Kuroda Kills Phils, But Do You Know Your Hideki's from Your Hiroki's?

Matt Goldberg@@tipofgoldbergCorrespondent IAugust 31, 2010

Kuroda Kills Phils, But Do You Know Your Hideki's from Your Hiroki's?

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    Sports Irreverence From The Other Tip of the Goldberg

    Hiroki Kuroda (pictured) came very close to no-hitting the Phillies last night, besting Roy Halladay in a 3-0 Dodgers win. He pitched 7.2 innings of one-hit ball, losing his bid in the eighth on a clean single by Shane Victorino.

    All this has me wondering whether you are having any trouble distinguishing your Hideki's from your Hiroki's? (To say nothing of your Hideo's and your Karaoke's.)

    Don't worry: It's a common problem, and I'm here to help. I don't want you to make the same mistake I once did.

    Yes, I once dated a Japanese woman who was a huge baseball fan.  She was angry at me and yelled that I "could not even tell my Hideki's from my Hiroki's." This was, I learned, the equivalent of not knowing whether to scratch my watch or wind my butt.

    Stung by this affront to my masculinity--and my baseball savvy--I tore up an origami sculpture of hers that she had been working on for months.

    Mieko (alias for protection) dumped me, and I haven't been able to even look at a bowl of sushi ever since.

    Which brings us here, my friends. 

    I have prepared a little quiz to see how well you know your Hiroki's, Hideki's and Hideo's--all of whom have pitched in the major leagues.  This will be good for your baseball soul, and may even improve your relationships.

    Let this quick, fun quiz begin!

I Won't Ask You about This Guy...

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    Hideki Matsui was, and is, arguably one of the two best hitters (after Ichiro) to come to the Major Leagues from Japan.

    Nicknamed Godzilla, the two-time All-Star won the 2009 World Series MVP award after his clutch hitting led the Yankees to a six-game win over the Phillies.

    Excellent player, but we are here to concentrate on pitchers named Hideki, Hiroki, and Hideo that have pitched in the bigs.

...Or This Guy

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    Don't feel bad if you thought that "Hehateme" was a Japanese pitcher.  It does get awfully confusing.

    HeHateMe was actually the nickname given to Rod Smart (pictured here as a Carolina Panther) when he played for the Las Vegas Outlaws of the XFL. I know you remember him.

    Colorful player—yes, but surprisingly he is not a MLB pitcher of Japanese origin.

    We will concentrate on (alphabetically by last name):  Hideki Irabu, Hiroki Kuroda, Hideo Nomo, and Hideki Okajima.

    So as to not discourage you, I will start with some easy questions.  The answer key--and what this all means--are on the last slide. 

    Cheating is not an option. 

    Please tell me your score on the comments section--and be honest.  We prize nobility here.

Who Am I? (Question No. 1)

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    I won Rookie of the Year with the L.A. Dodgers in 1995, and took the baseball world by storm, finishing fourth in Cy Young balloting in (both of) my first two seasons.

    (Now, I'm not in that picture, and pictures are limited due to technical difficulties..but not to worry)

    Am I:

    a) Hideki Irabu

    b) Hiroki Kuroda

    c) Hideo Nomo

    d) Hideki Okajima

Do You Know Me? (Question No. 2)

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    I am a crafty relief pitcher who still throws for the Boston Red Sox.

    My career ERA is 3.16, and with a win-loss record of 16-7, I'm a valuable commodity.

    Am I:

    a) Hideki Irabu

    b) Hiroki Kuroda

    c) Hideo Nomo

    d) Hideki Okajima

Solve My Identity (Question No. 3)

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    I never lived up to the hype, finishing my career with a 34-35 record and 16 saves.

    In retrospect, the bright lights of the Bronx and all those expectations may have been my undoing.

    Am I:

    a) Hideki Irabu

    b) Hiroki Kuroda

    c) Hideo Nomo

    d) Hideki Okajima

Am I Who You Think? (Question No. 4)

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    After last night's gem, my career record is 27-28, with a more than respectable ERA of 3.62.

    Am I:

    a) Hideki Irabu

    b) Hiroki Kuroda

    c) Hideo Nomo

    d) Hideki Okajima

    Okay, you may very well be 4-4 (good job, if so), so let's take the difficulty up a notch

Try This One (Question #5)

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    I am the biggest and heaviest of this bunch, measuring 6'4" and weighing in at 240 pounds.

    Is that why my nickname—as listed on baseball-reference.com—was Fat Toad?

    Am I:

    a) Hideki Irabu

    b) Hiroki Kuroda

    c) Hideo Nomo

    d) Hideki Okajima

Hmmm...(Question No. 6)

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    One of my nicknames is "The Tornado."

    Am I:

    a) Hideki Irabu

    b) Hiroki Kuroda

    c) Hideo Nomo

    d) Hideki Okajima


Here We Go...(Question No. 7)

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    I was born on Christmas Day, 1975.

    Am I:

    a) Hideki Irabu

    b) Hiroki Kuroda

    c) Hideo Nomo

    d) Hideki Okajima

Can I Stump You? (Question No. 8)

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    Happy Birthday to Me...I was born on August 31.

    Am I:

    a) Hideki Irabu

    b) Hiroki Kuroda

    c) Hideo Nomo

    d) Hideki Okajima

    e) HeHateMe Smart...oops

Help Me Out, Smart Guy (Question No. 9)

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    My postseason ERA is 2.11.

    Am I:

    a) Hideki Irabu

    b) Hiroki Kuroda

    c) Hideo Nomo

    d) Hideki Okajima

The Last One (Question No. 10)

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    I am the lone lefty on this list, although it's been reported that I use my right hand to eat my Unagi—if only to spice it up a bit.

    Am I:

    a) Hideki Irabu

    b) Hiroki Kuroda

    c) Hideo Nomo

    d) Hideki Okajima

The Key to Answers...If Not Life Itself

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    ANSWERS:

    1) C - Hideo Nomo

    2) D - Hideki Okajima

    3) A - Hideki Irabu

    4) B - Hiroki Kuroda

    5) A - Hideki Irabu

    6) C - Hideo Nomo

    7) D - Hideki Okajima

    8) C - Hideo Nomo

    9)  D - Hideki Okajima

    10) D - Hideki Okajima

    (As a Phils fan, I just could not bear to use Hiroki Kuroda again)

So, What Does This All Mean?

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    What Does This All Mean, you ask?

    I'm really not sure, but I think it's fair to say that if you scored:

    6 or below: "A frog in a well does not know the great sea."

    7 or 8: "The talented hawk hides its claws."

    9: "Farm when it's sunny, read when it rains."

    All 10: "One who chases after two hares won't catch even one."  (Translation:  Don't get cocky.)

    Please share your scores and comments with us!

    Sayonara (for now), baseball fans.

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