Archive for Lars Anderson Discovers Japan

Lars Anderson Discovers Japan, Part 6

In one of multiple stories he shared in the initial installment of this series, Lars Anderson noted how unique the umpires are — compared to their U.S. counterparts — in Japan’s Shikoku Island League. Here, in Part 6, the former big leaguer expounds on that subject, then proceeds to address the shoe-soaking humidity and drum-beating, alcohol-fueled festivals.

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Lars Anderson: “Former college basketball rager/legendary coach Bob Knight was with us in spirit in a recent game against our foes, the Kagawa Olive Guyners. Fighting Dogs favorite, Sir Chuckie Okada, strode to the plate in a tied game. It was the top of the eighth inning with a runner on first and none out — an obvious bunt situation. But let’s be real… even if it was the first inning, it’d still be an obvious bunt situation here.
  
“Anyway, Chuckie squared to bunt and the pitcher misfired with a high-and-tight fastball, striking Chuckie in his left hand. He yelped and shook his hand, indicating he had been hit. The other team’s bench wasn’t buying it. They cried, ‘Foul ball-u!”

“The umpire wanted proof so he asked Chuckie to take off his batting glove in order to see if his hand had in fact been hit. Chuckie removed his glove, revealing his reddened, quivering pinky finger. It was enough evidence for the man in blue, and he pointed Chuckie to first base.

“The Olive Garden’s bench erupted with indignant rage and their manager, a Japanese version of Earl Weaver (both in shape and style), came storming onto the field in protest.

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Lars Anderson Discovers Japan, Part 5

In the previous installment of this series, Lars Anderson told us about his friend Gary Malec — the founder of Birdman Bats — visiting him in Japan. It was there that Malec met, and was befriended by, Anderson’s Kochi Fighting Dogs teammate Manny Ramirez. The installment ended with mention of the “Gary-Manny bromance,” and we’ll continue the story here in Part 5.

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Lars Anderson: “We embarked in the now Manny-filled Manny Van on a road trip to play the Tokushima Indigo Socks in Tokushima Prefecture. Zak was in the front, with Gary and Manny sitting side by side in the middle row’s captain’s chairs. I was sprawled across the back. Aside from the bizarre and wonderful conversation, the drive itself was harrowing. It was raining for the first time in weeks, and our driver was flying. I said to Zak, ‘Hey, can we get this guy to slow down a bit?’ Zak said, ‘What do you mean slow down? He’s only going 150 KPH.’ I responded, ‘Yeah, man, that’s like 93 mph.’ ‘Oh,’ said Zak.

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Lars Anderson Discovers Japan, Part 4

Earlier this week, we ran what was originally planned as the final installment of a threepart series chronicling Lars Anderson’s experiences playing baseball in Japan. Thanks to popular demand — and Anderson’s interest in sharing additional stories — this is Part 4, with more to come.

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Lars Anderson: “Birdman Bats’ fearless, peerless leader, Gary Malec made the long trek to visit me in Japan and temporarily join this bizarre circus. He flew into Osaka and took three trains in order to meet the team for our game in Kagawa. As the Fighting Dogs rolled up to the stadium on the team bus, I saw my good friend standing there wearing a Birdman t-shirt and board shirts with his trademark chicken legs sticking out. By his side was a box of bats and a suitcase. He was also sporting a huge, goofy grin. It was a cool moment.

“I met Gary through a mutual friend. We initially bonded over music, going so far as to start the band Daytime Nightlife with Gary’s little brother, Mark. Gary was hand-turning birch bats at the time, which I was obviously intrigued by. They were immaculate as well. As the years progressed and our friendship grew, we decided to use my experience and connections in baseball — and his passion of making baseball bats — to start a baseball bat company.

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Lars Anderson Discovers Japan, Part 3

Last week, we ran Part 1 and Part 2 of what was planned to be a three-part series chronicling Lars Anderson’s experiences playing baseball in Japan. This is Part 3, and thanks to popular demand — and Anderson’s willingness to contribute more stories — it won’t be the final installment. We will hear more from the former big-league first baseman in the coming weeks.

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Lars Anderson Discovers Japan, Part 2

On Wednesday, we ran Part 1 of what is planned as a three-part series chronicling Lars Anderson’s experiences in Japan. The 29-year-old adventure-seeker — a former top prospect in the Red Sox organization — is playing for the Kochi Fighting Dogs, an independent team in the Shikoku Island League. Here is Part 2.

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Lars Anderson Discovers Japan

If you read this past Sunday’s notes column, you know that Lars Anderson is playing for an independent league team in Japan. The adventure-seeking former big-leaguer — and his Kochi Fighting Dogs teammate Manny Ramirez —were featured prominently. I concluded the segment by saying that we’d hear more from Anderson about his experiences playing baseball on the other side of the world in the near future.

As promised, here is the first installment of Lars Anderson Discovers Japan.

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