Friday, June 14, 2013

Memories of Japanese Baseball

Last time we were in Japan, we went to a home game of the Yokohama Baystars, who beat the Yakult Swallows in an early evening game. It was close, but a relief pitcher (from the Bronx!) clinched the game for the Baystars. Above, the view from our seats along the first-base side. What this photo doesn't show: The enthusiastic cheerleaders who periodically danced across the field and the tricked-out Toyota that brought the winning pitcher from the bullpen to the mound in automotive (sponsored) style. 

This past April, when Yokohama played Yakult again, player Tony Blanco smacked a home run to win the game for the Baystars--his 14th home run of the month. That got some people wondering about the sudden streak of home runs throughout the league. Turns out that Nippon Professional Baseball wanted to make baseball games more exciting, so it altered the ball to go further when hit. Hmmm. Sadly, it hasn't helped the Baystars all that much: They're down toward the bottom of the league, at least for now.
   - MBW

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