Japan quake hits close to home

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:02 PM ET

We all saw the video on CNN. The devastating damage and destruction caused by the earthquake and tsunami, which hit northern Japan on March 11.

For Las Vegas 51s manager Marty Brown, if it felt like he was looking at his hometown, it's because he was.

Brown managed the Hiroshima Carp from 2006-09 and in 2010 the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in the city of Sendai, nearest major city to the quake.

"It was scary watching," said Brown, whose wife is Japanese. "My friends and acquaintances are fine, a lot of people left to stay with relatives elsewhere in Japan.

"I had concern for my players. They were at spring training. I didn't know the extent of the damage to their homes."

The National Police Agency in Japan confirmed 14,981 deaths, 5,279 injured, and 9,880 people missing, as well more than 125,000 buildings damaged or destroyed.

Structural damage was caused to roads and railways as well as fires and a dam collapse. Around 4.4 million households in northeastern Japan were left without electricity and 1.5 million without water.

"It's going to be a long road to get back," Brown said, who has been in touch with two of his better friends in Japan, Canadian brothers Blaise Plant and Maynard Plant of Ottawa. Maynard graduated from Queen's University in Kingston.

Together with two Japanese brothers, the Plant brothers formed the popular rock band Monkey Majik.

"Blaize and his brother went over 10 years ago, seeing what they could do and we did some appearances together at schools," said Brown and he did not mean singing.

"We did a thing for orphanages in Japan, some people think an orphan is taboo a taboo subject. We'd speak to kids at schools."

Managing in Japan was a different than say being the skipper in previous stops at class-A Erie, class-A Augusta, double-A Altoona, triple-A Nashville or triple-A Buffalo.

"You never had issues with players as a manager and no problem with practice," Brown said. "Not like issues you have in the States. The biggest thing was to try to get them to play the games themselves."

As the only American managing, Brown was held in high regard, almost placed on a very high pedestal.

He didn't have to throw batting practice or hit fungos.

"I'd watch hitters and do extra work with players," Brown said. "And the manager always stayed in the penthouse of hotels we stayed at.

"I didn't need that, I was used to the Best Western."

Brown won the International League championship at Buffalo in 2004.

"Torey Lovullo (current Jays first base coach) was going to manage Buffalo, I'd interviewed for the job as a field co-ordinator, when the job with Hiroshima came up."

Sick bay

Mel Queen, senior adviser to the Jays player development system, is at home in California in ill health. Queen was the Jays pitching coach from 1996-99 and has been complimented for the development of some of the Jays minor leaguers since he returned to the organization in 2010.

Queen, like Bobby Mattick, played a large role in the development of the Jays home grown players during their 11 consecutive winning season.

He was the Jays' interim manager for the final five games of the 1997 season after the firing of Cito Gaston.

Early risers

Joel Carreno, Evan Crawford and Alan Farina combined on a one hitter as New Hampshire blanked Portland 3-0 in a 10:35 a.m., "educational day" special at Northeast Delta Stadium before 5,504 fans Wednesday in Manchester, N.H.

Carreno earned his first double-A win, working seven innings, allowing only a third-inning Texas League single to left by Chih-Hsien Chiang, striking out seven.

Crawford pitched a perfect eighth inning with two strikeouts and Farina, worked a 1-2-3-4 ninth inning for his fifth save.

First baseman Mike McDade hit a two-run homer and Yan Gomes singled in the final run. John Tolisano added a double.


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