Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Japanese All-Stars

The Japanese All-Star Series is this weekend, and to commemorate it, I made it the focus of my July essay for Baseball Reflections.

Key points of the essay:

  1. The Japanese play a 2-game All-Star Series instead of only one game.
  2. One of my Facebook friends told me that the All-Star Series used to be 3 games, and a Twitter friend told me NPB made the change to 2 games in 2001. That's an impressive use of social media, don't you think?
  3. Craig Brazell, a 5th round draft pick by the Mets in 2004, was named to the All-Star Series. I always enjoy blog posts that include the Mets because that gives me an excuse to mention Bobby V.
Craig Brazell - Hanshin Tigers 1B
photo from

So let's talk about Craig Brazell. Like many former MLBers who find themselves in Japan, Brazell's MLB career was nothing to write home about. But he's having a great season for the Hanshin Tigers, and he's reminding the fans of a former Tiger slugger named Randy Bass. My friend Wayne Graczyk, a columnist for the Japan Times, recently wrote about this.

But the real All-Star is everyone's favorite Japanese chimpanzee, Pan-kun.

Japan Probe posted this segment from the show Shimura Zoo Pan-kun plays catch with Ken Shimura.

Uploaded by vertonjamms. - See video of the biggest web video personalities.

It's a little long, but I love the flashback to when Pan-kun was little. He remembered how to hit a baseball!

So now you know almost everything you've ever needed to know about the Japanese All-Star Series and a chimpanzee who can play baseball.

Find my story on and digg it.

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