Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Yokohama Baseball Stadium

View from the left field bleachers of Yokohama stadium. This was from a game in early April that we lost (9-6) because Rios was pitching. Three weeks later, actually, he's still in a bit of a slump. He often flirts with the 100-pitch mark by the beginning of the sixth inning, and he seems to have lost that knack for getting guys out that propelled him to the top of the Korean Baseball Organization last season.

Here's hoping that he finds it.

But this post is not meant to be a swipe at Rios. Adjustments take time. He'll find his groove again. The negative tone of my typing, however, is going to endure. For I found that I'm no longer as crazy about Yokohama stadium as I used to be.

On the plus-side, it's a short walk from either Kannai station (JR Negishi/Keihin Tohoku line or Yokohama Subway line) or Nihon Odori station (Minato Mirai subway line). If you're sitting in the outfield, though, there won't be many more pluses.

Yokohama has no control over the weather, so no blame can be assigned for the bitterly frigid wind that was sweeping around the inside of the bowl-shaped stadium. But very little was done to make us feel at home.

Ah! Open seating. There's another plus! Yokohama resembles Jingu in that regard. You can get your ticket and then wander around until you find something that you like. But don't sit too close to the center field scoreboard as the public address speakers are pointed directly at the fans. It's a lot like being crammed in a tiny bar that just got new floor-to-ceiling speakers and the owner insists on taking advantage of their potential. Deafening. Accordingly, sitting in left-center (or right-center, I would imagine) only allows you the privilege of viewing the scoreboard above home plate. It's a great view if your interest in the game starts and ends with ball/strike count.

Another oversight at Yokohama stadium, at least in left field, is the food. I had long ago dismissed all hopes of getting something decent to eat at Jingu stadium (although, admittedly, the selection did improve this year), but somehow I had tricked myself into believing that Yokohama stadium has more or less a similar selection of fare available for ticket-holders. It doesn't. Yokohama stadium makes Jingu look like the food section at Costco.

Alright, it's time to stop pissing and moaning about the stadium. At least the home fans there are friendly, the seating in left field is unassigned for most games, and the stadium has retained its intimacy.

I'll just have to keep packing my own picnic and sit a little further from the center field scoreboard from now on I guess. Or that would be the sensible thing to do anyway--not that I'm particularly prone to doing the sensible thing.

Tokyo plays Yokohama away on May 6th through the 8th.

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