ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Jones has written an amazing piece of sports journalism exploring Japanese baseball culture, with a focus on the overuse of 16-year-old Tomohiro Anraku, who threw 772 pitches over five games in nine days. For now, Anraku is the greatest teenage pitcher in Japan. How long will his arm stay healthy?
In America, nagekomi, like throwing 772 pitches in a single tournament, would be considered child abuse. Scientists would debunk it, and surgeons would decry it. But in Japan, nagekomi is important. It’s maybe even essential. It is many things all at once, but mostly it is an exercise in remembering, and it is beautiful.