I don’t know what this post will have to do with Samurai Swords, yet I assure you I will try to work it in at some point. I mean, duh, they’re cool as shit. And Japanese and that’s where the Oakland A’s play today and tonight. Japan. It’s 9:04pm on the West Coast and they are in the 3rd inning of a 2nd game, currently losing 7-0 to the Hanshin Tigers, the same team who beat the Seattle Mariners yesterday.
Earlier today the A’s defeated the Yomiuri Giants. The Giants and the Tigers, two classic names for some Japanese baseball teams. They could have at least went with the Samurai Swords. See, told you I’d get it in there. And it’s 9:12pm. Didn’t even take me 8 minutes. 8 minutes seems like a lot of time to write a paragraph. I must not be very good at this writing thing. Why am I telling you my thoughts? Damn. And normally I’m so much more confident than this. I wonder if the Japanese fans have seen Moneyball with Brad Pitt? How would Moneyball translate in Japanese? I bet it’s Yenball. Who do you think would win this fight: Yenball or samaurai sword?
Kurt Suzuki for the A’s, can I get a home run, playa? In Japan. Way to get it done against the home county. Yes, I know he’s from Hawaii. But his name is Kurt Kiyoshi Suzuki, I’m assuming he’s got Japanese ancestors somewhere in the family line. Maybe not. Either way.
Now, I know Ichiro Suzuki is from Japan. And he went 1/4 against his native land. Really Ich, that’s the best you can do? The fans were there to see you.
Ooh, upon (not to be mistaken for Ippon) researching Samurai swords, I came across this little slice of info for you. The katana (刀) is one of the traditional Japanese swords (日本刀 nihonto) worn by the samurai class of feudal Japan, also commonly referred to as a “samurai sword”. That is taken right from Wikipedia, so if it’s incorrect, blame them.
As a side note, remember Kitana from Mortal Kombat? Man, she was a hottie. Not that I’m into judging how attractive computer generated females may or may not be. I’m just saying, if I was into that kind of thing, I might find her attractive. In that kick my ass, stilleto boot, fan with razor sharp blades, kind of way.
You know what I’m talking about.
So, I finally found a place where you can get some Spring Training stats. And by some, I mean all. Check it out here. Of course, I should have figured it would come from mlb.com.
Anyway, they are not West Coast, nor do they play in the AL West, but the KC Royals do play in the Cactus League and they are all kinds of exciting. Not to mention all kinds of talented. Look out for the Royals this year. And yes, I am serious.
Cactus League Leaders
RBI – Eric Hosmer, KC Royals (17)
AVG – Lorenzo Cain, KC Royals (.500) – and that is a true .500, not a “I batted 4 times and got 2 hits” .500; he is currently 17/34 and one of the top prospects in baseball.
2B – Lorenzo Cain, KC Royals (7)
SB – Gregor Blanco, SF Giants (9) – Who? Yeah, Gregor White (Blanco means White). Batting .419, 18 hits in 43 AB’s, 9 steals. Those are #1 fantasy draft pick type numbers. Not that I’m suggesting you take him #1 (or at all) in your fantasy draft.
HR – Carlos Peguero, SEA Mariners (4) – There are a bunch tied at 4 so I’m just going to list my favorite. At 6’5″ and 245 lbs, there’s a lot to like. Literally. And physically.
ERA – C.J. Wilson, LA Angels (0.64)
Wins – Luis Mendoza, KC Royals (4) – In 4 starts. Oh by the way, 12 K in 11 IP, and just 1 ER for a 0.77 ERA.
K’s – Felix Hernandez, SEA Mariners (17)
Holy Felix the Cat. Let’s hope he’s got 9 lives because he used one up today. 5IP, 8R, 7ER, 10H. And that’s against the White Sox. Imagine what will happen when he has to face a big league team. I kid. And Felix Hernandez will be just fine. Or you could always trade him to the D’Backs. I’m sure Kevin Towers is willing to give you Stephen Drew. He might even throw in Lyle Overbay.
In fact, why don’t the M’s send Ichiro and Montero over, too. Then the D’Backs would have 2 catchers named Montero. Imagine Ichiro in left, CY in center and J-Up in right. Anyway, back to reality.
So Hernandez will be fine. Ichrio is settling nicely into the 3 spot in the batting order, a move I really like. He’s hitting .400 in Spring ball, with 2 HR and 8 RBI. In fact, if you look at the Mariners likely Opening Day starting lineup (in Japan), there is only one glaring weakness. Chone Figgins. Or no leadoff hitter. Same problem.
After that, Ackley is solid, Ichiro will have a bounce back year, Smoak, Montero, Carp are all studs, Olivio has some pop, and Saunders is playing really well. Brendan Ryan… OK, so they have 2 holes, #1 and #9.
I also just realized the AL West is the fishing division. Well, it is the West Coast so that makes sense. We’ve got Mike Trout and Mike Carp. Hey whaddya’ know… they are both Mike’s too. They should open their own business. Mike’s Carp & Trout, Fishing Baseballs, Inc. Trademark it now, boys. Seattle’s Fish Market could have some competition. Or not. Either way.
My countdown calendar tracks how many days til the regular season begins and we are at less than 30!
The regular season kicks off in Japan with the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners. Sure, there will be a host of Spring Training and exhibition games played after their battle and before the April 4th U.S. Opening Day, but the games still count. So mark your calendars for March 28th, make reservations at your favorite sushi place, order a Kirin and watch some baseball. Ichiro in his home country taking on Manny, Yoenis and the A’s. It’s going to be fun! Ippon!
As a side note, please be careful when referring to these games. You don’t want to pull an ESPN Jeremy Lin or a Ben and Jerry’s. Fortune cookie say, “Caution.”
Yes, believe it or not, it is that time of the year again. As we hurry up and wait for the Super Bowl to start, we can either turn our sports attention to the NBA, NHL or MLB. Since I don’t follow hockey too closely and the Suns are one more old player away from the All-Time Retirement team, we’ll choose Major League Baseball and my all time favorite activity, Spring Training.
Pitchers and catchers report for all Major League ball clubs the 18th-22nd of February. With essentially one month left to go, I’ll preview the entire American League West and National League West just in time for the teams to head to camp. Each Tuesday and Thursday for the next four weeks will be dedicated to Spring Training Baseball. Tuesdays will be the AL West, Thursdays will be the NL West.
Let’s get started.
The team that finished with the 3rd worst record in baseball hopes it can do better than it’s 95 loss season a year ago. Sadly, I am not convinced that it can. The Mariners just completed a trade for the top catching prospect in all of baseball, but to get Jesus Montero from the Yankees, they had to give up their lone bright spot from a season ago in Michael Pineda.
Yes, the M’s have some serious pitching depth and prospects in Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, Jose Campos and Danny Hultzen, but you just gave up on someone who could be the ace of your staff should something happen to King Felix Hernandez. I know, that’s a lot of coulds and shoulds. That’s what happens when you trade a possible ace for a potential stud catcher.
The line up is three words. Tear. Uh. Bull. Or Tear A Bull. Or Terrible. All different paths to the same result. Probably a lot like my predictions for this team. I could predict the offense struggles (which it will). I could predict the pitching won’t hold up (which it won’t). Or I could just say the M’s will lose at least 90 games like last year. Justin Smoak, Ichiro Suzuki, Jesus Montero and Dustin Ackley are about the only things capable of scoring or driving in a run. Not good.
At least Ken Griffey, Jr is back. Although as a special consultant, it sounds unlikely he’ll be making any diving catches in center field or driving one deep onto the train tracks at Safeco.
Up next on Thursday in our Cactus League Spring Training Preview, Josh Byrnes and the San Diego Padres.
*This is a reblog of one of my current posts from WestSide Culture. Original can be found at http://westsideculture.com/sports