Friday, July 09, 2010

Game Report: Fighters vs. Hawks @ Tokyo Dome - Hichori Home Run!

The most notable thing about this game is that HICHORI MORIMOTO HIT A HOME RUN AND I FINALLY SAW IT IN PERSON!

A few weeks ago at my JHS, I was asked to write a "postcard from Deanna" for a midterm exam for our 9th-graders, something they would have to read and answer some questions about. So I wrote a postcard about a fictitious trip to Sapporo and included the following lines, as the major grammatical point this semester was the use of perfect tense ("Have you ever been.." "I have never seen..." "I have just eaten dinner" etc):

"Yesterday, I went to the Sapporo Dome to watch a baseball game. The Sapporo Dome was built in 2001. It is used for soccer games and baseball games. I have been to the Sapporo Dome many times. But I have never seen a soccer game there, only baseball.

The game was very exciting! The Fighters won the game. Hichori Morimoto hit a home run. I have never seen him hit a home run before, so I was very happy!"

A few days later, I'm chatting in the library with a few students. One of my students is pretty serious about his Little League team and wants to go to a big baseball highschool next year and is a Teikyo (and sadly Yomiuri) fan. We talk about baseball fairly often (in Japanese of course), so this time he said "Hey, did you really write that Sapporo postcard on our test?"

"Yeah, I did. Could you understand it?"

"...mostly. Hahahaha, you never saw Hichori hit a home run? Really? I saw him hit a home run... I think it was at the Tokyo Dome during interleague..."

"Wasn't this year or last year... and two years ago was when that jerk Kentaro Nishimura broke Hichori's hand with a pitch."

"Was Hichori pissed?"

"No, but the rest of us sure were. Lots of booing."

"I know I saw him hit a home run though. I don't like the Fighters but I like Hichori because he's from Arakawa and Teikyo."

"He hit one last year in Chiba in the first inning. I showed up in the second. Go figure."

Anyway, this became sort of a running joke for a bit, because we trash-talk all the time about the Fighters and Giants. He tends to remind me as often as possible that the Giants are in 1st place and the Fighters are (until recently) in last place.

So I'm at the Tokyo Dome on Thursday night watching the Fighters-Hawks game. Yoshio Itoi hits a 3-run homer in the first inning off Softbank starter J.D.Durbin to put the Fighters up 3-0. The Hawks manage to run themselves out of their half of the 5th inning, and then the Fighters get two guys on base as Kaneko and Kensuke both hit singles.

Hichori comes to the plate, two on, no out, and BLAM! He smacks the ball out to center. Out, out, and OVER the wall! 3-run homer, 6-0!

I go nuts because I'm half thinking "Dude! Hichori just hit a home run!" and also "Dude! I hope my students are watching this one!"

Amusingly enough, Ojisan posted a video he took of the cheering section to his blog, and in the video, when Hichori hits the home run, can you hear the really high-pitched screaming? That's me :)

Even better, so Durbin comes out of the game after that, and Masahiko Monkeyboy Morifuku comes in to pitch to Inaba... and Inaba ALSO cranks a home run. 7-0.

So yeah, the Fighters won this game and took the series from the Hawks. The game heroes were Hichori, and Masaru Takeda, who pitched 8 scoreless innings. Kazunori Yamamoto, who was spending a brief few days up at ichi-gun, threw a scoreless 9th as well.

The women sitting next to me also double as Yakult fans, and know I'm a Mikinori Katoh fan, so they continued to update me on the Yakult game. "You're never going to believe this, but your beloved Mikinori is about to get his first career win... the Swallows are up 9-3 right now..."

So yeah, it was good. Although I am increasingly annoyed at how the Tokyo Dome big screen seems to only be willing to show me if I am NOT holding up signs or cheering or otherwise actually looking like I know what the hell I am doing, like they must keep up their stereotypes that white people are all tourists. I noticed, infact, that my group of friends ("Team 52") that all hold up matching towels and signs... we never got on the screen when I sat with them on Tuesday, but they were there several times on Wednesday and Thursday when I sat elsewhere. Coincidence? Maybe, but it's sure enough to make a gaijin paranoid.

Anyway, I come to school on Friday and tell my student about Hichori's homerun. His reaction? "His hand healed?"


"From Nishimura's pitch."

"Dude, that was TWO YEARS AGO."

"It was?"


"I thought you said..."

"I probably screwed up the Japanese. Anyway, Hichori! Yay!"

"Uh... yeah. Hichori! Yay?"

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