Category Archives: diversity

Linceblog: 442nd hero Lawson Sakai honored at San Francisco Giants Japanese Heritage Night; Then Cliff Lee and Phils end the Giants’ win streak with 6-2 beatdown; UPDATE-Giants doppleganged 6-2, by right-handed Lee clone

Lawson Sakai, 442 vet and Congressional Gold Medal awardee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Throwing out the first pitch on this night was a man who was playing third base for his college baseball team during the Pearl Harbor attack.

Lawson Sakai was a student at Compton College in Los Angeles,  but when Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps during the war, his family was sent to live in Manzanar. While in camp, he volunteered for the Army where he served with the celebrated 442nd. The late Senator Dan Inouye was one of his company mates.

Sakai said he was saddened when his close friend died last year in December.  “He said Hawaii would lose so much if he retired,” said Sakai. “So he died with his boots on.”

 

left to right: Col. Brian Shiroyama; USAF Capt Kiyo Sato; Asa Hanamoto; Sakai; Terry Nakanishi, Women’s Army Corps, MIS; Dr.Howard Kline, physician to Nisei vets.

 

 

Sakai, 90 in October, is  retired and living in the South Bay, where he is a Giants fan and often reflects on what the 442nd accomplished.

“We were really outcasts, in 1943,” said Sakai. “If the Nisei didn’t join the 442nd and fight the Germans, we (Japanese Americans)  would not be here today.”

 

89-year-old Sakai throws out the first pitch

 

Now for the other pitches of the night in the actual game.

Oh yeah, the game.

This was supposed to be a pitching duel between the Phillies’ Cliff Lee, and the Giants’ best pitcher of the season, Madison Bumgarner.

In addition, the Giants came into this game euphoric with a six-game streak after sweeping the Dodgers.  The Giants are now also the official comeback kids of the National League, tied with the Orioles in the Majors with 11  late rally victories.

That’s a lot of drama.

So you know it was OK to spot the Philadelphia Phillies for 3 runs in the 2nd.

They would come back, right? Even with Cliff Lee, who’s been 3-0 with a 0.51 ERA at AT&T Park?

Big question marks.

For the Giants, only Hunter Pence stayed streaky hot. He homered in the bottom of the 2nd, and scored  the Giants second run after a double in the 8th.

He was the lone offensive spark on a night the other Giants couldn’t get on base.

So there was no drama. This was more an informercial for Phillies starter Cliff Lee.

The night belonged to Lee, who scattered five hits (including the Pence HR), and kept the Giants at bay with 6 strikeouts.

Bumgarner had 7 strikeouts, but the Phillies were hitting him hard all night.

S’not his night, you might say. 

Bum’s line: 8 hits, 5 runs, one homer run, 2 wild pitches, 100 pitches in all.

That really might have been enough to win if the Giants were hitting like they did in the Dodger series.

No such luck with the Phillies, not when Cliff Lee is on his game to shut down the drama.

UPDATE-5-8-2013  Giants doppleganged as Phils win again 6-2 

 On the anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants’ arrival to the U.S. (May 7, 1843), the coincidence of having a Filipino American starting pitcher may have seemed like the stars were aligned for the Giants on Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

But Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick doesn’t know much about history—as Sam Cook would say.

He created his own history against the Giants, facing them for the first time and making them look foolish at the plate

In 7 innings, Kendrick gave up just 6 hits, 2 runs, and posted six  strikeouts, with no walks.

He had it going.

And Giants hero Tim Lincecum didn’t.

Lince’s line: 7 innings, 9 hits, 5 runs, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts, 1 HR.

Getting to be a similar story each Lince-start.  Signs of brilliance, but it takes a while for it to show in a game. If he’s not on right away, he starts losing it. Runs score, maybe a big inning. And then he settles, is good. And then it’s up to the hitters. That’s the pattern.

Pitching wise, Lincecum doesn’t talk mechanics so much as his “rhythm.”  His rhythm is like a dancer’s. If he’s out of step, he’s all left feet.  In ballet, in baseball, it’s subtle but noticeable. 

Still, it may have been a good enough effort to win, if the Giants’ batters were able to solve Kendrick.

They weren’t.

The Giants were out-pitched,  out-hit, 12-7, and with  2 errors, out-played.

This early in the season, all you can say is, “Next.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Linceblog: Metallica sets tone, but Giants acoustic until Posey rocks the yard; Another game that defines the Giant-Dodger rivalry;UPDATE: Game 2 of series–a Guillermo walk-off homer

 

It wasn’t just the Dodgers and Giants at AT&T Park on Friday. It was the Dodgers and Giants and Metallica, one of the world’s most famous rock and roll bands ever.

 

Heavy Metal Baseballers:Metallica

Metallica? Just the net worth of lead singer James Hetfield is estimated at $175 million, a not so quiet fortune. He and lead guitarist Kirk Hammett both hail from the Bay Area. And Hammett is a Filipino American to boot–from the city’s Mission district.

 “18th and South Van Ness,” he said to me. “I played Little League for St. Charles.”

St. Charles?  Oh ,yeah. I’m a few years older than Hammett. But I was a Dolores Park guy back then, and I remember those guys with the gray khakis and the red sweaters and our teams  (me and Marcelino Dumpit) used to whip up on all the St. Charles teams we played.

Except, clearly we would have been trounced if they had a CYO heavy metal team and we had to jam with  the likes of Hammett.

I mean how could I compete with  my effing clarinet.

 

Hammett, big league axe in hand, did a version of the Star Spangled Banner that had shades of Jimi .

It should have set the tone for one heck-of-a-rocking-game. Even the scoreboard had the Giants’ pictures in Metallica drag.

 

 

Metal drag: They don’t call him Buster for nothing

 

 

And it did set a tone,  but the  game was more like an acoustic fantasy for the Giants.

So did the park rock? Nope. The Giants bats were unplugged.

The Dodger’s Clayton Kershaw had the Giants stymied with a perfect game through the first third of the game, and a no-hitter until the Giants’ Marco Scutaro tripled in the 6th.

Kershaw would go from 74 mph to 94 mph and back in one sequence to show how it kept batters off balance all night.

The Giants Barry Zito was almost as good, but with more key defensive help. In the 3rd and 4th innings, Dodger rallies died because of timely variations of the Arias/Scutaro/Belt double play.

But it looked like Kershaw would beat them again with his arm and his bat when he doubled to lead off the 5th.  A sac bunt moved him to third where he should have stayed, but a ground ball to Arias was too deep to start a double play.  But that allowed Kershaw to score the only run he might need–he was going that well.

A better ground ball came from the next batter, the dangerous Kemp, and this time, the Giants turned a DP to end the inning and limit the damage to just one run.

One run down? That’s just the beginning of the game for the 2013 Giants, who came into the game tied with the Pirates for most comebacks in the National League (9).

In their half of the 6th, the Giants woke up with the Scutaro triple, and scored on a Buster Posey double. 

With the game tied, Hunter Pence singled to center. Posey, running on contact with two out, rounded third and was waved on home to get the go-ahead run.

For Posey, it was nearly a reverse déjà vu moment that produced that heartbreaking moment Giants fans never forget from 2011.  

Only this time Posey was the runner, not the catcher. Would Posey score? Would he barrel into Dodger catcher A.J. Ellis for the dramatic and courageous go-ahead?

Kemp’s throw to the plate was perfect and beat Posey without question. He slid sensibly into the tag and saved the big splash for later. He was instinctively saving the passion and the drama for later.

Posey had another scenario in mind.

In the bottom of the ninth, game tied, facing the Dodger’ reliever Ronald Belisario, and a 3-2 count,  Posey knew exactly where to put the exclamation point in this game.

You need a shot in the arm? There’s nothing like a walk-off home-run against your dreaded rivals.  

Metallica? On the very last play of the game, AT&T was finally plugged-in and rocking, another game that adds to the legend of the Giant-Dodger rivalry.

UPDATE: A GUILLERMO WINS ONE FOR THE GIANTS IN SECOND GAME OF THE SERIES

Another win for the Giants (five straight), all comebacks, and the second in-a-row with a walk-off home run.

This time the hero is Guillermo Quiroz, the third-string catcher and minor league careerist,  who lives for moments like the bottom of the 10th.  As a pinch-hitter, Quiroz was the last position player available to Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy.

No one expected what would happen next.

Quiroz hit a beleagurered Dodger reliever’s pitch into the left field bleachers,  just as Buster Posey did the night before, to give the Giants a 10-9 win.

It was another classic Giant/Dodger game, a highly offensive affair that featured 19 runs and 30 hits between the two teams.

The walk-off home run for the Giants was the 12th in the LA/SF series since the two teams moved west in 1958.

 

 

 

 

 

Immigration rallies preach to choir, earn sparse media coverage

I didn’t see much coverage on the May Day rallies on the level that I might have expected. That’s a barometer of sorts indicating tough sledding ahead.  I had hoped to see more of it in the mainstream, but only saw it covered in the international ethnic media.

(Maybe if they had an accented pop-culture star like PSY doing his thing, there would have been more crowds and media attention. It didn’t hurt the TODAY show this morning).

Given that even supporters want to change the bill, e.g., Asian Americans want more family reunification provisions, we still have a lot of compromising to go. If the Senate gets through the scheduled mark-up next week, one wonders if we will see something final by end of summer? There’s also rumbing in the House,  where the talk is reps want to deal with issues one at a time and not in some big burritto of a bill.

Stay tuned.

 

No jokes at First Presidential Press Conference since WHCD, but lots on sequester, immigration, and Jason Collins

I know the presser is a 100-day marker. But the WHCD was such a stark contrast. It’s definitely back to the somber stuff today.  Brief mention of the WHCD at the start, but Syria is the lead. Obama still unclear on what the U.S. should do. And even support efforts announced today seem to be a token gesture. A delicate fluid situation.

President was more clear on the sequester and defining the dysfunctional government and putting blame on Congress and its failure to do its job.

“It’s not my job to get them to behave,” said the president. 

 

(from televison coverage of press conference)

 

 

Obama’s example of the FAA instance exposed the short-sighted nature of the GOP. All it’s done is borrow money from airport improvements in the future, which hurts the U.S. long term. Obama said the best strategy is to address issues through a broader deal.

 Obama mentioned a “permission structure,” that may allow  those scared of their political base to reach compromise on budget issues.

 It was as blunt and detailed an answer, of the conseqeunces of sequester and how it  has hurt the country. No pussyfooting here.

“We are using our seed corn, short term.And the only reason we’re doing it is because right now we have some folks unwilling to make some simple changes to our tax code, for example to close loopholes that aren’t adding to our competitiveness and aren’t helping middle-class families,” said the president. “There are common sense solutions to our problems right now. I cannot force Republicans  to embrace those common sense solutions. I can urge them to, I can put pressure on them, I can rally the American people around those common sense solutions. But ultimately they themselves are going to have to say we want to do the right thing.”

The president indicated he understood Congress’ political dilemma. “It’s tough,” he said. “Their base thinks that compromise with me is somehow a betrayal. They’re worried about primaries. And I understand all that, and we’re going to do everything we can to create a permission structure for them to do what’s best for the country. But it’s going to take some time.”

Permission structure? Does he mean political cover so that conservatives can hide behind a tough vote?

The president also weighed in on what is could be the signature accomplishment of this term: Immigration.

The president praised the Gang of Eight’s efforts, saying it may not have been what he would have done, but it did meet the criteria: Border safety, strong employer provisions, improvements to the current bureaucracy, and that pathway to citizenship.

Obama praised the pathway as one where people can earn the right to legalize their status over time.

But that’s one of the contentious issues in the plan.

Obama said he’s open-minded. He’ll need to be. Already some House members have said they don’t want a big package but would rather take up the issue piece meal. 

Sound precarious?  It is. And this is the President’s best issue going forward.

Obama was almost out the door when he came back to the podium to discuss Jason Collins’ coming out statement.

Said the President:

“Yeah, I’ll say something about Jason Collins. I had a chance to talk to him yesterday. He seems like a terrific young man, and, you know, I told him I couldn’t be prouder of him. You know, one of the extraordinary measures of progress that we’ve seen in this country has been the recognition that the LGBT community deserves full equality, not just partial equality, not just tolerance but a recognition that they’re fully a part of the American family.

And, you know, given the importance of sports in our society, for an individual who’s excelled at the highest levels in one of major sports go ahead and say, this is who I am, I’m proud of it, I’m still a great competitor, I’m still seven feet tall and can bang with Shaq and, you know, deliver a hard foul — and for, you know, a lot of young people out there who, you know, are — are — are, you know, gay or lesbian, who are struggling with these issues, to see a role model like that who’s unafraid, I think it’s a great thing. And I think America should be proud that this is just one more step in this ongoing recognition that we treat everybody fairly. And everybody’s part of a — part of a family, and we judge people on the basis of their character and their performance, and not their sexual orientation.”

That was a question the president was glad to answer.

See my latest at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund blog.