Sunday, October 28, 2007

Japan Series, Game 1: Exploding Ham

[The scene: Sapporo Dome, Saturday Oct 27th, afternoon. Chunichi Dragons players are taking batting/fielding practice. Masahiko Morino walks up to Hiromitsu Ochiai by the third-base bag.]

Morino: Uh, hey, Ochiai-kantoku, I was wondering...
Ochiai: Hmmm?
Morino: You know, this Japan Series thing. We're gonna win this time, right?
Ochiai: I really like tofu.
Morino: I'm serious. The Dragons haven't won a series since you were born.
Ochiai: I fail to see your point.
Morino: You're old.

(I took this on October 7th in Yokohama. It begged a caption.)

Ochiai: I'm just going to throw Ogasawara into the lions' den and everything will work out okay.
Morino: Actually, boss, it was the Giants' den...
Ochiai: They'll be expecting Kenshin and boy will they be surprised!
Morino: ...and you did it last week.
Ochiai: It'll nullify all of their big lefty bats.
Morino: This is the Fighters we're playing this week. They don't have any big lefty bats. I'm not actually sure they HAVE any bats.
Ochiai: That could be a problem. What about righty bats?
Morino: No, I mean, I don't think they own bats. I think they go out there and hit the ball with sausages. Isn't that why they're called Nippon Ham?
Ochiai: I'm not worried. I'll just play Kenshin. They'll be expecting Ogasawara and boy will they be surprised!
Morino: Uh-huh.

[They look around the stadium for a minute. Kawakami's doing long tosses with Tanishige over by the foul line.]

Morino: Kenshin vs. Darvish for the first game of the Japan Series? I feel like I've seen this somewhere before.
Ochiai: If there's another rerun on Japan Series tonight, maybe we can all go get some crab cakes instead of watching it? Find a good izakaya?
Morino: No, I think this one is a new episode, actually.
Ochiai: Apparently Masa's already down in Susukino drinking his sorrows away.
Morino: Anyway, I had this great idea for what we should do in the game tonight.
Ochiai: And there's this one sushi restaurant with the most astoundingly tasty sashimi, you'd have to taste it to believe it.
Morino: You know how we always have these patented "big first innings?" Where we score a whole bunch of runs in the first inning and the other team can never catch up?
Ochiai: The northern parts of Japan can be really boring, but damn the food is good.
Morino: I think we need to do that. Explode on the Fighters in the first inning and then just rely on Kenshin to keep it scoreless the rest of the time. It's worked for us many times this season.
Ochiai: Hmm... exploding ham...
Morino: Are you listening to me?
Ochiai: Big first inning and then a scoreless game? Yeah, I like that idea.
Morino: I'll hit a 3-run homer if you can just get Arakibata on base.
Ochiai: And then we can go drinking?
Morino: Sure thing, boss.

[The game starts.]

Morino: Hmm, Araki struck out.
Morino: Hmm, Ibata grounded out.
Morino: I can't hit a 3-run home run. Curses! [strikes out]
Ochiai: This plan of yours is not working so well.

Hillman: Okay, so I got ahold of Chunichi's secret plan to win the game! Seggy, can I talk to you a second?
Seguignol: Ok. How'd you get it?
Hillman: Some sushi chef gave it to me. Said it was foolproof.
Hichori: [walks]
Kensuke: [bunts]
Inaba: [walks]
Hillman: Heh, heh, heh. Now that Hichorinaba is on base...
Seguignol: Here I go! Watch this!
Darvish: I'm watching, I'm watching.
Ball: Wheeeeeee! I didn't like being inside the park anyway. [lands in stands]
Fighters fans: Woohoo! 3-0!
Ochiai: This plan worked really well!
Ochiai: Wait a minute, my team isn't at bat.
Morino: Ummm...
Ochiai: Exploding ham?
Morino: No, bananas.

Kawakami: If I can retire every other batter for the rest of the night, can you guys scrape up a few runs to help me out here?
Dragons: No.
Araki: Maybe.
Morino: We got one. Is that good enough?
Kawakami: [facepalm]

Darvish: Strikeout! Strikeout! Strikeout!
Tatsunami: Uh, could you please stop doing that?
Darvish: No. Strikeout! Strikeout!
Woods: Dammit!
Darvish: Strikeout! Strikeout!
Norihiro: Arrrrgh!!
Darvish: Strikeout! Strikeout!
Morino: I'm beginning to feel like I'm in one of those bug spray commercials, and we're the bugs.
Kawakami: May I remind you that my batting average in the postseason is better than yours?
Morino: May I remind you that I have a bat today and you don't?
Kawakami: Dude, we even put Arakibata on base for you in the 6th and all you could do was deliver a sac fly. I don't want to hear it.
Ochiai: Delivery? Maybe I can get some pizza.
Morino: I tried, didn't you see? If it'd had a little less top spin that would have been a 3-run homer.
Ochiai: Toppings? How about exploding ham?
Morino: You keep saying that phrase. I do not think it means what you think it means.

[Kawakami and Darvish continue to face off against each other until the bitter end. The ninth inning starts and Darvish is still on the mound!]

Morino: Argh! [grounds out]
Woods: Crap! [strikes out]
Tatsunami: Finally. [walks]
Hillman: Uhoh. [goes to mound]
Norihiro: A chance? Maybe?
Darvish: No. [strikes him out]
Norihiro: I really don't like that kid.

[The Fighters win the first game of the Series, 3-1!]

Deanna: Hey, I actually inhaled the data section of Shube last night.
Deanna: Did you know that Darvish's 13 strikeouts tied a Japan Series record?
Deanna: It was set by Kimiyasu Kudoh in 1999. Ironically, it was also the first game of the Japan Series, and he beat the Chunichi Dragons 3-0 in doing so.
Deanna: There was also a Hiroshima Carp pitcher named Yoshiro Sotokoba who won the Sawamura Award in 1975, who struck out 13 in the 4th game of the 1975 Japan Series. But, it was a 13-inning tie game. He only struck out 10 in the first 9 innings.
Fans: Uh, Deanna? We really don't care. Darvish is cool. Huh huh.
Deanna: Err... right. Exploding ham?
Ochiai: Exploding ham!
Morino: This must be why she calls me Dragonbutt.

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