billsportsmaps.com

April 29, 2009

England: 2008-09 Conference (aka Blue Square Premier League): the Promoted Club and the 4 Clubs in the Playoffs.

Filed under: 2008-09 English Football,Eng. Non-League,Football Stadia — admin @ 12:53 pm

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The 2008-’09 Conference season went down to the wire.  Burton Albion just held on to win the league and gain the sole automatic promotion.  Burton’s form had plummeted following ex-manager Nigel Clough’s January exit.  It will be the Staffordshire club’s first-ever appearance in the Football League.  The town of Burton upon Trent did once have League representation,  though,  from 1892 to 1910,  with Burton Swifts and Burton United.  BSFC merged with Burton Wanderers to form BUFC, in 1901,  but the club folded in 1910.  

Burton Albion were formed in 1950.  The club was promoted from the 6th Level Southern League,  to the Conference,  in 2002.  They moved into the all-mod-cons Pirelli Stadium in 2005.  This ground has a capacity of 6,500,  2,000 of which is seated.  Burton upon Trent is located in Staffordshire,  38 km. (23 miles) north of Birmingham.  It sort of sits on the divide between the East Midlands and the West Midlands.  The town’s population is 61,000 (2001 estimate),  and is best known for it’s brewing heritage.  It is currently home to 5 brewers {see this}.  So one can see why the club is called the Burton Albion Brewers.

Four clubs will battle for the second promotion spot.  The four playoff clubs are a good representation of the rather wide variation of clubs in the 5th Level these days.  Two clubs,  Torquay United and Cambridge United,  boast League history. 

Cambridge United have spent 35 seasons in the League,  including 9 seasons in the 2nd Level.  CUFC were relegated out of the League,  to the Conference,  in 2005.  The club boasts a decent sized fan base, and had the second highest average attendance in the Conference in 08/09,  drawing 3,410 per game.  The highest average attendance CUFC attained was in 1991-92,  when they began their last, 2-season spell in the old Division One (the 2nd Level),  and drew 7,084 per game to the Abbey Stadium.  This was the Cambridge United that featured in the influential book Fever Pitch,  by Nick Hornby. 

Torquay United spent 73 consecutive seasons in the League,  but were never able to get higher than the 3rd Level.  They were relegated in 2007,  and made the playoffs last season,  losing in the final to Exeter City.  The club had a good FA Cup run this season, making it to the Fourth Round.   {see this post I made in January,  which includes a Torquay United gallery}.

One club, in the ’09 Conference playoffs,  Histon,  is a little over 100 years old,  but has never been higher than this level,  and this is just their second season in the Conference.  The club is located just a couple miles outside of Cambridge.  Their Bridge Road ground is the second-smallest ground in the League (Lewes’ ground was smaller, but they are going back down to the 6th Level in 09/10).   

The fourth club in the Conference playoffs,  Stevenage Borough,  were formed relatively recently (in 1976),  but have been trying for 15 years to get into the promised land of the League.  [Note: Wikipedia has the wrong 08/09 home jersey design for SBFC; I would try to get it changed if I knew how, but it's pretty late in the season anyway.]  Stevenage Borough were denied entrance to the League in 1993-’94),  when they won the Conference,  because their ground was not up to standards.  Now Broadhall Way is one of the best grounds in Non-League football.  Stevenage is in Hertfordshire,  43 km. (27 miles) north of London.

As far as average attendance goes,  four of the top 8 drawing clubs in the Conference are on this map.  Histon is the exception,  and as they are near the bottom of the attendance list,  the small club from the village of Impington can be seen as a club punching above their weight.  But considering how Histon beat Leeds United in the FA Cup earlier this season,  no one should be surprised if Histon advance in the playoffs.

Blue Square Premier League average attendance,  2008-2009 season {click here  (ITV.stats.football) }.   [Note: the top list is by percent capacity; the second list is by average.]    For the second straight season,  the highest-drawing Conference club was Oxford United.  Had it not been for a five-point deduction for roster irregularities,  Oxford would be in the playoffs right now,  as the chairman groused about Monday {see this (BBC)}.  Then he apoligized for calling the Conference “poxy”  {see this}.  He should realize that no club is too big for any league,  something Leeds United fans,  and maybe,  Newcastle United fans,  will need to come to grips with.

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The Conference playoffs begin Thursday, 30th April,  with Stevenage Borough v. Cambridge United.  The other match-up features Torquay United v. Histon,  on Friday, 1st May.  The second leg of both match-ups is on the following Monday, 4th May.  The final will be at Wembley, date TBD.

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While on the subject of Non-League football,  there is one story that should not go unmentioned…the fourth promotion in seven years for AFC Wimbledon  {see this article,  by David Conn in the Guardian.co.uk site}. 

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Thanks to Tony’s English Football site for gate figures and fixtures information {click here}.   Thanks to the contributors to the pages at Wikipedia {click here (set at Conference National page)}.   Thanks to BoroGuide.com {click here},  for the information on the 08/09 kit.   Thanks to Flick.com {click here}.   Thanks to Panoramio.com {click here}.   Thanks to the Geobytes site,  for their City Distance tool {click here}.   Thanks to the footy-mad site,  for League history of clubs {click here}.  Thanks to Jeremy at Albion Road site {click here},  for finding the first site last Sunday that had the Conference playoffs schedule  (at Tony’s English Football site,  of course). 

Thanks to VirtualGlobetrotting {click here}.  

April 26, 2009

MLB Ball Clubs and their Minor League Affiliates: the Philadelphia Phillies.

Filed under: Baseball Clubs/Farm Teams — admin @ 2:03 pm

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Below:  Philadelphia Phillies Auxillary Chart,  featuring selected uniforms and logos from the history of the Philadelphia Phillies franchise…established in 1883 as the Philadelphia Quakers (1883-1888);  Philadelphia Phillies (1889-2009).
 philadelphia_phillies_auxillary-chart2009_segment_b.gif

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Philadelphia Phillies page at Sports E-Cyclopedia {click here}.

Thanks to the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s “Dressed to the Nines” site,  featuring baseball uniforms templates drawn by Marc Okkonen {click here (set at Phillies 1945-1953)}.   Thanks to Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page {click here}.   Thanks to MLB shop {click here}.   Thanks to the Minor League Baseball site {click here}.   Thanks to Dugout Memories/ Cooperstown Gifts {click here}.   Thanks to Mitchell & Ness {click here}.   Thanks to the Phinally Philly site, for the image of the Harry Kalas memorial patch {click here}.   

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at Wikipedia {click here (Philadelphia Phillies page)}.

April 22, 2009

J. League, 2009: the 18 teams in J.1, with 2008 final table chart.

Filed under: Japan — admin @ 12:37 pm

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J. League, J.1 Table {click here (ESPN Soccernet)}.   The Rising Sun News site (‘A Celebration of Football in Japan’)  {click here}.

Official J. League site (translated) {click here}.

Thanks to BigSoccer.com {this thread, here}.   Thanks to the contibutors to the pages at Wikipedia {click here (J. League page)}.   Thanks to Demis.nl {click here}.

April 19, 2009

MLB Ball Clubs and their Minor League Affiliates: the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Filed under: Baseball Clubs/Farm Teams — admin @ 6:54 pm

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Below:  Pittsburgh Pirates Auxiliary Chart,  featuring selected logos and uniforms from the history of the Pittsburgh Pirates… Allegheny [no nickname],  established in the American Association (I) in 1882 (1882-1886 in the American Association);  Pittsburgh Allegheneys,  established in the National League in 1887 (1887-1890);  Pittsburgh Pirates (1891-2009).

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Pittsburgh Pirates page at Sports E-Cyclopedia {click here}.

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http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/pit/history/uniforms_logos.jsp

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Thanks to Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page {click here}.   Thanks to the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s “Dressed to the Nines” site, featuring baseball uniforms templates drawn by Marc Okkonoen {click here (set at Pirates, 1971-1979)}.   Thanks to MLB shop {click here}.   Thanks to MiLB shop {click here}.   Thanks to Fans Edge site {click here}. 

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at Wikipedia {Pittsburgh Pirates page, click here}.

April 16, 2009

Major League Soccer, 2009.

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MLS Major Trophy Winners, {click here}.

MLS week 4 power rankings,  from The Offside.com {click here}. 

Thanks to ProSoccer.com Ultimate Soccer Store {click here}.   Thanks to MLS Gear.com {click here}.   Thanks to the contibutors to the pages at Wikipedia {MLS Page,  here}.

April 13, 2009

MLB Ball Clubs and their Minor League Affiliates: the St. Louis Cardinals.

Filed under: Baseball Clubs/Farm Teams — admin @ 4:04 pm

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Below:  St. Louis Cardinals Auxiliary Chart, featuring selected uniforms and logos from the history of the St. Louis Cardinals franchise…established in the National League in 1892 as the St. Louis Brown Stockings (I) (1892-1898)/ St. Louis Perfectos (1899)/ St. Louis Cardinals (1900-2009).

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St. Louis Cardinals page at Sports E-Cyclopedia {click here}.

Thanks to the National Baseball Hall Of Fame’s “Dressed to the Nines”site, featuring baseball uniforms templates drawn by Marc Okkonen {click here (set at St. Louis Cardinals, 1939-1947)}.   Thanks to the MLB shop {click here}.   Thanks to the MiLB shop {click here}.   Thanks to CBS Sports store {click here}.   Thanks to the contributors to the St. Louis Cardinals page at Wikipedia {click here}.

April 7, 2009

Major League Baseball, 2008 attendance map.

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Please note: to see the most recent MLB paid-attendance map-and-post, click on the following: category: Baseball >paid-attendance.

On the map,  each MLB team’s 2008 average attendance is listed on the far right.  On the map itself, each ball club’s cap crest is sized to reflect their 2008 gate figures.   Last season’s overall attendance was the second highest ever,  at 32,516 per game, 1.4% behind the record-setting figures of 2007.

Here are the top 5 drawing ball clubs from 2008, and their gate figures from five seasons before, in 2003…

[One note...In 2008, the Boston Red Sox drew to 104.0% capacity, and the Chicago Cubs drew to 99.1% capacity  {capacity-based 2008 gate figures , here}.  Both these ball clubs have smaller sized parks than the top 5 teams listed below.  Of course,  much of the charm of Boston's Fenway Park and Chicago's Wrigley Field is just this intimate (and well-aged) atmosphere,  so it is sort of pointless to debate whether these two clubs would be pulling in top-5-drawing-ball-club numbers if their parks were bigger.  Because if their parks were bigger,  the two ball clubs wouldn't be playing in Fenway and Wrigley, but rather in new ball parks, because there is basically no room for significant expansion at both sites. And both the Red Sox and the Cubs would be crazy to move out of these priceless landmarks.]

1. New York Yankees. 2008: 53,069 per game / 2003: 42,785 [1st highest].  I remember going to Yankees games in the early 1990′s, when there would never be more than 25,000 on a weekday game. In 1990 , the Yankees averaged 24,771 per game. After the New York Yankees’ dominance of the 1996-2000 period (with 4 World Series Titles and 4 AL Pennants in 5 years), the crowds swelled.  By 2000,  the Yankees were averaging 38,193. There followed average gates of 40,811 (2001), 43,323 (2002), 42,263 (2003), 46,609 (2004), 50,502 (2005), 52,445 (2006), and 52,729 (2007).

The Yankees’ on-field failures in the latter part of the last five seasons have not in the least affected their gigantic crowds, but of course the gate figures will go down this season only because the new Yankee Stadium has a smaller capacity. Yankee Stadium (II) seats 52,325, around 4,100 less than the final capacity of  the old Yankee Stadium.  Compare this to the situation in the late 1980′s and early 1990′s.  After the Yankees great run in the late 1970′s and early 1980′s,  the organization started spending unwisely on a revolving door of over-the-hill players and/ or players unable to handle the full-glare media presence in New York City. The team underachieved for years, and fans just stopped showing up. People like to be associated with a winner. Of course, the Yankees did make the playoffs every season from 1995 to 2007,  and in comparison,  the Yankees did not make the playoffs from 1982 to 1994.  So even if the team plays in the most populous metropolitan area in the USA, the sparse crowds of the 1980′s and early 1990′s are understandable. 

The new stadium probably assures attendances won’t fall off, even if the Yankees continue to fall short of a successsful season…except for one crucial factor. That is the combination of increased ticket prices coming at a time of a severe economic downturn.  I guess we’ll see. One thing should be remembered: even in the Yankees’ greatest eras, their attendance was not as good as it has been in the last 12 years.

When Roger Maris hit his 61st home run on the last day of the 1961 season, there were just 23,154 in attendance (the Yankees averaged 21,577 that year, and that was a championship season). 

Many call the 1927 Yankees (featuring Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Bob Muesel, and Tony Lazzeri, aka “Murderers’ Row” {see this}) one of the (if not the ) greatest-ever baseball lineups.  Average attendance in Yankee Stadium in 1927 ?  15,117 per game {see this, from Baseball-Reference.com}. OK, granted, the bulk of home games then were during working hours, and NYC was far less populous than today. But still.

In 1978, the World Champion Yankees drew merely 28,855 per game en route to their second straight title. The Yankees’ highest gate figures through the 1970′s and 1980′s was in 1980, when the AL Pennant winning Yankees drew 32,437 per game.  So when was the Golden Age of Baseball? If you measure that by gate figures, we’re living in it. 

Here is Wikipedia’s page on the new Yankee Stadium {click here}.

2. New York Mets. 2008: 51,165 / 2003: 28,406 [16th highest in MLB]. In 2001, the year after the Mets last won the NL Pennant, the ball club drew 32,818 per game. Their average gate then shrunk by over 4,000 to 28,406 by 2003. This was in the bottom half of the league, at 16th highest. But the franchise turned this around mainly by improving their squad… By 2007, with their new crop of players coming into their own and bringing excitement to the dreary, unfriendly and jet-flight-path-cacaphonous confines of Shea Stadium (the place sucked,  basically), the crowds for Mets games increased dramatically (41,723 per game in 2006; 47,580 per game in 2007). And two straight seasons of choking in September will not hurt the gate figures this season. Nevertheless, the figures will go down, because like their cross-town rivals, the Mets are moving into a shiny new ball park with a smaller capacity. But it seems to me the Mets made their new park a bit too small.  Citi Field will seat just 42,000, which is 15,000 less than Shea Stadium, and 9,165 less than what the Mets drew last season. Maybe it won’t matter, and gate figures will start falling anyways, if the divided-by-cultures (Anglo players vs. Latin players) Mets team continues to meltdown when it matters most.  Here is a nice article about how crucial the 2009 season is for the Mets, by ex-Deadspin.com editor Will Leitch, from the March 15, 2009 edition of New York Magazine  {click here}.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers. 2008: 46,056 / 2003: 38,748 [4th highest]. A couple years ago, there was talk about how the Angels were starting to challenge the Dodgers for fan-base supremacy in southern California. But the Angels, as improved an organization as they are in the last decade, will probably never outdraw the Dodgers. Dodger Stadium is simply an incredible place. The entire stadium is re-painted every off-season, it is perpetually spic-and-span, and it is home to a ball club with as much tradition, history, and (eventual) success as any in the baseball world. And the voice of the Dodgers is the venerable and mellifluous Vin Scully. My brother told me about a Dodgers blog he came across called Vin Scully Is My Homeboy {click here}, which pretty much answers the question of whether the LA Dodgers will be able to tap into the ever-growing Latino baseball fan market, now that the Angels are owned by a Latin American.

4. St. Louis Cardinals. 2008: 42,353 / 2003: 35,930 [7th highest]. Speaking about first class organizations and huge fan bases, the Cardinals have drawn over 30,000 per game in 21 of their last 24 seasons. In the late 1970′s they were stagnating, though, and drew only 17,101 per game in 1980. The Cardinals won their ninth World Series title two seasons later, in 1982, and drew 26,073 per game that year. By 1985, the NL Pennant winning Cardinals were drawing 32,563 per game. Since then, the only years the ball club has drawn below 30,000 per game were in 1991 and 1992, when they drew in the 29,000′s; and in the strike-shortened 1995 season, when manager Joe Torre was fired midway through the season and the team finished 62-81 (the Cardinals drew 24, 344 per game that year). The next season, 1996, current manager Tony LaRussa took over, and the team’s fortunes and gate figures began their ascent. It is ironic to consider that the Cardinals had their worst recent year at the gate when Joe Torre was in charge, since Torre was the man who managed the Yankees to their last 4 Titles and shepherded the Bronx ball club into their most lucrative period ever. 

But getting back to St. Louis…their huge fan base has only gotten bigger after the opening of Busch Stadium (III) in 2006 {see the stadium’s page on Wikipedia, here}, and their surprise World Series title later that year. It was a surprise because that Cardinals team had peaked 2 seasons earlier, and at just 83-78, the 2006 Cardinals squeaked into the playoffs, where they shocked the Mets (who have never recovered) thanks to a late 7th game home run by weak hitting catcher Yadier Molina {recap, here}. The Cardinals, now veterans of the post-season grind, then used that momentum to dismantle the upstart Detroit Tigers in the Fall Classic, 4 games to 1. The 2006 St. Louis Cardinals became the team with the least amount of victories to ever win the World Series; it is their 10th World Series title, second to only the New York Yankees 27 World Series Titles.

5. Philadelphia Phillies. 2008: 42,254 / 2003: 28,973 [14th highest in MLB].  The Phillies went through decades of futility sprinkled with periods of disappointment, with only one World Series title (in 1980) in over 120 years of existence.  But last October, they buried a good deal of that negativity by bestowing the city of Philadelphia with it’s first major league sports title in 30 years. There are three factors which contributed to the Philadelphia Phillies’ near-100% capacity gate figures last year. First off, the club has had 7 out of 8 winning seasons since 2001.  Secondly, the city has always boasted committed (if ill-mannered) fans. And third, the Phillies moved into a new ball park in 2004 {Citizens Bank Park page at Wikipedia, here}.

The Phillies were drawing in the 30,000′s in the years leading up to their first championship in 1980. But the large crowds fell away as the years went by after that, and the franchise reached a level of mediocrity in a god-awful ugly Veterans Stadium that moldered in it’s concrete-encased,  plastic-turf covered gloom.  Te hugely entertaining NL Pennant winning Phillies of 1993, led by such colorful characters as John Kruk,  Mitch Williams,  and Kurt Schilling, produced a two-year spike in gate figures, with the ball club pulling in 38,737 per game in 1993. The next season showed almost the same figures, but by 1997, the ball club was in the basement, and the average gate was only 18,403.  The Phillies’ record improved in the years from 1998 to 2003 on a generally uphill progression, and the gate figures improved too, but not drastically, with the high point here being the last year in Veterans Stadium, 2003, with an average crowd of 27,901. 

Still that’s not half-bad for a horrible stadium,  perhaps the worst of it’s ilk,  which was the now-dreaded multi-purpose,  circular concrete stadium  {see this} {see this, on Veterans Stadium,  from BallParksOfBaseball.com site}. City planners thought they were pretty smart,  building stadiums for both their MLB and NFL teams. What they didn’t really look into was the fact that these stadiums were doomed to be lousy venues for both sports. 

These monstrosities plagued Major League Baseball throughout the 1960′s, the 1970′s, the 1980′s,  and into the mid-1990′s. There is little doubt, in retrospect, that this type of stadium began depressing baseball attendance figures by the mid 1980′s, when these stadiums began to age in a rather ungraceful way, and baseball fans began wondering why they weren’t being allowed to see their city skylines hidden behind a wall of usually empty outfield seats.  So much of the whole attraction of going to a ball game is the unique aspect of each ballpark, a factor which was eliminated by these multi-purpose behemoths. Sight lines were bad, and the seats were invariably too far away from the action on the field. And they were freaking ugly. In the multi-purpose heyday, circa 1985 or so,  about 40% of MLB cities were afflicted by these concrete purgatories…San Francisco, Oakland,  San Diego, Seattle, Houston, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Montreal, and New York (the Mets’ Shea Stadium). The only two that remain are the Minnesota Twins’ Metrodome, and the Oakland Athletics’ Oakland-Alameda County Stadium; and the Twins will be moving into a new, suitably retro-themed open-air ballpark called Target Field, next year {see this}. 

Oakland’s situation, though, is fraught with difficulties. When the NFL’s Raiders moved back to Oakland from Los Angeles (in 1995), the stadium got a Frankenstein makeover that left the Athletics fans behind home plate having to stare at a Death-Star-like structure looming behind center field, a sheer wall of nose-beed football seats that was soon dubbed “Mount Davis”, after the Raiders’ Mephistophelian owner, Al Davis {see this}. Something tells me this issue will never go away, and the A’s will have to move to Sacramento or Las Vegas, or learn to live with Mount Davis.

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All baseball fans owe a huge debt to the Baltimore Orioles organization of the early 1990′s, which oversaw the creation of the trailblazing Oriole Park at Camden Yards {see the ball park’s page at Wikipedia, here}. Since then 11 MLB franchises have followed suit by building similar asymetrical ballparks which a) maintain a traditional feel,  while b) being coupled with modern amenities {see this list}. And which have nothing to do with the damn NFL.

Thanks to ESPN for the attendance figures {click here}.  Thanks to Baseball-Reference.com for attendance figures from earlier seasons {click here (set at 1990)}.   Thanks to the contributors to the pages at Wikipedia {MLB page, here}

April 4, 2009

Japan. Nippon Professional Baseball League: 2009 NPB map, with the 12 teams’ profiles (and information on past and present MLB players in Japan; and Japanese players currently in MLB).

Filed under: Japan: Baseball — admin @ 5:30 pm

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[Please note: I have a more recent post [from 2012], on baseball in Japan (NPB), here, Japan: Nippon Professional Baseball, 2012 – location map, with titles list, and 2011 attendance data / Plus an editorial on Japan’s baseball stadium deficiencies / Plus a short article on Japanese-born players in MLB.]

Nippon Professional Baseball was formed in 1950,  as a re-organization of the Japanese Baseball League,  which existed from 1936 to 1944,  and 1946 to 1949.  The current set-up has 12 teams in two leagues,  the Central League and the Pacific League.  The season is 144 games…18 games shorter than the Major League Baseball season .  Inter-league play began in the NPB in 2005;  teams play each team in the other league twice,  all during a 7-week,  mid-season segment.   The top three teams in each league make the playoffs (called Climax Series, 1st and 2nd Stages), with 1st place getting a bye to the second round.  The two winners of the Climax Series face each other in the Japan Series,  a 7 game series. 

There is a 4-player limit for foreign players (on the 25-man roster) per team. {See this, from JapaneseBaseball.com’s FAQ page.}/

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To see a list of Japan Series wins, {click here}. 

Last season, the Seibu Lions defeated the Yomiuri Giants in 7 games to win the Japan Series.  Here is an article on the finale,  from The Japan Times Online,  from November 10, 2008 {click here}.

The ’08 Japan Series pitted the two most successful teams in Japanese baseball..

The Yomiuri Giants,  of Tokyo,  are far and away the most popular (revered would be more like it) team in Japan.  They have won 20 Japan Series titles.  They are often called the New York Yankees of Japan.  The Giants are owned by the Yomiuri Group,  a media conglomerate best known for it’s large national newspaper, the Yomiuri Shimbum.  This newspaper is credited with having the largest circulation in the world,  at approximately 14 million per day.

The Seibu Lions,  also from the Greater Tokyo region,  have won 13 Japan Series titles (although the franchise’s first three titles came when the ball club was located in Osaka).  The Lions are located in Saitama,  which is 18 miles northwest of downtown Tokyo.  The club is owned by the Seibu Group.  Seibu is a large department store chain.  Over the winter break,  the (now named) Saitama Seibu Lions unvieled new uniforms that nod to their past,  as Osaka’s Nishitetsu Lions (three-time champions in the late 1950′s).  In a radical shift from their day-glo powder blue gear featuring an animé-style Lion crest,  the Lions now sport a Gothic-font L crest, with a pale shade of blue-black as their primary color, on their old-school style uniforms…a real retro look {see this (from jhockey.wordpress.com)}. 

But to say that (like in Major League Baseball) the retro look in uniforms and ball parks is a trend here in Japan would be pushing it.  There are still plenty of loud colors and animated-character-iconography in the uniforms and logos of Japanese ball clubs,  thanks to the pervasive influence of animé and manga in Japanese  culture.  And there are still a plethora of stultifying plastic-turfed domed stadiums in Japan,  although the Hanshin Tigers’ (“the Boston Red Sox of Japan”) park is nice {see this photo},  and the expansion franchise Rakuten Eagles’ park is hopefully a harbinger of things to come in the NPB {see this photo (by orimo @ flickr.com)} (the stadium’s embarrasing new name notwithstanding). 

Nippon Professionasl Baseball clubs are,  after all,  just branches of the parent corporations,  and their look is very much dictated by what sells in Japan.  And animé and manga are everywhere in Japan,  consumed by not just by teens and pre-teens,  but by most every segment of society.  The presence of corporations in the Japanese baseball world is rather pronounced,  to the point that many of the teams’ names contain that of their ownership group,  and the teams actively promote these corporate interests.  And so you see many teams with crests featuring characters appropriate for pre-schoolers.  And you see images like this ad {click here},  for the 2006 Japan Series between the Chunichi Dragons and the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.  It looks like they are selling candy,  not post-season major-league baseball,  but that’s Japan. 

Here is a brief,  illustrated look at the 12 teams in Nippon Professional Baseball,  from a site called Inventorsport.com…   The Central League  {click here}.      The Pacific League  {click here}.

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The 2009 Nippon Professional Baseball season started Friday, April 3rd.  Here is a report from Saturday, April 4th, from The Japan Times Online {click here}.

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ESPN multi-media article on 6′ 5″, 21-year old pitching sensation Yu Darvish,  of the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters {click here}.

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Thanks to the contributors to the pages at Wikipedia {click here (Nippon Professional Baseball)].   Thanks to the JapaneseBallPlayers.com site,  for information on Japanese players currently in the MLB {click here}.   Thanks to Yakyu Shop {click here}, for ball cap photos.   Thanks to NPB.or.jp {click here}.

Thanks to the nice site called ‘Japanese Baseball Cards, An English Guide to Baseball Cards from Japan’ {click here}.

Thanks to the JapaneseBaseball.com site,  for rules information, and stats on players {click here}.   Thanks to Steve Levenstein at InventorSpot.com {click here}.   Thanks to Yakult Swallows Home Plate site {click here}.  

**[ Recommended ]** Thanks to Marinerds, etc. site (ex-Seattle girl’s blog about Japanese baseball) {click here}.   Thanks to Japan, Hockey, Baseball, etc, site {click here}.

Thanks to TransPacificRadio.com {click here};  {their 2009 Central League Preview podcast, click here}.

April 2, 2009

MLB Ball Clubs and their Minor League Affiliates: the San Diego Padres.

Filed under: Baseball Clubs/Farm Teams — admin @ 8:07 am

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Below: San Diego Padres Auxillary Chart, with selected logos and uniforms from the history of the San Diego Padres franchise (1969-2009).

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San Diego Padres page at Sports E-Cyclopedia {click here}.

Thanks to the contributors to the San Diego Padres page at Wikipedia {click here}.   Thanks to the MLB shop {click here}.   Thanks to the MiLB shop at Minor League Baseball {click here}.

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