Thanks to Gen at Yakyu Baka for tipping us off about season predictions made by the so-called experts assembled by Sponichi. Some of them clearly haven’t been paying close attention to what went on behind the scenes with all six of the Central League teams since the Japan Series ended last November.
All 14 pundits had Yomiuri finishing in the top two, with 10 of them figuring that they’d win the league outright. Safe choices. And every one of the talking heads save one have Yokohama penciled in finishing last.
But there were some odd decisions in the group as well. A couple of them have Hanshin winning the Central League. Unsurprisingly, one of these two geniuses is a former Hanshin player (Akihiro Yano) while the other is proof positive that good players rarely make good managers (Michiyo Arito). Other anomalies include Shinji Sasaoka’s prediction that the Carp would win the pennant with the Dragons finishing fifth. I bet you can’t guess who Sasaoka played his entire career for.
So since everyone’s playing favorites here, let’s look at how our beloved birds fared.
Every pundit had Tokyo finishing somewhere between second and fifth: second place (two votes), third place (five votes), fourth place (four votes), and fifth place (three votes). That’s a pretty wide array of opinions which suggests that most of these guys haven’t the foggiest idea how good Tokyo will be. To be fair, there were larger discrepancies with regard to Chunichi and Hanshin, both of whom received votes for everything from 1st to 5th. Hiroshima was placed everywhere at least once with the majority of the votes calling for them to finish fifth (seven votes).
Interestingly, only one pundit called the Central League standings the same way that Dave and I did. He obviously listened to our most recent podcast. And he’s obviously going to be correct.
If you want to see all of the numbers laid out in a nifty chart, click here for Gen’s translation of the Sponichi article.