Friday, March 27, 2009


One of the benefits (yes, my fellow small town hovelians --just made that word it-- there are benefits) of living in an area the size of SoCal is the cultural diversity that can be viewed on local television.

So culturally diverse in fact that I actually witnessed a pop-cultural reference to a fellow small town Oklahoman via a Japanese language drama series broadcast over local Los Angeles tv.

It's a small world folks.

It all starts with one of our family's newest favorite people, LB. Her career path enables her to intersect and interact with many of the gentle folk who were elected to run our state government. One such person being State Senator Randy Bass of Lawton. She recently relayed the story of Senator Bass to Wifey and what a story it is.

In a nutshell, Randy Bass was a major league ball player from Oklahoma who went on to achieve superstar status as a member of the Hanshin Tigers pro baseball team in Japan. He is now a public servant for District 32 in our state, but still enjoys cult-like status in the Land of the Rising Sun.

The curse associated with Bass and the Tigers is the stuff of sports legend and you owe it to yourself to bone up on the details of the story here.

When Wifey relayed the background of Randy Bass to me via LB's anecdote, I thought it was interesting but didn't pursue any further research into the matter. After all, I'm not all that huge of a baseball fan (unless you're holding a two-fer of Dodger Dog's in my face), and while the image of a bunch of crazed Japanese baseball fans tossing a statue of Colonel Sanders (read the story) over a bridge into a river makes me shiver with anachronistic delight, the relevance to my life was lost.

Until the other evening, sitting with my Mom watching a subtitled Japanese language program on local SoCal tv. The dramady we were watching centered around a group of misfit high-schoolers who were attempting to form a baseball team at their school to help keep them out of detention.

I had minutes ago finished telling my Mom about the whole "Randy Bass" cult and the Curse of the Colonel in Japan, when one of the characters on the show hits an unexpected home run, drops his bat, tosses him arms triumphantly in the air and jubilantly screams out loud, "RAHN-DEE BAAH-SUU!"**

So there it was, in digitized living color. A pop-cultural reference to what I thought was a relatively obscure Oklahoma character, that I had only recently been made aware of, and was now being shoved in my apathetic consciousness by the wonders of a subtitled J-tv program.

Face it, if your name makes it into a tv show as a pop culture reference, you must be something big.

I give you State Senator Randy Bass, public servant, Baseball god, Colonel Sanders look-a-like (I don't get that one, but okay), and proud Okie.

**This was my phonetically spelled version of how the non-English/Japanese speaking actor pronounced the name, Randy Bass. Here's another one for you to translate...Maku-do-na-du-do's" -- think fast food and the golden arches.


flintysooner said...

That's a great story. Thanks for sharing.

I just a few days ago read about the discovery of the Colonel's statue. Now this. Amazing.

LB said...

They had to use the Colonel. How many big white guys with beards are there in Japan? He's probably grateful that there wasn't a Bob's Big Boy around. How would you like to go through life with that comparison?

route66news said...

I looked up Bass' stats in Japan online, and he was an awesome hitter. We're talking Albert Pujols type stats, with even more power.

Strange that would happen, after a thoroughly mediocre career in the major leagues. Bass' success probably kept good Japanese players from making it to these U.S. shores.

Thankfully, it was Ichiro Suzuki who busted the Japanese "color line" for good by becoming Rookie of the Year and MVP the same season for the Seattle Mariners. He's still playing, and is probably going to the Hall of Fame.

OKDad said...

I went to see Hideo Nomo (the first Japanese-born Japanese major leaguer to permanently relocate to MLB) pitch for the Dodgers in his first season.

Still have Nomo "The Tornado" t-shirt somewhere around here...think it's in the rag box.

All this baseball talk--making me hot-dog hungry. Hey, only 21 days until opening day for the Bricktown Redhawks!

gorockets! said...

I'm ready for the 'Hawks too. I wonder if they will still have the all you can eat bracelets along with ushers to roll you out to your car after the game.