I should write about my trip to Canada...but...

Good morning everyone,

It's so humid here in Hiroshima! I've been checking the weather and I thought it'd be cool...but, apparently not. I'm sweating to death! We can expect rain for the next three days and then it'll clear up for a day or so and then we may see some rain again later in the week.

So, I'm not sure if you've heard or not, but the Carp have clinched the Central League Pennant with about 10 games to go in the regular season. I'm just kidding-if you live in or near Hiroshima, you know. Heck, I was in Canada for it and almost every person I know in Hiroshima emailed me to let me know! 

The Hiroshima Carp ended a 24-year-pennant drought on Saturday, when they clinched their first Central League championship since 1991 with a 6-4 win over the Yomiuri Giants at Tokyo Dome.

It was the second longest the club had gone without a pennant, having come up empty for 25 years from the team's 1950 debut season until the Carp won the league in 1975. Between 1975 and 1991, Hiroshima won the CL six times and captured three Japan Series championships. No team in Nippon Professional Baseball had currently gone longer without a pennant.

The team celebrated on the pitcher's mound of their rivals' park by tossing skipper Koichi Ogata in the air in the traditional "doage." Veteran pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, the winning pitcher in the pennant clincher teared up as his teammates gave him the same treatment and the mob followed with veteran first baseman Takahiro Arai.

"This is the greatest. The way we fought tonight is the way we fought all season," said Ogata, whose team overturned a two-run lead to win on enemy turf. "The players really gave it their all.

"Kuroda wasn't in the best physical condition this season, but he held his spot in the starting rotation the whole year and today, on the mound, and in the batter's box he was full of fight."

After strong, third-place showings under former manager Kenjiro Nomura in 2013 and 2014, the return of former stars Kuroda and Arai had many expecting Hiroshima to win the league in 2015. But Ryosuke Kikuchi and Yoshihiro Maru failed to spark the club offensively, and Hiroshima finished a half-game out of the postseason in its first season under Ogata.

"Last year was hard on all of us, not just me," Ogata said. "This was the result of a lot of hard work and practice."

"To the fans in Hiroshima and to Carp fans throughout the country, we're sorry to have you kept you waiting for so long."

But they haven't won the main prize yet, it's just a league title so far...I won't be satisfied with anything less than the Japan Series Pennant. Go Carp!

Have a great day!


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