Wishful Thinking (2011 Version)

It’s that time of year again! The Tokyo Swallows started spring camp today–baseball season is just around the corner! Click here for a camp schedule and 1st/2nd team rosters.

In an effort to forge a little bit of a tradition here, I’m going to continue doing what I’ve done the last two seasons and make some pleas to the Jingu yakyu kami (read: Jingu stadium baseball gods).

I got a decent amount of what I asked for last year after getting completely dissed in 2009. The following is what I was hoping for last year:

1. The Swallows finish the year with a record above .500

2. Barnette wins 10 games

3. Yoshinori stops using Oil of Olay on his hands every night before going to bed

4. Lim makes fewer than 50 appearances (regular season)

5. We start the 2011 campaign with a manager who isn’t old enough to collect pension benefits

I definitely got what I wanted on numbers one and five but got sent back on numbers two (Barnette went 4-5) and four (53 appearances).

Number three? Not so sure. Did oniisan Sato miss any starts last season because of his delicate digits? I can’t remember that he did.

I’ll play it safe and say that I got a 50% return on that wish. That would mean that I did way better in 2010 than in 2009. I wonder if I should wish bigger this year…?

Without further ado:

1. Mikinori Katoh makes at least 15 appearances and keeps his ERA below 4.00

2. Barnette has at least 20 starts and keeps his ERA below 3.50

3. Ogawa calls for the bunt less than he did last year (even though he’ll be the manager for two months longer)

4. Whoever becomes the everyday right fielder gets more than 400 plate appearances and collects at least 100 hits

5. Aoki wins the Central League MVP

Feel free to post your comments on my picks and how likely they are to happen. Additionally, just as we’ve done in the past, go ahead and post your own ‘Wishful Thinking’ list for the 2011 season.

About Christopher Pellegrini

Christopher is a budding sabermetrician and long-time supporter of Tokyo's more lovable team, the Swallows. He has publicly volunteered, several times, that he plans to buy the team at some point in the future. When he finally runs the joint, it is likely that he will fine any player who swings at the first pitch or sac bunts (unless it's a pitcher, of course). Follow him on Twitter: @chrispellegrini

  • Anonymous

    I’m going to wish big;

    1) Winning percentage above .525

    2) Climax Series playoff games held at Jingu.

    3) Whitesell to slug 30+ homers and retain a batting average of .300+

    4) To personally witness a win at Tokyo Dome (I’m about 0-8 at the moment)

    5) Aoki to go out in a blaze of glory, with 20+ homers and batting at .333+

    I suppose that as long as I get no 2) then everything else takes care of itself!!! Looking forward to it….

  • Barring injury, I’d put even money on Aoki having his best season yet. 20+ steals and 20+ homers are nearly a foregone conclusion given that he’s looking to move to MLB next season.

    • Anonymous

      Let’s hope you are right Chris. If Aoki easily gets his 20+ and Whitesell his 30+ (while both maintaining decent averages), with a bit of HR support from Hatake, Iihara, Guiel etc we could be in for a good one…. Is it too much to hope that Balentien might work out to be half decent too?!

  • I will share wish #5 with you. I’d like to think Balentien can hit .250 as well, but I’m hearing some real doubts about him.

    • Balentien will be on a short leash. He’ll have three weeks to show that he deserves to be playing ahead of Guiel. And that’s assuming that he plays well enough in March to start the regular season in right.

  • Here’s what a projection system spit out for the birds in 2011. Let’s hope for full seasons from Hatake, Guiel, and Whitesell

  • Mr No

    Things are (understandably) quiet right now. Anyone going to the charity games against the Carp this weekend?

  • Mr No

    Also, I am running into a huge headache trying to get my tickets from the 3/25 game refunded. Anyone have any suggestions? I got them from the pia machines. Family Mart says I have to call some number. the number is just a recording with no information of any use. I’m pretty sure if I take them to Jingu they will tell me to go to Family Mart.

  • Kozo

    The Gate 9 ticket refund window at Jingu refunds any Swallows ticket acquired through authorized channels (including pia). I’ve gotten refunds for rained out games I got at combinis in the past.

  • Anonymous

    I was at the Carp charity game yesterday. My first sighting of swallows this season. It was a pretty chilled affair, both in terms of atmosphere (due to the “self-restraint” of the Oendan band who are not playing for a while as a sign of respect) and temperature. But despite the fact I was only half watching, I very much enjoyed seeing new boy Balentien slugging 2 big home runs worth 4 RBI.

    Reason to be excited? How has he performed in other pre-season games?

    • Mr No

      I was at the Saturday game (GREAT WEATHER! Shoulda played 2!) Balentien had some nice swings, but hit ’em to where they were at.

      Anyone know what is up for the game against Yokohama on the 16th? The npb site has the game happening at Yokohama, but the Swallows’ site has them at Jingu. I’ll go either way, but it would be nice to know where.

  • Kozo

    We’ve updated the schedule on our site with the latest schedule. I expect there will be some more changes (mostly with game start times) in the future.