Results tagged ‘ Japan ’

BASEBALL/SOFTBALL UP FOR OLYMPIC VOTE THIS WEEKEND!


sydney 2000

This weekend the IOC will vote on 3 major items when they meet in Rio.   The host city for the 2020 Olympics, a new chief to replace  J. Rogge and which of 3 sports ( Squash, Wrestling or baseball/softball)  will be included in the 2020 games.

As for  which sport should be chosen as the  26th discipline  in my opinion, that decision should be made based on what the federations have accomplished towards improving the sports worldwide exposure both on the field and off.   The IOC members also  should consider what sport will be more appropriate at building relationships through teamwork at all ages and genders.  These values make our world a better place to live.

Beijing Olympic Recovery Mode

Wrestling was booted off the Olympic program just a few months ago and according to their federation have made huge changes to improve the sport.    From what I have read  they changed the scoring system and added two women competition classes.  I don’t see much change here even though I think the sport should be in the Olympics because of its tradition.   I could think of a few others that should have been considered for removal way before wrestling but that’s just me.

Squash is banking on the fact that they may not need a major sporting venue. I understand they’ve  also developed a new type of graphic scoring program.   I’m sure the sport has a large following  but  I travel quite a bit and I don’t see a lot of squash tournaments around nor do i hear people talking about the history of squash such as who their favorite team is, etc…  There is a World Squash Hall of fame and the current  top 10  players  are  from Egypt, England, Spain and France.   ( five from Egypt)

The Spirit of Olympic Baseball

Baseball and Softball have changed things drastically thanks to the leadership of  Don Porter and Riccardo Fricarri co-presidents of the World baseball softball confederation.    After being out of the Olympic program for 8 years,  they have retooled and made strides in growing the game around the world in both genders.      They have combined the baseball and softball organizations into one federation.  65 million participants play  the game around the world. They have  also developed a shorter competition format and the ability to host  both sports in the same venue instead of building separate facilities for both softball and baseball.  (That was a bit tricky but it will be cool!)

In the past  ( baseball and softball) was considered  an “American dominated sport”.  That tagline has really changed.

1.  During the past 3  World Baseball Classics you have seen teams such as Holland, Japan, Korea, Dominican Republic, Italy and Puerto Rico when top spots in the competition.

2.   Who won the 2012 Pan American Games?  Canada!

3.    Who won the last Softball Olympics? Japan!

4.    Who won the 2008 Beijing Baseball Olympics?   Korea!

5.    Who won the last 2011 Baseball World Cup featuring 16 top teams from around the world?    Holland 1st, Cuba 2nd Canada 3rd.

Bottom line the sport has emerged in the past 10 years as a true world sport with millions of kids and adults playing the game.   In my opinion (all though a bit biased as you can tell from the photos)  I’m pretty sure I would vote for baseball/softball.

Olympic Games are Underway...Rain an all!

I haven’t really followed who will be the next President of the IOC but most people are talking about Thomas Bach.  He’s from germany and supposedly made the suggestion to softball and baseball to combine federations back when they were trying to figure out what to do to get back in the games.

athens 2004

The 2020 site selection vote also makes for a nice dessert at this IOC function. Madrid, Istanbul and Japan will present to the group.   My take is  Spain has some economic issues to figure out however they already have most of the venues completed and they are a sports crazed nation but the summer games were just in Europe.    Istanbul is a 14 hour car ride to Syria which isn’t great timing for that group considering whats going on today,  however i understand its a beautiful country.    Then there is Japan … they are probably the safest country outside of the USA and feature baseball and softball as the top sport.     I think Japan has the inside track on this one but you never know.

It’s going to be an interesting weekend as the IOC members tend to vote based on protocols that no one has been able to figure out.   Stay tuned!

“United at the Seams – Divided by Country!” Congrats to the 2013 WBC Groundcrews


???????????????????????????????With Rounds 1 and 2 coming to a close there have been some great stories and awesome competition during the first 2 weeks of the WBC.   The Games in PR were packed as were the game sin Japan.  Country pride says a lot for each of the teams competing.  I love the ground crew T-Shirts  in Taichung.  “United at the seams divided by country.”     In our case its more united by the rake…  nevertheless a pretty cool T-shirt.   The fields have played well all the way around so far.    Some really hard work by each of the crews and the local staffs in each country.     Looking forward to seeing some photos from our US ballparks that hosted some of the first round action.

2013 WBC - Tokyo Dome 035Chad Olsen has been overseeing our Japan fields, Kevin Moses,  Joe and Darrell  in Taichung and Chad K.,  Dennis and myself in San Juan along with some help from Eric, and Anthony.    Our groundcrew  in San Jaun had the tarp down to a mere 1:30 seconds.    With rains threatening almost everyday we were able to get everything in with only a slight delay on opening night.    Tough to do when  NOAA‘s  satellite services were down for a few days but they were so pumped to to a great job it made it easy.

???????????????????????????????A big thank you goes out to Deborah Martorell Meteorologist at WAPA.   She really helped us out with some accurate info until the NOAA satellite radar came back up.   Onto round two in Miami and the final in SF.     Good luck guys!

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MLB Wraps up Japan Series


What a week.  A lot of firsts even for this old dog.  Great games both pretty close. A’s came out ahead tonight so now the A’s and Mariners are tied for 1st place for about a week.    A lot of thanks go out to way to many people I cant remember for helping us pull this one off.  Tamba, Hokike and my man Kas.   Shawn took us through the first steps and chad Olsen played the key roll in making the event successful   Along with the masked man and moma boss.  Both supervisors that we nick named for fun

What a great crew of Japanese and American turf managers.   Couple other fun shots of the final game.

Then there is cepesdes

And my fav..UMPIRES TRAINING!

Tokyo Dome Prepares for 2013 MLB Opening Series


Plans are well underway on the field and ballpark improvements at the Tokyo dome for the 2013 MLB Opening Series.  Teams arrive tomorrow,  practice saturday then back to back double headers before the opening games on weds and thursday between the A’s and Mariners .    Reconstruction of bullpens, homeplates, mounds, base pits, turf repairs, etc… took place over a 38hour time frame due to the event constraints around the opening series…The guys worked in shifts from the crew but there were a few Yomuri warriors  along with the  grounds supervisors that worked  straight through along with Chad-son an Murray-son.    The dome is a slightly pressurized facility that helps support the roof membrane that covers the stadium. Built in 1988 on the old Velodrome site,  you can still walk in the outfield and see the track railings.   Every time you leave the park your ears pop from the pressure in the building.

This is our 5th time working in the “egg”.   The staff has always been great and they recently made a few changes.  The head groundskeeper Hoshimoto an his trusty assistant Suzuki retired last year  after working 50+ years with yomuri giants and the Tokyo dome .  They look like they are both 40!   A true inspiration to sportsturf managers around the world.  50 years with one company!   Hoshimoto  was telling me about the earthquakes and how the dome was swaying last night.    What’s cool is they promoted Tamba and Kohike from within showing consistency and loyalty to the young guys on the crew.   The Dome is showing its age but at the sametime versatility to be able to host major events throughout the year similar to the rogers centre in toronto.

Going to be a fun event…i really like not having that big  tarp to mess with!

In Honor of St Paddy’s Day…Thanks you Mr Hops!


When you think of St. Patrick’s day you cant help but to think of green and beer.  Growing grass is fun but brewing beer is pretty fun too.  It’s actually not that difficult.  A little water, brewers yeast, malted barley and hops and away you go!  Pretty much anything with sugar in it will eventually ferment but the brewers yeast helps the fermentation process.    The flavor of beer comes from the hops  ( photo above is a hops field we drove by in Germany.)  As a novice brewer, hops tends to balance the sweetness of the malt.    You can find Hops in all sorts of flavors and aromas these days.  Hops also acts as a preservative in the beer and helps maintain that frothy head after a good pour.  Beer is one of the worlds oldest prepared drinks and is number 3 on the all time popular world drinks after water and tea.

One of the coolest beer dispensers I have seen is located in the Narita airport terminal in Japan.  Set the “chilled”  glass on the machine, push a button…and the glass goes to a perfect angle as the machine pours the beer perfectly every time.   Pretty cool.

That being said off to Japan for the Opening Series Preps between the Seattle Mariners and Oakland A’s !  Have a great St Patrick’s day and drink responsibly.

Paying it forward


Big week for the Sports Turf  Managers Association   (STMA) Our conference starts this week in long beach ca.  This will be my 25th year attending the conferences.  Quiet a bit has  changed and for the better.  Great leadership and our industry staying true north with a vision to educate and share information about making sports fields safer and playable around the world has allowed our numbers to grow.  When I started to become really involved with the association was in 1991,   I think we had about 100 people show up at the conference in Vero beach.  Now its in the thousands.

I have always enjoyed teaching and sharing what I have learned over the years in baseball.  I recall sharing stories of my own turf problems and field issues with so many that its difficult to remember the number of times others shared their insight to make a project better or a field safer that i was involved with.  It’s all about paying it forward.  The expression “pay it forward” is used to describe the concept of asking that a good turn be repaid by having it done to others instead.  This conference is all about sharing ideas and learning new ones from others.

This past year we did several sports turf clinics around the world and this year we have a bit larger docket of clinics in the works.  I believe we are up to 6 on paper.   Dont want to let the cat out of the bag but they are all international.  Its going to be a fun year with the MLB Opener in Japan, the World Baseball Classic Qualifiers and several new ballparks developing outside the USA.  Looking forward to sharing those experiences and many others with everyone this year.

Hoping everyone has a great and prosperous new year.

Taiwan’s Ballparks Prepare for 2011 MLB All-Star Tour


The MLB All Stars arrive this Sunday in Taiwan to play the Chinese Taipei National Team in a 5 game series at 3 ballparks across the country.   Xinzhuang Baseball Stadium in Taipei, Intercontinental Stadium in Taichung and Kaohsiung National Stadium in Kaohsiung will each host games.  With a practice session on Monday in Zinzhuang  and a game on Tuesday we have been pretty busy helping our friends in Taiwan prepare the fields and ballparks for the event.  The last All star tour was in Japan , I believe in 2006 and I can’t recall the last MLB All star tour that was in  Taiwan however we did play a couple Dodger Games here last year. 

The Xinzhuang Baseball  has hosted several World Cup Baseball events dating back to when I was here in 2001.  They actually had an all clay  infield  that first series. Coming back in 2007 for the Baseball world Cup they replaced the infield clay with grass and upgraded maintenance etc..  Its an older park better known as Xinzhuang Baseball “Court” in New Taipei City.  They also call it Taipei City stadium and seats about 14000.

The Intercontinental Stadium in Taichung is a larger ballpark at about 19000 and has seen numerous Major events.  A unique design of an iron sculpture arcs over the stadium. It’s a natural turf field as well with typical 330 distances down the lines and 400 to center but this ballpark plays big.  Taichung has 2 other stadiums that are also pretty nice.C Chengcing Stadium  in Kaohsiung hosted the Dodgers series last year and is also ongoing some minor upgrades for this event. The largest park of the series at 25000 it will see the final two games of the event. We have had  a few guys seasoned vets working the parks helping preparations. Greg Jones from the revolution ballpark is in Taichung, Ryan Woodley from the Staten Island Yankees Ballpark in Kaohsiung and Eric Ogden who helped us with the 2007 World Cup in Europe and Daytona Beach.

Having worked numerous tournaments here in Taiwan the people are crazy about the game .  Its going to be a fun event and the country is really excited to see these games.

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