Yesterday was supposed to be the japanesebaseball.com get-together at Meiji Jingu to watch the Swallows-Tigers game, with two Tigers fans, two Baystars fans, and two people who were going to cheer for the Swallows but aren't really Swallows fans per se (me, and Simon). At 5pm our motley group of gaijin met by Gate 2, and we were also joined by Garrett from Transpacific Radio for a bit. We stood... we talked... and we WATCHED IT RAIN, until 6:10pm when the team finally announced that the game was cancelled. So instead we went to a yakitori place near Gaienmae and drank beer and ate food and talked about baseball until 9pm. I gave people Bikkuriman stickers for lack of anything better to do with my extras, and Pau brought Calbee chips (I got Aoki! Though maybe I should have traded for Futoshi Kobayashi anyway because I'm a dork like that.)
It was really nice to meet people, but it would have been even nicer to watch baseball with them.
As for today... I wanted to go down to Yokohama for the Stars-Carp game, BUT due to all the rain up here I decided it wasn't worth it. Also, the reason I was going was because it's Takuro Ishii's birthday... and would you believe this, I just looked at the lineups and TAKURO IS NOT PLAYING. WTF.
I thought about going to the Tokyo Dome for the Giants-Dragons game, but the thing is, I looked at seat availability, and it seemed like basically I could either sit way the heck at the top of the stadium for about $20, or sit way out on the third-base line for about $35, and since I figured Morino wouldn't be back in the lineup yet, it just didn't seem worth it to go there and pay that much money to be stuck in the midst of Giants fans even though I'd be yelling "YOMIURI TAOSE O" at the top of my lungs. Though at least I heard that the Dragons ouendan are no longer broken. I think I'll plan to see them when they have a makeup day on Oct 5th.... and get tickets early.
So, I am sitting at home watching the Fighters game on Yahoo Douga on my laptop... and when the Giants-Dragons game comes on normal terrestrial TV at 7pm I'll turn that on too.
Wow, the Sapporo dome is EMPTY. I wish I was there!
Kataoka 2B Hichori CF
"NOT GG" Satoh RF Kudoh LF
Bocachica DH Kensuke 2B
Etoh 1B Koyano 1B
Gotoh LF Jason Botts DH
Okawari-kun 3B Itoi RF
Hirao 2B Naoto 3B
Hosokawa C Tsuruoka C
Akada CF Kaneko! SS
Kishi (10-4, 3.92) Takeda Masaru (6-5, 3.03)
First inning, top:
Masaru Takeda pitching for the Fighters.
Kataoka grounded out to short, Tomoaki Satoh grounded out to third, and then Bocachica popped out foul behind home plate, easy catch for Tsuruoka.
First inning, bottom:
Takayuki Kishi pitching for Seibu.
Hichori hit a pop fly to right easily caught by NOT-GG Satoh. We can see Kaneko and Inaba and Hichori chatting in the dugout. Takahito Kudoh singles to right! Kensuke call -- KENSUKE!!! Wish I was there. Kensuke grounds to short for the force at second on Kudoh (who was already off running), and fortunately Kensuke is safe at first, no double play there. AND KOYANO HITS A HOME RUN INTO THE FIGHTERS FANS IN THE LEFT FIELD BLEACHERS!!!! Wow, that was smashed! Jason Botts follows that up by ALSO smashing a ball to left field but Taketoshi Gotoh jumps up to catch it against the wall (huh... he must be taller than I thought). That's the third out -- Fighters 2, Lions 0!
Second inning, top:
Akira Etoh strikes out swinging on a slider. Gotoh hits a big fly ball to right that OH CRAP GOES INTO THE STANDS. Really? Dang. Yeah, it bounced in like the first row and went back a bit. Fighters 2, Lions 1. Here's Okawari-kun Nakamura who also hits a huge pop fly, which Kudoh camps out under and makes the catch. Two outs. And Yahoo Douga dies on me for the first time of the evening. Joy. Hirao apparently struck out in the meantime, though.
Second inning, bottom:
Yoshio Itoi leads off with a double to left and Naoto Inada bunts him up to second. (They keep showing Inaba in the dugout cheering for the team and whatnot.) Tsuruoka comes up to bat... and ends up REACHING for a pitch way outside and strikes out. Two out. Kaneko comes up and Kishi puts a pitch in the exact same place that Tsuruoka struck out on, and Kaneko ignores it. Good boy :) But then he hits a big pop fly up to second and that ends the inning with Itoi still standing at third. Oh well. Still 2-1.
As an aside: Rakuten-Softbank game has been cancelled, but all others seem to be happening. Araki is back in the Chunichi lineup but Morino is not (lefty starter Hisanori and all). Murata is back in the Yokohama lineup. I think those are the only Olympics guys I see out there... Inaba is in the Fighters dugout after all.
Third inning, top:
Toru Hosokawa strikes out on three straight pitches. Shogo Akada (huh!) grounds out to second. Kataoka grounds out to short. Another "Who let the dogs out" inning.
Third inning, bottom:
Hichori grounds to third (or more like bounces) and is barely out on the throw to first. Kudoh hits a pop fly to center which is going, going, CAUGHT. And Kensuke singles to right past a diving Etoh! Yay!! Koyano walks, and here's Botts -- the announcers keep marvelling at how he is 198cm tall and weighs 113kg. Anyway, Botts strikes out to end the inning with two guys on. Still 2-1.
As an aside, while we're marvelling over the size of foreigners, I went looking for new sneakers today and got told by the store clerks, "Your feet are way too big for women's sneakers, and way too narrow for Japan size sneakers." That sucked.
Fourth inning, top:
Not GG Satoh pops out to center and Yahoo Douga dies on me again (seems to happen every 30 minutes). Seems like Bocachica was hit by a pitch while I was restarting IE, so I'm not sure where/how. Here's Akira Etoh... who... grounds into a double play! Kaneko to Kensuke to Koyano.
The Giants game just came on TV with the game tied 0-0 in the 4th inning.
Fourth inning, bottom:
Itoi comes up and hits ANOTHER DOUBLE, TO RIGHT! Naoto Inada, who must be feeling like This Year's Honorary Kensuke Tanaka Bunting Boy, comes up swinging... and goes down bunting of course, Itoi moving to third. Tsuruoka comes up and THAT WAS THE WEIRDEST THING EVER. Okay, so it was a squeeze bunt, right? Only like, Tsuruoka bunted this ball that catcher Hosokawa was already lunging for because it was so high up and out of the way. So Tsuruoka lunges for the ball too, bunts it, falls over on his knees, and Itoi comes home. Wow. Kaneko grounds out to end the inning but it is now Fighters 3, Seibu 1!
Maybe it's just me, by the way, but the Chunichi ouendan still sounds discombobulated and I don't hear trumpets.
Fifth inning, top:
Ugh, okay, so my curse of Watch Seibu, See Homeruns seems to be continuing as Taketoshi Gotoh hits a towering shot to center for HIS SECOND HOME RUN OF THE DAY. This is now the second time I have seen Gotoh hit two homeruns in a game, too. Fighters 3, Lions 2. Okawari-kun, again, follows it up with a big pop fly to left which Kudoh camps out under for the catch. Hirao singles through to right. Hosokawa grounds to second, Kensuke flipping the ball to Kaneko who turns the double play! Three out. 3-2.
In the meantime, Ibata hit in a run on a groundout and Olympics Returnee Araki hit a legitimate 2-RBI double to left which rebounded over Ramirez's head to put the Dragons up 3-0. (And make that 4-1 on a BG Lee RBI single while I was waiting for the inning middle to finish.)
Fifth inning, bottom:
Hichori... checks a swing on a ball that goes by for a called strikeout. Then, Kudoh doubles to left! Kensuke grounds out to second (not a bunt) and Kudoh moves to third. Koyano comes up to bat and Yahoo Douga dies on me again. It seems that he hit a popout to center, anyway. Three out and we leave a guy on third again.
By the way, through 5 innings, Kishi is up to 81 pitches and Masaru is up to 53. Just sayin'.
Sixth inning, top:
OH NICE! Shogo Akada grounds to second and Kensuke Tanaka goes way to his right, makes a dive for the ball, snags it and makes the throw out to first. He's awesome! Kataoka hits a fly ball out to Hichori. Tomoaki "Not GG" Satoh strikes out to end the inning.
On the other TV... you know, as always, I have to admit, I hate the Giants, but I have to admit that one of my favorite intro/theme/etc's in Japan, period, is when Tomohiro Nioka comes out to "Sky High" and the whole stadium echoes with the "whoaaaaa!
Also, Hayato Sakamoto is cute. But much like Ma-kun and Karakawa-kun, he immediately triggers a "Dude, he's 19" response in my brain.
Sixth inning, bottom:
Botts grounds out to short. Itoi strikes out. Naoto grounds out to third. That was quick. This is what I get for saying nice things about the Giants.
Dear the Giants: YOUR CHANCE MUSIC IS LAME.
Seventh inning, top:
Hiram Bocachica leads off the inning with a towering fly to right which Itoi camps out under for the catch. Etoh grounds out to short. Masato Yoshii comes out to the mound and he's like half a foot taller than Masaru, heh.
Oh, okay. Yoshii was coming out there to take Masaru Takeda out of the game despite only being up to 74 pitches in 6.2 innings, because uhh.. Masaru is left-handed and the next batter is RIGHTY MONSTER HOME RUN HITTING TAKETOSHI GOTOH. So uhh... hey, it's Yoshinori Tateyama! Is that a good idea? I dunno, we'll see.
In the meantime the Giants had bases loaded with one out and didn't score at all. Hahahahaha. Still 4-0 going into the 6th over there.
OH THANK GOD. TATEYAMA STRIKES OUT GOTOH. I WILL NEVER DOUBT YOU AGAIN TATEYAMA... well, not this week, anyway.
Aww, Yahoo Douga doesn't show the 7th inning stretch and the singing of the Fighters songs. And on TV I'm faced with a Nagashima family commercial for Mitsubishi UFJ bank. Whee.
Seventh inning, bottom:
PINCH-HITTING INABA!!!! JUMP!!!!
Well, there goes Kishi. And there goes Yahoo Douga. Time to restart again.
Koji Mitsui comes out to pitch for Seibu. Kishi threw 91 pitches.
I didn't realize it until he went away for the Olympics, but I MISSED THIS GUY. おかえりなさい稲葉さん！ And the CF camera shaking from all the jumping... yeah!
Uhhh... and Inaba struck out called. That sucked.
Kaneko grounds out to short and Hichori hits a popout to right.
Eighth inning, top:
Hisashi Takeda takes the mound for the Fighters. Satoshi Nakajima comes in to catch, I'm not really sure why and...
...while I am writing that sentence, HOLY CRAP OKAWARI-KUN HITS A HOME RUN. That was his 32nd of the year. Unfreakingreal. It went way back into the Fighters cheering section, too. I feel like I've seen this before. Seriously. Tie Game, 3-3. Hirao grounds out back to the mound and here's Urawa Gakuin's Yoshihito Ishii as a pinch-hitter for Hosokawa. Ishii pops out to left and then Shogo Akada grounds out to third to end the inning.
Tie game. Argh.
I should note, by the way, that it's only 8:15pm at this point. Fast game!
Eighth inning, bottom:
Chikara Onodera takes the mound for Seibu and Ginjiro Sumitani comes in as catcher.
Takahito Kudoh slaps at a pitch that's about to hit the ground -- seriously -- and ends up grounding it to second. Kensuke strikes out. Koyano gets a single to right, through a diving Ishii. Yahoo Douga dies on me again and will NOT COME BACK ARGH
Botts seems to have hit a pop out to left to end the eighth.
Ninth inning, top:
While Yahoo Douga was dead for me and I could not watch, Kataoka grounded out, Tomoaki Satoh doubled, and Hiram Bocachica was hit by yet another pitch. Then uhh... I got Yahoo Douga up in time to see Akira Etoh ground to third, and Naoto threw the ball to Kensuke at second, who tagged the base and went to throw to first just as Hiram Bocachica went sliding into second and literally KNOCKED KENSUKE OVER, his legs went flying and he collapsed on the ground, the throw going awry of first. Satoh scored in the meantime -- Seibu 4, Fighters 3.
After a pause to see if Kensuke was still alive, he eventually stood up, and then Haruki Kurose replaced Etoh at second as a pinch-runner. Gotoh struck out to end the inning.
Ninth inning, bottom:
Alex Graman, the Seibu closer, came in to pitch.
Yoshio Itoi led off the inning by singling to left! Naoto "I bunt as well as Kensuke" Inada bunted Itoi over to second. Shinji Takahashi pinch-hits for Satoshi Nakajima and... grounds out to third, but Itoi gets to third. Ugh... runner on third and two outs and the bottom of the ninth and here is Makoto Kaneko. I love Kaneko but this does not exactly look good for the home team.
Yeah, Kaneko grounds out to second to end the game, Seibu winning 4-3.
As usual, Seibu just goes ahead and bludgeons their way to a win. I suppose if there's a game hero it's got to be Gotoh for his two early homeruns.. or Okawari-kun for his game-tying homerun... or something.
Oh, no, it's Gotoh.
The Fighters game ended at 8:49pm, and by the way, it seems like the 7pm-9pm Giants broadcast is already over in favor of like 5 minutes of commercials to end it. Whaaaatever.