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Friday, Oct. 9, 2009

BOOS AND BRAVOS

Kameda clan stoops to a new low


Staff writer

BOO — Good sportsmanship isn't something the Kameda family comprehends. Review the facts from October 2007 to see the stunts the Kameda brothers pulled in the ring.

Ed Odeven

Bad publicity has returned for the family. And it's a shame that Kameda gym's head honcho, Noriyuki Igarashi, doesn't recognize the value of accepting defeat and then vehemently seeking a quality next foe or a rematch for Daiki Kameda.

WBA flyweight champion Denkaosen Kaowichit's victory over Kameda on Tuesday was unacceptable, according to Igarashi.

"We can't accept this result," Igarashi told reporter after the bout. "Daiki led by three points overall. We are going to protest in writing and send video footage immediately."

BRAVO — Tokyo Apache point guard Cohey Aoki seems comfortable taking a larger leadership role this season on the bj-league team. Now in his fifth season in the league, the 165-cm Aoki, who plays a much bigger role than his diminutive stature, remains a fan favorite and a fine role model for younger Japanese players.

His game-high 28 points on Wednesday against the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix served as a fine reminder that on any given night Aoki remains one of the nation's most electrifying athletes.

BOO — For many government and business leaders, it seemed Tokyo had earned the right to host the 2016 Summer Olympics simply because Japan had hosted (or co-hosted) big events in recent years, such as the 2002 World Cup and the 1994 Nagano Winter Games. Here's what it was: a sense of entitlement.

Sure, pride in one's country and city is a big factor in making an Olympic bid, but the ability to articulate why Tokyo deserved to host the 2016 Games was done in a mediocre fashion by many of the committee's most fervent supporters.

BRAVO — Throughout this long, frustrating season, Chiba Lotte Marines fans proved again that they are a class act in the way they handled the dismissal of popular skipper Bobby Valentine.

Their thank-you cards were a nice token of appreciation for Valentine, who transformed the franchise and never shied away from speaking out about ways to improve the game.

BOO — Shimizu S-Pulse's current 13-match unbeaten streak deserves greater attention in the press.

There are plenty of other big sports stories — the Japanese Grand Prix, Ai Sugiyama's final career tournament (the Toray Pan Pacific Open) and the shift in pro baseball from the regular season to the playoffs — but the S-Pulse's accomplishment is truly a big deal.

BRAVO — The Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, increasing their fan base and standard of excellence, picked up their third Pacific League regular-season in four years on Tuesday.

BRAVO — A tip of the cap goes to Kansas City Royals manager Trey Hillman, who previously served as the field pilot for the Fighters, for recognizing the historical significance of longtime baseball announcer Ernie Harwell.

Now 91, Harwell is battling terminal cancer. A special day was held in his honor at Comerica Park in Motown, where Hillman had a closeup view of the emotional setting during a recent Tigers-Royals game.

"It was a wonderful tribute to a first-class man," Hillman wrote in an e-mail to The Japan Times. "He looks great for a man over 90 and as always was well spoken with his final address to the crowd. The Tigers did a bang-up job in honoring one of the games true icons."

BOO — Before the season begins the bj-league ought to require all teams to have at least 10 players on their rosters. The Takamatsu Five Arrows dressed only eight players (no foreigners) for both of their games last weekend in Sendai. The host 89ers blasted the out-of-towners 103-56 in the teams' season opener, taking a 53-24 advantage into halftime.

The Tokyo Apache, meanwhile, only used eight players on Tuesday.

If a team doesn't have enough backups ready to step into a game and provide a bit of relief to the starters, injuries, foul trouble and fatigue will have a greater negative impact on a team's performance.

Fans deserve an across-the-board standard when it comes to the quality of play. This proposed rule would help to make that happen.



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