Thursday, May 11, 2023

Report: Yamakawa under investigation for abusing woman



Saitama Seibu Lions infielder Hotaka Yamakawa reportedly injured a woman for abuse, according to Bunshun. The report says things are under investigation. 

The media approached Yamakawa at his house on May 9, but he couldn't be reached for a full comment. 

Yamakawa, 31, has been the star of the Lions since 2017, having more than 200 career home runs, an MVP and three-time Best IX award winner.

According to the report, Yamakawa was with a woman he wasn't married to.  There were sexual interactions with her consent. The report said the woman was bleeding. 

Yamakawa is already married and has a daughter. He admitted to having an incident with this woman, but wouldn't make further comments saying it is up to his lawyers.

On the field, this report came out nearly an hour before the Saitama Seibu Lions were about to play the Chiba Lotte Marines on May 10. Yamakawa was batting fifth in the line and starting at 1B going 1-4. 

The Lions already had a stretch of games without Yamakawa as others like Takeya Nakamura and even David MacKinnon picked up the slack showing power wasn't an issue.

There is currently no statement from the Lions at the time of this writing.

The last scandal involving the Lions was slander from the wife of Haruka Yamada messaging the wife of Sosuke Genda. Yamada was eventually traded to the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters for Ryusei Sato.  


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Sunday, May 7, 2023

2023 Lions flaws look tough to overcome



The Saitama Seibu Lions are 30 games into the 2023 season with a 15-15 record, good for fourth place and B-class in the Pacific League.

While they aren't the worst team in NPB, it may be hard to take them seriously with the pace they're on.

The Bullpen regression is worse than expected

Many believed the Lions pitching numbers and run prevention from 2022 was a fluke to carry them into the postseason. This time, the bullpen isn't the same since Kaima Taira moved to the rotation, Yoshinobu Mizukami is in ni-gun and Tatsushi Masuda is an uncomfortable liability.

Saturday's loss to Orix happened in the worst way possible and manager Kazuo Matsui is forced to scramble around with options. On Sunday, Minato Aoyama earned a save, but the rookie is still green and looks nowhere close to being in this position.

The Lions options in the bullpen before the 9th inning look good, but they can't find anyone to close it out. On paper, it was supposed to be Jesus Tinoco to take a back end role, but his wild command has forced him into low and medium leverage situations only. 


New imports having minimal impact

When you're not a contender, it's up to the new foreign signings to make or break being competitive. The aforementioned Tinoco has been unable to earn a better role in the bullpen while Mark Payton was already taken off the ichi-gun roster after April. Both players have an uphill battle if they want their careers in Japan to stay alive. 

On the other hand, David MacKinnon has held his ground as an infielder while not lighting it up. He's been hitting his weight and played solid defense with six multi-hit games.


Nakamura carrying offense is a blessing and curse

Not many would expect Takeya Nakamura to lead the team in HRs with seven total while Shuta Tonosaki is second with five.

Hotaka Yamakawa was out for multiple weeks, yet the power hitting wasn't an issue. This will be good long-term given it's possible Yamakawa walks in domestic free agency. 

Tonosaki had an impressive April, but the outfield is still flaws with only "Aito" being a regular. It would be nice if Gakuto Wakabayashi and/or Shohei Suzuki could earn a regular spot.


Takumi Kuriyama's career on pace to end sooner than later

The former captain and all-time hits leader Kuriyama has mostly seen pinch-hit opportunities and hasn't succeeded like in the past. Right now, he might be at the stage of his career like "Saburo" Omura was for the Chiba Lotte Marines at the end.


The rotation looks fine 

As unlucky as Chihiro Sumida has been, he's doing his part in the middle of the starting rotation after a disastrous rookie season.  Kaima Taira has transitioned to being a starter without much issue while Tatsuya Imai and Kona Takahashi lead the way. 


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Sunday, April 2, 2023

2023 Seibu Lions digest: Poor offense salvaged for Opening Weekend


The Saitama Seibu Lions opened the 2023 season taking one out of three games from the Orix Buffaloes. They are above the Chiba Lotte Marines in the standings as they have avoided last place through the opening weekend.

Kona Takahashi and Kaima Taira both had quality starts going at least seven innings. Unfortunately, Opening Day was a disaster as they blew one in front of a sold out crowd. 

It looked like Aito Takeda had the winning solo HR in the bottom of the 8th inning, but Minato Aoyama was called to make his debut in a closing situation for the 9th. With one out left, former Lions catcher Tomoya Mori hit a solo HR to tie it.

In the Top of the 10th, Jesus Tinoco gave up the losing HR on his first pitch to Yuma Mune and the Lions failed to score with runners on base all game. They stranded the walkoff runs on base for the 9th and 10th innings while squandering chances earlier.

However, manager Kazuo Matsui's decision to not use Tatsushi Masuda was vindicated as he was tattooed for three runs on five hits in mop up duty for Saturday's game. The 9-2 loss was mostly a struggle for Dietrich Enns, who gave up a HR to Yutaro Sugimoto. On offense, the Lions also has 12 hits, but stranded several runners off Sachiya Yamasaki. 

The final game saw better success with seven strong innings from Kaima Taira, making his starting debut. 

Both teams traded solo HRs with David MacKinnon recording his first in NPB. It took a chance in the bottom of the 8th for the Lions to score as Shohei Suzuki hit a gapper down the RF line to plate two runs and eventually scored on a passed ball. 

Aoyama was given the nod to close again and did it stranding two runners for the first win of the season and for manager Matsui.

The closing bullpen is a short term concern with Aoyama being thrust in there. It's going to be something to monitor as the season goes on and how Matsui decides to use his pitchers. 

From what we could decipher, it was a predetermined decision to have Aoyama as the closer. 

Offense is still a problem, hoping for stability in the outfield. Can only hope Mark Payton has a better series ahead too, as he struggled in the leadoff position. 

Will also need to take this time to announce I will be on vacation in April and won't have anything written for the next few weeks. 


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Monday, March 27, 2023

2023 Seibu Lions enter season with more question marks than answers



The Saitama Seibu Lions ring in a new 2023 season being the end of one era and starting another.

Gone is Hatsuhiko Tsuji who retired and entering is Kazuo Matsui who has been the man in waiting ever since he returned in 2018.

There are plenty of storylines to look at from the roster construction and players hoping for success individually and as a team.

Here are some things to look for in Matsui's first season as skipper:


Kaima Taira as a starter

One of the offseason subplots was Taira holding out during salary negotiations in hopes of becoming a starting pitcher to take the next step in his career. It's possible he has MLB aspirations in the future and entering a rotation will do this.

In preseason, he did his part with no issues, but it will be interesting to see if he has the stamina to go for 6-7 as a starter vs being a setup man or closer.


Yamakawa in a contract year 

One of the scariest things entering 2023 is knowing Hotaka Yamakawa has domestic free agent rights when it's over. With the narrative of the Lions not being the best organization to play for and several wanting to walk for non-fiscal reasons, is he the next to join this club?

It also means he has to play well for 2023 to be a target. While he was the first half MVP on offense for 2022, he cooled down in the final months and the Lions struggled to hit. A one man show of Yamakawa isn't sustainable to be relevant and someone else needs to step it up even if we aren't thinking about him walking.


Kazuo Matsui's approach

As with any new manager, Kazuo Matsui's style isn't known until he's in charge of games. He saw farm manager experience from 2019-2021 and knows the organization from top to bottom as a result of seeing several guys in ni-gun.

Being a leader takes a lot and as a younger mind compared to Tsuji, it will be interesting to see how he does as a skipper.

Many have anticipated this era the moment he was brought back as a player/coach in 2018. If anything, at least he isn't thrown into the fire with some years of grooming and experience before being in this position.


New faces and foreigners

The Lions only kept two imports from 2022 in Dietrich Enns and Bo Takahashi for this season. IF David MacKinnon, OF Mark Payton and P Jesus Tinoco are hoping to be impact players and at least two of them will need to be ichi-gun regulars in order to be relevant for 2023. 

Offensively, the Lions were below average. Both Payton and MacKinnon don't describe themselves as power hitters, but if they can contribute with doubles, getting on base and slap hitting, that would be a best case scenario. Don't measure either person by home runs.

In a minor pickup from the active player draft, Naomasa Yohkawa was plucked from the Hanshin Tigers as a reserve infielder who could matchup in select situations. Expect him to be a specialist against left-handed pitchers. 

Yaku Cho was the compensation selection from Orix as the team lost Tomoya Mori. He could be a spot starter or reliever. 


Catcher position should be balanced

Tomoya Mori walking in free agency looks like the biggest blow to the team since Shogo Akiyama left for MLB. However, the defense should be improved as Mori regressed behind the plate from his peak seasons.

Sena Tsuge and Yuto Koga were drafted for a reason and both catchers shouldn't be a liability behind the dish. Offense unfortunately won't be as threatening as Mori, but this isn't the biggest hole on offense compared to another unit. 


The outfield needs stability

This is an elephant in the room that's been ongoing since Akiyama signed with the Cincinnati Reds. There's hope Gakuto Wakabayashi can be healthy, Shohei Suzuki could retain an ichi-gun position and first-round draft pick Takuya Hiruma can be an impact rookie.

No matter who is starting, the Lions need someone to earn a regular starting job and keep it all season. Last year, they were hoping Brian O'Grady would do this, but his regression after July led to a benching in September, forcing a scramble for someone else. It would t hurt if Mark Payton can stay on top for one of those three positions. 


Can Kona Takahashi be a true ace?

Many don't like the Lions as a whole for not having anyone with MLB potential. They don't strikeout anyone consistently in the rotation and Kona Takahashi is viewed as a front end starter on most teams. 

This off-season, Takahashi said he wants to pitch in MLB someday and the Lions talked about how he has to earn a possible posting. Not many take Tatsuya Imai and Wataru Matsumoto seriously either. 

An argument can be made they're only good at run prevention due to Sosuke Genda and Shuta Tonosaki on the infield. 

This applies to the bullpen as well from Yoshinobu Mizukami and Keisuke Honda as setup relievers. 


Rookie impact?

The Lions recent draft picks could help a team if they're on the ichi-gun sooner than later. The aforementioned Hiruma needs to do something for 2023 to be a successful year. 

P Minato Aoyama could be in the bullpen if he earns a spot. It's possible IF Ryosuke Kodama could be a defensive replacement or pinch runner with his speed. It didn't hurt Kodama had reps at SS with Genda at the World Baseball Classic.

Maybe an ikusei gets promoted the way Natsuo Takizawa and Shinya Hasegawa were in 2022. 


Expert picks

Japan Baseball Weekly had their annual prediction podcast episodes for both the Pacific and Central Leagues.

Here's what everyone had to say about where they expect the Lions to finish:

John E. Gibson (Yomiuri Shimbun): 6th

Gibson believes the Lions have lost more than they gained with Mori no longer there. Not a fan of Kona Takahashi trying to carry the rotation. It's going to cost them.

Jim Allen (Kyodo News): 3rd

Allen has the most optimistic tone of the bunch, primarily thinking the outfield has potential. He thinks Kazuo Matsui will bring something good to table. 

Claudio Rodriguez (Beisbol Japones): 4th

Rodriguez expects regression is expected and doesn't like the offense. However, he expects the pitching to keep the team competitive and not a complete collapse. 

Jason Coskrey (Japan Times): 6th

Coskrey says the pitching data from 2022 is too much of a fluke to repeat. Lots of uncertainty with Matsui being inexperienced. 


The Competition

The Softbank Hawks are the clear-cut favorites being a loaded organization. Despite some offensive ups and downs, the return of Ryoya Kurihara should put them over the top. 

The Orix Buffaloes lost Masataka Yoshida to MLB, gained Mori and still have a top pitching staff in baseball. Offense is still below average with a lack of pop, even when it had Yoshida last year. Everything has gone right for the team in the last two years, making up for all the shortcomings in the past. 

If they can be above average in offense, Orix is a lock for A-class. 

The Chiba Lotte Marines have a new manager with uncertainty ahead. While the starting pitching should be great, can the offense take that next step? Plenty of position players need a breakout season for relevance after being a disappointment in 2022. They should be more than just a Roki Sasaki show. 

The Rakuten Eagles stripped manager Kazuhisa Ishii of his GM duties as he only has an on-field role this season. The rotation is mostly old and some could argue they have the best offense in the PL, but Ishii's leadership and managerial skills have shown games aren't played on paper. Could this be the end of Ishii?

The Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters have a new ballpark and should take a step up from year one under skipper Tsuyoshi Shinjo. Offensively they have some power and some above average pitchers. They're going to need a breakout season from Kotaro Kiyomiya to make a push for A-class, but the youth could easily have them sneak up on the competition. 


The Predictions 

1. Softbank Hawks

2. Orix Buffaloes

3. Chiba Lotte Marines

4. Saitama Seibu Lions

5. Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters

6. Rakuten Eagles

I see problems with the Lions offense to repeat having a winning record from 2022. Marines finally take a step forward on offense while the Hawks return to being the class of the Pacific League. 

Nothing would be surprising from 2-6 unless the Fighters just sprout up to second place. There's enough parity and lack of offense in the PL for anyone to claim A-class.


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Sunday, March 26, 2023

2023 World Baseball Classic was a major success



The 2023 World Baseball Classic was amazing to attend and be at. For what ended up being a win for Japan, we need to remember how important this was for the game of baseball beyond MLB.

Several games ended up being fun and entertaining from Taiwan to Miami. With the spirit of the game in full blast while in the month of March, there was nothing like it seeing a team celebrate a Little League style HR from Francisco Lindor and team Puerto Rico.

In a lengthy post, here are some observations and trip report I'll make in lieu making up for all the lack of coverage on the WBC:

Japan's pitching can hang with the rest

An excuse that's been used over and over again is how Japan has a smaller baseball than MLB. This competition was played with a Major League baseball and NPB pitchers had to adjust in practice, but the games showed it wasn't an issue, aside for maybe Yu Darvish? (Just kidding)


The 2023 WBC championship has more value than 2006 and 2009

While many will argue a championship is a championship and they call count the same, this one has more weight to it beyond recency bias. Factor in who took this competition seriously from a USA offense with multiple MVPs on it to the entire Group of Death (Group D) being a blood bath and full of Major League players, this title means more.

The World Baseball Classic was in it's infancy stages in 2006 and 2009 where many saw this as an ambassador opportunity to grow the game, but several player treated it like like another exhibition or didn't take it as seriously. Dominican Republic could've easily been a theater in those years yet found a way to be bounced early. 

Jim Allen has even mentioned how Sadaharu Oh won as a manager of this tournament in spite of making mistakes on the field. Back then, only Korea and Japan took this competition to the fullest and laid it all out.

While an argument can be made how USA didn't have great pitchers available, they still had an offense.

The 2017 USA championship carries plenty of weight as well having wins over Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Japan and Puerto Rico all in consecutive games. 

When you can defeat some of the best, you deserve to be called the best. 


Yu Darvish and father time?

For all the talks about being the veteran presence on Samurai Japan, Darvish looked old when pitching and he coughed up at least 1 HR in each outing. He took majority of spring training off away from the Padres to train with Samurai Japan only to struggle in the tournament. 

The San Diego Padres just rewarded him with an excessive contract extension which will take him into his early 40s. Was that really a smart call to go long term on any pitcher? 


Murakami was humbled

For a player who had all the hype entering the tournament as a two-time MVP, this wasn't his greatest outing but  was able to redeem himself with two swings. With two runners on base, manager Hideki Kuriyama was about to pinch-hit him for a bunt until it was obvious Mexico pitcher Giovanni Gallegos was struggling with command. 

Turned out to be the right call as he nearly hit a HR, a ball that went off the wall for a sayonara double. He later hit a solo tying HR off Merrill Kelly. 

Despite finishing strong, pump the brakes on Murakami for now and let the next couple years play out. Major League pitching is still an obstacle for many position players coming from Japan. 


Yoshida is riding momentum 

Masataka Yoshida was surprised at his own contract he signed with the Boston Red Sox not thinking he would be so valuable. This tournament? He lived up to the hype and carried Japan's offense in the semi-final game against Mexico. Boston fans haven't felt happy over this off-season as a whole, but Yoshida could be a nice consolation through it all as a reason for hope.


Mexico didn't win the tournament, but their run was a success for baseball

The World Baseball Classic setup is a reason why anything can happen and games aren't played on paper. Many thought Mexico may not have had the firepower to hang around with other teams, but their upset over Puerto Rico in the quarterfinal will easily inspire many in a later generation to play baseball. Credit to Benji Gill for leading a group of men to a deep run.


The atmosphere was unique, making baseball something fun

The noise, the crowds and the chants is what makes baseball refreshing. While the Ouendan style of songs in Japan is already documented and nothing new, hearing how things are done in Taiwan, or even the fans in Miami made this tournament great.

Miami has a dark fair weather sports reputation for plenty of apathy, yet we saw a packed park when it doesn't involve the Marlins as Venezuelans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans and even Mexicans were making noise in the tournament. It was icing on the cake when Cuba made the semi finals and many residents of South Florida had the chance to see the country of their heritage on stateside soil after the team was in Asia the entire tournament prior. 

There are clearly baseball fans in Miami, just not Marlins ones. 


Japan brings out the best in people

What made the game of Mexico and Japan special and being there was how respectful everyone was towards each other. Soccer games in Mexico have had crazy and even scary stories as has much of sporting events in the world. 

However, those who made the trip to Miami were all kind towards the Japanese even in defeat, even having a bow gesture and wanting to take pictures with whoever was nearby. Maybe it's the reputation Japan had for cleaning up the stadiums during the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, but it was a pleasant site to see. 


Tetsuto Yamada isn't done

When Samurai Japan's roster came out, some may have though taking Yamada coming off a down season was a head scratcher, yet his presence on defense was vital when it mattered most. He even stole two bases in the championship game against USA, something he has lacked in Japan since his Triple-3 days. 


Kuriyama won a chess match in the championship game

When Japan was forced to burn their two best starting pitchers available in Roki Sasaki and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, it was concerning what would happen against a USA offense that was tearing it up for the tournament knowing Shohei Ohtani wasn't allowed to pitch more than one inning per team agreement with the Los Angeles Angels 

 Kuriyama went with a bullpen plan knowing almost everyone was available and tactically caught USA hitters off guard. It was rather gutsy to put in a young Hiroto Takahashi and Hiromi Itoh for high leverage, yet they got it done. Itoh especially had lower velocity, but this was about outsmarting the opposition than using force and strength. 

This sums up Japanese baseball as a whole, where things are more technical than powering. Samurai Japan's pitchers got the ground ball and let Sosuke Genda/Yamada do the rest on the infield. 

While it's easy to say the final inning stands out for the casual viewer, this game as a whole was a team effort and well-executed madness from the manager. 

Had this been a seven-game series, opposing teams would have adjusted accordingly, but having it come down to one game made it even more exciting. No time to think, forcing players to do their best in a tight situation, which favored Japan.


The Angels are the biggest losers of the World Baseball Classic

It's been elephant in the room for a whole decade before Ohtani even signed with them in 2018, but the Los Angeles Angels time is ticking when it comes to international recognition. 

Seeing Mike Trout face Shohei Ohtani for all the marbles was fun as a baseball fan, but as an Angels fan it's a harsh reminder the organization hasn't done anything relevant in a long time. 

There are many arguments both players are currently the best in the game yet they still haven't had a winning record together while on the Angels. The worst case scenario happened in this off-season when owner Arte Moreno announced he pulled back any sale of the team. 

Ohtani has made it clear he wants to win and with this being a contract year, he can leave and teams can make a case to bring him over. If the Angels were smart, they needed to sell earlier to get a better compensation package, but Moreno likes the cash flow Ohtani brings. Being in Miami, plenty of Japanese visitors had Angels-related Ohtani gear on. Next year we could see people wearing another MLB team shortly. 


WBC Trip report

I made the trip to Miami for the second consecutive WBC Finals appearance having been to Los Angeles in 2017.

To put it in short, it was worth every penny. Here's some extra photos of the trip.

It was also a treat to finally meet Jim Allen in person. 


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Sunday, February 5, 2023

2022 Seibu Lions name translations



One of our most common gags here at Graveyard Baseball is to do a literal translation of Lions players and their family names. On Twitter, it often looks like this:


Here is the 2022 edition of every Seibu Lions player.  

To prevent redundancy, we have assigned 田 to paddy and 野 to field. If some guys have the same family name, we've translated their first name as a bonus. When seeing that kanji, the last name is first, first name is last.

For players with the same surname, we also translated their first name.

Italicized names are players who are not returning for 2023.

All draft picks from 2022 are not included since they won't play until 2023. 


Tatsushi Masuda 増田: More paddies

Kona Takahashi 髙橋 光成: Tall bridge, Light growing

Ken Togame 十亀: Ten turtles

Shota Hamaya 浜屋: Beach Roof

Katsunori Hirai 平井: Flat well

Yasuo Sano 佐野: Assistant field

Ichiro Tamura 田村: Paddy village

Keisuke Honda 本田: Book Paddy

Shota Takekuma 武隈: Warrior shadow

Tatsuya Imai 今井: Now well (Well as in the noun, not the adverb/adjective)

Kaima Taira 平良: Flat Good

Yutaro Watanabe 渡邉: Ford Edge (ford as in ferry crossing or transit, not the car).

Tetsuya Utsumi 内海: Inside Sea (Inlet)

Ryosuke Moriwaki 森脇: Forest Armpit (or side / flank)

Kaito Yoza 與座: Participation Seat

Tetsu Miyagawa 宮川: Shrine River

Hiroki Inoue 井上: Well Top

Koki Matsuoka 松岡: Pine Tree Hill

Takeru Sasaki 佐々木: Assistant Tree

Katsuhiko Kumon 公文: Government Documents

Ren Omagari 大曲: Big Bend

Yoshinobu Mizukami 水上: Water Top

Chihiro Sumida 隅田: Corner Paddy

Shunsuke Sato 佐藤: Assistant Wisteria

Shinnosuke Hada 羽田: Feather Paddy

Masaya Kuroda 黒田: Black Paddy

Yuto Akagami 赤上: Red Top



Tomoya Mori 森: Forest

Masatoshi Okada 岡田: Hill paddy

Shoya Makino 牧野: Shepard Field

Masato Saito 齊藤 誠人: Adjusted Wisteria, Sincere Person

Sena Tsuge 柘植: Mulberry Plant

Yuto Koga 古賀: Old Joy

Daichi Nakaguma 中熊: Center Bear



Sosuke Genda 源田: Root paddy (源 [gen] can refer to the origin or root of something)

Hotaka Yamakawa 山川: Mountain river

Takeya Nakamura 中村: Center village

Haruka Yamada 山田: Mountain paddy

Shuta Tonosaki 外崎: Outside cape (cape as in headland, not the cloak)

Kakeru Yamanobe 山野辺: Mountain Field Area

Ryota Kawano 川野: River Field

Kento Watanabe 渡部: Cross Section

Takayoshi Yamamura 山村: Mountain Village

"Brandon" Taiga Tysinger ブランドン: Broom Hill 

Due to going by his given name and not being a foreigner as someone born in Okinawa, Brandon gets recognized here. 

Seigo Nakayama 中山: Center Mountain

Natsuo Takizawa 滝澤: Waterfall Swamp

Shinya Hasegawa 長谷川: Long Valley River

Shota Hiranuma 平沼: Flat Marsh



Yuji Kaneko 金子 侑司: Gold child, Assistant director

Takumi Kuriyama 栗山: Chestnut mountain

Manaya Nishikawa 西川: West River

Seiji Kawagoe 川越: River surpass

Masato Kumashiro 熊代: Bear substitute

Shohei Suzuki 鈴木: Bell tree

Daisuke Togawa 戸川: Door river

[Aito] Takeda 武田 愛斗: Military paddy, Love Big Dipper / Ladle (Takeda has his first name registered)

Wataru Takagi 高木 渉: Tall Tree, Ford (as in fording or crossing a river)

Junichiro Kishi 岸: Beach

Gakuto Wakabayashi 若林: Young Grove

Yuta Nakamigawa 仲三河: Between Three Rivers



Toshihiro Idei 出井: Exit Well

Hiromasa Saito 齊藤 大将: Adjusted Wisteria, General

Sho Ito: 伊藤: Italian Wisteria

Joseph Ken Miyamoto 宮本: Shrine Book

Taishi Mameda 豆田: Legume Paddy

Kaito Awatsu 粟津: Millet Harbor

Towa Uema 上間: Above Space

Takeru Furuichi 古市: Old Market

Shinya Sugai 菅井: Sedge Well

Keishin Kawamura 川村: River Village

Hitoto Komazuki 駒月: Horse Moon


Manager and Coaches:

Hatsuhiko Tsuji 辻: Intersection

Kiyoshi Toyoda 豊田: Rich Paddy

Shigenobu Shima 嶋: Island

Masahiro Abe 阿部: Corner head of Yamato Group (saw Africa for Abe's name, but too confusing)

Fumiya Nishiguchi 西口: West Mouth

Tomoaki Sato 佐藤: Assistant Wisteria

Kazuo Matsui 松井: Pine Tree Well

Hiroyuki Takagi 高木 浩之: Tall Tree, This Abundance

Yosuke Hiraishi 平石: Peace Stone

Kosuke Noda 野田: Field Paddy, Abundance of help

Satoshi Kuroda 黒田: Black Paddy

Shogo Akada 赤田: Red Paddy

Eiji Kiyokawa 清川: Pure River

Tatsuyuki Uemoto 上本: Top Book

Tatsuya Ozeki 小関: Small Connection

Tatsuya Oishi 大石: Big Rock

Norio Tanabe 田辺: Paddy Border

Hayato Aoki 青木: Green Tree

Hisashi Takayama 高山: Tall Mountain

Shota Nakata 中田: Center Paddy

Shuichiro Osada 長田: Long Paddy

Yuji Onizaki 鬼崎: Demon Peninsula


Bonus: Foreigners

As a continuous gag, we reverse translate the foreigners to see what their name in Japanese would literally look like, not just katakana sounds. Here is what their names would look like in kanji. Chinese names also included.

Nien Ting Wu 呉: Donor / Zouyosha (贈与者)
While Wu is Taiwanese, his name can also reference being a Giver though it mostly represents a kingdom/dynasty. 

Brian O'Grady: Noble / Koushou (高尚)
O'Grady's name has Gaelic origins being a derivative of the word for noble.

Dietrich Enns: God's Helmet / Kami Kabuto (神兜)
Enns, of Irish origins is short for Anselm of German descent which is God's helmet.

Burch Smith: Strike / Dageki (打撃)
Smith has Old English origins for a strike, the noun for the action of hits with a hammer or another craftsmen tool. 

Jantzen WitteWhite One / Shirojin (白人)
Witte has Dutch and Germ)an origin. Very similar to how Wade LeBlanc has white as his surname with French origin.  

"Bo" Takahashi: To Live / Ikiru (住む)

 While Bo is a nickname, we'll include this name as Scandinavian descent given he goes by this instead of his surname meaning to Live or Dwell. 


Romer Cuadrado: Square / Shikaku (四角)

In Spanish, Cuadrado is the word for square. 

Jasier Herrera: Iron Mine / Tetsukouzan (鉄鉱山)

Herrera, with Spanish origin, is an iron mine. Fittingly 鉄 is the same character for Nishitetsu, the former Lions name in Fukuoka. 


Bonus: Samurai Japan 

Just for fun we've thrown in Samurai Japan's squad for the 2023 World Baseball Classic going beyond Genda and Yamakawa.

Yu Darvish ダルビッシュ: 托鉢 (Takuhatsu たくはつ)

With Darvish having Iranian descent, his family name is a Sufi holy man derived from ‘Dervish’ a member of a Sufi Muslim religious order from Pahlavi driyosh meaning ‘beggar one who goes from door to door’.

托鉢 would count in religious manners of begging or monk's begging. 

Shohei Ohtani 大谷: Large Valley

Shosei Togo 戸郷: Door Village

Yuki Matsui 松井: Pine Tree Well

Roki Sasaki 佐々木: Assistant Tree

Taisei Ota 翁田: Venerable Old Man Paddy

Hiromi Itoh 伊藤: Italian Wisteria

Yoshinobu Yamamoto 山本: Mountain Book

Ryoji Kuribayashi 栗林: Chestnut Grove

Shota Imanaga 今永: Now Eternal

Atsuki Yuasa 湯浅: Hot Water Shallow

Yuki Udagawa 宇田川: Roof Paddy River

Hiroya Miyagi 宮城: Shrine Castle

Keiji Takahashi 高橋奎二: Tall Bridge, Constellation Two. 

Hiroto Takahashi 高橋宏斗: Wide Ladle

Takuya Kai 甲斐: A-Grade Beautiful 

Takumi Oshiro 大城: Big Castle

Yuhei Nakamura 中村: Center Village

Tetsuya Yamada 山田: Mountain Paddy

Shugo Maki 牧: Pasture

Takumu Nakano 中野: Center Field

Kazuka Okamoto 岡本: Hill Book

Munetaka Murakami 村上: Village Above

Kensuke Kondo 近藤: Near Wisteria

Ukyo Shuto 周東: Circuit East

Masataka Yoshida 吉田: Joy Paddy

Seiya Suzuki 鈴木: Bell Tree

Lars Nootbaar: 著名 / ちょめい Chomei

Nootbaar's family name has Dutch descent and references being notable or famous. 


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Friday, January 27, 2023

Seibu Lions 2023 camp lists announced


The Saitama Seibu Lions announced their camp lists for both A-camp in Miyazaki prefecture and B-camp in Kochi prefecture. 

Here are the full lists for both camps:

A-Camp (Nango, Miyazaki)

Pitchers: Yutaro Watanabe, Kona Takahashi, Tetsu Migagawa, Chihiro Sumida, Wataru Matsumoto, Shunsuke Sato, Shota Hamaya, Katsunori Hirai, Ryosuke Moriwaki, Bo Takahashi, Kaito Yoza, Keisuke Honda, Yaku Cho, Tatsuya Imai, Jesus Tinoco, Ren Omagari, Kaima Taira, Yoshinobu Mizukami, Dietrich Enns, Minato Aoyama

Catchers: Yuto Koga, Sena Tsuge, Daichi Nakaguma

Infielders: Hotaka Yamakawa, Ryosuke Kodama, Kakeru Yamanobe, Sosuke Genda, Shuta Tonosaki, David MacKinnon, Takayoshi Yamamura, Nien Ting Wu, Ryota Kawano, Naomasa Yohkawa

Outfielders: Takuya Hiruma, Mark Payton, Gakuto Wakabayashi, Shohei Suzuki, Manaya Nishikawa, Wataru Takagi

B-Camp (Haruno, Kochi)

Pitchers: Tatsushi Masuda, Katsuhiko Kumon, Takeru Sasaki, Ichiro Tamura, Hiroki Inoue, Haruto Yamada, Shinnosuke Hada, Masaya Kuroda, Yuto Akagami, Hiromasa Saito, Kaito Awatsu, Sho Ito, Towa Uema, Jasier Herrera, Toshihiro Idei, Daiki Miura, Taishi Mameda, Shinya Sugai

Catchers: Masatoshi Okada, Kaito Noda, Masato Saito, Shoya Makino, Ryosuke Koresawa, Takeru Furiuchi

Infielders: Brandon Tysinger, Shota Hiranuma, Seigo Nakayama, Ryusei Sato, Takeya Nakamura, Matsui Takizawa, Shinya Hasegawa, Kazuki Nomura


Takumi Kuriyama, Yuji Kaneko, Yudai Furukawa, Aito Takeda, Yuta Nakamigawa, Junichiro Kishi, Seiji Kawagoe, Romer Cuadrado, Joseph Miyamoto, Montell Higuma


It's interesting how Kodama and Aoyama will be given a look with the ichi-gun staff alongside the obvious first round draft pick Hiruma. If Kodama impresses, it's possible he can be plugged into the infield and be an immediate help. 

The Lions put all the veterans in B-camp and more than usual this time around, it feels like a half rebuild coming. 


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