MARCH 31, 2017
The Nippon Professional Baseball League (Japanese Baseball League) returns to action this weekend with reigning champions Hiroshima Toyo Carp taking on The Hanshin Tigers in the first game, which will be live on DAZN in Japan.
Baseball is an incredibly popular sport in Japan, and there is a great buzz of excitement and expectation for the new season, none more so than in our office in Tokyo! Rival fans amongst the team will be hoping that their club can compete for the top prize this campaign. To get an, albeit slightly biased, preview of the upcoming season, we spoke to Hiroshima Toyo Carp fan & DAZN Content Marketing Manager for Japan, Yuki Matsui.
Hi Yuki! So it’s the start of the new Baseball season in Japan – how excited are you for it to get going again?
Hey! Yes, I’m extremely excited for the start of the new season and can’t wait for it to get going. Luckily I’m also a diehard football fan of Sanfrecce Hiroshima, so I’ve got to watch both Sanfrecce and Carp this weekend! The scheduling means I’ll be busy all weekend watching my favourite teams!
Who is your favourite team?
My team is Hiroshima Carp due to my hometown, Hiroshima. I was raised and lived there until I was 18 years old, before leaving to go to the United States to study at College. Thankfully, I was able to go to a lot of the games when I was at home and it is easy to keep in touch with how the team is getting on via the TV, radio and social media. All of my friends also support Carp so we also keep each other updated.
How did they perform last season?
Pretty well! We won the league title, which was our 7th in the last 25 years! Cool right? It was really special for me as it was the first time that I’ve seen Carp win the title! Not only did we win the league, but also Baseball legend Hiroki Kuroda came back to Carp for his retirement season, so it was an extra special season for us Carp fans!
Have they made any new signings for this season?
Sadly, Hiroshima Carp is not the richest team who can spend billions of dollars on acquiring new players. We have some new players, notably Ryan Braiser who has joined from Nashville Sounds in the States. The rest of the new players have come from University or high school so I’ve got no idea how good they will be until they’ve played a few games!
Ryan Brasier（Pitcher from 3A Nashville）
Takuya Kato（Pitcher from University）
Koya Takahashi（Pitcher from High school）
Hiroki Tokoda（Pitcher from University）
Shogo Sakakura（Catcher from High school）
Adowa Makoto（Pitcher from High school）
Ryota Nagai（Pitcher from High school)
Are there any players that we should be looking out for?
After the legend Hiroki Kuroda retired, I think we’ll have to count on a newcomer who can take his place and lead the team to the title this season. I am looking for the new young pitcher who can propel the team towards success – i.e. #14 Daichi Osera, #19 Yusuke Nomura, #16 Takeshi Imamura. #7 Shota Dohbayashi.
What is your prediction for the season?
Although Carp won the Central League Title 2016, each of the 6 teams have an opportunity to win the title so I’m anticipating it will be a tough season. There isn’t one team that stands out from the rest. I hope that Carp win the Japan series as well as the Central League, and I think we will!