this post has nothing to do with wine. Maybe a little bit with beer though. Actually, that’s a good way to
Beer girl pouring in the stands. She is carrying beer in a backpack, and pouring from the tap for fans.
Lori and I were in Japan, Kyoto and Tokyo, last week. Aside from the typical, and great,
sightseeing – cherry blossoms, shrines and temples, Mt. Fuji, castles – we went
to a baseball game. The game,
which took place in Tokyo, had the visiting Yomiuri Giants playing the Yakult Swallows. The Giants wear
orange and black, like our San Francisco Giants. We were able to get seats on the visitor side of the stadium,
and wore SF Giants shirts.
Lori and I at the game.
Some of the differences between going to a game I’ve already
mentioned: beer served from a keg
carried by a beer girl in the stands, and visitor and home sides of the
stadium. The other major
difference is the cheering of the fans.
There were significant cheering groups in the outfield bleachers,
thousands of fans for each team.
When their team was at bat, the cheering was loud and non-stop. Also, each group of fans has their own
totem to wave when their team scores.
For the Giants, it was orange and black hand towels. (Anyone remember the initial Terrible
Towels from the Pittsburgh Steelers?)
For the Swallows it was red and blue umbrellas. I wonder how many people have been
injured with those? Also, with
respect to cheering, the home team has cheerleaders that come out between
innings. Last thing to mention
with respect to cheering: No doing
So how about that game? The visiting Giants go down in order in the top of the 1st
inning, then the Swallows leadoff hitter jumps on the first pitch and hits a
home run to right. There’s some
back and forth from there, pretty entertaining back and forth with a few home
runs hit, until we get to the bottom of the 8th inning with the
Giants up 5-3. They bring in a
relief pitcher, and the ball starts flying around the yard. Tie game before getting the first out
of the inning, and by the time it was over, the Swallows had scored 4, and had
a 7-5 lead going into the 9th inning. So the Swallows brought in their closer. He was only marginally better than the
Giants reliever from the previous inning, in that he only gave up 3 runs, not
4. But that was enough to
surrender the lead. So Giants are
up 8-7 going into the bottom of the 9th. And their closer comes in, and gets the first 2 outs pretty
easily. Then, with the count 2
balls and 2 strikes, and the Giants fans thinking about the post-game beer, the
Swallows cleanup hitter takes it deep, near the top of the left field
bleachers. Silence from the Giants
side of the field, jubilation from the Swallows side. And on the field, words were exchanged between pitcher and
batter, resulting in both benches emptying. No punches thrown though. The next batter up gets a hit, but finally the Giants get
the last out of the 9th, so on to extra innings. (Don’t these people know I have to be
out of the hotel before 6am the next morning to take the bullet train down to
Nagoya? I can’t stay for a late
game, which is now at about 4 hours, but we can’t leave, that just wouldn’t be
right.) In the top of the 10th,
the Giant’s catcher, Abe, hits his second home run of the game, a no-doubter
well up the bleachers in right field.
The right fielder almost hurt his neck turning and watching it fly over
his head, while not moving his feet.
Fortunately for my business schedule, the Giant’s pitcher for the bottom
of the 10th was able to get the Swallows out in order, and we were
able to head off into the night happy, as the Giants had won. Side note: the San Francisco Giants beat the LA Dodgers in extra
innings the “day before”. With
time differences, the SF Giants won their game only a couple of hours before
first pitch the next day for the Yomiuri Giants game.
Different food at the baseball game.
The food at the game was also different. There were hot dogs and hamburgers, but also Japanese food, and then other things, like this vendor serving Vietnamese Banh Mi baguette sandwiches. Actually, these were pretty darn good!
I hope you enjoyed this vacation interlude. Back to wine in the next post!