The Japanese Are Stats Mad
Baseball fans, at least the serious ones, are in general obsessed with statistics. They slice and dice them every which way to measure the performances of their favorites, and in the last ten or fifteen years there have been a flood of new statistics designed to better explain individual and team performances.
If American baseball fans are obsessed with stats, Japanese baseball fans are just plain crazy about them. I routinely read Yakyu Baka, an English language site which reproduces Japanese media reports on Japan’s NPB, and I never fail to get a kick out of the fact that no accomplishment is too obscure to get reported there. Here are a few recent tidbits.
On June 13th, Sho Nakata became the fourth player in Nippon Ham Fighters history to be the first player in either of NPB’s two leagues to reach 20 home runs in a season. He also became the eighth player in team history and the fourth Japanese player in team history to hit at least 20 HRs in four or more consecutive seasons.
Also on June 13th, former MLBer Kazuo Matsui recorded the 172nd modasho (three or more hits in one game) of his NPB career moving past the immortal Sadaharu Oh for seventh most all-time. Presumably, Oh didn’t have more modashos because he walked so much.
Anyway, the modasho is considered a significant accomplishment in Japan. For example, also on June 13th, the Hiroshima Carp had four players achieve modashos in the same game for the first time since September 9, 2011.
It’s news that on June 11th, the Hanshin Tigers lost a game on a walk-off error for first time since September 22, 2010.
Shogo Akiyama recorded his 100th hit in his 63rd game played this season, third fastest in NPB history.
Also, on June 11th, Yoshinabu Takahashi became the 55th player in NPB history to reach 3,000 career total bases.
On June 10th, Kosuke Tanaka hit two three-doubles in a game, the first time a Hiroshima Carp player had accomplished this player since September 26, 2003.
Also, on June 10th, Kazuhiro Hatakeyama became the 10th player (and fifth Japanese player) in NPB history to hit nine or more home runs in inter-leagues games.
Finally, also on June 10th, Yuito Mori tied a Softbank Hawks franchise record by striking out seven consecutive batters. This piece of information, at least, seems worthy of reporting.
Aside from the actual wins and losses, these were some of the highlights of the last week that was in NPB. I guess all these minor accomplishments keep the fans focused during the long NPB season.