Wednesday, April 11, 2007

MR. SPARKLE Night at the Ballyard

For a lot of Americans interested in making nice with our Pacific Rim overlords, Wednesday was a day filled with the type of electricity in the air that we haven't witnessed since that time when Matsumura Fishworks and Tamaribuchi Heavy Manufacturing Concern combined forces to give us Mr. Sparkle dishwashing detergent.
Who can forget the videotape which we watched in our home (or prefecture)?

What we learned about Mr. Sparkle was that dirt gets banished to the land of wind and ghosts.

"Join me or die, can you do any less?
Awww-summa powwuh, indeed!

Dice-K made his Beantown debut tonight -- and even though the Dice Man was outdueled by that pitching studcake, Felix Hernandez, there was no hiding the sheer thrill we all felt when Dice-K squared off against Ichiro.
That definitely took us back to the pitcher-hitter confrontations that the two waged during the Seibu Lions-Orix Blue Wave showdowns of yesteryear.

Join me or die, can you do any less, indeed!

For those of us who remember classic Japanese League battles -- or for those of us who have a bitchin' collection of Japanese League trading cards from the 1990s (after our girlfriend-who-later-became-our-wife brought back a pack from her trip to Japan) -- we have to admit that Dice-K vs. Ichiro was fascinating, but it didn't quite live up to the buzz of previous encounters of such magnitude.

Such as Masaharu Motohara of the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks vs. Toyozo Minamimure of the Chunichi Dragons.
Or Motofumi Nishimuri of the Nippon Ham Fighters vs. Tokitaka Minamibuchi of the Chiba Lotte Marines.
Or Tatsuhiro Yuminaga of the Hanshin Tigers vs. Yoshihiro Yamagoshi of the Orix Blue Wave.
Or Izumi Takayanagi of the Kintetsu Buffaloes vs. Takehiko Kobayakawa of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.

Dammit, people ... stop confusing Toyozo Minamimure for Tokitaka Minamibuchi!
And, no ... Takehiro Kobayakawa is not that dude who can scarf a world-record 53.5 hot dogs in 12 minutes.
Takehiro Kobayakawa is not Takeru Kobayashi.
(And, three months from now, San Jose State's very own Joey Chestnut will take down The Tsunami on the Fourth of July outside Nathan's on Coney Island -- although, ever since the tidal wave hit Phuket the day after Xmas '04 -- nearly costing this world one Petra Nemcova -- we're not supposed to use the term "tsunami" so casually ... )

Anyway, it always brings a smile to our faces any time we think about the days when those who played for the Chiba Lotte Marines could brag that they were the only athletes in a major sports paradigm who had the guts to do their baseballin' thang in a PINK-and-black color scheme.
Y'know, the black-n'-pink is a lot less-objectionable than you might've thought.

Anyway, remembering how the Japanese had the courage to twin the pink with the black helps to ease the pain of the time when that son of a bitch, Hans Gruber, seized control of the Nakatomi Building in L.A. and then shot Mr. Takagi in the head.
Which is why some of us have vowed that, if we ever do have children, our first-born will be named "Takagi Nakatomi" -- which should greatly please Toyozo Minamimure, Tokitaka Minamibuchi, Takehiro Kobayakawa and Takeru Kobayashi, who, we suspect, found Hans Gruber's act of wanton cruelty quite objectionable.

True ... there are a lot of hillbillies livin' in the Don Imus Memorial Trailer Park who think, "Them Orientals sure got some wacky names, y'all."
Naturally, such remarks usually come from some Cletus who spent all day listenin' to either his dad's Ferlin Husky 8-tracks or his uncle's Conway Twitty's 45s.

Dem fellers ain't never gonna "get it" when it comes to the global significance of what we saw tonight ... Dice-K vs. Ichiro.
So, we're not gonna break it to them that while Dice-K vs. Ichiro works on the Land Of The Rising Sun level, it is NOT the ultimate in MLB, pitcher-vs.-hitter Pacific Rim showdowns.

That distinction would belong to a matchup which featured Korea's Jung Bong pitching to Korea's Shin-Soo Choo.
Jung Bong hasn't pitched in the bigs since those few games w/ the Reds in '04 (after spending most of '03 with the Braves) -- and Shin-Soo Choo didn't reach The Show 'til '05 ... when he went 1- for 18 with the M's, then, after going 1 for 11 with the M's last year, was shipped to Cleveland in the Ben Broussard deal.

But, imagine the possibilities ... Jung Bong vs. Shin-Soo Choo.
It's mind-boggling -- almost as fascinating as that white goat-tee that M's manager Dudley Michael Hargrove is wearing this season (but not as fascinating as watching "Ninja Warrior" on G4).

It makes ya wonder if the Koreans have a dishwashing detergent which can match Mr. Sparkle in terms of "awwww-summm-muhhh poww-wuhh!"

Or an ad campaign to match.

"Any plans for the summer?" the reporter asks the cow before pointing his microphone in the face of the cow standing nearby.
The cow cracks, shatters and falls into a hundred pieces on the ground ...

No comments: