Ep 2: A Catcher's Role


Momoe hangs dangerously high up a skyscraper. As she cleans the windows of the building, thoughts of things needed for the club floods her mind. After doing a quick mental calculation, a smile of satisfaction fills her face knowing that the 2 million yen she saved over last year would be enough for her planned purchases. She is confident that the money will make the team happy. She adds that everything is going great and the team even has a new manager (the cute girl behind the fence from the first episode). Training camp starts tomorrow!

While riding on the bus, a jolt of panic washes over Tajima and he loudly announces that he forgot to “stimulate” himself! The others, alarmed over Tajima’s revelation, quickly subdue him while assuring the new manager that everything is fine and dandy. Hanai is having a hard time believing that a person like Tajima was a strong cleanup hitter. Having confirmed it himself, Abe tells Hanai that he was. Hanai realizes that's why Abe chose to face him over Tajima. Abe doesn't deny it.

Shiga comes over, interrupts Hanai and Abe’s conversation, and asks Abe to give the Mihashi, who appears to be car-sick, some medicine. As Abe hands him the medicine, he tells Mihashi that he should take some before getting on the bus next time. Mihashi explains that it would not be a problem normally. The carsickness, he explains, must be because he lacks sleep. Lately, he has been anxious about having to change his personality. Abe’s eyes twitch as Mihashi starts to sob. However, Mihashi is Abe’s ideal pitcher, one who has great ball control and who listens to him on the mound. With that in mind, Abe takes a seat back and closes his eyes as he silently decides that it would be best to just overlook Mihashi’s personality. Realizing that even Abe does not like his personality causes Mihashi to be more anxious. He needs to change his personality, if he really wants to become the team’s pitcher.

Shortly after arriving at the training site, Momoe starts to shoot off commands. She also mentions that they would have to cook to feed themselves. The guys get cracking and are busy cleaning. Mihashi seems to be the only person not doing anything. After some time, Shiga tells the players that they should head out to gather vegetables. Momoe tells Mihashi and Abe that she has something different planned for them.

The three of them go to the baseball field. Momoe points out that starting tomorrow morning they will have to do some work on the forest in exchange for using the field. Momoe lets out a hearty laugh after knowing that Mihashi’s maximum pitching speed is only 101 kilometers per hour (62.6 miles/hour). Abe quickly defends that what Mihashi lacks in speed, he makes up for with control. Abe’s words cause Mihashi to blush.

Momoe invites Mihashi to do his windup on top of wooden block. As Mihashi gets ready to pitch, he loses his balance. Momoe reveals that control is in the body, not in the hand and that Mihashi is able to have “control” only because he does not pitch with his full strength. With Abe in the catcher’s corner and Mihashi holding a speed meter, Momoe shows Mihashi how it is done. Mihashi stammers as he reads out the result—a whooping 122 kmh (75.6 mph)! Momoe adds that she can probably up the speed a couple of kilometers if she puts her back into it. Mihashi’s amazement causes him to gasp for breath.

Since their built are not too different, Momoe encourages Mihashi that he could do something like that too, much to Abe’s dismay. She quickly hands Mihashi a small barbell and commands him to pitch while holding it. Momoe and Abe get into a little discussion as she deems that they cannot compete with a pitcher who only has good control and change-up. Abe disagrees completely.“Just as long as you are leading him? As a catcher, Abe, you have yet to fully understand your role,” she replies.

Mihashi, feels the weight of the barbell, but conditions himself to do what he always does. He winds up the pitch, turns and—falls, as his left hand is too heavy! He ends up throwing a wild pitch. Momoe approaches the mound while reading the speed meter. She proudly announces that Mihashi just pitched 111 kmh (68.8 mph), a 10 kmh difference from his last pitch. With practice, she continues, Mihashi’s pitch speed can go as high as 130 kmh (80.6 mph). Abe angrily stresses that there is no way that Mihashi can obtain that speed and maintain his nine-section strike zone!

After all the dramatics, Momoe excuses herself, but before leaving she reminds Mihashi to keep practicing his windup using the wooden block and that they will be having a practice game against Mihoshi after the training camp. Mihashi’s eyes go white with horror. He continues to shiver uncontrollably even after knowing that they will only be competing with Mihoshi’s first years. “You will be competing with those who hated you!” says Momoe tauntingly to Mihashi, who is now doing a good imitation of a sprinkler. She waves goodbye to them and tells them to work hard until end of practice at 5pm.

Abe tries to convince Mihashi that he does not need speed and that he is fine as he is. Mihashi, however, wishes to be able to throw fastballs. He tries to balance himself on the wooden block as Momoe suggested. Frustrated that Mihashi is not listening to him, Abe walks away from the mound angrily. He thinks how pitchers are all self-centered jerks and he would normally have nothing to do with them unless they were his teammates.

Night has fallen and the team is back at the house preparing dinner. After foiling Tajima’s attempt to steal a snack, Shiga proceeds to share what he believes to be the three most important brain hormones used in sports. The first hormone is for focusing on future goals, like trying to challenge one’s own self. Second is for one’s focus on the present situation. Then finally, the third is for contemplating on the past, such as looking back for a job well done. Because the team is having a hard time trying to digest what Shiga is saying, he shares that it can applied easily with regards to a certain thing—eating. Before a meal, think of how good it would taste, during, relish at how good it truly is and finally, when you are full and satisfied, think of how much of a good meal that was!

Thus, at meal time, the boys apply their newly acquired knowledge on brain hormones. They eye their food intently as their desire to consume it builds up. As soon as Momoe gives the go signal, the boys wolf down their food happily, all the while saying how scrumptious the food is. After eating, they satisfyingly rub their bellies.

As the guys are preparing to go to sleep, they discuss about how Momoe and Shiga, both of whom are responsible for reviving the baseball club, are quite the odd pair. Sakaeguchi says he learned Momoe worked part-time jobs to earn money for the team and Shiga, a Math teacher, seems to know a lot as he studied in different schools and attended lectures and seminars. Their moods quickly change when Hanai suggests that perhaps Momoe and Shiga “like” each other. Shortly, Shiga barges into the room, disrupting their talk. As Shiga starts to tuck himself into bed, Sakaeguchi tells him that the room is too small for all their sleeping bags to fit. He explains that small rooms help in forming stronger bonds between them and that they should sleep with different people every night. Hanai throws a pillow at Shiga’s face before he can finish his sentence. Shiga retaliates and sends one flying to Hanai’s face—a pillow fight ensues.

Shiga notices a gloomy Mihashi sitting inside the closet. He asks why Mihashi looks tired and tells him to get a goodnight’s sleep. Mihashi doesn't answer, fearing that he will be scolded if he tells him the truth.

Outside the house, Abe conditions his glove. Momoe asks Abe how Mihashi did during practice. Abe reports that Mihashi did as she had told him. Momoe finds it quite strange that right after forming a team, they already have two good players, Tajima and Hanai, and if Abe would become the third—“I think that is impossible”, he replies. “Didn’t you say it yourself? That I do not know what it means to be a catcher?” he asks. Momoe assures him that he will understand what it means eventually. Abe insists that she wants a different type of catcher and demands that she explains what she said because he does not get it at all! Without warning Momoe clasps Abe’s raised fist, leaving him too shocked to say anything. She looks him straight in the eye and with all sincerity tells him that she understands. Steam starts to come off as Momoe continues to hold Abe’s hand. He looks away as he asks what he should do. “Do to Mihashi as what I did to you,” she answers.

Inside the cramped room, all the guys are sleeping soundly except for Mihashi. He silently thinks that he still needs to wake up early tomorrow, but he just cannot sleep.

Club allowance of 200,000 yen ($2000) was spent on baseballs. Momoe plans to spend another 2 million yen ($20,000) on a new pitching machine, helments, uniforms, bus maintenance, etc.

Pro baseball players fastballs are normally around 90mph. A good speed for softball (where the pitcher throws underhand) is 60mph. Mihashi is throwing overhand and he's little better than a softball pitcher.

From Wickipedia:
First hormone Thyrotropin: Thyroid-stimulating hormone (also known as TSH) is a peptide hormone synthesized and secreted by thyrotrope cells in the anterior pituitary gland which regulates the endocrine function of the thyroid gland. TSH levels are tested in the blood of patients suspected of suffering from excess (hyperthyroidism), or deficiency (hypothyroidism) of thyroid hormone.

Second hormon Corticotropin: Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) is a polypeptide tropic hormone produced and secreted by the anterior pituitary gland. It is an important component of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and is often produced in response to biological stress (along with corticotropin-releasing hormone from the hypothalamus). Its principal effects are increased production of androgens and, as its name suggests, cortisol from the adrenal cortex.

Third hormone Dopamine: a neurotransmitter occurring in a wide variety of animals, including both vertebrates and invertebrates. Dopamine is produced in several areas of the brain, including the substantia nigra and the ventral tegmental area. Dopamine is also a neurohormone released by the hypothalamus. Its main function as a hormone is to inhibit the release of prolactin from the anterior lobe of the pituitary. Dopamine can be supplied as a medication that acts on the sympathetic nervous system, producing effects such as increased heart rate and blood pressure. However, because dopamine cannot cross the blood-brain barrier, dopamine given as a drug does not directly affect the central nervous system. To increase the amount of dopamine in the brains of patients with diseases such as Parkinson's disease and dopa-responsive dystonia, L-DOPA (levodopa), which is the precursor of dopamine, can be given because it can cross the blood-brain barrier. Dopamine is commonly associated with the pleasure system of the brain, providing feelings of enjoyment and reinforcement to motivate a person proactively to perform certain activities. Dopamine is released (particularly in areas such as the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex) by naturally rewarding experiences such as food, sex, drugs, and neutral stimuli that become associated with them. persons.

Manga cuts
Momoe's window washer squeegee weighs over twenty pounds!