Mizuno MLB Ambassador of the Week - Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants
by Mizuno USA on June 27, 2011
The San Francisco Giants have won five straight games through Sunday, including a sweep of the Cleveland Indians over the weekend. The defending World Series Champions currently lead the National League West Division by a very slim margin. A big reason for the Giants success this season has been their ability to win one run ball games. On Saturday, they won another one of those, defeating the Tribe 1-0. Mizuno Brand Ambassador Matt Cain got the win, throwing seven innings of scoreless baseball, allowing just four hits while striking out six. Cain plays with the Mizuno Pro Limited GMP11 Ball Glove, and wears Mizuno's 9-Spike Vapor Elite G4 Cleats.
Athlete Jenn Salling Signs Multi-Year Endorsement Deal with Mizuno
by Mizuno USA on June 20, 2011
Mizuno USA announced today that the company has signed a multi-year endorsement deal with fastpitch softball player Jenn Salling. She will play with the company’s batting gloves, ball gloves, cleated footwear, apparel, and will use the high performance Frenzy™ series of fastpitch bats. Salling joins an impressive roster of Mizuno fastpitch athletes, which includes two-time Olympic medal winners Jennie Finch and Natasha Watley.
Salling, a native of Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, served as one of the premier players on the Mizuno sponsored University of Washington Huskies softball team from 2009 to 2011, including their 2009 National Championship team. She was named the University’s Female Athlete of the Year in 2011, and was recognized as a Second-Team Lowes Senior CLASS Award All-American. Following her collegiate career, Salling was drafted number three overall by the USSSA Pride in the National Pro Fastpitch Draft. In addition to playing for the USSSA Pride this summer, Salling will join Team Canada for the Pan Am games as well as exhibition games later this year.
“We are very excited to have Jenn Salling join the Mizuno team,” said Dick Grapenthin, Vice President and General Manager for the Diamond Sports Division, Mizuno USA. “She and her fellow Washington Huskies teammates have done an excellent job of representing our Brand over the past three seasons, and we welcome the opportunity to continue working with Jenn as she begins her professional fastpitch career.”
"I am extremely proud and honored to have been given an opportunity to become a part of the Mizuno family, and to continue representing the brand,” said Salling. “All my life I have used Mizuno gear, everything from gloves to athletic clothing. I am thankful for all that Mizuno has given to fastpitch softball and my alma mater, Washington, and I look forward to growing this partnership.”
Mizuno MLB Brand Ambassador of the Week -- Wandy Rodriguez, Houston Astros
by Mizuno USA on June 20, 2011
It's no secret that the Houston Astros have struggled in 2011, currently holding the worst record in baseball. One of the bright spots for the 'Stros this season has been starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez. Rodriguez is 5-3 on the year, with a stellar 2.88 ERA. He put together back-to-back excellent starts last week, picking up two more wins. On Monday, Rodriguez was called on to be the stopper, and avoid a four-game sweep at home to the Atlanta Braves. He responded by firing six scoreless innings, allowing just two hits while striking out five. On Saturday in Los Angeles against the Dodgers, Rodriguez threw six more scoreless innings, with six more strikeouts. Rodriguez plays with the Mizuno Pro Limited Custom Ball Glove, and wears Mizuno's 9-Spike cleated footwear.
USA Volleyball counts down to the USAV Girls' Jr. Nationals in Atlanta
by Emily Adams Knight on June 17, 2011
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 16, 2011) – The 32nd annual USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships (GJNC) will take place from June 25-July 4 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.
Read the full article here.
A Behind the Scenes Look at the US Open from the Mizuno PGA Tour Team - Day 2
by Iver Maple on June 15, 2011
The tour trailer got right to work this morning at the US Open as Luke Donald's caddie, Johnny McLaren, stopped by to get his bosses entire set of clubs re-gripped. Luke usually gets fresh grips put on his gamers before most big tournaments as was the case earlier in the year at the Player's Championship. A run through of his club's specs and off went Johnny to greet Luke on the range. But what would golf be without a little fun? Luke thought he would break in his fresh MP T-11 lob wedge with a friendly bunker game against fellow Ryder Cup teammate Padraig Harrington.
Later in the day, the van was a buzz as a number of non-Mizuno Staffers stopped by to get some wedge work done. One of them wanted to try two new wedges without a heel grind, thus increasing the effective bounce. Given the soft bunkers and lush rough at Congressional, this strategy should pay large dividends. Another player who has gamed MP-68's over the last few seasons, came by the tour van to get some fresh grips installed. He even made our job a bit easier by pitching in and pulling off his old grips.
We look forward to tomorrow and double checking with each of our players to see if all of their needs have been met. As with all US Opens, solid ball striking and exceptional short game ability will be required. What better way to meet those demands than with a set of Mizuno irons and wedges in your bag!"
The Mizuno PGA Tour Team
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PGATour.com talks to Luke Donald about consistency and his goals to accomplish.
by Iver Maple on June 15, 2011
No. 1 has just begun.
Luke Donald reached the summit of the world ranking with an incredible 10 top-10 finishes in his last 10 starts, including two wins. Now that he's on top, says Helen Ross, the affable Englishman has many other goals to accomplish.
Read the article here.
A Behind the Scenes Look at the US Open from the Mizuno PGA Tour Team - Day 1
by Iver Maple on June 14, 2011
WTTE FOX 28's Good Day Columbus Brings the Mizuno Glove Steamer in Studio
by Mizuno USA on June 14, 2011
WTTE, the FOX affiliate for Columbus, Ohio, recently had the Mizuno Glove Steamer in studio for the network's Good Day Columbus morning show. Mizuno USA's own Columbus area Brand Building Specialist, Mike Kroeger, went through the entire glove steaming process with one of the program's hosts, Andy Dominianni. Kroeger also referenced how Mizuno uses this same device during Spring Training with our top level Major League Baseball brand ambassadors.
Here is a link to the glove steamer video from WTTE FOX 28.
Mizuno MLB Ambassador of the Week -- Zack Greinke, Milwaukee Brewers
by Mizuno USA on June 13, 2011
After a slow start to the 2011 season, the Milwaukee Brewers have shot to the top of the National League Central Division. Part of the reason for their recent success is Mizuno Brand Ambassador Zack Greinke, and his 6-1 record. Greinke began the season on the disabled list, but has sparked the club with his return. The Brewers are posting an 8-3 record in the month of June, with a recent sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals. Greinke picked up two more wins this past week, throwing seven innings at Florida on Monday, allowing just two runs while striking out six Marlins. He followed up that start with seven more innings on Saturday against the Cardinals, allowing just three runs while striking out nine. Greinke plays with a Mizuno Pro Limited GMP50BK Ball Glove, and wears Mizuno's 9-Spike Vintage G6 Cleats.
Mizuno "Glove Love" Story on OC Register.com
by Mizuno USA on June 10, 2011
Mizuno "Glove Love" Story on OC Register.com
Mizuno baseball gloves are once again in the headlines, this time on OC Register.com, the official website for the Orange County Register newspaper. The newspaper published a story that takes an in-depth look at the baseball equipment, in particular gloves, for four of the Mizuno Brand Ambassadors for the Los Angeles Angels, including their three catchers - Hank Conger, Jeff Mathis, and Bobby Wilson - as well as outfielder Peter Bourjos. Feature Writer Marcia C. Smith interviewed Mizuno USA's own George Andrea for the piece, which examines the relationship between these players, as well as retired Mizuno Brand Ambassadors Garret Anderson, Tim Salmon, and Gary DiSarcina, and their Mizuno ball gloves.
The OC Register talks about the "patient and soft-spoken" Andrea, and how he services the equipment needs of the Angels, Dodgers, Padres, and Diamondbacks throughout the season. There are excellent quotes from the players as well as Andrea on the preferences, superstitions, and overall "Glove Love" that they have with their equipment. Additionally, the site has a slideshow of images that includes pictures of our Brand Ambassadors and their equipment, Mizuno's Chief Craftsman Nori Itoh, and the various tools that are used to service the gloves.
Here is a link to the story from the OC Register.com:
Luke Donald, the World’s #1 Golfer, To Design His First Golf Course
by Iver Maple on June 9, 2011
Luke will join IMG in the design of the first 18 holes at Ba Na Hills Golf Club located in Danang, Vietnam.
The Ba Na Hills site is unique and different from the current offering of golf courses in the Danang area. It will not be another seaside course but a mountain course with a great mix of natural topography and vegetation.
Luke has had an interest in golf course design for many years and comes from a very artistic background. An avid painter and accomplished piano player, he earned a degree in Art Theory and Practice at Northwestern University.
Luke commented “To be able to work on my first ever golf course design at Ba Na Hills is a tremendous opportunity. We have a great site with good elevation change and incredible existing natural features including large trees, streams and mountain backdrops.”
“I am really happy how the current design is looking on paper and look forward to getting on site later this year to further refine the detailed design features. Working with a quality developer such as the Sun Group, and in the Danang market which already has become a top golf destination in Asia, is very exciting.”
“Hands-down…best wedge we have tested in 2011. The scores for the Mizuno MP-T-11 wedges were off the charts!” – MyGolfSpy.com
by Iver Maple on June 9, 2011
MyGolfSpy.com, one of the most popular golf equipment sites in the world, recently reviewed the Grain Flow Forged Mizuno MP T-11 wedges, and to say they were impressed would be an understatement. The MP T-11 is the wedge of choice for Luke Donald, the #1 player in the world, and well known for having the finest short game in the world.
Here are just a few comments from the review:
“Quite frankly we can’t imagine many wedges will spin more than the MP T-11.”
“Mizuno irons have always scored highly when it comes to feel, so we’re quite a bit less than surprised that the wedges would score equally as well if not better. Tester after tester commented on the soft yet solid feel.”
“We’ve never tested a club of any type that our testers have rated more highly across the board.”
To read the review in its entirety, click here.
Mizuno MLB Ambassador of the Week -- Carlos Quentin, Chicago White Sox
by Mizuno USA on June 6, 2011
The Chicago White Sox, left for dead just a few weeks back, have jumped up to third place in the ultra competitive American League Central Division. Part of the reason for their recent success is Mizuno Brand Ambassador Carlos Quentin. CQ was 7-for-19 last week with two doubles, a home run, and seven RBI. The Southsiders swept the Boston Red Sox in Fenway to open the week before losing a series to the second place Detroit Tigers at home. Quentin plays with a Mizuno Pro Limited GMP70 Ball Glove, wears 9-Spike Blaze Elite G2 cleats and Global Elite batting gloves, and swings the custom MZM243 bat.
Luke Donald gets ready for the US Open
by Luke Donald on June 3, 2011
The second major of the season looms and I’m delighted to be in great form coming into the US Open.
I do know a little about the Congressional course. I played there a couple of times in US Open qualifying back in 2002 when I wasn’t exempt. I got through there and that might bode well for me. So I’ve played a couple of rounds there and I remember most of the holes.
The plan is, though, to go the week before the US Open, get in a few practice rounds and refresh my memory of the course. It’s a long course, a typical US Open course, very tough and very long. It will be a strong challenge, I think.
I’ve heard they’ve made a few changes. They’ve switched the 18th to make it now the 10th hole, so that will be interesting to see. Both were par threes and I’ve been told the former 18th has been turned back-to-front to be the 10th and there have been alterations involving the 17th which is now the 18th. The new 18th is a long par-four downhill with the water on the left. It’s a great finishing hole. Can’t wait to see how it’s all turned out.
I think US Opens test all facets of your game, a mixture of driving it well, hitting a lot of greens, good iron play and, of course, when you get in trouble, which you’re going to, you’re going to have to rely on a good short game. At Wentworth I did get into trouble on the third day. I felt somewhat like Seve: in trees, leaves all over my back. I was dropping balls in high grass and escaping from everywhere. Then I made about 80ft worth of putts on 16, 17 and 18 to finish off the job. That’s the sort of short game prowess you’re going to need at the Congressional.
But majors always test everything in your game and you’re going to have to be sharp in all areas. My wedges are a vital part of my armory and I just love practicing with them. It’s nice to be able to control the spin, the distance. I practice a lot over different yardages, so that when I get on to the course I’ve got a great deal of confidence with my wedge play. I am loving my MP T-11s.
As far as my general game goes, I’m working on very similar stuff as the beginning of the year: a change in the direction of my swing. It involves my upper body and lower body, getting my transition a little earlier in my legs, get my arms to fall down a little bit more in place. From that I’m able to get a little bit more of a solid strike and a little bit more solid right-to-left shot. Having worked on it so long, I feel more comfortable with it now. And the extra distance is coming in my drives through better swing-work – but also some good work in the gym as well. I’m always thinking of ways to get better.
My first practice round at the Congressional – I’ll go from the Memorial to do that – will give me a good idea on what I need to work on. That will be tacked on to four weeks play in a row, so I’ll go back to Chicago for a couple of days of rest and then get straight back into it, working on the stuff I think I’ll need to be good at, for the US Open.
Thought I’d just pop in a little bit about tweeting after all the plans and technical stuff. There has obviously been a lot of interest over the Twitter network recently, with all that’s been going with these super injunctions. It’s not been getting good press, but I find it a great service. It makes my fans feel like they have my phone number, feel they’re a little closer to you. They send me text messages and I reply to a lot of them, obviously I can’t to all, but it’s a good way to interact with them and a good way of catching up with stuff that’s going on in the world.
Luke Donald reflects on his win to become the Number One player in the world.
by Luke Donald on May 30, 2011
To come through in those circumstances in one of the biggest tournaments in the world, going head-to-head with Lee, was pretty special. It doesn't get much better. I'm not sure if there will ever be a case where No. 1 and No. 2 in the world are playing off for the tournament, but also a chance for the No. 1 ranking in the world. Unique history I think has been made, and I’m glad to be a part of it.
In the playoff it was important to hit the fairway, to be able to control the spin. I didn't really have that control on the 72nd hole out of the rough. I got it to a perfect yardage, 97 yards into a bit of a breeze, so it was just a nice 54-degree T-11 wedge for me. I’ve practiced that shot countless times. I hit a great shot - shows what a good job Mizuno did with the Quad Cut Grooves after the regulation changes last year. Obviously it put the pressure on Lee. I relied on my good wedge game all week but my coach, Pat Goss watched the (tournament) telecast and saw a few things in my swing. I was getting a little bit too jumpy through impact with my left leg. I was just getting the -- standing the shaft up too high, and that makes the ball go right, right.
He's a hell of a player, Lee; he doesn't back down. I knew it would be a tough playoff. I felt a little bit bad for Lee. He hit a decent shot there on 18, just had a little bit too much spin.
I've always said, winning is always at the top of the list. It's always the top of the goals. I'm not going to lie; being No. 1 feels fantastic. It's a great honor, a great achievement. But you know, winning is what got me there. A big win back at the Accenture Match Play, and a big win here. It's obviously been a great year so far, and just because I'm at No. 1 doesn't mean that I'm done now. I've still got a lot of work to do, hopefully a lot of titles to pick up, and hopefully I can keep going from strength-to-strength. The world No. 1 ranking is based on consistency, I have been the most consistent this year. I have been giving myself opportunities every week. This is something like my 14th or 15th Top-10 in the last 15 or 16 tournaments. I've had a great run, and you know, it pays to be consistent, and it obviously pays in the World Rankings.
It's obviously a special accomplishment, something that I'll remember forever. As I said before, it's something that will be a great story when I'm an old man telling my grandkids that I was once the best player in the world at golf. It's a little surreal. It's hard to believe in a certain way. You keep thinking that you have the ability and the talent, but you never quite really know.
Whether it will change me, I don't think so. The goal for me is to always continue to focus on the processes of getting better, and just because I have reached the pinnacle of the World Rankings doesn't mean my work is done. I have a lot more to accomplish, hopefully many more victories in me, and hopefully I can at least be somewhat of a worthy No. 1 for a few weeks.
Phillies' Second Baseman Wilson Valdez matches Babe Ruth
by Mizuno USA on May 27, 2011
Babe Ruth did it last in 1921 and Wilson Valdez from the Phillies just matched him on May 25th, 2011. Wilson, started the game playing second base for the Phillies…but in the 19th inning, he stepped up to the pitchers’ mound to earn a win.
Not only did Valdez get the win, he closed out the 19th inning by getting the Reds' Nos. 3-6 hitters out in 10 pitches. Valdez had not pitched since a 2002 backyard game he played in the Dominican Republic.
Wilson is outfitted in Mizuno cleats, wristbands, and batting gloves.
Read the full story from MLB.com.
Mizuno MLB Ambassador of the Week -- Matt Harrison, Texas Rangers
by Mizuno USA on May 23, 2011
Mizuno MLB Ambassador of the Week
Matt Harrison - Texas Rangers
The defending American League Champion Texas Rangers are maintaining their slim lead in the West Division standings, as the team tries to get healthy. On Sunday, Texas was looking for a "stopper", after dropping three straight, and Mizuno Brand Ambassador Matt Harrison gave the club just what they needed. Following up a strong outing against the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday (three runs in seven innings, and a no-decision), Harrison fired 8.1 scoreless innings against the National League East Division leading Philadelphia Phillies to pick up his fourth win of the season. Harrison plays with a Mizuno Pro Limited Ball Glove and wears Mizuno's 9-Spike cleated footwear.
Matt Cain talks with NBC Sports.com
by Mizuno USA on May 25, 2011
Matt Cain was recently interviewed by Craig Calcaterra from NBC Sports.com. Cain talked about the 2011 San Francisco Giants, and the bulls eye that is on their team after winning the 2010 World Series. He also referenced his relationship with Mizuno, and how he has played with our ball gloves and baseball equipment throughout his playing career, going back to when he was a little kid.
Here is a link to the interview:
Matt Cain talks with CSN Washington.com
by Mizuno USA on May 25, 2011
Here is direct link to the Matt Cain interview from CSN Washington.com:
Mizuno MLB Ambassador of the Week -- Ike Davis
by Mizuno USA on April 26, 2011
The New York Mets have won four straight games through Sunday, including a three-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks over Easter weekend. Mizuno Brand Ambassador Ike Davis has led the surging Metropolitans with the hot bat he's been swinging. Davis was 8-for-21 over the week (.381) with two doubles, three homeruns, six RBI, and three walks.
Golf.com Highlights Luke Donald and His Mizuno MP T-11 Wedges
by Iver Maple on April 27, 2011
Golf.com has posted a story about Mizuno Tour Staffer Luke Donald and his MP T-11 wedges. The piece talks about Donald, "one of the best bunker players in the world", and how he switched from the MP T-10 wedges to the new MP T-11 wedges. They reference the Quad Cut Grooves in these Grain Flow Forged short game weapons, as well as how their testers felt the clubs produced as much spin with their new USGA conforming grooves, as the old, big groove wedges did.
Check out the full story on Golf.com.
by Corporate on April 27, 2011
Dick Lyons was born and raised in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. His passion for golf began at a young age when he started playing at a municipal course named Village Links, while working various jobs on the premises including everything from range ball picker to pro shop clerk. From there he went on to be an accomplished Junior and High School golfer in the Chicago area before heading to the University of Oklahoma for his undergraduate degree. He continued his education at Northwestern University where he earned an MBA from the prestigious Kellogg School of Management.
Dick has 28 years of experience in the golf industry and has worked with some of the greatest players in the game. Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, and Luke Donald are just a few of the names that he has collaborated with, in one form or another, since his golf career began. Dick joined the Mizuno USA team as Vice President and General Manager of the Golf Division in 2001, and has been an integral part of Mizuno’s continued success over the last decade.
Dick resides in Alpharetta, Georgia with his wife, two daughters and one son. His three children are all very athletic and involved in a variety of sports; however, there are no serious golfers … YET!
by Corporate on April 27, 2011
Richard “Dick” Grapenthin has played baseball in the major leagues, coached at the college level, and has spent his life dedicated to his passion for sports. He began his career with MizunoUSA in 2000 as Director of Marketing and led the development and growth of Mizuno Diamond products across all categories. In 2005, Grapenthin became Vice President and General Manager of the Mizuno Diamond Division and is responsible for leading the organization across all product lines and categories including Baseball, Fastpitch Softball, Slowpitch Softball, and Volleyball.
Dick is a graduate of Indiana State University in Terre Haute, IN, where he played baseball and was inducted into the Indiana State Athletics Hall of Fame as a coach of the 1986 College World Series baseball team. After graduating, he played professionally for ten years including parts of three years in the Major Leagues with the Montreal Expos. Following his professional career, Dick served as pitching coach at Clemson University 1990-1991 where he helped guide Clemson to the 1991 Atlantic Coast Conference championship and a trip to the NCAA College World Series in Omaha Nebraska. He continued his education and earned an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University in 1993.
Dick’s vast knowledge of sports comes both from playing at the highest level in the Major League as well as watching his son and daughters participate in baseball, volleyball and track and field. He loves nothing more than seeing Mizuno gear in use by his own family!
by Corporate on April 27, 2011
Bob Puccini's passion for sports and competing has transcended across his professional career. Bob joined Mizuno USA in August 1995 as vice president and general manager of Mizuno’s diamond, athletic footwear and apparel and South America businesses. Just over a year later in October 1996, Bob was appointed President of Mizuno USA to oversee all operations in both the United States and South America. Subsequently, in 2002, he was appointed Chairman of Mizuno Canada Ltd. expanding his responsibilities to all Mizuno activities in the Western Hemisphere. In 2006, Bob was elected to the Board of Directors of Mizuno Corporation, Mizuno USA’s publicly traded parent company based in Osaka, Japan. Since that time, Bob's leadership has resulted in increasing growth for Mizuno USA across all sports categories.
Before joining Mizuno USA, Bob served as president and CEO of Head Sports, Inc. in Boulder, Co. where he began as vice president and general manager of the summer sports division. Bob also worked for sporting goods manufacturer Adidas USA, Inc. as Vice President Marketing Communications and as Vice President Field Sales and Spalding Sports Worldwide, Inc. as business unit manager for golf products. He began his career with The Gillette Company in 1976 where he progressed from sales, to sales management and then into brand management over a seven year span.
Bob earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Fordham University in Bronx, N.Y. in 1976 where he attended on a baseball scholarship. He then completed his MBA from Pace University in New York in 1979. In 1999, he was honored as an inaugural inductee to the Eastchester High School Hall of Fame selected from the school’s hundred-year history.
In 2007, Bob was elected to the Board of Directors of the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, and then to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association Executive Committee in 2010. Bob is also a strong supporter of our military personnel and their families and is a member of Business Executives for National Security.
Bob's passion for sports and the Mizuno brand are unmatched. He is a highly competitive golfer and enjoys using his Mizuno MP-53 irons. He’s also a frequent runner. And while he has adopted the Atlanta Braves since he moved to Atlanta fifteen years ago, at heart he is a die-hard New York Yankees baseball fan.
Bob has three posters in his office that convey his leadership values and his expectations for Mizuno USA: “Integrity”, “Pride”, and "Passion" expressed in Vince Lombardi’s “What it Takes to Be Number One.”
Bob lives in Johns Creek, Ga. with his wife of 32 years, Cathy. Both of their adult children, Mike and Jacky, graduated from Elon University in North Carolina.
Natasha Watley’s foundation supports game of Softball
by Mizuno USA on April 9, 2011
The Natasha Watley Foundation (NWF) is a public, non-profit community service organization dedicated to bring the sport of softball to your girls in the nation’s inner cities. The foundation provides an opportunity for young women to compete in leagues and on teams when financial resources are limited; and provide a positive alternative to the every- day struggles that may endure in the inner cities.
Visit Natasha's web site to learn more: