ESPN on Monday night broadcast ‘Koshien: Japan’s Field of Dreams,’ a 2019 documentary by Ema Ryan Yamazaki highlighting the acclaimed Japanese high school baseball championship tournament held for over a century.
Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani gained national acclaim during the Koshien tournament in 2012 when, at only 18 years old, he threw 100 mph.
“Koshien is like our World Series,” Ohtani said during the documentary. “Except that it’s single-elimination, so one loss and it’s over. The hardest part is even getting to Koshien.”
The filmmaker went even further, comparing the tournament to both the World Series and the Super Bowl, in an interview with C. Trent Rosecrans at The Athletic:
“There’s not one single thing — you have to combine the two craziest sporting events that I think exist in the U.S.,” Yamazaki said. “That’s what I say, and I’m not sure it does it justice.”
- Jeff Fletcher at the Orange County Register talked to the widow and mother of former Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs as the one-year anniversary of his death looms, including about how the Tyler Skaggs Foundation helps kids in need.
- Will Leitch at MLB.com picked a make-or-break hitter for all 30 teams. His Angels choice is outfielder Justin Upton, noting, “With Anthony Rendon and Shohei Ohtani now regulars in the lineup ahead of him, Upton could become the most dangerous No. 6 hitter in baseball.”
- Paul Sporer at FanGraphs ranked the top 100 starting pitchers in a 60-game season for fantasy baseball purposes, including Ohtani at No. 30, Andrew Heaney 60th, Dylan Bundy 61st, Julio Teheran 89th, and Griffin Canning 97th.
- J.J. Cooper at Baseball America reported that MLB told its teams they can allow minor league players to play with independent teams as long as their minor league contracts are still suspended due to the national emergency. The fate of the minor league season could be officially announced as early as Tuesday, Evan Drellich at The Athletic reports.