Whiskey Cooler Wisdom: The Geek

I want to talk a bit about the Geek this morning because this afternoon is likely to be a pivotal moment in the Geek’s rise to Ozeki. A couple of days ago, I selected Homasho as my pick for the next Ozeki, and Valentine brought to my attention the fact that the Geek is in the running for ozeki promotion, perhaps following the end of this basho.

In my mind, Ozeki promotion involves a bunch of old, retired sumo types sitting around a table and getting blasted together. At the end of the night, if the drunkest one farts in his sleep, and the least drunk one happens to smell it, a new Ozeki is promoted.

Ok, so maybe there is a little more structure to it than that. I know for one thing, that 30 wins over the course of three basho is the minimum requirement, but that is just a minimum. The Geek actually had exactly 30 wins over the prior three tournaments when he came into this current tournament.

Here are a few things to think about. The natsu basho wasn’t technically a honbasho. As such, does the Geek’s record at that tournament count? For that matter, will they allow the Geek’s record to bridge the great yaocho debacle of 2011, or will they require that he gets all his qualifying wins in the new Era of Yaocho Free Sumo and Prosperity For All?

Another question is this: if Hakuho doesn’t allow the Geek to win (Haruma’s performance the other day seems to indicate that the Mongolians are not exactly going easy on the Geek), will he be allowed to promote? The last Ozeki I saw promoted was Kotooshu, and he won the entire tournament. That is quite a contrast to the Geek, who lost to an Ozeki, and is two losses off the winning record.

Just some thoughts for you all this morning.

10 responses to “Whiskey Cooler Wisdom: The Geek

  1. The magic number is 33 wins. With a minimum of 33 wins over the course of three consecutive basho ‘while ranked as Sekiwake,’ one can be considered for Ozeki. It was 30 in the old days, but these days it’s 33.

    Secondly, the Geek’s records at the Technical Examination Basho in May count. All records from that basho are counted.

    Lastly, Kotooshu did not yusho when he was promoted to Ozeki. He was promoted in January 2006, with an 11-4 record in Kyushu 2005. He’s only yusho was in May 2008.

  2. I like Kotoshogiku a lot. I think he is pretty dumb. And falls easily for tricks (thank goodness Hakuba is gone) But he is solid and always gets a big grin walking away from a win.

    The thing is: doesn’t history show us that the first way to suck all the drive out of a potential Ozeki – IS – actually give him the rank? Mark my words, Ozeki Kotoshogiku starts handing in 8-7s henceforth from getting the nod.

    I wish, so deeply, that someone would come along and TAKE the rank. That they would take all the speculation and fart-sniffing out of it. 30 or 33 – hon basho or not – Japanese or Mongoian – wouldn’t matter. They’d have 40 and have at least threatened a yusho. They would beat the Nozekis and only lose on aggressiveness, as Asashoryu once did.

    I know this is a sentiment a lot of people have. And it is all pretty moot because we do not have that person. It’s just that this conversation brought it up, and I really enjoy reading you gentlemen’s commentary. Keep up the good work!

    -Chris

    PS – TATSU in 2013!

  3. Hajinochikara

    You are right. I am thinking of Harumafuji. Haruma is the Ozeki that was promoted while I was around. He was promoted after yushoing, wasn’t he? Also, good to know about 33 being the magic number these days.

    Kind of bullshit about the Technical Examination Basho wins counting (not on the Geeks part, but on the Sumo Association’s part – makes it seem all that much more like political maneuvering that solves nothing – why not just call it the Natsu Basho).

    I am glad the Geek kinboshied yesterday. I wasn’t expecting that.

  4. Wrong again Briton-Meyer. Harumafuji was promoted for Hatsu 2009 and yusho-ed in May of that year.

    All that aside, the defeat over Hakuho yesterday helps to convince. Dancing partner for today is the Kak, against whom he is fairly well matched (8-7 rivialry). He still needs 2 wins out of the remaining 4 days of the tournament. Look at his record, if he can get 12-3 (or better) and the jun-yusho, then I am all for his promotion, and the first step is beating kakyryu today.

    Although Chris has a great point. Recently the ozeki have kind of all lost their touch once they obtain the rank. Harumafuji has been injured, Kotooshu seems fine to rest on what shoddy laurels he had when he got there, and Baruto can’t get his head straight as to what style to use.

    Who knows, maybe a meat-head with a signature style who knows what he wants out of every tachiai, and has that empty headed “They told me to go that way, so I gotta go that way” mentality is just what the ozeki ranks needs.
    Especially now that Kaio is gone, the Japanese are gonna be behind the Geeku a lot more. They will push him not to quit, and to look forward for more promotion (not that i think THAT kind of potential there), I just think that he’ll do OK if promoted.

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  6. It’s the thought that counts here Briton-Meyer, and I have been enjoying your rejuvenated sumo spirit this basho.

    I was hesitant to say that Ol’ Geek would have a chance this basho at gaining that double edge of a sword Ozeki rank, but with his surprise defeat of Hakuho who knows. I like what you said Creswell about the fact that maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to have an Ozeki with a signature style.

    In the end however, I am with Chris. Maybe it’s time to make the rank even harder to achieve. I do hope someone comes along in the next few years who will attack the Makuuchi Division with reckless abandon, but I don’t foresee that happening until we have either a weaker Yokozuna (something we won’t have unless Hakuho is injured for an extended period of time or retires), or no Yokozuna at all.

  7. Pingback: Kotoshogiku’s Ozeki Promotion Poll: Yay or Nay? You Be The Judge! | Sumo & Stogies

  8. I believe Ozeki translates to “Champion.”

    I have wondered what it would be like if Ozekis needed to win 10 to KEEP their rank each basho, instead of the measly 8? Think about it, their first 6 or 7 days are rank-and-filers, who they should dominate, and a scared Komsubi or two thrown in. Then they get the Sekiwakes, who are almost always either on the way UP or DOWN, not super consistent. They don’t actually tangle with “peers” until day 10 or 11. They should go into those peer-battles undefeated or one-defeated.

    That just might make sumo more “exciting” as people ask for – having those who are called “champions” still fighting hard on Day 12 even though they may not have a real hope at yusho.

    Remember Asa and Hak’s staring battles?

    Remember the hair standing up on the back of your neck when Asashoryu would spin and smack his side – and Hakuho would slooooooowly rise and turn away? Both were supremely confident. Both were pretty evenly matched all-in-all. No one had ANY idea what was going to happen. Because they both were going to go straight ahead. They both were going to give every ounce of their strength. The both were going to do everything they could to maneuver the other just … one… centimeter … more … that way …

    Well, there ARE evenly matched guys right now, who are Ozekis. And they really seem pretty bored by Day 12.

    Forget worrying about a promotional number – how about 10 wins to KEEP it? Hell, promote everyone and see who can KEEP it …

    My 2 yennies…

  9. Well, I have to say that this was a humbling post. It turns out my memory doesn’t serve me as well as I would like. Perhaps my confusion stems from wishing that the promotion to ozeki were a little more rigorous. I think Chris voices an opinion we have all thought in saying that the current ozeki seem bored by Day 12. I know there are folks who would argue that promotion to ozeki already only happens every few years – if the promotion was more rigourous, we wouldn’t have any ozeki. If the bar for retaining rank were raised to 10 there would be even fewer Ozeki.

    That might be true, but the Ozeki we did have would all be prime material for Yokozuna. I think sumo would be more interesting if a rikishi was required to at least kinboshi (hooray for Kotoshogiku getting one yesterday) once during the 33 wins over 3 bashos that are required in order to get ozeki promotion.

    True, we would have fewer ozeki, but in addition to those ozeki being stronger, the other rikishi would move up and down according to their rankings and we would have far less of this boring behavior on the part of the ozeki in which they aim to kachikoshi rather than impress. As it is, the ozeki ranks feel crowded with men who are more intent on protecting their current rank than they are on seizing the rank of Yokozuna.

    That said, my heart goes out to Haruma for his spectacular performance this basho. I am also enjoying Kotoshogiku’s performance. It is nice to see rikishi displaying the drive that those two are displaying.

    I disagree that an ozeki should have a signature style. Or, if he does have a signature style, he should also have proficiency in a variety of other winning maneuvers. Kotoshogiku uses the same technique far too often. All that is required to halt is upward mobility is for someone to discover the antidote to the hug and chug. If Kotoshogiku makes ozeki, enough rikishi will discover that antitdote to prevent him from ever making yokozuna. But at the same time, not enough rikishi will be able to administer the antidote to knock Kotoshogiku back down to the M rankings. That is why I say that Kotoshogiku is too boring a rikishi for me to really rally.

    There are currently two types of ozeki, the inconsistent and the predictable. Haruma, Kotooshu, and Baruto fall into the first type. Kaio fell into the second type. If Kotoshogiku replaces Kaio as the Japanese ozeki, he will be too predictable to advance. (Of course, he might evolve… Baruto used to be too predictable and is now evolving…)

    To sum up, I go back and forth as to whether the Geek is ozeki material. I don’t like his one-trick-poniedness, but I do think he is a good rikishi. The biggest worry that I have is that however I look at it, I just don’t think he is yokozuna material. If he promotes to ozeki, I worry that he will just sit there like a turd in the swimming pool – never losing his rank and never yushoing.

    On the whole, I agree with Chris, I want a rikishi to come along and take the promotion, and what’s more, I want that rikishi to aim for yokozuna, not just ozeki. I feel that Kotoshogiku’s rise is too managed. If he promotes this basho, I will be left wondering whether he was positioned to take over Kaio’s banner as the only Japanese ozeki.

  10. I really enjoyed this conversation! Thank you for starting it, and thanks to Kotoshogiku for being too happy and too dumb to be afraid of Hakuho!

    If he gets his 33, and with that seriously impressive man-handling of the Yokozuna, I don’t see how he DOESN’T get the promotion. We’ve seen people beat Hak by staying elusive or using his forward motion against him – but I would not have guessed the “Hug-n-Chug” would have worked. And HOW, did that little Buddha manage to keep Hakuho from getting mawashi? I’m amazed. I’m impressed. I am almost sure they put bacon-scent on his little towel to fire him up. Is bacon-doping illegal in Sumo?

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