Fukudome signs with the Cubs
Kosuke Fukudome formerly a slugger for the Dragons who became a free agent announced in Chicago on Dec 19 that he's tied the knot with the Cubs. It's a 4 year contract for 48 million dollars. He's expected to wear number 1.
Kuroda's whopping contract with Dodgers
Hiroki Kuroda formerly with the Carp announced on Dec 16 in L.A. he's signed with the LA Dodgers. It's for 35.7 million dollars for 3 years. In terms of annual income, he'll be making one of the highest of all Japanese players in MLB.
Olympic Asian Qualifier Final
Japan vs Taiwan on Dec 3
Japan hit in a run first. But in the 6th inning, Taiwan's Chen Chin-feng's smashed a 2 run home run. It's off starting pitcher Yu Darvish. But in the 7th inning, the Japanese side blasted with hits after hits. In the 9th, Takahiro Arai smashed a 2 run home run. Koji Uehara again closed the game. Japan won 10 to 2 and clinched the ticket to Beijing. Shinnosuke Abe was chosen MVP.
Japan vs South Korea on Dec 2
Yoshihisa Naruse of the Marines started.He suffered a homerun by Y.M. Koh. But after that, his teammates hit in runs. They're Saburo, Shinnosuke Abe. The Koreans tried to catch up and kept to a run behind. But Japan stayed ahead. Koji Uehara closed the final inning smoothly. Japan beat the Koreans 4 to 3 giving the team hope to win a berth for the Olympic Games in Beijing. Manager Senichi Hoshino was clearly overjoyed with the victory.
Japan vs the Philippines on Dec 1
In the first inning, Takahiro Arai hit in the team's first run with a 3 base hit. Shinnosuke Abe, Munenori Kawasaki followed. In all, Japan hit in 5 runs that inning. The team was quiet until Atsunori Inaba homered in the 5th inning. Tetsuya Wakui of the Lions started for the Japan team and pitched well. With Japan adding its 10th run, the game was ended in the 7th inning. It was a 10 to 0 win for Japan.
Arai decides to sign with the Tigers
Free agent from the Carp,Takahiro Arai announced on Nov 21 he has decided to join the Tigers. It's estimated to be a 4 years contract for 1 billion yen. Arai's been the Carp's main hitter, so it should deal a big blow that he's leaving the team.
Kobayashi signs with Indians
Relief pitcher Masahide Kobayashi who had become a free agent after years with the Marines announced on Nov 20 he signed a 2 year contract with the Cleveland Indians for 6.25 million dollars. Kobayashi is 33 years old.He has 227 save records.
Ma-kun is rookie of the year
On Nov 20 it was announced that Masahiro Tanaka also known affectionately as "Ma-kun" of the Golden Eagles was chosen Pacific League's rookie of the year. He had 11 wins. From the Central League, Hanshin Tigers Keiji Uezono was chosen. He has 8 wins but more impressive his ERA 2.42. MVPS of both leagues were also announced. Yu Darvish of the Fighters was chosen for the Pacific League. Michihiro Ogasawara was given the title 2 years in a row. Last year it was when he played for the Fighters. This year, it's with the Giants. It's unprecedented that one person gains the award in both leagues in consecutive years.
Superstar Inao is dead
It's shocking news for old-timers. Kazuhisa Inao who the Japanese praised as much as god and buddha died on November 13. He was 70. He was attending events a month ago, so the death came as a surprise. Inao's "iron arm" fascinated people in the 1958 Japan Series. After the Nishitetsu Lions lost 3 straight games against the Yomiuri Giants, Inao pitched in all game, and even shut out the opponents in game 7. His career win is 276, an ERA of 1.98. He was inducted to the Japanese Hall of Fame in 1993.
Konami Cup Asian Series 2007
Final:Chunichi Dragons vs SK Wyverns on Nov 11
SK Wyverns equalized with a 2 run home run by Korean Lee Jin-young. But in the 9th inning, Hirokazu Ibata's RBI helped the Dragons win 6 to 5 and clinched the Asian title.
Chunichi Dragons vs China Stars on Nov 10
China Stars hit in a run first. But the Dragons equalized in the 5th inning. And thereafter hit in runs after another, clinching the game 9 to 1. The Dragons advanced to the finals with SK Wyverns.
Chunichi Dragons vs Uni-President Lions on Nov 9
Detailed teamwork by Masahiro Araki and Hirokazu Ibata helped the Dragons this time. It's 4 to 2 against the Lions.
Chunichi Dragons vs SK Wyverns on Nov 8
It's the 3rd time a club team championship takes place between 4 champions from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and mainland China. For the Dragons, Kenichi Nakata started. For the SK Wyverns was 19-years old Kim Kwang Hyun. The Dragons made errors on the field, which led to loss of runs. Despite Kazuki Inoue's 2 run home run the Dragons lost 3 to 6. It's the first time in the series ever for a Japanese team to lose.
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