||I wasn’t sure what would be the most interesting aspect of Spring Camp in Ishigaki this year. Typically I’ve enjoyed watching the pitchers the most as their performance is probably closest to what we’ll see from them in a real game. So I suppose I was mostly interested in seeing how our new pitching acquisitions like Wakui and rookie Ishikawa would look, along with seeing the progress of older favorites like Naruse.
But I really wasn’t prepared for the fun in watching our number 5 draftee Seiya “Aja” Inoue in camp. Everywhere I go, I want to know if Aja is around. And it’s not just me, either – you can hear people talking in the stands, walking around: “Where’s Aja?” We gotta know.
To recap, here’s what he’s done so far in a Lotte uniform:
- Get drafted in the 5th round as the heaviest player in NPB at 110Kg (232lbs), then proceeded to add 5Kg more in the offseason due to tasty New Year’s food.
- Because of his atypical looks and large size, insists that he looks like female Pro Wrestler Aja Kong, and tells people to “Call me Aja!”
- Belts an inside-the-park homer (yes, I realize it was a fielding error on Ishimine. Let us have our fun.) in his first intrasquad game, in the rain, plus two other hits. Here’s my video of the first part of the run and a still of his slide. (Sorry for the poor quality.)
- Follows that up in the intrasquad game the next day with a more traditional over-the-fence style homer to left.
- On Saturday, attends the Ishigaki Island Cow Fights with fellow rookies Ishikawa, Miki, and Yoshida. When the previous Cow Fights champion is brought into the arena, of course Aja is the one to volunteer to ride him. Not only that, when the new champion is crowned, he rides that one as well.
- On Sunday, in the first official pre-season game of the year versus Orix, Aja drills a single to right in his first AB, to left in his second, and smashes a huge opposite-field liner into a stiff wind that barely misses clearing the fence, instead ending up as a double.
I have no idea what will happen with his rookie year or his future, but I will be shocked if this young man is not a major success. I cannot stop watching him or talking about him. Much, much more to come, I am sure.
Something he will not be asked to do much of this year
Just a very brief post today – it was a very lovely, hot day for watching Our Marines get ready for the season. The big highlights were seeing Ace Naruse working to the point of exhaustion in the pen – 261 pitches thrown! – and being treated to another fun intrasquad game.
That game featured
Continue Reading Ishigaki Spring Camp – 13 February 2014
It finally hit me – I mean really hit me – that the 2014 NPB Season is coming so very soon sometime around 11am on 12 February. Sure, Spring Camp has been open for almost two weeks now, but at that time I was able to stand next to the bullpen in lovely Ishigaki and watch some of our best pitchers…
Continue Reading Ishigaki Spring Camp – 12 February 2014
Look at those finely attired gentlemen on the left – that, ladies and gentlemen, is your 2013 Chiba Lotte Marines draft class. 6 men were chosen with regular draft picks (that is, players to be added to the 70 man roster) and one Ikusei player
Continue Reading Introducing Your 2013 Chiba Lotte Draft Picks
This weekend, Spring Camps open for all NPB teams. Needless to say I have been waiting very impatiently for this time since October. We’ve got a lot of baseball ahead of us – camp in February, open-sen in March, the start of the Pacific League Season, Interleague play, the rest of the PL season, and inevitably a return to the Climax Series (and the Nippon Series) for Our Marines. It’s almost 10 months of baseball, and on 1 February 2014 it all kicks off.
Continue Reading Spring Camp 2014 – Schedule and News