Tuesday, October 11, 2005


All is right and good with the world. The natural order to things has returned. The balance has been restored to the universe. And the Yankees are out of the playoffs. Again.

With the Mariners stinking up the basement of the American League West this year, I pinned my postseason hopes on the Red Sox again. It looked, for a while, like they were even going to take the American League East. But wouldnchaknowit, the Yankees had to make a late season surge and take their division. Again.

It's hard enough to watch MLB games over here, as they all get broadcast around noon, and I'm at work. NHK, the national network that broadcasts the MLB games over here, doesn't even really bother with anything besides Yankees games anymore. I know that the Mariners had a lousy season, but I would still like to have the chance to hear Dave Niehaus say "Goodbye baseball!" Good times abound when Dave's around.

The other lousy thing about trying to follow MLB action over here is that all you hear about is what the Japanese exports did in the day's games. Coverage has improved a bit lately, but in most cases, you get the stats for Player X and...

...nothing else! Who won? Must not matter!

The worst part of that is that national hero (see also: guy that played for the Japanese version of the Yankees) Hideki Matsui tends to be the center of attention. "Gee, Jane, I really hope the Yankees do well in this round of the playoffs so we can see Matsui play in the World Series." The Yankees get cheered for by default. [Note: the same thing happened in 2001 when Ichiro was the big Japanese superstar playing in the MLB, but I didn't care because I'm a Mariners fan. I suppose this makes me a hypocrite. Guess what? I don't care. I hate the Yankees.]

Let me fill you in a bit on ol' Hideki and Japanese baseball in general. He played his entire Japanese baseball career for the Yomiuri (Tokyo) Giants, is considered a national hero, and is worshipped by baseball fans, young and old, across the land. Ahh, the Giants. A team that, as I mentioned above, is the Japanese equivalent of the Yankees. No, wait, they're worse. It's hard to explain how vile the Giants are. Let's pretend that the Yankees' owner, Senor Steinbrenner, also owns the New York Times and ABC television, along with several other media outlets. These media outlets inundate the nation with Yankees games and Yankees news ONLY. Let's also pretend that Steiny is on national television every other day spouting his mouth off. (Is he?) Then, pretend that there is no such thing as regional allegiance to the closest team. So you have a young kid growing up in, say, Oregon who, instead of rooting for the Seattle Mariners (the closest team), roots for the Yankees. Now pretend that this is a nationwide phenomenon, as most children throughout the nation are only exposed to the Yankees. Pretend that some people across the nation claim, with absolute seriousness, that the national economy will not improve until the Yankees win the World Series.

I could continue, but I'm getting more and more annoyed as I type this out. Basically, this is what it's like dealing with the phenomenon that is the Yomiuri Giants. Yankees to the billionth power.

Last year, during the ALCS, it was all about Matsui, Matsui, Matsui, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees. I was terrified that the Yankees would take it. Why? Because then all I would have heard on TV is how the Great Matsui singlehandedly led the Yankees to victory. This would have lasted for approximately 6 millennia (give or take a few years).

Which brings me back to the beginning. With the Los Anaheim Angels of Angeles...or whatever their name is now, knocking them out in the first round, it will be pleasantly entertaining baseball from here on out. I'm hoping to see the White Sox vs. the Cardinals in the World Series, with the White Sox taking it all. Hey, their last championship was 1917, after all. Let Shoeless Joe rest.

Oh, and one more thing...



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