This was not my first time attending a live pro-league Japanese baseball game, however, this was the most noisy, exhilirating, and tiring live baseball game I’ve ever been to.
We met at Kokuritsukyougijyou station and walked over to the Meiji Jingu stadium, which was a nice 10 minute wlak by the outskirts of parks and other museums. Before we arrived at the rounded brick home ground of the Tokyo Yakult Sparrows, not only were we surrouded by the shouts of nearby food stall vendors trying to sell us beer and chicken, I could already hear the boistering fans inside the stadium . All of this was accumulated and surprised me with a crazy adrenaline rush; the avid Candaian NHL fan in me wanted out to swing my Canucks (sorry guys) towel round and round in the face of our enemies.
When we reached the stadium doors, we were met by an exicited crowd of blue and red, and yellow and black. Many people were swarming to buy merchandise to cheer for their teams, and I saw moms and dads with handfuls of fried foods, beer in one hand, child in another. In that moment, I knew I picked a good game for us to watch.
And I was right. Sitting in the right outfield admist the most heated fans of the Tokyo Yakult Sparrows,
we were bombarbed with enthusiasm from all sides. There were a group of teenagers from Kansai, which is the hometown of the opposing team, cheering as loud as ever for their supposed sworn enemies, the old man attending the game alone and downing beer and singing with the crowd, and last but not least, the drunk middle-aged man in front of us, shouting profanity into his last sip of beer.
It all might sound a little overwhelming, but I found it amusing and thirlling! We were part of a bigger entity, a body that has designated anthems for each player, and specific cheers for a foul, a homerun, a strike! Although there were 2 groups at the game, both hot-blooded and wish for no more than to defeat the other, it took me a second to envision myself looking down, bird-eye’s view at the crowds sitting in an aerial circle. It was a circle of passion for baseball, and it seemed like it formed a cycle where each team pushed at each other out of devotion for their home teams. The game was exciting and although the Tokyo Yakult Sparrows killed it with a one-sided win, no tantrums were thrown, and no booing from the crowds.
In my opinion, this game striked the perfect balance. At a hockey game in Canada or in the states, one never knows when a fight may ensue in the crowds, and at this game, I felt nothing of the sort. This is what I like about sports. Without the competition, sports wouldn’t be interesting. With an absence of intense fans and the bantering between teams, the audience would be bored. However, a good game needs both the profanity and the cheering. As foriengers to Japan, I want to thank the Yakult and Hanshin fans who created such an intense atmosphere for us participate in and enjoy.
This was not my first time attending a live pro-league Japanese baseball game, however, this was the most noisy, exhilirating, and tiring live baseball game I’ve ever been to. We met at Kokuritsukyougijyou...