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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

MLB players revel in Japan’s ‘carnival’ stadium atmosphere

Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball aren’t really so different on the field. Everyone is playing the same game and the rules are more or less the same, with some exceptions.

But as the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics found out during their exhibitions against the Yomiuri Giants and Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, respectively, the leagues are worlds apart in the stands, where Japanese fans take an active role in creating an atmosphere that’s a lot different than in MLB.

“That was awesome,” Mariners second baseman Dee Gordon said after facing the Giants. “It was awesome. They care about baseball. It’s an exhibition game, 46,000 people here (actual attendance: 46,315). That’s awesome. You don’t see that very often.”

Hopefully, none of them were disappointed that they didn’t have to actually fight hams….

 

QLE Posted: March 19, 2019 at 03:33 AM | 54 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: japan, neutral site games, stadium

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   1. Rough Carrigan Posted: March 19, 2019 at 11:21 AM (#5823698)
Fighting a ham seems like it might still be easier than packing a bay.
   2. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 19, 2019 at 11:42 AM (#5823717)
I still can't believe that the regular season opens tomorrow.
   3. DL from MN Posted: March 19, 2019 at 12:19 PM (#5823734)
Ballparks in the US emphasize the corporate suite experience. That is not compatible with the Japanese fan atmosphere. MLB would need to do something similar to the student section at an NCAA basketball game. Create a (cheaper) season ticket section for fans who want to scream and yell, preferably in the sight lines of the TV cameras.
   4. My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected Posted: March 20, 2019 at 07:33 AM (#5823940)
Fighting a ham

The Japanese baseball joke that never gets old!
   5. homerwannabee Posted: March 20, 2019 at 08:04 AM (#5823941)
Of course the big news is Ichiro played in his 19th MLB season in front of 45,000 adoring fans.


Go Ichiro!!!!!! Greatest singles hitter to ever play the game!
   6. Nasty Nate Posted: March 20, 2019 at 08:50 AM (#5823945)
Create a (cheaper) season ticket section for fans who want to scream and yell, preferably in the sight lines of the TV cameras.
Teams missed a chance to do this by choosing instead empty Barcaloungers in the moat section.
   7. Cris E Posted: March 20, 2019 at 11:10 AM (#5823977)
"You can sit along the railing, but you need to drink a Red Bull every other inning. Here, carry this clapper."
   8. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: March 20, 2019 at 12:14 PM (#5824002)
I've never understood.... is it that Nippon is fighting ham or it is that Nippon's fighters are made of ham?
   9. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: March 20, 2019 at 12:32 PM (#5824010)
Gonna play this straight - the team names are corporate. So, the company is "Nippon Ham", the nickname is the "Fighters". Thus, I suppose they fight for ham.

   10. PreservedFish Posted: March 20, 2019 at 12:33 PM (#5824011)
What is ham's natural enemy? Smoked turkey?
   11. McCoy Posted: March 20, 2019 at 12:39 PM (#5824013)
Staphylococcus aureus
   12. PepTech Posted: March 20, 2019 at 01:15 PM (#5824026)
Well, Shem and Japheth, as a kid, probably.
   13. PepTech Posted: March 20, 2019 at 01:24 PM (#5824029)
I still can't believe that the regular season opens tomorrow.
Well, a Chatter would help :)
   14. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 20, 2019 at 01:59 PM (#5824046)
What is ham's natural enemy?

Leviticus
   15. TubaOnFire Posted: March 20, 2019 at 03:51 PM (#5824091)
Has anyone here been to a game in Japan? I am going to be there in early June and was thinking of heading out to Seibu to see the Lions. Giants are on the road the week we are there and I was leaning towards a dome as June is the rainy season.
   16. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 20, 2019 at 03:59 PM (#5824093)
#15 I saw the Yakult Swallows host the Nippon Ham Fighters when I visited Japan back in 2008. Yu Darvish started for the Ham Fighters. It was a fun and quirky experience, and my wife, who isn't a huge baseball fan, enjoyed it. I'd recommend it.
   17. vortex of dissipation Posted: March 20, 2019 at 05:37 PM (#5824132)
I am going to be there in early June and was thinking of heading out to Seibu to see the Lions. Giants are on the road the week we are there and I was leaning towards a dome as June is the rainy season.


By far the best way to get there is by rail - the stadium is literally right by the railway station. That's because Seibu, who owns the team and the stadium, are a railway company, and they wanted to encourage fans to take the train to their games.
   18. TubaOnFire Posted: March 20, 2019 at 08:40 PM (#5824157)
#16 and #17 - thanks. Sounds like it will be a blast.
   19. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 20, 2019 at 09:21 PM (#5824167)
Watching a game in Japan is still on my bucket list. Looks like a blast.
   20. manchestermets Posted: March 21, 2019 at 05:34 AM (#5824197)
I went to two games when I visited Tokyo - a Giants game at the Tokyo dome, and a Chiba Lotte Marines (Chiba is the place, just outside Tokyo, Lotte is the corporate owner) game. It was great fun - it was when Bobby Valentine was managing the Marines and Benny Agbayani was playing the outfield for them. Tokyo's an amazing city, I'd recommend visiting it to anyone, and I'd love to see more of Japan.
   21. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: March 21, 2019 at 06:30 AM (#5824198)
I went to two games when I visited Tokyo - a Giants game at the Tokyo dome, and a Chiba Lotte Marines (Chiba is the place, just outside Tokyo, Lotte is the corporate owner) game. It was great fun - it was when Bobby Valentine was managing the Marines and Benny Agbayani was playing the outfield for them. Tokyo's an amazing city, I'd recommend visiting it to anyone, and I'd love to see more of Japan.


Being an anxious type, I often game out what I would do if I were suddenly unemployed. The thought of having enough time to spend a month or so traveling around Japan, particularly during baseball season, is often a nice silver lining.
   22. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: March 21, 2019 at 07:07 AM (#5824202)
Ichiro to retire after this game ends.
   23. PreservedFish Posted: March 21, 2019 at 09:03 AM (#5824208)
Seeing a ballgame in Japan has been on my bucket list since before Ichiro hit the majors, which was also before these things were known as bucket lists. In fact I take it as an indication that I've wasted most of my last 20 years that I haven't achieved a fairly achievable and so closely held ambition. The list of things I want to do during retirement is now getting perilously long (and expensive).
   24. vortex of dissipation Posted: March 21, 2019 at 10:45 AM (#5824231)
Visiting Japan is probably #1 on my bucket list. If my health allows it, it's definitely something I'd love to do someday.
   25. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: March 21, 2019 at 10:55 AM (#5824238)
#15 I saw the Yakult Swallows host the Nippon Ham Fighters when I visited Japan back in 2008. Yu Darvish started for the Ham Fighters. It was a fun and quirky experience, and my wife, who isn't a huge baseball fan, enjoyed it. I'd recommend it.

I saw the Fighters a few years earlier, when they still played in Tokyo. I think they shared a stadium with Yakult then? Meiji Jingu Stadium, which was near the Meiji temple and the Harajuku neighborhood. That was a lot of fun and I second all of the comments about going to games there. I've also seen the Giants at the Tokyo Dome and the Orix Buffaloes in the Osaka Dome. I'm taking my girls (10 and 7) to Japan this summer and will try to take them to Hanshin Tigers game.
   26. TubaOnFire Posted: June 24, 2019 at 12:34 AM (#5855271)
To update from above. We made it out to Seibu, which was a bit of a schlep, but an amazing experience. I would highly, highly recommend attending a game in Japan if you get a chance. Constant synchronized chants, balloon releases and general zaniness. Thanks to those who gave advice above.
   27. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 24, 2019 at 10:45 AM (#5855308)
Constant synchronized chants,
That doesn't ever get old at all? I'm thinking of Dodger Stadium or whatever the new Braves park is, where when the home team is rallying they blast a "Let's go Dodgers!" or the tomahawk chop chant after every damn pitch. That gets real annoying real quick.
   28. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 24, 2019 at 01:09 PM (#5855358)

That doesn't ever get old at all? I'm thinking of Dodger Stadium or whatever the new Braves park is, where when the home team is rallying they blast a "Let's go Dodgers!" or the tomahawk chop chant after every damn pitch. That gets real annoying real quick.

When the crowd is doing organically it I usually don't find that kind of stuff annoying. When it's piped in over the loudspeakers I agree it's annoying.
   29. Bourbon Samurai, what price fettucine? Posted: June 24, 2019 at 04:31 PM (#5855462)
To update from above. We made it out to Seibu, which was a bit of a schlep, but an amazing experience. I would highly, highly recommend attending a game in Japan if you get a chance. Constant synchronized chants, balloon releases and general zaniness. Thanks to those who gave advice above


Awesome! I had a great time seeing a game in Tokyo and maybe an even better one seeing a game in Seoul. Tons of fun.
   30. chisoxcollector Posted: June 24, 2019 at 04:39 PM (#5855469)
Visiting Japan is probably #1 on my bucket list. If my health allows it, it's definitely something I'd love to do someday.


It has long been #1 on my bucket list as well.

After 10+ years of "hoping" to go to Japan someday, we are finally doing it! Last week I booked our flights and hotels for a 2 week stay next February. We chose February because we love cold weather and hate crowds.

My wife and I are big theme park aficionados, so a lot of our trip will be spent at Tokyo Disney, plus 1 day at Universal in Osaka.

We do have 8 days to explore Tokyo, and plan on making a day trip to Kyoto as well.

I am so freaking excited. I've already spent hundreds of hours planning this trip, and expect I'll be in the thousands before it's all said and done.
   31. vortex of dissipation Posted: June 24, 2019 at 05:33 PM (#5855485)
That's great, chisoxcollector. I hope you have a wonderful time!
   32. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 24, 2019 at 05:45 PM (#5855489)
Awesome chisoxcollector. Without knowing anything about you and your wife, the only thing I would suggest is spending more than one day in Kyoto, especially if you have 8 days allocated to Tokyo. My wife and I went in 2008 -- I think we did 3 days in Tokyo, 2 in the Hakone area (probably not recommended in Feb), and 3 in Kyoto (which included a day trip to Hiroshima). At least back then, the Kyoto train station had a very nice hotel so it was easy to get in and out from Tokyo.
   33. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 24, 2019 at 06:05 PM (#5855494)
Damn, didn't see this thread the first time. I went to a game at Tokyo Dome in 2006, which damn, 13 years ago now. It was awesome. I'm pretty sure it was Giants/Swallows.

That doesn't ever get old at all? I'm thinking of Dodger Stadium or whatever the new Braves park is, where when the home team is rallying they blast a "Let's go Dodgers!" or the tomahawk chop chant after every damn pitch. That gets real annoying real quick.

To echo the others, not at all. It's not blasted through the PA the entire time.
   34. chisoxcollector Posted: June 24, 2019 at 07:31 PM (#5855510)
That's great, chisoxcollector. I hope you have a wonderful time!

Thanks!

Awesome chisoxcollector. Without knowing anything about you and your wife, the only thing I would suggest is spending more than one day in Kyoto, especially if you have 8 days allocated to Tokyo. My wife and I went in 2008 -- I think we did 3 days in Tokyo, 2 in the Hakone area (probably not recommended in Feb), and 3 in Kyoto (which included a day trip to Hiroshima). At least back then, the Kyoto train station had a very nice hotel so it was easy to get in and out from Tokyo.

We initially planned on spending 2 nights in Kyoto. But there are just so many things we want to do in Tokyo that we decided to save the bulk of Kyoto for a future (hopefully!) trip, so we can do it right. We are doing the one day trip from Osaka just in case we never make it back.

We are hotel hopping quite a bit because we want to soak in all of the different areas. For hotels, our itinerary is:

Nights 1-5 - Hilton Tokyo Bay (on the Tokyo Disney monorail loop)
Nights 6-7 - Cerulean Tower Tokyo (Shibuya)
Nights 8-10 - Park Hyatt Tokyo (Lost in Translation is my all-time favorite movie, and it takes place at this Hyatt in Shinjuku)
Nights 11-12 - Hotel Keihan Universal Tower (across the street from Universal Studios in Osaka)
Night 13 - Ginza area hotel (only hotel I haven’t booked yet)

Now I just have to figure out what to actually do and where to eat!



   35. TubaOnFire Posted: June 24, 2019 at 08:52 PM (#5855529)
As others have said, the cheering is organic - not pumped through the PA system so it never got annoying. Also, it varied, so there were different cheers for different innings, events, etc. Not understanding what was being said made it more entertaining as well. I don't know how I'd feel about it if this was an every game thing, but it was a ton of fun as a one off.

Have a great time, chisoxcollector. Some recommendations: If you've seen the movies - Studio Ghibli was interesting and whimsical. We also saw an amazing art exhibit called Boarderlands in Odaiba. You will have a spectacular time. Enjoy!!
   36. PreservedFish Posted: June 24, 2019 at 09:16 PM (#5855536)
When I even think about planning a visit to Japan I get so excited that I can't stand it.
   37. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: June 25, 2019 at 09:05 AM (#5855607)
I'm pretty psyched because I'm leaving this Saturday for a 1.5 week trip to the Osaka/Kobe/Kyoto area. I've been before but this will be the first time with my kids (10 and 7). They are not baseball fans, but I'm going to bring them to a Buffaloes game nonetheless. Apparently they play home games in the Osaka Dome and an outdoor stadium in Kobe (where we will go) - maybe this gave the Rays some inspiration. Games there are a blast and worth going for the food alone.
   38. PreservedFish Posted: June 25, 2019 at 09:21 AM (#5855610)
What are the top 3 Japanese ballpark snacks?
   39. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: June 25, 2019 at 09:25 AM (#5855611)
The takoyaki (fried octopus) is easily my number 1. Yakisoba (fried noodles) is another good ballpark staple.
   40. PreservedFish Posted: June 25, 2019 at 09:27 AM (#5855612)
Damn I could go for some fried octopus right now.
   41. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 25, 2019 at 11:08 AM (#5855642)
Octopus is wonderful. Fried things are wonderful. About the only way you could possibly ruin fried octopus would be to slather it with ####### mayonnaise.

So, guess what they do?
   42. PreservedFish Posted: June 25, 2019 at 11:22 AM (#5855647)
They blanket it in delicious, delicious mayonnaisey goodness, of course.
   43. PreservedFish Posted: June 25, 2019 at 11:24 AM (#5855649)
Did you ever make that octopus & bone marrow ragu recipe I recommended to you?
   44. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: June 25, 2019 at 11:26 AM (#5855650)
Did you ever make that octopus & bone marrow ragu recipe I recommended to you?


Do you have the link to this recipe?
   45. Lassus Posted: June 25, 2019 at 11:26 AM (#5855651)
Cephalopods have joined pork in my non-vegetarian DO NOT EAT category. Too smart.
   46. PreservedFish Posted: June 25, 2019 at 11:39 AM (#5855655)
Graham, google "bone marrow octopus fusilli recipe" - looks like there are a number of videos that show the making. I'm sure there's a good recipe written out somewhere, but the first article I clicked on just showed the technique without giving measurements. It's the signature dish at a restaurant named Marea, and one of the top, I dunno, 50 things I've ever eaten.
   47. PreservedFish Posted: June 25, 2019 at 11:41 AM (#5855656)
Cephalopods have joined pork in my non-vegetarian DO NOT EAT category. Too smart.

I feel bad about it every time. Truly. But I keep eating them.
   48. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 25, 2019 at 11:48 AM (#5855659)
Did you ever make that octopus & bone marrow ragu recipe I recommended to you?
Ah, that slipped my mind. Thanks for the reminder!
   49. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: June 25, 2019 at 01:17 PM (#5855692)
Not sure why this is, but I don't mind the large scale coordinated chants with a large crowd (such as above), but I always found (haven't been to one in over a decade) the similar type of activity at college women's softball to be insufferable. Maybe because it is more visceral and intimate, or maybe it was the instruments, the sunflower seed buckets. Brutal.
   50. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 25, 2019 at 01:48 PM (#5855701)
I always found (haven't been to one in over a decade) the similar type of activity at college women's softball to be insufferable. Maybe because it is more visceral and intimate, or maybe it was the instruments, the sunflower seed buckets. Brutal.
Wait, was this the crowd or the players doing the chanting? The crowd wouldn't have had sunflower seed buckets, right?
   51. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: June 25, 2019 at 02:28 PM (#5855720)
it's the players doing it, and then, YMMV, the crowd might join in either in concert with the players, or sua sponte.
   52. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 25, 2019 at 04:34 PM (#5855802)
it's the players doing it,
Ugh. Blech. You're right, players absolutely should not be doing that kind of stuff. I don't even like the "official gestures back to the dugout" MLB players now feel the need to do every time they get a hit.
   53. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 25, 2019 at 04:55 PM (#5855813)
Did you ever make that octopus & bone marrow ragu recipe I recommended to you?


Tried to, but turns out octopuses don't have bones. Got me good with that one.
   54. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: July 11, 2019 at 04:40 PM (#5861092)
Back from Japan, which included catching a game a Hanshin Tigers game. They play at Koshien Stadium (between Osaka and Kobe), which is 95 years old and definitely has a classic, pre-war feel. Koshien is also famous for hosting the national HS tournament every summer, which is a big deal over there.

Just about everything about the game experience was outstanding. My last couple in Japan had been in domes (Osaka and Tokyo). Since it was a gorgeous evening where you see the sky dim as the game progresses, this atmosphere was obviously superior. With Hiroshima visiting, it was a full house between two teams close in the standings. I was surprised to see so many Carp fans there since they're a couple hours away, but it was a Friday night and the Carp have a number of bandwagon fans having won two of the last three Central League pennants. There is a lot of coordinated fan chanting, but as long as you're not sitting in the bleachers, it's more like background music. And the food lived up to expectations. Koshien is known for its curry and I happily ate my share.

As for the game itself, it was a tight 3-1 win for the Tigers. It was not as brisk as I hoped, and resembled MLB from that perspective. I shed a tear or two when I saw they did replay over there as well. If any Cubs fans remember Rafael Dolis, he nailed down the save and then the fans released these spermy balloons (which they also did during their 7th inning stretch). A very fun night at the old ballyard.

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