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ondafarm
07-09-2006, 03:01 PM
For the past couple of years I've been reviling myself of stories from my minor league days in Japan in the Dragons organization. Well, this weekend, I had a few visitors in San Francisco. Two of my old teammates and a former player from a different team. Well, as soon as he saw me, he said (in Japanese) " He was a dirty player." As if I'd forgotten my Japanese.

Well, I never thought of myself as a dirty player. Oh, I knew a lot of dirty tricks, and I even used quite a few, but to me the definition of a "dirty player" is someone who does dirty tricks just because he can. I did dirty tricks on people, particularly umpires, in response to them playing favorites or being to lazy.

Two factors that scale this have to be taken into consideration. First, in Japan, probably about one-third of games have an "encouraged' result. Almost always that is a victory for the home team. Japanese minor league teams are much more dependent on the gate than American minor league teams. The second factor was that my rookie season, I was suspended for a total of twelve games throughout the season. All four of the head umpires that initiated those suspensions retired before the next season started. During my final two years of play I was suspended for only two games total, one of which was actually allowed to be served before I went on the DL. (I was suspended for one game for the collision at the plate which injured my knee resulting in surgery on it. Instead of going on the DL the day after the collision, I was actually serving the suspension, another player was being recalled but he couldn't report until the day after.)

By "encouraged" result I mean like today's White Sox game. If you think Jim Reynolds is calling the identical strike zone for Jose Contreras and Schilling, then you need your eyes examined. In the entire American League there are probably about twenty games a year that are encouraged. Unfortunately, as World Champs, the White Sox this year are subject to more of these than anybody else. If Tampa Bay looses 19 of 19 to the Red $ox and Yankee$ then that is what they are there for. But if they Meat Loaf the World Champs, it means they sell tickets for next year. Don't think today's result is "encouraged"? Where is Tim McClelland? He's this team's crew chief and one of the fairest umpires in baseball. If he was ordered to throw this game, then he's senior enough to say "No way. I'll sit it out instead. "

I won't say that the Industrial League was thrilled with my behavior when I played there, but I never had a fine stick wen I was there (as in, I paid a couple of fines, but my team, with a wink from the league, always reimbursed me.) Getting rid of four poor umpires didn't seem to bad to the league. They couldn't be gotten rid of through firings, but when they found things a little rough and retired, that was immediately approved.

To me there are three types of umpires: good, bad and lazy. A good umpire knows the rules, enforces them equally, controls the game, but let's the players determine the result. Although I occasionally quibbled with good umpires (hey, who likes to be called out on strikes?) things never intentionally went very far. And Japanese society does have a variety of ways that apologizing can be done, a real apology about accidently tripping over a guy was accepted graciously. A bad umpire is biased regardless of if he was told to do so or is doing so of his own accord. A lazy umpire doesn't hustle to get in the right position to make calls, yells at players/ managers. Anybody who has ever umpired will tell you that being in the right position makes all the difference in the world. Showboating umpires are generally lazy.

Okay, so the question is "was I a dirty player?"

BTW, my two teammates immediately defended me when the comment was made.

SoxFan64
07-10-2006, 11:53 AM
Kind of hard to vote on this matter. I don't know you. Your comments start talking about being a "dirty" player and then no examples are mentioned. Then you start talking about the different type of umpries. I did not know that umpires have anything to do with a player being dirty or not.

Still I would like to hear more about your time in Japan I am sure it was an education unto itself.

Frater Perdurabo
07-10-2006, 12:04 PM
Onda,

I don't know you that well but from our dealings and these stories I can say that you probably were not a dirty player, but rather a guy like A.J. Pierzynski who would do anything short of outright cheating or deliberately injuring another player in order to win.

As for "encouraged" results: I don't doubt that this goes on, but why would MLB want to encourage a Boston win and therefore a sweep of the series on the road? It's not as if the Red Sox need help at the gate. Would it be to help Detroit?

ondafarm
07-10-2006, 12:08 PM
I guess I was suggesting more for long-time readers, I think I've posted plenty about my time in Japan. Most of the nasty stuff I did was directed at umpires, that's why I talked about them.

Some batters thought I was nasty because I'd occasionally call back to back knock-down pitches, which was unexpected. If the ump was squeezing my guy something fierce and we'd have an unfair 3-0 count, I'd call a knock-down, which was also unexpected.

I did tend to block the plate tenaciously on close plays there and early in my rookie season I hit a runner in the head with the throw, stopping his stolen base attempt, that was an accident, but a well-known event. The fact that it was on a nationally televised game probably made that worse than deserved.

The other play I was known for happened the week before that (also nationally televised) when I ran into the flagpole at Nagoya Chunichi Stadium, causing it to need a new coat of paint. I held onto that ball even though they could not revive me on the field.

Frater Perdurabo
07-10-2006, 01:54 PM
I held onto that ball even though they could not revive me on the field.

Were they only able to revive you from a hospital? :o: And you played the very next week and had enough accuracy to hit a runner in the head while he was trying to steal? (Was that on purpose?)

I don't know about dirty. Maybe psychopathically hard-nosed, but not dirty.
:tongue:

Randar68
07-10-2006, 02:08 PM
As a former catcher myself, I have to say that being a hard-nosed player comes with the territory. I don't think too many "soft" catchers make it very far in this game. You have to have so much attention to detail, understanding of the nuances etc, that when someone or something happens that upsets that balance, that focus, that "way the game is supposed to be played" aspect of the position, it drives you nuts.

That and sitting behind home plate, with an umpire up your back, sweating your nuts off, with a guy throwing balls into the dirt 12 inches in front of your reach... you have to a different kind of player to do that game after game... similar to a goalie in hockey I would think...

It's no mistake so many top catchers have made good managers/coches or that so many of the best characters in the game's history have been catchers.

daveeym
07-10-2006, 02:15 PM
Most catchers are considered dirty, it comes with the territory. It's hard to say about your interactions with the umps, especially since it was over in Japan.

Daver
07-10-2006, 02:30 PM
Most catchers are considered dirty, it comes with the territory.


Bingo.

ondafarm
07-10-2006, 03:01 PM
Were they only able to revive you from a hospital? :o: And you played the very next week and had enough accuracy to hit a runner in the head while he was trying to steal? (Was that on purpose?)

I don't know about dirty. Maybe psychopathically hard-nosed, but not dirty.
:tongue:

They carted me off the field and I was revived under the field, enroute to an ambulance and a hospital. Although, I've seen the videotape and I clearly was moving in a semi-coordinated fashion outside the stadium (there was a neurologist walking beside my stretcher and I was responding to his commands) I honestly don't remember anything until I got to the hospital. I'm told that I seemed unable to speak Japanese during that time, but understood it.


I did have a good solid concussion, but was discharged the next morning and was in uniform in the dugout that day. I didn't play that day, the next day was a day off and I was asked to pinch hit (pinch bunt actually) the day after that. I stayed on and caught two innings. I was in the line up the day after that.

The play the next week had a in the dirt curve ball bounce up and off my chest and to the edge of the circle on the first base dugout side. The runner broke when he saw how far the ball had gone but I pounced on it and fired from an angle. I wasn't trying to hit him, I was trying to gun the ball to second, but it in him on the backside of the helmet and glanced off toward third. It was picked up and since the runner had gone down, he was tagged out. He stayed in the game and my next time up their pitcher plunked me on purpose. (In Japan, an accidental beaning, the pitcher removes his cap and tips it to you. This pitcher kept his on.)

miker
07-10-2006, 03:28 PM
The play the next week had a in the dirt curve ball bounce up and off my chest and to the edge of the circle on the first base dugout side. The runner broke when he saw how far the ball had gone but I pounced on it and fired from an angle. I wasn't trying to hit him, I was trying to gun the ball to second, but it in him on the backside of the helmet and glanced off toward third. It was picked up and since the runner had gone down, he was tagged out. He stayed in the game and my next time up their pitcher plunked me on purpose. (In Japan, an accidental beaning, the pitcher removes his cap and tips it to you. This pitcher kept his on.)
Sounds like they could use MLB's oh-so-fair "warning policy" over there. It's worked so well for our White Sox...

AuroraSoxFan
07-10-2006, 03:39 PM
Haven't heard too many of your stories. But it sounds like you were far from dirty. Sounds like you were just trying to get ahead of the game. And as a catcher that's a prime job of yours.

hi im skot
07-11-2006, 12:43 PM
This is all so facinating!

And yeah, it certainly doesn't sound like you were a dirty player.

Thanks for the stories...I vote for an "Ondafarm's baseball story of the week" segment on WSI!

FedEx227
07-11-2006, 12:57 PM
(In Japan, an accidental beaning, the pitcher removes his cap and tips it to you. This pitcher kept his on.)

http://i7.ebayimg.com/02/c/05/b0/cb/78_9.JPG
"TIP YOUR HAT DAMNIT!"

Sorry I just had to...

but this is all really interesting, I love to read about baseball in another country because its so distant, so different but still pretty familiar.

Not to mention the fact that you all but lived every little American boys dream of playing professional baseball, whether minor league, overseas or MLB.

Flight #24
07-11-2006, 01:15 PM
All I can say is that if you indeed did snag a ball from the dirt and deliberately bean a running player some 60-90 odd feet away......that would be a pretty impressive feat.

Mr. White Sox
07-11-2006, 04:58 PM
http://i7.ebayimg.com/02/c/05/b0/cb/78_9.JPG
"TIP YOUR HAT DAMNIT!"

Sorry I just had to...

but this is all really interesting, I love to read about baseball in another country because its so distant, so different but still pretty familiar.

Not to mention the fact that you all but lived every little American boys dream of playing professional baseball, whether minor league, overseas or MLB.
I was just going to mention Mr. Baseball; I actually kind of liked that movie despite it's corniness.

They should adopt the tip-cap policy in the states, although umps would just warn pitchers anyway even if a cap was tipped. Stupid umps.

I also propose an "onda weekly storytime session" on WSI.

FedEx227
07-11-2006, 10:51 PM
I was just going to mention Mr. Baseball; I actually kind of liked that movie despite it's corniness.


And the fact that Tom Selleck got a spongebath for really no reason other then his own pleasure.

But definetly a pretty solid underrated baseball movie.

hi im skot
07-12-2006, 12:03 PM
And the fact that Tom Selleck got a spongebath for really no reason other then his own pleasure.

But definetly a pretty solid underrated baseball movie.

And let's not forget that the Big Hurt makes his big screen debut!

ondafarm
07-12-2006, 12:22 PM
The Big Hurt sequence takes place at Dodger Stadium. That was the day of my try out with the Dragons and I was fortunate enough to meet both Frank Thomas and Tommy Lasorda. The part filmed in Japan had already been completed though.

A lot about the film is very accurate, on the other hand it was an American who wrote it, certain parts of the plot are fictional. The "if you get drunk and tell your boss off then he can never hold it against you", that's fiction.

hi im skot
07-12-2006, 12:59 PM
The Big Hurt sequence takes place at Dodger Stadium. That was the day of my try out with the Dragons and I was fortunate enough to meet both Frank Thomas and Tommy Lasorda. The part filmed in Japan had already been completed though.

A lot about the film is very accurate, on the other hand it was an American who wrote it, certain parts of the plot are fictional. The "if you get drunk and tell your boss off then he can never hold it against you", that's fiction.

Was Selleck's chest hair fictional?

ondafarm
07-12-2006, 01:22 PM
Was Selleck's chest hair fictional?

Not that I'm aware of. But his diving into the bathtub immediately would never happen. My manager sat down with me after our first workout session and gave me very specific instruction about bathing ettiquette in Japan. He did this with the translator translating every word. For the first few weeks a trainer always kept an eye on me when bathing (kinda creepy) to make sure that I wouldn't bathe like Selleck did. When I complained about it (a particularly creepy older guy was watching) my team's captain dismissed the guy by saying that he, the captain, would take responsibility for 'continuing my instruction' in appropriate Japanese bathing etiquette. It's something Japanese are extremely fastidious about when allowing Westeners into their society.

hi im skot
07-12-2006, 01:34 PM
Not that I'm aware of. But his diving into the bathtub immediately would never happen. My manager sat down with me after our first workout session and gave me very specific instruction about bathing ettiquette in Japan. He did this with the translator translating every word. For the first few weeks a trainer always kept an eye on me when bathing (kinda creepy) to make sure that I wouldn't bathe like Selleck did. When I complained about it (a particularly creepy older guy was watching) my team's captain dismissed the guy by saying that he, the captain, would take responsibility for 'continuing my instruction' in appropriate Japanese bathing etiquette. It's something Japanese are extremely fastidious about when allowing Westeners into their society.

POTW!

ondafarm
07-12-2006, 02:53 PM
Since this thread has morphed from a discussion of on-field etiquette (or a lack there of) to one of Japanese bathing etiquette and I'm admiting to a certain knowledge of the latter, I guess I do have to a gree with the one person who voted me a clean player.

hi im skot
07-12-2006, 04:04 PM
But the big question is will you have a baseball story of the week segment?

RichFitztightly
07-13-2006, 04:07 PM
I'm wondering as a Westerner, were you more inclined to disagree with your manager, or did you realize right away that any disagreements were a huge no-no? If anything did happen, what were the consequences?