Friday, October 09, 2009

College Baseball Exhibit at the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame

Thanks to a typhoon storming through Tokyo, school was cancelled on Thursday. But by the afternoon it had cleared up, so I decided to go down to the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame to see their College Baseball exhibit, which runs until this coming Monday the 12th. It's likely that this coming weekend I'll be too busy actually watching college baseball to go to the HOF, so I suppose the typhoon's timing was good in that aspect.

The Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame, by the way, is in the Tokyo Dome, and costs 500 yen to enter. They have an English translation of the standard exhibits, but nothing on the special and/or new stuff. It's not a particularly big place, nothing on the order of Cooperstown at least. You could easily see all of it in an hour or two, depending on how much you stop to look at things. If you can read Japanese and know a lot about Japanese baseball history you may find yourself stuck there for a long time, especially since there is also a library you can go into, but if you can't, it may not be all THAT exciting. (I dunno, I've been there a bunch of times at this point, so it's hard for me to judge.)

Ever since my first Tokyo Big 6 games two years ago, I've been completely enamored with college baseball here. It's basically like Koshien in that you get to see a fairly pure form of baseball being played with lots of wide-eyed young guys with dreams of becoming pros someday, but thanks to the players being a few years older, bigger, and stronger, the level of play is a bit better than Koshien. The marching bands are also better, of course.

So the first thing I did when I got there was head to the college baseball exhibit to look around, and here are some shots from that. It's really mostly just uniforms and photos from the big college baseball tournaments this summer, and a few other random bits and pieces from past tournaments.

The exhibit room.

Trophies from the All-Japan college tournament and from the US-Japan tournament.

In case it wasn't clear, the two uniforms in the trophy case are from Kazuhito Futagami, Hosei ace #18, who also wore #18 in the Japan-US tournament.

Uniforms from all of the teams that entered the All-Japan college tournament.

The exhibit had photos of all the teams that entered the All-Japan tournament, along with some information about each college league they represented. (There are many many college teams and many many college leagues here. One of the leagues in Kyushu had something like 30 teams in it.) And yes, I was there for two games of it.

Poster from this summer's Japan-USA collegiate tournament. (I was there too, of course.) They got the entire USA team to sign it, which is kind of cool.

Ribbons from past winners of the all-Japan tournament.

Display case with some magazines and info about the other college leagues outside of Tokyo.

One of the really neat things was that they had their magazines from the last 25 years of Meiji Jingu college ball out in their library, with photos for all the players in the Tohto and Big 6 leagues, so that rocked because I got to see the photos/entries for lots of current players when they were still in college! Some were really crazy, like Tsuboi and Inaba as teenagers in the early 90's, stuff like that.

Anyway, I also wandered around the rest of the museum a bit. I think this was my 6th or 7th time there since the first time I went in 2003, so a lot of the standard exhibits are boring to me at this point, but they do always change up the other scenery a bit, so it's still kind of interesting if you're only there once or twice a year tops...

The room outside the special exhibits room now has a Virtual Strikeout thing where you can try to virtually hit pitches thrown by a bunch of pitchers, like a batting cage. They also have some equipment you can look at (but sadly not touch like they used to).

For A Noboru Aota Fan, I went and snapped a photo of Aota's plaque in the Wall of Fame hallway. Aota was one of the four guys to be inducted into the fall this summer.

The WBC 2009 team uniforms, along with some various player equipment, mostly shoes and stuff, though Johjima's full catcher gear was there too.

Iwakuma and Matsuzaka's big shoes to fill.

Photos from Team Japan at various parts of the WBC.

(As an aside, the video room behind this, which generally shows old Japan Series footage, was showing the 2006 Japan Series when I wandered by, with the focus on OMGSHINJO and the Fighters victory. I enjoyed watching it again, of course...)

Every year they have, near the front, a "locker room" with 12 lockers representing the 12 teams, each with a uniform and various stuff from current players.

Some of the CL lockers.

I thought it'd be funny to pose between Darvish and Iwakuma's uniforms.

Here's one item that won't be there next year...

...and sadly, neither will this one.

On my way in and my way out I stopped to check out the 2009 WBC display, since it's what you see as soon as you go down the stairs to enter the museum. I happened to be there on a day where the 2009 trophy was on display -- the 2006 one is always there, apparently.

In other words, it was a nice way to spend an hour or two on an inadvertant afternoon off. The University Baseball exhibit is only there until this Monday, October 12, though, and after that there'll be something "celebrating the two-league format", so I assume it'll have something to do with the Japan Series and whatnot too. We'll see. I'm not sure I'll stop back for that one though.

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