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Writing Reports About Pro Yakyu

Baseball news from Japan and Asia

I'm writing a report comparing Japanese baseball and MLB. Can you help?

The first year I started writing about Pro Yakyu on the Net I got I think three questions like this. During one week in mid-February of 2002 I got 3 on this site and via e-mail. Here is a sampling:

There are countless more in my mail archives and placed in various forums throughout this site. While, I'm always happy to answer questions you may have, I do ask one simple thing, read some of the posts before asking.

I'm Too Lazy to Research

Why would I be so mean as to ask for people to read before posting questions? Well, it was about one month after the "Aging" question above when another student from the same university asked the exact same question - word for word.

One of my personal goals when setting up this forum was to create a great resource for researchers (or report writing students) to go to look up information that I had been providing to individuals via e-mail in the past, one person at a time. I wanted a more efficient way of answering these questions, and this forum allows me to answer questions once rather than half a dozen times.

However, when I get questions asking things that I had recently answered and/or ranted about (like the continuing question of "is Pro Yakyu going to become just another farm system for the Majors," I start to wonder if the students asking questions are sincere in their desire to research - or if they just want somebody to write their reports for them. This does not make me happy.

By the way, I had once gotten a parody post from an anonymous writer that went something like this:

Hi. I'm a student doing a report on Japanese baseball. Do you know anything about Japanese baseball? I would like you to write my report for me.

I rejected the post as it sends the wrong message to potential posters. You are welcome here, and I'm happy to answer your questions. But the sarcastic post did hit a cord with me. (I enjoyed it personally, so thank you anonymous poster, who ever you are.)


In 1996 I started asking to see a rough or final draft of the papers I was contributing to along with my answers. I said I wouldn't publish them on my site without their permission - I just wanted to see others' opinions. With just one exception, I never heard from a single student that I asked that question of again. Not even so much as a "thank you" for spending several hours composing a reply to their questions.

Am I put off by this? In a way, yes. It's as though the people writing these reports don't really care about what they write, so long as they get it done. I feel that a review of a paper by somebody would be a great help to make sure that the facts are straight and that the report is done right, as opposed to just getting the report done and over with.

North American Media

Speaking of getting things right and verifying, there have been a lot of members of the North American media who could have used a quick review before printing stories in the mainstream press. Since Nomo headed to the Dodgers in 1995, there has been a whole slew of mis-information printed in North America. I think that 2001 was perhaps the worst year on record for North American "journalists" with regards to fact checking their articles about Japanese baseball. It seems like the whole year I judged North American articles by how few errors they had - and they all had errors!

A student turning in a paper filled with factual errors is one thing, as his/her teacher probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference between Doi-kantoku and Ohgi-kantoku. But when a reporter in North America defamed Ohgi-kantoku by accusing him of not playing Ichiro (which was the crime of Doi-kantoku before him), well, that is just not acceptable. (Even after being shown that he was wrong, said "journalist" refused to run a correction. This incident gave me a very bad impression of North American journalists in general.)

Questions Are Still Welcome

Nonetheless, I don't want to discourage asking questions. The questions on marketing were some I had never heard before and certainly hadn't discussed. A number of e-mail inqusitions have had broad topics, typical of a yet-to-be focused reports. Still, I'll gladly reply to questions asked in an interview style (I'll reply via e-mail if requested not to post). Actually, by having a Q & A session format for the questions, it tends to allow me to focus better and provide higher quality answers then just vague, "What's the difference between MLB and NPB?" questions.

Question Asking Guidelines

I do like answering your questions, whether for a report or just curious. But to keep me from getting frustrated answering the same questions over and over, and to help you get the most information for your report, here are some guidelines:

  • Read the News, Ask the Commish, and Nichi-Bei forums.
  • Write a clear, precise subject line. Something that you were looking for when you were browsing the above forum discussions or using the search facility at the top of each page. Subjects like "Japanese Baseball" or "Ichiro" don't mean anything to your fellow researchers.
  • Avoid overly broad topics for questions.
  • Ask questions with a limited scope. The clearer the focus of the questions, the easier to answer in a clear and precise way.
  • Focus is good, but don't be too leading. When I was interviewed for a CNN article, I felt like the interviewer had already made up his mind what he wanted me to say and was getting somewhat frustrated at my refusal to agree with his hypothisis.
  • Be open to disagreement. There are many people with many different points of view. You may have a hypothisis you want to prove, but not everyone will hold the same viewpoint of the world as you. Using both the for and against arguments in a report can make it a great deal better.

Let's See What You Wrote

Finally, I would really like to see some of these reports. If you don't want to post it to the Web, that's fine. But for the sake of knowing that you did the best you could, wouldn't it be nice to have someone review it?

Michael Westbay
(aka westbaystars)
Writer/System Administrator
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