Best Japan baseball experience

Feb 1st, 2007, 06:55 AM
  #1  
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Best Japan baseball experience

Our family will be in Japan during the March baseball pre-season. We were hoping to see the Hanshin Tigers play at their home stadium in Osaka during our Kyoto stay. We have heard that is the most intense baseball experience. Alas, they are on the road at that time.

We will be in Tokyo the week before that, and have the opportunity to choose from four other options:

Yakult Swallows in Jingu Stadium
Yokohama Bay Stars in Yokohama Stadium
Seibu Lions in Goodwill Seibu Dome
Orix Buffaloes at Chiba Marine Stadium

Which one would you choose? With three kids in tow, we are looking for the craziest fans (recognizing it's pre-season), the flashiest stadiums, the best chance of a sell-out, and the coolest props.

Thanks!
famgarrido is offline  
Feb 1st, 2007, 09:59 AM
  #2  
emd
 
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I recall your post, but I can't recall you itinerary. I guess you'd be in Tokyo and be going to either Jingu, Yokohama, or Seibu Dome. March is cool and can be rainy, so an indoor stadium is the safest bet.

That said, the Swallows fans are a very soulful bunch. Jingu is an outdoor stadium fairly centrally located in Tokyo. I have not seen them, but I have read about them and want to see them play. I'd bundle up in a jacket and go to that one if it was me. They have had an aura of being underdogs since the Giants, also based in Tokyo, are such a good, winning team adn Giants get all a big share of the fan base. But Swallows fans are very loyal, and they do an "umbrella" dance (w/real umbrellas in the team colors) at points during the games. The stadium is old (1920s, I think) but has a lot of rish history; Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig played there.

Here is an exerpt from Dan Latham's baseball site on the Swallows:

"Filling Jingu's 48,000 seats are some of the liveliest fans you'll ever encounter. Though most others look pretty much the same, Swallows fans have one of the most annoying (to opponents) ways to celebrate a run. When that happens, a sea of green and blue umbrellas blossom across the right field bleachers as Yakult fans discreetly tell the opposing pitcher it's time he head for the showers.

Perpetual underdogs and typical of low-budget, small market team (though this market is really anything but small), the Swallows are rarely able to outbid other teams in the annual free-agent auction. Instead, cash-poor Yakult has had to develop its younger players and pick up low-price "has-beens" other teams have given up on.

No one may expect much from Yakult, but they have fun and they win games. With every season an uphill climb, there are few teams as fun to cheer for as the Swallows."

Personally, I'd skip the Orix Buffaloes. They are a new team (I think this will be their 3rd year) that formed from the Kinetsu Buffaloes and the Orix Blue Wave teams. They are based in Osaka (playing some games in Kobe), and they compete against the Tigers for fan base (not much competition, the Tigers win that one). When I saw them in Osaka, there was hardly anyone in the fan section (that was the crazy game where my son and I were in the Tigers fan section). And although it is only about 30 min. to Yokohama from Tokyo station by train, it is a bad crunch during rush hour when you'd be going if that game is in early evening.

I don't know anything about Seibu Lions.
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Feb 1st, 2007, 10:02 AM
  #3  
emd
 
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Oh, I see you said you'd be in Tokyo. Sorry I missed that part.
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Feb 1st, 2007, 12:16 PM
  #4  
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Being a lifelong Red Sox fan, I can relate more to the Swallows than to the Giants!

Thank you for the post. I'm assuming we can play it by ear, or would you recommend buying tickets in advance?
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Feb 1st, 2007, 01:19 PM
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I probably wouldn't go out to Chiba for a regular season game, let alone a preseason. I went to a regular season (May) game in Yokohama. It was not well attended, but I got a great seat. The Carp fans may have been louder than the ** fans. It was fun and worthwhile because I was staying in Yokohama and it was my first game. Only other place for bball that I've been to is Tokyo Dome.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Feb 1st, 2007, 01:46 PM
  #6  
emd
 
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famgarrido, we are lifelong BoSox fans also. The Swallows are your team.
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Feb 1st, 2007, 02:30 PM
  #7  
emd
 
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oh, because it is preseason, you will have no problem getting tickets. Just walk up that day and get tickets in the fan section, outfield, $10.

Who are the Swallows playing?
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Feb 2nd, 2007, 12:04 PM
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Emd and Faamgarrido:

Another BoSox fan here..since 1939 when, as a ten-year-old I got to see a tall, very skinny kid play his first year...the Boston Globe writers felt that he would not have the stamina to play MLB...the "Splendid Splinter" hung around for awhile!
I'll be in Tokyo in April and I guess it'll be the Swallows. I played regimental ball in a ballpark that was used pre-war by the Beppu Chicks, a minor league team in Kyushu.

Stu T.
tower is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2007, 12:00 PM
  #9  
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The Swallows home games during our Tokyo visit are:

March 13 Orix Buffaloes
March 15 Yomiuri Giants
March 16 Rakuten Golden Eagles

Are any of these a heated rivalry?
famgarrido is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2007, 01:54 PM
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The Giants are local, from Tokyo, and the others are not. Fans do travel to away games and there are a lot of transplanted fans, but I'd guess that there would be better attendance for the Giants game.
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Feb 3rd, 2007, 02:56 PM
  #11  
emd
 
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Giants sell out when they play in regular season at the Dome, but since this is preseason and an outdoor game, you should be fine. We were able to walk up and get tickets at the Tokyo Dome to see Giants vs. Tigers in preseason.
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Feb 4th, 2007, 10:45 AM
  #12  
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How does one ask for tickets in the outfield fan zone? Is there signage in English? I want to make sure we don't end up in a fancier, emptier section of the stadium.
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Feb 4th, 2007, 01:05 PM
  #13  
emd
 
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I took a sheet of paper that had the Japanese words for "two tickets, (Tigers) fan section" written on it, and handed it to the person behind the ticket window. I remember that kippu was the word for ticket. Maybe someone who speaks Japanese can give you that phrase, as I have forgotten it. That worked well for me.
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