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Call in the Marines (a Marines' fan lands on shore)

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Call in the Marines (a Marines' fan lands on shore)

7 replies. Most recent reply: Jun 18, 2011 4:07 PM by Switch Pitcher

Call in the Marines (a Marines' fan lands on shore)
When I first starting watching and choosing a team to follow in the N.P.B. (Japanese Professional Baseball League) I was very impressed with the Tigers’ and Marines’ fans sometimes fanatical support. Giant fans are solid too, but they are the NY Yankees of the N.P.B. and thus have huge advantages in market share and more.

I’m not too keen with Johnny-come-latelies, as armchair supporters that change their support with the winds of fashion, and who are for the latest “in” or “it” team, have never been much to my taste.

The Chiba Marines are the closest team to my home, yet there are so many teams in the region that one doesn’t have to go local or be starved of coverage or getting seats.The colors (black, gray, white and a dash of red) are good and the team’s name is solid too. I’m not into making everything cute (kawai) so a team called "The Marines" is interesting too. I later learned they use the name to mean like that of the Mariners, as opposed to the “soldiers on ship” or military reference, but either way the name is sharp.

In our time of endless fashion a historical respect is nice to be found in baseball, yet teams named after buffaloes and whales just don’t fit a gracefully sport like baseball. So I'm glad Yokohama changed its name from the Whales. The exception to this, to date, is that of the the Hiroshima Carp, as the carp has a very in-depth meaning in Japan. That being in the times of much more social control the place for fun and entertainment was found in special walled cities or separate parts of town. There people were allowed to let off steam and find fun & relaxation, and this life was represented by “the carp” (often seen as a kind of kite on a pole). This fits very much with what baseball is about. So the Carp gets a big thumb’s up from me.

My first baseball team was the Toronto Blue Jays and from the beginning of watching them play at CNE stadium in a snowfall many years ago I liked to watch the sport, not just play. Then they won 2 World Series and all was worth the long support, this is exactly how I feel about the Marines; as they don’t disappoint.

Recently I have seen the Jays give up great pitchers every year, and seen the state of the turf in the stadium in Toronto with a bit of shame. From the Jays I became a great admirer of Pat Gillick, as what he did with the Jays and Phillies begs one to take note of what a good GM should do. So when the Chiba Lotte Marines hired Bobby Valentine many years ago I very was impressed with the GM going foreign. Gutsy decisions by a GM needs support, and so I gave my support to the Marines all the more. I was eager to see a blend of styles to gauge how a balance could be found.

I had played the gridiron game in Japan and my years of experience in Canada were negated because I was “not Japanese.” My talents were claimed to be due to my size, not so much because I could possibly know more. One of the biased issues here in Japan for foreigners was and is the idea that “ Japanese are just smarter.” So when Bobby came to manage I very much eager to see how he handled it. I had hoped that when Bobby helped take the Marines from the bottom to mid-table, that he might escape some of my experiences being he was more well known, and thus would allow the blending with the “Japanese Way” with other ways to take place. Then the shoe dropped and they fired him as I’d feared and I was pissed as they then dropped down the league table again.

Happily Bobby’s return and future success proved a great step to bringing a mixing of ideas in the sport. They have continued to do well, and as many have seen the last year (2010) they peaked at the right time to come from a very low playoff position to win it all.

They are struggling in pitching this year, and I see the Fighters as the team to beat with their depth in pitching. As they say, “pitching wins titles.”

The Swallows look like the other team to watch in the Central, but hitting can get hot and cold, so barring a peaking at the right time in batting, like last year, I think Chiba Marines will be hard pressed to repeat last year’s last minute cavalry charge run to take the pennant. Cross your fingers and keep your powder dry Marines (and your bats clean), as you can never count out the Chiba Marines!
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Comments

Re: Call in the Marines (a Marines' fan lands on shore)

[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: May 28, 2011 11:34 PM | Posts: 35247 | From: Yokohama, Japan | YBS Fan | Registered: Aug, 2001 ]
- "The [Marines'] colors (black, gray, white and a dash of red) are good and the team’s name is solid too. I’m not into making everything cute (kawai) so a team called 'The Marines' is interesting too."

When Lotte moved to Chiba in the early 1990s (I lived in Urayasu at the time, a good bike ride to Makuhari Messe), their team color was actually pink. That lasted until Bobby took over the team the first time in 1995. Valentine-kantoku had a lot to do with the conversion to black, the pinstripe uniforms, and several other uniform designs.

Re: Call in the Marines (a Marines' fan lands on shore)

[ Author: Switch Pitcher | Posted: May 29, 2011 11:38 AM | Posts: 28 | From: Edogawa-ku | LOT Fan | Registered: May, 2011 ]
Yes I remember seeing those pink uniforms, but I thought they were an older uniform that was being worn on a vintage day. I was unaware that he got that changed upon his arrival. Thanks for the info.

Re: Call in the Marines (a Marines' fan lands on shore)

[ Author: RegDunlap | Posted: Jun 6, 2011 9:31 AM | Posts: 1 | From: Aichi | Registered: May, 2009 ]
I enjoyed watching "Bobby Ball" here, too. I'm a Tigers fan, but if I had a second team it would be the Marines. They have a great fan base, a good working class vibe much like Hanshin.

Bobby had his faults (a bit of an ego one of the most obvious), but he truly loved the game. It was obvious to any casual observer that he desperately wanted his team both to win and to prosper. IMHO there is too much corporate influence in NPB, not enough interest in providing a quality product. It shows in the stadiums, the approach to marketing, even the televised games. How can anyone claim to be a baseball fan and accept TV networks that start night game broadcasts at 700pm (usually mid-3rd inning) and shut them down at 854pm? At least the cable channels don't do that.

Re: Call in the Marines (a Marines' fan lands on shore)

[ Author: Switch Pitcher | Posted: Jun 7, 2011 9:23 AM | Posts: 28 | From: Edogawa-ku | LOT Fan | Registered: May, 2011 ]
Yes the companies are very dominant, but its their dime so there is not much anyone can do about their logos being bigger than the teams sometimes etc. As for some of the fields you are preaching to the converted, but did you seen the Jays' field during the last Classic series? It was a disgrace, and I was embarrassed.

Hiroshima has a nice field and is very fan friendly. I think they will get better as so many are seeing the MLB fields and you see them improving with teams like the Eagles.

Tigers fans are the best from what I see, and they are unlikely to change anything there, as their field is sacred.

Once the old 70s type fields have run their life they will likely improve the fields a little to a lot. Being frugal is no vise and a few MLB teams get the city to pay for their fields and then pocket the profits. Here they are more careful with their money, which should supported .

Re: Call in the Marines (a Marines' fan lands on shore)

[ Author: SteveNovosel | Posted: Jun 15, 2011 11:58 AM | Posts: 39 | From: Urayasu, Chiba | LOT Fan | Registered: May, 2009 ]
Reg, those aborted baseball broadcasts are awful. I have no idea why people put up with that. I'm glad most of the Lotte home games are on BS12 or Chiba TV (though I use the Sky Perfect NPB pack so I can be sure I get them all).

At least the Pacific League is progressive about reaching out to the fans with the Pa League Live TV, Pacific League Movie channel on You Tube, the new Pa League iPhone app... It's really too bad the teams don't co-market more, though.

Re: Call in the Marines (a Marines' fan lands on shore)

[ Author: SteveNovosel | Posted: Jun 15, 2011 11:54 AM | Posts: 39 | From: Urayasu, Chiba | LOT Fan | Registered: May, 2009 ]
Switch Pitcher, I haven't been around here much lately so I am just seeing your post. Good to know there's more Lotte fans - there's not been so many Western Lotte fans around since Bobby left (though I am not sure why). There are tons of Korean fans now especially with Kim Tae Kyun's arrival last year. Parts of the official Marines website are in Korean and even Chinese now - so Lotte is really pushing for new markets.

I run an English Lotte fan site over at http://www.welovemarines.com/ (which you may already know about) though I am super slack about updating this year (As of last night I finally have the schedules and current results for this year up, oops!) I'm also at about 90% of the home games and a good 10-20% of the road games so feel free to drop me a line should you want to cheer together.

Re: Call in the Marines (a Marines' fan lands on shore)

[ Author: Switch Pitcher | Posted: Jun 18, 2011 4:07 PM | Posts: 28 | From: Edogawa-ku | LOT Fan | Registered: May, 2011 ]
Thanks Steve,
I'll check out your site. I've run across it before briefly. We are not too far from each other, and can go see a game together. I'll try and contact you.
SP
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