Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Game Whine: Fighters vs. Hawks @ Tokyo Dome - Utter Defeat

(I've been meaning to post something about that other BCL game in Gunma, but I got totally swamped this last week and weekend due to taking the Japanese Language Proficiency Test on Sunday. This week, I am attending the Fighters games at the Tokyo Dome on Tue/Wed/Thurs. This is about Tuesday's game.)

No, really. I mean, what else can be said about this?

Toshiya Sugiuchi pitched a complete-game shutout against the Fighters. The only time he even allowed two runners in one inning was in the 9th, when Koyano singled and Ugumori walked two batters later (the only walk of the game, against 9 strikeouts). It was pretty unreal. The only batting the Fighters accomplished at all was Atsunori Inaba hitting his career 350th double in the first inning, which they stopped the game for in order to give him flowers and recognize the achievement.

Toshiyuki Yanuki started for the Fighters, and let's just say that obviously the Hawks offense fared a lot better:

- Every starter got on base at least once.
- Every starter got a hit except Nobuhiro Matsuda (he was hit by a pitch).

Some scary lines:

- Nobuhiko Matsunaka, DHing and batting 6th, walked twice, and hit a 3-run homer in the 6th. This is notable because his home run went 130 meters and LANDED IN THE UPPER DECK IN RIGHT FIELD. I've lost count, but I have seen Matsunaka hit at least 15 home runs in person over the last 3 years. This is not an exaggeration.

- Munenori Kawasaki went 4-for-5, had a walk too, and a stolen base, and one of his hits was a badass triple off the wall in the rightfield corner that probably missed being a home run by about 2 meters. He scored 3 of the 12 runs for his team, too.

- Hitoshi Tamura went 3-for-4 with 3 RBI, basically hitting in a run every time he got a hit. And he was taken out of the game in the 6th inning at that. He's scary when not injured.

- I gotta tell you that another thing I have lost count of is how many teams I have seen Roberto Petagine play for at this point, but I am fairly sure I have now seen him get a hit in at least 5 different uniforms.

Ah, whatever.
The stupid thing is, the Fighters ouendan really wanted to do the Tokyo Dome chance theme, but the Fighters couldn't get anyone on base, so we basically just sang it through the entire 9th inning for the heck of it, despite the team being down 12-0.

The stadium was PACKED with Softbank employees. It seems that Softbank gave free tickets or discounted tickets to their Tokyo-area employees and also gave them a bag with a yellow Hawks flag and a black Hawks jersey and cheer sticks and whatnot in it -- so when I showed up, there were a ton of these Softbank people in their suits, carrying briefcases and the Hawks gear bags. It was nuts though, they filled up over half the stadium; even the 2nd floor was opened for the overflow of Softbank people. Enough of them sat on the 1st base side that several people remarked "This doesn't really feel like a Fighters home game, does it?"

(I later confirmed this with a friend who works at Softbank; he said he'll be at Wednesday's game.)

Apparently the Softbank CEO was there as well as Sadaharu Oh, but I think I got there too late to see either of them, and when I did arrive I was too busy trying to get food and pinbadges and everything done in time for the game to start. I suppose I should consider myself lucky that I can get there before the start at all, really; a lot of the people I knew at the game had to show up late after their work shifts.

Speaking of errands before the game, when I was going to get food in the concourse near home plate, I saw a familiar woman walking by, she nodded and smiled at me so I said hi to her in Japanese, she said hi back, we both kept walking, and it wasn't until about two minutes later I realized HEY WAIT A MINUTE THAT WAS HICHORI MORIMOTO'S MOM. Hichori's parents run a yakiniku restaurant and I've been there a whole bunch of times, so it was kind of cool that she remembered me.

The crazy groundskeeper who used to do funny crap during YMCA wasn't there yet again, and infact I'm not sure he was there at all this year. I wonder if he either got fired or told to tone it down or what.

After the game, I headed outside and walked around to home plate since I usually see a bunch of people I know out there, and this time was no different. After catching up for a bit, the Fighters mascot BB came out... with both of the Hawks mascots as well! A huge line formed to get photos taken with them. I thought about it for a bit and realized this might be my only chance to get a photo with the Hawks mascots -- I'm not sure when I will get back to the Yahoo Dome again if ever to be honest, but I have a feeling I won't be back there this year just due to all the other stuff I want to do.

So I waited in line for about 10 minutes, and fortunately wasn't cut off! My biggest worry was that they'd just say "Okay, sorry, no more photos" and leave. But they didn't.

I actually had no clue that the female hawk was named Honey until just now when I looked it up. I knew Harry the Hawk, but I usually have trouble keeping track of auxiliary mascots, especially when teams like Rakuten add 10 mascots every year.

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