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In Spite Of Everything, Baseball Season Begins In Japan

April 12th, 2011 | 2 comments | Posted by Jen

One month and a day after an earthquake and tsunami devastated northeastern Japan, and even as the nuclear threat level at the Fukushima Daiichi plant was raised to the highest level, baseball season got underway in the beleaguered country Tuesday.

Chiba fans observe a moment of silence before Tuesday's season opener

While one team, the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, who are based in hard-hit Sendai, won’t return to their home stadium until the end of this month, and teams shift games to daytime and try to drum up enough diesel generators for later in the season to minimize the use of electricity, Nippon Professional Baseball is carrying on for the fans and the country. The AFP reports:

“At a time of national crisis, the role that sports can play is far from small,” the mass-circulation newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun said in an editorial, recalling the terror attacks in the United States of September 11, 2001.

US major leagues resumed play six days after the tragedy, with New York Mets Continue reading In Spite Of Everything, Baseball Season Begins In Japan

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May 4th, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

Name: Seibu Dome

Location: Saitama, Japan

Occupation: Home to the Seibu Lions, a professional baseball team in Japan

Known for: Its exquisite toilets. Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched eight years for the Seibu Lions, and when he signed with the Red Sox in 2007, Boston had to fork over $51 mil to the Saitama-based team (another $52 mil went to Dice-K, putting the total cost of acquiring the Japanese pitcher at $103 million). Because Seibu Dome, the Lions’ ballpark, was considered “the worst stadium in Japan,” the organization decided to spend the money earned from that deal on major upgrades to the stadium, which included, most remarkably, installing top-of-the-line TOTO toilets in its restrooms. Each stall in its women’s rooms boasts a $1,500 TOTO Washlet (whose marketing slogan is “Clean is Happy”), which is a toilet and bidet-in-one with a built-in seat warmer. Now, you might think it strange that we named a ballpark AOTW, but if you’ve ever sat on one of these babies (pictured below), and if you’ve spent any time at all in other ballpark bathrooms, you bet your warm, clean ass you’d know why.

[NY Times: Seibu Lions’ Porcelain and Plastic Memorial to Matsuzaka: Plush Bathrooms]


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November 24th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

Name: Eri Yoshida

Age: 16

Occupation: Japan’s first female professional baseball player

Known for: Getting drafted last week by Kobe 9 Cruise, a minor league team, thereby making the high schooler the first woman (okay, girl, who is anybody kidding?) to play professional baseball in Japan since the country’s women’s league folded after two years in the 1950′s; her knuckleball, baseball’s most confounding pitch to hit, which she learned to throw by watching videos of Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield; having what appears to be the opposite of a pitcher’s stone-face–with those cute-as-a-button dimples–an asset that may prove just as distracting in the long run to batters as her trademark pitch.

Thanks to all who sent us this story! You know who you are!

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