State of the Tsubamegun at Season's End

Now that the Swallows’ season is over, it seems as good a time as any to let all of you, dear readers, know what’s going on with the site and what’s in store for the future.

First, what has been:

Since starting the blog on the evening of June 5th, we have published a post on every single Tokyo Yakult Swallows game the same night as the game. As of this post, that means 137 posts, which have received a total of 407 comments and a lot more views than we expected when started out.

Traffic has been steadily, rather gradually rising, with the end of the season seeing some acceleration in the increase. So far, the most popular post we’ve published, by a sizable margin, has been “Our Day at Chiba Marine Stadium.” The least loved? The July 12th tie with Chunichi in Nagoya. (We’re not very big fans of ties, either.) The Game Results page gets quite a few visits every day as well.

Most of our traffic has come through searches, with Google being, by far, the search engine of choice for Anglophone Tokyo fans. The search terms that have led the most people to us have been, of course, various permutations of the words “Tokyo Yakult Swallows” and “Meiji Jingu Stadium,” which makes sense. The names of other Japanese baseball teams have also helped us out, but not as much as Hitomi Aizawa. Thanks, Hitomi!

During the season, the three of us here had the pleasure of seeing the Swallows play every team in the land at least once, in most cases a few times or more, and catching the team at nine parks in eight cities and six prefectures, in the process of which getting rained on more times than we can remember and largely enjoying it (in retrospect.)

While we would’ve been at those games with or without this blog, it has given us at least one nifty opportunity – meeting Bobby Valentine, Benny Agbayani, Jose Ortiz, Brian Sikorski, and a handful of other fine folks during a behind the scenes tour of Chiba Marine Stadium – and introduced us to a wider community of baseball watchers and fans, which has been interesting and educational in myriad ways. We’d like to thank each and every one of you for taking the time to look around the site and read a bit. Add a second helping of thanks to all of you who have commented here and made the site more interesting and enjoyable through your input.

We’d like to specifically thank Tomnish, author of Salt, Sugar & Spice, not only for her input and information, but for being a fellow Tokyo fan and blogger and the rest of the Anglophone Pro Yakyu blogosphere, especially Deanna over at Marinerds, Michael at Japanese, Simon at Japan, Hockey, Baseball, etc., and Patrick at NPB Tracker, as well as James at Japan Probe. All of those blogs have sent fair amounts of traffic our way and we’re much obliged for it.

Second, what is yet to come:

We’ll follow and report on each and every Climax Series and Japan Series game, in both leagues, until the fat lady gets a doage.

The stats, history, and historical stats sections will all be expanded and deepened. For those who didn’t know, we have pages with Current Player Stats, Team History, and complete NPB Standings and postseason results for every season from 2000 to 2008.

We’re also planning to add all kinds of other spiffy content and a bit more info on other clubs and stadia. In between all of that, we’ll be publishing a few articles on various topics related to the Swallows and baseball, but not necessarily about games in and of themselves. We still have a few leftovers from the season that have not yet been written up, but need to be, so, while we probably won’t be publishing every day once the Japan Series is over, there will still be regular new content. No hibernation for us.

Of course, if there’s anything you’d like to see, want to know, or think we ought to change, please let us know.

We hope all of you enjoy the postseason, even though it’s a second-rate one with our guys not in it, and stick with us through the off-season. Thanks for coming along with us this far.

  • Last night, I was surprised to see your site had brought several people to my blog.
    It’s nice of you to introduce it like this!

    I’m looking forward to your update(including what has made you Swallows fans, perhaps?) during the off-season as well.

  • Bec

    Cheers for your ongoing posts. I’ve been enjoying following along with the Swallows’ fortunes (even if they weren’t very good ^^;) in your blog ^_^

  • Tomnish, thanks for writing such an insightful blog and for commenting here and giving us good information. Posts on why we’re Swallows fans are in order, I think. I think we’ll open it up to our readers as well, get many people’s stories.

    Bec, we’re glad to hear you’ve enjoyed the blog. We hope you’ll stick around and that we’ll have more good news to report next season.

  • flick

    I usually just lurk and don’t write on people’s blogs, but I just wanted to send my thanks for this wonderful site.
    Keep up the good work, and it would be great if you could do an article, where you rate the player’s and manager’s performance for the 2008 season.
    The Swallows this year gave me massive headaches, but there were few bright spots like Yoshinori and Muranaka to an extent. Also, Hiroyasu at the beginning of the season “was” awesome. Hopefully the young Swallows will mature and we have a better season next year.

  • Thanks, Flick. It may take us some time to get around to it, but we’ll crunch the stats we’re still compiling, updating, and publishing and put up a few comparisons. We’ll definitely do an analysis of Takada’s performance.

  • Yeah, keep up the great work, I should join the fan club next season so I can sit in the bleachers with you guys for a nominal fee.

    Anyways, Aoki continues to be awesome, Hatakeyama’s coming along, Fukuchi proved to be dependable. On the pitching side the bullpen was pretty good even though Lim was more hittable in the 2nd half of the season, Matsuoka was awesome, and Ishikawa had a breakout season.

    The Swallows actually featured similar positive run differential as the 2nd place Hanshin, unlike the Dragons and Carp who both finished the season with negative run differentials. So, the potential is definitely there for postseason play in 2009! (And I’m also hoping that a healthy Aaron Guile will be back, there are rumours.)

  • Thanks, Simon. Yes, do get a fan club pass – if you go to a mere four Swallows home games, it’s worth it, even if you don’t want the T-shirt, jacket, cap, or whatever that they give you.

    For those who might be interested, a regular Tokyo Yakult Swallows Fan Club membership costs ?5,000 and gives you five free tickets, ?1,000 tickets to any game after that, attendance incentives (little enamel pins every fifth game and a free ticket every 20th game), some kind of apparel, the fan club magazine (not that impressive), free admission to all preseason games, and an invitation to a preseason meet and greet with a few players. If you go to four games, you’ve paid less than regular price for your tickets and gotten some free stuff to boot. The easiest way to sign up is in front of the Fan Club window at Jingu.

    On another note, two of the three days since this post was published were our busiest ever, with October 15th seeing nearly double our daily average number of visitors.

  • Wow, that is actually a really good deal. I assume the Y1000 tickets are for the outfield? I’m pretty sure I went to at least 5 games at Jingu this year… could easily do that next year if I continue to stay pissed off at Yokohama…

    Thanks for the shoutout, sorry I’m slow to read things this week. Argh.

  • I assume the Y1000 tickets are for the outfield?

    Yep, either side.

  • I noticed a couple of Hanshin fans in the Fan Club line this season (with their gear partially concealed), which is smart if they’re going to ctach their boys a few times a year at Jingu. I myself have been toying with the idea of seeing what the Fan Club deals are for the Giants and BayStars, as I went to the Tokyo Dome four or five times this year and caught three or four Yokohama home games. If it’s a similar deal, I suppose it would be wise to overcome my principles, sign up, and just pitch the inevitable Dark Side mail when it comes.

    The only other Fan Club whose details I’ve seen was the Lions’ and it really didn’t look like an appealing deal at all. The shirt was nice (if you’re a Lions fan), but the ticket incentive was designed for people who don’t usually go to games: two pairs of seats somewhere in the infield (the mid-priced ones), if I recall correctly.

    When I was down in Matsuyama, I noticed that the Swallows Fan Club card was also valid at home-away-from-home games, which I wish I’d known before I bought a ticket in advance from Pia.