Recently the Texas Rangers purchased the rights to just negotiate with Yu Darvish of the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters for 50.7 Million dollars, which goes straight to the team that owns him. Personally from seeing the way he pitches plus his Japan stats, I think he will thrive no matter where he pitches. That said, here are some interesting tidbits:
1. People confuse the name Nippon Ham Fighters as being those that fight with pieces of ham. Actually that’s not true. On ESPN’s blog it makes clear how the naming convention goes. Unlike in the US where the prefixes are named after the cities where people play, i.e. the New York Yankees of New York, in Japan all teams are owned by corporations marketing a product.
Thus you have, in addition to Nippon Ham (which sells meat products), the Yomiuri Giants (named for the media giant), the Seibu Lions (a department store and railway company), the Chiba Lotte Marines (a candy company) and the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles (who bear the name of an Internet shopping company and play in the unfortunately named Kleenex Stadium). While winning is great, a team’s primary function is to advertise the company.
Can anyone start saying, “now pitching for the Hershey’s Chocolate Bar Yankees…..?”
2. It’s no surprise that the Texas Rangers won the bid. A team capable of paying Alex Rodriguez a quarter billion dollars in 2003 is capable of spending lots of money. Heck, everything is just bigger in Texas.
3. While I mentioned that Yu Darvish will thrive no matter where he pitches, it will be interesting to see how he pitches in different climates. Texas heat is gruelling, which makes for a vastly different experience than what he’s used to. In Japan everyone plays in domes, so the temperatures and weather are consistent.
That’s all for now.