5/15/09 – Hanshin (Home)

May 15th, 2009

Sanshin TigersTokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Hanshin Tigers 1

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 2

Streak: Won 3     Last 5:  WLWWW

(Jingu Stadium)

A promising first outing from newcomer Yuki on the mound combined with a lights-out performance from the bullpen gave Tokyo the platform they needed to come away with a tight victory against the Tigers.

Tokyo’s starting saw a fair few changes and was as follows:

 

  1. Kawashima Keizo (SS)
  2. Noguchi (LF)
  3. Aoki (CF)
  4. D’Antona (1B)
  5. Ihara (RF)
  6. Miyamoto (3B)
  7. Aikawa (C)
  8. Tanaka (2B) 
  9. Yuki (P)

 

Yuki gave up a run in the 1st inning off three hits but then composed himself and threw four hitless innings to keep his team in the game. He struck out four and walked just the one for a no-decision.

Those three hits in the top of the 1st inning made it 1-0 Hanshin before Yakult pulled things level in the bottom of the inning against Tigers starter Nohmi.

Noguchi hit a one-out single before Ihara brought him home with a timely single two men later to tie tings up at 1-1.

Hanshin were held hitless throughout the rest of the game, with Oshimoto pitching the 6th, Matsuoka the 7th, Igarashi the 8th and Lim the 9th (for his 12th save of the year).

The winning run came in the bottom of the 7th with starter Nohmi still on the mound. Miyamoto hit a leadoff double before Aikawa advanced the runner to third with a bunt for the first out. Pinch hitter (for Tanaka) Hatakeyama worked a walk and then Fukuchi struckout pinch hitting for the pitcher for the second out. And so it was back to the top of the order, and Keizo Kawashima continued his good vein of form as he singled to left to score the run that would win the game for 2-1 Tokyo Final. The win moves Yakult 4.5 games ahead of 3rd placed Hanshin in the Central League.

Matsuoka took his second win in relief in as many ganes, his second of the year.

Aoki continues to look rather lost at the plate as he went hitless and is now batting .226.

D’Antona went 2 for 3 with a HBP and is now at .250

The two teams meet again tomorrow evening for the second game of the series as the Swallows looking to extend their breathing space over the Tigers.

Yuki makes his mark

About David Watkins

David is a baseball bothering Brummie who spends a fair portion of his life fretting over the Tokyo Swallows and the WORLD'S GREATEST FOOTBALL TEAM, Aston Villa. He completes the quartet of abusive sporting relationships by being a die hard New York Knicks and Mets fan. You can find him on twitter: @yakulto

  • Rob

    Great start for Yuki.

    The nature of the last three wins is great. They’re showing themselves they can win under different circumstances. A comeback from an 0-4 deficit, an easy win with runs to spare, and now a close game that the good guys take. What’s next – a walkoff tonight?

    Better still if Aoki would wake up at the plate.

  • Great game, hope to see you at Jingu again tonight!

  • Christopher

    A very nice game (even though the Tigers lost). Good pitching all round. I thought for the Swallows that Noguchi was very impressive. Yuki’s debut was also good. Lim though is a nasty little shit. He didn’t need the intimidatory pitches he threw to Kanemoto and Arai. Maybe Takada will have a word with him.

  • Lim though is a nasty little shit. He didn’t need the intimidatory pitches he threw to Kanemoto and Arai.

    Maybe he is, but maybe that’s part of what makes him the finest closer at work in the CL today. 17 appearances and still no runs given up are quite some figures.

    And I thought he did well with his restraint actually. If I was him I would have beaned the both of them.

  • Christopher

    The whole point is that Lim doesn’t need the nasty pitches. He’s good enough without them – his strikeouts showed a sublime level of control. What I like about the Swallows/Tigers games is the atmosphere – its friendly and good natured. I would rather see that attitude maintained then spoilt by the unnecessary elements.

  • flick

    I agree that the pitch against Arai was uncalled for, but I loved it! I think after his performance in the WBC, Lim’s whole attitude towards the season is “F*ck you Japan!”
    Glad he’s on our side.

  • What I like about the Swallows/Tigers games is the atmosphere – its friendly and good natured.

    Yes. So friendly and good-natured that the police presence at Jingu goes from three or four officers and a patrol car to a literal busload of officers, a paddywagon, and a patrol car at every entrance. Now, that could be due to the big crowds, but the crowds haven’t been that massive this year and bigger crowds, on both sides, come out to Yomiuri games, at which the extra police presence is missing and unfortunate incidents seem to never occur.

    I don’t want to go too far out on a limb here, but if the Tigers’ trips to Jingu are especially good-natured, Hanshin and their fans must have some rough nights in other towns. Granted, no baseball rivalry reaches European soccer levels of unpleasantness, but I think what I’ve just seen is further support for our long-standing contentions about Hanshin’s crowd around here.

    As for “intimidating” pitches, that’s a strategy, a technique. Make a guy back up, that’s fine. The problem comes when a pitcher who lacks Lim’s control tries to pull that stuff and hits batters, or when pitchers confuse brushing a hitter back with going after him – two different things. As Dave said above, Lim’s continued success speaks for itself.

  • Rob

    Oh – a security question for y’all.
    What’s the word on bag checks at Jingu this year? Last year a couple of times they asked to examine my bag (full of rain gear and junk food) on entrance, but it wasn’t consistent at all. (They checked everyone, so it was consistent in that sense, but it wasn’t consistent in that one night they would check and the next night they wouldn’t.)
    (This was not related to the “please pour your six-pack into paper cups here” check.)
    I haven’t seen anything this year. Anything new?

  • Christopher

    Ah yes but you have a nice mixed crowd in the Swallows seats. Tigers and Swallows fans enjoying themselves together. Of course these are the more expensive seats but the atmosphere is friendly. As for the police presence its minimal and compared to Twickenham on a match day positively small. They’re mainly there for marshalling as there are a lot of people to get out.

  • Tigers and Swallows fans enjoying themselves together.

    I assume, and hope, you’re mostly right. Sadly, out in the gaiya, our interaction with Hanshin fans is nearly 100% after they’re drunk and decide to stroll through the RF stands seeing how much provocation we’ll put up with before either the police or security escort them away.

    As for the police presence its minimal and compared to Twickenham on a match day positively small.

    Irrelevant, and precisely what I said above. It’s a lot less rowdy than a war zone, too.

    They’re mainly there for marshalling as there are a lot of people to get out.

    Well, I’ll repeat pretty much what I said above: The crowds at Jingu are larger for Yomiuri games than Hanshin games, but there are far, far fewer police officers present. I’ve never seen a paddywagon, esp. this early in the season, but at a Hanshin game, when there’s invariably one there. When, as last year, Hanshin is doing well and the crowds get bigger, we find ourselves with the joy of being pretty much boxed in by uniformed police.

    Only, and I shall repeat only at Hanshin games. Ergo, we can deduce that either the management of Jingu Stadium and/or the Tokyo Police Dept. share my assessment of the Hanshin crowd or Tigers fans are exceptionally bad at finding their way into or out of a stadium without incident. Or we can say that those are the same thing, which they basically are.

    Rob, as far as I’ve seen, the check always happens, but is always perfunctory at best. Just approach with your bag open and they won’t really check. They’ll look, then let you go. Put a towel or shirt on top of whatever contraband you’re bringing in and you’ll be fine.

  • Rob said:

    I haven’t seen anything this year. Anything new?

    The checks are just as meaningless as they’ve always been. Keep your brews at the bottom of the bag and you’re fine. Just make sure that your bag is fully popped open when you walk up to the table so that you don’t give them an excuse to dig to the bottom. If you don’t make them do any work, then they’ll generally just peer inside at all the debris sitting on top of your beer and let you go through.

    That said, they’re being a bit more anal about cans when you’re in the stadium (especially at the beginning of the game). If you’re not actively sipping, put the can under your seat at least until the middle innings. If they catch you with a can in hand, then they may make you pour it into a paper cup. Not sure what that accomplishes, other than doubling the amount of trash, but that’s one of the new approaches that we’ve seen so far this season.

  • N26

    Fantastic. Happy to know things are still the same in Jingu regarding the relaxed policies with drinks.

  • Rob

    Heh – they usually just wave me on after they find the TYS Hello Kitty towel. “This is not the beer you are looking for.”

  • Christopher

    Actually I think you see the police because you look for them. Your prejudice is that Hanshin fans cause trouble and thus that there are more police around becaue of this. I would also call you out on your assertion that there are more Yomiuri fans at Jingu. I doubt there is much difference. Don’t let your prejudices run away with you and if you have to comment don’t do so from such an obviously biased viewpoint.

    The Twickenham example isn’t irrelevant at all – for a big crowd you need a lot of police to marshall the supporters. The thing to note at Twickenham is that a massive amount of alcohol is drunk without any problems. The police presence is greater but it is all concerned with marshalling the crowds. This is what happens at Jingu and it is nothing to do with crowd trouble. If you trouble to read the Tokyo papers you will read nothing about trouble at Jingu between fans. If it happened it would be written about.

    It is OK to dislike your opponents players but fans of other teams are people like you. They have a free choice and like you deserve respect for their choice. I could call you an idiot for liking the Swallows but I don’t. I don’t even think it – you have a free choice and you have made your choice. I respect that but I expect you to extend the same courtesy to fans of any other team. They have made their choices as is their right. Of course, there are idiots among Tigers fans just as there are idiots among Swallows fans. If you fall into the error of prejudging you start to treat people as objects and eventually you will end up initiating trouble. More respect for others and their choices will help you here and give you more credibility.

  • Christopher, you’re good fun. Unfortunately, I get the feeling you don’t really read the comments I write sometimes.

    First, and most important, you’re both putting words in my mouth and reversing cause and effect.

    I have never said that anyone is an idiot for liking any team. The majority of Hanshin fans are perfectly fine people with whom I have no problem at all. I begrudge no one his choice in pastimes or teams and sincerely hope that Hanshin continues to draw ever larger crowds and sell ever more merchandise – it’s good for the game all around. Heck, I even hope Hanshin fans continue to pile into Jingu. I have no ill will towards the Tigers as a team at all. (Yomiuri, on the other hand, is a detriment to the game and is holding the league back.) Rather than despise Tiger fans, I occasionally feel a bit sorry for them because there is a very real and very visible handful of bad apples in their midst, who manage to influence the entire experience. I can understand why a Hanshin such as yourself might prefer to pretend this is equally true for other teams, but it simply isn’t.

    My dislike of the Hanshin crowd has grown out of the easily observable facts that the police presence at Jingu is greater when they visit than when any other team does. I’m as susceptible to bias as any other person, but police officers are pretty visible and easily counted. Paddywagons and police buses even more so. A mistake easy to chalk up to bias would be, “Oh, that crowd is noisier than others.” The presence or not of half a dozen cops strolling around on the terrace, police cars parked near entrances, or buses is not really a debatable point. They are there when Hanshin visits, they are not there when other teams do.

    Why on Earth would I have started with a bizarre anti-Hanshin bias, then hallucinated loads of stuff over the years to back it up? What goes on within and surrounding the Hanshin crowd is the cause, not the effect of my distaste.

    I don’t mean to be rude or snippy, but a jejune lecture on prejudice, with retorts to statements unmade, in the context of a simple statement of empirically observed, observable facts is more than a bit of a presumptuous and impertinent non sequitir.

    The Twickenham example is irrelevant primarily because the situation is wholly different. There are different restrictions in place, the nature of the stadia, crowds, and history involved. Soccer leagues throughout Europe have had to deal with violence, thuggery, and gangs to an extent thankfully unknown in Japanese baseball. Furthermore, your description of Twickenham sounds like much more of an anomaly than a good indicator of the norm at English soccer matches. Bully for Twickenham, but I could just as easily cite examples of stadia at which alcohol sales have been banned and opposing fans are not allowed to leave at the same time and it would be no more relevant.

    Not only do I read the papers about games at Jingu, I am, nearly as often as not, actually there. I’m not talking about violent brawls, but I am talking about routine drunken provocation – guys strolling through the right field gaiya flipping the crowd the bird, getting in people’s faces, and being generally rude and unpleasant. Again, I am not saying this is true of most Hanshin fans, but I am saying that I have seen this from no other crowd – not Chunichi, not Yomiuri, not Yokohama, not Hiroshima, not any of the PL clubs, and not our side. Such things, I’m sure occasionally happen, but in eight years at Jingu and less-frequent trips to other parks around Kanto, even a few trips much farther afield, I have seen not a single such incident. I cannot, for the life of me, recall a Hanshin game at Jingu without at least one minor incident of the sort.

    I don’t like this. I don’t enjoy being irritated by the black and yellow crowd, it just is.

    If this reputation is so upsetting to you or to other Tigers fans, why not follow in the example of numerous other clubs around the world, including NPB’s Hiroshima and Chunichi, who used to have nasty reputations (Yonamine, for example, told his biographer of rock-throwing Carp fans back in the day)? If the peaceful, pleasant, ordinary majority of Tiger fans would get their bad apples either shined up or thrown out, the problem would be solved.

    If it makes you feel better to think you’re fighting the good fight against some horrible prejudice I have against people who don’t like what I like, keep on truckin’. If your goal is actually to promote understanding, though, start by reading what I’ve written, call me out on points I’ve actually made, and don’t give yourself carpal tunnel trying to portray simple facts as mad delusions of mine.

  • Christopher

    I think maybe you misunderstand the point about idiots. I am not at all trying to suggest you think that Hanshin fans are idiots. I was trying to make the point that you have the right to expect me to respect your choice and likewise you should respect Hanshin fans choice. The language on this board does sometimes stray into unrestricted generalisations though and these are the statements which sound prejudicial. If I may illustrate

    “I don’t want to go too far out on a limb here, but if the Tigers’ trips to Jingu are especially good-natured, Hanshin and their fans must have some rough nights in other towns. Granted, no baseball rivalry reaches European soccer levels of unpleasantness, but I think what I’ve just seen is further support for our long-standing contentions about Hanshin’s crowd around here.”

    The paragraph doesn’t make any distinction at all. I agree that some Hanshin fans are badly behaved and to be realistic the problem will never go away because of human nature. You will find that any team has its fair share of these characters – including Swallows. Hanshin and its cheering clubs has made a lot of effort to eliminate the bad elements – more so than other teams (the attitude of other fans may be gauged by the reaction of Dragons cheering groups last season to the banning of a couple of groups). They also make efforts to be good neighbours and do deserve credit for these (which regretably sometimes this board doesn’t seem to acknowledge). I have come across incidents relating to all teams in watching baseball and so I don’t single out the Tigers fans particularly for blame.

    My apologies for the misunderstanding about the Twickenham example – this refers to rugby union but it is relevant. A noisy loud crowd fuelled with drink requires a larger degree of control than a those who are less under the influence. It does not mean that there will be more trouble – just that more marshalling is needed. This is the reason for the police presence at Tigers games. The way for Jingu authorities to help with bad Tigers fans in the right stands (and I personally have not seen any but as I say I sit in the more expensive seats) is to ensure that only Swallows fans get the tickets. However, evidence seems to suggest that these people are considered a nuisance but that is all. I applaud your forebearance in ignoring these goons but as I mentioned before sometimes the comments on this board about them do become over-inclusive.

  • The way for Jingu authorities to help with bad Tigers fans in the right stands (and I personally have not seen any but as I say I sit in the more expensive seats) is to ensure that only Swallows fans get the tickets. However, evidence seems to suggest that these people are considered a nuisance but that is all.

    Actually, as of a year or two ago, only Swallows fans are allowed to get seats in the rightfield bleacher section. And for the most part, the uniformed ushers try not to allow Hanshin fans up the ramps into the Tokyo bleachers.

    We do not presume to have any idea of how people behave where you sit, Christopher. We are more than willing to believe you when you say that Swallows and Tigers fans get along famously in the expensive seats where you and your friends tend to spend your time when you watch a game at Jingu.

    However, please understand that when we speak of Hanshin fans, we are referring to the folks who emanate from the leftfield stands.

    As you don’t sit in that area of the stadium, it is hard for us to understand why you keep telling us that we are wrong when we state that scuffles, and the general nuisance level, is elevated when Hanshin is in town. You may well have excellent eyesight, but I’m reasonably sure that you are not able to keep an eye on the game and what’s going on in the outfield bleachers at the same time.

    I would also wager that you have not had many chats with the head of security for the outfield section of the stadium. He spends a lot of time standing just behind us in the outfield, and he will corroborate (in his deadpan manner) our repeated assertions of hefty spikes in police presence only at Hanshin contests.

    You can dispute official game attendance figures all you want (and I’m not denying that there is a rationale for doing so), but any way you slice it, large Yomiuri crowds have not (yet) necessitated more than minor increases in manpower where security is concerned. We agree that the difference in spectator turnout between Yomiuri and Hanshin games at Jingu is minimal. The official attendance numbers support that observation. Lots of people are needed to ‘marshal’ such large crowds, but only Hanshin games provoke the appearance of busloads of uniformed police officers.

    I’m afraid that I cannot speak intelligently about the situation in the A and B seats because I never sit there. Accordingly, we are willing to concede that the police presence is not equally robust in your section of the stadium. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like the police presence over there is minimal at most, so therefore it seems like the security spike is focused exclusively on the outfield seating areas.

    Apologies if you thought we were referring to the entire stadium. In order to see what we’re talking about, it would probably be best for you to watch a game from the outfield seats.

  • Rugby Union, my apologies for getting the sport wrong. I will freely admit that I know squat about Twickenham. That said,

    . . . this refers to rugby union but it is relevant. A noisy loud crowd fuelled with drink requires a larger degree of control than a those who are less under the influence. It does not mean that there will be more trouble – just that more marshalling is needed.

    Are you saying that Hanshin fans are substantially heavier drinkers than other fans and thus require greater supervision? That may be the case, I couldn’t say, but, if so, it sounds like you’re arguing my side here and employing a broader brush than I have.

    As for Tigers fans instigating unrest in the right field stands – these are not people sitting in the right field stands, but people who feel the need to stroll through.

    To make hard and fast rules about who can sit where, or wear what where, or walk where in a stadium would be counterproductive. Most important, to get back to my central point, which you tend to dance around, this is simply not at all an issue with any set of visiting fans at Jingu other than Hanshin fans.

    The paragraph of mine that you quote above speak for itself. It was a generalized counterpoint to your generalized statement. I was being sincere, too. If, from the perspective of a Hanshin fan, the atmosphere at Jingu and relationship between Tigers fans and Swallows fans (and, yes, there are jerks on our side, too) is especially good, I can only wonder how uncomfortable things might be elsewhere.

    In light of this wondering, I’ve decided to subject myself to the baseball equivalent of a full body cavity search (for a non-YG/non-HT CL fan anyway) and attend the July 19th Tigers – Giants game at the Tokyo Dome (my least favorite stadium, so far, in Japan. It had one thing going for it – the California Pizza Kitchen, but that has been replaced by the bland, ubiquitous, charmless Capriccioza. Fitting for the place.) You’ll be pleased to know that, having to make a decision, I’ve even decided to sit on the Tigers side and pull for them, esp. if the standings two months from now are more or less the same as they are now.

  • N26

    I have been to Jingu quite a few times and seen the Tigers and have been sitting on both sides. Left field, right field and also infield. So, after the Hanshin fans let go of their balloons and the ground keepers or whatever they are called come into the field and pick up the balloons you would hear quite alot of people shouting. Hatarake gokiburi/ work you cockroach. Have been thinking. Hanshin fans come to Jingu, litter the place the ground keepers clean up the mess of Hanshin fans and are then shouted. Work you cockroach. Life is not always fair. If Swallows lose against Tigers in Jingu you will not hear many people hurling abuse at their own players where as Hanshin fans will tell their players what they think about the loss and some of the things they say is not pretty but often hillarious. So, from my personal experience my opinion is that Hanshin fans are more intense in every way both good and bad compared to other team’s fans. Swallows fans are not as intense and they aren’t that great in number but thats their charm in my opinion.

  • Christopher

    “I was being sincere, too. If, from the perspective of a Hanshin fan, the atmosphere at Jingu and relationship between Tigers fans and Swallows fans (and, yes, there are jerks on our side, too) is especially good, I can only wonder how uncomfortable things might be elsewhere.”

    I wasn’t actually referring to the atmosphere between the Tigers and Swallows fans but the ground itself. Apart from the areas you mention though the atmosphere between the Tigers and Swallows fans is very good. For those of us who have visited Yokohama we have a perfect example of uncomfortableness (though not between fans). I don’t know of any other fans whose cheering groups will clear up rubbish after the game helping the stadium staff.