Some of you may be aware of the Hanshin Tigers Fan Club. Others might not. Since the information on the team website is only in Japanese, it becomes even harder for English-speaking fans to get a service that is quite reasonable. I’ll break it down for you here:
The cost for a year membership is ¥3,600 (around $30 US) and includes:
1) A membership card. On the back is your name and membership number, as well as a little Tigers jersey with the number of your choice on it. (I chose #9 because Matt Murton is my favorite player.) Three straight years of membership earns you “Gold” status, 5 is “Platinum” and 10 is “Diamond.” Not sure what its significance is.
Update: After reading into it, I found out Gold gets you a free towel (different than the one below) plus entry into a draw for 3B SMBC seats to a game. Platinum gets you a Membership “card case” plus entry into a draw for 1B SMBC seats to a game, plus access to special “Platinum and Diamond Members Only” tickets. Diamond gets you a special hand-stitched “Diamond Member” emblem, entry into a draw for lower-deck Green seats, access to special “Platinum and Diamond Members Only” tickets, plus entry into a draw for invitations to special events (open practices, more) accessible only to Gold, Platinum and Diamond members. You also get an optional “Diamond Plus Member” service available for ¥33,600 which includes: a unique Mizuno “bench coat” with your name (up to 10 characters) stitched into the sleeve, a unique Diamond Plus Member card, a Mizuno “Gold Glove Leather” keychain, earlier access to tickets than anyone else, a walk down the red carpet at Fan Appreciation Day, a pair of tickets (1B Alps) to any regular season game, your name on a placard outside Koshien Stadium, and entry into a draw to access the draftees’ club induction conference. WOW.
2) A replica yellow jersey OR a tote bag with 2 seat cushions (for the hard seats at Koshien) OR a tote bag (like the ones that high schoolers use) OR a large beach towel with Torakki- (To Lucky) and Torako on it.
3) If a current member “introduces” you to the club, both you and that person get a silk-screen hand towel that has 7 players on it.
4) Discounts on certain tickets/items, as well as the ability to choose your seats when buying tickets. Without the membership you can only choose your section, then you get your seats chosen for you.
5) Invitations to special fan events throughout the year.
6) A quarterly magazine put out by the club (in Japanese, of course). I would like to be the one to introduce the idea of having the magazine available in English, too. Of course, I would be the translator, in a perfect world!
7) You get a chance to throw out the first pitch at home games or present “player of the month” awards to players.
So that’s what you get for the cost of a decent dinner for two. Not bad, eh? I’m glad I got my membership this year, and hope to make it easier for everyone to get theirs in 2016!
May everyone enjoy the final few days of 2014! Looking forward to another great year of cheering for the Tigers in 2015! Let’s hope they can win their first title in 30 years! GO TIGERS!