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article imageBaseball post season: MLB All-Stars finished year in Japan tour

By Carol Ruth Weber     Nov 21, 2014 in Sports
Tokyo - The MLB All-Stars just finished their tour in Japan playing against the Japanese national team Samurai Japan for five games and two exhibition games. According to MLB, the MLB All-Stars lost 3 to 2 in the series with the Samurai Japan.
The MLB World Series may have come and gone with the San Francisco Giants win, but post season baseball played on in Japan. The MLB All-Stars just finished their tour in Japan playing against the Japanese national team Samurai Japan for five games and two exhibition games.
The 2014 All-Star team included 29 of America's top players. Managed by Boston's John Farrell, the team was comprised of 14 pitchers, three catchers, seven infielders, two outfielders and three infielders-outfielders. The five-game series was led by top players Robinson Cano, Yasiel Puig, Evan Longoria and Jose Altuve.
The American's hits and home runs could not beat the winning Japanese national team
The five games opened and closed with two additional exhibition games. According to MLB, the MLB All-Stars lost 3 to 2 in the series with the Samurai Japan. They did win the first exhibition game played on Nov. 11. On Thursday, Nov. 13, the American team lost in the final exhibition game against Samurai Japan at Okinawa Cellular Stadium. The tour finished with the MLB All-Stars coming home with a total six to four loss in the final exhibition game.
The games were not without the All-Stars giving it their all. Evan Longoria took three home runs and Lucas Duda had three hits. Unfortunately the hard hitting could not beat the competing Samurai Japan. The debate of wood vs metal bats continues and it seems that the traditional wooden bat is winning against the newer metal choice of bat. Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays uses the famed Louisville Slugger I13 in Ash wood with a heavy flame-treated finish. A custom black and white wooden Marucci bat used by Lucas Duda in the June 2014 Mets vs. Giants game fetched a winning bid of $100 at auction.
Perhaps the rich appearance of the wooden bat versus the coldness of a metal bat makes it more appealing to players. The sound of a ball hitting a wooden bat with the large "crack" cannot compare to the empty ding sound of a metal bat hitting the ball for true baseball traditionalists. The debate for safety has continued with many believing that the metal bat can prove to be more dangerous. It is believed that the metal bats will hit balls harder and faster causing more serious harm, than the wooden bat, when a body or face gets in the balls hard hit path.
As the player who carried out the key hit for Japan to win, the series MVP was awarded to Yuki Yanagita of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. According to the Japan Times, Yanagita credits his talent to MLB's retired Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez stating “After my first pro season, I played in Puerto Rico in winter league ball and Ivan Rodriguez was on the same team. Rodriguez taught me a way to time pitches.”
Although Baseball is known as an all-American game, Japan has taken the game on seriously as its own. The Major League Baseball Japan All-Star Series was first implemented in 1986. Games have traditionally been played between MLB All-Stars and Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball. 2006 was the last year played until 2014. This year, in 2014 the game was on in Japan again taking place between the MLB All-Stars and the Japanese national team Samurai Japan.
For now it is a bit of rest for the All-Stars and their home teams until preseason action begins with 2015 spring training. In addition to aiming for World Series participation and winning, ball players will need to aim for taking a win globally in anticipation for the next post season tour of games in Japan.
More about Baseball, Major League Baseball, allstar game, Japanese baseball, Samurai Japan
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