Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Team Preview: Nishinomiya Tigers

Man, I'm on a roll! Thanks to all who have visited so far. Eventually I'll get back to schedule creation, and, before you know it, I'll be able to start playing games. Still, doing preliminary research on these players is almost more fun than actually playing the games. It reminds me of the days I'd spend organizing APBA tournaments as a kid. Sometimes it was more fun to get the teams out and look through them than to actually play through the games.

The Nishinomiya Tigers are based directly off the current NPB team, the Hanshin Tigers. In keeping with the American tradition of naming a team after the city they play in, I christened them the Nishinomiya Tigers. They, along with the Tokyo Giants, are the only two teams stationed in Japan in my organization.

Stadium

It should come as no surprise that I put the Tigers in famous Koshien Stadium. Putting them anywhere else would be a tragedy. Koshien Stadium has been around since 1924 and is only a year younger than Yankee Stadium. It's easily the most famous baseball stadium in all of Asia, with the all-dirt infield, extensive bleachers and so on. Also, as most of you know, it is the host of Japan's National High School Baseball Championship every year.

For those unfamiliar with this historic baseball site, I'd recommend at least searching for Koshien Stadium on Google. If you search for "Koshien" on YouTube or Google Video, you'll come across clips from the annual High School championship. I'd provide video links myself, but I'm writing this from BYU campus, where YouTube is blocked.

Now, you can't play in a stadium like Koshien with a generic ballpark image, so I tried to create my own. I used a free automatic ballpark image creator from KJOK's Yahoo group. I don't have any photo editing skills, so it's not pretty, but I figure it gets the job done.

Starting Pitchers
1. Randy Johnson
2. Hideo Fujimoto
3. Rube Waddell
4. Ramon Bragana
5. Frank Sullivan
SS. Jose DeLeon
SS. Shosei Go [also here]

Hideo Fujimoto had a 1943 season that American Deadball-era pitchers would die for. He went 34-11 over 432.2 innings, compiling an 0.73 ERA, .144 BAA and 0.88 WHIP, along with 253 walks to only 168 balls. I guess you have to wonder what sort of competition he was up against, what with the draft and all, but that's impressive in any league. Put this guy in a rotation with the Big Unit, Rube Waddell and Cuban legend Ramon Bragana and you have a heck of a rotation.

Shosei Go also counts as a bench player, as he was never a full-time pitcher (to my understanding). He would be right at home at Koshien, having played in 5 High School tournaments there.

Relievers
BJ Ryan
Roy Face
Darren Holmes
Duane Ward

Starting Lineup
1. Tim Raines LF
2. Sam Jethroe CF
3. Rocky Colavito RF / Hideki Matsui RF
4. Sadaharu Oh 1B
5. Bobby Grich 2B
6. Ghost Marcelle 3B / Mickey Tettleton C
7. Mickey Tettleton C / Ghost Marcelle 3B
8. Joe Tinker SS

With a lineup like this, the Tigers are easily one of the favorites in this division. You've got speed in Raines, power in Colavito, Matsui and Oh, plus some good for-average hitters in-between. Plenty of Negro and Japanese Leaguers as well.

Bench
Shigeya Iijima 1B / 2B / 3B / RF
Hurley McNair LF / CF / RF
George Hendrick 1B / LF / CF / RF
Kirk Gibson LF / CF / RF
Herman Long SS
Akitoshi Kodama 1B / 2B / 3B / SS
Bill Sweeney 2B / 3B / SS
Jeff Blauser 2B / 3B / SS
Chico Barbon 2B / 3B / SS
Tim McCarver C / 1B

All I can say is that I'm glad McCarver is on the bench, and not in the broadcast booth.

Anyway, that's about it for today. Sorry for being so short. It's bedtime.

1 comment:

TedRoethke said...

Dan,

I noticed from your field how Koshien had a lot of foul territory, so I looked it up to see if there were many articles remarking on this. Turns out, for the 2008 season, they've reduced the foul ground by adding seats. Hope this doesn't throw a wrench into the works. (Are you using 2008 Koshien?)

I'm following your season prep with interest. Keep up the good work.

Ted Roethke

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/sports/20080319TDY16101.htm

"Koshien's infield seats are now several meters closer to the diamond, removing a chunk of playing surface from the park's foul territory. While that change will help hitters, Tigers manager Akinobu Okada was unhappy with the dugouts. Closer to the field, lower in the ground and with a lower roof, the new benches are more confined and offer a restricted view of the field."