Year Of The Giants
Yes, on Sunday, the Yomiuri Giants won the Japan Series title, their second in four years. And it is the first time the black and orange on both sides of the Pacific have won their respective championships in the same year.
However, that may be more the fault of the American version of the team.
The Yomiuri Giants have now won 22 Japan Series titles since the Japan Series started in 1950. Before that, the Giants won 9 titles from their inception in 1934 in the old Japanese Baseball League (consider it the days where the NL existed before the AL made a World Series possible). Interestingly, there were Giants champions for five consecutive years in the 1950’s, but the only year from 1951-1955 that Yomiuri didn’t win it was the only year that the New York Giants did (1954). There was a close call in 2002, but we shalln’t discuss what happened that year. That dominance means that the Yomiuri team regards themselves as the “New York Yankees” of Japan.
That kind of hurts.
There is a great partnering opportunity for these teams. The Japanese team got their name from one Lefty O’Doul, a famous Giant and San Franciscan, naming the burgeoning Japanese powerhouse after his former American team, and encouraging them to use the name and uniform colors. O’Doul is criminally not in the American Hall of Fame, but is in the Japanese Hall of Fame, and is considered one of the founding fathers of Japanese Baseball.
But the teams have more in common than just a name, colors, and a little history. Yomiuri manager Tatsunori Hara said this about his team:
“The word ‘team’ should be stressed,” Hara said. “We played as a team. I used many players and different lineups and it all came together.”
That sounds a ton like Bochy and the San Francisco Giants.
Heck, they even both own a controversial home run record. Sadaharu Oh hit 55 home runs in 1964, which is tied for the Nippon Professional Baseball single-season record. However, that record has been challenged by foreigners three times, and three times they’ve faced Oh-managed teams late in the season. In almost every at-bat, they were consistently given walks. Two players (Karl Rhodes and Alex Cabrera) have tied the Oh record, but none have broken it.
I’d love to see the Giants and the Giants share something more than just a name. Especially with San Francisco hosting next season’s World Baseball Classic, and Japan’s domination of the event so far, it’d be nice to see something done to link the two teams.
But, I guess the San Francisco Giants just haven’t won enough. But I hope they’ll change that, soon.
On the other hand, some things don’t need to be shared…like this Pokemon mascot…