Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Fotopost: I Went To Sendai To Watch The Fighters And All I Got Was This Lousy Gyutan

Actually, it was pretty good gyutan. I don't even like gyutan (grilled cow tongue), but when you go to Sendai, you're supposed to eat it. Our group went to a place called Tasuke.

Cow tongue aside, the rest of the weekend was more like cow pies. Went up to Sendai on Saturday morning (April 24th) and came back Sunday evening (April 25th), saw the Fighters lose two games, and came back with a really sore throat.

The only good part is that Buddy Carlyle threw me a baseball after pregame practice on Saturday. It was raining lightly, but I went up to the fence and watched people throw, and I yelled out a "hey, nice pitching, Mr. Carlyle" at him -- and so when the rain turned to SLEET, and I am not making that up, he actually came over and threw me the baseball he'd been practicing with! I was really surprised but I thanked him and also introduced myself like "I'm Deanna, I write a blog about the Fighters, hopefully I'll get to write about you sometime!" I dunno, I was kinda babbling. But he said "Nice to meet you, Deanna!" before running off.

My friends and I waited under the outfield bleachers for the sleetstorm to finish, and when it did, we came back outside. I got a few photos of Fighters players, mostly before the storm started:

Hirotoshi Masui. We just drafted him out of Toshiba last year and he's already started 3 games for us (and has 1 win. Given that the team also has a .333 winning percentage, that's not bad).

Buddy Carlyle.

Kazunori Yamamoto takes flight!

After that I wandered around for a while to check out all the new stuff around the stadium and the new merchandise that they have this year, especially the player-designed Animal Avatars.

Here's something explaining the goods:
Ma-kun is a lion.
Iwakuma is a bear. (His theme is "family" though, so it's a baby bear.)
Takeshi Yamasaki is a gorilla.
Teppei, because he is lame, has a human being as his animal avatar.
Satoshi Nagai is a skunk. (I think he used to be a penguin.)
Naoto Watanabe is a panther.
Daisuke Kusano is a dog. (The "Dice Ken".)
Yosuke Takasu is a stag.
Motohiro Shima is a zebra (a "shimauma").

Here's a display with a bunch of the stuff.

Here's a display of just Iwakuma stuff.

And one of just Ma-Kun The Lion stuff.

Lovely new Rakuten uniforms too. Not sure I particularly like or dislike them, to be honest.

The wall outside the players' parking lot has the new Eagles players and coaches listed. The latter two are Kenji Tomura (my favorite Rikkio beanpole) and new manager Marty Brown.

They set up a bunch of cardboard cutouts of players on a stage. I posed with them in a normal pose on the first day.

This is the "Brown Kan". They had some crazy lady with an afro interviewing a goya mascot with Marty Brown's face on it. Who comes up with this crap, I'll never know. (Goya is a vegetable that comes from Okinawa.)

Came back in time to practice Fighters' chants with the ouendan. We have a Sendai-specific set that only happen there because Sendai allows drums but not trumpets. Check out my post from last year that has a few videos of them.

The matchup for this game was Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Yu Darvish, which is what probably led to the English baseball vocabulary guessing game for the day being "pitcher's duel". It was convenient for explaining it, at least. The game was fairly well sold out because of this matchup, actually, and even the reserved seats were packed.

While I'm mentioning it, take a look at this awesome new screen they put in this year next to the scoreboard. It was awesome for displaying information and some video replays and whatnot, much better than the tiny thing on the scoreboard...

(In this picture, it's showing the pitching matchup.)

Now take a look at this. The batter is the Fighters' Atsunori Inaba. His stats are in the upper left -- number of games, homeruns, RBIs, runs scored, BA, RISP, OBP, SLG. And if he'd had any at-bats, the results would be listed next to those 1) 2) 3) things underneath. Then in the lower right corner, under the picture of Iwakuma, they have all of Iwakuma's pitching stats -- games, innings, strikeouts, wins, losses, ERA, saves, hold points, and most important for this game: the number of pitches he'd thrown so far, which in this photo was only 2.

Here's a version of it with an Eagles batter up there. Hijirisawa's stats are to his left, in the same place Inaba's were. The bottom is still pitching stats, this time for Darvish. Also, you can see that they list the speed next to the word SPEED: in this shot, 144 km/h (about 90mph). Seriously cool. I've often complained that the one thing I wish they'd show here is pitch count. Orix also has a great scoreboard in the Kyocera Dome.


Since this game WAS a pitcher's duel, there really isn't a lot for me to say about it. Essentially, the Eagles put up their first run in the 2nd inning off two errors -- Teppei had singled, stolen second AND taken third on an error throwing to second base. Norihiro tried for the squeeze, and he bunted to the mound... and Teppei was already off on the bat AND Darvish ended up fielding the ball and throwing it over catcher Tsuruoka's head, so the run scored. Whoops.

The other runs came in the 6th inning. With two outs he walked Teppei and Norihiro, and then Daisuke Kusano singled to center. Teppei scored, and the throw in from centerfield was relayed by Iiyama, only he threw it past third base and it got away and Norihiro also scored and Kusano got to third base. Whoops.

And well, that was really it. Both pitchers pitched complete games and struck out 6, but Iwakuma allowed 3 runners the entire game. Really. The Eagles won 3-0. Iwakuma and Kusano were the game heroes.

Oh, one last picture from that game: here is my group of friends on the big screen during the "Lucky 7" before the Fighters' half of the 7th inning. I'm the green Hichori sign being cut off at the upper left. All of the uniform towels are friends of mine.

And here we are setting up our place in line for Sunday's game. We had 10 people in our group Saturday, though only 6 were coming on Sunday. For lack of anything else to call our gang...

...we called it "Team 52", which is both due to Konta's uniform number (one of our friends is a big Konta fan, and her nickname is even Kon-chan) and also due to it being kind of like Team 26, only twice as good.

Since I'm an Imanari fan on the Fighters and wear a #62 jersey, and my favorite Baystars player is Yuki Takamori, who also wears #62, one of my friends was joking that "Deanna is really in Team 62..."

Anyway, our gang checked into our respective hotels and then regrouped at Sendai station to go out for a night on the town, which involved the aforementioned gyutan, and then 3 hours of baseball karaoke. I think in our 3 hours at Shidax we did everything from team fight songs (we did 11 out of 12 teams as they didn't HAVE the current Buffaloes song), to at-bat music (including pretty much every Fighters batter and pitcher, and also bizarre things like Hosokawa's "Kiyoshi no Zundoko Bushi" and Nemoto's Shuchishin, and I sang Kyuji Fujikawa's entry music ("every little thing every precious thing") and another friend sang Nishioka's at-bat music, and then we started in on ouenka, like Lee Jung Hyun's "Wa", used for Imae's chant... and then we moved onto chance music, as we put in things like YMCA and Dschingis Khan and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and everyone did the Fighters words to them instead.

It was a pretty good time.

Then we all retreated back to hotels to get a few hours of sleep before coming back to the stadium the next morning. I was the first to arrive at 10am; only the ouendan and a few other people were around at that point, but almost everyone else showed up by 10:30 or so. (The game was at 1pm and the gates opened at 11. This is entirely typical when you are sitting in unreserved seating, so that you and your friends can come in and grab a bunch of seats together.)

A couple of us wandered around outside before the gates opened, looking around at some of the attractions, such as a free miso soup tent that my friends took advantage of (I didn't, because the soup had shellfish in it and I'm vaguely allergic), and the Rakuten train, and a band playing and so on. We also took a few photos...

By the big signed ball.

This time I decided to stand in front of Mr. Yamasaki for my pose.

I wandered around a bit without them and got a Rakuten t-shirt, too -- the Teppen! 2010 Team one. I figure that I'm kinda trying to collect stuff from all the teams before I leave, and I liked this one because I didn't have to pick a player. (I was debating getting someone obscure that I like, like Miyade or Uchimura, but I only saw stuff like wristbands for them. And of course there's nothing for Kenji Tomura yet.) Also got chicken curry for lunch which was FANTASTIC. If you see a Sakura Garden truck outside the stadium, I highly recommend their food.

Anyway, I watched pregame practice yet again. It was sunny, and I went to the fence to watch and maybe try to talk to the other foreign players, but was unsuccessful. I wasn't really sure what to say, to be honest. Brian Wolfe was just standing there when everyone else was throwing or running, and one of my friends said "Why isn't he practicing?" so I yelled out in English, "HEY BRIAN, WHY AREN'T YOU OUT THERE RUNNING?" but he either didn't hear me or ignored it. I also yelled "Go get 'em, Bobby!" at Bobby Keppel as he ran by, but again, no response. Alas. I didn't see Carlyle again.

On the other hand, my friend and I waved hi at Yamamoto and he smiled and nodded back at us.

So here are some of the guys I saw out there...

You probably recognize this guy.

And here's Darvish sitting down with Tateyama and other pitchers, after throwing.

Inaba, running for a fly ball (and missing)

This guy, we kept trying to figure out who he was. One of my friends who goes to almost every Fighters game no matter what city it's in, she told me his name was Matsu. I looked him up, and Nobuyasu Matsu is indeed an interesting lefty batting practice pitcher. He was with the Hawks for a couple of years as a pitcher, then became a Baystars BP pitcher, and then moved to the Fighters as a BP pitcher in 2008. He was also a BP pitcher for the Japanese teams in the WBC and Olympics. Neat, huh?

Bobby Keppel had to do some training with throwing a big heavy ball. Not sure what was wrong with him though.

Anyway, so, this game featured Masahiro "Ma-Kun" Tanaka starting for the Eagles, and Masaru Takeda starting for the Fighters, so the stadium wasn't quite as packed, but it was still plenty full.

Things were tied at 0-0 until the bottom of the 3rd inning, when Motohiro Shima started things off with an infield single to short, being safe on a headslide (doh). Akihisa Makida followed that with a single to right, and Ryo Hijirisawa singled to third, with an iffy safe call at first. So, with bases loaded, first Naoto Watanabe hit a sac fly to center -- and the problem is, not only did Shima score, but Makida moved to third. 1-0. Then Takasu hit a sac fly to left, so that scored Makida. 2-0. A groundout ended the inning.

In the top of the 4th, with two outs, Itoi reached base on an error (Watanabe pretty much ate the ball), advanced on a Nioka single, and then Koyano hit a pop fly to shallow center. A bunch of fielders converged on it... and nobody CAUGHT it! So Itoi scored and Nioka made it to third. 2-1.

Miracle of miracles, the Fighters actually GOT A LEAD for a little bit in the 6th! Shinji walked and Itoi singled, and then Nioka went to bunt them up... and POPPED THE BALL UP over the plate for an out. Oops. But Koyano hit a ball into left-center for a single, and Itoi scored, 2-2! Shota Ohno walked, and that loaded the bases... and then Takayuki Takaguchi also walked! Oshidashi! 3-2!

In the midst of us still doing the "UTTE UTTE UTTE UTTE _____!" chance theme, Kensuke lined out and Hichori grounded out, but hey, the Fighters were actually ahead! OMG!

Well, it didn't last long. In the bottom of the 6th, Takeshi Yamasaki singled with one out, and was replaced by Teppei in a fielder's choice. Norihiro Nakamura singled, moving Teppei to third (he's a flighty little sucker) and well, Kusano walked, loading the bases, so Masaru Takeda came out of the game to be replaced on the mound by Hisashi Takeda.

Which didn't work out so well as Hisashi gave up a hit to Motohiro Shima, a long hit which bounced against the back wall behind Hichori, and scored Teppei and Norihiro. 4-3. Shima himself ran and ran and ran, and rounded third, and then the relay from left came to short, and the relay from short came home, and Shima was out at the plate. I don't know what he was thinking running home like that, but whatever. The Eagles had taken back the oh-so-temporary lead from the Fighters.

A 19-year-old lefty kid named Wataru Karashima pitched the 7th and 8th innings, an aside from a hit to Itoi, got everyone else out. Closer Tsuyoshi Kawagishi finished the 9th in a 1-2-3 fashion and that was it for the game as yet another Fighters chance went down the drain. The only neat thing was getting to see Masaya Ozaki's first ichi-gun at-bat in two years, since he was fresh up from the farm team.

Shima, Karashima, and Kawagishi were the game heroes. I mostly only remember Karashima, they asked him something like "You're only 19 years old but with your poise you're becoming a major part of the Eagles staff already, huh?" and he's like "Uhh... no! I'm uh... I'm just doing my best! Uhhh..." and the entire stadium started laughing.


A few more photos and I give up on this post as it's already a week late.


Scoreboard during Masaya Ozaki's first ichi-gun at-bat of the year.

Hanging out behind the Inaba banner with the ouendan.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Deanna's 2010 Gamelog

You know, it was really useful last year to have a post listing all the games I went to, so before this year gets too far out of control, I think I want to do that again.

109. November 14, Waseda vs. Aichi Gakuin @ Jingu, Jingu Taikai
108. November 14, Nichidai Sanko vs. Hokkai @ Jingu, Jingu Taikai
107. November 13, Marines vs. SK Wyverns @ Tokyo Dome, Japan-Korea Challenge Game
106. November 3, Keio vs. Waseda @ Jingu, Tokyo Big 6 University League
105. November 2, Marines vs. Dragons @ Chiba Marine (Japan Series!)
104. October 31, Keio vs. Waseda @ Jingu, Tokyo Big 6 University League
103. October 24, Rikkio vs. Meiji @ Jingu, Tokyo Big 6 University League
102. October 24, Tokyo vs. Hosei @ Jingu, Tokyo Big 6 University League
101. October 23, Hosei vs. Tokyo @ Jingu, Tokyo Big 6 University League
100. October 23, Meiji vs. Rikkio @ Jingu, Tokyo Big 6 University League
99. October 20, Toyo vs. Asia @ Jingu, Tohto University League
98. October 16, Keio vs. Meiji @ Jingu, Tokyo Big 6 University League
97. October 16, Waseda vs. Rikkio @ Jingu, Tokyo Big 6 University League
96. October 11, Todai vs. Rikkio @ Jingu, Tokyo Big 6 University League
95. October 11, Hosei vs. Meiji @ Jingu, Tokyo Big 6 University League
94. October 10, Swallows vs. Carp @ Jingu
93. October 8, Giants vs. Swallows @ Tokyo Dome
92. October 7, Giants vs. Carp @ Tokyo Dome
91. October 5, Swallows vs. Tigers @ Jingu
90. October 2, Dragons vs. Swallows @ Nagoya Dome
89. September 26, Swallows vs. Dragons @ Jingu
88. September 25, Swallows vs. Giants @ Jingu
87. September 25, Waseda vs. Meiji @ Jingu, Tokyo Big 6 University League
86. September 20, Fighters vs. Swallows @ Kamagaya, minor league
85. September 19, Shinano Grandserows vs. Niigata Albirex @ Olympic Stadium Nagano, BCL
84. September 18, Hosei vs. Rikkio @ Jingu, Tokyo Big 6 University League
83. September 16, Swallows vs. Giants @ Jingu
82. September 14, Swallows vs. Giants @ Jingu
81. September 12, Todai vs. Keio @ Jingu, Tokyo Big 6 University League
80. September 12, Hosei vs. Waseda @ Jingu, Tokyo Big 6 University League
79. September 11, Waseda vs. Hosei @ Jingu, Tokyo Big 6 University League
78. September 11, Keio vs. Todai @ Jingu, Tokyo Big 6 University League
77. September 9, Seibu Lions vs. Fighters @ Seibu Dome
76. September 8, Seibu Lions vs. Fighters @ Seibu Dome
75. September 7, Seibu Lions vs. Fighters @ Seibu Dome
74. September 5, Marines vs. Fighters @ Chiba Marine
73. September 4, Chuo vs. Aoyama Gakuin @ Jingu, Tohto University League
72. September 3, Marines vs. Fighters @ Chiba Marine
71. September 2, Toshiba vs. JR East @ Tokyo Dome, Intercity Baseball Tournament (industrial league)
70. August 31, Toshiba vs. Tokai Rika @ Tokyo Dome, Intercity Baseball Tournament (industrial league)
69. August 28, Botchan (Hosei-Rikkio-Keio) vs. Madonna (Waseda-Tokyo-Meiji) @ Botchan Stadium, Tokyo Big 6 University All-Star Game
68. August 27, Carp vs. Giants @ Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium Hiroshima
67. August 25, Eagles vs. Fighters @ Morioka
66. August 24, Eagles vs. Fighters @ Akita Komachi
65. August 22, Fighters vs. Lions @ Sapporo Dome
64. August 21, Fighters vs. Lions @ Sapporo Dome
63. August 19, Fighters vs. Marines @ Tokyo Dome
62. August 14, Portland Beavers vs. Albuquerque Isotopes @ PGE Park, AAA
61. August 4, Mariners vs. Rangers @ Safeco Field
60. July 25, Seiritsu vs. Kanto Daiichi @ Jingu, East Tokyo Koshien Qualifiers
59. July 25, Shutoku vs. Kokushikan @ Jingu, East Tokyo Koshien Qualifiers
58. July 24, Yokohama vs. Yokohama Shodai @ Yokohama Stadium, Kanagawa Koshien Qualifiers
57. July 23, Urawa Gakuin vs. Washinomiya @ Omiya, Saitama Koshien Qualifiers
56. July 22, Waseda Jitsugyo vs. Soka @ Jingu, West Tokyo Koshien Qualifiers
55. July 20, Giants vs. Swallows @ Tokyo Dome
54. July 18, Teikyo vs. Nichidai Sakuragaoka @ Edogawa, East Tokyo Koshien Qualifiers
53. July 17, Swallows vs. Tigers @ Jingu
52. July 15, Seibu Lions vs. Fighters @ Seibu Dome
51. July 14, Seibu Lions vs. Fighters @ Seibu Dome
50. July 13, Seibu Lions vs. Fighters @ Seibu Dome
49. July 11, Rikkio Ikebukuro vs. Toritsu Edogawa @ Meiji University Stadium, East Tokyo Koshien Qualifiers
48. July 8, Fighters vs. Hawks @ Tokyo Dome
47. July 7, Fighters vs. Hawks @ Tokyo Dome
46. July 6, Fighters vs. Hawks @ Tokyo Dome
45. June 30, Seibu Lions vs. Fighters @ Omiya
44. June 27, Gunma Diamond Pegasus vs. Niigata Albirex @ Isesaki Stadium, BCL
43. June 26, Niigata Albirex vs. Gunma Diamond Pegasus @ Hard-Off Eco Stadium Niigata, BCL
42. June 23, Swallows vs. Giants @ Jingu
41. June 22, Swallows vs. Giants @ Jingu
40. June 15, Swallows vs. Fighters @ Jingu
39. June 14, Swallows vs. Fighters @ Jingu
38. June 12, Toyo vs. Hachinohe @ Jingu, All-Japan College Tournament
37. June 12, Keio vs. Tokai @ Jingu, All-Japan College Tournament
36. June 9, Keio vs. Toin Yokohama @ Jingu, All-Japan College Tournament
35. June 7, Baystars vs. Fighters @ Sagamihara
34. June 5, Fighters vs. Buffaloes @ Tokyo Dome
33. June 4, Fighters vs. Buffaloes @ Tokyo Dome
32. May 31, Fighters vs. Eagles @ Kamagaya, minor league
31. May 29, Waseda vs. Keio @ Jingu, Tokyo Big 6 University League
30. May 23, Giants vs. Buffaloes @ Tokyo Dome
29. May 15, Meiji vs. Hosei @ Jingu, Tokyo Big 6 University League
28. May 15, Meiji vs. Keio @ Jingu, Tokyo Big 6 University League
27. May 15, Waseda vs. Hosei @ Jingu, Tokyo Big 6 University League
26. May 8, Rikkio vs. Keio @ Jingu, Tokyo Big 6 University League
25. May 8, Tokyo vs. Hosei @ Jingu, Tokyo Big 6 University League
24. May 1, Mariners vs. Rangers @ Safeco Field
23. April 25, Rakuten vs. Fighters @ Kleenex Stadium Miyagi
22. April 24, Rakuten vs. Fighters @ Kleenex Stadium Miyagi
21. April 20, Rakuten vs. Marines @ Tokyo Dome
20. April 18, Seibu Lions vs. Fighters @ Seibu Dome
19. April 17, Rikkio vs. Hosei @ Jingu, Tokyo Big 6 University League
18. April 11, Fighters vs. Marines @ Kamagaya, minor league
17. April 10, Waseda vs. Rikkio @ Jingu, Tokyo Big 6 University League
16. April 10, Meiji vs. Todai @ Jingu, Tokyo Big 6 University League
15. April 9, Giants vs. Dragons @ Tokyo Dome
14. April 6, Baystars vs. Dragons @ Yokohama
13. March 31, Fighters vs. Buffaloes @ Tokyo Dome
12. March 30, Fighters vs. Buffaloes @ Tokyo Dome
11. March 27, Marines vs. Fighters @ Chiba Marine
10. March 26, Marines vs. Fighters @ Chiba Marine
9. March 23, Takaoka Shogyo vs. Chiben Wakayama @ Koshien, Senbatsu HS Tournament
8. March 23, Morioka Daifu vs. Chukyodai Chukyo @ Koshien, Senbatsu HS Tournament
7. March 23, Kochi vs. Shinko Gakuen @ Koshien, Senbatsu HS Tournament
6. March 18, Baystars vs. Dragons @ Yokohama, preseason game
5. March 16, Fighters vs. Dragons @ Kamagaya, preseason game
4. March 14, Swallows vs. Fighters @ Jingu Stadium, preseason game
3. March 13, Fighters vs. Marines @ Tokyo Dome, preseason game
2. March 11, Baystars vs. Fighters @ Yokohama Stadium, preseason game
1. March 10, Swallows vs. Marines @ Jingu Stadium, preseason game

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Foto: Marines vs. Eagles @ Tokyo Dome

In lieu of an actual game report, I will show some photos and just kind of talk about how things went along the way.

Some of these are repeats from the placeholder post. I figured it made sense to just have everything together in one photo post in the end.

So, first, the ceremonial first pitch was Randy Johnson. Apparently he is in Japan shopping for music? I dunno, got that pointer from NPB Tracker...

The Marines starter was Yuki "Karaage-kun" Karakawa, who is now old enough to drink.

The Eagles starter was Satoshi Nagai, another one of Toyodai's finest.

Here is Norihiro Nakamura hitting a 2-run home run in the 2nd inning, which made it 2-0.

Here is Takeshi Yamasaki. He got on base via an error in the 4th inning (a grounder to shortstop and somehow it didn't connect at first. The amusing thing is, I had turned down to my scorecard to write the 6-3... and then the entire stadium roared as he was safe! Whoops. Then he got into a rundown during Norihiro Nakamura's at-bat, caught off second between Imae and Nishioka.

The Marines tied the game between the 4th and the 5th inning, on a Satozaki RBI double and a sac fly by Tae-Kyun Kim, to make it 2-2.

Here's the bottom of the 5th inning. Fuminori Yokogawa was hit by a pitch and got on base, though he was caught out at home on a Naoto Watanabe grounder shortly after I took this photo of him standing on third base.

Then Takeshi Yamasaki hit a single to center that scored Hijirisawa and Naoto -- here they are at the dugout. 4-2.

Teppei followed it up with a single and Yosuke Takasu broke for home, diving over Satozaki. He was safe. 5-2.

Karakawa came out of the game at that point. Norihiro and Kusano hung out in the on-deck circle waiting for Itoh to come to the mound, and something funny happened in the Marines dugout but I have no clue what.


In the bottom of the 8th, Bryan Corey was pitching...

And Teppei walked, and Kusano singled him home. Vroom. Another close call at the plate in favor of the Eagles. 6-2.

Motohiro Shima hit a 2-run homer after that over the fence in left-center to make it 8-2 but I do not have a picture of that.

Rakuten closer Kawagishi finished out the game and that was that. Game heroes were Nagai for pitching 7.2 innings of 2-run ball, and Yamasaki for batting in the go-ahead runs.

This was Rakuten's first "home game" in the Tokyo Dome, so they lined up to thank the 41000 fans or so who showed up.

I took a whole bunch of other photos that don't fit into the story per se, so here they are:

Shoitsu Ohmatsu

Tae-Kyun Kim

Naoto Watanabe caught a liner

Fuminori Yokogawa

Tadahito Iguchi

Takumi Kohbe (Kohbe Kohbe Kohbe!)

Backup catcher Naoki Matoba

This weekend, I am going up to Sendai. I hope it doesn't rain.