July 1

Woke up, picked up Emilie from her apartment, and then we walked to the downtown subway station to meet Watanabe-san. From there, we took the subway south to the Sapporo Dome where the Nippon-ham Fighters play, or as we like to call them, the Ham Fighters (Nippon-ham is the company that owns the team). The dome was built for the 2002 World Cup (some of the games were played in Japan) and has this space age look to it. Pretty hard to describe in words . . .

We met Alex and a couple of his lab buds at the ticket office, bought tickets, and then headed directly to the gift shop so that we could buy hats and noise making devices (more about that later). Next, of course, we made a pit stop at the beer and dog vendor (I got an American Dog, which is what the Japanese call our corn dogs). By the way, when we bought our tickets, we did not get specific seat numbers, but rather for a section of the stands. We found a good spot down the third base side and sat down to take in all the glorious sights and sounds of a Japanese baseball game. The crowd was actually pretty small, but our section (and more importantly a nearby section) was raucous. Their cheering etiquette is much different than ours, their cheers are solely positive in nature. (I booed the outfielder of the opposing team when he failed to get the ball into the stands after he made the third out . . . and got a ton of looks and frowns . . . haha). They also get very quiet when the home team is playing defense, and then get crazy when their team is batting. The fans also have a song for every player on the team . . . well, they have the same melody with different wording. The song begins with a whistle being blown, some horns kick in, then the clappers and beat sticks join in (things we purchased), followed by the song. The chorus of the song (sometimes lasting for many rounds) is “Ka-toe-ba-seeehhhhh _________(play-errrrrs name)”, followed by a series of claps and then the refrain (followed by more claps and the refrain . . . and so on). Some in our group grew tired of it, but of course I was screaming it . . . As for the translation, I think it pretty much tells the player to get a big hit.

The game itself was really good, as it was a pitcher’s duel between the ace of the opposing team and the second or third starter on the Fighters (Takeda is his name). Takeda took a no-hitter (one walk but the guy was caught stealing so the perfect game was intact) into the eighth (pics of the scoreboard), when disaster struck. It all started when Alex screamed out to me . . . “he’s got a no hitter going” . . . I glared back at him and told him “thanks for ruining it for everyone”. Wouldn’t you know it but 2 batters later, Takeda took a line drive off his arm (broke it) and left the game. Of course, to follow that, his replacement immediately give up a base knock. I’m still upset with Alex.

The only pop in the game was a huge homer by a Panamanian named Fernando Seguignol (oh and for you Tiger’s fans, another Panamanian by the name of Jose Macias on the team . . . for those of you who do not know of him, he was one of my fav’s during the the down years of 1999-2002). His homer was a solo shot to deeeeeeeeppppppp center.

Seguignol lead the league last year in home runs, so he is pretty popular. When he comes up to bat, the “get a hit” song of course starts, but they also start waving around bananas. I guess its because he is from Panama and they are his favorite food? . . . Sorry Rodge, he is the real banana man. Awesome banana shaking video

The other tremendous things at the game were the beer vendors. Holy smokes if they didn’t pick out the most attractive women in the stands, force them to strap a beer cooler to their backs, and then make them walk all over the stadium selling to rowdy dudes (the coolers, by the way, not filled with cans, but rather are a bladder system for draught beer). Fricken sweet pic taken by Alex

Despite Alex, the Ham Fighters still shut out the opposing team and got the W. Afterward, Alex Emilie, and I went for dinner, and then I headed straight to bed at 7pm, as I had told Watanabe-san I would go catfishing with him the next morning at 2am.

Ham Fighting Pictures

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One Response to “July 1”

  1. CAd Says:


    “he’s got a no hitter going” . . . I glared back at him and told him “thanks for ruining it for everyone”. Wouldn’t you know it but 2 batters later, Takeda took a line drive off his arm (broke it) and left the game. Of course, to follow that, his replacement immediately give up a base knock. I’m still upset with Alex.”

    So was the line drive off the arm scored an error or a hit, if so, he still has the no-hitter?

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