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SPORTS ILLUSTRASIAN: What Do You Call The Rookie Hazing Of Junichi Tazawa?

September 18th, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen


Also “adorable,” but y’all know how we feel about drag queens.

[WBZ: 2009 Red Sox Rookies In Drag]
[via Center Field]
[photo via Sox & Dawgs]

Thanks, Dave! Go Sox!

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Sam Yoon for Mayor of Boston!

July 8th, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

Boston City Councilman Sam Yoon is currently running for mayor. A Democrat who was born in Seoul, moved to the U.S. at 10 months old, and became a citizen at 10 years old, Sam is the first Asian-American to hold elected office in Boston. Bear in mind that Boston is one of America’s oldest cities, almost 379 years old. To be the first Asian-American elected official in the city’s storied 379 year-history is nothing short of amazian.

We sat down recently for a Q & A with Sam about his campaign. We not only learned of his stellar qualifications–Princeton undergrad, Harvard grad, community organizing–we also discovered something completely unexpected about the 39 year-old politician. As they’d say in Boston, Sam is wicked funny.

Over email, we discussed some of DISGRASIAN’s favorite topics: Hardass Asian Parents, math, advanced degrees, hot dogs, and, of course, the Boston Red Sox.

Why did you decide to get into politics?

Because it was the one career choice that would completely befuddle my parents.

When you decided to pursue a career in politics, did your Asian parents try to convince you to go to law school instead? Were they worried you wouldn’t make enough money as a public servant?

After my parents paid for a very expensive college education at Princeton, I became a teacher. After my brother graduated from Yale, he pursued ministry. We were going into the two lowest-paid professions. My parents got used to it.

You taught math in New Jersey public schools after graduating Princeton. Are you good at math? Are you good at math because you’re Asian?

All of the above. I’m a proud Asian math geek.

So studious! So Asian!

How many musical instruments were you forced to play as a child?

Two: piano, then the flute. My immigrant parents didn’t know how much cooler it would have been had they chosen the saxophone. Or trumpet.

We understand your wife Tina has a doctorate in biology from MIT. Do you ever call her Dr. Yoon?

Because she got her graduate degree from MIT and mine’s only from Harvard, of course she makes me call her Dr. Yoon. Truthfully, sometimes we get wedding invitations addressed to “Mr. and Dr. Yoon.” Which isn’t humiliating at all. Really.

When people say, “An Asian-American mayor of Boston? Really? I never really pictured that,” what do you say?

I don’t blame you. Look at

But then try scrolling down this list:

Sam finds another Asian at the St. Patty’s Day parade! w00t!

What issues will you focus on as mayor of Boston?

Check out my website and while you’re there please donate $500.

The Bruins went to the Conference Semis this year. The Celts won the NBA Finals in 2008. The Sox won the World Series in 2007 and 2004. And the Pats have won three Super Bowls this decade. What’s in the water in Boston these days that’s making its sports franchises so great?

Steroids, obviously. I’m looking into whether or not this is legal.

If you could play any position on the Red Sox team, what would it be?

Pitcher, because I’m sure any Korean could be at least as good as the three Japanese pitchers we have already. Not that there’s any rivalry between Koreans and Japanese or anything.

If you were a Red Sox player, what would be your at-bat song?

“Mr. Roboto” by Styx.

How fast is your fastball?

Faster than Dice-K’s these days. [Ouch! But true. Sigh.--Ed.]

What’s your favorite food at Fenway?

Truth be told, I’m a huge hot dog fan; the Monster Dogs are good.

Hypothetical scenario: You have the choice of saving either a Yankee player or your political opponent from a burning house. What do you do?

Save my political opponent, because I want to beat him.

Reaching new Orient Heights, indeed!

[Sam Yoon for Mayor]


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BABEWATCH: Dave Roberts

May 19th, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen
New England Sports Network’s (NESN) Red Sox play-by-play guy Don Orsillo and Dave Roberts

Name: Dave Roberts

Hails from: Southern California

Ethnicity: Blasian (Roberts’ mother is Japanese)

Occupation: Retired baseball player and newly-hired NESN studio analyst

Why He’s a Babe: Admittedly, I’m biased. Because without Dave Roberts and The Steal, there is no Bloody Sock Comeback after being down 3-0 to the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS, there is no World Series win for the first time in 86 years, there is probably–if you subscribe to the Ray Bradbury school of thought where the future hinges on the smallest of incidents–no second World Series win in 2007. There is most likely only more misery, pessimism, and teeth-gnashing for Red Sox Nation, forever and ever amen. But what’s so appealing about the former outfielder, really, is that he was undersized as a player, not a power hitter, not a star, with a a so-so throwing arm–totally forgettable, in many ways–but he always managed to find a way on base and to make an impact in a game, earning a spot in the top 10 in steals for five straight seasons when he played for the Dodgers, the Padres, and the Giants in the National League (it would have been six straight had he not come in a paltry…11th in 2007). And playing above your god-given talent level? That’s the definition of being a baller. And being a baller is, as they’d say in New England, wicked hot. Plus, look at those adorable crinkly eyes!

Roberts is once again proving just how scrappy and memorable he is by filling in in the booth for beloved Sox color commentator Jerry “Rem Dawg” Remy while Remy recovers from lung cancer surgery. Of Roberts’s game-calling debut, play-by-play announcer Don Orsillo said what’s been said of Roberts innumerable times throughout his unlikely career: “I couldn’t have been more impressed.”

The Steal


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Manny, This Sucks.

May 8th, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Diana

Dear Manny,

I want to believe that you started taking the women’s fertility drug H.C.G. because you had some harebrained idea that you could make a buck or two being the first pregnant man that is also a professional baseball player. Maybe you thought you could hit a few homers with Manny Jr. in your tum-tum. That’s actually very sweet.

But I don’t believe that. I believe that you’ve been trying to cover up your juicing. You are a cheater. You may be a good guy on the inside, but you’re a cheater all over.

It makes the Dodgers sad. It’s got my bestie Colin, the world’s biggest Doyers fan, practically in tears. The residents of Mannywood are left destitute. The Sports Guy and his kid may never recover. I don’t even want to know what Jen is thinking about how these actions reflect on her BoSox–and the two World Series you shared with them–right now.

Cheating hurts people, dude. If you aren’t already, you should be severely ashamed of yourself.

Cuz everyone else is ashamed of you.

Said sadly,

So sorry, Colin…

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May 4th, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

Name: Seibu Dome

Location: Saitama, Japan

Occupation: Home to the Seibu Lions, a professional baseball team in Japan

Known for: Its exquisite toilets. Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched eight years for the Seibu Lions, and when he signed with the Red Sox in 2007, Boston had to fork over $51 mil to the Saitama-based team (another $52 mil went to Dice-K, putting the total cost of acquiring the Japanese pitcher at $103 million). Because Seibu Dome, the Lions’ ballpark, was considered “the worst stadium in Japan,” the organization decided to spend the money earned from that deal on major upgrades to the stadium, which included, most remarkably, installing top-of-the-line TOTO toilets in its restrooms. Each stall in its women’s rooms boasts a $1,500 TOTO Washlet (whose marketing slogan is “Clean is Happy”), which is a toilet and bidet-in-one with a built-in seat warmer. Now, you might think it strange that we named a ballpark AOTW, but if you’ve ever sat on one of these babies (pictured below), and if you’ve spent any time at all in other ballpark bathrooms, you bet your warm, clean ass you’d know why.

[NY Times: Seibu Lions’ Porcelain and Plastic Memorial to Matsuzaka: Plush Bathrooms]


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BABEWATCH: Junichi Tazawa

April 7th, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

Name: Junichi Tazawa

Age: 22

Hails from: Yokohama, Japan

Occupation: Baseball pitcher

Why He’s a Babe: When the 22 year-old Red Sox right-hander pitches, his eyes get wide and his lips press together in a line, and he kinda looks like an adorable Sanrio character. But though the MLB newbie has a sweet baby face, there’s nothing babyish about his stuff, including his 97 mph-fastball that first impressed MLB scouts. “Taz” may have just been sent down to the Sox’s double-A farm team, the Portland Sea Dogs, because he’s still wet behind the ears, but we predict it won’t be long before we see his cute mug crop up in the bigs.


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October 20th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

I hadn’t cheered for anything or anybody in three years–since my rejection by the leggy girl–and had even mistakenly come to believe that my new-found restraint was a kind of maturity. Oh, I had had my enthusiasms, but they were dark, the adoration of the griefs and morbidities men commit to paper in the name of literature, the homage I had paid the whole sickly aristocracy of letters. But a man can dwell too long with grief, and now, quite suddenly, quite wonderfully, I wanted to cheer again…

–A Fan’s Notes, Frederick Exley

For those of you who don’t live and die by a sports team, this post is not for you. Move along, nothing to see here.

Today I am inappropriately sad. The Sox lost to the Rays Sunday night in Game 7 of the ALCS, 3-1. This after an improbable, Lazarus-like comeback in Game 5 at Fenway, when the Sox were down 7-0 in the seventh inning and looked, to all intents and purposes, like their season was finished. You could spin their losing in seven as the Sox losing with dignity, but I don’t buy that. A loss is a loss, and it always feels like a punch to the throat.

I say “inappropriately sad” because I am a grownup, and I know cognitively that I shouldn’t feel this way. I’ve also experienced enough heartbreak seasons to have developed a thicker skin, and more than my share of victories to sustain me through dismal moments like today. But, if you’re still reading this, you know that no one watches sports to feel or act like a grownup. That may be the reason why you got suckered into this bipolar mode of existence–to emulate and impress your father, your grandfather, or, in my case, your older brother–and started reading the sports pages when you were eight years old and obsessively tracking stats before you ever learned long division, but that’s not why you stayed. That’s not why you kept watching losing season after losing season, why you persisted in loving a team that didn’t love you back, why you dreamt of winning a Super Bowl even when the only good thing that you could say about your QB is that he also knew how to punt the ball on that inevitable 4th down, why you intermittently believed in the power of prayer, why you didn’t turn the TV off and go to the movies when your team was down seven runs in the seventh inning of an elimination game. Loving a team is, in other words, totally irrational. It is child-like in its devotion. It is a love that clings.

The flip-side of the pain that this irrational love brings you most of the time is the unfettered joy you experience when your team wins. Fourteen Januarys that end with you sobbing uncontrollably on the dusty, dander-coated carpet of your parents’ living room before you get your first taste of victory? Worth it. Nine seasons of getting punked by either the Lakers or the Celtics in the Magic-Bird era before the Big One? Whatever. 86 years of curses, late-inning, pennant-clinching home runs by the opposing team, rollers between the legs, and Game 7 pitching collapses for not one but two World Series sweeps? An embarrassment of riches.

But, as the saying goes, winning isn’t everything. I mean, it is and it isn’t. No one wants their team to lose, because that means they’re a loser, too. But without losing and heartbreak, winning is shallow and pretty, stuff for the beautiful people. It is for those who want courtside seats because it is a place to be seen. It is for bandwagoneers who only want their ride to the championship to purr, and not to hiss, sputter, and moan. It’s not for those of you who have put up with this rambling monologue and are actually still reading, or for me. Because we watch the game to feel something, whether it’s misery or exultation. We futilely scream and convulse in the stands while our extremities go numb from the cold because it often gives us a better high than sex or dope. And we root for our teams, year after year, pain upon pain, with the occasional joy teasing our sorrow just enough to ensure our return, because everything else in life is far more complicated, tedious, and disappointing.

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October 8th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Diana

As many of you know, Jen’s having a great week. Her Red Sox clinched the series over the Angels to make the semi-finals (or whatever you call them…? I have no idea what I’m talking about in baseball-speak)–and just one week ago, she was inches away from the grass watching them win the first game of that beautiful winning series.

I wasn’t with her that night. Instead, I was trucking my junk over to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, an oldie-but-goodie LA venue better known for punk rock shows in the 80s than shoegaze reunions, to see My Bloody Valentine. Many of the friends alongside me had had the wherewithal to see them sixteen years ago (before the period I would refer to as “Valentineless,” if it didn’t sound so lametarded) but having missed that opportunity, I had no idea what to expect besides… bliss.

If you can imagine bliss at a volume that goes to eleven (and then times eleven), ripples through the body like an audio tsunami, rushes through your eyes to make you weep without warning (I know this sounds like a mushroom trip, but it wasn’t), then my expectations were right on.

I’ve been floating on the high now for a week, and so happy to see that Eric over at Giant Robot had a similar reaction as well–blogging a review a week after the fact JUST LIKE ME.

I guess we’re not all Loveless, after all.

Thanks, Cate!

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October 8th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

Well. It’s official. The Sox pitching rotation for the ALCS, which begins Friday, is set, and Dice-K will be starting Game 1. I’m both incredibly psyched and incredibly about-to-shit-my-pants. Dice-K, despite his awesome winning record this season, walks way too many batters. My baseball-watching comfort zone is insufficient to tolerate Dice-K’s putting-men-on-base-all-the-time steez (which has earned him the nickname “Dice-BB”); that is to say, it is close to nil. We either have to have an insurmountable lead or our pitcher needs to be totally shutting down the opposing team’s batters or else I’m splayed out on the floor, mumbling to myself, Xanax? Scotch? Xanax? Scotch? Xanax and Scotch? Not that Josh Beckett, who starts Game 2, is in better shape to kick things off. Every year I vow to swear off sports entirely because of moments like this. I know, I know…Shut up and pull it together, this is unbecoming. It’s not very Asian of me to say this–an appropriate response would be “Fuckin’ A, I’ve got my shit together” or “It’s in the bag”–but all I can offer at the moment is I. Will. Try.


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SPORTS ILLUSTRASIAN: Sarah Palin, Mrs. October

October 7th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

As if I needed one more reason to loathe Sarah Palin, here’s another: she likened the Republican presidential ticket to the Tampa Bay Rays today in Jacksonville, FL, saying in her distinctive Alaskanasal, “The people in this area know a little something about turning an underdog into a victor, and we’re counting on you to help us do that November 4.”

(The Rays–who dropped the “Devil” from their name this year–had their first winning season in their eleven-year history in ’08 and are moving on to the American League Championship Series to face my Sox, last year’s World Series champs.)

But, you know, sports allegiances aside, Palin may have a point. Tampa Bay has the second-lowest payroll in Major League Baseball, and the other teams remaining in the playoffs have spent two to three times the money that they have. And they’ve only ever finished out of last place twice in team history. So they are underdogs. And, like Palin, the Rays are young, as a franchise and in terms of the average age of their starting line-up.

Although I wonder if Palin would be so quick to compare her ticket and its supporters to the Tampa Bay Rays and their fans if someone had actually briefed her on the fact that THE RAYS HAVE THE SHITTIEST FANS IN BASEBALL. Last month, when Tampa Bay held the best record in the bigs, their fans turned out in record-low numbers. Typically, there are as many fans rooting for the opposing team at Tropicana Field as there are fans root-root-rooting for the home team. And that’s when there are fans attending at all; the Rays rank a dismal 26th among 30 teams in fan attendance, averaging crowds of 21,459 in a 36,048-seat stadium. As a point of comparison, the Red Sox have sold out every home game since 2003 and Fenway is already sold out for next season.

So, if this is the kind of support Palin is “counting on” to make her and McCain “victors” in November, all I can say is, Bless her stupid heart.

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July 23rd, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

I went to see the Red Sox play the so-called Los Angeles Angels Sunday, when the Sox got swept cuz they’ve been sucking on the road and they have no middle relief. But I was sitting two rows behind their dugout (thanks to my friend Jess) so fuck if I cared. I got to stare at Jacoby Ellsbury’s ass for three hours. At the end of my row, there was a guy about my dad’s age wearing these really dope baseball oxfords (pictured). They were broken-in perfectly, and they looked just like a baseball you’ve been tossing around in the backyard for a couple years. Scuffed and a little grey. I hate talking to strangers, but I told him on my way to the loo, “Nice shoes.”

I coveted those shoes, even though they’re kinda dude-ish. And I was curious about their provenance. Yesterday, I discovered after much googling that they’re made by Børn footwear. That was when I got a good look at their soles for the first time.


#27 on the long list of Things That Make My Blood Run Cold: Shoes with Sneaker Soles. Let me be clear–I have no problem with sneakers. I love sneakers, especially on men (although I have a slight allergy to Pumas, which are too Aging Hipster for my taste). When I see a man in a pair of Chucks, or New Balance, or Stan Smiths, or Dunks even, I think, Good. Not trying too hard. I’ve never understood the mutant “shoe-ker,” however. It’s creepy on the order of magnitude of the Easy Spirit “Looks Like a Pump, Feels like a Sneaker” commercial where women were playing basketball in heels. The shoe-ker makes my skin crawl. It’s fug. It’s sloppy. It’s just so…wrong.

The concept behind a shoe-ker is that you can dress up but still stay comfy. Bullshit. Fashion is not about comfort. Sometimes it is about ease, a whole different animal, but comfort? Negative. Comfort is for the home, where you are allowed to do other unsociable things like pick your nose, not wash your hair, and adjust your balls.

Which leads me to the most important point about the shoe-ker and why it has no place out in the world: YOU DON’T GET LAID WEARING THIS SHOE.


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SPORTS ILLUSTRASIAN: Johnny Is My Half-Thai Homeboy

May 27th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’ve had an ongoing battle with…

slow drivers in the fast lane
my asshole neighbors
eating spaghetti late at night
owning a cellphone
red shoes

cleaning my closet.

Recently, I confronted my walk-in closet in an effort to contain the chaos mounting within it. What this meant was parting with clothing, shoes, bags, and several palpable reminders that PMS not only makes you fat and weepy, it also makes you buy ugly shit like plum-colored corset boots and cropped white silk waistcoats, shit that only belongs in Purple Rain the movie and does not, try as you might, make you look smoking hawt like Apollonia. One of the items I donated during this clean-up that wasn’t foolish so much as sentimental was my red “Johnny (Damon) Is My Homeboy” tee. I bought it online back when Johnny still played for the Red Sox. For a short while, the shirt was magic. It was the shirt that got me through The Comeback against the Yankees and the 2004 World Series that followed. It was the shirt that I wore at Fenway on Opening Day the next season when the team got their rings and Boston fans cheered Mariano Rivera for choking and the whole city forgot to be cold, cranky, and anxious for a day. It was a shirt soaked in sweat, fear, elation, and the pheromones I gave off every time I saw Johnny’s ass on TV.

But, as many of you know, Johnny Damon left the Red Sox after the 2005 season for the Yankees. He shaved his beard, cut his hair, and started looking like a grade-A dork. And since then, the man, the shirt, and even that fine ass, have been dead to me. Until today. When I found it that “homeboy” is actually my homeboy, half-Thai to be exact.


How come I’m the last person to find out?! Did y’all know this? (Of course you did.) I had always heard that he was Native American but…what?! How did this particular and very important factoid escape me? And, apparently he’s “active” in the Asian community. Huh?! I need to set up a Google Alert for people whom I’m going to call from this day forward asiancognitos–those who don’t look like or aren’t known to be members of the tribe but who, in fact, are (like Karen O, Eddie Van Halen, George Clooney’s girlfriend).

Somehow, the fact that Johnny Damon is Asian makes his being a Yankee hurt less. I can’t really explain why or how. I guess certain allegiances run deeper than others, than even my love for the Sox. Or that blood is thicker than Gatorade. All I really know is that I now kinda wish I hadn’t given away that stupid T-shirt.


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