There have been some great sayonara victories at Koshien stadium over the years. My own introduction to the hallowed ground came with an exciting last innings home run from Arai, beating the Yakult Swallows 5-4. Yet in recent times, it is the late mistakes, the snatching of defeat from the jaws of victory, that has dominated the minds of Tigers fans.
For six innings yesterday Kubo held the Giants – allowing 9 hits yes, but only 2 runs, and getting seven strike outs. Going in to the seventh innings Tigers were winning 6-2. Then it all went horribly wrong. Kubota pitched the seventh and gave up 3 runs. Then Kyuji pitched the eighth and ninth – and gave up the rest. Tigers had once again thrown away a crucial game. As the game started early, and I wasn’t at home, I couldn’t watch it – so again my comments are by necessity brief. I was looking forward to seeing the ‘decider’ tomorrow, yet it is not to be. Once again, the Tigers have shown a capacity to disappoint. Fingers will inevitably be pointed at Kyuji Fujikawa. That he is not a ‘big game’ player. That he is lazy. That he is arrogant. I still don’t believe this does justice to the situation, but it’s hard to argue with the fact that he has let us down at key moments. Then again, so has Kubota, and so has Brazell. Yet all three are brilliant players, and have also been integral to our success this season. That’s sport I guess.
2010 Tigers are now officially over. Thanks to the small band of readers who have followed my reports of games. Thanks for all your comments – it’s always nice to know that people enjoy reading what you write. I’ll no doubt be back again next year, for Tigers 2011 – until then, enjoy whatever else I find to write about!