Saturday, May 28, 2011

Puro Yakyū or Professional Baseball

Yokohama Bay Stars vs. Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles
Professional baseball, or Puro Yakyū is a very popular sport in Japan.  Baseball was introduced to Japan over a century ago and has fans countrywide.  Nippon Professional Baseball has two separate leagues: Central and Pacific.  Each league is comprise of six teams that play yearly from April through October.

This week we went to see our first Japanese baseball game.  We went to The Yokohama Stadium (or Y Stad) and watched the Yokohama Bay Stars play the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles with some of Justin's co-workers.  Luckily, Japanese and American baseball rules are similar so it was easy to follow the game.  The stadium was outdoors and not as big as the stadium back home.  We had pretty cheap seats in center field so the view was good.

There were food vendors (popcorn, drinks, obento, etc), a smoking area, cheerleaders, a mascot, vending machines and music.  The one difference was that there are fan clubs or cheering sections for each team.  The cheering sections chant during the entire game,  have a song or chant for each player up at bat, and use noise makers such as hard plastic bats that are tapped together during the game.  The fan clubs only chant for their own team and are quiet when the opposition is up a bat.  

We were rooting for the Golden Eagles at the game.  The Golden Eagles are based out of Sendai, Japan where there was a lot of damage from the earthquake and tsunami.  We were told by Justin's co-workers that we need to cheer for this team because they have suffered so much and it's the Japanese way to show support of the Tohoku region. 
Our first baseball game in Nippon!

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