Friday, April 23, 2010
April 23: Tokyo: Giants vs Carp
April 23: Tokyo: Giants vs Carp
THB: No. Who's playing first.
DB: What's on first?
THB: What's on second.
DB: I don't know.
THB: He's on third.
DB: There I go, back on third again!
Sagamoto, Matsumoto, Okasawa, Ramirez, Abe, Chino, just some of the Giants starters. The (free) program is all in Japanese except for a few guys that we figure are imports.
So, nice wide walkways in front of the concession stands, easy to walk around. The game starts at 6pm, which seems totally bizarre in a city where normal work hours are from 9am to 7pm. The cheap seats are all pretty much full, the second tier level seats stay relatively empty until the 5th or 6th inning. Security as you enter the game is cursory, we have to open our bags same as at the Oakland Coliseum, and swearched about as thoroughly. DB sees that people bringing in liquids transfer them to cups at the gate so they can keep drinking.
Before the game, they have “fans catch fly balls” contest, which is not easy because the roof of the Tokyodome is the color of a dirty baseball. We can’t tell for sure, the field seems smaller than normal for US stadiums. As the game starts, they throw out a first pitch and all the fielders are accompanied by little leaguers. High school baseball is the equivalent to US high school football, much mania and many people follow the game at that level. It shows here tonight.
There is no smoking in the seats, yet by end of game I feel like I am watching through a haze. The standing room is thick, and clearly people have come early to stake out their areas, some with newspapers spread around. Since you can bring food into the game, there are plenty of bento boxes and other eating arrangements set up in these standing room areas.
No National Anthem, making THB very happy!
As the fielders take their positions in top of first, they come out and throw balls to the fans. The fans in the bleachers stand the entire half inning their team is at bat and make a ton of noise. Very quiet when their team is in the field. They sing out cheers that include the name of the player at bat. Takes us along time to figure this out because they pronounce the names with Japanese emphasis (even Ramirez).
When Ramirez hits a homer in the first, the entire team comes out in front of the dugout to give him high fives and the mascot does some sort of silly dance with him.
The Carp leadoff hitter stands in and even though we are a long way from home plate this guy is small, really really small. Maybe 5’5” and 120 pounds. Plays second base. Of course, he walks. Pitcher throws over to first a ton, guy still steals second.
Next guy up is his kid brother, even smaller. He’s the shortstop. Second time up, the leadoff guy hits a homer, no cheapee, he’s the second coming of Rickey. And, nature of the game, must be 8 or 9 chances at second, he handles them all flawlessly.
Carp pitcher is a crafty lefty, seems to be in total command other than Ramirez blow in first inning. Gets to the 6th and in midst of a rally, grounder hit back to him. He gets a glove on it, slows it enough that the batter beats it out. Uh oh, the inning falls apart and a double with two outs knocks him out of the game. If he doesn’t touch the comebacker, or catches it cleanly, he’s out of the inning. Instead, he’s out of the game.
Guy on first, screaming liner off the wall, not a double, guy on first barely makes it to third. This makes me think the park is small. No way to read the meter measurements, needless to say.
No bullpens. The pitcher departs the mound before we even see a guy warm up. The new pitcher enters the game from the dugout, they must warm up under the stands. This goes along with almost no foul territory.
They do the 7th inning stretch, mostly it is watching the cheerleaders come out along the lines.
Giants take the lead, the starting pitch was pinch hit for in bottom of the 6th, so a new pitcher starts the 7th. Damn, I am watching an A’s game, the guy can’t throw strikes. Somehow manages to strike out the first guy. The leadoff midget gets a single just over the infield. Forced out by the number two smaller guy. Two outs, down by 3 runs, this guys steals second. Hmmmmmmmm….Then the next guy walks. This is like very A’s game ever…agonizing. And, I don’t care about the Yomuri Giants. Game is truly universal. Now tying run at the plate, the manager changes pitchers again. This new guy, he’s worse the first new guy, he walks his first batter, loading the bases, bringing up the go-ahead run!!!!!! Finally, he strikes out the #7 hitter to end the inning. Manager probably smoked more ciggies than Jim Leyland in this half inning.
We’ve seen enough. The seats are narrow, and hard, I miss my cushions. Back on the train, an easy ride to the hotel.