Wednesday, April 30, 2008

More Fukudome!

Kosuke Fukudome has earned yet another American sports accolade;

the May 5th 2008 cover of Sports Illustrated.

As if that wasn't big enough, he's also earned approval of the rapid Chicago fans, the cover of the official Fukudome fan a t-shirt.

So along with confirmation of his stardom by the upper echelons of sports journalism and Cubs fans, his .326 batting average is giving him a serious head-start for the NL Rookie of the Year award...

Who was the 2001 AL Rookie of the Year? Just a nobody named Ichiro Suzuki...

Yeah, Fukudomania IS ON.


I'd like to apologize to my readers for the lack of content lately. My day job has been keeping me very busy this month but it's dying down very soon. I look forward to having regular posts in the very near future!

Thanks for sticking it out everyone!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Fukudome T-Shirt: Funny or Offensive?

Kosuke Fukudome has been on fire ever since his arrival in the United States from the Chunichi Dragons of the Japanese league. He's hit .317, stolen 3 bases, and had 9 runs-batted-in in only 17 games. Think Suzuki Ichiro but with more power... quick, flexible and hits for power.

So it's not a surprise that Chicago Cubs fans are crazy about their latest important from Japan. But with all the fanaticism of Cubs fans comes the ugly side of Wrigley Field as well; an attempt at player endearment ends up offending lots of people.

The shirt has the classic Cubs picture but they've altered it to have slanted eyes, glasses and replaced the popular "Holy Cow" of the Cubs announcer Harry Caray, with "Horry Kow!"
If you don't really get it... try saying "derivery" out loud or "herroh". Replacing 'l's with 'r's is an easy way to mimic an Asian accent.

Kosuke himself, the butt of this t-shirt joke, certainly doesn't find it funny... when shown the t-shirt, Kosuke says

''I don't know what the creator of the shirt meant this to be, but they should make it right . . . Maybe the creator created it because he thought it was funny, or maybe he made it to condescend the race. I don't know.'

Regardless, it's not funny. The image feeds not only ugly, arrogant and ignorant Japanese stereotypes, but also the stereotype of the obnoxious, profane, drunken, booing, garbage-throwing Cubs fan."

Seeing this story reminded me of a very similar controversy (but to be fair, these kinds of cultural comics happen all the time in every media medium and with every culture) that clothing retailer Abercrombie and Fitch had a few years back.

Some topics will always be off-limits for t-shirt jokes, or even jokes in general; homo-sexuality, abortion etc... but are what about these?

As strongly as I feel about people retaining a strong sense of their cultural past in America, I feel just as strongly that people that come here from other countries should be regarded as evenly as other Americans and shouldn't be treated any differently. So should people like me be really offended at these t-shirts? After all, according to my own feelings, we're all Americans first and fore-most, so they should all be considered as just another joke...

What do you guys think?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Chien-Ming Wang Charity

In honor of my favorite player Chien-Ming Wang and the charitable spirit of Respect Jeter's Gangster, I've decided to donate $1.00 for every ground-ball out that Wang makes in his starts until the end of baseball season in October.

Why a ground-ball out? One, Wang is not a strike-out pitcher and his money pitch is the hard sinker (which induces ground-ball outs); second, the more money that goes to charity the better right?

The charity I've decided to is the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Reason? Simple, sports is a source of never-ending inspiration to kids of every sex, ethnicity, heritage and financial upbringing all over the world. Seeing a few of the ESPN "My Wish" series only solidified my belief in this and the importance of sports in every kid's life.

Thanks to Respect Jeter's Gangster for inspiring this action. RJG has also pledged $1.00 for every home run hit by a Yankee for the rest of the season. If A-Rod has the season he had last year, RJG is already going to be in the hole, but like he said, it's all about the kids.

I'll have a box on the side of this blog as a running tally of Wang's ground-balls this season.