By Ben Verlander
FOX Sports activities MLB Analyst
Editor’s be aware: Ben Verlander is spending time in Japan exploring Shohei Ohtani’s roots, experiencing the nation’s tradition and assembly followers. That is the third in a recurring sequence that started Friday, Aug. 19.
Hiya from a bullet practice touring 150 mph. World’s fastest-land-speed article ever written, and you can not show in any other case!
On this bullet practice, I’m touring to Iwate, the place Shohei Ohtani performed Little League and highschool baseball.
On my second day in Japan, we visited Tokyo Dome Metropolis and went to a recreation on the Tokyo Dome. Upon arrival, I took my normal photograph from in entrance of the stadium and was instantly met by “Flippin’ Bats” followers wanting a photograph. It will by no means get outdated. I traveled midway across the globe, and the love and appreciation for my podcast are particular.
After the primary day right here, I made some extent to rely simply what number of “Flippin’ Bats” followers I bumped into. I had 74 individuals strategy me and wound up taking tons of of images on the Tokyo Dome! There was even a fan meetup after the sport that I had nothing to do with!
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After the photographs, it was off to the workforce retailer to get a Tokyo Giants jersey, as it’s my mission to get a house workforce jersey from each stadium I go to.
It was fairly tough to discover a jersey my dimension. Notably as a result of I didn’t know what my dimension was in Japan.
Enjoyable truth: On this a part of the world, I’m dimension XO.
Lastly, I discovered the fitting match for me. It was the jersey of the Giants’ switch-hitting infielder, Akihiro Wakabayashi.
From there, it was time to move into the stadium.
The Tokyo Dome isn’t simply an iconic baseball stadium. It is usually one of the crucial well-known leisure venues on the planet!
I didn’t know what to anticipate, however it was instantly obvious that the Tokyo Dome is an expertise to go to.
To begin with, there’s an enormous curler coaster known as the Thunder Dolphin subsequent to the stadium. There’s additionally The Tokyo Dome Lodge, with the Japanese Baseball Corridor of Fame connected. The Rolling Stones performed a live performance there, and Mike Tyson was handed the primary lack of his profession by Buster Douglas on the Tokyo Dome.
The Tokyo Dome was additionally the situation of the ultimate recreation of Ichiro Suzuki’s baseball profession, when the Mariners and Athletics kicked off their season in Tokyo in March 2019.
Ben Verlander goes to the Tokyo Dome
Ben Verlander talks about his unimaginable expertise visiting the Tokyo Dome in Japan, seeing the place Ichiro Suzuki performed his final recreation and seeing the place Shohei Ohtani hit a ball via the roof of the stadium.
From my visits to 2 Japanese baseball stadiums, one factor is clear: The Japanese don’t fiddle with stadium meals. I believe the Tokyo Dome has one of the best meals I’ve ever had at a ballgame. Some standouts included an ice cream sandwich that doubled as a mannequin of the Tokyo Dome, one of the best crepe I’ve ever consumed and a full-sized batting helmet stuffed with nachos, rooster fingers, popcorn, cheese, guacamole and plenty of different elements.
The sport itself was an ideal one. Assume Crimson Sox vs. Yankees, however in Japan, it’s the Tokyo Giants vs. the Hanshin Tigers. The ambiance was electrical, and nearly half the followers within the stadium have been for the visiting Tigers.
One other factor that caught my consideration was an precise line within the outfield separating the 2 fan bases. In case you are a fan of 1 workforce, you can not cross the road and sit with followers of the opposite workforce. One among my producers purchased a Tigers jersey and was stopped by safety from crossing the road into the opposite part.
The day was capped off by an unimaginable dinner, because of a advice from Orioles nice Adam Jones. Jones performed in Japan for just a few years and despatched me his favourite dinner spots, so naturally, I needed to go to at least one.
On the stroll again to the resort, I simply soaked all of it in. It is a particular place, and it’s a visit I am going to keep in mind for the remainder of my life.
Ben Verlander is an MLB Analyst for FOX Sports activities and the host of the “Flippin’ Bats” podcast. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Verlander was an All-American at Previous Dominion College earlier than he joined his brother, Justin, in Detroit as a 14th-round choose of the Tigers in 2013. He spent 5 years within the Tigers group. Observe him on Twitter @BenVerlander.
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