Baseball begins in Japan

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There were no mentions of the considerable ambivalence regarding the opening of the NPB season in Japan today, but open it did:

Local TV showed people in shelters watching the game, before which there was a moment of silence, and each fan in the Chiba cheering section held up signs of support for the disaster areas which said, “Stay Strong Japan.”

“Despite the difficult conditions, we are able to open the season because everybody helped us to do it,” said Rakuten infielder Kazuo Matsui, a former major leaguer in the United States. “I want to carry this feeling of appreciation for the whole year by playing baseball.

No one who hasn’t been through what the people of Japan have been though can say anything particularly intelligent about all of this. But I do wonder — like some in yesterday’s article wondered — if those who are still struggling to simply survive don’t feel left behind. Left behind by people striving to return to normalcy, but whose normalcy wasn’t nearly as disrupted as that of others.

Bryce Harper is pandering hard to Philly fans

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Bryce Harper hadn’t even addressed his new hometown fans before his Phillies jersey started selling like hotcakes. Since then, he’s said all the expected things. Talking about joining the Phillies, he said, “From day one, it felt right … I always talk about family and being a family, being one unit, and I get that from this team. Every guy has your back and vice versa. I’m very excited to go into battle with these guys.”

Harper is continuing to pander hard to Phillies fans. Behold his latest Instagram post:

Has anyone ever really longed to see the Liberty Bell?

Harper also famously recreated that Chase Utley scene from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia with actor Rob McElhenney on Twitter:

In Harper’s next post, he will talk about alternating bottles of You-eng-ling beers with glasses of “wooder.” He’ll add that every so often he will treat himself to a steak sandwich with cheese on it, then go home to watch all of the movies in the Rocky series.