Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Quarter Of A Century

Early this morning a crucial game was being played between the Hiroshima Carp and the Yomiuri Giants in Tokyo, Japan.

This was the game that would either allow the Giants to buy more time before eventually having to settle for second place in the league, or allow the Carp clinch a league pennant and go to the postseason for the first time in 25 years.

Yes, 25 years. The last time the Carp went to the playoffs was in 1991. Hiroki Kuroda wasn't even a professional pitcher in 1991.

Oh yeah speaking of Big Hirok, man did the big man play a big role in this season (and game).

The 41 year old veteran pitched six innings of three run ball, allowing six hits, getting four K's and zero walks (although he did hit a batter). He took the win that propelled the Carp to the postseason. It was byotiful.

Big Hirok was taking this game incredibly seriously. How seriously?

Hirok yelled "fuck you" during the game (probably to Miles Mikolas, the Giants pitcher). That's how serious Big Hirok was. When a man of Big Hirok's prestige yells fuck you at you, that's when you know you've messed up royally to the point where your future descendants will have to feel your shame too.

The Carp beat the Giants 6-4 and the Carp players immediately stormed the field. As they would.

According to locals, Hiroshima was also in a very celebratory mood. With strangers all giving each other high fives in public squares across the entire prefecture.

Check it, this bar even sold highball drinks for 25 yen (aprox 25 cents US).

There are a lot of things to like about this.

- First is that the perennial fourth or fifth place Carp finally made it to the top after a long drought. That's always cool.

- The second is that the Carp clinched against the Giants. The Giants are hated by many in Japan because they are the Japanese Yankees (before competitive balance took away the Yankees' buying power). The Giants would use their enormous bankroll to buy everybody. Also, nobody likes teams called the Giants in general.

- Third, this is what Big Hirok was hoping to accomplish when he turned down tens of millions of dollars from big league clubs to return to Japan. Using what the 40 year old righty had left to bring his original team that first game him an opportunity to pitch professionally a championship. Things didn't work out last year, but it did this year and that's all that matters right now. Plus, the Carp did it without their former ace Kenta Maeda. That's incredible.

Of course the season still has a few more weeks to go. The Climax Series (think of it like the AL/NL-Championship Series equivalent in the US) starts in October and after that is the Nippon Series (the World Series equivalent in the US). Hopefully Big Hirok and the Carp can go all the way to the Nippon Series. It won't be easy though. In the Climax Series the Carp have to go through either the Giants or the DeNA BayStars and then whoever wins the Pacific League Climax Series. That's not going to be easy, it's been long said that the Pacific League is the far more talented league while the Central League is only the more marketable one (because of the freaking Giants again).

Anyway it was a great historical night for Hiroshima and Japanese baseball. Here's to many more.

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


  1. Speaking as a Cubs fan, it seems like our fanbase can relate to the Carp faithful - the Cubs once went 39 years between postseason appearances. Go Carp!

    1. Yikes, 39 years. Hopefully the Cubs can have more to celebrate this year too.

  2. I'll jump on the Carp bandwagon, too! Although, I don't like the fact their hats remind me of the Cincinnati Reds.

    1. Yeah their C logos kind of stink. I'd prefer an interlocking HC.