2008 Asia Series Schedule

They tell us its not possible to promote a tournament in which theyre participating, but we can do better. People can be told about the Asia Series.  Yes, we can.

They tell us it's not possible to promote a tournament in which they're participating, but we can do better. People can be told about the Asia Series. Yes, we can.

The baseball season will draw to a close this weekend with the 2008 Asia Series, pitting the champions of NPB’s Japan Series, KBO’s Korea Series, CPBL’s Taiwan Series, and the CBL champions against one another in a three-day round robin single-game tournament, followed by a one-game championship between the top two teams on Sunday.

Sadly, the event, one of the few in which fans can see how the different leagues stack up in a direct way, has been, as always, poorly promoted, if at all.  The Seibu Corporation, which has plastered its train lines with posters celebrating the Saitama Seibu Lions’ Japan Series Championship and offered a sale at its department stores, crammed with scuffling housewives who wouldn’t know a thing about the Lions were it not for the sales, but has its promotion of the Lions’ participation in the Asia Series, in Tokyo this year, invisible.

For those who, like us, are interested, here’s the schedule:

(All games at Tokyo Dome.)

Thursday, November 13th:

12:00 – Tianjin Lions (CBL) vs. Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions (CPBL)
6:00 – Saitama Seibu Lions (NPB) vs. SK Wyverns (KBO)

Friday, November 14th:

12:00 – SK Wyverns vs. Tianjin Lions
6:00 – Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions vs. Saitama Seibu Lions

Saturday, November 15th:

12:00 – Saitama Seibu Lions vs. Tianjin Lions
6:00 – SK Wyverns vs. Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions

Championship Game, Sunday, November 16th:

2:00 – Round Robin Runner-up vs. Round Robin Winner

You can follow the results here with us and see updated standings on our Game Results page.

  • When I used to teach English in Japan, the housewife students would always tell me that they wanted Seibu to win because of the sales. Kintetsu had a big sale when the Buffaloes won in ’01, and Hanshin’s victory in ’03 was great for the Osaka economy.

  • Steve

    I’m going to Sunday’s game for sure, and maybe to the Saturday evening game. I’ll be wearing my Marines gear!

    It’s very disappointing how little this is promoted. Out in Chiba it’s hard to know the Asia series was even being played this year, as I have yet to see a single ad posted. I wouldn’t even know this started today if I weren’t a baseball junkie checking on free agent news.

  • In general a Hanshin win of the CL is good for the stock market and a Yomiuri win is almost incontrovertibly bad, bad, bad.

    Steve, I’m with you, of course. The promotion is nonexistent. Not a single ad or mention on the Seibu Shinjuku line or at any of the stations between Seibu-Shinjuku and Tanashi, the Asia Series was not even listed in Pia’s catalog, and only Saitama’s games will even be televised. I feel like a conspiracy theorist, but I wonder whether or not there’s a backward-thinking faction high up in Japanese baseball that’s trying to make sure the Asia Series is unsuccessful.

    Bobby Valentine’s Marines are the only team, as far as I’ve noticed, that takes any pride in having won the Asia Series, with their “2005 Asia Champions” patches on the sleeves of their unfiroms.

  • Kinda similar to the conspiracy of how some MLB execs are trying to make the WBC unsuccessful. Japan’s in a similar position in the Asia Series as the US is in with the WBC. I wish both events were promoted and organized better.

  • I agree, Simon. I really don’t understand why baseball around the world is plagued with the parochial desire to be the big fish, even if that means keeping the pond small. A lot of opportunities are being missed.

  • Well, it’s done. I made it to the Saturday night game between SK and Uni – good game, but the sound of every ball caught was clearly audible and the crack of the bat was booming in the nearly empty stadium. Ticket prices had been reduced to either ?1,000 for OF or upper deck unreserved or ?2,000 for special unreserved, which was all the good seats, but the web site is still listing the absurdly high prices they’d planned to ask for before they realized that the lack of promotion and neglect paid to the tournament wasn’t likely to draw crowds. There was not a soul in the OF or upper deck and no more than a few thousand there total and I have to say that while it was quiet and less energetic than regular season games, I enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and sitting just to the right of home plate for the price of an OF unreserved seat to a regular season game at TD.

    No merchandise at all was available for either team playing, I saw no programs available (it would have been nice to have had some info on teams and players with which I was unfamiliar), there was pretty much no food available, and Tokyo Dome was in its default “international event” security mode, when they throughly search bags and wand and pat down everyone entering the stadium (although there was no apparent bad blood at all between the Taiwanese and Korean fans – very good atmosphere.)

    I got to see the Japan Champion carp, too. It was big.

    I’ll get a post on the tournament up soon. Until then, the results and standings are available on the “Game Results” page and on the “Complete NPB Standings 2000-’08” page (look under “Stats, History, & More”.)

  • Garrett, they had programs there for free. I got offered one at every game I went to when I came in, and there was a stack on a table saying “take as many as you want”, so I ended up with like 7 of them (I went to 6 games of the series).

    I’m amazed you could hear anything with the Taiwanese cheering section being what they were. I only stayed for about an hour of the Saturday game due to feeling extremely sick at the time, but they were NUTS, I went right into the fray to take some photos and videos and it was just a crazy gang over there, very loud, very nuts.

    They actually were not opening the outfield or the second floor for non-Japan games — that was decided before the series, actually. Outfield was only open for Japan games and second floor was open for Friday onwards, not Thursday. The food selection at non-Japan games WAS a lot more sparse than the Japan games, that is true, though at the Japan games it had most of the usual stuff, minus a lot of the bento box selection usually available at the dome. I hate Tokyo Dome food to begin with though…

    Oh, and there was plenty of merchandise available early on, but not later in the tournament. Thursday afternoon you could buy a TON of SK Wyverns stuff before their first match with Seibu, but I don’t think I saw anything remaining after Friday. Not sure how much stuff they brought over from Korea to be honest. Same for Tongyi, there was a lot of stuff out there early on but it disappeared. I saw a lot of Japanese people wearing NPB jerseys and Tongyi towels supporting the Taiwanese team on Saturday night.

    I put up a boatload of photos and stuff, but have no time to write much more because I’m flying back to the US on Tuesday afternoon. Yikes.

  • Thanks, Deanna. I guess I had bad timing. Ken and I walked around the stadium for half an inning searching in vain for programs (TD staff told us to try one of the merchandise stands, but we had no luck) and SK or Uni merch. I’m glad to hear the visiting teams were represented, but sorry I couldn’t find their stuff – I was looking forward to picking up some souvenirs. Oh well.

    After the 5th inning, when I’d made through the bottle of nihonshu I customarily bring to the TD (if they make me pour it into a cup, it doesn’t go flat and still tastes good at room temperature), I was miffed to find that the California Pizza Kitchen was selling only drinks and undercooked fries – the Pizza & Beer Set is a pretty good offering, one I wish we had at Jingu, even if it is a bit overpriced (but that’s the Tokyo Dome.)

    Much respect to the folks from Tainan – the full-on brass band was great. Bringing five mascots with enormous heads (one of which we called “John McCain” for the eerie resemblance of its gesticulation to that of the senior Senator from Arizona’s), and dancing girls was a good touch, even if it did confirm my opinions on East Asian pop music: Chinese pop exists to make Taiwanese pop seem bearable, Taiwanese pop exists to make Korean pop seem not so bad, and Korean pop exists to make Japanese pop appear decent.

    We were pretty close to home plate and a couple sections over from both cheering sections, so that, in combination with the low attendance, made things seem relatively quiet. From where we sat, we could even hear the smack of pitches arriving in the catcher’s glove (or the inside of his thigh – I felt bad for SK’s catcher when that first reliever kept nailing him.)

    I’d love to see better promotion for the Asia Series – the games were more competitive than I expected (except for poor Tianjin) and the atmosphere was good despite the poor turnout.

  • Ken

    I was there with Garrett and did my own writeup over at JEN. It seems sad to me that this is not better promoted, especially since the government is supposed to be trying to boost the number of tourists to Japan. NPB and the new Tourism Agency really, really should be working together on this.