The return of baseball to Japan is not being met with unequivocal joy

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Baseball is resuming in Japan, delayed a few weeks by the earthquake and tsunami. Everyone in a position of authority is noting how baseball coming back will restore a sense of normalcy to life.  But as Robert Whiting — the author of the fabulous book about baseball in Japan, You Gotta Have Wa — notes, practically speaking, it’s not that simple:

There is not enough electric power to enable the normal schedule of night games to proceed, and given the power outages, many people, especially those in the affected areas, won’t be able to watch the games on TV, assuming they still have a functioning TV set.

“Watching baseball is not the first thing on anyone’s mind in Tokyo either,” said Kozo Abe, a sports reporter with the Fuji-Sankei media group. “The Japanese feeling at the moment is that they are not ready to root for the revival of Japanese baseball from the bottom of their heart.”

But they’re doing it anyway.  And some in the game — notably, Yomuri Giants’ President Takuo Takihana — are sniffing at the many game time and duration restrictions designed to conserve electricity.  Others, while noting the need for the restrictions and doubting whether the country is emotionally prepared for the normalcy being imposed by NPB, acknowledge that it will be difficult to achieve it given the absence of the usual trappings of Japanese baseball such as bright lights, loud music, and “cute girls in miniskirts selling draft beer and octopus snacks.”

Play ball?

Pete Rose dismisses his defamation lawsuit against John Dowd

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Last year Pete Rose field a defamation lawsuit against attorney John Dowd after Dowd gave a radio interview in which he said that Rose had sexual relations with underage girls that amounted to “statutory rape, every time.” Today Rose dismissed the suit.

In a statement issued by Rose’s lawyer and Dowd’s lawyer, the parties say they agreed “based on mutual consideration, to the dismissal with prejudice of Mr. Rose’s lawsuit against Mr. Dowd.” They say they can’t comment further.

Dowd, of course, is the man who conducted the investigation into Rose’s gambling which resulted in the Hit King being placed on baseball’s permanently ineligible list back in 1989. The two have sparred through the media sporadically over the years, with Rose disputing Dowd’s findings despite agreeing to his ban back in 1989. Rose has changed his story about his gambling many times, usually when he had an opportunity to either make money off of it, like when he wrote his autobiography, or when he sought, unsuccessfully, to be reinstated to baseball. Dowd has stood by his report ever since it was released.

In the wake of Dowd’s radio comments in 2015, a woman came forward to say that she and Rose had a sexual relationship when she was under the age of 16, seemingly confirming Dowd’s assertion and forming the basis for a strong defense of Rose’s claims (truth is a total defense to a defamation claim). They seem now, however, to have buried the hatchet. Or at least buried the litigation.

That leaves Dowd more free time to defend his latest client, President Trump. And Rose more time to do whatever it is Pete Rose does with his time.