Japanese Baseball

Attending a baseball game was one of the first things we put on our bucket list when we found out we were coming to Japan. Baseball is huge over here. The Japanese baseball league (NPB) is one of the largest and most talent-filled in the world. Since arriving we have been told many stories of the die hard baseball fans and how crazy they can get. Some of the teams you may have heard of already include the Tokyo Giants, the previous home of Hideki Matsui, and the Orix Blue Waves, previous home of Ichiro Suzuki. There are two teams located here in Osaka, the Orix Buffaloes, and the Hanshin Tigers. The two teams have quite a rivalry, but the Tigers seem to be the local favorite from the people we have asked. Obviously it would have been exciting to see the two teams play each other, but that happens later in the season while we will already be back home and cheering on the Astros, and hopefully all of our nephews!

April 25: Orix Buffaloes vs. Rakuten Golden Eagles at Hotto Motto Field in Kobe, Japan. 

So, just like Nathan's basketball team, the baseball teams here also import players from around the world. Each team had a couple of players from outside of Japan. We were so surprised to look up and see Andruw Jones warming up. As in, Andruw Jones of the Atlanta Braves. Actually he is no longer of the Atlanta Braves. Now he is Andruw Jones DH of the Rakuten Golden Eagles. What a surprise! 

There were some major differences from an MLB game that are worth pointing out:

First of all, they had cheerleaders. They weren't on the field during play, but they came out before the game, and in between innings. 

The lower level seats had plexi glass guards on each seat to protect you from surprise foul bowls. You could choose to leave your guard up or take it down, but since they were clear, it was easy to watch the game with the guard in place. I thought this was genius! 

The beer guys served beer on tap directly at your seat through their backpack kegs. 

The 7th inning stretch did not involved peanuts, "Take me out to the Ballgame," or stretching. Instead, before the team started their 7th inning at bat, a song played, and everyone stood up to sing along while inflating their respective team balloons. The balloons were left untied, and at the end of the song everyone released their balloons into the sky! 

A fan in front of us was nice enough to share his balloons with us! 

Although the Buffaloes fell short that night, we still had a great time cheering them on. If we were here longer in the Spring we would definitely be attending more games!