Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Take Me Out to the Baru Game

We had the good fortune of being in Osaka while the Hanshin Tigers (the local baseball team) were in season and at home. We also lucked out by couch-surfing into the home of Paul, who helped us buy tickets through an otherwise indecipherable vending machine. The results were fantastic.

Yes, the balloons are a little phallic

As far as I know (and I'm no expert on baseball), the game is played exactly the same as in the US. The fans, however, are much more animated. Every player has a theme song that plays when they come up to bet. For example, one of the few American players, 'Mench' (pronounced 'Menchi' by the locals) enters to a Metallica song. Japanese players tend to opt for either electronic music or more interactive intros. Star player Kanemoto features the '99/2000 Darude dance hit 'Sandstorm', while less famous Sekimoto features an American vocalist crooning "Everybody Saaaaay...." prompting the crowd to respond with an enthusiastic "SEKIMOTO!"

In addition to the theme songs, there are also general chants for all players, plus each player has an individual chant specific to them. These chants are only employed when the relevant player is at bat. Here's a clip:

Finally, and this is the clencher, the game we went to featured a massive whistling balloon launch. See those balloons in the still above? Everyone blew them up partway through the seventh inning, then released them when the Tigers finally got up to bat. Some cool Osaka fans even hooked Tiara and me up with balloons so we could participate. I shot a video without looking, so it's a tiny bit cruddy. I was having too much fun to be a cameraman.


Lynne said...

I think those are actually condoms. My brother and I found dad's once, with pretty much the same results.

Anonymous said...

The Japanese baseball game looks like so much fun!