Thursday, July 11, 2019

Yokohama DeNA Baystars 9 at Yakult Swallows 4 - July 9, 2019

This trip to Japan was my first time back in the country in the summer since 2013 and so I had to attend a game at Jingu Stadium, my favourite venue ever since I saw the 1997 Japan Series clinched here. The Yakult Swallows were home against Yokohama for a three-game set from Monday through Wednesday, and I originally planned to attend the opener, until a friend mentioned that Tuesday's game would be half-price beer night. So Tuesday it was.

With such a good deal, I got to the stadium early to get started on the festivities. The crowd was surprisingly small, but then I remembered that most people work and half-priced beer night was not an excuse to leave early. I personally can't think of a better excuse, but that is probably why I don't run my own company.

Anyway, I grabbed some greasy food to coat the stomach, choosing some kettle corn and questionable chicken to do the job. Concessions are located on the first floor, so you will need to stop there first if you have a seat on the second level, as we did.

When you buy tickets in Japan, you generally choose an area and take what is given to you. In this case, I was happy with the location behind the plate, but not with my group being the middle 5 seats in a 9-seat row. These were 3,500 yen per seat, quite a bit given how little legroom there is, which makes getting out to get more beer somewhat difficult.

Fortunately, the beer girls come straight to your seat to deliver foamy suds for 350 yen, about $3.20. There seems to be no limit, and last call isn't until the 9th inning. Normally I hope for quick, well-played games, but on this night, a longer affair would not be criticized. And wouldn't you know it! The baseball gods smiled on me as the two teams played a terribly slow-paced game that lasted 4:14, with Yokohama winning 9-4. That allowed us to have several extra cheap beers, and by the end of it, I really didn't care who won. This was a very fun evening, and actually made me enjoy Japanese baseball again, until the next game I saw the following week. That will be the subject of the next post.


My friend Ted is the one who told me about the half-price night. A Baystars fan, he lamented that he had never seen a grand slam live after his team left the bases loaded in the early innings. In the 6th, with the Baystars having scored once to take a 5-4 lead, former MLBer Jose Lopez came to the plate with the bases loaded and sure enough, drove a no-doubter to left to clinch the game and give Ted his first live grand slam, by the team he supports no less. I saw it as a reward for passing on that bit of information to me.

Yakult won the other two games in the series.



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