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Rob Smaal

For Rob Smaal's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Baseball / MLB Nov 17, 2002

Move north paid off for Blue Jays' Hinske

Funny how things work out sometimes. Eric Hinske was toiling in the Oakland A's system, and things weren't looking good for the young third baseman. With Gold Glove infielder Eric Chavez firmly entrenched at third in Oakland, Hinske was probably looking at a few more ...

Baseball / MLB Nov 12, 2002

Japan draws first blood

The fans may have come out to see major-league stars like Ichiro Suzuki, Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi, but it was a local boy who stole the show. Yomiuri Giants ace Koji Uehara allowed just one run on five hits and struck out eight over ...

Baseball / MLB Nov 8, 2002

Lil' Angel packs big league punch

The knock on Japanese players used to be that they were too small and underpowered to make it in North America's big leagues. But with the recent success of the Seattle Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki, that argument has been laid to rest. Want further proof? Look ...

Baseball / MLB Oct 27, 2002

Giants upstage Lions' Matsuzaka

The Koji Uehara Show took center stage Saturday night, playing to a packed house at the Tokyo Dome in Game 1 of the 2002 Japan Series. Yomiuri ace Uehara struck out a dozen Lions over nine complete innings while Takayuki Shimizu and Kazuhiro Kiyohara each ...

More Sports Oct 5, 2002

Thai challenger Srichaphan boots Hewitt at Japan Open

Lleyton Hewitt may be the No. 1 tennis player in the world, but Friday afternoon at Tokyo's Ariake Colosseum he played second fiddle to a little-known slugger from Thailand. Paradorn Srichaphan scored an emphatic 6-4, 6-3 win over top seed Hewitt to book his place ...

More Sports Sep 20, 2002

Life is good in Serena's world

Closing in on her 21st birthday, Serena Williams seems to have it all: No. 1 in the world in women's tennis, four Grand Slam singles titles to her credit, 17 victories on the WTA Tour, an Olympic gold medal (in doubles with sister Venus), ...

More Sports Sep 19, 2002

Serena blasts out of blocks

The Serena Williams traveling tennis clinic rolled into Tokyo on Wednesday and, in this land of sushi, it was doughnuts that Williams had on her mind. "Up 3-0, I thought maybe I could go for 6-0, 6-0," said Williams, the reigning French Open, Wimbledon and ...

Baseball / MLB Aug 1, 2002

'Rami' has Swallows fans squealing with delight

Call him the Shigeki Maruyama of Japanese baseball, with a little Tony Robbins thrown in for good measure. Win, lose or -- in Japan, anyway -- draw, homer, whiff or single, you'll rarely catch Yakult Swallows outfielder Alex Ramirez with a scowl on his face. "This ...

Sports | SPORTS SCOPE Jul 21, 2002

The Cro pipes off on juiced players, bad-karma Bud

Just wind him up and watch him go! Warren Cromartie, who thrilled Yomiuri Giants fans from 1984-1990 not only with his stellar play but also with his banzai-inducing antics in the outfield, was back in Japan recently over the All-Star break. The former major-league star, ...