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Ltlabner
11-28-2006, 10:15 PM
This is a novice question.

What, if any, are the differences between American and Japanese baseball?

For example, if a pitcher posts an ERA of XYZ in Japan is it comparable to doing the same in the USA? (Different style parks? Different ways of handling the pitchers perhaps?). Or is OPS comparable?

I'm guessing the rules are the same (except maybe something minor) but are there cultural difference that show up on the field?

I guess the same question could be asked of baseball played in any country besides the US.

HumnHilghtFreel
11-28-2006, 11:26 PM
You could always watch the movie "Mr.Baseball" with Tom Selleck.

Oh how I love not being useful:)

cincinnati chili
11-28-2006, 11:34 PM
This is a novice question.

What, if any, are the differences between American and Japanese baseball?

For example, if a pitcher posts an ERA of XYZ in Japan is it comparable to doing the same in the USA? (Different style parks? Different ways of handling the pitchers perhaps?). Or is OPS comparable?

I'm guessing the rules are the same (except maybe something minor) but are there cultural difference that show up on the field?

I guess the same question could be asked of baseball played in any country besides the US.

There is obviously a LOT of debate about this. But one person who has looked closely at the issue is Clay Davenport from Baseball Prospectus. You'd need an account and a password to look at his articles, or need to pick up a copy of one of the last couple year's annual books.

But BASICALLY, he claims (with a lot of statistical evidence) that the Japanese League plays somewhere smack dab in between Triple-A in the U.S. and the Major Leagues in the U.S.

However, the styles of play and size of the ballparks will help or hurt some players a lot more than others. Ichiro was better over here than a lot of people expected. Kaz Matusi was worse. In other words, the translations from Japan to U.S are not linear.

For those who haven't seen much Japanese ball (I've never seen a game live myself, and have never been to Asia), go to youtube.com and plug in Daisuke Matsuzaka's name. You'll see a lot of footage from the various ballparks. Some of them are serious bandboxes, suggesting to me that the guys who succeed on the mound over there can generally, at the very least, keep the ball in the ballpark over here. Power hitters can be viewed with skepticism.

Caveat Emperor
11-28-2006, 11:44 PM
Power hitters can be viewed with skepticism.

Case-in-point -- Hideki Matsui, a premier power hitter in Japan, lost a bit of his home run power after coming to the States, but became a doubles-machine. Matsui posted career highs in doubles in 2003 (42) and then broke it in 2005 (45) after never having topped 35 in a season in Japan.

Meanwhile, his HR totals for his time in the States have been well below his Japan yearly average. In Japan, he had hit 35 or more HRs for the previous 7 years prior to coming to America, and he had done it in a season with 20+ fewer games per season. Since coming to America, he's only once topped the 30 HR mark (31 in 2004).

Will M
11-29-2006, 12:03 AM
1. I believe Japanese players as a whole are physically smaller than American players. Not too many Roger Clemens or David Ortiz types in Japan.
More finesse pitchers and line drive hitters.

2. They play a much more fundamentally sound game.

3. Most players here in the US don't speak Japanese :)

WMR
11-29-2006, 12:14 AM
http://image.blog.livedoor.jp/ibiken/imgs/0/f/0f2da7c4.jpg

Just rent this.

Edit: Good call, Dburke.

Reds Freak
11-29-2006, 01:00 AM
I actually just did a presentation on this very topic for a class last semester. I found the research and comparison between the two games very interesting. I'm not sure how to sum it up all in one post but basically the style of play is fairly similar while the major differences are found in the way that the each country approaches the game culturally.

According to my research, Japanese players strive for order, loyalty, honor, and self discipline which are major characteristics of their culture. This is evidenced by their long practices, grueling workout regimes, and dedication to the team. While American players value individual successes, prosperity, and freedom.

There are also vast differences in the way that the fans watch the game. If you have ever seen video of a Japanese game it is very interesting.

Cyclone792
11-29-2006, 01:26 AM
There is obviously a LOT of debate about this. But one person who has looked closely at the issue is Clay Davenport from Baseball Prospectus. You'd need an account and a password to look at his articles, or need to pick up a copy of one of the last couple year's annual books.

But BASICALLY, he claims (with a lot of statistical evidence) that the Japanese League plays somewhere smack dab in between Triple-A in the U.S. and the Major Leagues in the U.S.

However, the styles of play and size of the ballparks will help or hurt some players a lot more than others. Ichiro was better over here than a lot of people expected. Kaz Matusi was worse. In other words, the translations from Japan to U.S are not linear.

For those who haven't seen much Japanese ball (I've never seen a game live myself, and have never been to Asia), go to youtube.com and plug in Daisuke Matsuzaka's name. You'll see a lot of footage from the various ballparks. Some of them are serious bandboxes, suggesting to me that the guys who succeed on the mound over there can generally, at the very least, keep the ball in the ballpark over here. Power hitters can be viewed with skepticism.

Here's the two Davenport articles that chili's referencing:

Part I: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1330
Part II: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1348

They're a bit dated (nearly five years old), and it's nowhere near as comprehensive as a study that could be done considering there's been quite a bit more Japanese players head over to the majors, but Davenport's research is a start.

westofyou
11-29-2006, 10:49 AM
http://www.amazon.com/You-Gotta-Have-Wa-Vintage/dp/067972947X


You Gotta Have Wa

"Wa," Japanese for "team spirit," is the creed of Japanese baseball, played since the 1850s and professionally since 1935. Whiting, a long-time Japan resident, concentrates on the two pro leagues. The Japanese leagues, he reports, believe their severely coached game to be superior to the U.S. game. They discourage Japanese from entering U.S. leagues. A few Americans, usually older ones, have been accepted on Japanese teams, but they meet with resentment, criticism, and discrimination. The book updates Whiting's earlier The Chrysanthemum and the Bat (LJ 10/1/76) and contrasts with Sadaharu Oh and David Falkner's Sadaharu Oh (LJ 6/1/84; o.p.). A revealing and disturbing account that is heartily recommended for adult and YA collections.