I didn't go to a baseball game today, though we did spend a while listening to the game on the radio while driving through the Nagoya area, as the Chunichi Dragons obliterated the Hiroshima Carp. Good times. The big thing of the game was that Ryota Arai, a Chunichi rookie who happens to be the little brother of the Carp's cleanup hitter Takahiro Arai, got his first big-league hit. They wouldn't shut up on the radio about that for a while, which makes sense, as there's only so many ways you can reiterate that wow, the Carp are getting the Crap beaten out of them. Another neat thing I noticed while watching the baseball daily review on the TV here a little while ago was that little brother Arai wears #25, the same as big brother Arai. Isn't that cute?
Anyway, after getting off the computer last night I realized I forgot a whole bunch of details, but fell asleep watching the replay of the Tigers game instead of coming back downstairs. Besides, there was a Taiwanese guy who had taken the computer after me, and it turned out he was at the game too to see Wei-Tzu Lin, who pinch-hit a home run, and he was using the computer to move the ninety billion pictures and movies he'd taken of the game off his iPod or whatever.
So, some things I forgot:
- I forgot to mention WHY I didn't keep score at the Osaka Dome -- it's because the outfield reserved cheering section seats are under the outfield upper deck seats, which means you can't actually SEE the outfield scoreboard which has the lineup on it. I'm not particularly familiar with the Orix lineup at all these days, so I didn't want to chance it. Japanese stadiums are not big on supplying a ton of information like Safeco Field and such are -- infact, I was surprised Hiroshima actually showed the length of the home runs.
- Also with the weird topography of the Osaka Dome, it was possible for a home run to be hit and still fall back on the field -- if it hit the outfield wall above the lowest deck of seating, which is hard to describe. I think most of the home runs I saw that way were like that.
- After the game at the Osaka Dome, people started putting down mats to show their place in line to get into the game the next day. No joke. They put them down in the entrance line and also in the ticket lines. I guess this is in lieu of camping out or whatever... I wonder how much people respect the line-saving though.
- I realized that my first ever Fighters game was also a Nippon Ham vs. Orix game, on September 8th, 2003, so this Fighters-Orix game was pretty much almost a dead anniversary of my first one ever. Only back then, Orix was the Blue Wave and the Fighters played in the Tokyo Dome instead of in Sapporo.
- Yukio Tanaka pinch-hit, and as I said, this means that pretty much EVERY Fighters game I have ever gone to, Yukio Tanaka has pinch-hit.
- Both games I saw during the day had a catcher named Tsuruoka -- the Fighters' Shinya Tsuruoka and the Baystars' Kazunari Tsuruoka.
- The guy in front of me had an oldskool Fighters t-shirt of Tsuboi #7. I used to have the exact same t-shirt until I lost it when I moved in early 2004, sadly.
- The Fighters are the ONLY team in Pro Yakyu who have not had a tie game yet this year. Unfortunately, in the insane pennant race in the Pacific League, this will actually hurt them rather than help them, as their 74-51-0 record is worse percentage-wise than, say, Softbank's 73-50-4 record.
- There was almost more Tigers stuff in the Buffaloes team store than Buffaloes stuff.
- The uchiwa fan I got before the Tigers game had the lyrics to the Hanshin Tigers song of some sort on the back, which was really convenient for singing at the end of the game. The funny part was coming home and being like, "I bought a Tigers fan", and then realizing that in English that sounds really stupid.
- Getting a non-alcoholic drink at Koshien, from your seat, is actually pretty damn difficult. I was in the second row behind the walkway, and so vendors kept coming by and blocking my vision, but all the drinks they had were either beer or chuuhai (which is apparently a winecooler of sorts... think shochiku with lemon in it). I saw exactly two people with soda all night, and it took me until the third pass to flag one of them down to get a Coke.
- The Tigers fans did the balloons thing both in the 7th inning and at the end of the game when they won. After the game, they lingered around Koshien until they were kicked out, and then I saw a huge gathering of people underneath the highway that runs by the stadium, with 4 people in front leading everyone in Tigers cheers and songs... this is AFTER everyone already did the songs and cheers at the end of the game in the stadium and AFTER the hero interview and AFTER everything else. I guess it makes sense, I wouldn't be in a rush to get crushed in the subway station after the game either, but still. Insane.
I'm going back up to Tokyo tomorrow for a week. It's been fun being in Osaka, and I sort of wish I could stay a bit longer, especially since I just discovered an absolutely amazing and cheap kaitensushi place two blocks from the place I'm staying, but alas. I may actually head to the Marines-Eagles game tomorrow if the weather's nice... we'll see. I'm definitely planning to go on Wednesday. Hopefully Shunsuke Watanabe will pitch then -- that'd just be awesome.