Saturday, January 07, 2006

A Real World Series

Working on a piece about the WBC which should be ready tomorrow. In the meanwhile, I'd like to draw everyone's attention to a related development. Over at Baseball Prospectus, they're doing a simulated series between the North American "World" Champions--the Chicago White Sox--and the Champions of the Nippon League--the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan.

The simulation uses the Diamond Mind baseball program, and translated stats by BP's Clay Davenport to bridge the gap between the Nippon League--with its smaller baseballs and ballparks--and Major League Baseball.

This real World Series, dubbed the Battle of Champions by BP's Dave Haller (who's also one of my wingmen on Notebook), is already up to Game 2. You can read the game stories for Game 1 here and Game 2 here, and Dave's overview of the project and its methods here. Without ruining any of the fun--quick, go read the articles and come back!--I will say that the simulation's results have been extremely cool, so far.

One question that I'd love to present to any Japanese fans of the game, is how a Japanese player playing for the American squad would be received by his countrymen (and women). If (to take us away from the example of the Sox and the Marines) Hideki Matsui were to blast a big home run against gyroballer Daisuke Matsuzaka, in a hypothetical Yankees/Seibu Lions series, would Japanese fans be happy that it was Matsui (and not some foreigner) who beat them, or upset at Matsui for helping a U.S. team beat a Japanese club?

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