The question is often raised by fans in Japan and in other countries, relatives and friends of foreign players in Japan, major league team scouts and player agents: Where can I get box scores of Japanese professional baseball games in English?
Until recently, I answered this by saying, “Nowhere.” Japanese sports newspapers print extensive box scores with perhaps more details than you might want or need, and they post them online on their Web sites but, of course, in Japanese only.
Now, the Internet home page of Nippon Professional Baseball includes English versions of the box scores of every Central, Pacific and interleague contest played in Japan. The link can be found at: bis.npb.or.jp/eng/2010/games/
Tell the folks back home.
Meanwhile, there is not-so-good news from Bill Bickard, who broadcast a selection of Pacific League games with English-language play-by-play during the 2009 season on the BS-11 (not to be confused with NHK) cable TV channel. Bill says he has not heard anything definite from the TV station, and no games with bilingual coverage have been scheduled so far this year.
Bickard and his partner, Taka Masatsugu, called a number of games last year, mostly involving the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, and it had been hoped this would be extended in 2010.
They are standing by for word about the English commentary this season, hopefully that they will do some games between June and the end of the schedule, and the Baseball Bullet-In will let you know if and when they decide to go ahead.
In the meantime, at least we’ve got the box scores.
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Diamond Dust: The Yomiuri Giants this week are playing back-to-back “chiho” series, the Japanese baseball traveling shows where two teams venture from their normal hometowns and stadiums to give fans in country towns a chance to see official games during the season.
The Kyojin are on the island of Shikoku this weekend, playing as the visiting team against the “home” club Tokyo Yakult Swallows at Botchan Stadium in the castle town of Matsuyama Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
Then the Giants will switch to their own home uniforms, host the Yokohama Bay Stars on Tuesday night at Kyocera Dome in Osaka and move to Kyoto for the second game of that series on Wednesday. The bullet train trip concludes Thursday night with a game at Nagaragawa Stadium in Gifu.
The Yomiuri club returns to its true home at Tokyo Dome on April 23 and a ceremony for the Giants late coach Takuya Kimura is scheduled to take place on April 24. There is a closed gathering of the Giants baseball community at a Tokyo hotel late in the morning and a remembrance scheduled prior to the Giants night game against the Hiroshima Carp at the ballpark.
Kimura died April 7 after being stricken with a brain hemorrhage five days earlier. During the Giants’ April 9-11 three-game series against the Chunichi Dragons, a large photo of Kimura was set up on a table inside the Tokyo Dome main gate where fans were invited to offer flowers and prayers for the deceased coach.
Contact Wayne Graczyk at: wayne@JapanBall.com