Sunday, September 26, 2010

Saturday at Jingu - College and Pro

It was still cold and rainy in the morning when I woke up, so I decided to skip the Keio-Rikkio game and instead do my double-header of Waseda-Meiji plus the Swallows-Giants game in the evening.

I saw about 10 minutes of the Keio-Rikkio game over (thanks to Ken Dick for the pointer), and apparently by dumb luck I managed to see almost all the scoring in that game anyway. While watching on TV, I saw the 6th inning for Keio, where they got their first run when Rikkio pitcher Kenya Okabe overthrew 3rd base on Takao's at-bat and the first run came in, 1-0. Then with the bases loaded (Itoh #9, Takeuchi Kazuma #8, and Takao #7), Takayuki Matsuo hit a double and the other three guys scored, 4-0. Masahiro Nagasaki bunted Matsuo up to third, and pitcher Daisuke Takeuchi executed a perfect squeeze bunt to make it 5-0.

I got to Jingu at 1pm, and the score was 5-2 in the top of the 9th. Keio had the bases loaded, so Yamaguchi scored on a sac fly to left by Aoyama, 6-2. Then Ren Yamasaki hit a bases-clearing triple into the right-field corner with Itoh and Tamaki scoring, 8-2.

Rikkio, for their part, didn't give up, even with two outs (Yusuke Yamada pinch-hit! But he struck out!). Naoshi Hasegawa duobled to left and then Yuji Naka cranked a long fly ball to left field... that apparently hit the foul pole for a homer. 8-4. Koichiro Matsumoto got on base on an error by Fuchigami (WTF), but Okazaki flew out to left to end the game.

I was sitting in the outfield because it's free if you're female, and because I was late and because I didn't want to deal with the Saitoh crowds and the Meiji crowds.

So between the games I wandered out to see if I could find any of my friends or to find the Nikkan Sports people who put out the Tokyo Rocks! papers, but to no avail. I did get my ticket to the Yakult game, which turned out to be a good move as it was CROWDED later. And I ran into the Keio ouendan leader and said hi; it's important to greet people, even if I wasn't actually in the cheering section.

It was also crowded on the 3rd base side, for this reason...

...tons of Giants fans waiting to see if they could get autographs or even get players to notice them at all. And this was 5 hours before game time!!

Anyway, back on into the outfield..

...where it was sparsely attended, so you could spread out and all, BUT the problem was that the sun was in my eyes the entire game. I put up my umbrella to keep the sun out a little, but it didn't help much. It was also HOT as a result -- I think it was still 20-21 degrees in the shaded infield, but the keychain thermometer I carry said it was around 30 where I was. Ouch.

Anyway, the second game was Waseda-Meiji. Yuki Saitoh started for Waseda and Yusuke Nomura started for Meiji. And well, Saitoh pitched a good game and Tatsuya Ohishi finished it up for him and Waseda won 4-2. Gota Nanba finished out the game for Meiji.

(I will add more details later.)

It was a LONG game though -- Nomura threw 138 pitches in 7 innings and the game went until 4:55pm. This was a bit of a problem for a pro game starting at 6pm...

It was amusing to me, because I was in the outfield until 5pm... and then by 5:20pm I was back in the outfield! I left, walked around to the front of Jingu, and walked back. Meiji and Waseda both had gated-off buses, so it wasn't possible to talk to players at all anyway. I couldn't find my usual group of friends, but I did run into my friend Kobayashi on her way out and she gave me this HUGE stack of photos she printed out of Kagami and Itoh from the World University Baseball Championships and they are AWESOME. Seriously, like 70 photos, that must have cost her a bunch to print. I'm not sure what I can do in return. I think her camera is better than mine.

While walking past the Swallows facility (there's no clubhouse IN the stadium, the players have to come in from outside), I heard a bunch of people yelling "WHITESELL! WHITESELL!" or more like, "HUWAITOSERRU!". So I put my camera up and snapped into the clubhouse parking lot, and later on saw...

...Kazuhiro Hatakeyama. WHY DOES HE HAUNT ME?

Anyway, when I got back into the stadium, the outfield was already packed with Swallows fans. I sat with Kozo, and his friends Aki and Charles, and the rest of the gang at the top of Section D, and we had a grand old time yelling crap at the Giants.

Kozo already summarized the game, including that we saw Aoki's 198th and 199th hits but not his 200th because he got plunked in his last at-bat. So let me just add a few photos I snapped from the outfield:

This is a scheme to get you to give them your cellphone email address. It says "The 2011 Manager will be _ _ _?" You're supposed to enter "O ga wa" and maybe you will win a prize. The amusing part is that I was saying, "TA KA DA? FU RU TA? A RA KI?" They all fit.

New and creative way to raise your umbrella for Tokyo Ondo -- attach it to a 2-year-old kid on your shoulders. Awwww.


This game started at 6:10pm and ALSO went long, until 10:10pm or so. Around 9:45 they reminded us that you can't use ANY instruments to cheer after 10pm at Jingu. (You can't use drums after 6pm.)

Final score. Alex Ramirez hit a homerun off Hei-Chun Lee in the 7th, after the Swallows had gone to great lengths to tie up the game in the bottom of the 6th. Sigh.

Game hero Rami-chan.

I will add more to this post later, but I'm already two great stories backlogged from last weekend. Sigh. And now I'm off to watch some hockey, and maybe another game at Jingu if I'm up for it...

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