01 August 2006

Mike Plugh's Darvish Watch

Japundit contributor and kuwashii Japan baseball fan Mike Plugh has created a Darvish Watch blog devoted to the young Iranian Japanese pitching phenom, Yu Darvish. Here's an excerpt.
The million dollar question is, "Who in the World is Yu Darvish?" This phenom has burst on the scene in Japan and is a marvel to behold on the mound. He lacks the polish and seasoning that a true star pitcher possesses, but it's important to keep in mind that we are talking about a 19 year old player that was rushed to the pros by a team [Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters] looking to stake its identity among a field of more famous teams.

The story begins with a Japanese woman and an Iranian man, who married and settled down in Osaka, Japan to raise a family. The elder Darvish was a player for the Iranian national soccer team, and met his wife in the United States while the two attended university. His athletic roots were apparently passed on to his son, as the young Darvish began to show his uncanny baseball skills as a second grader. Progressing quickly, Yu Darvish joined a boys baseball league in junior high school and became the ace of the rotation in no time. As a 16 year old high school student in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, this stellar young pitcher struck out 11 consecutive batters and 13 overall to lead his team to the finals of the prefectural championships. He also threw a 4-hit, 80 pitch, complete game shutout in one hour and nineteen minutes that season topping out at 87 MPH against neighboring Iwate Prefecture's top club. That was just the beginning of the story.

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