Also, today thanks to my friend Karin I have two translations, from both batting sessions. It makes me happy and grateful :)
So let's start with sunny Okinawa and Yokohama Baystars' players advices and opinions on Kame's chances to hit home run. But before the screencaps I must say that I've had some nice laughing when Murata-san was batting and twice he was sure of a home run hit while the ball only hit the fence, his reactions were... His third time batting was a home run hit.
In the individual training Tsutsugou player received a slightly unusual training style from Murata player concerning his batting skill
Kazuya: Can you show me that unusual training?
Murata: Let’s do it.
What is this unusual HR training?
Murata: You practice to hit the bottom part of the ball upwards
The practice is to hit the ball at the bottom part and heightened the fly balls. But what does this have to do with HR?
Murata: You hit the ball’s rotation and launch it upwards. You can’t do that if you don’t aim the right way.
Murata: If you hit the front of the ball with the front of your bat, the ball will sink down.
Kazuya: Aiming the drive…
Murata: You aim for the drive, so that the ball rotates back when the bat hits it.
If the ball was hit from the front, it will rotate forward and fall down. But if like Murata player we aim to hit the bottom part of the ball, it’ll spin back and flew up. And the distance will lengthen
Kamenashi who wants to hit the ball further tries this technique too.
Kazuya: *tries to hit and failed* This is difficult!
(but he succeeded in his second and third tries)
Murata: Yes, yes, like that.
Murata: If you go like this (hits with slanted stance) your ball will goto the wrong direction. Keep it straight.
And now’s the time to try out this technique in the free batting session. His best record to date is last year’s distance of 92m. Just a short leap away from the fence. But today’s ground has a bigger distance of 100m.
First of all a HR showcase from Tsutsugou player
(Tsutsugou hits a HR)
Murata: Just like that?
Kazuya: *laughs* If I can do that, I’ll quit Johnny’s,
[in the studio:]
[Ueda: Is that so? *laughs* both have their perks though,]
[Kazuya: If you can hit like that, there’s no way you’re not a professional, right?]
[Ueda: I see,]
It’s been eight months since he started this HR project. Kamenashi is itching for a home run. And then…
He’s hitting it just like in practice, and the ball went higher
Murata: I think it went up at a good angle
Even better at his second ball
Murata: Ah but left (batters) didn’t go against the wind (referring to Tsutsugou, who’s a southpaw)
This one almost reached his personal best, 89m
Kazuya: It felt like it’s going well though…
Murata: I think it’s difficult today. Yesterday’s wind was at a good direction.
Today’s wind on the ground flew to the right, so that for players who bat right, their ball would get carried by the wind and it’ll shortened the distance. But for left-handed players like Tsutsugou player, this kind of wind is advantageous. But for right batters like Kamenashi it’s disadvantageous. Even when he managed to get the ball in to a good height, the wind returned it back to the ground and his distance won’t grow.
Kazuya: It won’t fly,
Murata: I don’t think it will, today. Even for us athletes I don’t think we’ll manage a good hit (with winds like these)
And so the King of HR for two years in a row will try to actually hit one
[Egawa: If this doesn’t go in, there’s no way you’ll succeed]
(Murata player hits a good one but it hits the barrier wall)
Murata: Che! It flew quite well just now
(He hits another one and it failed to reach the stand-in too)
[Ueda: That definitely would go in normally!]
Murata: Kamenashi-kun, I think you should give up today,
With such a wind, even for Murata player it took him a good 20 minutes to reach the stand-ins. With the lights on the ground already lit up, HR project’s first nighter and Kamenashi’s last 3 balls commenced.
(Kazuya’s first hit reached 2/3 of the ground)
Murata: I think his stance is not bad.
Tsutsugou: Me? I think stance-wise he’s not bad,
Murata: That’s the same comment! *laughs*
Last 2 balls (Kazuya failed to reach a good distance) And his chance is down to the last ball.
His distance is… 88m. So how many percentage do they think are Kamenashi’s chances to hit a HR?
Kazuya: How many percentage?
Tsutsugou: 99.5%. I think your stance is really not bad. If the wind is more agreeable, or if the ground is slightly smaller, he’ll definitely hit a HR
Murata: I’ll be stricter.
Murata: 50%. If you really want to hit one, you should beef up more. Your swing isn’t bad, but you still get carried by your bat sometimes.
Kazuya: Can I come to Yokohama’s practice off work, too?
Murata: Definitely, please come. (c)
Now it's time for batting session with Tokyo Yakult Swallows' Aoki Norichika and his advices for Kazuya and his HR project. It's not their first meeting and it's not the first time when Aoki-san gives Kazuya advices how to hit the ball, the right way. The sense of familiarity can be felt and there are only 4cm difference in growth between.
Is it impossible for slender people like Kamenashi to hit a HR? So to learn from a certain athlete, he went to Yakult (Swallows’) training camp. Aoki player’s height is 175cm, not much of a difference from Kamenashi’s. He’d reached his 200th hit this season, and in his professional carreer has made 80 HRs. Kamenashi will try to learn HR techniques possible for people with a smaller body. To start, how come Aoki player can hit HRs?
Aoki: When I’m trying to retake the flow of the game for the team, I do aim for a HR.
Apparently he’d consciously aim for a HR. And how does he do it? We’ll go straight to learning his technique.
(after watching Kazuya’s batting)
Aoki: Try hitting it from below. It’s better to hit from the inside (near your body), right?
Kazuya: You’re right,
Aoki-san hit from below. It means to hit the ball upwards he hits it at the shortest distance with his own body and reach the ball like that, improving the speed of his swing.
Aoki: To hit it from the inside, you go like this (placing the bat in front of your body) or like this from below (swinging the bat upwards from behind). This very much covers your inside right? See how your armpit is closed, that’s how you swing from the inside
Kamenashi tries to pay attention to his inside swing area and hit from below
Aoki: That’s good.
Kazuya: *bats* It’s light. *bats* The ball feels lighter. As I hit them.
Aoki: I know, exactly. I also put in my head the image of swinging it upwards when I’m aiming for HR.
Kazuya: I see…
But in front of Kamenashi there’s a brand new obstacle
Aoki: From this year we’re using teihanbatsukyuu (flightless ball = heavier balls that make it harder to hit).
Kazuya: Ah, that’s right! So my chance of hitting an HR, compared to last year—
Aoki: Compared to last year it decreased,
Aoki: To reach the distance you’ve managed last year, you need to put more power into it.
[in the studio]
[Ueda: You can just use last year’s ball, it’s fine.]
[Kazuya: No, I’m trying it with the same condition as the pros]
Kazuya: I’d need more power to reach the same distance, that’s right. (to the camera) Ueda-san, that’s it. Even if my distance won’t grow today, that’s the ball’s fault *laughs*
[Ueda: You’re already giving out excuses!]
Swallow’s arena is 98m wide, quite big. Can Kamenashi hit a HR here?
(Kazuya tries to hit once or twice)
Aoki: Okay! Just like that!
But his distance won’t grow. And so Aoki player said—
Aoki: Bent your (front leg’s) knee when hitting it. Right now your knees are too straight, try paying attention to bending it. When you don’t, your body’s stance widens.
Paying attention to bent his front leg’s knee, Kamenashi tries Aoki player’s advice.
[Ueda: I can see the ball went higher this way]
Aoki: Oh that’s good! See, it has changed, the hit’s totally different now. And with that, you try hitting upwards.
Kazuya: Aiming from below, right? *knocks helmet*
[Ueda: Even if your brain understands, it’s hard to make your body remember, right?]
(Kazuya hits a promising-looking one)
Aoki: Okay! Good!
The distance is… 85m
Aoki: How was it? The swing rode up, didn’t it?
Kazuya: It’s raised up, yes,
Aoki: Just like that!
His aim is just one: the HR he’s been dreaming. And after this, a miracle occurred!
[Ueda: That one went high!]
His swing was so good, the cameraman couldn’t catch up and missed the shot!
[Kazuya: Ehh? What?? Really??]
[Ueda: Where did it go?]
His distance is 92m. He managed a good distance with the flightless ball. But he couldn’t reach the stand-ins.
[Ueda: No, that went quite well!]
And the now habitual excuse to Ueda-san is…?
Kazuya: The ball changed, after all.
Aoki: Right. It’s the flightless ball after all.
Kazuya: I’m still going to strive to hit one this season. Please kindly look over me *bows*
Aoki: Look over him please *bows with Kazuya*
[Ueda: It’s okay to use last year’s ball,]
[Kazuya: I can’t, I’m striving with the condition the athletes are going through.]
[Ueda: If you’re going to use it as an excuse, just don’t use it]
[Kazuya: *laughs* No, please kindly support this]
[Ueda: Well the last ball was quite something.] (c)
I probably should make some kind of comment about the outcome of Kazuya's HR project but I won't. I will go with my post till the HR project episodes and then I will write all my thought about the project and how it ended.
Now back to the studio for few more screencaps :)
Credit for the translations goes to takarai_karin Thank You very much Karin for the translations :)