Japanese baseball

I continue to learn new things every day out here, even from a baseball standpoint. For instance, at the Tokyo Dome, there is a protective mesh fence that extends all the way from the screen behind the plate and all the way down both foul lines. They take every measure here to make sure the paying spectators do not get harmed by a foul ball. I must say, that is very cool, especially for the youngsters in the audience.

Here’s another cool thing. When they take BP here before the game, it is serious BP.Realbp They use real pitchers who are humming the ball in at 80-85 MPH, unlike the soft-serve slop that MLB hitters rake against in BP. They mean business out here. Every movement is with a purpose of getting ready for the game. There is no wasted energy. They even have bunting centers during the game, where hitters bunt against a pitching machine that is bringing the pitches in at game speed. No wonder why they are so great at fundamentals out here.

Today, they did have the two cages side-by-side as they did yesterday. Instead, there was another cage behind the regular cage where a batter took flips from a coach and hit the ball against a screen that had a bulls-eye sign on it. You can’t see the bulls-eye in the picture because the batter just hit the baseball into it, forcing the white drapery to rise.Ballbullseye

As for the game itself, there was a bit of pomp and circumstance, as this was the first real game in the Japan All-Star Series. The prime minister of Japan — Shinzo Abe — threw out the first pitch. The poor guy gave it a good try, but I’m not exaggerating when i say that he missed catcher Kenji Johjima by a good 20 feet.

Once the game started, each MLB player was introduced individually when they went out to play defense. And they all threw a squishy ball into the crowd. i guess that’s some sort of custom here.

Before the game, I took a walk out to the Japanese Garden that is at the hotel we’re all staying at it, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that it was spectacular.Japanesegarden I especially loved the fishies in the pond. Great stuff, really.Thosearefish

Tomorrow, there is a big sightseeing tour of Tokyo, so I’ll be sure to take some pictures of that.

Until then, sayonara!

Ian.

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