E ♦ WBL Times ♦ Thursday, February 05, 2004




Shipal brother faces charges


             There have been very few times when Mujuri Shipal has let his batter down in his almost 2 years in Montreal, very few times when he has truly bared his emotions. The one time he let the world in, let people see deep inside him. Was three years ago when he buried his head in his hands and cried in front of a room full of strangers at a local high school. He was discussing the long and dark shadow he had cast over his young brother, Kazu, who had just been jailed for drug possession in his native Tokyo, Japan. Months earlier, in the wake of Shipal’s star turn at the 2008 World Series, the story had emerged of his troubled brother who had a handful of drug convictions and was light years removed from fame and celebrity. It was a story of the overachieving eldest son and the brother who toiled in his shadow. It was a story of Mujuri’s athletic greatness and the inability of Kazu to match it, as if anyone could. It was the classic tale of a kid brother always being compared to his greater older sibling.

             There is a new chapter in that story with the news two days ago that the younger Shipal has been charged with possession of marijuana and cocaine by police in Japan after Tokyo City police searched Kazu Shipal’s residence, owned by his mother Jessica (English name), on Tuesday. Kazu Shipal, a student at Tokyo City University, has been released on $2500 (U.S. approx.) bail. Mujuri Shipal, in Cancun with his teammates for last night’s game against the Riptides, was reluctant to speak about his personal situation, saying he spent the day focusing on last night’s game.

             “I’m okay,” Shipal told a reporter after striking out 12 players in a 4 – 1 win. “I was able to go out and play. I’m just going to leave it alone. That helped me to focus and be ready to play.”

             His teammates and manager are supporting him as best they can.

             “I’d say to any of our players that have a family situation that I’ll support whatever their needs are,” said manager Jeremy Shirley.

             The relationship between the Shipal brothers has been mostly hidden from the public since Mujuri joined that St. Louis Stallions in 2007. Only after a magazine article in 2008 chronicled Kazu’s convictions and drug problems did it become known in Montreal. And when Shipal broke down at that 2008 appearance in front of a group of high school students in a clinic, it became obvious he had deep concerns about how his was handling growing up and living with such an internationally famous brother and how the situation has been bubbling just beneath the surface for years.

             “But people wouldn’t let Kazu be Kazu,” Jessica Shipal was quoted as in a 2008 WILD WBL article. “If he striked someone out, he wouldn’t throw as hard as Shipal; if he allowed 2 runs, Mujuri allowed 1 run. Kazu even had a teacher in his language arts class, and of all the students’ poems she brings out to use as a model, she brings out Mujuri’s” “So, I’m Kazu and in my mind, I’ve got to live up to my brother, who always says the right thing and does the right thing. Everybody adores Mujuri.”

             Mujuri said at the time he’d been trying to reach out to his brother after his 2008 conviction.

             “I think about Kazu all the time,” he told WILD WBL. “We talk on the phone, but it’s hard to get him to understand.” “He didn’t think I cared about him. He said ‘You’re a WBL superstar now; you don’t think about me.’ That’s far from the truth. One of my greatest joys was when my brother came here in 2008 for our game against the Rush. That’s the fine line of not wanting to put it in his face, but I wanted him to be here. He got the chance to see it up close and personal – what I do, what it’s like, what he sees on television and what really goes on. He was right there, third seat from the end behind the bench. I talked to him out there while I played. He loved it”



GM’s no ‘lame duck’ about inside trading


             A nineteen – game losing streak isn’t cause for panic, and though the Chills desperately need an inside presence, Jason Rhiner remains the most untouchable player on the roster.

             “Jason is not, obviously, going to be traded. I don’t think that’s something that’s going to happen,” Chills GM Andrew Biggs said yesterday. “There are certain players I’m not interested in trading. It’s not just Wallace. There are other players I think are important to our team and our future.”

             Asked who else would be in that category, Biggs mentioned Seneca Wallace, who was yesterday announced to remain with Antarctica next season. Biggs is increasingly under pressure to improve his squad as the Playoff Trading deadline approaches. The most glaring need is in the middle, where Wallace has been trying to hold down the fort – and with some success. But for the Chills, now seventy – nine games under .500, to ensure themselves a place in the playoffs – and to advance past the first round – it will take an incredible big man – you should definitely ask yourselves, why? Because they aren’t going to the playoffs.

             “Hopefully, we can improve our roster some this off season,” Biggs said, when asked about the need to acquire a pitcher. “I think that obviously one of our issues, our staff, and we knew that when we made the trade with Cancun.” “I think we’ve done okay, though. I think the guys that we do have, have played well at times and, if we can get a better player, we certainly will. ” “We’ve looked at some free agents that are available. Other teams work on their own time - tables in terms of trade. So, obviously we’d like to get better tomorrow but you have to work through the process.”

             Biggs’ pressure comes from a different are as well: Not only is his team fighting for rare success on the field, but Biggs, his contract up at season’s end, is also fighting to keep his job. Despite the lack of an extension, Biggs denies that he’s a “lame duck” GM and the fact that he can still keep his job would seem to provide him with even more impetus to improve the club.

             “I am what I am. My contract situation is what it is. And no, I don’t feel like a lame fuck,” he said. “I’ve done what I always felt is best for the franchise, so I haven’t felt hamstrung in that regard. I think the owners just want to see some improvement.” “We had a very disappointing season this year and I think we are capable of making some very good strides with this season’s off season. I’m optimistic about out future.”

             And he’s most optimistic about Rhiner, the guy he still intends to build his team around.

             “I thought at the beginning of the year, he was tremendous,” Biggs said. “I think he’s faded a little bit, tailed off a little big.” “I think he’s still injured, still not 100 per cent, but he’s out there playing and trying his best. He’s the key for us. If we’re going to be our best, then he has to be the best player on the field most nights.”

             Yesterday, Rhiner defended himself when asked if he needed to step up his plays as a hitter in order for his team to win.

             “Are you saying it’s my fault?” Rhiner replied. “That’s basically what you’re saying and I don’t have a problem with that, but my point is that we all have things we have to improve on.” “Each individual has to raise his level of intensity and that’s just how it has to go. I don’t mind it being my fault. That’s not a problem for me. Not a problem. I’m going to come every night and play.”



Co-GM Josh Andrews quits on Quigly – run Force


             Josh Andrews quit as CO-GM of the Frankfurt Force yesterday after the first full season under new boss Ty Quigly, and been hired as a CO-GM of Montreal Menace immediately, a team source told. The team said it would have a “major announcement” but did not say what. The team source, meanwhile on condition of anonymity, confirmed it would be to announce Andrew’s departure. The Force were 60 – 35 after failing to reach the playoffs past two seasons.

             Quigly made numerous changes, trading Ken Griff to Great Britain before the season and Quentin Vidro to Santo Domingo.

             The first deal deprived Force of a second scoring threat to go with Ace Shap. The second took away two veteran leaders and keys to Andrews’ average hitting oriented approach. After taking over, Quigly have Andrews a two – year contract offer running through 2010 season. Andrews became and accepted the CO-GM role as once Andy Quigly offered. Under Quigly, the Force never reached the playoffs and they are currently trying their hardest to make the playoffs this season.



For Argument’s Sake

Question: Nolan Ryan and Corey Whitney were slighted by the playoff selections?


Mujuri Shipal

             Wow. And I thought I was the old and cranky one in these little weakly, er, weekly, discussions. Well, my young and apparently momentarily ornery compatriots over there makes some sense with his, Kurtis Rands’, on the WBL Playoff, and all its inherent commercialism and marketing hype and wasting of time and energy. It is a dreadful weekend, saved only by the social component where writers trade quips over cocktails, until the wee hours (all in the name of breaking news and establishing good international relations, mind you) but there are some reasons to watch the events. This year, that should include one, and maybe both of the ballyhooed rooks Nolan Ryan and Corey Whitney, nicknamed themselves, ‘Mello and ‘Bron.

             Now, we’re usually all for a meritocracy over here and kids should generally only be seen and not heard but in the case of those two – primarily Nolan Ryan – there’s every reason to think they should be in the big game, maybe, just maybe, and possibly, World Series? WBL managers, on the whole, seem to be an intelligent lot, even if they have their moments of wackiness. But for the Western Hemisphere experts to pick the Caracas Cougars over Montreal Menace and St. Louis Stallions borders on the ridiculous and you make a case that Corey Whitney – even if I don’t think so – should be on the playoff team, at the expense of Caracas Cougars, again.

             Caracas Cougars is a great team, full of great players, good actors and one of the team full of most engaging stars in the league but they are an expansion team and their team is not too good, other than Guzmans’. It’s terrible, numbers and a bigger impact shows. So, I’m afraid that on this issue, rookies should be served.


Kurtis Rands

             Here’s the problem with debating whether Corey Whitney and Nolan Ryan’s teams deserve to be making the playoffs: I don’t really care. And neither, dear reader, should you. This so called “Playoff deciding” weekend is huge waste of time. (It is valuable in that it does give beat who don’t have to go the each cities to check on every single teams.)

             The yearly showcase is yet another marketing opportunity for the WBL, and if we’re being really cynical – which we are, of course – it’s a chance for a really good player, like, say, Jeremy Shirley, to hurt himself his momentum in meaningless games. Sure, fans get a chance to talk about players and teams and thereby show their appreciation for them, but you’d think that just watching them play and buying jerseys and contributing to their huge salaries would be enough. No. Now you have to talk about them, too. Great.

             It was, and is, my thinking that if the rookies were going to get to play in next week’s playoff games and contests, they were going to have to be talked about by the fans. There was just no way the experts would think that they should be the “hero” of the playoffs. WBL managers are a fairly crotchety lot and on the question of youths in the league, they tend to side with old veterans: You’ve got to put in some time to earn those stripes, my son. And this time, they’re right. Playoff making should be a meritocracy, not a popularity contest.

             And that’s why it makes sense that St. Louis Stallions and not Caracas Cougars is making the playoffs and the Montreal Menace are watching them race. After all, for those rookies, there’s always the next season, when they’re perfectly ready for the pressure they get.



Whatever the fu*ck is going around the board

This week’s topic: Maybe they will find weapons in Saddam’s head


             I was kind of amused to hear Max Powers believing that Bush does nothing illegal, so I decided to add this section where it really has nothing to do with WBL, but the things going around the WBL official message board. For those of you readers, don’t say “here we go, another shit full of sarcastic crap,” just read.

             Hey Powers, now we not only know that Iraq didn’t have any weapons of mass destruction, but we also have reason to believe that Saddam Hussein thought he did. His scientist – types in charge of this sort of thing, terrified that he’d execute them if they didn’t have chemical and biological weapons ready to go, may have told him that everything was hunky – dory. Sometimes, if lying’s what it takes to please the boss and protect your pension you do what you got to do. This is a bad position to start from f you’re a country going into battle against the most militarily advanced nation on the planet. So on the eve of the U.S. attack, you can imagine Saddam getting on the phone to his weapons department.


Saddam: Okay, the great Satan is on our doorstep, so start rolling out the big stuff.

Scientists: Uh, listen, you’re not going to believe this, but it’s, in a kind of way, if you can just take a step back, really funny.


Did Saddam ever wonder why the U.N inspectors couldn’t find any of his weapons of mass destruction, when he was so sure he had some? Evidently his sub – ordinates must have told them they were so well – hidden, even they didn’t know where they were. Surely, at some point, the Iraqi president must have asked to see how things were progressing.


Saddam: So, I thought I’d drop by, see how you’re coming along with the weapons.

Scientists: Uh, okay, here’s one of the missiles that can launch chemical weapons.

Saddam: Very impressive. Interesting. The outer metal, it seems to have the feel of cardboard tubing with simple house paint over it.

Scientists: Ahh yes, but that’s not just any cardboard. It’s titanium – laced cardboard, with a special weather – proof exterior latex.

Saddam: And are those staples holding the missile’s fins in place?

Scientists: Uh, yes, but they are the same staples used to hold together the pages of those gripping novels.

Saddam: Ahh, good choice.


             Now, let’s suppose that intelligence gathered by the CIA before the invasion of Iraq had confirmed that while the country had no weapons of mass destruction, its leader was of the opinion that it did. You still think it have been okay to invade? Is it within the rules to take over a country because its leader thinks he has weapons of destruction, which, if he had them, he would not be afraid to use? If some other leader becomes convinced he has orbiting satellites fitted with laser beams that can take out any U.S. city and melt the polar ice caps – think Dr. Evil, you, yeah, you, Powers – will George W. Bush have to go in? After all, you can’t have a guy thinking he can take you, even if you know he can’t. It’s a pride thing. It’s almost as if Saddam, having taken the position that he had weapons of mass destruction, was only interested in evidence from his staff that supported this contention. I know that sounds farfetched, but believe it or not, it isn’t. It’s hard to believe someone who’s the president of a country would have his staff so intimidated that they’d feel they had no choice but to give him reports that bolstered a stance he’d already taken, rather than tell him everything they knew.

             Or, maybe Saddam was given all the facts, but only chose to believe those that he wanted to believe. Again, that seems to incredible to consider, right, Powers? What kind of president would do that? This one was all for you Powers.



Final Say


             Another edition of weekly, this week, we had an article about an argument that was suppose to be posted on the board, but now, I just created a new section, look for it in the coming weeks. I’m sorry, but no interview this week. Well, I hope you had fun reading this. But still, I have not yet received any idea offers from anybody; please do so, it will conclude with much more exciting weekly, send it to hotmale_dot_com79@hotmail.com if you do have any ideas. I am your writer, Mujuri Shipal, from the WBL Times.