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NPB Commissioner Ryozo Kato apologizes for altering the baseball

Jun 14, 2013, 9:33 AM EDT

NPB commissioner

The other day  Japanese baseball officials admitted that they tinkered with it in order to “make the game more exciting” and increase offense. Today the Commissioner of the NPB apologized:

Nippon Professional Baseball commissioner Ryozo Kato held a meeting with representatives of the 12 teams and issued an apology for his handling of the situation.

“I’ve caused a lot of trouble for the fans, players and people connected to the game,” Kato said. “Baseball is very important in Japan’s sporting culture and I have to carefully reflect on my responsibility to the game.”

Offense has gone crazy in Japan this year thanks to the rabbit ball. There were 939 home runs in 2011 and 881 in 2012. This season’s tally stood at 512 as of Tuesday, on pace for a season total of 1,297.

In the United States this would lead to accusations of steroids and things because we have decided that that’s the only thing that increases offense, it seems. But the story from Japan shows how even the slightest of changes in the context in which the game is played, be it the baseball, the bats, the ballparks or what have you, can lead to dramatic changes in offense.

  1. unclemosesgreen - Jun 14, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    (Unk Mo comes skidding into the room, out of breath)

    PEB APOLOGIIIIISSSSSTTTTT!!!

    • koufaxmitzvah - Jun 14, 2013 at 9:48 AM

      I can’t stand PBS. What happened to all the commercials?

      And a talking bird???!?!!!!111?!?!1

  2. apmn - Jun 14, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    Did changes to the baseball make McGwire, Bonds, and Sosa look like grotesque freaks of nature?

    • paperlions - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:11 AM

      Nope, it just helped them and every other player in the league hit a lot more HRs.

      • historiophiliac - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:22 AM

        Yeah, they were already ugly.

      • paperlions - Jun 14, 2013 at 11:01 AM

        It sure didn’t help their fashion sense.

      • historiophiliac - Jun 14, 2013 at 11:10 AM

        Oh, do you get the fashion commentary too when you’re watching games?

      • paperlions - Jun 14, 2013 at 11:15 AM

        Two words: ochre sweater

      • historiophiliac - Jun 14, 2013 at 11:16 AM

        Yeah, I get it. You’re jealous. You can’t rock an ochre sweater. We like you anyway.

        /pulls tail

      • paperlions - Jun 14, 2013 at 11:19 AM

        The next time I have the urge to look like a waxy pallid vampire, I’ll try one.

      • historiophiliac - Jun 14, 2013 at 11:20 AM

        Oh, you’re getting a makeover? Sweet.

  3. Old Gator - Jun 14, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    Kato is scheduled to apologize formally to the Japanese Player’s Association on the deck of the Missouri this afternoon.

    • sdelmonte - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:04 AM

      After which Gen. MacArthur will be made commissioner?

      • Old Gator - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:37 AM

        After which let’s hope the commissioner’s staff keeps him away from steak knives and knee pillows.

  4. tellyspop - Jun 14, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    “I’ve caused a lot of trouble for the fans, players and people connected to the game,” Selig said. “Baseball is very important in America’s sporting culture and I have to carefully reflect on my responsibility to the game.”

    I changed the statement slightly just so I could see it in print. I am reasonably sure the Commissioner of Baseball, Captain Smegma, would never actually release this kind of statement.

    • Old Gator - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:38 AM

      After which let’s hope the commissioner’s staff leaves a steak knife and knee pillow lying around his office.

  5. koufaxmitzvah - Jun 14, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    Japanese culture is awesome with its humility.

    • Old Gator - Jun 14, 2013 at 11:01 AM

      It’s awesome with its Godzilla suits too.

  6. reds37win - Jun 14, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    The steroid/PED crusade is getting old. I’m starting to question my daily HBT addiction.

    Hey Don Quixote, can you find another windmill? This one has been beaten to death. Maybe join Captain Ahab for a boat ride?

  7. DelawarePhilliesFan - Jun 14, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    “In the United States this would lead to accusations of steroids and things because we have decided that that’s the only thing that increases offense”

    Right. No one has ever got hepped in the U.S. up about juicing the ball. Or ever accused a new ball park of being designed to make Home Runs easy.

    Won’t someone please think of Ryan Braun’s feelings???

    • historiophiliac - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:29 AM

      I thought PEDs deadened feelings. Isn’t that why Clemens took them? Wait, am I thinking of Botox?

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:47 AM

        Botox/Bosox, it’s all the same

    • DJ MC - Jun 14, 2013 at 5:53 PM

      You’re right that people did argue those things. But when the steroid problem finally started to be exposed most people who were taking about that jumped on the PEDs-as-panacea train and have yet to make their way back to the station.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jun 14, 2013 at 5:58 PM

        I don’t dispue that people wold be saying “steroids” if there were an up tick in HR’s. But a 50% up tick from 2 years prior, people would mostly be saying “juiced ball”.

        I guess my main point was that Craig – as always with PED’s – took the statement just a tad too far. People say it is “the only” thing? As a Phillies fan, all you would ever here from 2007 – 2009 was that their power numbers were bogus because of their park.

      • DJ MC - Jun 14, 2013 at 6:02 PM

        People go for the easy explanation. It’s our nature, but that doesn’t mean we should be excused from it.

        It was the same thing before steroid use came into the public view. Only there were several options to choose from in terms of increased offense: smaller parks, juiced balls, two expansions, etc. Those were the simple explanations, and very few people would offer them all, and “all of the above” is surely the correct answer.

  8. jacksontaigu - Jun 14, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    “In the United States this would lead to accusations of steroids and things because we have decided that that’s the only thing that increases offense, it seems.”

    Is THIS a straw man? I’m not an anti-PED crusader but this is getting old.

    • paperlions - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:15 AM

      You are right it is….but then, so is the vast majority of the media and former players:

      1) Acting like taking steroids is magic HR juice

      2) Acting like steroids help you play baseball more than amphetamines

      3) Ignoring all other possible explanations for the HR spike and leaning only on steroid use

      4) Acting like HGH is a performance enhancer, when all medical research shows it is a performance inhibitor

      5) Acting like steroids are the devil because they are illegal while ignoring the fact that side effects of steroid use are minor and temporary and that they were made illegal by congress as a PR crusade and against the advice of the AMA

      6-n) and a shit ton of other lazy narratives that are continually perpetuated while complete failing to try to understand the effects of the drugs they are talking about.

      • jacksontaigu - Jun 14, 2013 at 12:50 PM

        I agree with all of the above.

        I come here because Craig is usually the voice of rational arguments. In this case, the argument seemed more emotional. Maybe a sabbatical from PEDs would help?

      • paperlions - Jun 14, 2013 at 1:05 PM

        I know I could sure do with one. Contrary to what people may thing based on my general commentary, I’d just like to enjoy some baseball without rampant PED-related ignorance constantly intruding….though, I guess it is a catch-22. If you stop railing against ignorance, it will just spread more quickly without opposition.

  9. sdelmonte - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    So are the Japanese fans upset?

  10. yahmule - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    Clemens. Gagne. Pettitte and others.

    The PED apologists lack the ability or the arguments to debate the topic honestly, so they constantly shift the goalposts. Leads to very entertaining sniveling around here during HOF voting.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:56 AM

      The PED apologists lack the ability or the arguments to debate the topic honestly, so they constantly shift the goalposts.

      What’s there to discuss? Every time one of us “apologists” brings math/science into the debate, or the hypocrisy of keeping current PED users out of the HoF but letting other admitted ones in, we never get a response.

      So what do you want to discuss?

  11. nolanwiffle - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    I, for one, forgive him. I’m all kinds of magnanimous.

    • Old Gator - Jun 14, 2013 at 11:02 AM

      So how do you keep iron filings and frying pans from sticking to yourself?

  12. realgone2 - Jun 14, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    What about unit 731?

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