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Blanco vs. Takagi - March 29, 2013

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Featuring Michael Westbay (a.k.a. westbaystars)

Michael Westbay has been blogging about Pro Yakyu since before the word "blog" entered the vernacular. Here he writes about Pro Yakyu in general, and the Yokohama BayStars in particular.

Blanco vs. Takagi - March 29, 2013

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Throughout the spring, actually since the winter when the Dragons released their three foreign players and Yokohama picked them up, Chunichi's manager, Morimichi Takagi, has been trash talking the trio, especially Tony Blanco. Takagi-kantoku's obsession of down playing Blanco's ability makes him look like a jeered lover, trying to convince himself that he's better off without the slugger.

With a runner at second and two down in the top of the first, Blanco came through with an RBI single to left to score the first run of the game, putting the BayStars on top 1-0.

Alex Ramirez, coming into the season 7 hits shy of 2,000 in Japan, followed Blanco with a single to right. He singled to right again in the 6th inning to reduce his magic number to 5 on Opening Day.

Moving on to the top of the 8th inning, Takehiro Ishikawa doubled to left to lead off the inning against reliever Daisuke Yamai. Yamai was yanked after walking Kensuke Uchimura, bringing in second year pitcher Shinji Tajima to face the heart of the Yokohama batting order.

New foreign player, Nyjer Morgan, laid down a bunt to the third base side of the mound. Tajima turned toward third, but new foreign third baseman Hector Luna, having been drawn in for the bunt, wasn't in position to receive a throw. So Tajima turned around and fired to first -- throwing the ball up the right field line! When the dust cleared, Yokohama had tied the game at 2-2 and had runners and second and third with nobody out.

Tony Blanco was announced as the next batter.

The camera kept returning to Takagi-kantoku in the Chunichi dugout. After all his blustering in the off season about how Blanco was inept when the game was on the line, the time for proof was at hand.

The new BayStar number four batter showed what he was made of. The right handed slugger went with a pitch and drove it into right field, plating both Uchimura and Morgan. Yokohama takes a 4-2 lead.

Meanwhile, in the Chunichi dugout, Takagi-kantoku's face turned red. Embarrassment? Rage? Blanco, at first base, gave a wave toward the Chunichi dugout, as though he were embarrassedly apologizing for ruining his former team mates' day.

The score of 4-2 held, and Blanco was called out for the hero interview amongst calls of "Blanco, come back!" -- "帰ってきて!" He handled himself humbly and professionally, showing no grudge, and keeping his comments focused on helping his current team.

Takagi-kantoku stuck to bashing his own players after the game, focusing his tirade on Yamai's inability to throw strikes.
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