Monday, May 11, 2015

2010 Owners League: Hayato Sakamoto

In Japan there are a handful of video games based on baseball and baseball cards, giving Japanese baseball card collectors an endless stream of oddballs for all eternity. One of them is Owners League.

I guess I'd describe Owners League as "Topps Bunt done right."
For the record I'd like to mention that I've never played Owners League or Topps Bunt.

Owners League itself is an online video game you play on your cell phone. You scan the QR code you see on the bottom right there (or manually input the code on the left). I assume that you assemble a team and the play games with it but I don't know.

The reason I assume Owners League is Topps Bunt done right is that you actually have a physical copy of a card in hand. You need it to play. I'll never play Topps Bunt until I can actually have the cards in hand.

Anyway the player on the card is young Yomiuri Giants stud Hayato Sakamoto.

Sakamoto is a shortstop and one of the younger players in the league (he was the first teenager to play in a season opener since former Giant Hideki Matsui) and he's been one of the more prominent figures in the NPB in recent years.

I would site some stats but Japan is really behind when it comes to statistics (they completely missed the point of Moneyball) so forget it. He's durable and hits, that's all you need to know.

I'm not that big a NPB fan but I suppose that I do have my eye on Sakamoto a little. A young superstar is always going to attract attention.

That said, I don't see Sakamoto coming stateside, ever. For one thing Japanese infielders who come stateside have a subpar track record (remember Fuji's PC guy Nakajima?). For another thing, he'd probably be a lot happier staying with the Giants and being the face of their franchise. Although I'll always have that "what if he was brought up in the minors here in America from day 1?" running through my head until the end of time. I suspect that there'd be a massive difference between infielders who came from the NPB and those who came here directly.

Although if he does come stateside I suppose one thing he'd immediately do "right" is that he doesn't #BatFlip too often. That ought to please the pansies who don't want the millionaires on the field to get their feelings hurt.

Sakamoto is probably a guy I'd collect if I still lived in Japan (in fact I was considering when I was living in Japan) but because he has over one thousand cards already (a large chunk of them being promotional oddballs that are hard to find out about at that) I do not plan on initiating that task anytime soon. Although I guess I might keep my eye out for an autograph of his next time I'm in Japan (and no that will not be cheap).

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).


  1. Looks like Sakamoto is struggling early this least according to Baseball Reference:

    1. From what I've heard it appears as though he's missed some time (possibly due to injuries?) so his stats may be a result of that.
      Also, that's why I'm so miffed that Japan's stats are so behind. I can't just evaluate a player based on batting average, RBI and HRs. I'm not a caveman.

  2. Replies
    1. I agree. The fronts are pretty simple and the backs feature bios, stats, charts AND the codes necessary for game play.

  3. That is pretty cool, I have played Topps Bunt and after deleting it once I decided to give it another try at the beginning of this season and after a couple of days I deleted it again. If Bunt was like Owners League I would be happy to play, mainly because the cards are in hand.

    1. I imagine that I'd use Topps Bunt the same way. I have a horrible track record with "digital only" cards.

  4. Go for all the Sakamoto's!!!! Do it!!!!

    By the way I got your package in the mail. Awesome stuff.

    1. I might the next time I'm in Japan. Right now I've gotta focus on LUIIIIISSSSSSSSSS :).

      And glad that you got the cards (so early too) :).

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks Mark :). I've got more on the way :).