[j-ball] "Yokohama was hell -- Seibu is heaven"
- Recent posts to this list and the Japanese media obsession
with the Yokohama BayStars notwithstanding, not everyone
will be hoping for the CL leader to prevail in this year's Japan
Denney Tomori is one who wants to see the BayStars go down
in humiliating defeat. As a former member of the team, Tomori
has a score to settle.
Now a reliever with the Seibu Lions, Tomori gathered dust for
ten years in the Yokohama bullpen until he demanded a trade
before the 1997 season. Playing for the Lions last year, the
right-handed reliever posted a 3.38 ERA with 32 strikeouts in
just under 35 innings. This year, Tomori has been one of the
PL's top relievers, compiling fourteen save points with a 7-4
record, 7 saves and a 2.76 ERA in 51 games.
In last year's Daily Yomiuri Japan Series preview (Oct. 17, 1997),
Ken Marantz wrote a short article on Tomori. Among the
-- Tomori hoped that his performance in the Japan Series
would earn his estranged father's recognition. Tomori was
born in Okinawa, the son of a Japanese mother and American
GI father. His parents divorced when he was a one-year-old
and he knows nothing of his father's current whereabouts, nor
has he heard from his father in all those years.
-- Tomori officially changed the name on his uniform to
"Denney," his father's surname, in 1995.
-- Yokohama used Tomori sparingly, apparently unable to
recognize his talent. In ten seasons, he appeared in just
46 games with the Whales and BayStars.
-- Said Tomori: "The Yokohama players are good, but the front
office is not good. Yokohama was hell. . . Here [Seibu] is
Another Yokohama player who has repeatedly expressed displeasure
with the BayStars is second baseman Bobby Rose. Last year, Rose
complained that the team would not -- after five years of faithful and
consistent service -- give him a multi-year contract.
At the end of last season, Rose had compiled a cumulative .313
average with 90 home runs and 462 RBIs his half-decade tenure.
The BayStars explained to Rose that they did not give extended
contracts to foreign players. However, that was not true since the
team had given a two-year deal to Glenn Braggs, who played with
the BayStars in the early part of Rose's Yokohama career.
Burned out after playing so many years for a team that shows him
little respect -- in addition to paying him less than he's worth and
refusing to give him a multi-year deal, the BayStars have a little-
known policy by which no foreigners can be named the team's
player of the month -- Rose told the Daily Yomiuri's Ken Marantz
(June 5, 1998) earlier this season: "Every once in a while you need
a change... It's like when you eat chocolate all your life, you need
to change to vanilla or strawberry or something like that."
Marantz asked if he would like to go out a winner. Rose replied,
"That'd be nice, but I'd just like to go out, period."
And if Yokohama is too cheap and petty to give Rose due respect,
there's at least one other team that will gladly comply. Just ask
[NOTE -- If you're in Japan, keep an eye out for the Daily Yomiuri's
1998 Japan Series preview, which will probably appear as an insert
a day or two before the series begins. Ken Marantz and the rest
of the DY staff provide the best guide available in English, and
they'll likely have more information about Tomori and Rose.]
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