Japan Baseball Daily on a case that could well set precendent for Cumbucket Media’s plans to publish a hardcover tome of Sal Fasano pictorials later this year.

Nippon Ham Fighters centerfielder Tsuyoshi Shinjo and the ballclub itself has thier collective Gunze in a bunch over a new photo book from Toho Shuppan centering around the fly chasing pretty boy. Shinjo and team officials claiim that the book, ‘Shinjo no Shinjo’, was put out without their permission nor with compensation, thereby violating copyright laws. Lawyers for Nippon Ham are seeking the seizure and destruction of all extant copies. Teams own their players names and images for commercial exploitation.

For their part, Toho admitted that talks with the ballclub over a possible monetary settlement went nowhere but yet claim that they are issuing the book for “journalistic purposes” and thus it falls outside copyright law. I will wait until you stop laughing.

The irony here is that if the books are eventually seized, it will only increase the value of those that get out into the marketplace. So expect to see it on internet auction sites soon for big bucks.

The Washington Post’s Thomas Boswell decries DC Mayor Anthony A. Williams’ “cockamamie brainstorm to construct two vast 13-story towers — filled with condos, shops, garages and a hotel — just beyond left and center field of the new Nationals stadium on the Anacostia waterfront.”

Laundry hanging out a rowhouse window has its place beside Wrigley Field. It’s naturally part of the neighborhood. The subway is supposed to run beyond right field in Yankee Stadium. Fenway Park without the big Citgo sign beyond the Green Monster just wouldn’t be right. But did Cleveland build an apartment complex beyond its bleachers to block views of downtown? Did the Phillies erect an office building so you could not see the Philadelphia city skyline in the distance?

Ah, the pastoral bliss of not one but two 13-story opportunities for bad taste and urban invasion of baseball’s visual space.

The Mets have suspended Howard Johnson as hitting coach at Triple-A Norfolk. Though I realize the parent club has to set disciplinary standards, I’m not sure how Jose Offerman can maintain his current pace without the benefit of HoJo’s counsel.