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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
Every day in May, the White House has had Asian Americans in government post something relating to APA Heritage Month. This being Memorial Day, it was set up perfectly for Tammy Duckworth, the Asst. Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs within the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Here is her blog entry on the contributions of Asian Americans in service to our country.
Posted by Tammy Duckworth on May 30, 2011 at 11:17 AM EDT It’s an understatement to say that the United States benefits from its diverse citizenry. The very nature of our country is one where Americans of different races and ethnicities come together to contribute to the rich blend of American culture. Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) are one of the many populations to contribute to the patchwork quilt of America—even though many of these contributions are not widely known. Even as AAPIs have been part of American history, we are also an important part of America’s future as a global economic and innovation leader. One hundred and fifty years ago, it was Asian laborers who literally moved mountains with their bare hands and bent backs, uniting the nation from East to West by laying the rail line of the first transcontinental railroads. During the Civil War, Chinese Americans fought in white units mostly in the North, while some united under the Confederate banner. Edward Day Cohota, a Chinese immigrant, served in the Union Army during the Civil War and remained in the United States Army for more than twenty years. Unlike other soldiers who were granted US citizenship under the 1862 Alien Veteran Citizenship act upon their honorable discharge, he was never granted citizenship because of the later 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act which made it illegal for Chinese to become U.S. citizens. And of course we are all familiar with the heroism of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the 100th battalion of Japanese Americans during World War II. Even while their families were herded into internment camps and stripped of their constitutional rights and liberties, these brave Americans fought with a ferocity seldom seen before or since. What hasn’t changed throughout American history has been the undivided love that AAPIs have for our nation. The story repeats itself throughout American history of AAPIs serving honorably. Today, our Pacific Islander Veterans, along with Native American Veterans, serve in the U.S. military at the highest per capita rates of any population in the nation. There are currently only two Asian Americans in the United States Senate, Senators Inouye and Akaka, and both are Veterans. There is no question of our AAPI service members’ ability to excel in the military, something clearly demonstrated by the military service of people like Secretary Shinseki, Brigadier General Coral Wong Pietsch (1st female AAPI Army general officer) and the 32 Congressional Medal of Honor recipients from the first, José B. Nísperos, to the 22 who were recognized decades after their service on the battlefield such as Senator Daniel Inouye and onto the most recently named Private First Class Anthony T. Kaho’ohanohano. Today, as other nations develop and become more globally competitive, the United States must draw on the skills of all our citizens in order to win the technological, innovation and production race for the future. So as we celebrate the contributions of AAPIs to our nation’s rich heritage, we should also look forward to where AAPI’s varied contributions will add to the toolkit our nation will use to win the future.
Tammy Duckworth is the Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs in the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.