Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Different Kind of 7th Inning Stretch: The Hanshin Tigers

I love baseball. Although I was sad I could not go with Riyo, my roommate and I had an awesome time at the game of the popular Japanese team, the Hanshin Tigers. Said team is one of the oldest, and I would say is as popular as the evil Yankees. They are supposed to be as good too (I say supposed to because of the'll see)

So we get there and its flooded with people bedecked in their colors, yellow and black (I should've worn a Steeler's jersey! haha) I did wear a yellow shirt though. We decided to shop after the game and headed to find our seats.

We found them with little trouble, and we were very close to the cheering section, which was nice. However, we should have bought one important thing before sitting down.

These baseball beatey-sticks are very important.

We noticed almost immediately. First of all, we were playing Hokkaido, which I am told should have been an easy win. Japan games usually have a fair amount of visitor fans too, but because Hokkaido is far away, they just had their own little cheering section. When I say little, they did fill a whole section with people with flags and a whole freaking band including brass, but they had fans too.

So the first pitch. Not the first batter, the first pitch was a home run. Great start. We were also concerned because the Hanshin fans were so quiet! We heard they cheered a lot, so we were confused. Then they came up to bat, and everyone with these bat things came alive. In the fan section next to us, there were conductors directing the cheers! 

We went to buy noise makers at the end of the inning, haha. They were a little distracting though, keeping time takes away from the watching of the baseball. I was also trying to figure out some of the lyrics to the chants, they kept repeating one phrase: Kattoubase (which I never properly heard in the first place at the game because it was loud) but said phrase means get a home run, which is cool.

Each player has their own unique chant, although the beats were relatively similar. It was great fun! Also, one of the players up-to-bat song was the happy Jpop song I rode the rollercoaster to, so I was excited. 

Unfortunately the Tigers were losing. They had a little rally later in the game, and they almost scored to tie it up, but the first baseman made a miracle jump for the final out. Ugh,

Some fun stuff:

Whenever there was a foul ball in the stands, the jumbo tronthing would have a picture come up and the announcer would say "Be careful of the foul ball!"

At one inning change, the mascots came out in the outfield and danced. Two of them did back handsprings down the outfield. In a mascot suit! 

When there was a pitching change, a little car drove him to the field. Because they can't run there.

What was most different? The 7th Inning Stretch (btw, no anthem in the beginning of the game, just a first pitch...duh) is not your typical stand and sing because everyone's been singing this whole time. So what do they do? Everyone blows up giant sperm-shaped balloons, waves them around, and then releases them onto the field. Yes. This is not my video, but someone recorded the happenings on YouTube. I almost didn't blow up the second one in time because my roommate kept making me laugh. The lady next to her gave her a thumbs up to ask if I was going to get it, haha. 

Oh Japan. It was awesome, even though the Tigers lost. (They don't let glass and cans in the stadium because Tigers fans get violent....hmm, what does that sound like?) We checked out the shops on the way home, but it was soooo crowded, I'm going to go to the store in the mall later. 

I love baseball. Go Tribe! <3



  1. I am glad you got to go! The tribe won today!

  2. That sperm balloon thing made me laugh so damn hard! holy lol. Quite an experience. Reminds me of the soccer game in Seoul I went to. They crowd had freaking FIREWORKS! Such a different experience.