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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Besuboru Guy—High School Baseball

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***  *** 
On this day in Round and Square History 
4 September 2012—Just Do It Over—Nine Lives (b)
4 September 2011—Hurtin' Country—Two Doors Down

[a] Individual and Society RF
可飛ばせ, 中山!
Let 'er rip, Nakayama!  OR
Fly to base, Nakayma!
—Common Japanese baseball chant
(Nakayama is a very common surname, like "Daniels")

And some of the most popular players to let 'er rip (and fly to base) are otherwise busy Japanese high school students.

The annual high school baseball tournament in Japan is so popular that almost anything other than the professional pennant races and playoffs pale in comparison. 
[b] Spirit RF

National audiences watch the best high school teams from all over the islands compete for the honor of playing in Kōshien Stadium—the oldest and most storied baseball stadium in all of Japan.

High school baseball doesn't work exactly like it does in the United States, and these tournaments also create a sort of feeder system to the pros. The names of great players who have participated is long, and the drama is intense (and televised both locally in the opening rounds...and nationally for the final rounds).

Americans are often drawn to compare it to the NCAA basketball tournament in terms of popularity, and the comparison is apt. Still, I have what I regard as an even better parallel:

The Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament.


[If you don't read Japanese, but want to have some sense of the Japanese kana and kanji in these posts, just copy the phrases and paste them into translation software such as Babylon or Google Translate].
[c] Venerable Kōshien RF
[Originally posted on August 27, 2014]

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