Friday, June 30, 2006

My First Baseball Game!

As you all know, baseball is the number one sport in Japan, and on Tuesday I finally went to my first baseball game: Hanshin Tigers vs. Hiroshima Carps at Undo Koen. Neither of these teams usually play in Fukui (the Tigers are based in Osaka), but once in a while the Japanese Pro Baseball Association organises regional tours, where the big teams visit a few of the more out-of-the-way places in Japan. It's a bit like Arsenal and Manchester United going to play in Scarborough.
I was expecting a pretty ramshackle stadium, but Undo Koen in Fukui city is actually a really nice venue - the stadium is beautifully maintained, and the distant mountains peaking over the stands make for a really nice view. The fans were what really made an impression though - Hanshin fans have a reputation for being some of the most enthusiastic and loud baseball fans in Japan, and I can see why. It seemed like they had a cheer prepared for practically every eventuality in the game, and one cheer would seemlessly lead into another as the brass band in the outfield kept time. Add in the fact that every fan had two club-shaped "noise makers" which they banged together in time with the drums, and you can imagine how loud it was!
We assumed that watching baseball would be much like watching cricket - so we packed plenty of booze and snacks in preparation. The first half was pretty dull I must admit, but it picked up a little after Hiroshima scored in the 5th inning, followed by a home run by Hanshin which sent their crazy fans even crazier. The next few innings seemed to get better and better, but I think that was mostly because I was getting drunker and drunker. Hanshin scored another homer, which sent the game into extra innings. By the 12th inning I was desperately willing it to end, mostly because I'd ran out of beer, but at the same time I didn't want to leave until it was all over. Disappointingly, it ended in a 2-2 draw
Having said that, it was a fantastic night out, and it was a really interesting way to spend an evening, if only to see all the mad crazy cheering. But would I go again? Probably not - give me a day watching the cricket with a bottle of Pimms and a picnic basket any day. God Save the Queen etc etc... [Voice trails away as he mumbles into his whisky and falls off chair]


Blogger Phoenix said...

Baseball is like five intense minutes of non-stop incredible action, crammed into seven hours.

4:27 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

There is a fantastic Simpsons episode where Homer stops drinking and goes to a baseball game. His quote, "I can't believe how boring this game is sober."

I don't necessarily agree (as I've played all my life) but I can understand.

3:55 am  

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