This is part of a series of shorter posts recapping some of the more whimsical aspects of 2011, and not necessarily having to do with any of the main topics covered by this blog.
As some of these posts may indicate, I’m a bit of a fan of certain American sports. So I may as well address the one sport that is popular in both the United States and Japan, baseball. There were two particular series in the spring where baseball featured, Denpa Onna and Moshidora.
In Denpa Onna daily baseball games at the local field were typically one-sided. Niwa would take his strikeout every time he came to bat. However, in the final chance he got to face the ace pitcher Hanazawa, he created his own luck. Those strikeouts gave him the knowledge that he had to swing first pitch on that low fastball. And connect he did. Though to be fair, without extraterrestrial intervention via insane wind, it would have been a long out, it’s hard to get lucky without putting the ball in play.
Then there’s the case of Moshidora based entirely off of running a high school baseball team like a business. While it may be easy to see paranormal forces guiding the team to Koshien, it really came down to a tactical problem raised by the manager in the first episode. His only good pitcher was consistently failing above 100 pitches, so in order to get that down he had to convince his pitcher to pitch to contact and have his fielders play more aggressively to deal with the increased action. On the other hand, he decided they were no longer going to concede outs by bunting. A fairly normal choice in American baseball, but almost unheard of in Japanese high school baseball.
While there were climactic ends in both of these series, I couldn’t help but draw parallels to this year’s World Series. The Cardinals, down to their last strike twice in game 6 when facing elimination had to turn to using pitchers to pinch hit after using up all of their bench players. David Freeze hit a deep flyball on which would have ended the game had it been caught, but luck and the bad play of the right fielder meant they tied the game. He had an opportunity to step up to the plate again and ended the game with a home run to center.
Real life can indeed be more fantastic than average fiction.