Saturday, August 14, 2010
Searching For Hoshino, 2010 Edition
Last year, I discovered that former Dragons pitcher and former Dragons and Tigers manager (as well as 2008 Japanese Olympic team coach) Senichi Hoshino would be traveling to Aberdeen, MD to support the Japanese team in the Cal Ripken World Series. Since the tournament would be played only about 5 miles from my house, I decided to go over and see if I could find him and get him to autograph a baseball card for me. I was unsuccessful in finding him, but I had a good time watching the games anyway. I took a bunch of pictures of the games I attended against Mexico, Canada and Korea.
This year's tournament kicked off this afternoon with Japan taking on Canada. I headed over with a Hoshino card and a Sharpie, hoping to have better luck this year.
Almost immediately after arriving, I ran into one of the Japanese team officials that I had talked to last year. I asked him if Mr. Hoshino was going to be attending the game. He told me that Hoshino would be arriving later that day, but he would almost certainly be at tomorrow's game. He asked me if I was press and I said no, just a fan hoping to get a card autographed. He assured me that he would help me accomplish that at tomorrow's game. So bad news that Hoshino wasn't at today's game, but hopefully good news that I can catch him tomorrow.
I stuck around for the game against Canada. Last year, Japan completely demolished the Canadian team 16-0, no-hitting them for four innings before the game was called due to the slaughter rule. The Canucks fared a little better today - getting two hits and scoring a run, but they still lost 13-1 in a game called after four innings due to the slaughter rule. Ritsuki Ohnishi was the star for the Japanese team - he went 3 for 3 with a single, a double and a home run, scored two runs, drove in four, stole two bases AND pitched two innings, striking out three and getting the win. Not a bad afternoon's work.
I took a bunch of pictures, but I have a bit of a complaint about the field. It's the Ripken Academy's Wrigley Field replica and it seemed like it was impossible to find a good place to sit and have good sightlines to the whole field. Between the trees along side the field, the "press box" behind home plate and the tall roofs to the dugouts, it seemed like no matter where I stood, some part of the field was blocked from view. So I ended up moving around quite a bit. I still think some of the shots turned out alright though:
Manager Koji Okumura. Does he wear 77 in honor of Senichi Hoshino?
Japanese center-fielder Kanji Ito. Notice the ivy in the background:
Canadian baserunner breaking for second on Ritsuki Ohnishi:
Pitcher Shuichi Katayama. I like the yellow glove:
Pickoff attempt at second:
Ohnishi being greeted at the plate after his three run homer:
Ohnishi getting an award as Japan's player of the game:
Team bow after the game: