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Passan piece on Koshien


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I figured it fit best here.


In Japan, there is no greater compliment for a baseball player than to be called Kaibutsu. It translates to Monster. It is reserved for big, strong players who perform at otherworldly levels during Koshien. If you're too handsome or waifish, they'll call you Prince or some other nickname. Monster is special.

This week, the Japanese papers started referring to Tomohiro Anraku as Kaibutsu.

Over the nine days of Koshien, Anraku threw 46 innings. The most innings a major league pitcher threw in a single month last season was 48 1/3, by R.A. Dickey in June. The most by a non-knuckleballer: 46, from Hiroki Kuroda, a Japanese starter, who did so on 633 pitches.

The numbers are just staggering.

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I lived in Japan back in the 70's and went to the Koshien tournament in '77 and '78. An absolutely intense baseball atmosphere that rivaled the MLB postseason. The entire country closed down during the tournament, sort of like March Madness on steroids.

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