Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Game

The game of softball here is SO incredibly different. Did not expect that at all. I've known the sport since I was 4 years old. I feel like I'm just starting to play again. It's crazy. The way they think about things is completely different from the way we do in the states. (P.s. it will never get normal to say "the states." I hope it's as weird for you to read as it is for me to type.)
Literally, all aspects of the game are different. Their approach to defense, offense, training, pitching, what the strikezone is......EVERYTHING.
So, let's start with the strike zone. If you have ever seen me pitch for even an inning, you've most likely seen me give a death stare for a blown call. Umpires and I never seem to see eye-to-eye. I tried the sugary sweet approach and nothing changed. So, I take the more fun approach of letting them know just how I feel about their calls. Way more fun that way! My relationship with any umpire was completely altered in 2010, the infamous Illegal pitch season. My dislike for umpires quickly turned into a loathing. I get it, they're doing their job and are probably really sweet people. But, on the field, I hate them. I'm sorry but when you call an illegal pitch after the girl pops up to right field after striking her out 4 different times, we're going to have problems. Or when you're as caught off guard by my change-up as the batter is that you don't realize it's PIPED right down the middle, I'm going to want to kick you in the shin. 
HOWEVER, I'd like to apologize to every U.S. umpire that has received the wrath of my glare. I know, it can be a little scary. Batters I've faced or ex-boyfriends can testify. Japanese umpires take the cake. Actually, no. They take the whole damn bakery. Good lord I've never seen such a small strikezone. I'm pretty sure I had about 5 called strikes the entire game. The first inning I thought I struck a girl out because she watched a FATTY screwball on the inner half of the plate. I did a half skip/fist pump off the field before realizing he didn't punch her out. Half embarrassed, half confused, I fumed my back to the mound. 
Let's just say, thank the Lord that no one on the field can understand what I'm saying. Had a few sailor-mouth moments in the circle. Actually, a lot of them. And the umpires didn't understand my "Oh, apparently I need 4 strikes?!" comments. Or the "You cannot be serious." Or "What the *#*$!" 
Let's hope when I get back in the states that I don't forget everyone can understand what I'm saying. 

Just in case you thought I was kidding about his name being Mr. Data.
Oh, and yes they spelled Trainer as "Tariner"
Scouting here puts the states to shame. Actually a lot of the aspects of softball here put the states to shame. Their work ethic is beyond anything I've ever witnessed. When were done with our 8 hour practices, most of the girls immediately go into the weight room and keep working. I crawl up the stairs and immediately fall asleep....on the floor. Because I don't have the energy to get to my bed. The night before our first game, we had a battery meeting (for those of you who don't know softball/baseball, that's the pitchers and catchers). Our data guy, who's name is Mr. Data (not kidding), sat down and pulled out a binder of papers. These papers had the craziest diagrams, drawings of at bats, hits, etc. Anything you could possibly record on a batter, pitcher, runner, position player, was all in this book. He had percentages, location of pitches, pinpoint location of where they hit it, including bounces of the ball. I was seriously waiting for the statistic of how the girl hit when she ate a hot dog for lunch instead of a salad. RIDICULOUS. He had stats for scrimmages, games, and league games. Everything was meticulously organized. Never experienced that much scouting in my life. And this team, according to Mr. Data, didn't have that much relevant information. He noted the "small" amount of information. I asked "Homeboy, what in the hell is a lot of information?! There's more papers in that binder than I had in an entire semester of school!"
Apparently, the other binders are much MUCH bigger. I'm dreading the scouting report of when we play the 1st place team.....which coincidentally is this weekend. Yay!
I guess I shouldn't be surprised at the scouting, though. When I first pitched in the scrimmage game, I turned around to find 9 cameras in center field. There were 4 teams at the tournament. I came out of the game for the middle innings, at which time about 4 cameras disappeared. When I came back in, a total of 12 cameras magically popped up. There are only 12 teams in our league, including us! Craziness.

The other aspects of the game that are different are far too difficult and complex to type. And quite frankly, I don't understand them. At all. We're constantly getting corrected on things we've been doing since we picked up a softball. Highly confusing and a little frustrating. The work ethic though......I can get with. These girls are by far the hardest workers I've ever witnessed in my life. They do everything with precision and meticulousness. It's amazing to watch sometimes. I can't even imagine how much better some U.S. players would be if they had the same work ethic. They'd be superhuman. Scary to think about. 
There's just a completely different outlook on life and softball by the Japanese that completely boggles my mind. Still trying to form some thoughts to blog about. 
Til then...
xo Jordan 


  1. JT is there anyway i could buy or get a autographed team USA jersey from you? jersey is for my cousin who has cancer and is a huge fan of yours from your college days. just wanted to do something to cheer him up in the hard times hes in. anything would do hope to hear back

  2. I actually don't have any jerseys. I'm pretty sure you can get a customized one. I'd be more than happy to sign anything. If I had access to one I would be more than happy to send it, but unfortunately I don't. I'm sorry.

  3. So i got 8x10 of when you played at michigan and and jersey where can i send it to you? thanks so much for doing this. my cousin had season tickets to uofm softball for 7 years and this will cheer him up.

    1. Can you email me at and I'll send you the address? I'll send it back as soon as I get back to the states!

  4. yes i will thanks alot jordan