Sunday, June 08, 2008

Game Report: Fighters @ Baystars: Nasu? No!

This is pretty much going to be the shortest game report ever, since I didn't keep a scorecard (first time this year for that). I was going to the game with a few friends, and I knew the plan was to sit in the outfield and drink beer and cheer for the Fighters and hang out, and I didn't want to be an antisocial baseball geek, so instead I was just the super-crazy Fighters fan. We ended up sitting in unreserved seating, and so close to the centerfield scoreboard that we absolutely couldn't see it at all. So it's just as well that I wasn't writing a scorecard, as I wouldn't have been able to follow all of the changes very well. (Heck, at one point I even forgot who was pitching for Yokohama. Seriously. I suddenly just had this sudden brain lapse and thought, "left-handed pitcher... #13... kinda sucks... who is that again?")

Oddly, in a way, it kind of reminded me of a Fighters game I went to in Osaka around two years ago, where I decided not to keep score because I couldn't see the scoreboard, and was just going to cheer and chat a lot. As a result, that other game, the Fighters scored 10 runs and POUNDED the Buffaloes, the Fighters fans ended up standing and yelling for 80% of the game, Darvish was the winning pitcher, and Seguignol homered from both sides of the plate. Good times.

So in today's game, we had ALL of the guys from that 3-for-3 trade with Yakult playing a part: Shugo Fujii started for the Fighters and got the win for pitching 5 innings, Hajime Miki started at first base and ended up being the game hero (?!?!), and Yataro Sakamoto pitched the last two innings.

And in the meantime, Yokohama starter Takumi Nasuno had an amazingly bad start. To give you an idea of exactly how bad, I'll let you know that I handed over my cheer sticks to one of my friends before the 3rd inning, because Kensuke Tanaka was leading off and I had signs/props for the next few batters. And then as it turned out, Kensuke ALSO led off the 4th inning, by which point the Fighters were winning 8-1. And then my friend never actually gave back the cheer sticks because she was having too much fun with them, and so now my hands kind of hurt from clapping.

We never actually ended up doing the Inaba jump due to the conditions he came up to bat in -- the first time he led off the 2nd and hit that home run, and the other three times, Kensuke led off the inning and only got on base once, when he was hit by a pitch, which seemed like an inappropriate jumping time. Infact, I was even freaking out over it -- "if Kensuke's hand is broken, I am going to KILL SOMEONE". Then later in the game, Inaba and Sledge came out and the outfield became 51-52-53; Murata, Konta, and Kudoh. Konta at least is hitting well so far, I hope he keeps it up, we could certainly use it.

One of my friends went over to the ouendan group and got lyric sheets for everyone, so that was nice, everyone sang along with me. I even asked about how I translate some of the ouenka, and he said "Well, most of them at least make sense in Japanese, except for the pitcher's one. WTF?"

OH! And I got All-Star ballots! Wheeeee! I need to make a post about that sometime too.

Uchikawa and Ohnishi hit home runs for the Baystars, but it all kind of didn't matter as the Fighters won 9-3. Takuro Ishii made a bunch of really good plays and so that made me happy, even from the other side of the field.

I'm still not entirely sure why Hajime Miki was the game hero instead of Shugo Fujii -- Miki wasn't responsible for the go-ahead run or anything (that was Tsuruoka executing a squeeze bunt, which Sledge scored on). And Fujii even was 2-for-2 at the plate in addition to pitching 5 decent innings. I guess maybe they figure Hajime is not exactly likely to get the chance to be game hero very often.

Oh, and for probably the first time in his life, catcher Ryuichi Watanabe is on the top team (I think he came up when Shinji's hand got broken -- sorry, Ryota-kun) and even got an at-bat! He struck out, but that's still exciting.. I think he's been on the Fighters for like 5 years now, but on the farm team that whole time. He's from Sapporo, so he's a local guy, but if you think about it, he actually spends most of his time playing in Kamagaya, near Tokyo, not up in Hokkaido. He went to Sapporo Daiichi HS, and as you can see, is the third guy ever to be drafted from there. In general, Hokkaido has not been the greatest place to produce baseball players. Hockey, on the other hand...

Anyway, I think it's supposed to rain on Monday, so it's unlikely I'm going to another game this weekend. Fighters vs. Baystars and Marines vs. Swallows would be the games I'd be interested in; I can't justify going to see Giants vs. Lions when I basically want them BOTH to lose. I think it's better to go watch two of your favorite teams play against each other than two of your least favorite teams, that's for sure...

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