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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 12:50 pm 
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September Recap
October 1, 2027
Toyama Wind Dancers Blog

Recap
September played out like much of the season, with the Wind Dancer’s going 11-15 during the month. There were some positives this month, like it wasn’t nearly as bad as August. With injuries and not much else to play for, some of the younger players were given opportunities as well as a few recognizable names returning from the DL. Without the pressure of fighting for playoffs, Toyama has gone a bit stale, but the gears of the future are still turning.

The Woe and Wha's of Hitting
A mix of surprises and the usual, the Toyama batter’s had an average September. Ivan Juarez played well as usual before going down with a severe hip strain leaving him out 3-4 months and the rest of the season. September call-ups got a chance to play and some young guys were given a shot to prove their worth.

The Good:
LF/DH Ramiro Salinas; .286/.327/.357, 14 R, 6 RBIs, 7 SBs
2B John Dickson; .286/.329/.403, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 9 SBs

The Bad:
CF Donald Allen; .171/.237/.214, 2 R, 7 RBIs
OF Carlos Marino; .197/.269/.338, 20 K

Star Power?
Injuries and poor play have left the Wind Dancer’s pitching staff a hollow shell of what they used to be. Oddly enough, it’s the widely popular pitchers that have struggled while some of the newer guys have pitched well outside of the spotlight.

The Good:
SP Dylan McIntosh; 30.2 IP, 3-1, 3.52 ERA, 5 BB, 1.24 WHIP
SP Francois Gosselin; 29.1 IP, 1-3, 2.38 ERA, 25 Ks, 1.09 WHIP
RP Dan Ross; 11.1 IP, 2 SV, 3.38 ERA, 19 Ks, 1.24 WHIP

The Bad:
SP Clayton Lewis; 23.2 IP, 0-4, 7.23 ERA, 37 HA, 1.77 WHIP
SP Charles Kennedy; 29.1 IP, 2-3, 5.83 ERA, 18 BB, 1.70 WHIP

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:52 am 
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2027, A Year to Forget
November 8th, 2027
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With the season done and dusted, the Wind Dancers have been catching planes and trains home to begin the offseason. The Wind Dancers will look back at a very disappointing year while looking forward to a long road of rebuilding. Injuries and a lack of quality ultimately destroyed any hope Toyama had early in the season as they finished the year 63-99, the worst record in 6 seasons. While there were some isolated bright spots, 2027 will go down as a general failure.

2027 started actually started positively, with Toyama going 13-11 in April which included significant series wins against Bakersfield, Canton, Kalamazoo, and Reno. But the positivity didn’t last as April would be the only winning month for the entire season. Toyama would go on to consistently lose in May (12-17), June (12-16), and July (10-13) quickly slipping to last in the Rising Sun. Then came August, a month Wind Dancer fans would love to forget that resulted in a horrid 5-24 record for the month. Easily the worst month in GM Dylan Krupilis’ tenure, August was a turning point for the org who had already been toying with the thought of rebuilding. Fortunately, Toyama rebounded a bit, traded away some talent, and finished September 11-15. Clearly not the best season, 2027 will go down as a pivotal season that significantly adjusted the future setup of the organization.

As previously mentioned, there were some positives in the Toyama org including a glimpse at the future for the Wind Dancers. Fan favorite Ivan Juarez (5.4 WAR), before going down to a severe hip strain, had another successful season that included his 2nd all-star appearance as well as his 2nd consecutive All-Leather award at 3b. Juarez’s contract expires at the end of 2028 but rumors have been swirling of a potential long-term deal coming this offseason.

With Toyama moving forward with a rebuild, all eyes were on some younger players to catch a glimpse of what the next few seasons could look like. After drawing some questions about whether he was ready for a call-up this season, rookie Dylan McIntosh quickly became one to watch. The former 26th overall pick in 2025, McIntosh immediately made an impact and became a surprising consistent member at the back of the rotation. A natural finesse pitcher, McIntosh doesn’t rack up the K’s like his teammate Francois Gosselin, yet he remains a rock in the rotation. At the plate, fellow rookie Ramiro Salinas also quickly became a mainstay and a real threat on the basepaths. The Chicago native “Footloose” as his teammates call him, is a nod at the 1980’s classic film of the same name which Kevin Bacon’s character also grew up in Chicago and is an appropriate nickname for his quick feet. Salinas (1.4 WAR) hit a solid .250 in his inaugural season and provided a team-leading 39 SB’s.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 12:52 pm 
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Stars Come and Go
December 5, 2027
Toyama Wind Dancers Blog

What a crazy month it has been since our last blog Wind Dancer fans. Arbitration, free agency filing, trades, and roster moves have capped off a busy November/Early December. The fans have been taken for a ride but it’s positive to see so many things happening with a goal in mind. After a quiet 2026-2027 offseason, 2027-2028 is shaping up to be even busier with Winter Meetings on the horizon. The Wind Dancers organization looks very different at the time of writing this with some big names leaving while others commit their futures.

With a rebuild looming, fans expected upheaval but were still hit pretty hard by the sudden loss of some household names. Early in November, Hirotsugu Tenno declined his contract option and hit free agency after falling to a backup role for the past 2 seasons. Tenno spent 8 years in the Lupin/Toyama organization after joining from rivals Neo-Tokyo at the end of the 2019 season. Despite struggling to find real success in PEBA, he will always be remembered for Lupin’s final season in the LRS (2020) in which he raked in an All-Star appearance, a Gurabukin Award at 1b, and the BBG Saiyu-shusenshu Award as part of the Neo-Tokyo Cup winning side. Despite his regression over the years, his 828 games for us will not be forgotten.

Following the expected loss of Tenno, fans were dealt an unexpected blow as Toyama traded star CF Donald Allen to Rising Run rivals Shin Seiki. The Evas had expressed interest in Allen before and Toyama finally buckled under the weight of a quality return and a time of transition in the Org. Allen was widely seen as a young success after racking up 4 successful seasons in Toyama after being drafted 3rd overall in 2022. Allen averaged 4 WAR in his 4 seasons and at only 27 was a surprising loss. But with a goal of rebuilding, younger talent was needed to develop and Toyama got just that. Making the trip north from Nagoya, highly touted OF Howard Joyce and P Zach McDermott join the Wind Dancer ranks. 23-year-old Joyce is on the cusp of PEBA after playing in 12 games for the Evas in 2027. Joyce dominated AAA last season hitting .307 and maintaining a +5.7 ZR in left field. With the outfield packed full in Toyama, we could see Joyce making the move to right field which is currently held by Ivan Rosa and Javier Cruz, both with expiring contracts at the end of 2028. McDermott comes in as a former 3rd round pick and is a bit less polished. While still working to develop a third pitch, his workhorse style of pitching has been successful in the minors including a 4.5 WAR 2027 season in AA.

The 2026 Platinum Stick winner at 2B Jose Escobido was the final bid name to be leaving the Org. When he was healthy, Jose was a hitting machine shown in his 6.2 WAR 2026 season, but staying healthy was his biggest struggle. His 6 seasons in Toyama resulted in a 17.2 WAR total.
Joining Jose on the new free agents' list is Mike Harris, Charles Kennedy, John Dickson, and Yuji Nakano.

The biggest news so far in the offseason cam this morning when Ivan Juarez committed himself Toyama through the 2033 season. The 2-time all-star and all-leather winner is a fan favorite and has previously expressed his desire to stick around. After significant worry about losing him in the rebuild, GM Dylan Krupilis made the decision to build around Juarez and referred to him as “Irreplaceable on the field and around the Toyama community”. Juarez signs a $67.5m contract that will kick in at the end of the upcoming 2028 season and will keep him around until he’s 34.

Restaffing has also been a major point for the offseason and started over the past month. Scouting director Daisuke Wakabayashi was let go from his position after 6 seasons as Toyama moves forward with a new look. In his place, Jose Garcia makes his move after 10 successful seasons in Arlington. Garcia brings a more balanced approach to scouting and has an immaculate reputation within the baseball community. Also moving to Toyama is a familiar face in pitching coach Kazuyoshi Shinoda who has spent 12 seasons in the Toyama organization, 6 with the former single-a Cagliostro Thieves then another 6 with the Ranma/Beppu City Pandas. His influence on younger pitchers will be invaluable and his track record in the minors has more than earned him this role.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2018 12:29 pm 
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Labelle Hired in Toyama
December 23, 2027
Toyama Wind Dancers Blog

In an early morning press conference, Wind Dancers GM Dylan Krupilis announced the new team bench coach, Tom Labelle. “Mr. Labelle was an obvious choice for us moving forward with this team.” Krupilis announced, “His 29 years of experience and willingness to work with our guys in a transition period will be invaluable”.

Tom Labelle, born in Montreal, Quebec, spent 2022-2026 with the Okinawa Shisa as the team's pitching coach with mixed success before taking a year off. Labelle was a pitching coach in the Shisa organization for 11 years in total coaching in AAA, AA, and A before making the moving to the PEBA. Despite this being his first foray into managing, he’s widely seen as a great pickup for the role. The 62-year-old is known for his calm demeanor and is generally not one to jump in front of the camera. With a young set of players on the way up, Labelle’s “keep your head down and work” style should benefit a transitioning Wind Dancers roster.

Labelle arrives in the middle of the offseason and will have until the end of spring to evaluate his new team.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:38 am 
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Ringing in the New Year
February 15, 2028
Toyama Wind Dancers Blog

With spring training on the horizon, we’ve decided to look back at the first month and a half of 2028 for Toyama. Despite minimal flexibility in the free agent market, the Wind Dancers brought in a few recognizable names and even locked down a current player to a long-term contract.

In mid-January, Toyama extended the contract of SP Francois Gosselin on a deal worth $46 million over 4 years. The 28-year-old had a career season with a career-high 2.5 WAR while registering an 8.8 K/9 despite Toyama struggling heavily. Gosselin, a former Rule 5 pick in 2021, has quickly become a fan favorite with his flashy pitching hard-working demeanor. 2027 was only his 2nd season of being a full time starter after slotting in as a reliever/emergency starter for 4 season before that. The extension was met with positivity around Toyama as many want to see him take that next step, especially with SP Clayton Lewis on the final year of his deal.

Pitching injuries have bit Toyama in the behind for a few years now with 3-4 players getting long-term injuries for the past 3 seasons. So despite a small budget, GM Dylan Krupilis wanted to prioritize signing some relief help this offseason. Toyama got that reliever in the form of Junzo Inagaki, a familiar face who played 29 games for our AAA affiliate Yokohama last year. The former Akira last featured in the PEBA back in 2025 where he held an inflated 4.70 ERA but maintained a respectable 3.85 FIP. As a ground ball pitcher, the 32-year-old is reliant on a solid defensive setup to find success. His consistency and leadership off the field make him a solid option in the pen for 2028.

Out with the old and in with the new, they say, and unfortunately, that was the case for Javier Cruz this season. After spending the majority of last season on the DL, Cruz was cut as players returned for preseason. Entering the final year of his contract, Cruz had regressed to a backup DH option with no flexibility and chronic injury problems. Despite still paying his last contract year, Toyama felt it was time to move on bring in some younger talent. Newly acquired Howard Joyce is expected to start spring as a 4th outfielder and is likely going to begin transitioning to right field, away from his usual left field. With Ramiro Salinas in left, Toyama looks to mold Joyce into a quality right fielder to create a dangerous outfield tandem.

GM Dylan Krupilis clearly made some contacts during his time in Hartford which reflected in two of his moves this offseason. The first, signing his new hitting coach Narahiko Imada, a former Harpoon/Cyclone player who Krupilis hired as a minor league coach in 2026. Imada spent two seasons as the hitting coach for the Cheyenne Frontier (A) before leaving this past winter. Despite the limited sample size, Imada built himself a good reputation as a coach and was brought on to coach Toyama for the next 3 years. Imada was widely known as a power hitter in his career and shares that tendency as a coach now.

The next player to sign becomes #5-6 on a list of former Hartford players/staff that have followed Krupilis to Toyama. 3B Dwight Carver joins the Wind Dancers on a 1-year deal though his role is yet to be determined. Carver excelled under Krupilis in the 1 season he played for him hitting 30 HR and 93 RBI’s in 2025. Carver was then traded to Neo-Tokyo where he struggled heavily for 2026 and was not given a new contract. The now 33-year-old spent 2027 training despite not signing anywhere and is back playing for a team in desperate need of a true power hitter.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 3:33 pm 
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Spring of Transition
March 6, 2028
Toyama Wind Dancers Blog

The offseason has come and gone as spring arrives and baseball with it. The 2028 season will be a key one in Toyama history, with plenty of expiring contracts, upcoming talent, and a general lack of lofty expectations. Following a disappointing 2027, Toyama has come to terms with where they stand in the league and are ready to refresh the roster a bit. Some small moves during the offseason marked the first stage of this transition and the large sum of financial flexibility coming in 2029 is on the minds of many. But this spring will be the first chance to see which players will stick around and which will soon leave.

Staying Healthy
Arguably the biggest pain point over the past 2-3 years is Toyama’s inability to keep some of their key players healthy. Tadamasa Hashimoto, Ken Thompson, and Shinobu Takeuchi each have suffered multiple long-term injuries over the past few years leaving the pitching staff severely depleted. Toyama has made an effort to add depth in AAA Yokohama to try and combat these injury problems, but staying healthy would be ideal. With Hashimoto entering a vesting option that requires 160IP, it will be a make or break season for the veteran. StaroffB Ivan Juarez is also coming off of a severe hip strain that ended his 2027 season early.

5th Starter
The front four of the rotation is essentially locked in with Clayton Lewis, Francois Gosselin, Paul Norris, and Dylan McIntosh returning, but there are questions about who will fill that final rotation spot. The injury prone triumvirate of Hashimoto, Takeuchi, and Thompson are all likely in contention, with Hashimoto and Thompson being the more likely. But with their known injury problems, the role could fall to whoever is healthy or even an up and comer. John Gillard has been an injury fill-in for the past 3 season but could get a shout at the role. Alongside Gillard, Felipe Moran, Carlos Gomez, and Ki-hoon Yi could also make spot appearances in the role.

Newcomers
A plethora of new players have joined the ranks in the offseason and most will make their first appearance in spring. 2B Shiro Adachi makes his return to the Win’Ds after spending 13 years in the organization. The first time Toyama players include DH Dwight Carver, Kyuso Yoshida, Guillermo Lopez, and Junzo Inagaki. Yoshida and Carver are two of the players to watch, the former being a quality reliever who will likely slot into a setup role and the latter being a raw power hitter, something that Toyama has sorely been lacking.

Young Talent
The Wind Dancers will also spend this spring giving some young players a chance to impress from across their minor league system. PEBA’s #17 prospect SS Rodrigo Vasquez will be spending his spring in the majors and the youngster was a standout at various levels last year. Bernardo Alvarado, Pedro Alvarez, and Guang Liu will also make their way to Toyama, each of which have bright futures ahead of them. RF Howard Hoyce who Toyama, received from Shin Seiki in a deal that sent Donald Allen the other way, is projected to start the season in the majors and will be fighting for a spot in spring. On the pitching side of things, Daichi Chishu and Zach McDermott will have a chance to shine as well.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:38 am 
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Ishibasi Hired as Manager, Krupilis Steps Back to GM
March 7, 2028
Toyama Wind Dancers Blog

Following his transition to Toyama, GM Dylan Krupilis had taken up the helm as the team’s manager role. But it was announced this morning that Krupilis would be stepping back into a strictly front office role after he had found a candidate to be the team’s manager.

Kuemon Ishibashi has been hired as the Toyama manager after signing a 5 year deal with the team. Ishibashi is a 17 year veteran of managing, 10 of those years within the PEBA/WIL league systems. “I am very happy to be here” said Ishibashi, “finding a position in Japan was my goal and Toyama is the perfect place in need of a fresh start for both parties.”

Kuemon Ishibashi was born in Maruko (now Ueda), Nagano which neighbors the prefecture of Toyama. His first entrance in the PEBA came in 2016 when he was hired to manage the Kailua Hanso, the SS-A affiliate of the Duluth Warriors. Despite missing playoffs, the Hanso went a respectable 47-43 with Ishibashi in charge, leading the Duluth higher ups to bump him up to AAA the next season. Ishibashi spent 2 season with the Madison Cheeseheads (now Racine Lakers) but the team struggled, finishing 5th in the division during both years. But clearly, something caught the Duluth management’s eye yet again, as Ishibashi was asked to become the bench coach for the Warriors starting in 2019. In his first season outside of the manager’s role, Ishibashi helped lead the Warriors to a 85-77 record, but missed out on playoffs by 1 game. Duluth struggled from 2020-2021 finishing 5th in the division both years. Following a .500 season in 2022, Ishibashi returned to his managerial role in Madison for 2023. After another .500 season, Ishibashi left managing for a year and returned to his hometown of Ueda to open up his own training center where he coached local children baseball. But the itch of managing never goes away, as Ishibashi returned to managing in 2025 but decided to stay in Japan with the Kure Arsenal in the World Independant League. After a 64-80 season with a very poor Arsenal team, Ishibashi was hired by the Kuwana Steel Dragons in the same league for 2026. Ishibashi’s skill as a manager finally cumulated with a talented roster as the Steel Dragons won the WIL Championship after a 87-75 season. Unfortunately, as things go in the wild WIL, Ishibashi was not given an extension and he returned to his baseball academy for 2027.

But, Ishibashi will get another shot in a more stable role with Toyama for the upcoming season. His ability to teach younger players will come in handy with the new wave of Wind Dancers on their way up.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:09 am 
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Love these detailed histories of lesser known actors in PEBA lore. Very cool! Ishibasi sounds like a great fit for the Wind Dancers.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:36 pm 
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2028 Opening Day Roster Locked In
April 3, 2028
Toyama Wind Dancers Blog

Spring Training has ended and excitement of Opening Day is here again. Despite the low expectations around Toyama, fans are excited to see the Wind Dancers back in action. The biggest surprise entering the regular season is the relatively healthy Toyama roster, something we haven’t seen for a few seasons. Toyama opens their season tonight with a 4-game series against reigning PEBA champions Shin Seiki. It’s a tough task to open the season but will be a good test to see where exactly the Wind Dancers stand this season. Following Thursday night’s game, Toyama will catch an overnight flight to Kalamazoo to finish the week with a 3 game series. While spring didn’t have much positional competition, the lack of injuries means the team roster is a bit packed to start the season.

Starting in the outfield, Okakura Ishikawa will begin the season as the starting CF for the first time in his career. Following the move of Donald Allen to Shin Seiki, Ishikawa was the expected choice to replace him which was proven correct during spring. Left fielder Ramiro Salinas returns for his sophomore season after a successful 2027 as he looks to cement himself in a more key role. Also returning is RF Ivan Rosa who struggled last season and is in his last season, as well as Willie Edmonds who expects to play in the DH role. The new blood this season is Howard Joyce who arrived in the Donald Allen trade. Joyce hit a solid .304 in spring and is set to be the 4th outfielder while fighting for a future role as the starting RF.

The infield looks a little bit different entering 2028, with a few familiar names returning from last year. SS Edison Terry stars the season healthy after a partially torn labrum limited his 2027 contribution to 113 games. Next to him at third is fan favorite Ivan Juarez, fully recovered from his severe hip strain. Juarez played much of spring in the leadoff role which is likely to roll over into the regular season. Platoon infielder Katai Nomura will fill in once again where needed. On the right side of the infield, Carlos Marino will line up as the starting 2B. Marino was strictly a platoon hitter in 2027 but will have the opportunity to prove himself in a full time role. The 24yo is highly touted for his defensive flexibility and and quickness on the basepaths, but has struggled when it comes to hitting the ball. Returning after a year away, former team captain Shiro Adachi will start his 12th season with Toyama has a backup infielder. And the lone new infielder joining the Wind Dancers is power hitter Dwight Carver who will be starting at first base.
Reynaldo Garcia and Michinaga Ueda both return behind the plate with their left/right partnership.

With a plethora of healthy veterans, the end of the pitching rotation was a big question mark for 2028. The expected opening day starter is Clayton Lewis, who look to rebound in what may be his last season in Toyama. Lewis had a horrid 4-19 record and 4.48 ERA last season, his worst since coming to the Wind Dancers. Fresh off of signing a long term contract, Francois Gosselin comes in as the #2. Gosselin locked down a 4 year, $46million deal in the offseason after throwing career high numbers in 2027. Paul Norris enters a contract year as third in the rotation one year after returning as a full-time starter. Dylan McIntosh comes into 2028 as the 4th starter after surprising many last season. The 25-year-old has been sharp in spring and looks ready to start the season. And rounding out the rotation, now fully healthy, is Ken Thompson. Despite being only 27, Thompson has struggled with injuries for the past 2 years but the southpaw will look to put that behind him.

The new and improved bullpen was most affected by the packed roster, but with the 26 man roster implemented last season, an extra player was able to be added. Moving into a full-time closer role is Dan Ross who took over after Vincente Medina was traded to Shin Seiki in 2027. Ross had a great freshman season and Toyama if hopeful he can take the next step in 2028. Veterans Shinobu Takeuchi and Tadamasa Hashimoto return after both struggled with long term injuries over the past 2 years. Both fought for a rotation spot but will start off in the pen to ease themselves back into baseball. Jorge Martinez, Juro Sumita, and Carlos Gomez also return from last season’s campaign and will fill in throughout the pen. The two new names in the bullpen for 2028 are Kyuso Yoshida from Palm Springs, and Junzo Inagaki who played in Yokohama last season.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:21 pm 
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Here's hoping for a tighter Rising Sun this season!!!

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:41 pm 
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Amen to that! ;)

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:48 pm 
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Two things:

1) The notion of catching an overnight flight from Japan to Kalamazoo cracks me up. There’s gonna be jet lag in the bullpen after that one.

2) You have a very forgiving manager. Tabbing a guy with a 4-19 record as the opening day starter is a bold move.

Outstanding preview. I look forward to updates!

Good luck to the Wind Dancers!

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:17 pm 
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Claymores wrote:
Two things:

1) The notion of catching an overnight flight from Japan to Kalamazoo cracks me up. There’s gonna be jet lag in the bullpen after that one.


Hey its 2028 ;) Jets are faster. You should see the difference in some of those Great Lakes/Rising Sun start times!

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 5:22 pm 
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Sandgnats wrote:
Claymores wrote:
Two things:

1) The notion of catching an overnight flight from Japan to Kalamazoo cracks me up. There’s gonna be jet lag in the bullpen after that one.


Hey its 2028 ;) Jets are faster. You should see the difference in some of those Great Lakes/Rising Sun start times!

Jets? Aren't we all using Elon Musk's HyperLink system?

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 5:35 pm 
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Well, it’s 2028, after all. Catch that trans-Pacific hyperlink and kick back ...

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