For the second time this week, a columnist from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has managed to find fault with MLB’s decision to open the 2008 season in Japan. First, Jeff Schultz weighed in, followed Wednesday by the venerable Furman Bisher (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory), who presumably didn’t get up in time to watch Rich Harden (above) baffle the Red Sox this morning. Perhaps the AJC can go for the hat trick tomorrow with a guest editorial from John Rocker?
Money can change any habit. Eight springs ago the Mets and Cubs opened the season, not in Cincinnati. Guess where? Tokyo. That Tokyo, the guys who gave us Pearl Harbor. Some people don™t like you to bring that up, trade with Japan is so hot. But I™ve got a long memory. I saw what a few bombs can do to our property.
Oh, well, ˜scuse me. It™s just tough to get away from it when you turn on your TV in the morning there are the Boston Red Sox playing the Oakland A™s in the Tokyo Dome. Not only that, but the Red Sox pitcher is Daisuke Matsuzaka, who didn™t grow up in Wampole.
Why not? A Japanese newspaper chain, Yomiuri, foots the bill for this Oriental excursion. Yomiuri is not exactly the Chicago Tribune of Japanese baseball. Yomiuri owns several teams. The Tribune owns only one team, and that team hasn™t been in a World Series since World War II. (Sorry to have to bring that up again.) Yomiuri™s team has been the Yankees of Japan, and I™m not sure, but I think they call themselves the Giants.
It would be my guess that in Japan, emperors don™t throw out first balls, or even have any kind of presence at such a sweaty game. I saw a game in the Tokyo Dome once, but it was more dome-shaped then. It now appears to have gone oblong to oblige the new long-ball society. Managers are interchangeable, it seems. Bobby Valentine is still managing a team in Japan, and Trey Hillman, who managed five seasons in Japan, is now managing the Kansas City Royals, which, on the surface, appears to be a demotion.
The Japanese might know a thing or two about bombs being dropped on their property as well, but they’ve somehow managed not to let horrific events of more than 6 decades ago prevent their embrace of what oughta be considered one of American’s finest cultural exports. It’s astonishing that neither Bisher nor his colleague Shultz take much positive away from this.