2023 World Baseball Classic

Tokyo Sox

Baka Gaijin
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Feb 16, 2006
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Also opened my eyes to Japan baseball ⚾. Going to try to learn more about Japanese baseball and follow it more this year.
Please don't hesitate to ask any questions. I'll start the annual NPB/Asian leagues thread sometime soon, if someone doesn't beat me to it. There are any number of posters who are knowledgable about the game as it's played here, and who have been to NPB games etc. The more you dig in, the more fun it is. Please choose Munetaka Murakami's Tokyo Yakult Swallows if you're looking for an NPB team to support.
 

kazuneko

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Nov 10, 2006
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I think both these things are partly true. (Though I don't think Team Japan necessarily got a head start in camp or anything - they were probably on the same schedule as any MLB players who were committed to participate, and started getting ready and ramping up a couple weeks earlier than normal. Also a few of the MLB guys didn't arrive until a few days before pool play started.) Anyway it's hard to look at the US lineup and say they didn't bring their best players. Yes the pitchers were not the best, but no country had their exact ideal roster. Japan was missing Senga as noted, as well as Seiya Suzuki. Two huge names for them, not to mention Yuki Yanagita who is coming off an injury and opted not to play.
I agree that this was the most legit win yet by Japan but it still must be said that their players commitment to this tournament is still their biggest strength. Japan had one player -Senga- who could have really helped them but opted out. The other two you mention only didn’t participate because of injuries, something that affects all teams. The US, on the other hand failed to recruit something like their top-15 starting pitchers.
That said, the fact that so many US players are too self-interested to want to go all out to represent their country does not diminish Japan’s victory; arguably it makes it even more deserved. Part of the joy of watching the Japanese team is the pride they take in their roles as representatives of their country. Ohtani making a run at the GOAT is just icing on the cake. Hopefully Japan’s spirit and continued success shames the rest of the world into going all out next tournament.
 

BigSoxFan

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May 31, 2007
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I agree that this was the most legit win yet by Japan but it still must be said that their players commitment to this tournament is still their biggest strength. Japan had one player -Senga- who could have really helped them but opted out. The other two you mention only didn’t participate because of injuries, something that affects all teams. The US, on the other hand failed to recruit something like their top-15 starting pitchers.
That said, the fact that so many US players are too self-interested to want to go all out to represent their country does not diminish Japan’s victory; arguably it makes it even more deserved. Part of the joy of watching the Japanese team is the pride they take in their roles as representatives of their country. Ohtani making a run at the GOAT is just icing on the cake. Hopefully Japan’s spirit and continued success shames the rest of the world into going all out next tournament.
The biggest takeaway for me is that Japan’s improved depth really showed. They clearly don’t have as much talent as the US but there are a lot of intriguing guys. Guys like Sasaki and Murakami look like future MLB stars, if they make the move. Kondoh and Okamoto are 100% MLB talent. Yamada looks the part as well.

Ohtani gets all the press, as he should, but his greatness really overshadows just how many other good MLB-quality talent is playing in Japan. And I’m sure there are a ton of young guys who are 20/21 who would be exciting top 100-200 type prospects, if they were in A/AA ball over here.

It’s going to be really interesting to see how this tournament impacts others’ decisions to come over.
 

cannonball 1729

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The Sticks

DeadlySplitter

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I personally would not be stunned if the hottest free agent in baseball history ended up signing with the Yankees.
The Yankees have 40M committed to Judge and 36M to Cole for the next 6 seasons. They don't act like the George Yankees much anymore, and like the international FA market a lot for building talent. 50M on Ohtani would really endanger their IFA pool.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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Ohtani actually stands out among Japanese players for how good his English is as it’s reported he’s put a lot of effort into learning the language.
I think your comment also misses the point of the WBC. This tournament is about national pride. Why the hell should a guy who just represented his country -outplaying the world’s best- not feel empowered to speak his nation’s language in the victory interview following the big win?
Agreed. At this moment he is representing Japan, not MLB or the Angels, and most of the folks rooting for him speak Japanese, not English. I can't imagine that even if his English was as good as yours that he would chose to speak it in that moment.

Maybe later for local TV, ESPN, and MLB Network. But not in the heat of the moment for a truly international audience.
 

trekfan55

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Agreed. At this moment he is representing Japan, not MLB or the Angels, and most of the folks rooting for him speak Japanese, not English. I can't imagine that even if his English was as good as yours that he would chose to speak it in that moment.

Maybe later for local TV, ESPN, and MLB Network. But not in the heat of the moment for a truly international audience.
I think most (and probably all) Japanese players use a translator because the transition from English to Japanese and vice versa is really complicated. I have seen several Latin players speak broken English at interviews and/or use translators, but there is a cultural difference there.
 

loshjott

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Dec 30, 2004
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I agree that this was the most legit win yet by Japan but it still must be said that their players commitment to this tournament is still their biggest strength. Japan had one player -Senga- who could have really helped them but opted out. The other two you mention only didn’t participate because of injuries, something that affects all teams. The US, on the other hand failed to recruit something like their top-15 starting pitchers.
That said, the fact that so many US players are too self-interested to want to go all out to represent their country does not diminish Japan’s victory; arguably it makes it even more deserved. Part of the joy of watching the Japanese team is the pride they take in their roles as representatives of their country. Ohtani making a run at the GOAT is just icing on the cake. Hopefully Japan’s spirit and continued success shames the rest of the world into going all out next tournament.
Re the bolded, I agree 100%.
 

Granite Sox

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jon abbey

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Checking now, the two Japanese NPB leagues start the same time as MLB but their regular seasons are only 143 games and they have fewer rounds of playoffs, that is a big difference for annual pitcher potential workload. I think that explains more directly why most top MLB SPs didn't participate in this, and will be unlikely to next time also unless something changes in the interim.
 

Marciano490

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Nov 4, 2007
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I agree that this was the most legit win yet by Japan but it still must be said that their players commitment to this tournament is still their biggest strength. Japan had one player -Senga- who could have really helped them but opted out. The other two you mention only didn’t participate because of injuries, something that affects all teams. The US, on the other hand failed to recruit something like their top-15 starting pitchers.
That said, the fact that so many US players are too self-interested to want to go all out to represent their country does not diminish Japan’s victory; arguably it makes it even more deserved. Part of the joy of watching the Japanese team is the pride they take in their roles as representatives of their country. Ohtani making a run at the GOAT is just icing on the cake. Hopefully Japan’s spirit and continued success shames the rest of the world into going all out next tournament.
This is really beautifully stated.
 

Blizzard of 1978

@drballs
Sep 12, 2022
503
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Please don't hesitate to ask any questions. I'll start the annual NPB/Asian leagues thread sometime soon, if someone doesn't beat me to it. There are any number of posters who are knowledgable about the game as it's played here, and who have been to NPB games etc. The more you dig in, the more fun it is. Please choose Munetaka Murakami's Tokyo Yakult Swallows if you're looking for an NPB team to support.
I will definitely support Tokyo Yakult Swallows on your recommendation. Look forward to learning about them as I follow them.
 

Spelunker

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Jul 17, 2005
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The Yankees have 40M committed to Judge and 36M to Cole for the next 6 seasons. They don't act like the George Yankees much anymore, and like the international FA market a lot for building talent. 50M on Ohtani would really endanger their IFA pool.
Plus, can you imagine what Cohen is going to offer him?
 

Granite Sox

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Yesterday, I looked up the AL and NL rosters for the 2022 All-Star game. Here's a little factoid I found interesting to address some of the discussion about the relative competitiveness of NPB (and other international professional) players vs. Americans:

Roughly half the MLB all-star team rosters were composed of Americans. Said differently, about half of the all-star rosters were comprised of players who played for other countries in the WBC. Prior to thinking about it, I would have guessed the percentage of Americans would have been higher. But given the star power of the Dominicans, Venezuelans, and Puerto Ricans in particular, the split was even. If more of the NPB WBC players were established in MLB (Yamamoto, Sasaki, Murakami, hopefully Yoshida), then the number may have tilted even more towards international players.

It feels like an evolution similar to the NBA and, to a lesser extent, the NHL where the game has globalized significantly from a talent standpoint.
 
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InstaFace

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That's a great sign for growing global interest and participation in the game.

Of course, Venezuela, PR and DR (and Cuba, etc) were already very into baseball, but it does suggest that their player-development engines and talent ID are about as good as ours at this point. Which makes it replicable once the game hits critical mass in a country.

In terms of growing the game, which is most of the point of the WBC, countries like China, Czechia and Australia. Here are the number of domestic-based players on the final-tournament 30-man roster of some countries (suggesting their domestic league isn't a joke and they don't have to rely on hyphenated Americans playing in NCAA / indy leagues):

China: 25
Czechia: 24
Australia: 23
Nicaragua: 16
Netherlands: 7 (+5 in Curaçao)
Panama: 9
...
Italy: 3
Great Britain: N/A
Israel: N/A

And from qualifiers:

France: 27
Czechia: 25*
Nicaragua: 19* (out of 27)
Argentina: 12 (+2 likely; roster was only 16 total)
Germany: 12
South Africa: 11 (+11 likely to be domestic-based)
Spain: 11
Panama: 9* (+5 likely domestic)
New Zealand: 8 (of whom 5 play for the Auckland ABL team, i.e. pro)
Brazil: 3 (+6 likely to be domestic; definitely didn't know Brazil has a domestic league)
Great Britain: N/A*
Pakistan: N/A

* = Qualified to WBC

What I take from that is that the most promising leagues that you'd want to put some development into and try to make them fully-pro and self-sustaining are China, Czechia, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand and Brazil. All but China are amateur, and NZ has that Auckland team in the ABL (and which counts Tzu-Wei Lin on its roster), but also has a domestic amateur league that seems well-organized. Also, I knew the leagues in Venezuela, Colombia, Cuba and Mexico were all professional, but I didn't know the same was true of Nicaragua (5 teams), Argentina (6 teams) and maybe Italy (6 teams) too.
 

InsideTheParker

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Jul 15, 2005
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The Mets guys were just saying that one of their Japanese pitchers had trouble last year with the larger, less tacky American ball. What balls did they use in the WBC? Were pitchers required to use the American ball? I am particularly interested b/c I found the Japanese pitching so impressive that I am longing for the Sox to acquire one or more of them, but perhaps not if the transition would be difficult b/c of this issue.
 

Tokyo Sox

Baka Gaijin
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The Mets guys were just saying that one of their Japanese pitchers had trouble last year with the larger, less tacky American ball. What balls did they use in the WBC? Were pitchers required to use the American ball? I am particularly interested b/c I found the Japanese pitching so impressive that I am longing for the Sox to acquire one or more of them, but perhaps not if the transition would be difficult b/c of this issue.
All teams were required to use the WBC ball which is basically the MLB ball. So of the Japanese pitchers only Ohtani and Darvish had any real experience with it, and both Yamamoto & Sasaki expressed some concern about it before ultimately shrugging and saying, "I guess we'll just have to get used to it." The whole team had been practicing with it for a month or so by the time the WBC started.

It's hard to predict who will successfully adjust to the different ball and who won't. Generally speaking I think being bigger/having bigger hands would help, but I also imagine it depends on what kind of stuff you throw.