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Jim Allen

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Home improvement

by Jim Allen (Apr 2, 2009)

After more than 51 seasons, the Carp have left Japan's best home run park for a stadium that will change what Hiroshima fans see when they flock there this season.

Although they're still ironing some kinks out of the new infield dirt, Carp manager Marty Brown likes what he's seen of Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium Hiroshima.

"Because of the grass infield, it's more of an American-looking park than what we're used to in Japan, other than [Kobe's] Skymark," Brown told The Daily Yomiuri by telephone.

"The grass has held up well, better than I expected."

He said the big change will be with his pitchers, who needed nerves of steel to throw strikes at the old park and led the Central League with 443 walks last season.

"It plays bigger," Brown said. "I think it plays even bigger than Yahoo! [Fukuoka Yahoo! Japan Dome].

"Our pitchers will be more willing to throw it over the plate even when they're even in the count or even behind, and that should lead to a lot fewer walks."

The new park is about 10 meters bigger all the way around the Carp's old home, but Brown said right-handed-hitting cleanup man Kenta Kurihara wouldn't be affected much by the switch.

"It carries well to left," Brown said. "You still have to hit it hard, but Kurihara hits it hard. He'll probably hit a lot more doubles, though."


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