Daily Archives: 27 October 2004

Lions Win the Series!

That’s the Pacific League’s Seibu Lions, of course, who dispatched the Central League’s Chunichi Dragons after 7 Games in the Japan Series.

NAGOYA (AP) Takashi Ishii went six strong innings and Alex Cabrera hit a two-run homer Monday as the Seibu Lions defeated the Chunichi Dragons 7-2 in Game 7 of the Japan Series to win their first championship since 1992.

Ishii gave up just three hits over six scoreless innings at Nagoya Dome as the Pacific League champion Lions won two straight on the road after being down three games to two in the best-of-seven series.

“I just tried to build on the momentum from yesterday’s win,” said Ishii, who finished the Japan Series with a 0.00 ERA. “It’s not often that I get to pitch in these situations. I just tried to pitch as I always do.”

It was the ninth Japan Series championship for the Lions.

The Pacific League will shrink to five teams after the highly controversial merger of the Orix Blue Wave and Kintetsu Buffalo, but help is on the way. Two Japanese internet companies are bidding to start a new team based in the northeastern city of Sendai, to be named either the Sendai Livedoor Phoenix or the Tohoku [Northeast] Rakuten Golden Eagles.

TOKYO — Internet service provider Livedoor Co, which has applied to own a professional baseball team, said Tuesday its ball club will be called Sendai Livedoor Phoenix. Livedoor conducted Internet voting to decide the name for its baseball team, with Phoenix proving the most popular among a list of 10 candidates.

Rival Internet shopping mall operator Rakuten Inc, which has also applied to own a professional ball club, on Friday named its team the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. The name Eagles was second on the list of votes for Livedoor’s team. (Kyodo News)

Oh, and congratulations to the Boston Red Sox! What can we expect next year? The Cubs vs. White Sox?

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The Peripatetic Remains of a French Explorer

On 5 June 1866, a party of French explorers began heading up the Mekong under the leadership of a distinguished naval veteran of the Crimean campaign, Commander Ernest Doudart de Lagrée (no relation to the fictional Simon Legree). Unfortunately, Lagrée’s health got worse and worse the farther they traveled upriver.

By the time the explorers left Kunming, on 9 January 1868, Lagrée’s condition had worsened markedly, and after five days travel he was no longer able to remain seated on the horses they had with them and had to be carried on an improvised litter. When on 18 January, the party reached Dongchuan, a minor settlement close to Huize, the district capital of this sparsely settled region, it was apparent that Lagrée was gravely ill. He was suffering from severe dysentery, a fever that was probably malaria, and was again troubled by the chronic problem of his infected throat.

So he stayed behind with a naval doctor, Joubert, while his second in command, Garnier, set out to find the Mekong again.

The end came on 12 March. Believing that Lagrée’s body would lie forever in China, Joubert removed his heart and fashioned a lead casket in which to carry it back to France. Conscious of his medical responsibilities, he performed a post-mortem examination and found the second abscess on Lagree’s liver that had escaped his surgical intervention. Then, with Lagrée’s body placed in a heavy Chinese coffin, Joubert supervised its burial in the grounds of a pagoda outside Dongchuan’s walls…. There was now nothing more to do but to wait in the cold, isolated settlement whose only active commerce seemed to be in wooden coffins….

This was both the practical and symbolic end of the expedition…. Determined that Lagrée’s body should be laid to rest in French soil in Saigon, [Garnier] ordered the coffin to be exhumed and carried with the party as they continued northwards. Another thirteen days of slow and exhausting travel were necessary before the party reached the Yangtze and the opportunity to continue their travel down to the coast by boat.

They sailed downriver to Shanghai, then down the coast to Saigon, arriving on 29 June 1868.

Lagrée’s body was laid to rest with funerary pomp in Saigon, with his friend from the time of his posting in Cambodia, Bishop Miche, officiating at the burial service. But this was not the end of travels for his mortal remains. When, in 1983, the local authorities in Saigon, by this stage officially known as Ho Chi Minh City, declared their intention of building over the French colonial-period cemetery in which Lagrée’s remains lay; the French government arranged for the coffin to be transported to France and taken, eventually; to Saint-Vincent-de-Mercuze, to be placed in the family mausoleum.

SOURCE: The Mekong: Turbulent Past, Uncertain Future, by Milton Osborne (Grove Press, 2000), pp. 103-108

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