WBC competition is no mere exhibition for Japan

WBC competition is no mere exhibition for Japan


WBC competition is no mere exhibition for Japan

J Sports, a satellite television station, was granted behind-the-scenes access for the contests and the footage illustrated the degree of seriousness with which Samurai Japan approached practice.

Kokubo implored his team play fundamentally sound baseball.

“If you fail to do it in these four games, there’s no way you’ll be able to do it in real games,” Kokubo said.

The unveiling of lineups had a ceremonial feel, with players gathered around a room, caps in hand, with Kokubo reading of who would bat where.

“First, short, Sakamoto.”

“Yes.”

“Second, center, Akiyama.”

“Yes.”

Japan dropped the opening game to Mexico, resulting in a level of self-reproach that would seem strange almost anywhere else.

“Pitiful,” first baseman Sho Nakata said.

Nakata, who batted cleanup, was 0 for 4 with a walk.

“I’m upset I was unable to respond to expectations,” he said.

A quick reminder: This was an exhibition game in November.

Nakata showed up early to the stadium the next day for additional work in the batting cages.

Aoki also made certain he would be ready to play. Major league veterans typically play only a couple of innings at the start of spring training, but Aoki showed up to the Houston Astros camp asking Manager A.J. Hinch to play him as much as possible. Aoki played seven innings and made four plate appearances in the Astros’ exhibition opener.

The Japanese are 6-0 in this WBC. Their baserunning is sharp, their fielding is clean and their relays are efficient.

Then again, it’s not as if the players think they have much of a choice.

The pressure back home is intense. Nearly 30% of television sets in the country showed Samurai Japan’s games in the first two rounds of the tournament.

The other semifinalists want to win. Japan has to.



Add Comment

all comments

  Other news

more
Western Digital resubmits Toshiba chip unit bid

Western Digital resubmits Toshiba chip unit bid..

27-Jun, 04:42

Western Digital has resubmitted its bid for Toshiba's flagship flash...

Khloe Kardashian shuts down pregnancy rumours after sharing 'dad and mom' photo with boyfriend Tristan Thompson after he threw her surprise 33rd birthday party

Khloe Kardashian shuts down pregnancy rumours after sharing 'dad and mom' photo with boyfriend..

27-Jun, 04:24

In the pictures, Khloe and her NBA player beau put on a romantic display,...

Diana's threatening phone calls to the Duchess of Cornwall are revealed in a SHOCKING biography about Camilla

Diana's threatening phone calls to the Duchess of Cornwall are revealed in a SHOCKING..

27-Jun, 05:55

The Duchess of Cornwall’s relationship with Charles began in 1971, after...

Liu Xiaobo: China tells US not to interfere over jailed dissident

Liu Xiaobo: China tells US not to interfere over jailed dissident..

27-Jun, 09:30

Beijing has hit back at Washington for "irresponsible remarks" after the...

Prank Wars: YouTube's 'Craziest Couple'

Prank Wars: YouTube's 'Craziest Couple'..

05-Mar, 01:38

They're now called YouTube's "craziest couple." But in October of 2007,...

Bank of Japan keeps policy steady, upgrades economic outlook

Bank of Japan keeps policy steady, upgrades economic outlook..

16-Jun, 00:36

The Bank of Japan has opted to keep its lax monetary policy intact, while...

Special aide to Brazil's Temer arrested in corruption probe

Special aide to Brazil's Temer arrested in corruption probe..

23-May, 13:57

A special aide to embattled Brazilian President Michel Temer has been...

Bangladesh arrests 27 men on suspicion of being gay

Bangladesh arrests 27 men on suspicion of being gay..

19-May, 05:32

Authorities in Bangladesh on Friday arrested 27 men on suspicion of being...