Went down to Yokohama on Tuesday evening, April 6th, to take in the Baystars-Dragons game with Ken and Westbay. It would have been a lovely night if I hadn't gotten a call from my work supervisor 30 minutes before the game started which basically set off a terrible cascade all week of instability, and I was almost ready to quit by Thursday evening. Everything's fine now for certain values of "fine".
Anyway, this game would have been a lot better if I brought my Chunichi jersey and sat in left field. Daisuke Yamai started for the Dragons and pitched 5ish okay innings, giving up 3 runs (well, 2, and then bullpen switcheroos in the 6th inning allowed the 3rd to score), and Naoyuki Shimizu started for the Baystars, with Tasuku Hashimoto catching for him, and Daisuke Hayakawa in centerfield, and it was windy so it was just like being in Chiba, especially when Shimizu gave up a homer to Tony Blanco. Tanishige also hit a 2-run home run off reliever Hiroki Sanada and the Dragons eventually won 5-3.
Westbay already recounted the game a bit more here, so I'll defer to his writeup.
I will add that when Tanishige hit his home run, Westbay said "Why does he always do that to us? Can't we have him back?" and I replied, "HE'S TURNING 40 THIS YEAR! YOU WANT HIM BACK?"
There were also headslides galore as both Jose Castillo slid into second on a hit he thought should have been a homer but wasn't (hit the wall a little below the top), and Takehiro Ishikawa also did a headslide into first on an infield single later on too. Oddly, I will note: the Baystars scored 3 runs in the game and two of them started with those headslides. Maybe people SHOULD watch Koshien more!
There were indeed some exciting plays at the plate, both in terms of the Dragons being out. The Wada rundown was pretty comical. (Westbay almost thought the Baystars weren't going to manage the tag.)
Ken asked me if I would still be cheering for Morino even if we were on the other side of the field and I said no, but then sang along to his song anyway. Of course my Dragonbutt went 0-for-5. Go figure. Also, it's weird seeing Ibata at 2nd and Araki at short; I kept writing the plays in my scorecard backwards because I'd look to see which number guy made the play and then had to do a double-take.
Daisuke Yamai was the game hero for two main reasons, by the way: first, he pitched the first 5 innings and got the win, but more importantly, he had two RBI singles! Not a joke! That was pretty crazy.
The most exciting part of the game for me -- besides holding up my "GO! GO! SLEDGE" signs for Terrmel Sledge -- was seeing former Fighter Shintaro Ejiri come pitch 2 scoreless innings! Ejiri just got traded to the Baystars and I was very very fond of him, so I really do want him to do well there. It's a little sad to see him without the Fighters, but I'm being a Japanese fan and supporting him wherever he goes unless it involves Yomiuri.
After the game the three of us went out and got a photo taken with Sad Hosshey:
And GUESS WHO WE RAN INTO AFTER THAT!!
Actually, Sign Guy came by and said hi when we were sitting in the stands too. But he didn't have his signs at that point. This one is of a mock newspaper he drew about Terrmel Sledge. Isn't it cute?
The Chunichi ouendan, by the way, are still all messed up. No trumpets, no drums, you can barely follow what's going on. I'll be at the Tokyo Dome for tonight (Friday)'s Dragons-Giants game and we'll see how it goes (mostly I just plan to yell a lot of "Yomiuri Taose o!"