Friday, June 18, 2010

June's Baseball Essay: Mascots!

Giabbit and the female Giabbit pose for pictures outside the Tokyo Dome before a Yomiuri Giants game in September 2008.

During 2010 writer Peter Schiller has given me space to contribute a monthly essay about Japanese baseball for his website Baseball Reflections. My June essay is about the mascots for Japanese teams. It posted this week, and I had a blast writing it.

One of the reasons I loved doing this piece was it gave me a chance to look through my pictures from my two JapanBall trips. It brought back great memories of how incredible it was to attend those baseball games in Japan. It also made me excited for this September, when I return for more.

Another good thing about writing this essay is that I found a hilarious blog post that rated Japanese teams. Cuteness of the mascots was one criterion. The writer – I haven't read the other posts, but I'm pretty sure it's a guy – is in the JET Programme, teaching English to Japanese students outside Osaka.

My friend Dan, who was inducted into the JapanBall Hall of Fame for visiting all of the Japanese ballparks last September, shot some video of the mascots.

Here are the mascots of the Yakult Swallows, doing sit-ups before a game.

Later, one of the Yakult mascots – I think it's the son (I just made that up) – does a little breakdance. The pregame warm-ups came in handy.

The strange humanoid mascots of the Orix Buffaloes, Neppie and Ripsea, perform with the cheerleaders during the 7th inning stretch. It was about 100 degrees that day.

I caught Doala Fever after seeing the koala do his mascot thing in Nagoya in September 2008.

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