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Interleague Game 11: In the beginning….

… there was nothing. In the end, too, apparently. That’s what is left after 12 innings and nearly 4 hours – and still the score is 0-0. Nothing.

WARNING: Giants fans may not want to proceed further. This is a pure anti-Giants zone, always. Everyone’s free to read, of course, but keep in mind this site is:

giants_suck

So. Let’s get this out of the way first: The only people to cross the plate were those chasing foul balls, the grounds crew, and the umpire. No runs were scored in anger or otherwise. Really, it’s as if nothing happened. It’s a bit of a weird feeling. I’ve been to piles of games in Japan but this is my first tie. But yes, the hated Giants and the Marines did finish 12 innings in a 0-0 tie.

The good: Everybody’s favorite submariner, Watanabe Shunsuke, was just wild and baffling enough to keep the Giants off the basepath. He went 8 innings giving up only 2 hits (but 5 walks). He only got into one jam – bases loaded in the 8th. Bobby showed the faith he normally does in his pitchers and let him work through it, and work through he did – stinking out Kudoh to end the threat.

Watanabe masterfully works out of a bases-loaded jam

Watanabe masterfully works out of a bases-loaded jam

More good: What defense, on both sides! Iguchi made a huge leaping spear of a line drive. Satozaki slid for a pop behind home. Heiuchi made a great snag in extra innings. Several Giants players made highlight-reel catches, especially Kudoh’s dive for a liner down the left baseline. If you liked great defense you’d be hard-pressed to see a better played game.

Hori beats the runner to the bag to get the out

Hori beats the runner to the bag to get the out

The bad: Oh my, Lotte couldn’t buy a timely hit. In the 5th Benny smashed a liner off the top of the right-center fence for a double. It barely missed going out. Nobody out, man on second – unable to come home. Bottom 9 – Hori leads off with a double, Saburo is intentionally walked. Iguchi hits this ball that looks like it went off of him or the catcher but was ruled fair. It’s right in front of the plate – Abe snags it, fires – 5-3 double play. Two great chances, but nothing could come of it.

Benny comes into second in the bottom of the 5th

Benny comes into second in the bottom of the 5th

Bottom 10, 1 out: Takehara walks, Ohmatsu hits a broken-bat single, strikeout, strikeout. Threat over.

Ohmatsu cracks some wood for a single in the 10th

Ohmatsu cracks some wood for a single in the 10th

Ugly: Giants fans. A very poor showing, not very noisy ouendan, and lots of little stealthy packets of Giants supporters strewn throughout the stadium. I don’t get Giants fans. They don’t wear much gear, they don’t tend to carry towels, hats, or noisemakers. They don’t cheer when nothing is happening. You only hear them if something good happens for the Giants. It’s as if they are too fashionable to cheer. I think Giants fans treat baseball fandom like something trendy and obligatory rather than something to be embraced and enjoyed.

What passes for a cheering section in Giants-land

What passes for a cheering section in Giants-land

Their lineup seems to be a bunch of free-swinging bashers whose stats are only propped up by that soulless underlit bandbox of a stadium they call home. We may play in unfashionable Chiba, but Chiba Marine is a nice place to watch a game, especially when the sun is shining and the team is winning. Besides, we Marines fans have had a chance to celebrate our team’s championship in the past 4 years. Perhaps the Giants’ lack of titles causes their fans’ gloom?

In any case, Sikorski came in for two innings of relief (getting himself very deep into trouble in the 9th with runners at second and third, but getting out of it, too) and Itoh polished off the shutout. In the bottom of the 12th with no chance to lose Benny drew a walk. Bobby let him stay on the bases (probably because the entire bench had been used by that point). Ohmatsu hit into what could have been a game-ending DP but legged it out to just beat the throw. 2 outs, last chance – I am convinced Bobby did this largely to entertain us, and to think outside the box — but he pinch-ran for Ohmatsu with… Kobayashi. I’m not sure I’ve seen a relatively swift outfielder getting pulled for a starting pitcher-cum-runner. I was entertained at least, though the game ended soon after on Burnham Jr’s strikeout.

Benny, I advise you to score

Benny, I advise you to score

Run, Kobayashi, run!

Run, Kobayashi, run!

Here’s some more photos from Tuesday’s action.

Batozaki returns! (Thanks Deanna)

Batozaki returns! (Thanks Deanna)

Warming up to make a great catch

Heiuchi warms up before making a great catch

Chase Lambin, enjoying the life in right

Chase Lambin, enjoying the life in right

Comments 5

  1. Heiuchi! I wish he could hit well enough to stay at ichi-gun, he’s one of my favorite ni-gun guys. He has guts.

    Poor Shunsuke, he made good on his promise to “show Hara that he should have used me more in the WBC”… just a shame nobody could score any runs for him.

  2. If Watanabe can pitch like he did in this game, Lotte and Watanabe will be able to win more games. Keeping the Giants line up scoreless is impressive.

    As far as I know ( could be wrong) there are no strong anti Giants sentiments by Lotte fans in contrast to for instance Hanshin or Yakult fans. If anything I think there is a stronger anti Lions sentiment among Lotte fans.

  3. Deanna, I like Heiuchi as well, but he sure missed his chance to stay with Ichi-gun for a while last night. Taking a called third strike to end the game… Well – still better than a loss!

    Ed: No, I don’t think there’s a ton of Giants hate among Lotte fans, and we definitely dislike Seibu the most (though Seibu fans and staff were awfully nice when I visited Seibu Dome in April – which doesn’t mitigate my dislike of their team). I just don’t like the Giants personally – they’re too overexposed, seem too entitled when they haven’t done anything recently to deserve it. The typical comparison with the Yankees is apt in every way – and I never could stand the Yankees, either.

    It is too bad about Watanabe. He’s so erratic, though – his last two starts have both been spectacular (with no decision in either): 16.1 IP, 8 hits total, 1 run total. But he had a poor relief outing against Hiroshima, the total debacle against Seibu, the beating at the hands of Orix… He’s been either all-world or really, really off all year. It’s really a waste that his great starts go unrewarded!

  4. Well, Heiuchi earned my undying devotion last year when he was nearly decapitated by a flying broken bat, had a huge gash on his neck, was taken to a hospital… and was back on the field 4-5 days later wearing a huge gauze bandage. He just didn’t want to let a chance to play at ichi-gun go away. It was maybe stupid of him, but I admire that spirit.

    I think anti-Giants sentiment exists in all teams, it’s just stronger in CL teams than PL teams because they have to face the Giants all the time. I am fairly sure every CL team has a special anti-Giants cheer — at least Yakult, Yokohama, and Chunichi do, and I would be surprised if Hiroshima and Hanshin didn’t. But, every team probly has some feeling… it was, after all, my Fighters friends who taught me the alternate 嘘塵 kanji for “kyojin”…

  5. Coming back to work soon after getting your neck slashed by a flying broken bat – and I thought I was a trooper for coming in to work after drinking too much the night before. Nobody ever said Japanese players lack dedication to their craft!

    The only team-specific cheer I know of from Lotte is a Seibu one. I don’t think anyone outside the ‘Giants Fans’ and ‘Media Members’ sets likes the Giants, though. Actually – I don’t think I’ve ever met a foreign resident of Japan who supports Yomiuri. I’ve met lots of tourists who buy Yomiuri stuff because they’re “Japan’s team” (ick), though. Am I right in that assessment or is my social circle just too small?

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