Luft On Deck

Baseball As Life

Baseball in Japan

giantsI’m quite intrigued by the way that the Japanese people love baseball and have embraced this American game into their culture.  It’s very interesting to see how they have put their own Japanese “spin” on it in regards to training, fandom, and more.

I found this great article on the topic.  Here is an excerpt:

“Sony Walkmans, Toyota cars, and Nintendo video games are all Japanese exports that Americans have come to know and love.

But in Japan, there is an American import that inspires more passion than all of those: baseball.

Officially, Japan’s national sport is sumo wrestling. But baseball is unquestionably number one in the people’s hearts. The Yomiuri Giants, Japan’s most popular professional team, play to standing-room crowds nightly–not only in their hometown of Tokyo, but all across the country. Organized rooting sections, led by cheerleaders and bands, rival those seen at U.S. college football games. And every summer, the whole nation tunes in to the national high school basball tournament–one of the biggest amateur sporting events in the world.

Some people find it surprising that Japan is taken with such a quintesentially American game. But the Japanese approach baseball with their own methods, psychology, and strategy. The result is a game that looks the same and is played with identical rules, but is uniquely Japanese–a mirror of the Japanese soul and mind. “I don’t know whether the Japanese system is better or not,” said Bob Horner, a former Atlanta Brave who played one season with Toyko’s Yakult Swallows. “I just don’t understand it.”

Japan first took to baseball in the late 19th century, when it began importing Western technology, methods, and ideas as part of an all-out effort to catch up to the U.S. and Europe economically. At the time, the Japanese had no team sports; sumo wrestling and martial arts, such as kendo and judo, were their main athletic activities. In fact, no word for “sports” existed in the Japanese language, so they took the English word and made it suppotsu.

The team concept of baseball was perfect for the Japanese, whose society puts the group ahead of the individual. At the same time, the game’s pitcher-versus-batter confrontation retained the one-on-one form of competition the Japanese liked about sumo wrestling and the martial arts.”

~~Sudo, Phil. “Take me out to the Kyujyo.” Scholastic Update 15 Nov. 1991: 20. Academic OneFile. Web. 19 Apr. 2015.

I went to Japan once, and I would like to go again.  I would like to learn a bit of the language (I might use the Rocket Languages series for this as I think it’s better than Rosetta Stone and cheaper) before I go.  I also think I’m going to try to go to one of their baseball games as I would probably find it hugely entertaining.

Fantasy Baseball Online

Do you want to play fantasy baseball?  One of the best ways to do so these days is to do it online with your friends!

The importance of establishing motives has been well documented, as motives have been found to influence consumer behavior from a spectator sport perspective (Kim & Trail, 2010; Trail et al., 2003) and more notably within the realm of fantasy sport participation (Drayer et al., 2010; Dwyer et al., 2011). Drayer et al. (2010) developed a framework through the application and extension of Fazio, Powell, and Herr’s (1983) attitude-behavior relationship. The authors found fantasy football participation activated additional attitudes and perceptions with regard to the National Football League (NFL) product that, combined with traditional sport fandom, resulted in enhanced mediated consumption of the NFL. Dwyer et al. (2011) developed a market segmentation of fantasy sport participants based on motives. Within each segment of fantasy motives various aspects of fantasy sport consumption differed, which included consumption through mediated platforms such as television, internet, and mobile phones. These findings suggest consumption patterns differ based on motives for participation.

Additional fantasy consumption research identified increases in attendance for fantasy participants (Nesbit & King, 2010b) and different levels of consumption based on varying levels of interest in an individual’s favorite team and/or fantasy team (Dwyer & Drayer, 2010). Additionally, Dwyer (2011 a) found fantasy football participants were not only attracted to their fantasy football players, but were also aware of their opponent’s players, and as a result, intentionally watched and followed the live games of both sets of players in addition to their favorite team and its rivals. In an attempt to explore the team loyalty effects of fantasy football participation, Dwyer (2011b) discovered that although fantasy football appears to be a complementary activity to traditional (favorite team) random, it may result in an incongruent disconnect between a participant’s highly-developed attitudinal team loyalty and his/her viewership behavior of that team. Although the literature focused on attitudes and behaviors of fantasy sport participants is growing, the relationship between identification and traditional and mediated sport consumption for fantasy participants is limited (Karg & McDonald, 2011).

Shapiro, Stephen L., Joris Drayer, and Brendan Dwyer. “Exploring fantasy baseball consumer behavior: examining the relationship between identification, fantasy participation, and consumption.” Journal of Sport Behavior 37.1 (2014): 77+.

If you want to play online, however, we definitely suggest that you install the proper security on your computer first.  If you’re using the internet in any fashion, you should definitely make sure it’s protected from viruses and spyware.  This blog will help you to figure out what software is best.  We like Spyhunter 4, but many people prefer to use other programs.  It’s all basically up to you.

The Language Of Baseball

When learning a new language it’s advised (as in Benny Lewis’ Speak From Day 1 language program) that you simply start speaking the language from the get-go, as though you’ve always learned it and you don’t have any other way to communicate.  I think baseball has its own language in a way – there is so much slang to learn, and the only way to really get a grasp on it is to use it.  “Five-tool player”, “Can of corn”, “painting the corners”, “worm burner”, “you could hang your laundry on that pitch”, “southpaw”, the list could go on and on.  This is one thing that I absolutely LOVE about baseball: the jargon.  There are so many obscure phrases in the sport, and some are as old as the hills.  Do you ever just start using these terms right away?  I feel like one has to have a certain comfort with the game to use these types of terms.

What are some of your favorite obscure baseball terms?

Athletic High Imitates Drug High

Ahhhh, the good old days.  When the only drugs the players were using was cocaine and probably weed.


Just as some drugs may act by mimicking the brain’s own message for a job well done, and are more addictive for people highly sensitized to this mode of reinforcement, so some behaviors, such as athletics, can mimic the effects of drugs. Some athletes describe sacking the quarterback during the Super Bowl as creating a high “very much like cocaine.”

Athletes, like other performers, work during practice and during actual competitions for personal reward and recognition/applause. Too many athletes to be ignored by researchers describe their drug use as producing similar effects to that perfect performance. But, sooner or later, drug highs, by being quicker and easier to obtain, can take over the athlete.

Drugs are also often used by athletes who are at or near the end of their careers: The excuses, “To prolong my career” or “To get by” are frequently heard by consultants and loved ones. Unfortunately, too often very severe accidents and injuries result from such drug use, and the player stands a high chance of starting a new career that is coupled with a chronic, lifelong, relapsing illness–addiction.

But, do athletes have more occurrences of substance abuse and addiction than other highly paid professionals? Yes. The problem, while severe, is not as widespread or automatic as it once was thanks to education/prevention programs, peer counseling, and drug testing.

The problems of baseball star Dwight Gooden illustrate many important points in the identification and treatment of drug addiction in athletes. Drug testing is a critical tool in the early, pre-morbid diagnosis of drug addiction; the presence of cocaine in Gooden’s urine, in spite of his denying the use of cocaine, is indicative of the “loss of control” and inherent denial in cocaine addiction.

As reported in the media, Dwight Gooden requested drug testing to confirm the absence of his cocaine use. Further, he submitted to drug testing with knowledge of his recent cocaine use. While this seems paradoxical to the public, why should Gooden be immune from drug-use denial just because he is a great athlete?

Enabling, or co-addiction, is a phenomenon in which those who surround the addict participate in the protection and propagation of the addictive behavior; the denial present in the enablers is similar to that in the addict. Typically, a star player’s teammates, employers, and friends are part of the firmly rooted and pervasive denial system.

What is needed is some way to separate the team’s needs from the addict’s needs for an intervention. A good umpire in these conflicts is drug testing; drug testing is an objective method for confronting and circumventing enabling wherever it exists.

Drug testing has another important beneficial consequence that is dramatically illustrated in the Dwight Gooden case: While the athlete may continue to use drugs and play for perhaps another season or two before undergoing the final collapse of addiction, drug testing can prompt an intervention in the earliest and most treatable stage.

The concept of not rendering help to the addict before the addict initially seeks it is archaic and dangerous. Many times this delay leads to a drug abuse diagnosis after an accident, suicide, or irreparable loss, or at a time when the addict is untreatable. Intervention and confrontation can dissipate the pervasive denial system and increase acceptance of the drug addiction by the addict.

These lifesaving maneuvers can, and often do, lead to successful treatment of the addiction. In a sense, the addict’s low-point is raised to the time and level of the intervention. The intervention must involve the addicted athlete, the enablers, the owners, and fans.

Another lesson we’ve learned from the addicted athlete cases thus far is that the consequences of an addiction are only relatively incapacitating in their severity; addicts can, and do, perform at levels significantly above average but below their capabilities because of their addiction.

The consequences of addiction are relative and pertinent for each individual. Most pitchers would not reach the heights of a 17 and 8 record in their careers; Dwight Gooden did that while falling down. Were other addicted athletes resentful? Maybe. But, by raising the addict’s low point through information provided by a teammate or a loved one, or by a positive drug test, the addicted athlete can recognize that treatment will extend his or her career in sports.

Mark S. Gold, M.D., is the author of “Facts About Drugs and Alcohol,” Bantam Books, 1987.

Gold, Mark S. “Athletic high imitates drug high; baseball’s Dwight Gooden.” Alcoholism & Addiction Magazine Apr. 1988: 9


Original Language: Japanese
Translated By:Jeffrey Angles.

the game begins with the Americans from so far away I watch baseball but never tire of it
with such seriousness I watch my countrymen competing with their countrymen at baseball
with the ball hit astray now in the catcher’s hand the base runner confused as to where to go
the ball hit high enters the clouds and falls again into somebody’s hand
nine people taking nine places about to start playing ball
nine people nine innings today, another day ending in baseball
with all three bases full now is the moment one’s heart can’t help but beat quickly
I see him a ball and wooden bat in hand a shirt on his chest and I remember that time

Masaoka, Tsunenori. “Tankas.” Trans. Jeffrey Angles. The Southern Review 46.2 (2010): 254+.

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