Why are the Los Angeles Dodgers wearing the caps from Nagoya’s professional baseball team?

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RocketNews 24 (by Casey Baseel):

Is the storied L.A. franchise ripping off the uniform of the Japanese club, or is this just a case of “What goes around comes around?”

Unlike a lot of other teams in professional baseball, the Dodgers don’t really tweak their uniforms very often. When they relocated to the West coast from Brooklyn in 1958, they adopted their iconic interlocking LA logo. They’ve kept it for every game since, barring about a half-dozen games in 2011 and 2012 in which they donned caps with the Brooklyn B to honor their roots and legendary former Dodger Jackie Robinson.

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As one of the most enduring logos in professional sports, just seeing it instills a sort of pride in Los Angeles sports fans. Come spring training, though, the Dodgers will be rocking a new design in selected games which replaces the initials of their home turf with a D.

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It’s not a bad look, and rendering the D in the classic font in which “Dodgers” is written on the team’s jerseys makes it instantly understandable what the letter stands for. The shift is also sort of appropriate for spring training games, which are played in Arizona of Florida (with the corresponding state highway signs on the side of the hat). Some local spectators catching an exhibition game might even be more enticed to buy a cap and support the team since the new design won’t have the side effect of making them look like they’re ready to start singing “I Love L.A.”

Since the start of spring training is still a few months away, you can’t buy a blue and white D cap yet. Well, at least not in America. In Japan, on the other hand, they’ve been available for almost 30 years.

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That’s the cap worn by the Chunichi Dragons, who play their home games in Nagoya, from 1987 to 1996. But before you go calling foul on the Dodgers for lifting the Dragons’ logo, here’s the jersey the Dragons wore during that same span of time.

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Hmm…where have I seen something like that before?

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The Dragon’s uniforms from the late 1980s to mid-‘90s were just the Dodgers’ with the text changed, but the exact same font, spacing, and number placement. The above Fernando Valenzuela jersey is from 1983, and the Dodgers had been using this design for several years prior to that.

This isn’t the only instance of a Japanese team heavily borrowing elements of its uniform from an American club. Unless you notice the subtle difference in hue, it’s extremely easy to mistake the Hiroshima Carp’s hats for the Cincinnati Reds’. For many years, Tokyo’s Yomiuri Giants copied the uniforms, colors, and even name of Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants.

In the Dragons’ defense, they’ve gotten a little more original in the uniform department in recent years, and have even switched to caps with an interlocking CD logo. Taking that into consideration, there’s really nothing wrong with the Dodgers rocking the D caps during spring training. The Dragons aren’t using them, and really, the Dodgers are just taking them back.

Ichiro Suzuki signs 1-year deal to remain with Marlins

ESPN/Associated Press: 

Ichiro Suzuki has signed a one-year contract to remain with the Miami Marlins and try to reach the 3,000-hit milestone in the majors.

Suzuki, who turns 42 on Oct. 22, is tied for 33rd on the hits list with 2,935. He had 91 in 153 games for the Marlins this season but batted a career-low .229, dropping his career average to .314.

His slugging percentage this year was .279, the lowest among all major league players with more than 300 at-bats. But injuries to other outfielders — including slugger Giancarlo Stanton — made him an everyday player.

Suzuki, a 10-time Gold Glove Award winner, pitched for the first time in his 15-year major league career in the Marlins’ season finale Sunday, throwing one inning at Philadelphia.

Suzuki had 1,278 hits in nine professional seasons in Japan. His new deal was announced Tuesday.

Hisashi Iwakuma becomes the 2nd Japanese pitcher in MLB history to throw a no-hitter

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RocketNews 24:

Citizens of Japan and fans of baseball were treated to an incredible feat on August 12, 2015 when Hisashi Iwakuma became only the second Japanese born player to throw a no-hitter in a Major League Baseball game.

Hisashi Iwakuma threw his first no-hitter while pitching for the Seattle Mariners against the Baltimore Orioles at home and threw only the fifth no-hitter in Mariners franchise history. He is also the first American League pitcher to throw a no-hitter in almost three years, a feat last performed by his teammate Felix Hernandez.

The only other Japanese born pitcher to throw a no-hitter is Hideo Nomo, the man credited with paving the way for Japanese players in the MLB who threw two in his career, one in 1996 and the other in 2001. It is obviously exciting for Iwakuma to join an elite list of pitchers, but it must be something extra special to share a space in the history books next to Hideo Nomo.

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NY Yankee Masahiro Tanaka charters Japan Airlines jet for $195,000 to fly from Japan to New York with wife, dog and three other passengers for Yankee Stadium press conference

 

Masahiro Tanaka is spending like a Yankee, shelling out almost 200G for a Boeing 787 Dreamliner to take himself, his wife, a dog and three other passengers from Tokyo to New York.

Masahiro Tanaka is spending like a Yankee, shelling out almost 200G for a Boeing 787 Dreamliner to take himself, his wife, a dog and three other passengers from Tokyo to New York.

NY Daily News:

Now this is how you fly like an ace, even if your general manager recently said he thought you were a No. 3 starter.

The YankeesMasahiro Tanaka reportedly flew from Tokyo to New York for his Tuesday press conference at Yankee Stadium, chartering a Boeing 787 Dreamliner from Japan Airlines for a cool $195,000.

Visitors at the Paris Air Show get an inside-look at the first class cabin of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner last summer.

Hey, the guy can afford it after landing a seven-year, $155-million contract with the Yanks.

The plane, which can seat 200, brought a slightly smaller party to the Big Apple — Tanaka, his wife, his brown toy poodle and three other people, according to multiple reports.

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner seats 200 passengers, unless Masahiro Tanaka is on board. In that case, there’s only room for five adults and a dog, which makes up the newest Yankee’s traveling party.

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner seats 200 passengers, unless Masahiro Tanaka is on board. In that case, there’s only room for five adults and a dog, which makes up the newest Yankee’s traveling party.

It’s a (chartered) private jet. It’s not something the Yankees have prepared,” Tanaka told reporters through an interpreter Sunday at Narita Airport near Tokyo.

Tanaka hired the plane because he wanted to be “in the best of form” for spring training, said a Japanese baseball official who was on the trip. Yankee pitchers and catchers are due to report to camp in Tampa on Friday and have their first workout the next day.

Even flying private didn’t spare Tanaka from winter weather woes. His trip from his Tokyo hotel to the airport reportedly took more than eight hours by car.

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NY Yankee Masahiro Tanaka charters Japan Airlines jet for $195,000 to fly from Japan to New York

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Masahiro Tanaka and Chicago White Sox meet

 

 

ESPN: 

The Masahiro Tanaka free-agency tour has hit the United States, as the Japanese ace and his agent began meeting with teams on Thursday.

Tanaka and agent Casey Close have until a deadline of 5 p.m. ET on Jan. 24 to have a contract and physical completed with a team.

The right-hander went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in the Japanese League last season and is considered by many to be a top-of-the-rotation starter. The major league team that signs Tanaka, 25, will owe a $20 million posting fee to the Rakuten Golden Eagles, his team in Japan.

One official estimated that more than one-third of major league teams are interested in Tanaka, who likely will garner a contract in the six-year, $100 million range. Among the interested teams are the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles AngelsChicago CubsChicago White SoxSeattle MarinersArizona DiamondbacksTexas RangersPhiladelphia PhilliesOakland Athletics and Houston Astros.

Tanaka met with White Sox executive vice president Kenny Williams, general manager Rick Hahn and manager Robin Ventura in the Los Angeles area on Thursday.

The meeting was exploratory in nature,” Hahn said. “It was an opportunity for us to sit down with Masahiro and discuss how he potentially fits our vision for the Chicago White Sox for the next several seasons.”

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said Wednesday that Tanaka is trying to educate himself about what it would be like to play in each of the cities.

I talked to Casey as soon as they announced he was going to be posted and as soon as they announced Casey would represent him,” Colletti said. “Obviously, Casey and I go back quite a while. They’re in a feeling-out process. They’re trying to learn about different cities, different teams, different markets, how teams are constructed going forward.

You know, it’s a big decision for the player, too, so we’ve had those types of conversations and we’ll continue to see where it goes.

Although the Dodgers have a ton of money, National League Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw, who is also represented by Close, is scheduled to be a free agent at the end of the 2014 season.

Since the beginning of the offseason, sources have told ESPNNewYork.com that the Yankees planned on making a strong push for Tanaka, realizing they need a young starter to team withCC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda at the top of the rotation. After those two, Ivan Nova is slated to be the No. 3 starter, and the four and five spots are unsettled. Michael Pineda, David Phelps,Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno are expected to compete for the fifth spot.

If the Yankees fail to sign Tanaka, it is unclear what they would do about another starter because they are not high on any of the other top free-agent starters at their current asking prices. Matt Garza, Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez are still unsigned. It could reopen the possibility of trading outfielder Brett Gardner to fill a need.

Just like with Robinson Cano, the Mariners may prove to be the Yankees’ strongest competition for Tanaka. With Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma at the top of the rotation, the Mariners likely need more starting pitching to compete in the AL West, and Iwakuma and Tanaka were teammates with Rakuten.

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Masahiro Tanaka and Chicago White Sox meet

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Shin-Soo Choo turns down Yankees’ $140M offer to go with Texas Rangers

 

Free agent Shin-Soo Choo reportedly turned down a seven-year, $140 million offer from the Yankees this offseason, according to a report Wednesday from Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.

Choo’s agent, Scott Boras, reportedly declined the Yankees’ offer on his client’s behalf and asked for a deal commensurate with the one New York made with Jacoby Ellsbury, or $153 million over seven years. The Yankees pulled the offer, ultimately deciding to move forward without Choo and instead inked Carlos Beltran to a three year, $45 million contract.

The Yankees declined to comment on the reported offer to Choo, according to Passan, but multiple teams currently have active offers out to Choo, including the Houston Astros. To put the Astros’ pursuit into perspective, the Astros entire roster at points last season had less of a salary than the deal Choo is reportedly requesting.

The Texas Rangers recently signed Choo  as the club’s new leadoff hitter and left fielder.

Choo’s seven-year deal, which sources said is worth $130 million, puts the Rangers over their targeted budget. The deal pays Choo $14 million in each of the first two seasons, $20 million for each of the three seasons after that and $21 million in each of the final two years of the contract.

Today is a dream come true,” Choo said. “My next dream is to win World Series rings.”

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Shin-Soo Choo turns down Yankees’ $140M offer to go with Texas Rangers