Monday, August 27, 2007

Other crazy stuff: Dice-K Dice

I was showing a friend of mine the Yellow Submarine shop in Shinjuku today, and uh... I saw these crazy dice, I at first couldn't figure out "Why on earth does it have a K and an 18?"

Then I saw the sign. Daisuke Dice "K". Yes, that stupid nickname has even spread to Japan, to the point that game shops have Dice-K dice.

Something about this really bothers me, but I can't exactly explain what. I did buy one, but it was mostly for the WTF factor.

(Scroll down for my Fighters game report! It's worth it, I promise!)

Game Report: Fighters at Lions - I got Inaba's home run ball!

Long story short: Atsunori Inaba hit a home run in the first inning and I got the ball, and sadly the Fighters lost anyway.

Yeah, so I went out to Tokorozawa for the Lions-Fighters game today. I knew that things might be a little difficult for the good guys; after all, Hideaki Wakui, the Lions starter, is one of the best young pitchers in Japan, heck, one of the best pitchers period. The Fighters had Tomoya Yagi starting; last year Yagi was the Pacific League Rookie of the Year, but this year he's had some injury troubles.

And besides, Seibu's home uniforms are really amazingly stupid-looking (I personally call it the "stove repairman motif", with the jerseys and pants BOTH in a putrid shade of sky blue), so that would be working in our favor as well.

I showed up at 4pm for a 5pm game, and the leftfield seating was already pretty full, though there were some wide open spots near the lower parts, which didn't make sense to me until I went down and sat there -- thanks to the fences, you have a decent view when you're standing but a pretty lousy view when you're sitting. BUT, I saw some familiar people there -- I don't know them personally, but last year at a Fighters game in Seibu, there were these Hichori Morimoto fans there, who ran a site called "Hero's Hichori", and they even gave me an inflatable dolphin, back when that was used for cheering Ogasawara... back when he was on the Fighters... back when I wasn't bitter about him. But I digress. I remembered they were pretty nice, and I sat behind a couple that I also saw last year (I remembered the lady who was very pretty and wearing a BB bear-ears headband), and I sat next to another person who was there alone, a smiley-happy guy who actually sort of danced when he was doing player cheers.

Like I said, I sort of picked my spot a little randomly, and debated moving elsewhere, but decided not to. Little did I know exactly what a good choice I'd made.

So sure enough, things get under way. We did our pregame lineups and cheers and whatnot, and ominously, the first pitch to Hichori is a strike, and he even strikes out. Kensuke Tanaka follows that by hitting a fly ball to center. And then Atsunori Inaba is up, and I was thinking how he had hit a lot of home runs recently, maybe I'd get to see one. We sing his cheer song, start singing it again, and suddenly,


The ball flies up and up and up and I'm thinking "Dude, come on, let it clear the wall, that'd be awesome."

Up, up, up... the ball's coming towards us...

It clears the wall and bounces in one of those lower empty spots, and goes up, its arc leading straight at me. I put up my hand and the ball lands in it!

My first ever home run ball. Thanks, Inaba! :)

(Yes, it has the date of the game, and an "NPB Official Ball" stamp on it.)

Everyone's cheering and doing high-fives as we always do after home runs. An usher comes up to me and I say in Japanese, "Do you want the ball?" and he replies "No, no, please keep it."

And then about twenty OTHER people come up to me and want to high-five me and to touch the ball and to see it and to take pictures of it and babble at me in Japanese, saying things like "Congrats!" or "Good catch!" or "Wow! You are lucky!" One girl even saw my scorecard and was like "You wrote all of these names? Amazing!" And one guy made me take a photo with him and the ball... I tried to explain that I hate pictures of me, but whatever.

After the inning ended (Shinji Takahashi was DHing and struck out for his first time), about ten more people came up and wanted to see/touch the ball. That was just pretty crazy. They were all just like "Wow, Inaba's home run ball. How cool. Good for you!"

Yeah, so sadly, that was the third at-bat of the game and most of the rest of it was a letdown. I mean, the Fighters were leading 1-0 for the first 7ish innings, but both Yagi and Wakui were pretty on today.

(Lineup note: Fighters weren't playing Seguignol, or Tsuboi; as I said, Shinji was DHing and Tsuruoka was catching instead. Kudoh was playing left field -- funny, he hasn't gotten many starts this year but he started in the other game I went to. I suppose this is what's going to happen if I go to a lot of Sunday games. I'm sad that I missed Yukio getting a start yesterday, actually.)

Kensuke Tanaka walked to lead off the 4th inning, but Inaba and Takahashi made quick outs. So during Kudoh's at-bat we started cheering "Hashire, hashire, Kensuke" (run, run) instead of "get a hit Kudoh", and sure enough Kensuke took off to steal second and he was out by a mile. Yeesh.

Yagi actually had a perfect game through three innings, but on the second time around the order, Tomoaki Satoh (not to be confused with Takahiko "G.G." Satoh) hit a hard liner through the middle for a single. And unlike Kensuke Tanaka, he successfully stole second, though he didn't get any further than that.

Fighters got a runner to third in the 5th inning (a double by Kudoh and a sac bunt by Naoto Inada), but failed to capitalize on that too, despite us all singing the "chance" music. (PS -- thank you Fighters oendan for writing chance music that doesn't suck in the last few years.)

Lions at-bat music note: Toru Hosokawa still comes out to Kiyoshi no Zundoko, which is really freaking bizarre given the echo in the Goodwill Dome (you hear it going "ZUN! zun! ZUN zun ZUN zun ZUN zun DOKO doko!" as it reverbs). Hisashi Takayama, who was batting after Hosokawa, also used an enka theme song, and also echoed in a bizarre way. And uhh... Kazuhiro Wada uses "Hit me Baby One More Time" as his at-bat music, which is just plain freaking weird.

Yagi got into a bit of a pinch in the 6th inning -- Hosokawa singled and was bunted up, and then Yagi hit Kataoka with a pitch, so there were two on with one out, but then Satoh grounded into a double play (which reminds me, I may not really have an excuse to say it in this entry but Makoto Kaneko is still fantastic and awesome and I still adore him).

Everything sort of fell apart in the bottom of the 7th. Hiroyuki Nakajima nearly hit a home run that Inaba caught at the wall, and then Kazuhiro Wada hit a double off the back wall for real, and then BLAM, Alex Cabrera hit a home run that not only cleared the outfield wall but it actually hit the back wall in center, under the scoreboard. That brought the score to 2-1.

The Fighters evened it up in the top of the 8th. Toshimasa Konta led off (pinch-hitting for Yuuji Iiyama, who had come in defensively for Chon-so Yoh) and doubled down the leftfield line. Tsuruoka bunted, and Konta moved to third. Hichori Morimoto came to the plate and very excitingly singled to right, scoring Konta! 2-2. Lots of high-fives and whatnot among the crowd, and some excitement again. Kensuke Tanaka, whose at-bats literally took about five minutes each (I know, because we looped the cheer songs), grounded out, moving Hichori to second. So for Inaba, we all got very excited to start singing his cheer songs, and... and they started to intentionally walk him, so instead we all just started booing and yelling things about what a bunch of cowards the Lions are, etc. And then our glorious DH, Shinji Takahashi, proceeded to strike out for the third time that day. (Don't get me wrong, I like him a lot, but I thought it was a bit weird having him in cleanup.)

So with the score tied 2-2 into the bottom of the 8th, and Yagi looking tired, there was a call to the bullpen. (You could argue that it should have been done an inning earlier for an Ejiri-Hisashi-Micheal finish, but whatever.) Shintaro Ejiri came out, and he's actually been a pretty good setup guy this year in general, but... but... but not today. Takumi Kuriyama pinch hit for Takayama -- the DH batting 9th -- and took the first or second pitch he saw and sent it flying into the Seibu cheering section in right field. 3-2. Yikes. And the bleeding didn't stop there -- Kataoka singled, Satoh hit into a fielder's choice but the play wasn't made at second so there were two runners, and then Nakajima was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. At this point there was another call to the bullpen and Takehiko Oshimoto came out to pitch, and fortunately some miracle occurred that I couldn't clearly see due to the stupid fence, but the Fighters somehow got a double play to catch Kataoka running home AND to catch Kazuhiro Wada running to first, so no run scored an there were two outs, and then Oshimoto struck out Alex Cabrera.

Still, the damage was done, and Alex Graman came out to close the 3-2 game, and he struck out Kudoh and Inada, both looking, on very close pitches. Kaneko grounded out to second and that was the game.

After the game I went over to the Hero's Hichori people and said (in Japanese), "Hey! I remember you guys, I met you last year! You gave me a dolphin!" "A what?" "An Ogasawara dolphin!" "Oh yeah! Wow, that was a long time ago, do you only go to games out here?" "No... I go to Chiba and here..." "Oh, not the Tokyo Dome?" "No, sadly." "Ahh, we are at many of the games, please come say hi again... and good job getting Inaba's home run ball!" "I was lucky!" "Maybe... well, see you again later!"

It turns out the Fighters are playing in Chiba on Monday Sept 10th, so I am going to try to go to that game, I think. Of course, that was also the weekend I was planning to go to Nagoya and visit a friend and see the Dragons game on the 9th, so it could be a pretty busy weekend. I'm debating going down to Yokohama for the Baystars game on September 2nd -- it's an afternoon game, so a great excuse to get a low seat and bring my camera, although it's also supposed to rain in Kanto next weekend so who knows. I'll decide later this week, I guess.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Baseball chips?

I went out to get a snack between classes today, and I had these:

They're actually pretty good for potato chips, and at 84 yen per bag, not a bad deal -- because they also come with two baseball cards. Of course, with my luck, I got an Ogasawara and a Takasu. No, the cards aren't in the bag with the chips, they're attached to the back. I'm sure if you did this in America, kids would just steal the cards without buying the chips, but that doesn't happen here.

It's sort of neat if you think about it -- rather than buying cards and getting some awful bubble gum, you buy chips and get some cool baseball cards. Japan is really great at the whole collectibles business, I think.

I bought my ticket to sit in the outfield cheering section for the Fighters (vs. Lions) game on Sunday! I'm so psyched!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Saga Kita won!!!

It was 2-0 for most of the game, I started watching in the 6th inning (I went to the Daiei department store near my work, on my "lunchbreak", they have a big electronics dept on the third floor with lots of TVs), Koryo's starter Yusuke Nomura had a one-hitter going into the 8th, and then BLAM, Saga pitcher Takahiro Kubo singled, the bases got loaded, Nomura walked in a run (it was Kubo), and then Soejima (I think thats how you say his name) hit a grand slam home run. 5-4. Koryo almost had a guy on third in the top of the 9th but instead he got himself picked off in a sac bunt attempt trying to go to third. 2 outs and the last batter was Yusuke Nomura, the Koryo pitcher, and Kubo struck him out.


It was really cool, even though a lot of the 50-year-old guys in the Daiei store looked at me funny the whole time, like "why is this crazy gaijin here cheering for Saga?"

It's funny, though, watching the players at Koshien, you could almost imagine what they will look like several years from now as grown-up players. I guess that's why everyone loves highschool baseball here. It's like watching the future.

The thing about Saga that really intrigued me was that they had two really good pitchers to put out -- Masafumi Baba started most of the games and Takahiro Kubo came in later. I was thinking that Yusuke Nomura was a really awesome pitcher (he got a ton of strikeouts and just had some amazingly nasty stuff that he threw), BUT he was going to have to get tired at some point, and what would they do then? And then came the 8th inning and sure enough, he did. I think it's got to be hell on some of these kids to just throw so many pitches in such a short amount of time, which is why I thought the pitching tandem was going to do so well. Though, man, for a while it sure seemed like it wasn't going to work out that way.

Now of course, the question is... will Kubo be Saga-oji? Or something else along the lines of Yuki "Handkerchief Prince" Saito? To be fair, Nomura's a bit cuter than Kubo, but Kubo really sort of reminds me of Masahiro Tanaka, so...

Monday, August 20, 2007


I went shopping today in Kichijouji with a coworker. She was showing me a housewares/etc shopping building called the Loft, and we found the most AWESOME. JAPANESE. BASEBALL. GOODS. EVER.

Okay, maybe not ever, but here, get a load of these (sorry for photo quality, these were taken with my cellphone and I can't edit them)

Yes, these are "Kattobashi". Chopsticks made out of recycled broken baseball bats.

No, really.

(This is funny if you know that "Kattobase" is what you cheer when players are at bat, to mean "Get a hit!", essentially. And "hashi" are chopsticks. They had them with logos for every baseball team in Japan.)

I bought a pair of Fighters ones, even though it was like Y1300. I couldn't resist. I mean, these are made out of real baseball bats, and they're chopsticks, and I had just been thinking I needed chopsticks, and... I also got a little baseball glove thingy as my chopsticks rester. They also had bats, and little glass baseballs.

The bat in the display was actually one of Michihiro Ogasawara's. I tried to explain to my coworker about how I used to be completely in love with Ogasawara when he was with the Fighters, and now I don't like him with the Giants, but I think that seems sort of weird to the Japanese, like you should still cheer for the player no matter where they go, if you like them. I dunno. Either way, it was neat to see one of his bats there, but it still makes me sad.

I wonder whose bat the Fighters chopsticks came from? It doesn't say on there.

Anyway, I ended up not going to a Seibu-Orix game this weekend, nor any game at all, because I got a phone call from a friend and we ended up hanging out Sunday instead. ("Yeah, it wouldn't take much to talk me out of going to today's game, but NEXT WEEK when the Fighters are here, there's no way anyone's keeping me out of Tokorozawa...") I may actually go up to Sendai for the Eagles-Fighters game next Monday to make up for it; we'll see what kind of plans I have next weekend.

And if anyone's in the Tokyo area and wants to come with me to cheer for the Fighters on Sunday (8/26), feel free. (Or if you want to go to pretty much any game in Kanto on a Sunday or Monday, or just hang out sometime and chat baseball...)

I still need to theoretically finish and upload my Yokohama game thingy from last weekend. I'm so lazy.

Oh yeah, and Saturday night I was watching this 24-hour TV marathon on Nippon TV, and who's sitting there in the front row of TV talent/celebrities next to popstar/idol Hideaki "Tackey" Takizawa? Why, none other than my very own favorite TV celebrity, Tsuyoshi Shinjo. His white teeth and lovely smile seemed quite perfectly in place next to the rest of the TV stars.

As an aside, I am rooting for Saga Kita high school in Koshien. I didn't want to declare that until fairly late because I didn't want to jinx them like I jinxed Tomakomai last year, but... due to scheduling I've managed to see like three of their games. And for a school which had never won a game at Koshien before this year, the fact that they are in the final 4 is just plain awesome. Though, they've also played an insane amount of innings -- even the game against Teikyo went 13 innings on Sunday. They should have won it in the 9th; they had two guys on and no outs, but failed a squeeze play. And then they were saved by a cannonshot throw by outfielder Babasaki to nail a Teikyo runner at the plate in the top of the 12th or the 13th inning, I forget when. It was still pretty exciting. Their team seems to be helped by having two strong pitchers - #10, Baba, and ace #1 Kubo, so they have been splitting a lot of the games, rather than just having one ace who takes all of the stress. Tomorrow are the Koshien semi-finals, and I think that means the final finals will be on Wednesday afternoon. Yikes. I may have to come up with a reason to go shopping at the Daiei store with the big TV section during the afternoon again...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Koshien so far, in three sentences

1. It's okay that my prefecture's team, Urawa Gakuin, lost to Maebashi high school of Gunma yesterday -- after all, Maebashi's pitcher is named Kazuhiro Sasaki. (I work in Tokyo, but I actually live in Saitama, so.)

2. Just because you're in high school and can throw 97mph doesn't necessarily mean your team will win Koshien. Just ask Sendai Ikuei's Yoshinori Satoh, who set a Koshien speed record this morning by throwing a 155km/h pitch, but then gave up 5 runs in the 5th inning to Chiben Gakuin and thus lost the game. (Sad thing is that Satoh struck out 17 batters in his first game of the tournament, last week.)

3. It ain't over until the cute cheerleader girls STOP singing. I watched the last 3 innings of the Toko-Nichinan game the other day, and it was 2-2 going into the 10th. Nichinan scored 3 runs in the top, and then Toko scored 3 runs in the bottom. Then Nichinan scored FOUR runs in the top of the 11th and Toko only made up one in their half and that was it. Crazy stuff.

In other news:

1. I have a keitai (cellphone) now, so if you are in Japan and want to get in touch with me, especially if you want to go to a game with me, comment or send email to my normal address and I'll give you my number/phonemail.

2. Similarly, I've been very busy but haven't been writing about it here. If you want to know what I'm up to non-baseball-wise, go elsewhere.

3. I did start writing a report about the Yokohama-Tigers game I went to last week but just haven't had a chance to upload it; hopefully I can do that before too long; I should have internet at home sometime in 2-3 weeks. Suffice it to say I had a really good time and I think I've decided that officially my CL teams will be Yokohama and Chunichi (with my PL teams being Nippon Ham and Lotte).

Teaching has been pretty interesting so far, anyway. As soon as my students hear that I like baseball, they like to talk about Ichiro or Hideki Matsui, which is fun. I put up some of my Mariners posters in my office, including the Little League one with a young Ichiro and Johjima on it, and it's been pretty popular to talk about so far. And one of my students even played at Koshien a few years ago, so that was really exciting to talk about. Even today when I went into Daiwa to try to find a replacement for one of my classroom props, I walked by the electronic section and there were about 5 people just staring at the TV sets on display... because Koshien was on and Teikyo was playing (which is technically the school for our area of Tokyo). Baseball is very popular here, for sure.

Monday, August 06, 2007

More random baseballness

The next game I am going to is Tigers vs. Baystars next Sunday, August 12. Bought tickets today, for me and a friend who is leaving Japan the next day, sadly.

I also went to the Tokyo Dome again to get myself a Fighters cellphone keychain thingy, in the hopes that I have a cellphone soon to use it with. Hopefully someone I work with will help me get one in the next few days.

At the To:Do shop, there was an American guy there with two kids, trying to find them Giants jerseys, but they were having trouble figuring out sizes, so I stepped in and showed them the size charts and the sample jerseys hanging on the wall and all. The kids are there on Make A Wish, apparently. The store clerks told the guy to get an Ogasawara jersey, because he asked them who the best player on the Giants is. I was like, "Grrrrrrrr." "What?" "Ogasawara." "They said he was the best player." "He is pretty good. He was even my absolute favorite player, for YEARS... when he played for the Fighters. Then he signed with the Giants and shaved his beard and... you know Johnny Damon? Same exact thing." So I ended up convincing them to get a Yoshinobu Takahashi jersey and a Koji Uehara jersey instead. Go me. It was weird seeing the Ogasawara stuff in the Giants store. He looks so... wrong.

I wanted baseball cards but they had none at the dome, so I got directions to the Yamashita bookstore, also near the dome, and IT HAS A HUGE SECTION OF BASEBALL BOOKS AND MAGAZINES! It was so cool. Got my Fighters 2007 Guidebook and this week's Shukan Baseball, and debated getting a Kazumi Saitoh "All About Kazumi" biography/picture book, heh, and the Chunichi yearbook as well, but didn't get those. I also only got one pack of cards, though I'm debating getting the 2007 all-star set. I can always go back I suppose. I also got some baseball figures out of a capsule machine outside the store, because I am a dumbass. Maybe I can foist off the Kanemoto one on a Tigers fan at the game next week; not sure what I'll do with the Maeda one of the Carp, and I didn't put any more money in after those two since I figured there was little chance of me getting the Darvish one.

On the way back to the station I ran into the Make-a-Wish guy again and we chatted baseball for a while. The kids are going to the Tigers-Giants game tomorrow so I gave him tons of advice for ways to not piss off either fan group. He thanked me again for my help, and was like "How long have you lived in Tokyo? You seem to know your Japan and Japanese baseball stuff really well," and I was like "Err.. to be honest... since Saturday?"

It's been a pretty funny day in that aspect, really. I can go to a playguide and negotiate ordering tickets to a baseball game just fine; I can talk to people about random movies and stuff in Japanese just fine; I filled out my gaijin registration forms just fine; I can get and give directions, etc. But after the Dome I went to get some curry for dinner, and I swear that them asking me "What level of spice do you want?" completely threw me through a loop and reminded me that I can't REALLY speak Japanese at all.

I also read a Koshien magazine that I really need to go buy at some point. It was about old Koshien games and had pictures of a lot of current/recent NPB/MLB players from their high school days. Ichiro was so cute! The best, though, was the story of Kazuhiro Sasaki playing against Shigetoshi Hasegawa in Koshien in the late 80's.

Oh, one more thing: Saitama's representatives at the Koshien baseball tournament is apparently Urawa Gakuin, which is pretty close to where I live. Awesome, huh? I saw posters about it all over Kawaguchi today. Very exciting! I wonder if I can go see them play at school sometime. Sadly, it seems that I actually won't really be able to watch Koshien very well from here -- maybe some of the games in the morning before I go to work, if I wake up early enough...

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Game Report: Marines vs. Fighters - Hori-ble

Marines 5, Fighters 4

Today I went to a baseball game at Chiba Marine Stadium! Yay! Only problem is that it really takes forever from where I'm living to get there. I left my apartment in Warabi at 2:45pm and got to the stadium around 4:45pm; had to walk 20 mins to the station, take a train to Tokyo station, walk 10 minutes to change to the Keiyo line, take that train out to Makuhari, then I ended up walking to the stadium instead of bussing, because I met a random older guy on the train who wanted to practice English and talk about baseball with me, and who am I to refuse that?

(He was pretty interesting; had been to the US for baseball games TEN TIMES, each time going to St Louis because he saw the Cardinals play in Japan when he was really really young. He's been to 23 stadiums in the US. When I told him I had been to 10 stadiums in Japan he was absolutely astounded; though he was probably more astounded later when it came out that I knew all kinds of random trivia off the top of my head like Darvish's birthday and Yukio Tanaka's high school and whatnot. Anyway, his English was really pretty good and we talked until I got in line to buy a ticket, since he was going to sit on the Marines fan side and I was going to sit with the Fighters. Oh yeah, he also had told me that he watched the Mariners-Boston game at like 7am or something crazy, and saw them lose to Matsuzaka.)

So yeah. I guess I got into a seat around 5-5:10ish. Oh, you guys in Seattle will NEVER believe this, but among the food selections in the visitor's outfield concession they have IVAR'S CLAM CHOWDER. I am not making that up and it is actually called Ivar's specifically and even has the same cardboard bowls. They also had cheesesteaks which I wasn't courageous enough to try.

I ended up sitting down next to another older guy and his friend, since I wanted to sit in the back row of the front half -- that way I could lean against the bar behind the seat, since they have no backs there. There was a guy around my age a few seats to my right (wearing an Ogasawara jersey no less) but he didn't try to talk to me. See, for some reason Japanaese guys in their 40's-50'sish really like to talk to me, which is sort of always pretty funny to me, but younger people don't as much. This time I totally didn't mind, especially because after talking to me for a while, and watching me write kanji names in my scorecard and all, the older guy (who spoke absolutely no English, too) kept buying me drinks when he'd go buy them for him and his friend, so he kept coming back with a third for me, like chu-hai and some grape drink and whatnot. He said it was in return for me teaching him how to keep score, but in reality I think it was just because he thought my bizarre gaijin-ness was entertaining; he nearly lost it when I called Mitch Jones a gaijin, and when I was singing Oi Hokkaido after a run scored, he was like "That is SO WEIRD for an American to be singing that!" He did also say that Japanese people don't really keep scorecards because they are usually too busy either singing or drinking during games. But I kept score AND was singing and drinking, so...

ANYWAY, the game was actually pretty exciting. Mitsuo Yoshikawa was starting for the Fighters -- he's a 19-year-old lefty hotshot kid, was our #1 draft pick this past year, so it was cool to get to see him. Shingo Ono started for the Marines, and I think this is actually the third time I've seen him start a game, somehow.

In all honesty, most of my game notes don't have anything to do with the gameplay itself, but let's see. I mean, my first note is about waving to Hichori Morimoto and having him wave back. (I should mention that I was wearing a Tsuboi #7 oldskool Fighters t-shirt and a Hichori towel around my neck.) My second note is about the Marines' Hayakawa utterly failing to hit a sac bunt and INSTEAD grounding into a double play, prompting the guy next to me to be like "That's very major-league like, right? Where everyone sucks at bunting?"

Julio Zuleta, who is still injured-ish, was at the stadium and they showed him on the big screen waving to everyone at one point.

The game stayed scoreless for 3 innings, and then the Fighters finally got a run in the 4th when Inaba started off with a double, was eventually bunted up, and batted in by Mitch Jones of all people, hence my singing Oi Hokkaido and high-fiving everyone. Unfortunately the Marines struck back in the bottom of the 4th and scored THREE runs, with a walk and three straight hits, two of which were doubles. I was sad that I had to root against Satozaki, who batted in the first run, but alas.

(Jose Ortiz's cheer music is to the tune of Glory Glory Hallelujah or whatever that military march is called. Bizarre.)

In the 5th inning, they had fireworks -- the Marines mascots shot a baseball over the centerfield scoreboard and suddenly it erupted in fireworks. It was pretty. During the bottom of the 5th they finally took Yoshikawa out of the game, and Hichori and Kudoh were hanging out in centerfield during the pitching change with their gloves on their head (like Hichori/Inaba/Shinjo used to do last year) and Mitch Jones was just standing there in left. So the guy next to me was like "Look at Jones standing there alone! He isn't at the meeting! Here, you go tell him in English!"

The Marines scored two more runs in the 6th. Hayakawa hit a triple, too.

In the 7th, right after a cheer of "Home run, home run, Seguignol," he actually hit a home run over the centerfield fence. That was kind of cool. Sadly it only brought the score to 5-4, and that's where it would stay. Interestingly, both closers came into the game -- Hillman brought in Micheal Nakamura in the 8th, and Valentine brought in Masa Kobayashi to pitch the 9th.

Bobby also made the 7th inning take ninety years by having THREE pitching changes -- Ogino to Fujita to Kanda to Yabuta. Poor Marines fans were waiting with their balloons for the 7th inning stretch forever!

The Fighters lost, but it was a fun game.

I got a new lyrics sheet since I didn't know the cheers for Koyano, or Tsuruoka, or even the silly new one for Naoto Inada, so now I have to go learn those.

Oh, Tomochika Tsuboi did come into the game later on, and he struck out after a bazillion pitches, but then he played left field and was standing right in front of where we were, and... uh, he may be the best-looking high-socks-wearing player I've ever seen. Just awesome calf muscles, he really does the high socks something good. Kudoh and Hashimoto also had high socks, and no Marines players did that I recall.

The title of this post is just because Koichi Hori went 2-for-3. He always does that every time I start thinking of how damn old he is.

There were four baseball games in the greater Kanto area today -- 66% of Japan's baseball teams were playing here -- so after getting out at Tokyo station to change lines, I saw people coming from the Yokohama-Chunichi game and the Giants-Swallows game. Pretty neat to see so many baseball jerseys all over.

I need to get out of this internet cafe before I totally fall asleep, so if I remember anything else maybe I'll add it later.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Off the continent in an hour

I get on a plane in an hour to fly to Tokyo. Crazy.

Last night I went to the Aquasox game with some friends up here in Vancouver, after finishing my week of training. It was cool! Greg Halman is awesome! So is Manelik Pimentel! I guess the big deal was Craig Hurba's home run -- it was over a centerfield fence that reminds me of Cheney's, but, still cool. And the Aquasox won in the end, so if that counts as a Mariners game, I'm 17-5 for the year :)

I think the Vancouver Canadians are neat, but they should have red high socks, not blue high socks. Oh yeah, Halman wears high socks. He's so cool.

I only had my little camera, took some pictures, dunno when I'll have net access to post them in Japan.

Sorry I haven't written! I sort of tried to keep up with the Mariners and even saw the ending of that crazy 12-inning game on Wednesday or whenever, but that's about it. Hopefully I'll be going to a Marines-Fighters game on Sunday. I'm pretty psyched.