Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Watch Begins

Welcome to another spin-off project of Canyon of Heroes. In case you don't know COH, it's a Yankees Fan Blog dedicated to the daily drama of the New York Yankees. Canyon of Heroes has also endeavored to cover wide-ranging baseball events and points of interest from New York to Los Angeles, and Cuba to Japan. The first such spin-off is Matsuzaka Watch, a blog designed to follow the career of Daisuke Matsuzaka of the Seibu Lions. As a resident of Japan, I spend part of my energy following Japanese Pro Yakyu in an effort to educate fans around the world about the Japanese game, and provide a layman's scouting report on various Far East players for Yankee fans back home.

Matsuzaka Watch is a project with an immediate goal. Bring Daisuke Matsuzaka to the Yankees. By generating interest and awareness about the young star player, I hope to build excitement and demand for his services in the Big Apple. Darvish Watch, on the other hand, is more of a long term project with a slightly different goal in mind. Yes, I hope to inform and generate interest about this stellar young player as well, but he is far from ready for the Major Leagues, and can be described as a diamond in the rough. Why Darvish, and why now?

I've been a fan of Yu Darvish since I first saw him pitch at the Koshien Summer High School Baseball Invitational 2 years ago. In 2004, Darvish led the Tohoku High School club to a second place finish at Koshien and turned heads with his brilliant pitching. As a resident of the Tohoku district of Japan, I took immediate notice of the young man's game. The city of Sendai is kind of an unofficial capital city of Tohoku, much the same as Boston is the center of New England in the US. I live some 2 and a half hours from Sendai, but the buzz about the tall half-Iranian, half-Japanese pitcher shook Northern Japan with a tremendous excitement. I was hooked.

I also have an acute interest in Darvish for his multi-cultural heritage. I am an American of German-Irish background, and my wife is Japanese. At the moment we are expecting our first child, and I feel a great enthusiasm for the rich and diverse experience our baby is about to have as a part of two distinct cultures. Role models for children of multi-cultural families are increasingly visible, and in no part of society moreso than sports. I think of Derek Jeter's impact immediately. Darvish shares some element of my personal experience, and combined with his intriguing ability, he is a natural fit for this blog.

What follows is a chronicle of the soon-to-be 20 year old's early career, beginning with a biography which will lead to the present day. Stay tuned for a comprehensive look at Yu Darvish of the Nippon Ham Fighters, and come back often for the latest on his promising young career.

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