Thursday, April 24, 2008

Season Opener vs. Yomiuri at Meiji Jingu Stadium

It was kind of a wet weekend, that Friday, Saturday and Sunday when the 2008 season began for the teams of NPB's central league. The Tokyo derby was hosted at Jingu stadium and we were there for all three games.

The rain was particularly bad for the Sunday game after Tokyo had already beat Yomiuri easily in the first two games of the series. I had publicly stated before the series that Yomiuri was the team to beat this season, but they sure didn't look like it during that first series. Tokyo won all three games: 6-2 (Fri); 6-3 (Sat); 10-2 (Sun) leading to a central league table that looked very different from last year's.

Luke and Sally were back in town that weekend, so they were able to make it to the game on Sunday when the clouds emptied. Stephen, Miyoko and Reina were there as well (Stephen and Miyoko only like to come to games when it's raining), and we were able to have a bit of fun once it became obvious that the game was out of reach and the mighty Giants had all but given up.

The Swallows pitching is still a little shaky, but the upshot is that there are a lot of young arms in the rotation, so that can only mean good things for the future. Additionally, it looks like we may finally have a reliable closer in the bullpen. Chang-yong Im (last name sometimes romanized as Lim) throws really hard (94-95 mph) for a sidearm pitcher, and he has been fantastic thus far. I'm guardedly optimistic about him at this point. It's still early, so we'll see what happens when opposing teams have seen him a few times.

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