The lack of the DH in the NL imperiled Chien-Ming Wang’s marriage

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I’m a longstanding opponent of the Designated Hitter. I think it’s evil and wrong and Godless and I shudder to think that my children may hear about it from a stranger before I get a chance to have “the talk” with them about it.*

But something has happened that has thrown all of that into question. It’s a moral issue, really. You see: the lack of a DH in the National League has led to betrayal and disgrace:

Chien-ming Wang, Taiwan’s favorite major league baseball pitcher, confessed in an April 24 press conference held in Florida Viela, his team’s spring training site, that he had had an extra-marital affair two years ago while in Florida … At the press conference given to Taiwanese media, Wang said he made a “big mistake” and would not seek to make any excuses. He added that he does not expect forgiveness from his family or fans, but expressed “innermost apology.” He cited growing pressure from pitching in the major league, especially after his surgery in 2009. “I was so depressed at the time. Besides the long road to rehabilitation, the only thing I could do is wait,” said Wang.

The case here is clear: If the DH were ubiquitous, Wang doesn’t bat in an interleague game. If he doesn’t bat, he doesn’t run the bases. If he doesn’t run the bases, he doesn’t injure himself. If he doesn’t injure himself he’s not on that depressing, lonely “long road to rehabilitation,” and if he’s not on that road he does not have that affair.

Let’s put the DH in he NL now, people.  Not because it’s good — it’s far from it — but because the lack of the DH destroys families.

*“Son, when a man loves a woman very much, it can be a beautiful thing. Now, think of the polar opposite of that kind of beauty. Of horrors and awfulness as powerful as the greatest love in the world is wonderful. That, my son, is the DH.”

(link Via SBNation)

The Japanese playoffs are super unfair

Hiroshima Carp
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I know a little about Japanese baseball. Not a lot, mind you. Like, I couldn’t hold my own with people who actually watch it or report on it or whatever, but I could explain some of the broad differences and similarities between the NPB and the U.S. majors.  I can say a few things about how the two leagues compare competitively speaking. I can name some stars and (I think) all the clubs. But there’s, quite obviously, a ton I don’t know.

A thing I did not know until today: the NPB playoffs are really messed up.

The NPB is divided into two leagues, the Central and the Pacific, with the winner of each league facing off in the Japan Series. Like the U.S. majors, they have preliminary playoff rounds in each league. Each league has three playoff teams, with the second and third seed teams playing a series first, and the winner of that series playing the top seed — the team with the best record in the league — in what is called the Climax Series.

Here’s the weird part: the higher-seeded team in the Climax Series — the team which won the league in the regular season — gets every single playoff game at home. What’s more, that team begins the Climax Series with an automatic 1-0 advantage. So, yes, it’s a seven-game series on paper, but one of the teams only has to win three games to advance to the Japan Series.

Oh, in Japan, they also have no problems ending a playoff game early if it rains. That’s what happened in the Central League Climax Series last night, where the lower-seeded Yokohama BayStars took on the league champ Hiroshima Carp. Here’s the report from Jason Coskrey of The Japan Times:

The rainy conditions in Hiroshima caused the umpires to stop play for over 30 minutes and ultimately call the game after five innings, minutes after the Carp put three runs on the board. Just like that, it was over. The Carp won 3-0, with Yokohama robbed of the four innings (at least) it would’ve had to try and rally.

Even better: as Coskrey notes, there are five days in between the end of the Climax Series and the beginning of the Japan Series, so there is no reason they could not suspend a game and resume it the next day. They just choose not to. The upshot: the Carp now have a 2-0 series lead despite the fact that they’ve only played five innings of baseball.

Imagine if that happened in the NLCS. Imagine if the Dodgers began the series with a 1-0 lead over the Cubs and played all of their games in Los Angeles. Imagine there was a freak L.A. storm and it ended one of the game in the fifth inning, right after Justin Turner hit a homer. I’m pretty sure people would riot.

Kinda makes our complaints about the replay system seem rather quaint, eh?