“Our great, great, great uncle introduced baseball to Japan? Really?”

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Very fun and interesting story over at NPR about the family who, in 2000, learned that their great, great, great uncle introduced baseball to Japan. Like, seriously, he brought the sport there in 1871 and planted the seeds for it becoming Japan’s top sport.

No one in my family knew for generations, and in 2000 a fleet of Japanese people came to our farm in rural Maine and surprised us with an invitation to visit their country to promote the legacy of Horace Wilson: a man my family had more or less forgotten.

They were reminded about old Horace from the Japanese, who had certainly not forgotten. And then they were treated to a VIP tour of Japan when Wilson’s contribution to Japanese culture was commemorated in 2000.

Nice story. And another reminder that baseball is truly an international game, and has been for a long time, even as we talk now about how to make it one.

Giancarlo Stanton will defend his Home Run Derby title

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The Marlins announced on Sunday that outfielder Giancarlo Stanton will defend his Home Run Derby title when the city of Miami host’s the All-Star Game festivities next month.

Stanton, 27, defeated Todd Frazier in the finals of last year’s Home Run Derby at Petco Park, hitting 20 home runs to Frazier’s 13. Stanton hit a total of 61 home runs in the Derby. This will be the third Home Run Derby in which Stanton has participated.

Stanton also went 1-for-3 with a solo home run to help the Marlins defeat the Cubs 4-2 on Sunday. He’s now batting .274/.357/.551 with 20 home runs and 49 RBI in 311 plate appearances.

Aaron Hicks to go on the disabled list with an oblique injury

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks left Sunday’s game against the Rangers after four innings due to soreness in his right oblique. After the game, Hicks said he expects to go on the 10-day disabled list and miss the next three to four weeks, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports.

Hicks was 1-for-2 with a single before departing on Sunday. He entered the game batting .288/.397/.515 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI in 198 plate appearances. It is by far the best season of his career.

Jacoby Ellsbury is on his way back from a concussion, so the Yankees will only have to bridge the gap in center field for a week or two. Mason Williams could draw some starts in center field in the meantime.