Denny ties the knot with Red Sox
37 year-old Denny Tomori held a news conference in Tokyo on Jan 30. He said he's reached an agreement with the Boston Red Sox to play with them for a contract worth 200,000 dollars. But at that point, he's not yet included in the 40-member roster.
Yabu to join A's
It was learned on Jan 13 that former Hanshin Tigers starting pitcher Keiichi Yabu has reached an agreement with the Oakland Athletics. It's a one year contract for 10 million dollars.
Softbank Hawks born
On Dec 24, it was announced that the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks will be renamed Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. It was approved by the pro baseball owners' meeting.
Draft pick highlight
The Fighters won the right to negotiate a contract with high school star, Yu Darvish during the draft meeting on Nov 17. Darvish responded in a press conference that he felt the Fighters was filled with energy due to Tsuyoshi Shinjo. The Hanshin Tigers chose a 15 year old pitcher as its 8th pick. Kento Tsujimoto who lives in the U.S. became the youngest to be drafted. For the first time a man with hearing disability was chosen. It's by the Dragons. For the first time in 5 years an elite Tokyo University student was also named.
MLB all stars in Japan
* Nov 5
The MLB team kicked off its tour in Japan. The first game was played at the Tokyo Dome. Starting for the MLB was Roger Clemens. It was in the 5th inning, Clemens lost an RBI to the Japanese all star team. But in the 6th inning, Japan's starter Koji Uehara of the Giants gave up 3 runs. MLB clinched the game 7 to 2.
* Nov 6
The Japanese team scored first. But the MLB team caught up. In the 4th inning, David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox slammed a gigantic home run which smashed a light. With that MLB took the lead and in the end won 5 to 3.
* Nov 7
Kazuhisa Ishii of the LA Dodgers started the game. It's the first time he's pitched in Japan since he left the Swallows. He said he was embarrassed to look at Atsuya Furuta during his pitch, his former teammate. He pitched 5 innings without giving up a run. Kei Igawa of the Hanshin Tigers was clobbered in the 4th inning. Chicago Cubs' Moise Alou smashed a 2 run homer. Vernon Wells of the Atlanta Braves singled a homer too. MLB won again 7 to 3.
* Nov 9
The site of the game, this time, is the Fukuoka Dome. The starter for Japan, the Hawks Nagisa Arakaki. But Arakaki was in trouble from the beginning. He gave up 4 runs in the first tiining. Then in the 2nd, he lost a home run to the Rangers' Hank Blalock. The MLB side won 7 to 2. By the way, Manny Ramirez has left the series. He left Monday after complaining of a sore left hamstring.
* Nov 10
Some baseball fans viewed this game with the thought that this could possibly be the last time to see Roger Clemens pitch. He gave up 3 runs. Hisashi Iwakuma pitched wearing for the last time the Kintetsu Buffaloes uniform. He held the MLB players to 1 run in 7 innings. Japan finally won 3 to 1.
* Nov 11
Japan hit well at the Sapporo Dome. In the 8th inning, Takahiro Saeki of the BayStars slammed the first home run for his team in this series. Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched for the first time in this series hurled over the distance. Japan won again 5 to 1.
* Nov 12
The Giants Koji Uehara started for the 2nd time. And so the Kazuhisa Ishii of the Dodgers. Both pitched well. The MLB side hit in a run first. But in the 9th inning, Japan equalized, and with the Fighters' Michihiro Ogasawara's hit off Akinori Otsuka of the Padres, clinched the game 3 to 2.
* Nov 14
The last game of the series was held at the Tokyo Dome. The Tigers Kei Igawa started for the 2nd time. But he again succumbed to a homer by David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox. It was a 2 run. He also lost a homer to Toronto Blue Jays Vernon Wells. Jake Peavy of the San Diego Padres pitched well throughout 6 innings. The MLB team won 5 to 0. Vernon Wells was chosen MVP.
Nori and Iguchi to try to play in US
On Nov 3, Noriyuki Nakamura of the former Buffaloes announced that he'd participate in the MLB's posting system, and try to see if he can play in the US next season. 2 years ago, Nakamura was thought to have been on the verge of signing with the Mets. But this was not realized. Also the same day, Tadahito Iguchi of the Daiei Hawks said he will try too as a free agent. It's unusal that a team allows its main player to seek opportunity in the US before having played 10 years in Japan's professional league.
Rakuten baseball team to be born
The green light was given to Rakuten that it can go ahead to form Tohoku Golden Eagles on Nov 2. The internet company is headed by Hiroshi Mikitani. It will host most games in Sendai, northern Japan, and will begin chosing 40 players to make up its team. With the birth of the Golden Eagles, the Pacific League will start 2005 with 6 teams.
Dragons hold victory parade
2004 Central League champions, the Chunichi Dragons motorcaded along Nagoya's main street on Oct 30. It was pouring rain, but 160,000 fans turned up to see their team. There were around 70 players and coaches parading.
Matsuzaka announces marriage
The Lions' ace pitched Daisuke Matsuzaka made it official on Oct 29 that he was marrying TV announcer Tomoyo Shibata. It was known they've been dating for sometime, but the 2 kept quiet about their relationship.
Award winners announced
On Oct 27,it was announced that the rookie of the year are Ryo Kawashima of the Swallows and Koji Mise of the Hawks. Tsutomu Ito, manager of the Seibu Lions was awarded the prestigious Shoriki Matsutaro Prize. Also, it was reconfirmed that the Dragons Kenshin Kawakami has been awarded Sawamura Award.
Ushijima joins the BayStars
Kazuhiko Ushijima who was the relief ace for the Chunichi Dragons tied the knot with the BayStars for a 2 year deal and announced it on Oct 18. He will skipper the team for the 2005 season. The 43-year old took over the position from Daisuke Yamashita.
Softbank offers to take over the Hawks
Japan's internet giant Softbank's CEO Masayoshi Son held a news conference on Oct 18 to officially make known that he would like to take over the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks. The Hawks parent body, Daiei, which runs supermarket chains nationwide has decided to file for government help to revive its business. And many speculate that it will have to give up its baseball business although the team is making a profit.
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