Thursday, May 11, 2006

more foreign flavor

If memory serves me correctly, the 1990s were a time of great turmoil in Major League Baseball, particularly among its fans. The players strike drove fans away, but the home run race of 1998 won fans back in even greater numbers, while Craig Biggio's 34 plunk year of 1997 was largely ignored. But, perhaps the most impressive competitive feat of the decade was not accomplished in the Astrodome or Busch Stadium, but in what may be the most famous competitive arena in Japan. Not the Tokyo Dome, or any of the Olympic venues at Nagano, but Kitchen Stadium - where Iron Chef Chen Kenichi compiled a record of 4-1 on days when Craig Biggio got hit by a pitch. While Iron Chef Hiroyuki Sakai's overall record of 70-15-1 is more impressive than Chen Kenichi's career mark of 67-22-3 in Chairman Kaga's culinary competitions, Iron Chef Sakai was 0-1 on dates of Biggio plunkings.
According to data gathered from The Iron Chef Database, Craig Biggio has been hit by a pitch 15 times on dates when Iron Chef did battle in Kitchen Stadium. 10 have come on dates when the Iron Chef was judged victorious, and 5 plunks were on dates when the Challenger won the people's ovation and fame forever.
Biggio batted .317 with 15 home runs and 91 runs scored on days when the Iron Chef won, but when they lost he batted .298, with 4 homers and 25 runs scored.
Biggio has been plunked the most, 8 times, on days when Chen Kenichi was chosen to do battle - 6 when the Iron Chef won, and 2 when he was defeated. On dates when Iron Chef Chen battled, Biggio batted .386 with 4 homers and 26 runs scored on dates of Iron Chef wins, and just .278 with 1 homer and 7 runs scored when the challenger won. In contrast, when Iron Chef Sakai won, Biggio batted .280 with no plunks, 3 homers and 27 runs scored, but when Hiroyuki Sakai lost, Biggio's average was raised to .348, with 2 plunks, 1 homer and just 8 runs scored.

Iron ChefResultGamesHBPHBP/PAAVGHRRAstros Record
Chen KenichiW3060.043480.38642620-10
Hiroyuki SakaiW33000.28032717-16
Koumei NakamuraW1210.018520.3335116-6
Masaharu MorimotoW11000.271188-3
Masahiko KobeW810.027030.303164-4
Rokusaburo MichibaW1110.018520.3261126-5
Yutake IshinabeW110.20.5010-1

Biggio was hit twice on the dates of "Beef Cheek Meet Battle", "Bird's Nest Battle", "Black Pig Battle" and "Konnyaku Battle". He was hit once on the dates of "Matsutake Mushroom Battle", "Sea Urchin Battle", "Yogurt Battle", "Cabbage Battle", "Hamaguri Clam Battle", "Anago Eel Battle" and "Avocado Battle".

Former Mariners pitcher Kaz Sasaki was once a guest judge on Iron Chef, but he never plunked Craig Biggio.


At 5/12/2006 02:00:00 AM, Anonymous cletus j. "bubba" huckabee jr. said...

Now if you ask me, and plenty folk do now and again, I obviously mistook what them chicken innards were saying for Spanish when it was obviously Chinese. See, I should have knowed because my prognostication coach is Madame Wong, who happens to be of Chinese extraction. I already knew how to wring a chicken’s neck, pluck it, and gut it, but Madame Wong taught me the fine art of squatting over them chicken bowels and decipher’n what they say.

Truth be node, I got no idea why I assume what I was hearing was Spanish. It sounded a bit like, “el pueblo de nuestra señora la reina de los angeles de porciuncula,” but now that I think back on it, Madame Wong’s particular extraction pretty much dictates that the mystic voices seeping forth from the guts will be numinous Chinese voices and therefore they would communicate in either one of the various Chinese dialects, or in heavily accented English. What I done heard was probably more like “得克萨斯” (which I reckon we would Romanize as “Dékèsàsī” [pardon my diacritical marks] which is a close proximity to “Texas” and in fact is how our Chinese brethren and cistern Romanize the name of the Lone Star State).

So, to cut a long story short, I reckon what them eerie voices drifting up out of the assorted viscera strewed about the floor of my shed were suggesting is that the next Biggio plunking was not scheduled for Los Angeles, but for Texas! However, that provides a conundrum because my Chinese skills fall short of being able to infer if that suggests the plunking will occur betwixt the 12th and 21st of May at the BUS (which is in the state of “得克萨斯” ) or up the road in 达拉斯 (Dálāsī) betwixt 30 June and 2 July when the Astros stop in at the Ballpark at Arlington to continue the battle for that silly silver boot.

Ultimately, it looks like the feted chicken guts on the floor of my shed are saying the race to set the plunk record will continue when our man Craig “Target” Biggio is beaned in the ‘noggin, on shoulder, or hand, or elbow, or leg, or some other extremity in Texas.

At 5/12/2006 07:56:00 AM, Blogger pbr said...

See, Bubba, it's this "squatting over them chicken bowels and decipher'n" business that's got me worried. Bird flu. The squatting and the decipher'n are probably fine, but the chicken bowels - that part might be unsanitary or even a real live biohazard. I wouldn't want you to become the 21st century Typhoid Mary - the Bird Flu Bubba.
On the other hand, you're probably taking all the necessary precautions, and have a home built biohazard suit made of Spam cans, lined with those tough laminated covers from old National Geographic magazines the school library was going to throw away, and maybe you have one of those old-timey scuba masks you picked up when Red Lobster went out of business and you have Junior and the Twins working the bellows from a safe distance while you squat over the chicken bowels and decipher what they say. It could account for the missed translation, hearing through that home-made biohazard suit. But I'm just going by what I'd imagine.
So anyway Cletus, even if you want to take one for the team like Craig Biggio, there's no sense getting that H5N1 business on account of prognostication of the next plunking.

At 5/12/2006 09:50:00 AM, Anonymous DM said...

I am such a fan. Keep up the good work.

At 5/13/2006 11:45:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now I KNOW you have too much time on your hand. M is a bad influence. -D


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