TLDR version: Morino went 4-for-5 including a double and a homerun, scored 3 runs, Tony Blanco also had 3 RBIs in 3 hits, the Dragons scored a bunch of runs off Dicky Gonzalez and except for the 5th inning where Dragons starter Kazuki Yoshimi gave up 4 runs to the Giants culminating in Ogasawara's Clean-Shaven Doppleganger hitting a 3-run homer, which made it kinda close at 5-4, but the game eventually widened to 7-4 and Iwase closed it out successfully to put the Dragons in first place, half a game up on the Giants! Hooray!
Cheering for the Dragons at the Tokyo Dome is pure awesome because there are so many added little "DIE GIANTS DIE" kinds of things into the standard cheers. It'd be even better if the Chunichi ouendan could get their act together and actually get licenses to have trumpets and drums and leaders at games in the Kanto region, but whatever. (Seriously, this will now be the 3rd season without ouendan at the Tokyo Dome if it goes on like this, since the yakuza episode.) I happened to be sitting behind a few guys I recognize as being unofficial cheer leader types, or more like, they're really freaking loud and know all the songs and despise the Giants and coordinate with another group of similarly loud people sitting a few rows back.
I showed up at the Tokyo Dome a little after 5pm wearing my favorite t-shirt, which I covered up fairly quickly with my Morino #31 jersey and all my other Morino #31 stuff. Masahiko "Dragonbutt" Morino wears #30 this year, but I noticed that very few fans of his actually care and almost all still had #31 jerseys for him. See, the team offered Morino #3 after Tatsunami retired, and he briefly said yes, then a few days (weeks?) later said "Wait a minute, I can't dishonor Tatsunami like that. I am nowhere near as great as he is and cannot wear #3 properly." But by the time that happened, they had already re-assigned #31, so they gave him #30, vacated by Nomoto who took Kazuki Inoue's old #9. But Morino has changed numbers so many times in his career that I think most people have just given up on changing their replica jerseys.
Anyway, I got to talking with the guys sitting behind me, since they had ouenka papers and I had no clue where to get one; turns out I'd missed someone handing them out. They were nice enough to give me one of theirs, "we can share ours, the only new cheers we don't know are Blanco and Nomoto's, really." It turned out they were both from Aichi prefecture but just started college in Tokyo, and one of the guys went to the same high school as outfielder Atsushi Fujii, so we reviewed his cheer song together, "just in case he actually plays today", and then they were like "Why the hell are YOU a Dragons fan?" and I had to explain that I'm really a Fighters fan, started cheering the Dragons several years ago thanks to a close friend in Gifu, and now I really just love Morino and despise the Giants. They were cool with that.
So, anyway. Amidst the chaos of the discombobulated ouendan, I managed to kinda pick up Tony Blanco's new ouenka. It has a fanfare which I decided was irrelevant, and then a semi-catchy actual song...
Ima da koko de misero, aoki toushi tagirasete
Teki o hirumaseru ichida, hanate, haruka kanata
Kattobase, Blanco! (Yomiuri taose o!)
You gotta love this video because of the guys in front of me giving the middle finger to the Giants bleachers every time they yelled the last part, which means "DEFEAT THE GIANTS!"
The cool thing is, Blanco led off the 2nd inning with a single, and then Wada followed it up with a single, and then Ibata followed THAT up with a double to score Blanco and make it 1-0! We changed to the Uchimakure chance theme and that led to consecutive sac flies to center by Kei Nomoto and Motonobu Tanishige to make it 3-0!
The Dragons widened their lead to 5-0 in the 5th inning when Araki led off with a single, Ohshima bunted him up successfully (in the first inning Araki had led off with a double and then got out at third on a terrible bunt by Ohshima, so), and then Morino singled to right-center! Araki almost scored but had to go back and hold at third, and in the meantime as the ball was thrown towards home, Morino managed to stretch it into a double, headsliding into second base safely. Woo! Tony Blanco then hit a single that scored the other two guys, and Wada walked, and THEN the Giants took out Gonzalez, put in Satoshi Fukuda (seriously, "dare aitsu?") who got a double play to end the inning.
Then, yeah, Yoshimi ran into a bit of a rough spot in the Giants' half of the 5th. Shinnosuke Abe led off with a double, and then Seung-Yeop Le singled, which put Abe at third. Sakamoto also singled, which scored Abe to make it 5-1. Matsumoto, who is having a monster start so far, grounded out to third and advanced the runners (I'd hoped Morino would make a play at somewhere besides first, but it didn't work out that way), not that it mattered as OCD hit one of his signature low line drive home runs into the Giants' cheering section to make it 5-4. Grumble.
But it worked out okay. I got out my towel to cheer for Morino again in the 7th inning, the guys behind me were like "Your guy is kicking butt tonight!", and then Morino hit a double into the gap in left-center! Immediately after that Tony Blanco also hit the ball to center. Morino scored, and Blanco tried to stretch it into a double and found himself out at second, but at least he got the run in. 6-4.
And the last Chunichi run was Morino's 5th at-bat, and 4th hit, which was a beautiful home run into the right-field stands hit off of Kiyoshi Toyoda. The entire stadium was silent, and then suddenly we realized it was a home run and all went crazy. Everyone around me was high-fiving me because I had been going so crazy for Morino the entire game. So, 7-4.
Hitoki Iwase closed out the game 1-2-3. We all stood up for the final batter, which was Edgar Gonzalez, and just yelled "I-WA-SE! I-WA-SE! I-WA-SE!" until it was over.
Not a lot of postgame celebrating though, because there isn't really a cohesive ouendan, which makes it difficult. Plus, the Giants games at the Tokyo Dome don't show hero interviews for the visiting team, which is SUPER lame. (I did learn later that the game hero WAS infact my boy Morino, though.) So we did the 1-9 lineup songs, then an Ochiai cheer, a round of Moe Yo Dragons, and... dispersed.
It was a pretty good evening, really.
Oh, incase any of Tyrone Woods's fans or friends still read this blog... one of the guys sitting in front of me still was wearing this jersey:
I swear I was tempted several times during the game to just start singing the "T!" ouenka.
That guy was also waving this apparatus around from time to time:
Which is a Jaws shark chewing up a white Giabbit doll that they were writing nasty stuff all over.
It might just be that I mostly only cheer for the Dragons at the Tokyo Dome these days, but sometimes I'm overwhelmed by the difference in the mood in the Dragons cheering section as opposed to like, the Fighters; Dragons fans tend to do a lot more booing and swearing, certainly, and have a lot less family and a lot more scary-looking dudes. On the other hand I have found that passionately hating the Giants will usually get me at least tolerated in the crowd, so.
And on one last note: I really like Kei Nomoto's cheer song this year quite a bit. It ends in this line of "KagayaKE, HabataKE, Nomoto KEI!" Very catchy. Given that Nomoto is pretty much the only regular on the team under the age of 30 (scary, huh?) it's good that they have something like that to be around for a while.
Tomorrow (or more like, in about 8 hours) the Tokyo Big 6 league starts! I better get like 3 hours of sleep and go to Jingu!