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March 11, 2011

BP Unfiltered

Japan Earthquake Baseball News

by Neil deMause

Amid the horrifying images coming out of northeast Japan today, the repercussions of the Sendai quake are starting to be felt in the baseball world. Some of the reports so far that have been compiled by BP's writers:

  • The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, a Japanese Pacific League expansion team that started play in 2005, is based in Sendai, the city hardest hit by the quake and resulting tsunami. According to BP's Clay Davenport, the Golden Eagles' Miyagi Stadium is about five miles inland; that's about the maximum distance that the tsunami is reported to have traveled, though obviously that's only going to be for low-lying elevations.
  • The Golden Eagles roster sports several names familiar to U.S. baseball fans, including Byung-Hyun Kim, Kaz Matsui, Akinori Iwamura, Darrell Rasner, and Randy Ruiz. Hiroki Kuroda told ESPN that he was very worried about his friends on that team. However, a tweet from the team at about noon Eastern says (rough translation by a friend of BP): "The players in Sendai are safe. We set up a tent in front of the stadium for staff that cannot come home." Earlier tweets indicate that the stadium was safely evacuated, and games the next two days are cancelled.
  • Takashi Saito is from Miyagi Prefecture, of which Sendai is the capital. Saito has left Brewers camp as he attempts to contact his parents. Also, Kei Igawa is from tsunami-hit Oarai, and has been unable so far to reach his family, according to Brian Cashman.
  • For easy reference, Larry Granillo has made a map of Japanese MLB players' birthplaces.

(Update: Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima say their families are fine, as are Ryota Igarashi's family and Koji Uehara's family.)

Neil deMause is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Neil's other articles. You can contact Neil by clicking here

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