FanDuel - WFBC

March 14, 2011

Tsunami Disaster Disrupts Japanese Sports: Japanese sports leagues are debating what to do about their upcoming schedules as the country recovers from the devastating 9.0 earthquake and tsunami. Next week's World Figure Skating Championships in Tokyo have been cancelled. The baseball season is supposed to begin March 25 but could be affected by planned rolling blackouts. One of the missing in Sendai is Marty Kuehnert, an American who is the former GM of the Rakuten Golden Eagles baseball team.

posted by rcade to general at 01:18 PM - 14 comments

Games fall WAY down the priority list with regards to the staggering issues Japan is facing.

posted by dyams at 01:03 PM on March 14

What dyams said. That article's title is kind of like one of those "American hurt in plane crash" headlines. When the reason that the baseball season may be disrupted is rolling blackouts, caused by nuclear plants going critical and possibly melting down, as a result of a disaster that's left thousands of bodies on the shoreline...the disruption of sporting events just doesn't matter.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 02:12 PM on March 14

Thank you for stating so eloquently what many of us feel, lbb.

posted by steelergirl at 02:49 PM on March 14

I think you're overthinking it. Reporting on the disruption to everyday activities like sports does not mean those activities are important in comparison to other disaster news.

After 9/11, I cared about what would happen to NFL games the following week. It was a welcome respite from the gut-wrenching news of the time.

posted by rcade at 02:49 PM on March 14

I think you're overthinking it. Reporting on the disruption to everyday activities like sports does not mean those activities are important in comparison to other disaster news.

No, but the thing is...we're not in the aftermath of this disaster yet. We're still in the "things keep getting worse" phase -- last I looked, they were running out of ideas to prevent a meltdown at some nuclear plants. It seems strange to think about how the disaster will affect sports when we still don't know how many lives will be claimed by this disaster and its second- and third-order consequences.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:32 PM on March 14

From speaking to actual experts on the subject (as in former safety engineers at nuke plants etc...) a meltdown, while sounding absolutely horrendous, would in no way be on the scale of Chernobyl, simply due to the design of the containment etc... And the nature of the failure. (Chernobyl was down to human error and poor equipment.)

And yes, sports is of little consequence currently in Japan, but the fact is this is a SPORTS website. Ergo news on how many popular Japanese sports will be impacted is neither out of place, nor distasteful. For example I am a racing fan as many of you know, and while it's not important in the grander picture, I was saddened to learn that the Sugo racetrack has most likely been destroyed. I have also wondered if one of my favourite circuits in the world, Suzuka, has been damaged.

This knee jerk "Mustn't discuss anything else while tragedy unfolds" mentality is madness. Not just because as humans it's a coping mechanism for the horror that is unfolding, but for the simple fact life goes on.

Sorry, but it does. I got very sick last year and almost died on multiple occasions. (Multiple organ failure, gram negative bacterial infection with an 80% fatality rate.) World carried on.

Hundreds die every day on our roads. Therefore even posting on a sports website at any time is trivial while these thousands die and continue to die every day and will continue to do so long after Japan has rebuilt and repaired and you're back to filling your life with trivia and inanity like everyone else does and blithely going about your business and have stopped bitching about people not being somber enough.

Yes, what has happened in Japan is a tragedy of immeasurable proportions. The country has been damaged. Most likely beyond repair in some areas. The fact is, though, that life has gone on. It will continue to go on. People I know are back to work in Tokyo. Outside the effected areas, life is continuing.

Discussing the impact the event has had and is having on every facet of Japan whether it be serious (the future of nuclear energy for example) or trivial (sports) is relevant discussion, regardless of what is still ongoing.

posted by Drood at 04:16 PM on March 14

No, but the thing is...we're not in the aftermath of this disaster yet.

Perhaps it's too soon. Hard to know when to jump in. My main impetus for posting was finding out that they might not start the baseball season as planned, even though it's 11 days away. That's a big deal in their sports world.

posted by rcade at 04:21 PM on March 14

See my post above. It's entirely relevant to discuss sports. Thousands in Japan make their living from it. Leagues and events not happening will have an impact on the Japanese economy that has already taken a massive hit. Not to mention the lives of those already damaged by the quake and tsunami.

Truly failing to see the problem with discussing it beyond the "I care more than you do" pissing contest mentality that always seem to pop up during these global events.

posted by Drood at 04:26 PM on March 14

And yes, sports is of little consequence currently in Japan, but the fact is this is a SPORTS website. Ergo news on how many popular Japanese sports will be impacted is neither out of place, nor distasteful.

I don't see where anyone said that it was out of place or distasteful. There are comments directed at the article, which is not the same thing as a post about the article. I think the article's bizarre.

As for the fact that this is a sports website...well, yes, it is. That doesn't mean that it makes sense to discuss every topic under the sun, if only we can force it into a sports frame. Of course, that opinion tends to rather predictably get shouted down with cries of "Censorship!", the irony of which rarely seems to occur to anyone. But I digress.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 05:06 PM on March 14

Boston Red Sox have started a campaign for fans to contribute to relief for Japan. The team has pledged a minimum of $50K. Matsuzaka, Okajima, and 2 minor league players have also made personal contributions. I would like to see MLB show support of its Japanese players by supporting relief efforts.

My time in Japan was mostly spent in the Yamaguchi Prefecture area (western Honshu), with a few years in the Yokohama area. I never managed to get to the Tohoku region, but I do understand some of the topography, how the roads and railroads run, and what conditions could be like. It will not be a pretty picture when all is finally sorted out. While the problems of at least a partial meltdown at the nuclear power plants are serious, I feel they are garnering too much of the headlines. The results of the earthquake and tsunami by themselves far outweigh what any nuclear radiation release will cause. I don't mean to diminish the nuclear problem, but it pales beside the rest of the damage.

posted by Howard_T at 06:30 PM on March 14

To the extent that anyone here in Japan will still be interested, sporting events particularly in the greater Tokyo area are going to be a virtual impossibility given the power and transportation situation.

The baseball season is scheduled to open on March 25, but that is going to be a near impossibility: Six of the twelve teams are directly affected. The Rakuten Golden Eagles call Sendai home, and that is right in the middle of the area devastated by the earthquake and tsunami. Five of the remaining teams are located in the greater Tokyo area--Chiba Lotte Marines, Yomiuri Giants, Yakult Swallows, Yokohama Baystars, and Saitama Seibu Lions--where the rotating blackouts are in effect.

posted by billinnagoya at 06:48 AM on March 15

For those familiar with him, Marty Kuehnert is safe. Here is his own account of the experience in Sendai.

posted by billinnagoya at 06:59 AM on March 15

I think it is important that other aspects of events of this nature are reported. Engadget reporting on how this is effecting electronics and delivery of the world, Marketwatch on NPR reported on how the quake is effecting the aspects in terms of the economy. The CNN style news coverage is just showing us the ground zero damage. I had no idea that many of the relief were actually stuck in between cities because they ran out of gas and can't travel further.

Sports maybe a secondary or probably a tertiary issue, but to understand the scope of what is happening, we should familiarize our selves with more aspects of the event.

It is good that news outlets are sticking to what they do best and reporting on their niche/effects to that niche so we may all understand it wholly.

posted by pettym at 03:18 PM on March 15

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