Wednesday, July 29, 2009

One thing I've been wondering...

Is that in general each prefecture gets one school with the exception of Hokkaido (Kita/Minami) and Tokyo (Nishi/Higashi) who get 2. That makes the field of 49.

Yet last year, in celebrating the 90th summer Koshien, several other prefectures received an extra bid:
  • Saitama (Kita/Minami)
  • Chiba (Nishi/Higashi)
  • Kanagawa (Kita/Minami)
  • Aichi (Nishi/Higashi)
  • Osaka (Kita/Minami)
  • Hyogo (Nishi/Higashi)
That created a field of 55.

I understand the need for Hokkaido and Tokyo getting 2 bids. Tokyo, by 4 million people, has the highest population of all the prefectures. Hokkaido is so big that teams would have to travel exorbitant distances for games.

While there are times that I root for the underdog/rural schools, at the same time it seems unfair that a prefecture that has almost 9 million people in Kanagawa gets the same amount of bids that say Kagawa gets with its 1 million people.

Why not give any prefecture that has over 5 million people an extra bid? That way prefectures with a large contingent of teams would be split. There are a lot of good teams that are denied because they only have one bid. Let's look at who participated last year in those prefectures that got another bid:
  • Kita Saitama - Honjyou Dai-ichi
  • Minami Saitama - Urawa Gakuin
  • Nishi Chiba - Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku
  • Higashi Chiba - Kisaradzu Sougou
  • Kita Kanagawa - Keiou
  • Minami Kanagawa - Yokohama
  • Nishi Aichi - Touhou
  • Higashi Aichi - Oobu
  • Kita Osaka - Osaka Touin
  • Minami Osaka - Kinkidai Fuzoku
  • Nishi Hyogo - Houtoku Gakuen
  • Higashi Hyogo - Kakogawa Kita
There are some good schools on that list.

Now, if we were to use the 5+ million rule, the above prefectures would receive an extra bid along with Fukuoka (although they're barely above 5 million)

So why not do it?


JapanVidMan said...

Good idea. In fact, if I count right, that would make 62. Find another 2 teams (maybe some kind of special invitations) and you'd have a field of 64 (just like March Madness in the U.S. for NCAA basketball). First 2 rounds take it down to the Sweet 16, then Final 8 and Final 4.

Goro Shigeno said...

Not quite. It leaves us at 56. 47 prefectures plus 9 that receive an extra bid (Hokkaido, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, Aichi, Osaka, Hyogo, Fukuoka).

I think the biggest detractor is two-fold. First remember we're playing at a NPB stadium. The tournament displaces the Hanshin Tigers for at least 3 weeks. Adding extra teams mean adding another couple of road games.

The 2nd is correlated to the first reason. The length of the tournament would at least be extended 2 days to accommodate the extra games. And extra days can lead to rainouts. Just look at how many we've had this year! The tournament would have to consider playing night games, which they've done before (2006, Yaeyama Shouko vs. Matsushiro). But if a game goes long, people could be stranded in Nishinomiya.

JapanVidMan said...

All good points, however, what could be done is to have regionals, which would give more people a chance to see the games. So, the first 2 rounds, round of 64 and round of 32, are played at regional locations, and then the final 16 meet at NPB. I know it's never going to happen, but if we're talking hypotheticals...

westbaystars said...

The other factor for regions that needs to be taken into consideration is the number of high schools with baseball programs. While many places may have 5 million in population, they may not have so many high school aged kids. There are schools closing down all over the place as the child population drops and the aged increase.

I'd recommend going back to the original regional brackets, count the schools, and decide on a good number based on that. Try to make each regional tournament close to the same number of rounds, breaking up regions in two (or three?) accordingly.