Shunsuke Watanabe and the Giants' duty to entertain

I'd like to think this is a practical website, filled with practical ideas and practical suggestions. It isn't, but I'd like to think it is.

Today is about an impractical idea. This is about being entertained by something unusual rather than being entertained by winning. It's usually better to be entertained by winning. But if there's a chance, just a chance, that we could have both with what I'm about to suggest, the Giants have to do it.

About two years ago, I made this GIF from a YouTube video someone sent me:


It's been one of my favorites ever since. It's absurd, fascinating. What's he doing with his glove hand? Why did he start doing this, and why didn't anyone stop him at any point before he actually pitched in front of people?

There are videos, too.


That video comes via Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker, and I've watched it more times than this one now. This submarine pitcher is actually something found in nature. And the Giants desperately need to get him.

The Giants can get him. Shunsuke Watanabe wants to come to the United States. He's a free agent. Newman directs us to this article:

ロッテ・渡辺俊介が大リーグ挑戦表明 37歳サブマリン

Wait. Google? Help me out?

Lotte Shunsuke Watanabe is major league challenge expressed 37-year-old submarine

Go on …

Lotte Shunsuke Watanabe the 4th, pitcher free contract to become a Major League was announced that it would aim to transfer. Right arm said, "and to be a tough challenge at the age of 37 years old. Confidence that there is no absolute, but I want to throw in a mound of America" and underhand of baseball stamp.

My god, he could run for office with powerful rhetoric like that. Sold. Done. Give him a deal. Don't care that he's 37. Don't care that he … throws 70 m.p.h.?

I don't know about now, but I know when I started this very practical website, I threw harder than 70 m.p.h.. Even came down from the side a little, too. This was true, and it was also true that I wasn't good at baseball. I couldn't try out for the Southern Oregon State College club team without everyone stopping what they were doing to turn around, stare, and wonder if I had just found my first mitt behind the 7-11. But I still threw 70.

Ah, but you know that velocity isn't the most important thing. What matters is preventing runs, which is usually accomplished by limiting walks and striking out more batters than the average pitcher. So, you see, Watanabe stacks up pretty …

Year Age ERA IP H HR BB SO BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2001 24 2.66 50.2 41 5 23 31 4.1 5.5 1.35
2002 25 6.35 34.0 41 6 12 26 3.2 6.9 2.17
2003 26 3.66 140.0 114 19 31 74 2.0 4.8 2.39
2004 27 3.59 150.1 145 12 42 101 2.5 6.0 2.40
2005 28 2.17 187.0 152 14 27 101 1.3 4.9 3.74
2006 29 4.35 147.0 155 12 35 105 2.1 6.4 3.00
2007 30 2.44 177.0 154 14 34 93 1.7 4.7 2.74
2008 31 4.17 172.2 195 17 29 104 1.5 5.4 3.59
2009 32 4.05 144.1 144 9 46 74 2.9 4.6 1.61
2010 33 4.49 148.1 171 10 45 63 2.7 3.8 1.40
2011 34 3.68 132.0 139 11 39 43 2.7 2.9 1.10
2012 35 4.39 69.2 80 7 13 22 1.7 2.8 1.69
2013 36 4.62 25.1 34 2 9 9 3.2 3.2 1.00

Huh. So he hasn't been good for a few years, even in Japan.

Counterpoint: He was never a reliever in Japan, which is bizarre. Seems like the kind of guy who would get clobbered a second time through the order, in particular by lefties. So maybe if he's used as a ROOGY, he'd …

Okay, fine. It's a bad idea. But I'll tell you what, Giants. I'm not sure when I'll be in Scottsdale this year, but if you could give me a week's notice, maybe we could plan Watanabe's NRI week when I'm there? Just a thought.

Bring him over, and see if American hitters can't see the ball against him in short bursts. If they're confused in the slightest, make him the Guillermo Mota, the human white flag of the team. And if all goes well, pair him with Javier Lopez (4/$40M) to give the Giants more funk than one team should ever have.

It's still a bad idea. But it's my bad idea, and if the Giants are going to be lousy again, they should at least have a 70-m.p.h. throwing, knuckle-scraping freak show to amuse us.

Please?

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