Report – July 31, 2014 — Swallows 8, Tigers 1

There’s something special about being in attendance at a Tigers game. Arriving early on a train full of fellow Tigers fans, walking towards the stadium in great anticipation, checking out all the shops/vendors, buying the requisite meal for the evening (game time is typically 6pm), getting into the stadium nice and early to watch the teams warm up, listen to the starting lineups… it’s all a little bit surreal.

Then the opening pitch comes. In the blink of an eye, there is one out, and you start to feel good about this one. One pitch, one out. What’s not to like? Then they get a hit. No worries. These things happen. Next guy strikes out. You start to feel good again. Then before you know it, kablamo! Wladimir Balentien crushes an Atsushi Nohmi offering clear over the center field fence.

And that’s all you need to know, folks. It was that kind of game. By the end of the third inning, Nohmi had surrendered 7 hits (but miraculously held the Swallows to just two runs). The middle-third of the game went extremely well for the Tigers on defence – no hits, no runs. In fact, Nohmi retired twelve straight. The crowd was all ready to release their balloons into the air (a Koshien tradition) as the first two batters of the seventh went down on strikes. Then something happened. Nohmi got tired, or something, because he allowed a hit, followed by a walk, and then an RBI single, and the score was 3-0 and the fans grew tired of waiting to release their balloons. Finally the third out was recorded. Let the magic begin!

And the Tigers responded well in the seventh, starting the inning with Toritani hustling to first and reaching safely on an error, then Gomez advancing him to third with a long single. Unfortunately, the lone run of the game for the Tigers came on the subsequent Matt Murton double-play. No one cheered, many groaned, and the next hitter meekly grounded out to second to end the inning. Tigers down, 3-1.

Bring in the “relief” – three guys who proceeded to allow six hits and five runs over the final two innings, and the game ended in a blowout. Still, the beauty of the Hanshin Tigers fans is that many stayed until the end, all cheered when Uemoto led off the bottom of the ninth with a single, but then all groaned as Itoh struck out and Toritani put everyone out of their misery with a game-ending double play (his second of the night).

Truly a disappointing night for Tigers fans, and one can only hope they regroup tonight as they play their final home series until the end of the month. Crush the DeNA, Tigers!!!

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3 thoughts on “Report – July 31, 2014 — Swallows 8, Tigers 1

  1. well put, i went to koshien for the abysmal climax series last year and it was just as you described. i’ve been on a bit of a run lately. since a few games before the final Seibu game at saitama dome, all the tigers games i’ve attended were wins. going to jinguu next week, then tokyo dome the week after, and yokohama that weekend. count on at least three more in the W column!
    if it doesnt look like a koshien climax series is going to happen, i’ll travel my butt over there sometime during the regular season. definitely an experience to attend, far more so than any other team (probably bias talking)

    what is the deal with hanshin and the weaker teams? or any of the current “big three” for that matter? seems like baystars and yakult are giving everyone unnecessary trouble this season.

    • Alright, I’m counting on your presence to be the difference maker! I have been to two games this year, and the Tigers have lost by a combined score of 12-1. Our hitters have gone 7-for-57 with one walk. All hits were singles. One runner got past second base. Four double plays and one caught stealing. One reached on an error. So of nine base runners, five got thrown out at second. Awful luck! It’s GOT to change next time!!!

      Not sure why the Tigers have a hard time against the weaker teams, but the Swallows actually have the second best hitting in the league, and the Tigers are fourth. (The Baystars and Giants are behind the Tigers in hitting.)

      • i notice on the tiger tails forum you say you just became a fan, im in a similar boat.
        i’ve superficially liked the team since 2004, but went to my first game (at yokohama) only last year. i’ve been to a few MLB games before and they were boring and i didnt care about baseball at all, but my first japanese ballgame flipped a switch in me and i went nuts. i go to as many games as possible now. i understand the players we have now, but same as you i dont know much of the recent history that is bleeding over into this season. Christopher’s writeups and replies at the tiger tails forum go a long way to educate new fans such as myself, and i’m enjoying your site as well for the different perspective

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