About the Event
Japan’s baseball and its culture, because of its existence outside of MLB’s mainstream, is a huge potential source of innovation and evolution for the baseball world.
Things being done differently in Japan, and thought of differently, creates the opportunity for people to ask the vital question, “Why do we do it like this when they do it like that?” – a question any baseball establishment, whether it’s in Japan or MLB, absolutely hates to hear, because they are closed systems organized around doctrines considered to be the pinnacle of baseball knowledge.
Nippon Professional Baseball’s independence creates the possibility that it could surpass MLB as home of the world’s highest quality baseball, but that won’t happen until Japan’s owners reflect on the inherent strength of their position and set the highest goals for themselves in the same way Samurai Japan has done.
About the Speaker
A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, I fell in love with America’s Giants, and after graduating with a history degree specializing in Japan from the University of California Santa Cruz, I found a job in Japan to see what I could learn firsthand.
What I learned was baseball, starting from the vastly more intricate and detailed statistical reports of every day’s pro games and eventually writing about it, publishing the English languages first analytical guides to Japanese pro ball from 1994 to 1997 – work that led to my being hired by the English language newspaper, “The Daily Yomiuri” in 1998.
Since 2012, I moved to one of Japan’s two national press agencies, “Kyodo News,” where I expect to work until I reach mandatory retirement age ahead of the 2025 season.
Through it all, I have tried to make sense of how and why things are done here, in MLB and in other countries, and try to understand individuals’ stories within those contexts.