny and I doubt he has endurance to last long season of 162 games in MLB for many years. He will end up having arm problem in the MLB. He has a good stuff but how long will his arm survive in MLB?

I don't understand this. He's used to pitching a lot of innings, he is not some college pitcher who's never pitched more than 100 in a year. He'll be fine.

Because almost most teams that signed big buck Japanese players got burned.

Really? Let's look. Jojima was hardly a "big buck" free agent - $5M/yr is what you would pay a quality middle reliever these days. Kaz Matsui got paid a bit more and was a huge, huge bust. Uehara got a reasonable contract and has pitched reasonably well. Matsuzaka has not pitched to his contract, but this is not surprising as his contract was pure lunacy. Ichiro has been worth every penny. Gojira has been really good until he got old. Kuroda has been a high quality starter for some not very good teams.

The only expensive busts I can think of are Kaz Matsui, Matsuzaka, Kawakami, and Igawa, perhaps Irabu - though he was more mediocre than bad. Others like Nishoka, Kobayashi, Ishii have been bad but relatively cheap.

All MLB teams are shying away from Japanese players.

Nonsense. Aoki, Wada, Darvish, and the overrated and sure to fail Kawasaki will all be playing in MLB next year.

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pawatanDec. 01, 2011 - 10:33AM JST. The only expensive busts I can think of are Kaz Matsui, Matsuzaka, Kawakami, and Igawa, perhaps Irabu - though he was more mediocre than bad. Others like Nishoka, Kobayashi, Ishii have been bad but relatively cheap.

You are forgetting Fukudome.

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You are forgetting Fukudome.

WAR between 1.7 and 3.0 over the last 3 years - which is (quite obviously) well above average. He's overpaid but hardly a bust.

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sfjp330, Great job putting down individual Japanese players. Again, those are the ones who kicked your butt, so you are proving that baseball is a team sport. Having a bunch of me me me type of American players don't make a good team. And with American players without steroid, I can only imagine that we will do only better next time

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@sfjp330:

"Then you explain to me why there is a substantial drop off from Japan League stats to MLB? Igawa, Irabu, Fukudome, Nishioka, Kaz Matsui, Matsuzaka, etc. I thought they were superstars in Japan? Were they just acting? If you were a GM in MLB, and if somebody told you that Japan league is equal to AAA+, I'd be laughing, what a bad joke. Most of the Japanese teams are barely a "AA" team."

Hey, I agree with a lot of what you are writing here about individual Japanese players. But to say most teams in NPB are AA is absurd. There is quite a gulf in talent and quality of play between AAA and the majors. I believe NPB is a bit better than AAA simply because there are a number of major-league caliber talents spread out over the 12 teams. How many is debatable on a yearly basis. The fact that I think the WBC is a waste of time in its current format and timing, and Japan's successes are vastly overrated by the Japanese, doesn't mean that I'm going to make blanket statements that trash NPB in its entirety.

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@Hide Suzuki: Some facts: No NPB team could compete without losing at least 100 games in the 162-game big league season, which means that NPB is not comparable to MLB. In fact, the worst NPB teams each year would be a laughingstock over the course of the long season.

If you took the best 25 American players against the best 25 Japanese in a 5 or 7 games series format, the Americans would dominate the series nearly every time.

If you want to believe the WBC is such an important measuring stick, then so be it.

Perhaps you could also explain why Japan flopped in the 2004 Olympics, despite having a top-notch squad there, finishing behind Cuba and Australia, and why Japan was miserable in the 2008 Games, losing time and again, despite once again taking a talented team to China. Or more simply, you could enlighten us as to why Japanese teams have lost many times to the Koreans in recent years.

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Patrick

The fact that I think the WBC is a waste of time in its current format and timing, and Japan's successes are vastly overrated by the Japanese, doesn't mean that I'm going to make blanket statements that trash NPB in its entirety.

sfjp330 does this all of the time. Every time NPB is brought up or the topic of Japanese players moving to MLB is brought up he/she finds every way to run down Japanese players and NPB. Although saying A-level teams can beat any NPB team is a new low for him/her.

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I think I remember sfjp330, pawatan. I haven't posted on JT this year. I used to post under patthatt many years ago, and pathat til the site changed again.

I would like to see a real World Series in which every 4 years the respective pro leagues around the world significantly shortened their seasons and conducted a competition-which would take upwards of a month, I guess-to see who is best. I think it would be great for baseball globally. However, for economic reasons in the U.S. and how important the multi-billion $ game is there, this will never happen. So we are stuck with half-ar*e Olympics baseball when it is played, and the overhyped preseason WBC.

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Patrick, It's just like ranking in soccer or tennis, it changes all the time. If korea beats Japan in the next WBC, then they will be #1. Until another team beats Japan, we are #1, simple as that.

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Darvish is no exception. He is too skinny

sfjp, say what? Are you talking about when he entered the league straight out of high school? Sure, he was skinny back then. He was 196cm and 85kg. Now he is 99kg. Let me convert that for you : he is 6'5" and 220 pounds. How is that too skinny?

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@Patrick, "I would like to see a real World Series in which every 4 years the respective pro leagues around the world ". I totally agree with you. That would be great, right now, WBC is a tournament where players are sort of forced to participate. Look at World Cup soccer, players would kill to play in the world cup, representing their own country. I wish we could have the same in baseball.

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First of all, let me correct a wrong data mentioned here:

The USA basketball team BEAT Spain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (USA are undefeated 2008 Olympic and 2010 FIBA World Champions!)

Second, the best international baseball tournament was the Olympics since it was mostly amateurs with no money worries, but alas, it's gone now and won't return because the OIC wants MLB to promise allowing its best pro players to participate mid-season.

(And BTW, Venezuela has the best team, ha!)

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Back on topic please.

Some of the best AAA hitters doesn't make it in Japan. Mike Hessman, the HR recordman in the minors, hit .196 with 7 HR. The NPB is a AAAA league as many scouts have told in the past.

Ah and also, Nishioka isn't a great example, he's had his terrible years in Japan too.

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This has nothing to do with Major League. Nothing. So the Lions beat the Hawks. Good on them! So this season the Korean team was superior. Hope to see NPB taking it back next season. Anyone who has seen previous Asian Series as well as WBC know that the level of Korean baseball is high. If Major League could stop act like little spoiled childish girls and join to see who really is the best team in the world that would be great. Put your money where your mouth is so that we can have this useless discussion of who is better etc etc. Let the baseball do the talking. Americans are pretty retarded.

The Hawks were good this year in Japan, I would say one of the better and the more dominant teams. But these kind of short series are different. In tanki kessens, you need to have full focus at all times and be able to execute the small plays and not make any mistakes. Looks as if Lions were better this time.

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America needs to shut up and play. In order to kill irrelevant discussions exposing their nationalistic childish mentality.

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The Asian Series are not relevant. The Hawks didnt have their top 4 starters + Kokubo + Matsunaka and their foreign players.

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Clément DelestradeDec. 01, 2011 - 09:53PM JST. Some of the best AAA hitters doesn't make it in Japan. Mike Hessman, the HR recordman in the minors, hit .196 with 7 HR. The NPB is a AAAA league as many scouts have told in the past. Ah and also, Nishioka isn't a great example, he's had his terrible years in Japan too.

What a example: Mike Hessman? He hit his average in Japan. the guy that played 15 years in the minors with career low .200's hitter, that strucked out 150 times a season? How could he be some of the best AAA hitters? He was one of the worst. What did he do in MLB? 14 homeruns in 7 seasons and strucked out 1 of 3 times at bat?

Then let me know who is a great example? What did Nishioka bat in 2010? .330 and all star and Nishioka is at peak of his career at age 26? Oakland A's, Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies had Matt Murten. He played in both leagues in MLB and could do much. Then he went into NPB in Japan and look what happened? 200+Record hits? How could this be?

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sfjp330 > Mike Hessman is the HR recordman in the minors. He couldn't even hit for power here. Players like Rusty Ryal or Josh Fields were worse in Japan than in the States. It's all about making adjustments and it's the same for Japanese players. Suketto players willing to commit in Japan usually improve, you see guys like Colby Lewis, Giancarlo Alvarado or Bryan Bullington, I'm sure they are thankful for what Japan brought us. They'd do fine Major Leaguers now. We got that the NPB isn't the MLB and it's gonna surprise you but the fans are fine with it. You don't need to be an hater ... but wait, that's what people do the best on that "Sports" section. Hate.

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sfjp330

What did Nishioka bat in 2010? .330 and all star and Nishioka is at peak of his career at age 26? Oakland A's, Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies had Matt Murten. He played in both leagues in MLB and could do much. Then he went into NPB in Japan and look what happened? 200+Record hits? How could this be?

You just haven't figured out they are two different leagues, have you? There's tons of foreign players who haven't made it in NPB, and there's more than a few the other way. People are different at different stages of their careers. Look at Colby Lewis - crap pitcher to start his career, pitches for two years in Hiroshima where he is solid but not great, comes back to the US to be a key starter for the 2-time AL champs. You just don't know how people will react.

I don't know why you bring up Nishioka's or Murton's 2010. Everybody was hitting the ball that year. Aoki also had over 200 hits. In 2009, Nishioka batted.... 260. Why don't you bring that up?

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pawatanDec. 02, 2011 - 07:52AM JST. You just haven't figured out they are two different leagues, have you? There's tons of foreign players who haven't made it in NPB, and there's more than a few the other way. People are different at different stages of their careers.

But you're basing this on your perceptions, because no direct comparison is possible for you Whereas the scouts and players who have much more direct experience disagree with you. So, I’m inclined to take their word over yours, that’s all. You could be smarter than all of them for all I know. i dont think every scout feels that Japanese baseball is at least AAA. and even if they did, i think its reasonable to explain that all of these Japanese pitchers that have unexpectedly come over and failed could be explained by “scouts” overestimating the level of hitters in Japan. One of the only few pitchers who has spent significant time in both the minors and Japanese league is Kei Igawa. his stats have been significantly worse in not just AAA but AA as well than in Japan.

If there was similar talent in Japan as in AAA there would be tons of players capable of making the jump to the MLB and making an immediate impact. for example a guy like Mark Trumbo of Angels who immediately hits like 30 homers in the MLB. Who is that player in Japan? because we need to go find him and sign him ASAP. According to you Japan has more of those guys then AAA. Very very hard to believe.

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But you're basing this on your perceptions, because no direct comparison is possible for you Whereas the scouts and players who have much more direct experience disagree with you. So, I’m inclined to take their word over yours, that’s all.

No, no you aren't. You have said repeatedly IN THIS THREAD how much you think Darvish will be a failure, how MLB teams will shy away from Japanese players. Yet pretty much any scout says Darvish is a hot prospect, will command big bucks, some say can be an ace.

You have your BIASES against Japanese players, but you refuse to admit it. You won't listen to expert opinions (not mine, I am no expert, but the scouts) who say that Darvish, Wada, and Aoki will be sought-after players this offseason.

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for example a guy like Mark Trumbo of Angels who immediately hits like 30 homers in the MLB. Who is that player in Japan?

You know how many hit 30Hrs in Japan this year? 2. Okawari-kun with 48 and Balentien with 31. It's not really a power game here, except for the inflated stats of Yomiuri players.

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@Hide_Suzuki

it gives Japan a chance to massage its national ego" LOL, and you Americans are good at coming up with millions of execuses why Japan has won twice in a row.

I'm a huge baseball fan. I'm American. I actually prefer Japanese baseball to MLB. I'm a Hanshin Tigers fan and proud of it. So you wont get any bashing from me about Japanese players. I recognize that you have some skills.

However, I will call you out on one thing. Everybody makes some excuse. If America lost in the WBC that's cool. We are strong enough to take that. If America loses in soccer, that's cool. We watched it, they made mistakes. We lost. My point is we don't make as many excuses as Japan does though. We are just bloggers going at each other.

When Japan loses, THERE'S A FRICKIN DIET Session to make the most random of excuses. You know what I'm talking about I hope. You won't see American's making excuses on C-SPAN as to why we lost the WBC.

Don't get me wrong. I'll agree with you here and I'll disagree with you there. I respect you for voicing your opinion. However when it comes to making excuses - Japan takes the cake.

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LOL Americans don't make any excuse, the country where people think themselves as the best at everything, right ...

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