Thursday, July 28, 2011

Yankee Pitcher Suicide: Hideki Irabu

Former New York Yankees right-handed pitcher Hideki Irabu was found dead of an apparent suicide in the wealthy Los Angeles suburb of Rancho Palos Verdes, authorities said. The body of Irabu, 42, was found at 4:25 p.m. PDT Wednesday, July 27, 2011, county sheriff's Sgt. Michael Arriaga said. "He was found dead by an apparent suicide," Arriaga said.

TMZ reported that he died by suicide by hanging himself. Irabu lived in LA with his wife and two children, where he had investments in various Japanese restaurants.

Baseball player suicides are not as rare as one assumes, and my study of them in the mid-1980s predicted a wave of self-deaths in 1989. Half of the suicide victims were pitchers, and all of those during the 20th century were right-handed.

Hideki Irabu (Japanese: 伊良部 秀輝) (May 15, 1969 – July 27, 2011) was a professional baseball player of Okinawan and American mixed ancestry. He played professionally in both Japan and the United States. Irabu's biological father is American, according to the father who raised Hideki, Ichiro Irabu. Ichiro also indicated that his wife, Kazue, is Hideki Irabu's biological mother. Hideki Irabu grew up in Amagasaki, Hyōgo Prefecture.

Irabu lived in Rancho Palos Verdes but it was not immediately clear whether it was his home, the sergeant said. Other details were not immediately released.

Messages left at the county coroner's office were not immediately returned.

Irabu pitched for the Lotte Orions, who later became the Chiba Lotte Marines, of the Pacific League from 1988 to 1996. He was known as a high-speed pitcher and in 1993, he threw a 158 km/h (98 mph) fastball against Kazuhiro Kiyohara of the Seibu Lions. This was the fastest clocked pitch in all of Japanese Professional Baseball (NPB) until 2005, when the record was broken by Marc Kroon of the Yokohama BayStars. It remains the Pacific League record.

Irabu led the Pacific League in wins in 1994 (27 games, 207 1⁄3 innings, 15 wins, 10 losses, 239 strikeouts, ERA 3.04), and in ERA in 1995 and 1996 (1995 - 28, 203, 11-11-0, 239, 2.53; 1996 - 18, 157 1/3, 12-6-0, 167, 2.40). In these successive years, Irabu monopolized the title of greatest strikeout pitcher in his league.

In 1997, the San Diego Padres purchased his contract from the Chiba Lotte Marines. This signing is especially notable because it led to the creation of the posting system currently used by Japanese and MLB teams. Irabu, however, refused to sign with the Padres, saying he would only play with the Yankees. For the negotiating rights to Irabu, the Yankees offered the Padres a choice of one from a list of players including Brian Boehringer, David Weathers, Chris Cumberland, Andy Fox, and Matt Luke. The Padres would eventually include him as a player-to-be-named-later in a trade that involved Homer Bush and Irabu traveling to the New York Yankees in exchange for Rafael Medina, Ruben Rivera, and $3 million in cash. The Yankees signed him to a $12.8 million, four-year contract, and after only eight minor league games, the Yankees put him in their rotation. He played with the Yankees from 1997 through 1999, winning two World Series rings (1998, 1999) despite only pitching in one postseason game and having no postseason decisions (coincidentally, the 1998 win was against the Padres). 

George Steinbrenner publicly expressed disgust at his weight, at one point calling him a "fat pussy toad" after he failed to cover first base on a ground ball during a spring training game. Steinbrenner refused to let Irabu accompany the team to Los Angeles, but two days later, Steinbrenner apologized and allowed Irabu to join the team. Steinbrenner's own dissatisfaction with Irabu was parodied in the final episode of Seinfeld; with the fictionalised Steinbrenner on the witness stand, George Costanza's father stands up in the court gallery, and tries to impeach Steinbrenner's credibility by asking him "How could you spend $12 million on Hideki Irabu?"

1998 was Irabu's best season in MLB, featuring career bests in games started (28), complete games (2), innings pitched (173), wins (13), and ERA (4.06).

After the 1999 season, he was traded to the Montreal Expos for Ted Lilly, Christian Parker, and Jake Westbrook. He started only 14 games for the Expos in 2000 and 2001, pitching 71⅓ innings with a 6.69 ERA and only 2 wins against 7 losses. 

In 2002, Irabu signed as a free agent to pitch for the Texas Rangers as a closer. At the end of the year, Irabu moved back to Japan to pitch in the Hanshin Tigers' starting rotation for the 2003 season, helping the team win the Central League pennant for the first time since 1985. When Major League Baseball opened its 2004 season in Tokyo, he pitched against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Over the course of six MLB seasons, Irabu's career totals are 126 games, 514 innings, 34 wins, 35 losses, 16 saves, 405 strikeouts, and a 5.15 ERA. His Japanese totals for eleven seasons are 273 games, 1,286 1/3 innings, 72 wins, 69 losses, 11 saves, 1,282 strikeouts, and a 3.55 ERA.

In 2009, Irabu had come out of retirement and made a contract with Long Beach Armada of the independent Golden Baseball League. He posted a 5-3 record in 10 starts, with an ERA of 3.58. In 65 innings Irabu struck out 66 batters while walking just 19. In August, he announced his intention to return to the Japanese professional leagues.

On August 20, 2008, Irabu was arrested on the suspicion of assaulting the manager of a bar in Umeda, Osaka. He was upset that his credit card was not accepted in the bar. At the time of the suspected assault, Irabu had consumed at least 20 glasses of beer. Irabu admitted to the assault, the bartender sustained no injuries, and Irabu paid the bill with another credit card.

On May 17, 2010, Irabu was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol in the Los Angeles suburb of Gardena (although it was also reported to have been Redondo Beach). Police said he was stopped after his car drifted outside of traffic lanes and he nearly collided with a parked car. He posted $5,000 bail but it was not immediately clear whether he was criminally charged. The press release of his arrest states he resided at the time in Rancho Palos Verdes.

Final MLB statistics
Win–loss record:    34–35
Earned run average:    5.15
Strikeouts:    405

Monday, July 25, 2011

Knights Templars of Norway and Mexico

For Part One, on the Anders Behring Breivik attacks in Norway of July 22, 2011, click and read here.
CNN have written this about the upswelling of Templarism. (Tip of hat to aferrismoon who left the mention attached to another posting not related to this topic, by mistake.)
The Washington Post's Elizabeth Flock has highlighted the Knights Templar link to the Norwegian attacks. She writes:
Knights Templar: Norway ‘crusader’s’ group explained

This image of Anders Behring Breivik from a manifesto attributed to him shows Breivik in a uniform with a white and red cross of the Knights Templar. (AP)

In a detailed diary kept by Anders Behring Breivik — the Norwegian man charged with killing at least 94 people in a bombing in Oslo and shooting on a nearby island Friday — the suspect details months of preparations...

Breivik also exhaustively references the Knights Templar, which he calls an “international Christian military order,” that “fights” against “Islamic suppression.”

Monday, it was reported that a Mexican drug ring also invoked the obscure Knights Templar.

Who are they?

The Knights Templar’s earliest function in around 1119 was to protect Christian pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land. The armed group soon became known as the most skilled in the battles to reclaim Jerusalem from the Arabs and racked up several successive victories over Muslim forces.

But by 1303, the knights had been forced out of the Holy Land and returned to western Europe. They fled to France, where they were seen as an armed threat by King Philip the Fair, who had many of them tortured and executed. The king had the support of Pope Clement V, who issued a papal bull that made sure the group was disbanded by 1312.

Since then, rumors of the surviving knights have come and gone, including one rumor that the knights could destroy the Catholic church with a single secret they held.

Breivik says the Christian military order was refounded in 2002 in London under the name PCCTS as an armed “anti-Jihad crusader-organization.”

The Templar are recognizable by white tunics with red crosses, a symbol Breivik put on the front page of his “2083: A European Declaration of Independence,” and emblazoned on homemade uniforms featured on his Facebook page.
Read here for the rest of Flock's blog.
Regarding the Mexican connection, the following is an earlier summary of that news:
Mexico: Top hitman for Knights Templar gang nabbed
July 13, 2011 
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico's federal police have caught the top hitman for the Knights Templar drug gang in the western state of Michoacan, authorities said Wednesday.
Federal police allege that suspect Javier Beltran Arco oversaw murders for the meth-trafficking gang. Beltran Arco is known by the nickname "El Chivo," or The Goat.
A federal police statement said that two suspected cartel lookouts had been detained with Beltran Arco, along with three assault rifles and about two pounds (0.8 kilograms) of methamphetamines.
Police also found books, clothing and banners referring to the Knights Templar, the statement said.
The gang split off recently from La Familia, a Michoacan-based drug cartel that also uses quasi-religious rhetoric and instructional material.
Also in Michoacan, authorities announced the seizure of 44 metric tons of chemicals used to produce methamphetamine. The material was found at the Lazaro Cardenas seaport in two containers that had been shipped from Shanghai in China.
In the northern Mexico border city of Ciudad Juarez, prosecutors raised Tuesday's total of homicides to 21 from a previously reported 18. That made it the bloodiest day of 2011 so far, surpassing the 20 killings reported Feb. 18.
Ciudad Juarez, which sits across the border from El Paso, Texas, is a sprawling industrial city that has been plagued by violence as rival drug cartels fight over turf and smuggling routes. AP.
For more information on the Knights Templar booklet, robes, and other evidence (shown below) discovered in Mexico, see here.

July 14, 2011: White robes with Maltese crosses and Templar Knights paraphernalia are shown to the press when a training camp was discovered after a firefight between Mexican army soldiers and gunmen in the woods near the town of Santa Gertrudis, Mexico.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Norway: 7.22.11 Breivik Attacks

More Updates: Copycat violence?
(1) Six killed, four wounded in Grand Prairie, Texas, roller rink shooting, July 23, 2011;

(2) Ten shot at La Raza car show, in Kent, 20 miles from Seattle, July 23, 2011.

(3) A total of seven people were injured also in the Seattle area, early Sunday, July 24, 2011, including two in critical condition, after a gunman opened fire at a casino. According to KIRO-TV, the shooting happened at about 1:30 a.m. local time Sunday at the Muckleshoot Casino in Auburn, a city some 20 miles south of Seattle.

And now this strange new incident:
(4) New Norwegian Killing

by craig on July 25, 2011
Last night two masked men in military uniform shot dead a 27 year old man in his home in Sandnes, Norway. Nowhere in the mainstream media can I [craig] find anybody wondering whether this is related to the massacre in Norway the day before – even though both were killings with guns, (very rare in Norway), and either this guy really was assassinated by soldiers, or both were carried out in false uniform. Have I [craig] turned into a crazed conspiracy theorist, or is this lack of curiosity a little bit strange?

News Alert on Monday, July 25th: The total death toll in Friday's bomb blast and shootings in Norway has been revised downward from 93 to 76, police say.
Police now say eight people died in the bombing in Oslo, up one from the earlier death toll. Authorities revised downward the number of dead in the shooting on Utoya island from 86 to 68. Police say they are still searching the island for possible victims.

Original posting (with updates in numbers) about the July 22, 2011, events:

Early on Friday, a person dressed as a policeman fired shots at Norway's Labour Party Youth Camp, injuring and killing several people, Norwegian state broadcaster NRK reported. There were about 700 people at the camp, NRK said. (Update: The death toll for the shootings at the camp plus the bombings was set at 93 and/or 94 on Monday before the revision downward.)

Word of the attack came after a giant explosion rocked government buildings in Oslo, Norway. NRK reported that people were confirmed dead. (The number of dead is seven for those killed in the Oslo blast.)

Several buildings were badly damaged, witnesses said, and the city was reeling. The cause of the blast remained unknown for some time, as no one claimed responsibility.

Anders Behring Breivik is the suspect, shown here wearing a Masonic apron and outfit. Is Breivik a Freemason? Indeed, it appears so. According to Norwegian newspapers, a Facebook page ascribed to Breivik showed him as a person interested in bodybuilding, conservative politics and freemasonry. Another new photograph and information has associated him with a Knights Templar group.

By late on Friday, Anders Behring Breivik, a 32-year-old ethnic Norwegian man, tall and blonde, was in custody, officials said, after two attacks earlier in the day that killed scores of people -- attacks police said are linked. The first attack occurred when a massive bomb erupted in the heart of Oslo; the second occurred at the ruling Labour Party's youth camp on an island outside the capital.

At least seven people were killed in Oslo, and at first only 10 were reported killed on Utoya Island (this is now said to be around 91 dead), officials said. A Labour Party member said panic broke out at the camp, with people climbing trees and jumping in a lake to avoid the gunfire.

The acting national police chief said the gun used was an automatic weapon and that undetonated explosives were found on the island after the attack.

National police chief Sveinung Sponheim told NRK that the suspected gunman's Internet postings "suggest that he has some political traits directed toward the right, and anti-Muslim views, but whether that was a motivation for the actual act remains to be seen."

Andersen said the suspect posted on websites with Christian fundamentalist tendencies. He did not describe the websites in any more details.

A police official said the suspect appears to have acted alone in both attacks, and that "it seems like this is not linked to any international terrorist organizations at all." The official spoke on condition of anonymity because that information had not been officially released by Norway's police.

"It seems it's not Islamic-terror related," the official said. "This seems like a madman's work."

But was there a message in the madness? "He is clear on the point that he wants to explain himself," police official Roger Andresen told reporters Saturday.

It is to be noted that the terrorist attack in New York was on 9/11, the one in Madrid on 3/11, and the Mumbai events on 7/11.

I have written extensively in The Copycat Effect (NY: Simon and Schuster, 2004) of the symbolism of dates in these acts and other underlying "messages" found in such twilight language, of course. 

The incidents in Oslo, Norway, occurred on 7/22/11, or, in European style, on 22/7/11.  Twenty-two, of course, is 11 x 2.

SMiles Lewis passes along the following confirming quote made sometime after my book appeared, about the July 11, 2006, Mumbai attacks: "The date of the attack, the 11th, may be only a coincidence, but it won't be ignored as investigators try to figure out who was behind today's deadly commuter train attacks in India. The 11th has now been chosen as an attack date in New York, Madrid and Mumbai. 'There's a lot of symbolism involved when terrorists choose their targets and the dates of their attacks,' said Jack Cloonan, a former FBI agent on the bin Laden squad who now works as an ABC News consultant."

What might be the deeper significance of today's attacks?

See the developing comments section below, for links to the historical King David Hotel attack of July 22th, and for more on the Masonic background of the suspected shooter.

Also, as I wrote about before and during the Virginia Tech shooting, there appears to be an unconscious or conscious attempt on the part of shooters to be the one with the highest "body count." 

Is this incident now the largest single shooter attack with the greatest number of young people killed in a youth-oriented setting? Obviously, the number killed has been higher in bombings and in military or terrorist operations with teams of killers, but isn't this the highest number of youth killed by one person in a single event, sadly?

Part Two:  See here for news of the Mexican Knights Templar group connection.