I just flew in from Tokyo, and BOY ARE MY ARMS TIRED. Err, sorry. I've spent the last week on vacation in Japan, I might be jet-lagged into ridiculous humor. So what does that have to do with Gaslamp Ball?
Absolutely everything! One of the take home lessons of attending both World Baseball Classics was that the Japanese love their baseball. After seeing the fans cheer on their teams, I knew that should the opportunity ever present itself, I needed to see a ballgame in Japan.
I won't say we planned our trip around baseball, but I will admit that the first thing I did after securing a plane ticket and a place to sleep was to start looking up schedules and stadiums. And by the way, if you happen to plan on catching a game in Japan, and like me don't speak a lick of Japanese, I highly recommend the folks over at Japan Ball for all of your ticketing needs. Our tickets were delivered straight to our hotel and as you can see from the photo, we had an excellent view. Those, by the way, are "good seats" so if you're pickier than I am, know that you can spend more and the folks at Japan Ball can get you closer.
On to the game. We were at the Tokyo Dome to see the Yomiuri Giants take on the Orix Buffaloes. Based on standings alone, I expected to see some quality ball out of the Giants, but by the end of the second inning, they were down 6-0. They bobbled the ball a few times, and just couldn't produce runs. In the sixth they finally scored (courtesy of Alex Ramirez) but it wasn't enough and they ended up losing 7-3.
Those that do more recon than I do before watching a game would have probably known ahead of time to expect an appearance by former Padre Edgar Gonzalez. But your fearless reporter takes her love of the sport, not of the players in particular, with her on the road to Japan. So I was surprised.
Despite the rabid fans (for both teams!) there was a mass exodus that began at the 7th inning, when it was clear that the Giants probably weren't going to pull through. It gave me that wave of nostalgia back to my childhood at Dodger stadium. But the die hard cheering sections out in the outfield kept up their uniform chanting, drumming and trumpeting until the last pitch. It was pretty exciting. And I think we really need to embrace thunder sticks and unified chanting in this country. I don't know if it helps the players, but it sure makes for a fun time at the ballpark.
Verdict? Japanese baseball: APPROVED.