Jim Allen – Kyodo News: I’ve written about this in the past, but a baseball life is not linear. The idea that there is an easily definable beginning, middle, and end to a baseball career is erroneous at best and harmful at worst. Kyuki Fujikawa still trucking along at the age of 39 and taking over the reins as a lockdown closer for the Hanshin Tigers is further proof of that fact. Just like some young players won’t succeed right away some veterans aren’t done when all the conventional wisdom says they should be.
Jason Coskrey – The Japan Times: One of my favorite things in baseball is watching as players who couldn’t make it in Major League Baseball for some reason carve out long careers somewhere else. Maybe they weren’t quite good enough for MLB, maybe the timing of their big league chance was off, or maybe they simply feel more comfortable somewhere else. Long after MLB forgot about Wladimir Balentien he continues to slug his way through Nippon Professional Baseball pitchers. He’s coming up on the end of his 9th season in NPB, all spent with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. Watching Coco put together a terrific career in Japan has been a real treat.
Rob Arthur – Baseball Prospectus: Who would have thought that MLB teams choosing to be bad for large stretches of time would have negative attendance results? In all seriousness, though the work of Arthur may be obvious, that doesn’t change the fact that MLB does not care. Rob Manfred and his cronies do not care that attendance is down, that future generations of fans are being driven away, or that the very future of their organization is in trouble. They are making money now, that’s all they care about, future fans be damned.
Lead photo courtesy of Pokotaro – WikiMedia