The original article can be found here 元の記事はこちら by Yusuke Abe
Ring the bell already! Hanshin outfielder Matt Murton (33) revealed on the 21st that he and SoftBank pitcher Jason Standridge (35) have been duking it out over the ‘Net. There’s a good chance the former Tiger righty will start Game 1 on the 25th. The Tigers lost their game against him in inter-league play, but this time they’re ready! Meanwhile, SoftBank hurler Kenji Ohtonari (29) says he has been studying up on Hanshin infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka (30) as he prepares his strategy for the Japan Series.
The war of words started with a congratulatory message. The fingers pressing the smartphone keys are heating up! Murton vs. Standridge. As the Tiger faithful’s anticipation has grown, so too has the exchange.
Yesterday on the 20th, that was the “warning shot” telegram sent to Standridge as his team advanced to the Japan Series. Since the days when they were both donning the pinstripes, the two have been friends both on and off the field. Talks turned to the Koshien game on June 9th. The Tigers tasted defeat as Standridge held them to 3 hits in a complete-game shutout. Even the front office, who released him due to the 4-foreigner limit rule felt humiliation that night. Murton himself went 0-for-4 with 2 strikeouts. He got burned by Standridge’s outside curveball – a pitch that starts as a strike but ends up a ball.
Standridge: “You keep swinging at that pitch, so I keep throwing it. I’ll keep throwing it and you’ll keep missing!”
Murton: “I dare you to throw one in the strike zone!”
When it comes to baseball, these two are serious to a fault. It’s a clash of the titans. Come to think of it, this started back on March 4th as the teams played an exhibition game at Yafuoku Dome. Stan provoked him saying, “I’m gonna throw right at your backs!” To which Murton replied, “If you do, I’ll take you down outside after the game!” They prodded each other on over the phone.
“He threw some good pitches in inter-league play. The cutter and stuff. But we’ll win the Japan Series. We’re headed to the top.”
Murton was emphatic. In the Climax Series (CS) the team broke out with 5 wins and a tie. He alluded to the Royals, who advanced to the World Series without losing a single playoff game, their first WS in 29 years.
“The last time we won it all was 1985, was it? Same as the Royals, then. They’re gonna win theirs. We gotta do the same.”
He used to dream of being a world champion. He liked the late Twins outfielder Kirby Puckett, who had 2304 career hits. He won the batting title, RBI crown and the World Series in 1991. He was also enthusiastic about charity work, something Murton holds in common with him.
In Game 4 of the CS Final Stage against the Giants, Murton opened the scoring with a 3-run home run in the first. “I’ve stayed in Japan longer this year than in years past. I gotta do what I gotta do to win the Japan Series.” The “battle off the field” (by text message) is over. All that’s left to do is win it on the field.
A little about Standridge’s CG vs. Tigers
On June 9 of this year at Koshien during inter-league play, Standridge was named the starting pitcher against the team he had played with for 4 years. In the 4th inning with one out and runners on first and second, he struck out Murton and Gomez in succession, held the Tigers bats to 3 hits and earned a complete game victory (6-0). Used to the confines of Koshien, he smirked, saying, “It felt like a home game.” As he conducted the hero interview, Tigers fans could be heard saying, “Come back, Standridge!”