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Today was the day of the last Hanshin Tigers game of 2009 – we lost 3-1 to the Yakult Swallows, meaning that they clinch the third and final playoff place, and we are consigned to a fourth place finish.

阪神、5年ぶりBクラス転落 declares Yahoo!Jp Pro Sports page- after five years in the “A-class” of Central League baseball, we’re fallen to the B-class. In this “最終決戦”, final,decisive battle, the Swallows prevailed. I’m not bitter about their victory- the Swallows are a worthy, likeable team compared to the financial might of the Dragons and the Giants (and, indeed, Hanshin themselves). I wish them all the best in the Climax Series- in fact I hope they win it. What is disappointing though is the whole season viewed now, after the events. Despite bright sparks- particularly Aniki’s fantastic start, an 11-10 victory over the Carp, and Brazell’s form since joining, there have been too many negatives to this first year of Mayumi rule. His incompetence at handling situations- the relief, pinch hitting, and tactics- seriously undermined our challenge. Even more so, perhaps, is the general lowering of pitching and batting standards- the coaches need to be changed, as this season- with the exception of Toritani perhaps- most of our front line has been desperately disappointing. Compared to last season we are most definately worse- this season’s ending doesn’t have the pain of last season’s- which was, of course, the biggest upset in Japanese baseball season- but it’s still disappointing, robbing the fans of the excitement of the Climax Series.

Well, thats it for another 5/6 months until the start of the 2010 season- fear not, I’ll be back! Just like Hanshin.