Thursday, July 12, 2007

Second half begins

I had hoped just to forget the All-Star game, though Matthew Shugart gleefully (I think it's fair to say) thanked the Padres for being the source of the losing pitcher from this year’s (Chris Young) and last year’s (Trevor Hoffman) games, which in turn means the AL keeps dominating. He also thanked me for advocating Chris Young for the last roster spot.

Thanks very much for rubbing it in.

Life, however, is good. As we begin the second half, the Padres have the best record in the NL (though we would only rank 6th in the AL), everyone is healthy (knock on wood) and our pitching staff is really good, 1st in team ERA by a wide margin. Our hitting stinks to high heaven, which worries me, but maybe the Bradley and Barrett trades will help more as the season continues. We are 24th in runs, 29th in batting average, and dead last in OBP.

In other baseball news, thanks to my friend Mike for pointing this story in the NYT about the effort to promote baseball in Brazil—it’s a great article. It includes a fact I didn’t know—baseball was introduced to Brazil by the Japanese, not by the U.S., and is most popular in areas with larger Japanese populations.

As a result, 16 of the 20 players on the team that will compete in Rio de Janeiro are of Japanese ancestry. But even those with no Japanese blood have learned the game with the names used in Japanese for positions and plays, and whenever Manager Mitsuyoshi Sato talks to the team, his players address him as sensei and bow respectfully when he finishes his remarks.


Anonymous,  8:48 PM  

Yes, you correctly noted my glee. It was especially fun because both years I was watching the game with a Padres fan. I think we are still friends, though I am wondering if he will continue to want to watch All Star Games with me in the future.

As I noted today in a further comment to the post you link to, the NL is pretty much anyone's guess as to who will win any of the playoff spots.

I did not know there was any baseball of note in Brazil. I would have been surprised if it had been introduced by Americans, because there wasn't that much contact between the two countries till relatively recently. The Japanese connection is really interesting, so thanks for the pointer (as I don't read that NYT rag myself).

Greg Weeks 9:32 AM  

Yes, the Padres have weaknesses, but so do all the other NL teams in some way or another. That might just mean that whatever NL team makes it will get crushed.

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