I went to Jingu last night for a pro game, for a change; it was the Yomiuri Giants playing against the Yakult Swallows, which is a matchup I go to fairly often, mostly for the sake of singing "kutabare Yomiuri" during the umbrella dance. I sat with Kozo and Mac at the top of section D where the Tsubamegun guys usually sit. Watkins wasn't there but he already summarized the game.
I'm just going to add that, see, Kazuhiro Hatakeyama is probably one of my least favorite players on the team. I can't really explain exactly why, other than that he's big and kind of slow and that he pretty much sucks it up every time I see him play in person. It might just be that everyone kind of needs to have a favorite player and least favorite player in a lineup at any given time, and now that I have Iihara as my new favorite, Hatake is getting the short straw.
What's funny, though, is that after slamming Hatake the entire game, around the 7th or 8th inning I stopped by a pinbadge machine and guess which player I got? Hatakeyama, of course. I came back to the seats and foisted it off on Mac, who immediately attached it to his hat... and in the 9th inning Hatakeyama managed to ground out but push ahead one run. Which wasn't enough, and the Swallows lost 3-2.
After the game, walking to the train station with Kozo, I ran into my friend Jim Allen, who writes for the Daily Yomiuri, and he said his deadline was actually at 7pm, before the game, so I'm like "What did you write about?"
"Oh," he says, "I wrote an article about Kazuhiro Hatakeyama."
Kozo, fortunately, doesn't chime in about how much I hate Hatakeyama as I politely ask what the article's about. Seems that Hatake is no longer afraid of striking out and can get more meaningful swings when he's got two strikes against him. (It's kind of neat to talk to Jim in the evening and then see the article on the site the next day, certainly.)
I was mostly grumpy since Yasushi Iihara seems to be in a slump and he struck out three times in a row during the game. The high point of the evening was probably that Shingo Kawabata went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored; I liked Kawabata a lot at ni-gun and it would be nice to see him succeed even though I know it's at the cost of opportunities for other players I like such as Onizaki, Araki, and Keizo Kawashima.