Fighters games at the Tokyo Dome are really special to me. It was, infact, at the Tokyo Dome 8 years ago that I got my start as a Fighters fan. Thus, I planned my trip to Japan this fall to allow me to get to at least one Tokyo Dome game, and I'm really glad I did.
I showed up around 3:30 for the 4pm doors opening for the 6pm game, and there were already a ton of people out there, mostly because they now make Marines and Fighters fans both come in at the same gate for the outfield, which sucks. On the other hand, all of the established groups of friends I have were already out there waiting, so I basically just said hi to a bazillion people, and snuck in with one of my closer friends, who let me just get in line with him. This resulted in me getting into the stadium before the friends who were actually saving me a seat.
Mostly, people were like "Welcome back! When did you get in?" but several didn't know I'd left the country and reacted like "WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN THIS YEAR?!!?"
I was fortunate to run into a friend of mine who speaks fluent English and engineered it so that I ended up sitting with him for most of the game (his group and mine had saved seats next to each other). So that was great; I made him teach me some of the new cheer songs.
We went up to do pinbadges, too. (We ran into BB on the way and took the above photo then.) Of course, this is my only real chance this year to get them for sure; I want to go to Sapporo but don't know that I'll do it or not yet. My only real goal was getting an Imanari badge, since I have one for every year he's been on the Fighters. So I got my raijo badge, then went to get in line to do gatchapon badges... and while we were all there, some guy comes up to Crazy Matsuda like "I got these, they're mostly crap, anyone want to trade?" and I said "OMG YOU HAVE IMANARI!!!! I WANT I WANT I WANT!!!" so he basically just gave it to me for my Tadano, which is the one I got for just showing up. I *knew* that something would work out for me getting an Imanari badge as usual, I just had no idea what it would be. I immediately affixed it to my uniform, I was so happy:
I took videos of some of the new songs so I could study them later. Here's a few:
Fighters full lineup cheer before the game:
1. Scales 2. Yoh 3. Itoi 4. Koyano 5. Inaba 6. Nakata 7. Hoffpauir 8. Imanami 9. Tsuruoka
Micah Hoffpauir cheer song.
鍛え抜かれた体で 迎える敵を蹴散らせ 内に秘めた闘志 熱く熱く燃やせ
kitaenukareta karada de osaeru kataki wo kechirase uchi wo himeta toushi atsuku atsuku moyase
This was actually Micah Franklin's song ten years ago, bizarrely...
Bobby Scales cheer song.
溢れる力を出し その名を刻め 希望の道を拓け Ｇｏ！ＭＹ！ＷＡＹ！ レオン
afureru chikara wo dashi sono na wo kizame kibou no michi wo hirake GO MY WAY Leon!
This one was used for Andy Green for like, the 2-3 months he played for the Fighters in 2007... which was before I moved there that summer.
Atsushi Ugumori's new cheer song -- actually entirely new just for him.
ひかりの中に 素晴らしい明日あすを見つけて がむしゃらに追い掛けろ 煌めく世界を
hikari no naka ni subarashii asu wo mitsukete gamushara ni oikakero kirameku sekai wo
On the subject of those guys, bizarrely, this one person had some cheering props for Scales and Hoffpauir, both of which were bad puns in Japanese. For Scales he had a 助さん (suke-san) sign, which I first thought was something to do with the word "suketto", but I have since been informed that it's probably a reference to Mito Komon's bodyguard. For Hoffpauir, whose first name is Micah, this guy had a squid hat. Get it? Micah sounds like "maika" in Japanese, which is a kind of squid.
Anyway, as for the game itself, it was less exciting than it could have been. The Fighters scored runs in the first and second innings; first off Scales reaching base on a dropped fl to right field, being bunted up and scored on a Koyano single, and in the second inning, Tsuruoka doubled, and Scales doubled, and that was it. Things largely progressed like that for the next few innings, with the Marines scattering some kinda sucky plays in the field that somehow didn't let the Fighters score, and eventually in the 8th inning Shota Ishimine led off with a walk, advanced on a single and a bunt, and then scored on an error by Bobby Scales, who dropped a fly ball in shallow center. That's most of the action for the game right there and the Fighters won it 2-1.
Bobby Keppel pitched 7 strong innings and was the game hero. It was Nashida's last game managing in the Tokyo Dome so they made a big deal out of that.
On one last note, here's a photo I took out of the Tokyo Dome:
Notice anything... strange... about that?