One player I always enjoyed watching with the Colorado Rockies was outfielder Ryan Spilborghs. Sure, he was a marginal outfielder at best, but he always seemed to come through in the clutch. Actually I will never forget his walk-off, grand slam bomb he blasted to win against the Giants in 2009. Any win against the Giants is a good win!
After a solid 7-year career with the Rockies in which he played a platoon outfield, Spilly turned to the Indians last year and just didn’t pan out. Between the Rangers and Indians he spent all of 2012 in the minor leagues batting a triple split of .288/.358/.418 at the AAA level. That just flat didn’t cut it and he was released. But never fear because the ever-resourceful Spilborghs has found a new home — in Japan.
The Seibu Lions have signed the 33 year old Spilborghs for one year to play both right field and some first base. The greatest part for baseball fans? He is documenting his experience for the Denver Post as a guest blogger. The first post was up today on the website, and if any of you have ever followed Spilly you can only imagine how entertaining it is. He also is keeping up on a twitter account (@spillygoat19) for anyone who is interested.
Personally I love the move to the Nippon League. If we as baseball fans would be honest with ourselves, the Nippon is a high quality baseball league. Japan owns the WBC, and countless Japanese players have been stars in the MLB. Even at the little league level Japan dominates. There are actually quite a few American’s who chose a little more money to play over in Japan with former Rockie Matt Murton being one, Willy Mo Pena another. The game is much different than we are used to in America as the fans are crazy, the games actually have a time limit, and they can end in ties. The Lions are actually my favorite team to follow overseas and carry some big expectations after a 72-63-9 2012 campaign in which they lost in Pacific League First Stage Climax Series (think ALDS). It will be even more fun to follow a favorite player of mine with the team in 2013.
Good Luck Spilly!