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College Baseball in Japan?

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College Baseball in Japan?
First, a little background. I am currently a graduate student at Kansas State University and former junior college baseball player (one season) and was playing at a pretty high level when I quit about 6 years ago. I plan on enlisting in the Army this year after I finish up my masters. I miss baseball and really regret quiting but there are plenty of opportunities to play in the Army. With that said, after I do my three years in the Army I plan on moving to Tokyo and pursuing another masters and/or PHD at Waseda, in the school of sports science) and I can't help but think how cool it would be to play college ball at Waseda.

Does anybody if it is even possible (assuming I'm talented enough to make the team)? Do they have tryouts? Will being 30 years old matter? Will being American matter? Will having played American college baseball and on assorted Army teams effect eligibility? And any other random things I'm forgetting?

I saw that Jim Allen has covered some college baseball in Japan, I would really like to get ahold of him to talk further about this. Does anyone have his e-mail address?

Thanks everyone.
Re: College Baseball in Japan?
[ Author: Guest | Posted: May 14, 2010 5:57 PM ]

On paper, age doesn't matter. What I am not clear about is whether graduate students have the eligibility.

In reality, I highly doubt Waseda accepts walk-ons or 30-year-old players. It's the highest level of college baseball in Japan. Just think of Division One college football in the US. Although KSU might accept walk-ons, there is no way they accept 30-year-old PhD graduate students.
Re: College Baseball in Japan?
[ Author: Guest: jason kern | Posted: May 14, 2010 6:49 PM ]

Yeah, I was thinking that same thing. But I randomly read (I can't remember where) that college baseball in Japan is run the same way that club sports are run at American colleges. Which makes me think they don't have the same type of eligibility rules we have in the NCAA. Anybody know if that is the case? Or anything else?
Re: College Baseball in Japan?
[ Author: Guest | Posted: May 14, 2010 11:26 PM ]

There is the All Japan University Baseball Federation. They have eligibility rules among other things just like the NCAA.
Re: College Baseball in Japan?
[ Author: Guest: jason | Posted: May 15, 2010 10:03 AM ]

I rely on Google Translator and I couldn't find the eligibility rules. Couldn't you point me in the right direction if you know if they are online anywhere?

Re: College Baseball in Japan?
[ Author: Deanna | Posted: May 14, 2010 10:29 PM | NIP Fan ]

Well, uh, I've been going to Waseda and Tokyo Big 6 games in general for the last 4 years. I can tell you that I'm pretty sure I have never seen a guy on the field who was older than 23 or 24 years old -- and those guys were usually the Tokyo University ones because they spent 2-3 years studying for the exams to get into the university, and then happened to join the baseball team there.

I do know that older players have occasionally been there and played on the team. Yuji Nerei, for example, dropped out of HS and went to the US to play for a few years, then came back to Japan, finished a high school degree, and went to Hosei University, when he was in his mid-late 20's. But, he was an undergrad. I don't know if grad students are eligible for the team. I think there's also some rule that you are only eligible to play on the college level for 4 years total anyway, which may be why you don't see grad students on the teams, assuming they played as undergrads. Even if a player fails to graduate on time and stays for a 5th year, they have to retire from the team, it seems. So your American college baseball may actually cause you to be ineligible as well, though I don't know how that works for sure.

As for foreigners, they've certainly played on the college level here in Japan before -- foreign or at least half-Japanese have been on plenty of teams in other leagues, but I haven't seen all that many in Tokyo Big 6. Heck, Asia University in the Tohto League had Robert Boothe, and Krissada Shirakura (half-Thai), and Bruno Hirata graduates this year.

Really, I bet you would be able to find some other kind of team to play on while you're in Japan regardless -- kusayakyu is very common here, or there are club teams you could try out for, and some of them compete at really high levels of play.
Re: College Baseball in Japan?
[ Author: Guest: Jason Kern | Posted: May 15, 2010 4:17 AM ]

I dont know. Waseda is the college that has the graduate major I want. So, if I play, it's going to be there because that is where I'll be enrolled. Actually, I may try to play (American) football there as well. I wasn't really worried about the age or foreigner taboo part - if they think I'm good enough and I'm allowed then I'm playing.

I just found Waseda Baseball Club (finally!) and it says that all students can join, so I guess I'm doing it when I get there. The only reason that I would not play (or quit) is if I go long periods without any playing time or if baseball players have to live in a dorm (the site mentioned some things about dorms but the translation was choppy so it wasn't clear). If anybody else has anything else, I'd be appreciative.

Thanks guys.
Re: College Baseball in Japan?
[ Author: Deanna | Posted: May 16, 2010 12:38 AM | NIP Fan ]

Well, you might certainly be allowed to join the baseball club, but they could still easily keep you from actually playing in real games if they wanted to. Most of what goes on in being a member of the baseball club is just running drills and practicing every day. There are over 100 members of the baseball club, but only 25 on the "bench" for a given game... some guys will belong to the baseball club for 4 years and never actually see action in an actual game. And, well, they practice year-round, despite the fact that they only actually play games in the spring and the fall -- that is, over an 8-week "season," April-May and September-October, they play 5 best-of-3 series against the other colleges in the Big 6 League. That's really it -- if they manage to win the league, the team may enter a few nationwide competitions, but other than those and occasional exhibition games against industrial league teams, and also a series of preseason exhibition games against other colleges, they don't actually play that many official league games.

Also yeah, I would assume the players have to live in the baseball club dorm. At Hosei I know they do things like, everyone on the team eats breakfast together every day in the dorm, things like that. When leaving Jingu after the Big 6 games, the players pretty much all go back to their university dorm together (Meiji and Waseda have a bus, the other 4, the players just take the subway back... Waseda is super-protective of their team right now thanks to Saitoh, but the others, you can just go up and talk to the players afterwards, it's not a big deal).

Honestly, if you're serious about doing this, why not e-mail the team themselves and ask? They have an email address on the club page. I'm assuming that if you plan to do a masters at Waseda, and actually get accepted to the school, you must certainly be fluent (or intend to be fluent) enough in Japanese to write them a letter about the baseball club.
Re: College Baseball in Japan?
[ Author: Guest: Henry Morgan | Posted: Jul 22, 2017 10:24 AM ]

I realize that this is an old thread, but I just need to add this.

I am involved, actually own, a collegiate summer wood bat baseball team in the Coastal Plain League, I can and WILL take anyone who is a junior or under , academically eligible to return, and on on a college baseball roster (I can help with that) AND who can get people out! Age is just a number! I had grad students from William and Mary out to a game Thursday night and tried a kid out , Yasi, who might compete, he's 33, I don't care, I need ours!

This is a site about Pro Yakyu (Japanese Baseball), not about who the next player to go over to MLB is. It's a community of Pro Yakyu fans who have come together to share their knowledge and opinions with the world. It's a place to follow teams and individuals playing baseball in Japan (and Asia), and to learn about Japanese (and Asian) culture through baseball.

It is my sincere hope that once you learn a bit about what we're about here that you will join the community of contributors.

Michael Westbay
(aka westbaystars)

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