Thursday, April 07, 2005

Japan Samurai Bears

I really have to hand it to the Golden Baseball League for a job well done. On Wednesday the GBL finally announced the eighth member of their league. After the Tijuana Toros folded up shop unable to secure a lease on a ballpark, the league was left with the always chilling prospect of fielding a traveling team.

Rather than go the way that the Atlantic League and the Northeast League (now the Can-Am League) did by fielding teams of players who either were rejects from other teams or players who never even got one look, the GBL came up with a solid idea. The eighth team in the GBL will be comprised completely of Japanese players and will be called the Japan Samurai Bears.

The Samurai Bears will be managed by former Japanese League great Warren Cromartie. For a team comprised of all Japanese players, getting Cromartie, who still is one of the most popular players of all time in Japan, has got to be considered a coup. I'm sure it gives the Samurai Bears instant credibility in the mind of any Japanese player thinking of playing for this team. Plus, Cromartie already understands the differences between Japanese players and American players and should be able to get quite a bit out of his team that an American coach probably wouldn't have been able to get.

Whether or not this idea works remains to be seen. We first have to wait and see if the idea of the GBL in general will work or not. But at the very least this league has really made an attempt at success and this novel idea for their traveling team makes me think that the founders of this league have got their ducks in a row and are willing to take whatever steps they need to take to make this league work. Every other league has just written a team like that off and made no attempt to make them an integral part of the league like the GBL has with the Samurai Bears.

Now, on to the logo. Again my hat goes off to the GBL for this one. They have managed to top every other team in the league with these two logos. If you are going to have an all Japanese team you might as well play it up to the fullest and the Samurai Bears do exactly that.

I'm a little confused as to why the word "Bear" is in their name but I might be ignorant and am missing the reason somewhere. Also, if you go to their website you will see a lot of the stereotypical "Chop Suey" style writing that I more associate with crappy Chinese restaurants like the China Clipper in downtown Olympia. Otherwise the GBL has done an outstanding job with this team from the very idea behind them all the way down to the logo.

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