Oh, the joy of baseball in summer, and especially, the joy of baseball THAT summer!
What dreams are made of
One thing Japan has right, almost above and beyond anything else in this fine country is the twice-yearly national high school baseball tournament. In spring and summer both, local and then prefectural playoffs take place that eventually lead to a final grouping of 64 teams that head to Kobe’s venerable Koshien Stadium, the stadium that also lends its name to the tournament itself.
The level of play is top-notch, with a few of the best players each year going straight into the pros. And few over the years (Hideki Matsui and Yu Darvish, just to name two) have been so good that they became instant superstars at the pro level.
But it is not just the level of play that intrigues – it is the heart and soul of the boys themselves, and the drama they produce that has enthralled the nation, year after year, and decade after decade.
Enjoy the book
My latest piece of fiction, KOSHIEN HEROES, is about a bunch of brothers and cousins, The Kawabata Boys, who spend their childhood in Kansas on a farm, studying in a one-room school house in the morning, and playing ball the rest of the day, and who then come back to Japan, just in time to qualify for the Koshien tournament. It’s a fun, exciting story with plenty of baseball wizardry (triple plays and hidden ball tricks, and the like) as well as a guest appearance by Ted Williams, who used to fish with the boys’ dads in Japan during his days as an ace fighter pilot in the Korean War.
Read the book. Enjoy it. And envy these young boys who put their heart and soul into a game they love. Memories are born here that last forever.
Oh, the joy of baseball in summer, and especially, the joy of baseball that summer!