"Holy Toledo!"

March 25, 2008

Opening Day Japanese Style

Filed under: Baseball — Bill @ 8:34 pm

Last night / early this morning was Opening Day for America’s pastime, even though the game was played in Tokyo. The Oakland A’s lost to the Boston Red Sox 6-5 in 10 innings.

It sucks for the A’s that these 2 games being played in Japan count as “home” games, meaning they will only have 79 more home dates in Oakland this season. Major League Baseball is treating the A’s like second class citizens, serving them up on the hibachi in front of 55,000 screaming Japanese Red Sox fans. At one point during the game in the middle of a Red Sox rally the stadium’s organ player began playing the familiar Da Da Da Dant Da Daaaa… CHARGE! Nice way to treat the “home” team don’t you
think?

There are several reasons most of the Japanese fans are rooting for the Sox and/or against the A’s:

– The A’s are rivals of Ichiro and the Mariners, and two years ago the A’s slaughtered the M’s in their season series.
– Ex- A’s MVP Jason Giambi has had huge success against their beloved Hideo Nomo.
– Perhaps the primary reason is due to the Red Sox ace starting pitcher “Dice-K” Daisuke Matsuzaka (who is a huge folk hero in Japan).

The fair thing to do would have been to split the “home” teams for this two game opening series in Japan.

Game Notes:

The A’s Mark Ellis hit a first inning HR. It was the earliest regular season HR in the history of baseball. Speaking of early, Red Sox pitcher David Aardsma replaced Hank Aaron as the first name listed in the official baseball players register. Since 1954 Hank was always first on the list just ahead of his brother Tommy Aaron.

Ultimately the game was decided on three mistakes made by the A’s. Going into the top of the 9th the A’s led 4-3 with their closer Huston Street trying to close out the Sox. With one out he threw what he intended to be an inside fastball but it caught too much of the plate and Brandon Moss hit it into the first row of the bleacher for a tying HR (it was Moss’s 1st career HR).

Mistake number two was also committed by Huston Street an inning later when he grooved a belt high fastball to Manny Ramirez, who promptly hit it off the top of the wall for a 2 run double giving Boston a 6-4 lead.

The third and final mistake by the A’s was the backbreaker. With one out in the bottom of the 10th trailing by two, and a runner at first, Emil Brown hit a rocket between the outfielders. The runner at first had rounded the bases and was attempting to score, but the throw from the outfielder was cut off, catching Emil Brown in a rundown between 2nd & 3rd base. This was an unforgivable mistake, one that is a lesson he will remember forever (hopefully).

Instead of being down by a run with a runner (in scoring position) at 2nd base & only 1 out, suddenly the bases were empty and there were two outs. To make matters worse, thus compounding the gravity of Brown’s baserunning error, the next two batters singled. The last A’s hope bounced out to end the game.

And the crowd went wild………

Say what you will about this young A’s team but they do have a solid & experienced bullpen. Keith Foulke made his post-retirement return with a tidy 1-2-3 8th inning, and he could be an integral part in the ’08 pitching staff. Lefty Alan Embree also pitched an effective 1 2/3 and had a shot at being the winning pitcher.

The beauty of baseball is that there is always tomorrow.
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1 Comment »

  1. Yes, and tomorrow [today] the A’s evened it up. Nice to have our game back!

    Comment by Ralph Zig Tyko — March 26, 2008 @ 11:57 am


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