Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Take me out to the ballgame

Everybody knows Randy Johnson made a perfect game against the Atlanta Braves last Tuesday. He was amazing. He struck out 13 batters and pitched 98 MPH fast ball though he is 40 years old.

Today, I read one article about this topic in a newspaper during lunch time. I found an interesting comment in it. One member of the Braves felt ignominious not only because they were defeat with a perfect game. That game played in Atlanta, the hometown of the Braves. Most audiences usually support the Braves. But at that time, everybody supported Randy Johnson after seventh inning because they wanted to see the history. And the players of the Braves felt they were abandoned.

This story includes a kind of characteristics of American ballparks. Japanese ballparks have a little different feature. In Japanese baseball game, about 60% of the audiences are fans of hometown team and others supports opposite team. Of course the ratio depends on how popular those teams are. In fact, there is only one baseball team occupies the popularity in Japan. The team is the Yomiuri Giants, owned by a TV broadcast company, because the land of our nation is not so big and all Japanese people watch almost same TV programs. If you want to watch baseball games on TV everyday in Japan, you can only see the Giants games. There are no other choices. Hideki Matsui, a player in the NY Yankees now, belonged to the Giants in Japan two years ago.
Anyway, the unique system in the Japanese ballparks is the audience seats are separated into two sides. Right fields seats are for fans of home team and left fields seats are for away team. In this situation, non-home team also gets good supports and loud cheers. And for audience, they always feel a sense of belonging with same fans.

I like to watch baseball games. Sometimes I go to the PETCO Park, a home ground of the San Diego Padres, to watch the baseball game. The last time I went there, my next seats was sit by the Chicago Cubs fan. He and I showed quite different reaction during whole game because I am a fan of the Padres. It is also an interesting experiment for me. We support different team but we enjoyed and sometimes we talked about baseball. It’s just a game. It’s not a war. (Only one regrettable thing is the Padres lost that game.) But I still wonder if one stern tough guy with many tattoos sits the next seat of mine and he support opposite team from me…


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