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Posts tagged seibu lions

Baseball balloons have returned!

balloons at Japanese pro baseball game seibu lions

To say that the Japanese overreacted to the Swine Flu scare is more than a bit of an understatment. A group of educators were supposed to come to my university in Oregon, but they all canceled due to the H1N1 hysteria. Never mind that there are far fewer cases in my neck of the rural woods than there are in densely populated Japan (meaning they would have been safer here than at home) or that the death rate from this flu bug is less than it is for the regular flu (which inflicts far more people anyway).

One of Japan’s Swine Flu “precautions” was the prohibiting of balloons at professional baseball games. I’m happy to report that this ban has finally been ended, just in time for my arrival and attendance at Japanese ball games. Yeah!

Let the launchings begin…

balloons in flight at seibu kyujo japan baseball game

2009 Japan Pro Baseball Fan Handbook and Media Guide

My copy of the 2009 Japan Pro Baseball Fan Handbook and Media Guide arrived this past week. I’m pleasantly surprised by the contents. I was expecting a cheaply produced collection of facts that may help make my visits to games in Japan later this year a bit more enjoyable. However, this is really high quality and much more useful than I bargained for. The paper quality is top notch. Every page is in full color. And the items covered are more comprehensive and interesting than I hoped. Let’s take a look at some of the sections:

Each Japanese baseball team has a two page spread as shown above with overview material. This is pretty much all I was expecting, but there is much more.

Detailed stats, and even salaries, are shown for every player, including names in both Japanese kanji and English. If nothing else it’s a good source for practicing kanji name readings. 😉

All foreign born players have additional career details provided. How many Americans, other than Tuffy Rhodes, are there with over 400 home runs who are virtually unknown to U.S. baseball fans?

Not shown here are a bunch of other sections in the book. One I particularly like is the schedules by date. So let’s say you are in Tokyo on September 26th and want to catch a game. Instead of having to flip to each team’s page to see where they are playing, you can turn to the schedules-by-date page and quickly see that you have four options: Rakuten at Seibu in Tokorozawa, Orix at Lotte in Chiba, Hiroshima at Tokyo in the dome, or Yokohama at Yakult in Jingu. Times are also listed and since two of these games start at 2 and the other two start at 6 you could actually make it a doubleheader with four different teams in one day if you want. Try doing that in a major city in the U.S.A.

Published by Wayne Graczyk and JapanBall.com, ordering information can be found here.

Opening day

Japanese baseball has begun and my Lions won on opening night (4/3/09). I’m hoping they can keep it up so that by the time we get there they will still be in the thick of things.

If you ever go to a baseball game in Japan note that your experience will be radically different depending on where you sit. Sit in the outfield and, not only will you pay much less for your ticket but, you will be in the thick of the ouendan (応援団), or cheering sections, of the crowds. Sit near home plate and things will be much less lively, perhaps even boring. The fans in the outfield tend to be much more friendly too.

Beer girl

The beer vendors at Japanese baseball games are always female. They carry a huge keg on their back, something you can’t imagine seeing at a game in the U.S.

If beer isn’t enough to put a smile on your face at the game, though, you can always wait for the Whiskey Girl. They canvas the stands as well and will be more than happy to provide you with a shot, or two, or three… Again, something that blows the mind for those only familiar with Major League Baseball games in the states.

Saitama Seibu gets a logo change

The Lions went from worst to first between 2007 and 2008, beating the Giants in the Series in dramatic fashion to win it all.

Apparently, since the change in name from Seibu Lions to Saitama Seibu Lions between 2007 and 2008 was so lucky they have decided to change their long-standing logo in 2009. The old logo featured Kimba (and can be seen here). The prior logo based on Kimba, the White Lion, an Osamu Tezuka creation, lasted for 30 years. I’m sad to see it go. The new logo is nothing spectacular.

Baseball people tend to be very superstitious. I’m not one of them, but changing things after going all the way doesn’t sound lucky or wise to me.

勝った!

They did it! I can’t believe it. Down 3 games to 2 with two away games to go, the Lions were able to win both on the road to capture the 2008 Japanese Baseball Championship.

Hopefully they can do it again next year when I’m there.

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