How Japan Took Over Baseball

Baseball Doesn't Exist
23 Jan 202460:33

Summary

TLDRThe video explores the extreme and disciplined training culture of Japanese baseball, from intense high school training camps to the legendary national tournament Koshien. It traces Japan's baseball history, from adopting the sport to exceeding the US. Despite limited MLB players, Japan dominates international play. Superstars like Ichiro and Ohtani are changing perceptions. More top prospects like Sasaki plan to skip NPB and head straight to MLB, proving Japan is now the world's premier baseball nation.

Takeaways

  • 😲 Japanese baseball has extremely intense training even at youth levels - players practice 8+ hours a day and coaches make $200K+
  • πŸ… High school baseball tournaments in Japan, like Koshien, are massively popular with intense dedication from players
  • 😑 Historically, corporal punishment from coaches in Japanese baseball was common and extreme
  • πŸ’ͺ MLB players are often shocked by the strict regimens and militaristic culture when they come to play in Japan
  • πŸ‘« Foreign players in Japan have faced many challenges being accepted into culture & competing for records
  • 🌎 Japan's surprise victory in the first World Baseball Classic in 2006 was a pivotal, iconic moment
  • 🌟 Ichiro's MLB arrival opened the floodgates for more Japanese stars and showed skeptics their talent
  • πŸ“ˆ Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan has exploded in popularity and matches MLB in attendance
  • πŸ† Shohei Ohtani's global stardom is inspiring a new wave of Japanese MLB players
  • πŸ‡―πŸ‡΅ Japan has a very strong case to now be considered the top baseball country in terms of talent and popularity

Q & A

  • How does the introduction of hovercrafts and zipline entrances in Japanese baseball games contrast with their rigorous training and discipline?

    -The use of hovercrafts and ziplines for team introductions contrasts sharply with the rigorous and disciplined nature of Japanese baseball training. These elements add an entertainment and spectacle aspect to the games, highlighting the unique blend of strict tradition and modern, showmanship-focused approaches in Japanese baseball culture.

  • What is the significance of high school baseball in Japan, and how does it reflect the country's approach to the sport?

    -High school baseball in Japan is of paramount importance, reflecting the country's intense approach to the sport. The rigorous practice schedules, the significance of high school tournaments, and the societal expectation for discipline and dedication at a young age demonstrate how deeply ingrained baseball is in Japanese culture and education.

  • How does the treatment of players in Japanese baseball, including practices like long hours and corporal punishment, compare to norms in other countries?

    -Japanese baseball is known for its extreme discipline, including practices such as long practice hours and, historically, corporal punishment. This contrasts with norms in many other countries, where there is a greater focus on player welfare, regulated practice hours, and an emphasis on avoiding overexertion and physical punishment.

  • What role does the cheering section play in Japanese high school baseball, and how does it mirror the intensity of the sport itself?

    -The cheering section in Japanese high school baseball plays a vital role, undergoing intense training similar to the players themselves. This reflects the overall seriousness and dedication to baseball in Japan, where even the supporters are expected to show extreme commitment and discipline, mirroring the intensity and passion for the sport.

  • How does Ichiro's training regimen in his youth compare to the average training regimen in Japanese baseball?

    -Ichiro's training regimen, involving intense practice and limited leisure time, is reflective of the broader, rigorous training culture in Japanese baseball. While his regimen was particularly strenuous, it is indicative of the high expectations and disciplined approach ingrained in Japanese baseball from a young age.

  • What impact did the Human Rights Watch report have on the practices within Japanese baseball, particularly regarding corporal punishment?

    -The Human Rights Watch report on child abuse in sports, including Japanese baseball, brought significant attention to the harsh practices, including corporal punishment. It sparked discussions and calls for reform within the system, aiming to protect young athletes and promote a healthier, more supportive environment for player development.

  • How do the baseball training philosophies in Japan contribute to the country's success in international competitions like the World Baseball Classic?

    -The rigorous training philosophies in Japan, characterized by discipline, dedication, and resilience, contribute significantly to the country's success in international competitions like the World Baseball Classic. The intense preparation and mental fortitude instilled in players from a young age equip them with the skills and mindset needed to excel on the global stage.

  • What is the cultural significance of the summer Koshien tournament, and how does it reflect the values of Japanese society?

    -The summer Koshien tournament is a culturally significant event in Japan, reflecting values such as discipline, perseverance, and collective effort. It's not just a baseball tournament; it's a national event that showcases the dedication of young athletes and the importance of baseball as a platform for teaching life values and societal norms in Japan.

  • How do the experiences and expectations of professional baseball players in Japan differ from those in Major League Baseball (MLB)?

    -Professional baseball players in Japan experience a more regimented and collective environment, with strict discipline, intensive training, and expectations of loyalty to the team. This contrasts with MLB, where players have more individual freedom, a less demanding schedule, and a stronger focus on personal branding and individual performance.

  • What factors have contributed to the increase in Japanese players transitioning to MLB, and how has this affected the perception of Japanese baseball internationally?

    -Factors contributing to the increase in Japanese players in MLB include the success and influence of pioneering players like Ichiro and Otani, the implementation of the posting system, and the global recognition of Japanese baseball talent. This transition has positively affected the international perception of Japanese baseball, highlighting its high skill level and competitive nature on the global stage.

Outlines

00:00

🏟 History and Culture of High School Baseball in Japan

Highlights the intense and disciplined training regimen for high school baseball in Japan, often considered child abuse by American standards. Covers the harsh punishments, long practice hours, playing through injuries, and the prestige of the national Koshien high school baseball tournament.

05:01

😀 Extreme Dedication and Sacrifice in Japanese Baseball

Describes the extreme dedication and sacrifice of Japanese high school baseball players to succeed and play in the prestigious Koshien tournament, including a team forfeiting due to an incident at their school and players suffering heat strokes but continuing to play.

10:01

😱 Insane Pitch Counts and Injuries in Pursuit of Koshien Glory

Details the insane pitch counts and subsequent injuries endured by star high school pitchers in pursuit of Koshien tournament success. Includes famous showdowns between star pitchers who threw 500+ pitches in a few days.

15:02

πŸ€• Addressing Abuse and Reforming Youth Baseball in Japan

Discusses moves to address abusive coaching practices in Japanese youth baseball, while noting such harsh methods have also produced disciplined, respected players. Mentions mixed signals as some schools relax rules but abuse incidents still occur.

20:05

😀 Why Koshien Dominates Japanese Sports Culture

Emphasizes the massive popularity and importance of the Koshien high school tournament, explaining how it draws bigger crowds than professional baseball and has fanatical cheering squads.

25:08

⚾️ NPB: Demanding Lifestyle But Extreme Loyalty

Describes the demanding lifestyle for professional baseball players in NPB, including living in dorms, strict regimens and little freedom. But also notes the extreme loyalty players show to their teams.

30:10

😑 Culture Clash: MLB Players Struggle in NPB

Details culture clashes between American MLB players coming to the NPB system in Japan, which expects complete dedication. Includes infamous on-field brawls and off-field issues.

35:11

🀝 Nomo Opens MLB Door, Ichiro Kicks it Down

Explains how Hideo Nomo and Ichiro Suzuki paved the way for Japanese players in MLB, creating huge stardom and marketability. This inspired an influx of Japanese talent coming to America.

40:12

😀 Japan Dominates First Two WBCs, Gains Respect

Describes Japan's underdog victories in the first two World Baseball Classics, beating MLB talent and reaching massive TV audiences in Japan. Started to gain more respect internationally.

45:14

🌟 Ohtani Inspires New Wave of MLB Stars from Japan

Details how Shohei Ohtani's MLB success and fame is inspiring the current and future generations of Japanese talent to come to MLB, signalling a Japanese talent surge.

50:16

πŸ† 2023 WBC Champions Prove Japan's Arrival as Baseball King

Argues that Japan's latest undefeated WBC championship, huge TV ratings and wave of MLB signings cements their status as the world's premier baseball power.

Mindmap

Keywords

πŸ’‘Japanese baseball culture

The set of values, training methods, dedication, respect, honor, sacrifice, suffering, tradition, and discipline that encompass baseball in Japan. Throughout the video, examples illustrate the extreme, militaristic nature of Japanese baseball compared to the U.S., from 8+ hour youth practices daily to playing through extreme injuries.

πŸ’‘Koshien tournament

A hugely popular national high school baseball tournament in Japan. Seen as a great honor to play in, it drives extreme dedication and sacrifice from players and cheer squads alike. Teams practice year-round, players risk career-ending injuries to compete, and losses are tragic events.

πŸ’‘Foreign players in NPB

Foreign, often American MLB players have historically struggled to adapt to the strict Japanese baseball culture when they come play in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). They are seen as selfish, underproductive, and disrespectful.

πŸ’‘Hideo Nomo

The first Japanese MLB player in 30 years. His rookie dominance created an MLB frenzy over the potential of the Japanese baseball market. This drove more Japanese players to come over and changed opinions of Japanese talent.

πŸ’‘2006 World Baseball Classic

Japan beat Korean and Cuban national teams to win this first tournament, despite having almost no MLB talent. The final was watched by 60 million people in Japan, demonstrating baseball's popularity there.

πŸ’‘Shohei Ohtani

Ohtani's dominance and fame is inspiring a new generation of MLB prospects from Japan. His obsessive devotion to baseball epitomizes core Japanese principles.

πŸ’‘NPB popularity

Despite less teams and games, NPB draws more fans per season than MLB and the NBA. Games rank among the most watched sporting events ever in Japan.

πŸ’‘High school baseball

Extreme dedication and culture in Japanese youth baseball, including long, intense daily practices and playing through injuries to compete in prestigious tourneys.

πŸ’‘Pitcher workloads

Japanese pitchers historically throw significantly more pitches and innings, even at young ages, but don't necessarily get injured more than MLB pitchers. Still a debate around balancing workloads.

πŸ’‘Samurai and militaristic influence

Principles of discipline, suffering, self-sacrifice, and never quitting that date back to Samurai teachings still heavily influence Japanese baseball training today.

Highlights

Baseball in Japan has elaborate ceremonies like managers introduced on hovercrafts and players ziplining through stadiums.

High school baseball in Japan is extremely competitive - players practice 8 hours a day and coaches make over $200k per year.

A Japanese player said after losing to the US "we can never challenge the Americans - we're a team of Little Leaguers playing adults."

Japan recently won the World Baseball Classic for the 3rd time and no other country has won it more than once.

Two Japanese players just became the highest paid hitter and pitcher ever in MLB history.

The summer Koshien high school tournament in Japan draws over 500,000 live spectators and has similar viewership to the Super Bowl.

A high school pitcher in Japan threw 225 pitches in an 82-0 blowout game. In the US 110 pitches per week is the limit.

Losing players crying after games is common and expected in Japanese baseball because it shows dedication and sacrifice.

An 11-year-old died during baseball practice in Japan after intense conditioning including 160 yard dashes and no water breaks.

Kevin Mitchell said "The Japanese are dirty, I really dislike them" after trying to rest an injury rather than play through pain.

Hideo Nomo retired in Japan at 25 to exploit a contract loophole and become the first Japanese MLB player in 30 years in 1995.

Ichiro inspired a new generation of Japanese MLB stars, had insane media attention, and brought millions in revenue to the MLB.

The first World Baseball Classic was a pivotal moment - Japan beat Korea and Cuba despite having almost no MLB players.

Otani is the epitome of Japanese training philosophy - obsessively devoted to baseball and voluntarily lived in team dorms.

36 million people in Japan watched a WBC exhibition game and over 60 million watched the final - likely records.

Transcripts

play00:00

baseball in Japan has things that in

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America you will never see they have

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managers of the team being introduced on

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hovercrafts teams star players being

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zipline through the stadium hundreds of

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feet in the air before games and even

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ceremonial first pitches where players

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kiss the person throwing the pitch and

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even sometimes their own teammates based

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on this it's somewhat hard to believe

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that Japanese baseball culture is one of

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the most Cutthroat in the world creating

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some of the most disciplined athletes on

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earth a system where High School coaches

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can make over 200 Grand a year at some

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schools kids are expected to practice 8

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hours a day High School tournaments are

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so important players play through

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career-threatening injuries and after

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losing are expected to cry students go

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through months and months of intense

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training like this and these aren't even

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baseball players this is the cheering

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section they are training to cheer for

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the baseball team who practices even

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harder according to Ichiro the training

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regimen he was put through as a child

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was so intense he only had 5 to six

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hours to hang out with friends in an

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entire year the most pitches thrown by a

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pitcher in MLB last season was

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117 at an elite High School in Japan

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pitchers were expected to throw 200

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pitches every other day life around

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baseball is so strict and regimented

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even professionals are expected to live

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in team dormitories full-time where in

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some past cases players who break curfew

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were even beaten by their own managers a

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practice that became so common

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throughout all levels of baseball in

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Japan that in 2021 the Human Rights

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Watch organization had to release a

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report just to address it but despite

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this insane dedic ation only a few

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decades ago an American team went to

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Japan and beat a team of Japanese

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Allstars so badly a Japanese player said

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himself quote we can never challenge the

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Americans we're a team of little

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Leaguers playing adults today that is no

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longer the case in the past year Japan

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went undefeated in the World Baseball

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Classic winning it for the third time no

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other country has won it more than once

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all while getting viewership that

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baseball in America can't come close to

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a Japanese player just became the

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highest paid baseball player in history

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a few weeks later another Japanese

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player became the highest paid pitcher

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in history and in total MLB teams have

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signed six Japanese players this off

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season alone for a combined

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1.13 billion dollar all of a sudden

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Japan is taking over a sport that

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America has claimed for over a Century

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all while using training methods that

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many people in America might call child

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abuse but this quote unquote abuse also

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results in a level of honor and respect

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on the field that you won't see anywhere

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else in the world like when this catcher

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lost his contact in the middle of a play

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instead of keeping the game going the

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entire team and even the umpires helped

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him look for it in the dirt Japanese

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baseball culture can seem like a paradox

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on one hand it's extremely regimented

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tradition

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and even militaristic other aspects of

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it are the complete opposite like the

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ceremonial first pitches perhaps the

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most infamous is the bay stars who have

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a tradition where they invite an improv

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group called the ostrich Club the group

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does this dressed as gangsters as women

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as babies or themselves traditionally in

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Japan a member of the team goes to the

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plate and swings and misses at the first

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pitch but when the ostrich Club throws

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it the player always makes contact

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causing a fight between the pitcher and

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the batter which always ends in the two

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kissing each other it's hard to imagine

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this ever happening in America or even

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this this is former major leager Su

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Yoshi sjo who was hired as a manager in

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Japan where he had the league officially

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change his name to Big Boss a former

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fashion designer he created multiple

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custom uniforms to fit his style he

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makes Grand entrances on cars has his

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own them song and notoriously entered

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2022 opening day on a hovercraft rode it

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around the stadium for a little landed

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it then managed the game moments later

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with the hovercraft strange mascot

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fights cheerleaders and bizar skits can

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be deceiving because baseball in Japan

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is taken extremely seriously and it's

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been that way for over a century when

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baseball was introduced in Japan in the

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1800s the word sport didn't even exist

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in Japanese the closest thing they had

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were things like SU wrestling Kendo

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horseback riding which were all

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extensions of military training so

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unlike in America the people who played

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were essentially treated as soldiers

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early baseball managers like suu tobido

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said quote if players do not try as hard

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as to vomit blood during practice then

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they cannot hope to win games he created

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a system called she no Renu which when

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translated to English means death

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practice and had players field ground

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balls until they were quote half dead

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motionless and had froth coming from

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their mouths in early versions of

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baseball in Japan if you got smoked by a

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pitch but tried to get out of the way

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you didn't get to go to first because

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you lacked the courage to get hit by a

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pitch according to toa's philosophy if

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players don't cry after losing a game it

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means they don't care enough which is

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why in Japan you will regularly see

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losing players balling their eyes out

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after losing because baseball is less

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about having fun and more about teaching

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discipline self-sacrifice dedication and

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having the fighting Spirit which results

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in things that to Americans seem

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absolutely insane like just last year

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when an Elite baseball School in Japan

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beat another school which got five of

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their players from the school's music

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Club 82 to0 they hit 17 home runs and

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stole 36 bases yes they stole the entire

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game even stealing multiple times when

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winning 82 to0 they scored so much it

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took 3 hours and 13 minutes to play five

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innings the losing team was in the field

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so long a player literally had a heat

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stroke in the middle of the game they

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had no substitutions meaning him exiting

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would result in a forfeit so despite

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being down over 50 runs and having an

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actual heat stroke he and the team

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decided he must tough it out to avoid a

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forfeit the team would end up forfeiting

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in the fifth but even while losing by 82

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runs they had their pitcher throw 200

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and 25 pitches major league teams will

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rarely let their pitchers throw over 100

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pitches in a game to protect their arms

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this high school student threw 225 in an

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82 run blowout if this happened in a

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America both these coaches would have

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been fired but in Japan both teams

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trying their hardest despite the extreme

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skill Gap is the ultimate form of

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respect the losing coach said quote it

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was just a blessing the players were

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able to play with smiles on their faces

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and the comments on the video in

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Japanese seemed positive with people

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congratulating both teams on fighting to

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the end and giving it their all in

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Japanese baseball losing this badly is

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suffering and suffering without quitting

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should be celebr celebrated and this

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philosophy goes back well over a century

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in the early 1900s Japan's most popular

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team had a motto that urged players to

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practice until they urinated blood

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students would start training at 4:00

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a.m. and the coach believed a team

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needed two to three years of practice

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before they were ready to play their

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first game their methods heavily

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influenced by Samurai teaching still

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influence youth baseball today it's

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normal for Little League teams to train

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10 hours a day every single Saturday and

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Sunday according to One account from an

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American kid who moved to Japan his

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coach would take the team to lunch then

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immediately put them through an intense

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drill that would only end once a certain

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amount of players threw up their lunch

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and in a famous case in 1986 an

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11-year-old boy died because practice

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was that hard his coach had their team

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do 20 160 yard dashes a tw- mile run

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another running drill where players ran

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full speed for several minutes trying to

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catch a ball toss in the air followed by

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a Fielding session of 100 ground balls

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players were not allowed to drink water

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during this and this was their pregame

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warm-up the team ended up losing so the

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manager ordered a postgame workout with

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10 30 yard dashes 10 60 yard dashes 10

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laps around the field 10 Sprints up and

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down the stadium stairs and three 60

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yard dashes to wrap it up in all they

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ran an estimated 10 Mi these kids were

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11 years old and one of them tragically

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passed away shortly after but taking

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these extreme examples and dismissing

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Japanese training philosophies

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altogether ignores the massive amounts

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of success that it's brought them and to

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see that all you have to do is watch

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this this is a High School baseball

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tournament called the summer Kion that

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is so so important the hashen Tigers a

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professional baseball team is forced to

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leave their home stadium for 2 weeks

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just so they can play it during those

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two weeks an insane

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500,000 people come to see this

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tournament live in terms of viewership

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High School baseball might be the most

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popular sport in Japan in fact the

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summer cion has the same per capita

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viewership as the Super Bowl does in

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America to get to this tournament

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Players dedicate everything like this

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kid who dislocated his shoulder went to

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The Dugout in agony had his manager pop

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his shoulder back into place and even

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while in extreme pain ran onto the field

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to play players dedicate everything just

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for a chance to play in this tournament

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most teams force their players to shave

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their heads Elite schools eat sleep and

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live with their team year round in

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America the NCAA only allows College

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athletes to practice 4 hours a day in

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Japan it's not uncommon for high school

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teams to practice 7 hours a day as well

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as 12-hour practices on holidays at

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Elite schools teams often have over 100

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players on a team while only 20 of them

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are allowed to be in The Dugout meaning

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most players go through this extreme

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training schedule for all 3 years of

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high school and even if their team makes

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it to the Kion they just have to watch

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from The Stance but this is still

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considered Ed an extreme honor because

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making it is almost impossible it is a

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single elimination tournament meaning

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it's essentially a March Madness style

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bracket with over 4,000 teams a single

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loss ruins their dreams which is why

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it's normal to see things like this this

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player got destroyed and needed a

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stretcher he refused the stretcher and

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came back 2 minutes later this player

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got smoked in the head was carded off

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the the field but refused to leave the

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game and still played and this catcher

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got nailed in the face with a ball so

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hard he knocked out multiple teeth

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stayed in the game and hit a double a

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few hours later to really understand how

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dedicated these players and schools are

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about this tournament all you have to do

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is look at their cheering sections they

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have cheer teams made up of the school

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students these teams practice throughout

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the year and go through intense training

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just like the players do in order to

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cheer better and help their school go

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further in the tournament and just like

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the players when they mess up there are

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consequences

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get they do coordinated and rehears

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chance throughout the game some take it

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so seriously that they will actually

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continue to cheer in the rain even when

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the game is in a rain delay when a team

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loses it is a sign of respect for a

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cheer team to conduct their final cheer

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at the opposing team to show their

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gratitude before ending their

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[Applause]

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season and just like the players losing

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in this tournament is an extremely

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tragic event it is normal and pretty

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much expected for players and cheer

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members to cry when losing and given how

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much training and sacrifice is required

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to get there this is understandable but

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some losses are harder than others

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perhaps the hardest happened in 1971

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okato High School made it to the kosan

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and were traveling to the tournament

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when news broke that a fight between two

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students at the school left one of the

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students hospitalized even though

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neither of these students were on the

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baseball team and no one on the team had

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anything to do with it the school

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decided that since such an ugly incident

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happened at their school it would be

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shameful to have their baseball team

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represent them at such an honorable

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tournament they withdrew the team from

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the tournament and had them turn around

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while they were already on their way

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ending their dreams even though they did

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nothing wrong punishment has always been

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a massive part of high school baseball

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in Japan and strict coach is what made

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their High School baseball teams the

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most disciplined respectful and talented

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in the world but when taken to extremes

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it can be extremely abusive incidents

play14:40

like this which surface in 2018 show a

play14:43

coach repeatedly kicking slapping and

play14:46

punching multiple members on the team

play14:49

this was apparently punishment for their

play14:52

players not leaving their phones at home

play14:54

when they went to class historically

play14:57

things like this were not uncommon

play14:59

leading up to the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo

play15:02

the humans Rights Watch organization

play15:04

released a 57-page report on child abuse

play15:07

in sports in Japan in it were accounts

play15:10

of baseball players being hit in the

play15:12

face by their coaches until they bled

play15:14

from their faces managers kicking

play15:16

players throwing baseballs at players

play15:18

and hitting them with bats many are

play15:21

calling on teams in Japan to shorten

play15:23

practices stop Corporal punishments and

play15:26

make Youth Baseball less militaristic in

play15:28

some ways it has for example last year's

play15:31

cion winner won it while having long

play15:33

hair they were one of at least seven

play15:35

teams in the tournament that did not

play15:37

require their players to shave their

play15:39

heads which has been a universal

play15:41

practice Forever at least four schools

play15:44

were suspended from high school play in

play15:46

2023 because coaches were physically

play15:49

abusive while punishing players on one

play15:52

hand it shows they're cracking down on

play15:54

abuse but it also shows it's still

play15:57

happening this video which surface

play15:59

recently shows a coach dragging a player

play16:02

to the ground in a classroom he was

play16:05

eventually fired for this which is a

play16:07

sign of progress of a problem that

play16:10

without a doubt used to be a lot worse

play16:12

in 1987 a similar incident happened when

play16:15

a coach hit multiple players in the head

play16:18

with the butt of a baseball bat leaving

play16:21

them bleeding from their Scout Not only

play16:23

was he not fired and only got a one-year

play16:26

suspension one of the players who got

play16:28

hit in the head said quote I don't blame

play16:31

the manager it was our fault at the most

play16:33

elite schools High School coaches can

play16:35

make up to $200,000 plus dollars a year

play16:39

at some schools they control all aspects

play16:41

of players lives including when they eat

play16:43

what they eat when they sleep and how

play16:45

much they practice for pitchers this can

play16:48

mean throwing up to 300 pitches a day in

play16:52

America this may be considered more

play16:55

abusive than hitting a player the state

play16:57

of California has a law that bans

play17:00

pitchers from throwing over 110 pitches

play17:03

in a week in 2013 this pitcher threw 318

play17:09

pitches in 2 days he won both these

play17:12

games sending his team to the Kosen

play17:14

where he had so much arm pain he was

play17:16

given a painkiller injection when that

play17:19

didn't work he was given stimulants he

play17:21

labored through the first game and won

play17:24

in the second round the pain was even

play17:27

worse his velocity was only reaching 57

play17:31

mph but he refused to quit and in

play17:35

obvious pain lobbed ball after ball over

play17:38

the plate he struck out the only batter

play17:40

he faced then was taken out of the game

play17:43

the next year he was only able to pitch

play17:45

in two games he ended up going to

play17:47

college where in his first three seasons

play17:50

he wasn't able to make a single

play17:52

appearance due to injury this painful

play17:55

video is used as an example to criticize

play17:57

coaches who put their young pitcher

play17:59

future at risk for Success at the Kos

play18:02

but years later the pitcher puts zero

play18:04

blame on the coach saying that it was

play18:06

his decision and at the time he thought

play18:08

quote I don't care about my future even

play18:11

if I can't compete in the future I just

play18:14

want to play in the Kos this is a common

play18:16

mindset surrounding the tournament and

play18:18

has created Legends in Japan you say

play18:20

Kikuchi who has gone on to have a major

play18:22

league career first became a celebrity

play18:25

when he was 17 in the Kion when he ped

play18:28

despite having severe back pain and a

play18:31

broken rib according to him he pitched

play18:34

that day thinking it would be the end of

play18:36

his baseball career before dice K matu

play18:39

zaka went to the Red Sox he pitched

play18:42

a 148 pitch shut out in the round of 16

play18:46

at the Kosen this is more pitches than

play18:49

any MLB pitcher has thrown in a game all

play18:52

season he followed It Up by pitching the

play18:56

very next day where he not only pitched

play18:58

but pitched a 17 inning complete game

play19:02

where he threw 250 pitches the next day

play19:06

he came into the game again pitched the

play19:09

final inning and sent his team to the

play19:11

finals where one day later he threw a

play19:14

nine inning no hitter to win the Kos in

play19:17

one of the best pitching performances in

play19:19

baseball history he threw 500 pitches

play19:23

three complete games and threw 36

play19:26

innings in four 4 days this cemented him

play19:30

as a legend and celebrity in Japan at 17

play19:34

years old but in terms of pitch count

play19:35

and wear and tear on a pitcher's arm

play19:38

even that doesn't compare to the famous

play19:41

matchup between Masahiro Tanaka and Yuki

play19:45

these two met in the 2006 finals to get

play19:48

there Yuki Sato threw a complete game in

play19:51

the quarterfinals the very next day he

play19:53

threw a complete game in the semifinals

play19:56

the day after that he faced Masahiro

play19:59

Tanaka's team in the finals and threw

play20:01

another complete game but this one was

play20:05

15 Innings long after 15 Innings the

play20:08

score was tied one to1 according to the

play20:11

kosan rules at the time if a game went

play20:13

longer than 15 Innings tied the game

play20:16

would restart and be replayed the next

play20:19

day from the first inning and even

play20:21

though Sato who had just St three

play20:23

complete games in 3 days the third one

play20:26

being 15 Innings long where he threw 165

play20:30

pitches he started the very next day

play20:34

Tanaka also pitched all nine innings for

play20:36

his team on zero days rest but in the

play20:39

end in arguably the most legendary

play20:41

moment in koshen history in a 4 to3 game

play20:44

satto struck out Tanaka to get the final

play20:47

out winning the kosan in the end Tanaka

play20:50

who was battling the flu through 52

play20:54

Innings and

play20:56

742 pitches in in 11 days while satto

play21:00

the Undisputed star of the tournament

play21:02

pitched seven games in 2 weeks through

play21:06

69 innings in an insane

play21:10

948 pitches the most Innings and pitches

play21:13

thrown in the 100 plus year history of

play21:16

the Kos in 2023 Sandy alcantra threw

play21:19

three complete games all season that was

play21:21

the most in Major League Baseball Sato

play21:24

threw four of them in four days he

play21:27

became an instant celebrity while

play21:29

pitching he would constantly wipe his

play21:31

face with a handkerchief earning him the

play21:33

nickname the handkerchief Prince which

play21:35

became such a popular nickname it was

play21:38

awarded the new word buzzword award

play21:40

given to the term that captured the

play21:42

Public's attention the most throughout

play21:44

the year the specific brand of

play21:46

handkerchief at one point were being

play21:48

sold for $3 but due to Sato they were

play21:51

selling for $70 his opponent Masahiro

play21:55

Tanaka went on to become a star in mpb

play21:57

became became a success in MLB for the

play21:59

Yankees and cemented himself as one of

play22:01

Japan's most elite pitchers satto wasn't

play22:05

as successful he pitched 11 years in mpb

play22:08

battled shoulder injuries and put up a

play22:10

career erra over 4.5 yet he remained a

play22:15

household name According to some satto

play22:17

remained an mpb despite bad performances

play22:20

just based on the revenue the team

play22:23

received from merchandise and

play22:24

commercials he shot for the team even

play22:27

today after retirement he's on TV

play22:29

commercials and has become a commentator

play22:31

his gutsy performance as a 17-year-old

play22:35

led to notoriety that lasted his entire

play22:38

life so it's no surprise players will

play22:40

risk their future to pitch in this

play22:42

tournament even if it seems like child

play22:45

abuse to Americans in 2013 a pitcher who

play22:48

had a similar performance made headlines

play22:50

in America Tomah hero and Raku had

play22:52

carried his team to the finals pitching

play22:54

almost every inning of five games in

play22:56

nine days while nursing fatigue and a

play23:00

hand injury but in the finals ended up

play23:02

losing

play23:04

17-1 he lost all of his Effectiveness

play23:07

out of nowhere and despite the blowout

play23:09

was only removed from the game after his

play23:13

772nd pitch of the tournament this made

play23:16

headlines in America a scout interviewed

play23:18

in one piece said he was the number one

play23:20

Prospect in Japan but after the final

play23:23

his career was in Jeopardy UD dar's

play23:25

agent described the Chatman as nothing

play23:27

less than child abuse and Raku didn't

play23:30

pitch again for months due to injury he

play23:33

made his professional debut 2 years

play23:35

later where his fast ball was 4 mph

play23:38

slower than it was in high school he has

play23:41

since battled injuries throughout his

play23:42

young career it's easy to blame his high

play23:45

pitch count for the injuries and dismiss

play23:47

Japanese pitching methods as dangerous

play23:49

however if that was true you'd expect to

play23:52

see Japanese pitchers getting hurt way

play23:55

more often than American pitchers which

play23:57

isn't the the case the only research

play23:59

available on this studied an ml

play24:01

organization and an mpb organization and

play24:03

found M Mo players get injured 3.7 times

play24:07

more frequently than players in Japan

play24:10

the study also found no significant

play24:12

difference in injuries between pitchers

play24:14

in MLB and in mpb there is real reason

play24:18

to believe that throwing more pitches

play24:20

even at a young age builds more

play24:22

endurance and strength and actually

play24:24

protects a pitcher's arm but even in

play24:27

Japan this is open for debate the koshan

play24:29

just implemented a new rule that bans

play24:31

pitchers from throwing more than 500

play24:34

pitches in a week in order to protect

play24:37

them but this is still two to three

play24:40

times more pitches than any major leager

play24:42

would ever throw in a week the real

play24:44

danger for pitchers isn't necessarily

play24:46

throwing a lot of pitches it's throwing

play24:48

a lot of pitches while injured which

play24:50

happens all the time in the kosan

play24:52

because playing in it to many is a

play24:54

bigger honor than even playing in the

play24:56

pros but for players who do want to play

play24:58

in the pros it's just as important

play25:01

because it's the number one place for

play25:02

amateur players to get scouted and seen

play25:04

players like show Otani Ichiro dice K

play25:07

Matsuzaka Hideki Matsui U darish and

play25:11

many many more had their careers jump

play25:13

started at the Kosen then went on to

play25:16

become Japan's biggest baseball Legend

play25:18

so there's no surprise why high

play25:20

schoolers will play through injuries

play25:22

live strict regimented lives go through

play25:24

7 hours of practice a day and often

play25:26

times in

play25:28

actual physical abuse for a chance to

play25:30

play in it and improve their chances of

play25:32

going pro but once they leave high

play25:35

school and do go to the pros the

play25:37

training and lifestyle there is

play25:39

shockingly similar Warren Kamari

play25:41

described playing professional baseball

play25:43

in Japan as quote serving in the

play25:46

Japanese Imperial Army Charlie Manuel

play25:49

says the coaching was so strict and

play25:50

regimented his coach was in charge of

play25:53

when he was able to change his socks for

play25:55

Americans professional baseball and

play25:57

Japan results in major culture shock

play26:00

just ask Rod Allen who after being

play26:03

targeted by a pitch charged the mound

play26:05

but instead of the pitcher defending

play26:07

himself on the mound ran away he chased

play26:10

him dodging multiple people while the

play26:12

pitcher ran across the infield into the

play26:14

Outfield being chased by Rod Allen and

play26:17

dozens of other players the fight ended

play26:19

without any punches but Rod Allen was

play26:22

still exhausted this would probably

play26:24

never happen in America but the major

play26:26

difference between professional baseball

play26:28

in Japan and the US is that it's

play26:30

probably three times more work the mpb

play26:33

has a long history of famously strict

play26:35

managers in 1977 Giants manager tetsu

play26:38

Hara kawakami forbid his players wives

play26:42

from requesting sex from his players so

play26:46

that they would be able to conserve

play26:47

their energy the team also banned

play26:49

players from Reading comic books in

play26:52

public to protect their image the Sabu

play26:55

Lions had a rule that Bann players from

play26:57

from being in commercials tetsuro Hoka

play27:00

once banned his team from drinking soda

play27:04

he also didn't let his players see their

play27:07

girlfriends during the season because he

play27:09

thought it was a distraction and put

play27:11

every player on a strict diet of fish

play27:14

soybeans brown rice tofu and soup he

play27:18

would even call his players at night to

play27:21

make sure they were in bed by 12:00

play27:23

after a disappointing season in 1984 he

play27:25

ordered a postseason camp that lasted 3

play27:29

months instead of going home for the off

play27:31

season players were required to do 8

play27:33

hours of drills a day take 600 swings

play27:37

every day and pitchers were made to

play27:39

throw

play27:40

430 pitches a day when they didn't do

play27:43

baseball he had his players do other

play27:45

things like swimming and a Kido this was

play27:49

an Infamous training camp and not normal

play27:51

even in Japan however fall camp like

play27:54

this but less intense is a thing that

play27:56

team still do today Major Leaguers end

play27:59

their season in October then go home

play28:01

until spring training in February in

play28:03

Japan players are expected to report for

play28:05

more practice as soon as the season ends

play28:08

it typically lasts a month followed by

play28:10

spring training which starts on the 1st

play28:12

of February so many mpb players off

play28:15

season is just one month when spring

play28:18

training does start it is not relaxed

play28:20

like it is an MLB it's common for mpb

play28:23

pitchers to do Naga Comey sessions

play28:25

essentially throwing as many pitches as

play28:27

physically possible in 2014 takuma Aria

play28:30

threw 341 pitches in one Bullpen it's

play28:34

normal for players to take part in the

play28:36

1,000 Fungo drill a famous drill in

play28:38

Japan where a coach hits ground balls to

play28:40

a Fielder until they quit get sick pass

play28:43

out or field 1,000 balls a young

play28:46

infielder for the Giants passed out

play28:48

doing this in 2014 requiring a cardia

play28:51

massage from a trainer spring training

play28:53

in Japan is about building strength and

play28:56

mental will like like this infielder who

play28:58

was recorded taking swings relentlessly

play29:01

for hours until he was on the brink of

play29:03

exhaustion and his hands were covered in

play29:06

blisters this would never happen in the

play29:08

US where spring training usually

play29:10

consists of a few hours of instruction

play29:12

then players basically left to their own

play29:14

devices to slowly build themselves up

play29:17

for a long season in Japan they can go

play29:20

through an intense 7-hour practice

play29:22

followed by hours of studying all

play29:24

enforced by the organization players are

play29:27

so used to this when American Bobby

play29:29

Valentine was hired to manage a team in

play29:31

Japan and put the team through a more

play29:33

relaxed American style training camp

play29:36

with less running less intensity and

play29:38

more rest the players literally revolted

play29:41

and held their own secret practices

play29:44

behind the manager's back so they could

play29:46

get more practice in the players are

play29:48

used to strict regimented lives each

play29:51

team has their own dormitories where

play29:53

young players are required to live they

play29:55

have a dormatory direct whose job it is

play29:58

to wake them all up at the same time

play30:00

make sure they all eat make sure they're

play30:02

all eating healthy and even is in charge

play30:05

of making sure they all bathe players

play30:07

live in these dormitories throughout the

play30:09

entire season and have to request

play30:11

permission every time they want to leave

play30:14

they have a strict curfew that if is

play30:16

broken results in a fine and in some

play30:19

cases even worse like the famous story

play30:22

of sun no huchi according to him he was

play30:25

beaten by his legendary Co coach Sahara

play30:28

o in a bathtub because he broke curfew

play30:31

too many times most of the players in

play30:33

dormitories are in the organization's

play30:35

minor league team but many teams require

play30:38

all players to live in dorms for their

play30:40

first several years no matter how good

play30:42

they are meaning there are legitimate

play30:43

Stars worth millions in Japan who still

play30:46

live in small dorm rooms sharing a space

play30:49

with dozens of other minor Leaguers most

play30:52

players leave the dorms as soon as

play30:54

possible to gain their freedom but the

play30:55

most dedicated players are known to stay

play30:58

as long as possible for example sh Otani

play31:01

had won League MVP and was already the

play31:03

most famous athlete in Japan while still

play31:07

living in the team dormatory Ichiro

play31:09

elected to live in the dorms into his

play31:12

sixth season even though he was League

play31:14

MVP in order to live closer to the

play31:16

batting cages in one extreme case a

play31:19

pitcher named shagi noguchi became the

play31:21

best pitcher in the organization won an

play31:23

mpb Championship a league MVP an RA

play31:27

title and had a salary of $1 million he

play31:31

still voluntarily lived in the team dorm

play31:34

all year so he could solely focus on

play31:36

baseball after his 11th year in the dorm

play31:40

at 28 years old he finally left after

play31:43

his team strongly recommended it was

play31:45

time to get his own place it's hard to

play31:47

imagine any Star athlete in America

play31:49

living in dormitories especially by

play31:52

choice but in Japan athletes are much

play31:54

less individualistic and are essentially

play31:56

seen as employees of their team in fact

play32:00

most players don't even really own their

play32:02

own likeness if a player gets an

play32:04

endorsement it has to be organized

play32:06

through their team who has to approve it

play32:09

and even takes a cut in the past some

play32:11

teams have even banned their players

play32:13

from doing commercials because they were

play32:15

seen as a distraction costing players

play32:18

tens of thousands of dollars by

play32:20

comparison mpb players have

play32:22

significantly less rights in fact it was

play32:24

illegal for professional baseball

play32:26

players to have their own agents until

play32:30

2001 even today player agents have to be

play32:33

a licensed lawyer and are only allowed

play32:36

to have one baseball client since only

play32:38

having one client isn't enough to have a

play32:41

lucrative business baseball agents in

play32:43

Japan still aren't really a thing

play32:46

holding out or even haggling management

play32:48

for larger contracts is frowned upon and

play32:50

looked at as selfish in Japan despite

play32:53

this in the 75e history of npb there has

play32:57

only been one player strike the fans

play33:00

were so angry and players felt so guilty

play33:03

that during the strike they still agreed

play33:05

to play games during the weekday while

play33:09

they were on strike on days they didn't

play33:11

they agreed to sign autographs at the

play33:13

stadium for the entire day and the

play33:16

strike only ended up lasting 2 days on

play33:19

the complete opposite side of the

play33:21

spectrum MLB players have been involved

play33:23

in nine work stoppages have seen player

play33:25

salaries multiply regularly through

play33:27

negotiations with ownership have strong

play33:29

armed the team and League to provide a

play33:32

ton of luxury for players and have

play33:33

created one of the strongest unions in

play33:35

the world where it's actually considered

play33:37

selfish not to negotiate and do whatever

play33:39

you can to get the biggest contract

play33:41

possible so based on this

play33:43

individualistic mindset which is common

play33:45

in America it's no surprise that when

play33:47

MLB players have come to Japan they've

play33:50

become some of the most hated players in

play33:52

the country just ask Kevin trabber who

play33:54

was targeted and hit by this pitch

play33:57

three times the third time he charged

play34:00

the mound the pitcher ran away all the

play34:03

way into the Outfield trabber chased him

play34:06

across the field caught up to him

play34:08

tackled him then was apparently kicked

play34:10

in the face by the opposing manager

play34:13

upset about this Traer went back to the

play34:15

Dugout pretended to calm down then Beed

play34:18

for the manager to get revenge he pushed

play34:21

the catcher out of the way but lost his

play34:23

balance and fell on his face then got

play34:26

kicked in in the face by the same

play34:28

manager for the second time historically

play34:30

foreign players haven't necessarily been

play34:32

accepted and dozens of them have stories

play34:34

and incidents just like this but before

play34:36

we get to that a quick word from today's

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we're low on cash but usually your bank

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FDIC in MPP teams are only allowed to

play36:06

have four foreign players at a time in

play36:08

the past this number was even lower at

play36:10

times there was even talk about banning

play36:13

foreign players altogether these players

play36:15

often get paid more than Japanese

play36:17

players have agents aren't used to the

play36:19

demanding practices and depending on

play36:21

their status might do their own training

play36:23

regimen away from the team in the 80s

play36:25

the commissioner of npb himself said

play36:29

that foreigners were quote overpaid

play36:32

underproductive and generally annoying

play36:35

this was the commissioner of the league

play36:37

often times foreign players have said

play36:39

just as disrespectful things about Japan

play36:41

Kevin Mitchell came to Japan only to

play36:43

quit 2 months later saying quote the

play36:46

Japanese are dirty I really dislike them

play36:49

this was after he suffered a knee injury

play36:51

wanted to rest but the team was

play36:53

insistent that he play through the pain

play36:56

probably hoping to return to MLB one day

play36:58

it's understandable that he didn't want

play37:00

to risk further injury but in Japan if

play37:03

you're the highest paid player on the

play37:04

team it's pretty disrespectful not to do

play37:07

everything you can to get back on the

play37:09

field to help them just 7 years earlier

play37:12

Choi marada tore his UCL an injury that

play37:16

requires Tommy John and takes over a

play37:18

year to heal desperate to get back on

play37:20

the mound he continued to throw 100 or

play37:23

more pitches every single day with a

play37:26

torn UCL his arm supposedly swelled two

play37:30

to three times its normal size but he

play37:32

continued to throw and heal his arm

play37:35

through sheer will doctors didn't know

play37:37

what was wrong trainers didn't help he

play37:39

tried acupuncture massages and even

play37:42

attempted electroshock therapy he

play37:45

eventually went to a remote island where

play37:47

he practiced Zen meditation did extended

play37:50

fast swam in ice cold water tried

play37:53

putting hot wax on his arm to heal it

play37:55

and even wrapped his arm in snake skin

play37:58

that had been soaked in whiskey for 8

play38:01

years hoping it would suck out the

play38:03

poison at one point his arm became so

play38:05

deformed from throwing every day with a

play38:08

torn UCL his team had to give him a

play38:11

cease and desist letter that forbid him

play38:14

from throwing Choi was apparently so

play38:16

embarrassed he wasn't able to pitch he

play38:19

even gave his wife permission to divorce

play38:22

him but after all of this Choi met with

play38:24

a doctor who suggested a new procedure

play38:27

called Tommy John surgery he became the

play38:30

first Japanese player to ever get the

play38:32

surgery and after 827 days he returned

play38:35

to the mound at 63 years old he could

play38:38

still throw 84 mph the complete and

play38:41

utter dedication to the team is hard to

play38:43

Fathom for MLB players coming to Japan

play38:46

according to Scott Anderson in his first

play38:48

year in Japan he witnessed his manager

play38:50

gather the entire team to watch him slap

play38:53

the team shortstop in the face until he

play38:56

was red because he made two errors

play38:59

Anderson was shocked he approached the

play39:01

player told him he shouldn't let the

play39:03

manager do that and even offered him to

play39:05

take him to the police station and

play39:07

testify on his behalf the player

play39:09

responded by saying quote no it was an

play39:13

honor to have such a great man educate

play39:16

me to say this is an extreme culture

play39:18

shock is an understatement Clyde Wright

play39:20

says that after losing two straight

play39:22

games in Japan his team suggested he

play39:25

send his wife back home to America in

play39:28

one tragic example Randy bass and npb

play39:31

Legend had to return to his home in

play39:32

Oklahoma in the middle of a season to

play39:34

take care of his son who had a brain

play39:36

tumor when he did not return to Japan by

play39:39

the agreed upon date fans questioned his

play39:42

loyalty to the team and he was dropped

play39:45

from the organization to make matters

play39:48

even worse the Tigers tasked their GM to

play39:50

try to get bass to return to the team

play39:53

while negotiating a deal that would

play39:55

prevent the team from having to pay

play39:57

bass's son's medical bills when bass

play40:00

turned this offer down the general

play40:01

manager felt so stressed from the high

play40:04

expectations and embarrassed for not

play40:06

being able to get bass back to Japan he

play40:09

committed suicide this is an example of

play40:12

how seriously Japanese culture takes the

play40:14

duty of being dedicated to your

play40:16

profession putting work in front of

play40:18

family and health is normal and even

play40:20

respected so for hardcore Japanese fans

play40:23

players like bass refusing to make the

play40:25

same sacrifice for the team is extremely

play40:28

disrespectful because it means they're

play40:30

not taking Japanese baseball seriously

play40:32

and are just there to get a check Japan

play40:35

has always been known as a isolationist

play40:38

country in fact in 1981 a study found

play40:41

that 64% of Japanese people didn't want

play40:44

to associate with foreigners when Leon

play40:47

Lee came to Japan he was forced to sell

play40:50

his Mercedes because the team banned

play40:53

players from driving foreign cars and a

play40:55

trade war and Rising tensions between

play40:58

the US and Japan in the80s made things

play41:01

even worse for American players who

play41:03

often complained that despite their

play41:05

great numbers it felt like the country

play41:07

and League were actively rooting against

play41:09

them and in some cases this was actually

play41:13

true when Daryl Spencer was about to

play41:15

become the first foreign player to win

play41:16

the Triple Crown he got walked over 20

play41:20

times in a row to prevent him from

play41:22

hitting another home run he even went to

play41:24

the plate with his Bat upside down and

play41:27

they still walked him to prevent him

play41:29

from getting the triple crown for

play41:31

decades when a foreign player challenged

play41:33

an important record they would get this

play41:35

treatment Randy bass only needed one

play41:37

home run with two games left to tie the

play41:39

single season home run record in Japan

play41:41

ironically these two games were against

play41:43

a team managed by sadaharu o the man who

play41:47

held the record to prevent Bass from

play41:50

getting a chance to tie the record

play41:52

pitchers on the team were threatened

play41:54

with $11,000 f LS for every strike they

play41:58

threw to Bass he got walked six times in

play42:01

two games and never got the record in

play42:03

2001 Tuffy rhods tied the record with

play42:05

three games left to play he also had to

play42:07

play against a team managed by sadara o

play42:11

they attempted to walk him four straight

play42:13

times rhs got mad swung anyway grounded

play42:15

out twice and never broke the record the

play42:17

next year Alex Cabrera was one Homer

play42:20

away from tying the record with 13 games

play42:23

left according to him in his last 20 at

play42:25

bats he got one strike including a game

play42:28

against sadara O's team where he got

play42:30

walked twice and got hit by a pitch

play42:33

while a hawks catcher was seen smiling

play42:35

in approval of the walks he apparently

play42:37

got Revenge by running over a catcher

play42:39

while coming home and said after the

play42:41

game that o refused to let him break the

play42:43

record but sadara o and others on the

play42:46

team maintain that the team refused to

play42:48

let these players challenge the record

play42:50

on their own against the manager's

play42:53

wishes eventually This Record was broken

play42:56

by by a foreigner and O was

play42:58

congratulatory in fact many foreign

play43:00

players have been embraced by Japanese

play43:02

fans and as time goes on it's become

play43:04

more common Randy bass himself became a

play43:07

celebrity becoming so recognizable he

play43:09

got paid

play43:12

$185,000 to shave his beard in a

play43:15

marketing campaign Brad Leslie became

play43:17

beloved for his insane Antics like

play43:19

slicing players after strikeouts

play43:21

entering the mound on a golf cart and

play43:23

punching his catcher as hard as possible

play43:26

after getting saved he was nicknamed the

play43:28

animal for his psycho behavior and even

play43:31

recorded a hit song in Japan this led to

play43:35

Decades of stardom and a game show

play43:37

career in Japan well after he retired

play43:40

American players who failed in MLB were

play43:42

becoming stars in Japan so the

play43:45

perception in the US was that Japanese

play43:47

players were significantly worse than

play43:49

MLB players which made sense America had

play43:53

been playing baseball for half a century

play43:55

longer than Japan the US started sending

play43:57

teams to face Japanese teams in

play43:59

exhibition games in 1908 by 1955 the US

play44:03

teams were 71 and one against the

play44:07

Japanese in 1971 the Orioles faced what

play44:10

was considered the best Japanese team of

play44:12

all time and beat them eight times in a

play44:15

row in 1981 the Royals faced the

play44:17

Japanese All-Star team while having a

play44:19

case of beer in The Dugout and still

play44:22

went 97 and one the 1984 Orioles claimed

play44:26

that the Japanese host actively tried to

play44:28

take them out after each game and get

play44:31

them drunk so that they would play worse

play44:33

the next day they still went 85 and one

play44:36

after a team of Japanese Allstars went 1

play44:38

and six against a team of MLB allstar in

play44:41

1986 a Japanese player said quote we're

play44:44

a group of little Leaguers playing

play44:46

adults we can never challenge the

play44:48

Americans but however true this was at

play44:51

the time it was about to change by 1995

play44:56

there hadn't been a single Japanese

play44:58

player in MLB in 30 years this was due

play45:02

to the reserve Clause a policy that had

play45:05

been deemed illegal in American baseball

play45:07

in

play45:08

1975 was still around in Japan 20 years

play45:12

later it basically states that when a

play45:14

team drafts a player that player is

play45:17

property of that team their entire

play45:20

career there was no free agency so the

play45:23

only way a player can play for another

play45:25

team was to get traded or released no

play45:28

mpb team was going to release a player

play45:31

good enough to play an ML and a trade

play45:33

with an ml team was impossible so the

play45:35

second a player got drafted in Japan

play45:37

their MLB chances were over until hideo

play45:41

Nomo he was the best pitcher in Japan

play45:44

and in 1994 hired an agent which was

play45:47

illegal in mppb however this notorious

play45:50

agent Dom namura discovered a loophole

play45:53

noo wanted out of Japan but was property

play45:56

of the buffalos until he was released

play45:58

traded or retired so in an extremely

play46:01

risky move devised by his agent he

play46:04

retired at 25 years old the move

play46:07

essentially prohibited Nomo from

play46:08

pitching in Japan ever again instead he

play46:11

took a pay cut to sign a minor league

play46:14

contract with the Dodgers a decision

play46:17

that caused so much backlash in Japan

play46:20

his own father who said he was

play46:22

embarrassing his former team stopped

play46:25

talking to his son all together at first

play46:28

Nomo was seen as an enemy for turning

play46:30

his back on Japan then he started

play46:33

pitching he shocked the World by

play46:35

immediately dominating the league but

play46:37

what was even more shocking was the

play46:39

media frenzy he created and insane 15

play46:42

camera Crews showed up to his press

play46:44

conference camera Crews would follow him

play46:46

into bathrooms his wife had to stop

play46:48

leaving the house Al together because

play46:50

the media attention was too much Nomo

play46:52

was a rookie and getting 10 times the

play46:55

attention ention as anyone on the

play46:57

Dodgers all of a sudden he was a hero in

play46:59

Japan the Dodgers got massive spikes in

play47:01

attendance every time he pitched sold

play47:03

millions in noo merch and even put a

play47:06

sushi restaurant in Dodger Stadium to

play47:09

adhere to the influx of Japanese fans

play47:11

when he pitched in the All-Star Game 15

play47:14

million people in Japan watched that's

play47:16

twice the number of people who watched

play47:18

the MLB All-Star Game this past season

play47:20

just in Japan alone Nomo led the league

play47:23

in strikeouts won Rookie of the Year

play47:24

finished third inside Young voting and

play47:26

perhaps most importantly each game he

play47:28

pitched was broadcasted in Japan and

play47:31

watched by millions MLB realized that

play47:34

Japan not only had players who could

play47:35

dominate they also had players who could

play47:38

bring the league millions in revenue

play47:40

from the massive Japanese Market a new

play47:43

system was quickly implemented that

play47:44

allowed Japanese players to go to an MLB

play47:47

team as long as that MLB team paid a

play47:50

posting fee to the Japanese team MLB

play47:53

teams began paying Millions to mpb teams

play47:57

for their players and the mpb teams

play47:59

happily took the massive amounts of

play48:01

money by 2000 MLB went from having one

play48:04

Japanese player in their 100-year

play48:07

history to Having Eight at one time even

play48:11

having opening day in Japan to take full

play48:14

advantage of the new massive market then

play48:17

the very next year Ichiro showed up he

play48:20

was not only rookie of the year he was

play48:22

MVP of the league was an All-Star won a

play48:24

Silver Slugger and a gold glove people

play48:26

were so confident that Japanese hitters

play48:28

could never have success against MLB

play48:31

pitchers commentator Rob Dibble said he

play48:33

would wear a g string thong in Time

play48:36

Square if Ichiro won the batting title

play48:39

that year Ichiro also won the batting

play48:41

title and Rob Dibble had to wear a thong

play48:44

he not only became the most famous

play48:46

baseball player in the world he likely

play48:48

became the most famous person in Japan

play48:50

so famous that his own father created an

play48:53

Ichiro Museum next to to his childhood

play48:56

home which displayed a bunch of items he

play48:58

kept from Ichiro's childhood including

play49:01

Ichiro retainer the museum was not only

play49:05

a hit it still runs and operates today

play49:08

Ichiro inspired an entire generation of

play49:11

Japanese players and by 2008 there were

play49:14

18 Japanese players in MLB and sometimes

play49:17

their philosophies confused Americans

play49:20

like when Ichiro reportedly passed up on

play49:23

$22 Million worth of endorsements in one

play49:27

season because he thought they were a

play49:29

distraction to his duty of playing

play49:31

baseball Hadi Matsui got injured during

play49:34

a game while diving for a ball then

play49:37

apologized to fans for breaking his

play49:39

wrist and even more perplexing to

play49:42

Americans was when mitsui not only

play49:44

admitted to having a porn collection of

play49:46

over 50,000 movies during a press

play49:49

conference but also promised to give

play49:51

some of them to the writers between

play49:53

Ichiro Matsui and Nomo Japan had MLB

play49:56

stars but they also had MLB failures and

play49:59

nobody outside of Japan genuinely

play50:01

believed they had talent that came close

play50:03

to the skill level of America or Latin

play50:06

American countries but in 2006 they had

play50:09

a chance to prove it and it almost

play50:11

started a war the First World Baseball

play50:14

Classic in 2006 is one of the most

play50:16

pivotal moments in Japanese baseball

play50:18

history on paper they were extremely

play50:20

outmatched they had two major league

play50:22

players Team USA had 30 of them with a

play50:26

combined

play50:27

117 All-Star appearances six MVP awards

play50:31

and three Hall of Famers but their

play50:32

toughest competition ended up being

play50:34

Korea centuries of conflict and

play50:37

political turmoil between these two

play50:39

countries almost guaranteed this matchup

play50:42

would get personal and it did Ichiro

play50:45

became Public Enemy Number One in Korea

play50:47

after previous comments about how he

play50:49

visited the country and said it smelled

play50:52

like garlic also saying that he wanted

play50:54

to beat Korea Korea so bad they wouldn't

play50:57

have a chance for the next 30 years when

play51:00

they matched up Korea instantly sent a

play51:02

message by throwing a fast ball directly

play51:05

at him Korea won the first game but they

play51:07

played again a few days later in the

play51:09

next round where once again Korea upset

play51:12

Japan in what Ichiro described as quote

play51:15

the most humiliating loss of his entire

play51:18

life after the game Korea celebrated by

play51:21

planting a Korean flag on the mound as

play51:24

each looked on in complete and utter

play51:28

rage team Japan saw this as the ultimate

play51:31

sign of disrespect and got a chance at

play51:33

Revenge again in the semifinal Ichiro

play51:36

was booed relentlessly by Korean fans

play51:39

later the Korean third baseman caught a

play51:42

popup and tossed it towards Ichiro's

play51:44

feet and pitcher kimon hun even nailed a

play51:47

Japanese batter after they hit a homer

play51:50

off him Japan ended up getting their

play51:52

Revenge they beat Korea went to the

play51:54

final and and defeated Cuba to win the

play51:57

first ever WBC this final game was

play52:00

watched by 60 million people in Japan

play52:04

alone that's more than any World Series

play52:07

in history likely making it the most

play52:10

watched baseball game of all time as

play52:12

well as perhaps the most watched

play52:14

sporting event in Japanese history it

play52:16

was a cultural event and a legendary

play52:19

team if you search the 2006 WBC in

play52:22

Japanese you will see clips of this team

play52:25

with millions and millions of views if

play52:27

you search it in English you're going to

play52:30

find basically nothing in America this

play52:33

tournament is completely forgotten

play52:35

despite the Stacked roster they finished

play52:38

seventh and most people dismissed it as

play52:40

an exhibition that by no means proved

play52:43

Japanese baseball was anywhere close to

play52:46

American baseball a team with basically

play52:48

no major league Talent winning the

play52:49

tournament felt like a fluke but 3 years

play52:52

later they won it again this time time

play52:55

beating the United States head-to-head

play52:58

and once again reaching viewership

play52:59

numbers that no baseball game in America

play53:02

could come close to these players were

play53:05

unknown to the rest of the world and

play53:07

stuck in mpb but many of them would go

play53:09

on to come to America and have amazing M

play53:12

Mo careers on top of that at the Youth

play53:15

Level Japan also excelled in littley

play53:18

going on to win four of the next seven

play53:20

World Series but despite dominating

play53:23

International competition Japan's

play53:25

reputation still lagged behind the

play53:28

United States the Dominican Republic and

play53:30

perhaps even several other Latin

play53:32

American countries in 2017 there were

play53:35

only eight Japanese players in MLB this

play53:38

gave Americans the impression that there

play53:41

were only eight Japanese players good

play53:44

enough to play an MLB in reality there

play53:47

were dozens and this is why unlike

play53:50

countries in Latin America and Taiwan

play53:52

and even Korea many Japanese players can

play53:54

actually make more money in Japan where

play53:57

they are stars in fact npb is the second

play54:01

highest attended Sports league in the

play54:03

world in 2019 NPP surpassed MLB in

play54:09

average attendance per game they have 15

play54:12

less teams and 400 less games a year

play54:15

than NBA yet draw 5 million more fans

play54:19

than NBA does every single season to put

play54:22

into context how massive baseball has

play54:25

become in Japan this past season 32

play54:29

million people watched game seven of the

play54:31

Japan series that's more than the

play54:34

average 2023 World Series game NBA

play54:36

Finals game and Stanley Cup Finals game

play54:39

combined the league is so popular and

play54:42

important in Japan that players grow up

play54:44

dreaming of npb success many have no

play54:47

desire to play an MLB at all Ichiro's

play54:50

stardom and success in America had

play54:52

inspired an influx of Japanese talent in

play54:54

the the 2000s but by the late 2010s the

play54:58

number of Japanese players dwindled the

play55:00

ones in MLB weren't coming close to the

play55:03

production and star power of Ichiro

play55:05

Japan was likely better at baseball than

play55:08

ever but with their talent staying in

play55:11

npb there was no way for them to prove

play55:14

it against the best competition in the

play55:16

world then shohi showed up in Japan

play55:20

Otani voluntarily lived in the team