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In Japanese baseball, tie games are permitted -- and so at least the Japanese fans were accustomed to the result of the first game of the MLB All-Star tour, a 7-7 tie with the Yomiuri Giants, made possible by a three-run comeback in the top of the ninth on an Andruw Jones HR, followed by a Joe Mauer single and then another HR by David Wright.

In more intriguing Japan-related news, the Mariners announced that they will NOT bid for Daisuke Matsuzaka's rights. If the Cubs are serious about getting him -- and I hope they are -- this decision ought to increase their chances.

Incidentally, you CAN watch the Japan Series games -- if you are willing to shell out $14.95 for MLB.TV's offseason package, which includes this series, "live" coverage of the Winter Meetings (my! the excitement!), the AFL championship game, and a few select spring training games.

As usual, MLB is shooting itself in the foot. Wouldn't it be smart of them to give away the offseason package for free, as sort of a come-on to buy the regular season package? That'd be smart marketing. How many of these things do you think they're going to sell?

I'd like to see the Japan Series games, but I'm not going to pay for it.