This is the 7th year I’ve been doing this blog, and I just learned something that is both odd and deeply stupid.
We’re at roughly the third-of-the-way point of the 2015 Chiba Lotte Marines Golden Year presented by Steve and Craig at We Love Marines (dot) Com campaign and I gotta say that… yeah, the 21-23 record is a wee bit disappointing. With a win on Sunday at Orix we Fans of Lotte could have said, “Hey, at least we’re at .500”, but instead I’m just going to say “Hey, at least we ain’t Orix.” With that in mind, I want to focus a bit on the things I like so far this year.
As difficult as the 2014 Chiba Lotte campaign was in so many ways, the play of several newcomers to the team really provided a boost to the spirits. Arguably the most exciting of those newcomers was Cuban legend Alfredo Despaigne, who in just 2 short months in a Marines uniform provided a year’s worth of highlights with his immense power and ability to get on base. The great news is Despa is back at QVC for 2015 and 2016 thanks to great work by the front office, though he is still playing for his Cuban team Granma in the Cuban Serie Nacional and will not join Our Marines until late April.
Here in NPB we’ve already finished our Spring Camps, and we’re over halfway through the open-sen (preseason) campaign. The “tons of changes” that were promised after last year’s highly disappointing finish didn’t really materialize this offseason, with the only really headline-grabbing change being the (as expected) departure of long-time ace Yoshihisa Naruse for the yogurt peddlers at Jingu.
You might think that with the generally miserable season Our Marines have had that there would be no great news to share. Au contraire, mon frere! There’s all sorts of interesting things going on, many of them quite good!
The preaseason is over, the 2014 NPB regular season kicks off this Friday! Let’s take a look at the players who will be starting the season at ichi-gun for Our Marines. First, the pitchers.
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 …
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.
LOTTE FANS! It’s been three years since Our Marines have played meaningful October baseball but baby, we’re doing it this year! With tonight’s loss by the Hawks, Chiba can finish no worse than third in the Pacific League. And of course, we still have the inside track at coming in second. A pair of wins …
Ono Shingo announced his retirement on Thursday after 20 years in a Lotte uniform. “Sunday Shingo” was never a star on the team but he was a solid performer, a contributor to two championship teams. He’ll be missed.