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Saturday, April 30, 2005

Meet the Pacific League

Maybe you are still on the fence with NPB, still not convinced that it isn't what the XFL was to the NFL, but at the same time you are a traditionalist and you feel that MLB has changed to much. I bring you good news, despite only having 12 teams, NPB divides them into to leagues and their is no interleague play. Teams from the Pacific and Central leagues only meet in the Japan Series. So without further adieu here's the Pacific League

Lotte Marines 千葉ロッテマリーンズ
The Marines play in Chiba, which is to Tokyo what Bellevue is to Seattle. They are owned by the Korean Food Giant Lotte and are managed by Bobby Valentine, he too demands a separate post.

Soft Bank Hawks ソフトバンクホークス
The Hawks changed ownership this past year when internet service provider, Soft Bank, purchased them from Daiei. Managed by Sadaharu Oh (the Babe Ruth of the PBL with 868 career HRs), they are the only team in Kyushu, playing their home games in Fukuoka.

Nippon-Ham Fighters
北海道日本ハムファイターズ
Just as it sounds, the Ham Fighters are owned by a meat company. The off season they moved from Tokyo to Sapporo, thus putting a team on the island of Hokkaido, and finally putting teams on the three main islands of Japan. Former NY Met and Giant, Shinjo is the face of this franchise

Orix Buffaloes オリックスバフローズ
The Buffaloes play in Kobe and are owned by Orix, a large company offering everything from financial services to rental cars. Much more to comment on, but that will be saved for a future post.

Seibu Lions 西武ライオンズ
The Lions play in Saitama, which is where the Sonics and Clippers played two games in 2003. Seibu is a large department store along the lines of Macys or Nordstroms

Rakuten Golden Eagles 東北楽天ゴールデンイーグルス
The Golden Eagles are an expansion team playing in Sendai. Rakuten is an internet company along the lines of a hybrid between Amazon and Expedia.
Zoom on...

Snelling Making Some Noise

Remember the pesky left fielding Australian the M's brought up early on during the 2002 season? Remember all the hype and promise that preceded the arrival of the young 20 year old's promotion to the Show at Safeco? Remember how after only 8 games played he blew out his knee and was buried in the catacombs of the Injured Reserve. Well, in case you've forgotten about him....He's back!

After spending the last three years recovering from injuries, Chris Snelling is starting to make some serious noise. As of yesterday, the lefty from Down Under was batting a whopping .514 AVG / .610 OBP / .833 SLG with 4 2B, 2 HR, and 14 RBI. Batting second and playing left field for the Tacoma Rainiers over the last 9 games, Snelling is putting the pieces back together of what appeared to be a Ryan Anderson-esk shattered dream.

While it's still early, Snelling's production can only be viewed as good news for a farm system which is still recovering from the black eye of last year's disappointing performances by much heralded pitching prospects Travis Blackley, Clint Nageotte, and others. Furthermore, Snellings contributions provide some interesting wiggle room for the M's if they were approached by teams desiring the reliable switch hitting veteran Randy Winn. Or, if the M's are concerned about Snellings over-aggressive style of play they may look to trade the 23 year old for pitching prospects. Either way, the quickly rising value of Snelling's' stock is creating a desirable dilemma for Bill Bavasi and company.

For now, let's hope and pray Snelling can avoid the injury bug as he continues to hit the cover off the ball in Tacoma.
Zoom on...

Friday, April 29, 2005

8th to 500

Yesterday, Friday in Japan, Kazuhiro Kiyohara 清原和博 became the 8th player to hit 500 career home runs in the NPB. Leading off the 8th inning, Kiyohara connected against Koji Hiroike of the Carp. The Giants also received blasts from Hiroki Kokubo 小久保裕紀 and Shinnosuke Abe 阿部 慎之助 to snap a 7 game losing streak. Despite the win, the Giants still remain in last and trail the Dragons by 7 games. The win was also the first of the year against the Carp and helped wash away the bad taste of the season opening series when the Carp swept the Giants in Tokyo.

Zoom on...

So I Got that Goin' For Me...

It's Friday and the weekend is almost here...enjoy!



So I jump ship in Hong Kong and make my way over to Tibet, and I get on as a looper at a course over in the Himalayas. A looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock. So, I tell them I'm a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald... striking. So, I'm on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one - big hitter, the Lama - long, into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga... gunga, gunga-galunga. So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

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Preps with Peachy

One of the more compelling areas of athletics is the arena of prep sports. It is in this vast pantheon that I hope to shed some insight on issues, spot light accomplishments, and recognize the endeavors of various high school athletes and teams. In order to add some spice and knowledge to the subject I have enlisted the services of the infamous, and in some cases famous, Peachy Carnehan. Peachy's lineage and credentials are far too many to divulge in one sitting. It would be like trying to stuff two Super Fish burritos from Taco Del Mar into your stomach in one sitting. So, little by little Peachy and I will bring to your attention topics of discussion along with some great accomplishments, and maybe even a little bit about Peachy himself. So sit back, relax and look forward to Preps with Peachy.
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Thursday, April 28, 2005

Meet the Central League

By now one of the first things you probably noticed is most of the teams lack the name of their city in their name. Instead 10 of the 12 team names include their corporate ownership as part of their name. This makes it harder for foreigners to identify with the teams. It would be very similar if MLB had the Yahoo! A's, Gateway Twins or the Oscar Meyer Mets (thought the Weinermobile would make for a better mascot than Mr. Met). So consider this topic a double feature, not only will you learn more about NPB but you will also have a much better understanding of Japan's geography.

Let's meet the Central League:

Chunichi Dragons 中日ドラゴンズ
The Dragons play in Nagoya and are owned by a media group. Currently Nagoya has Expo 2005

Hanshin Tigers 阪神タイガース
The Tigers are owned by a railroad company and play in Koshien Stadium which is located between Osaka and Kobe

Hiroshima Carp 広島カープ
The Carp are owned by a group including the city of Hiroshima and the Toyo Tire company.

Yakult Swallows ヤクルトスワローズ
The Swallows call Tokyo home and are owned by the Yakult corporation, famous for it's yogurt.

Yokohama Bay Stars 横浜ベイスターズ
Like the Atlanta Braves, the Bay Stars are also owned by TBS - Tokyo Broadcasting Station that is

Yomiuri Giants 読売ジャイアンツ
Commonly referred to as the Tokyo Giants, arguably the Yankees of Japan for their national popularity (I'll elaborate in a later post). The Giants are also owned by a huge media group.
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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Tuffy Tired of Losing

Remember last summer? The M's dropped 99 games, chances are they failed to meet your baseball needs. This year, if the hometown 9 sink in the standings, rather than cheat on them with another MLB team, turn your eyes west, west all the way to 日本 (Japan) and Japanese Baseball aka Nippon Professional Baseball.

Worried that NPB isn't good enough? Place the Royals, Devil Rays or Rockies in Japan and they still wouldn't win half their games, plus their road schedule would be a bummer. If イチロー (Ichiro) hits .400 in MLB but didn't do it in Japan what does that say about the pitching in the US?

Over the course of the summer, we will explore the PL (Pacific League) and CL (Central League).

Until next time, enjoy this bit of drama from 東京(Tokyo)
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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Fourth Commandment

From time to time it's nice to enjoy the insightful prose of professional athletes. This week's reading comes from THE BOZ: Confessions of a Modern Anti-Hero, by former Seattle Seahawk Brian Bosworth.



In a section of the book where Brian lays out what he calls The Ten Boz Commandments, I find commandment 4 to be especially delightful. He writes,

4. People that hate you hate themselves.

I think what really gets them about me is that $11 million. That really pisses them off. It's like Ray Nitschke, the old linebacker for the Green Bay Packers. He ripped into me publicly one day about my contract. He said he would never ask for that kind of money. Said he'd be too embarrassed. Now, I can see a fan saying something like that, but not a player. I could never begrudge another player making money. It's the market. If one guy gets more, it's only good for me. And here's Nitschke reaming me out about getting too much money. Can I help it if he was too dumb to ask for a decent wage playing for Green Bay? Obviously, he was pissed at himself for making peanuts all those years and now here I am, only twenty years later, making really good money. He should be yelling at himself. Ray Nitschke is a fifty-year-old man with a three-year-old brain. And no hair.

I think the thing I love most about this commandment, outside of the fact that it's just plain silly, is that Brian uses the word "ream" to describe Nitschke's attack on his financial affairs... you just don't hear that word enough in day to day activities. Also, it's interesting that Boz didn't feel satisfied with his diatribe until he mentioned that Nitschke had no hair.
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Saturday, April 23, 2005

FNBA Playoff Participants

Here are the folks who are participating in this little competition and their players:

Blaylock, Jack: D. Wade, S. O’neal, A. Stoudemire, S. Nash, D. Nowitski:

Compton, Ryan: S. O’neal, A. Stoudemire, A. Iverson, T. McGrady, T. Duncan

Dodson, Demico: D. Wade, S. O’neal, T. Duncan, D. Nowitski, T. Prince

Drenckpohl, Josh: D. Wade, S. O’neal, S. Marion, A.Stoudemire, T. Duncan

Jennings, Judy: D. Nowitski, M. Finely, J. O’neal, S. Jackson, J. Tinsley

Lindblad, Erik: D. Wade, T. Duncan, R. Hamilton, R. Allen, A. Stoudemire

Lindblad, Stefan: T. Duncan, D. Wade, S. O’neal, R. Hamilton, D. Nowitski

Pederson, Mike: D. Wade, S. O’neal, T. Duncan, T. Parker, M. Ginobili

Watson, Larry: A. Stoudemire, T. Duncan, R. Hamilton, R. Wallace, S. O’neal

Watson, Max: S. Marion, A. Stoudemire, S. O’neal, T. Duncan, R. Hamilton

Watson, Minako: D. Nowitski, A. Stoudemire, C. Billups, S. Nash, G. Areneas

Watson, Nathan: D. Wade, S. O’neal, T. Duncan, C. Billups, D. Nowitski

Watson, Peter: R. Hamilton, C. Billups, T. Duncan, T. Parker, D. Wade

Watson, Shari: T. Duncan, D. Wade, R. Wallace, S. Nash, A. Stoudemire

Williams, Dallas:
S. O'neal, D. Wade, R. Allen, A. Stoudemire, R. Wallace

Check back periodically for updates!
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Thursday, April 21, 2005

FNBA Playoff Edition

Here are the simplified rules:
  1. Select ANY five players from ANY Playoff team.
  2. Email them to peterwatson@w-link.net before the start of the Playoffs (4/23/05 12pm)
  3. Points are awarded for each rebound collected, shot assisted, and point scored for each and every game your players play.
  4. ESPN will be the official record for all stats.
  5. At the end of the Playoffs, the person with the most points wins!
  6. First Prize: one brand-spanking new SGA Pat Borders bobble head doll and a Double Gulp from 7-ll purchased by the person with the fewest points at the end of the Playoffs.
  7. Second Prize: an all expense paid tour of Seattle Air Cargo courtesy of Jeff Evenson.
  8. Third Prize: a 2003 IKEA catalogue.
  9. Check back periodically for updates.
Pretty simple huh?

Here are the people who have already submitted there players:
  1. Jack Blaylock
  2. Erik Lindblad
  3. Judy Jennings
  4. Mike Pederson
  5. Nathan Watson
  6. Ryan Compton
  7. Josh Drenckpohl
  8. Larry Watson
  9. Minako Watson
  10. Max Watson
  11. Shari Watson
  12. Demico Dodson
  13. Stefan Lindblad
  14. Peter Watson
If you don’t see your name on this list, check back periodically as I will be updating it. If after several checks you still don’t see your name, jump down, turn around, and pick a bale of cotton. If that doesn’t help, you can email me.
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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Zoom Zoom

In light of all the email passing over the last couple of months regarding anything and everything surrounding sports, Erik Lindblad and myself elected to create this blogsite where we can continue the conversation.

We really wanted to call this blogsite, “Scott Spiezio Stinks” but hey, that wouldn’t be cool. So the guy is off to a horrendous start…and so what that last year he made us want to vomit every time he came to the plate…and so what that the M’s gave him too much money over to long of a period. The guy has a sweet Chinhawk, he plays in a band, and he doesn’t gripe.

Besides, We just didn't have the heart to kick the guy when he’s down. Spiezio is having a rough time and we would love to see the M’s drop his sorry behind. But we just couldn’t add insult to injury by naming the blogsite after the guy.

So….here we are with ZoomStick. Don’t ask me what it means. It’s just a place to talk sports and keep track of the different fantasy sports competitions that go on throughout the year. That’s it. Period. Oh, and maybe every once in a while we can share manly feelings…maybe.
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Friday, April 01, 2005

Team Zoomstick

Meet the members of of Team Zoomstick:

Erik Lindblad
As a renowned P.E. Teacher, gifted basketball Coach, and tireless matcher of atire, Erik Lindblad offers a unique and sometimes funny perspective on the world of Prepatory Sports.

Nathan Watson
Born and raised on backyard wiffle ball competitions, Nathan has been studying the game of Baseball for several years and brings a international flare to the world of Zoomstick

Jason Scheib
Consiered the Bill James of Football, Jason brings his unrelenting acumen to the Zoomstick table by proposing unconventional and sometimes wacky ideas related to the NFL, XFL, AFL, and College Football.

Peter Watson
Zoom on...