Results tagged ‘ Tokyo Dome ’

Extra stuff from my trip to Japan!

Well, I’m officially back to the states and it’s back to the daily routine for me. I’ll hopefully be taking a trip next week to watch the Athletics battle the Kansas City Royals at the Oakland Coliseum on April 9th and 10th, so if you’re in the area, come on by and say hello! After that, providing the game isn’t sold out, I’ll be attending the Seattle Mariners home opener on April 13th and possibly the following two games after that. But we all know things can get hectic and plans can change. So I’ll just play things by ear for now.

I wanted to share some interesting photos I got from Zack Hample after I had returned to the United States. If you read my latest two blog entries, you’ll know that I attended two games at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo Japan for the 2012 Major League Baseball season opener on March 28th and on March 29th. I had such an awesome time that I wanted to get my blogs done about the games before I left for the US. I finally got the last entry done about the time I was ready to board my flight from Japan to the United States. So things were a little rushed in that entry and I didn’t really insert all the pictures I wanted. Plus, I still have a lot to talk about concerning the actual trip to Japan instead of just the baseball games. I covered quite a bit of detail on my adventure to and from the Tokyo Dome, but I still left some things out, and like I said, things were rushed.

Okay, enough talk. Time to look at some pictures!

Here’s me getting my picture taken by Zack after we first met since our last visit at Safeco Field on June 15th 2011. Zack wanted to get a bite to eat and since I had already eaten something earlier, I wasn’t all that hungry. But it prompted me to get a craving for a hamburger the following day at the Dome.

What’s interesting about the above picture is this; people who come to attend baseball games lay down sheets of newspaper and tape them to the ground as sort of place saver. It’s actually pretty ingenious surrounded by a little bit of primitive ideology, wouldn’t you agree? When I was sitting in line with Zack on March 28th, plenty of people kind of came and went while their sheet of newspaper held their spot. And here’s a close up of what a Japanese newspaper looks like:

Interesting stuff, yeah?

Here’s a picture of me hanging out in the outfield looking onto the field for an opportunity to snag a baseball:

As you can see, there is plenty of room to run when the seats aren’t filled. There are no cross bars blocking or any other obstructions in the way. There aren’t any seat backs and the stairs and fairly easy to negotiate. It was pretty fun to shag baseballs at this stadium, for sure!

After BP, of course, we worked up quite an appetite. And although the food was pretty expensive, it was full of taste and worth the amount of money I paid. I ordered chicken on a stick and it was covered in some kind of sweet and sour BBQ sauce sort of like the scallops I had on Thursday morning at the fish market.

The next picture I’m about to show you was the “restricted” staircase that Zack and I found. It took us to the very top of the Tokyo Dome and eventually security shut us down. But it was so much fun to explore! The way we got up there was just as interesting, too. We literally sweet talked the guard into letting us up! Being that there was a language barrier made it all that much easier. Here’s me peeking out of the door and taking a picture:

And here are a couple of pictures of Zack and I just hanging out after batting practice ended:

 

 

Check out this next picture…

…see the yellow strip down the middle of the sidewalk? Well, that’s for blind people. They can use that to navigate the city or wherever they’re headed. Pretty cool, huh? At every intersection there are yellow pads that are covered with little bumps to alert blind people that the end of the sidewalk is near. Those are also placed before staircases going up and down, too.

Some other interesting facts that I observed while being in Japan is that people are very quiet and they keep to themselves. It’s very rare that you’ll find a person walking down the street with a cellphone glued to their ear while they yap loudly to whomever is on the other end. Also, Tokyo (and even Ueno, where I stayed) have these little alley ways that people generally do their business in. Meaning, where they eat or count their money or talk on their cellphones. Not where they do their business, business. You get what I mean. It’s sort of like, being super private. They don’t want to air their phone conversations and they don’t want people seeing them stuff their face with a McDonalds Big Mac or something like that. So they go down these alley ways, turn their backs to the street, and handle their issue. Also, ATM’s are very private. There is a frosted piece of glass in front of the ATM and the ATM really isn’t out in the open in the store like it is in America.

Like I stated before in my previous entry, taxi cabs are for the birds. They are expensive for one, and anywhere you want to go, you should walk. You’ll see more and it’s healthier for you. I suppose this is sort of turning into a “how-to” guide about Japan, but really I’m just sharing some pointers in case you get the urge to go see Japan. Learn the trains and the subways. It’ll save you time and money. Or like I’ve said twice before, just walk!

Last mention and then I’ll wrap this up. Yes, it’s more information on my charity. If you’re wondering how to become a donor for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies, just leave a comment or email me at WaynePeck@yahoo.com! It’s that easy! Leave me your name, where you’re from and how much you want to pledge per baseball! Or if you want to just donate $10 bucks, you can do that too! $10 bucks is the minimum you can donate and that’s a Crowdrise.com thing. Next season I’ll be changing my donation webpage to the webpage that the Seattle Humane Society has set up. Since the season already started, and I already have four donors, I didn’t want to confuse things. Here’s the link to my charity page, by the way.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a fantastic 2012 baseball season!

 

3-29-2012 Tokyo Dome

I woke up this morning at around 6am and got my day started right away. I’ve mastered my way around my hotel room (which is about the size of an airplane cockpit) and watched a little Japanese tv before I was ready to venture out for the day. Today was fish market day and I was pretty pumped about that. Oh, here’s a picture of my hotel room. See how small it is?

The door on the right is the bathroom and it’s literally so small that when I bend over to get dressed, I bump my backside on the door. I’m 6’0 225 (the blog minuses 5-10 pounds) and I need a lot of room. Farther into the room you can see the bed on the right. And that’s about all there is to my hotel room. I get my little window for fresh air and that’s about it. It’s no bigger than a prison cell. But it’s cozy so I dig it. And get this. It’s actually a double occupancy room! Two people can sleep here! So I guess that’s what the couch is for. Ha!

My plan for the day was simply this; I’d walk from my hotel, which is in Ueno, to the Tokyo Dome, which is in Tokyo, and then I’d head due south towards the fish market. When I got to the Tokyo Dome and started to head south, I sort of lost my bearings and ended up thinking I was walking in the wrong direction. From my hotel, the fish market it roughly 4-5 kilometers. Not a bad walk. That’s about 3 miles or so. But three miles is three miles and when you’re hoofing it through Japan, and everything looks relatively the same, it’s hard to stay on course and know exactly where you’re headed. I just knew I needed to head south. And after about an hour of walking “south” I gave up and hailed a cab. This cab ride ran me about 2,600 yen which is way more than I anticipated. But I got to the fish market. This was the view as I exited the cab:

I really didn’t do much research on the fish market prior to leaving my hotel room. All I knew were the basic rules, which boils down to not being a jerk in a foreign country. Rule number one stated that you aren’t allowed to touch anything or sample anything unless directed by the vendor. Common sense, I suppose. The second rule was no smoking. But I actually saw a lot of vendors smoking inside their shop. So maybe the rule didn’t apply to them. The third rule was, don’t bring oversized luggage that will block people or traffic. I just had my back pack on so I was good there. The first shop I stopped at offered me some scallops and some of these miniature lobster looking things. I tried both as I didn’t want to be rude and then I asked to take a picture of the shop. Check it out:

I also shelled out 300 Yen for some scallops because when I asked to take a picture, the young lady kind of wasn’t happy about it but let me anyway. On top of that, I tried a bunch of food she had out. I wanted to leave a good impression. I continued my journey through the fish market and I noticed a large crowd of people with cameras and video camcorders creating quite a ruckus half way down the street. My first thought was it may be a baseball player inside eating ramen or something. How cool would that be if I ran into Felix Hernandez or Jason Vargas at the fish market? I took off down the street passing this…

….and when I realized what was happening, I wasn’t very impressed anymore. It’s not that I’m some animal rights activist, it’s just that watching someone slaughter a fish really isn’t that cool for me. But apparently it’s a huge deal at the fish market. Everyone wants to see some yellow fin tuna guts, I guess. Here’s the crowd outside the shop video taping, and taking pictures:

I was able to get a quick picture of the tuna carcass after the crowd dispersed a little bit:

I continued to explore the fish market and I ended up in some huge warehouse I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to be inside. I saw other people walking around that looked sort of like tourists. I figured if I wasn’t supposed to be inside I’d get yelled at by some angry warehouse worker. The warehouse looked like things were sort of winding down for the day. The fish market closed early in the afternoon so there wasn’t a whole lot going on when I walked inside it. I did see a squid/octopus looking thing in a bucket that was still alive and I saw a lot of clams, crabs, lobsters, and scallops all in containers full of water and ice. It really was a sight and I sort of regret not taking pictures. I just wasn’t sure if I was allowed to or not. This is what the entrance of the warehouse looked like, though:

I had to meet Zack Hample at the Tokyo Dome at 2pm for game two of the opening series at the Dome, so I decided I’d had enough fun at the fish market and it was time to head into Tokyo to take care of business. I’d eaten some scallops (even bought some) and almost got to see a guy gut a yellow fin tuna. Not too bad on the day.

As I headed out, I wasn’t quite sure which way to walk. I retraced the route that the cab driver took but eventually I was lost. Well, not really lost. Just…sorta lost. You understand. I found a street sign that directed me towards Ueno (which is where my hotel is at) so I just followed the street sign. Initially, it said 4km and after about an hour of walking, it said 3km. I was a little confused that I only traveled one kilometer on foot in an hour? I did manage to take a few photos while I was walking around. Since the fish market is located in Ginza, that’s mainly where I took my photos. There were lots of interesting things going on in Ginza. Since it’s like, a huge shopping area for women, there were some nicely dressed people in that area. I even saw the Ginza Bon Marche!

Here’s another picture of the downtown area:

When I finally gave up on walking, I hailed another cab and all I had to say was “Ichiro!” and the guy knew exactly where I wanted to go! Well, it wasn’t just like that, but I did mention Ichiro was at the Tokyo Dome. He got super excited and started laughing and saying “Go Mariners! Go Mariners!” I couldn’t help to laugh. It was truly a sight to remember. When I realized where I was at, finally, I asked the driver to stop and let me out. He thought I wanted to window down and when I flashed him a 1,000 Yen, he started to understand. I had about a quarter of a mile left to go until I reached the Tokyo Dome and I was super-exhausted (from lack of sleep) and I was so hungry! I wanted to try this burger joint at the Dome because Zack ate a hamburger there yesterday and it looked so delicious!

When I placed my order, I sort of confused the waitress. I ordered one cheeseburger and one hamburger with a glass of water and a glass of coke. She kept asking me if I was changing my order to a cheeseburger from a hamburger. It worked out in the end and this is what they brought out to me…

What? I’m an American! I eat and I eat a lot! I even got a couple of odd stares from people as I devoured both burgers. But let me tell you something. These two hamburgers were the best tasting, most flavourful, most juicy burgers I have ever eaten in my entire life. The meat was so, so fricken good! I can’t even put it into words how good they were. Of course, I had to pay an arm and a leg for them, but it was worth every Yen I shelled out for the meal. If you ever go to Japan, no matter where you go, get to the Tokyo Dome and visit this place! It’s so worth it.

I waited for Zack after my delicious meal for about ten minutes at the train station and then ventured off to find him. I found him at gate 11 and we were already facing a problem. You see, he had my ticket to get into the stadium. Well, actually it was his that he loaned out to me to get in. He wanted the ticket stub back which was fine with me. But his ticket was for gate 25 and my ticket was for gate 22. Gate 22 is behind home plate and gate 25 is near third base. We both wanted to get inside the stadium via left field entrance like yesterday and the security guard was already checking tickets. I think they had so many people trying to get into gates they weren’t supposed to get into that the guards were practicing a little pro-active-ness. Which is fine. It just sucks a little. Zack and I wandered to gate 25 and waited in line there. And when the gates opened up, Zack got in and my playing dumb role like yesterday didn’t fool anyone today. The guard actually escorted me out of line and pointed to gate 22. “Gate 22! You go now!”  he exclaimed. Wow. Okay, gate 22 it is!

Gate 22 was on the other side of the freaking stadium. I laced up my PF Flyers and booked it, I mean, booked it towards gate 22. I was flying, man. I’m telling you. I don’t know what it was, maybe the burgers, but my legs were pumpin`. I arrived at gate 22 with no line at all, they checked my bags, got the body scanner thing done, scanned my ticket, busted through the doors and hauled ass towards left field. I hit the brakes and made a bee line for the first row and started calling out to Brandon McCarthy for a toss-up when I got to left field. I lost maybe five minutes of batting practice at best, but the seats were filling up fast and I wanted to get on the board with at least one baseball as fast as I could. It wasn’t until the last few minutes of the Athletics portion of batting practice did I score my first baseball. I was able to get it via a new technique I made up on my own. It’s called “crow-hawking.” Basically, I let others call out to the players for a baseball and I kind of judge where the baseball might be tossed to from the player, line up behind that group of people and wait for the bobble or the dropped baseball, then I snatch it up! And that’s sort of what happened but with a BP home run ball. The ball caromed off the bleachers and bounced down to the first row of people, it bounced around, and I eventually got my hands on it. Possession! It counts! unfortunately, security was hot on it and as soon as I turned to run away, he was standing there asking for it. I couldn’t even get a picture of the baseball. And that’s why yesterday I really didn’t try for any BP home runs. I want documentation!

I won’t go too much more into detail about batting practice because it was pretty uneventful until about the last 10 minutes. I took up a spot in right center field and yelled my tail off to Steve Delabar when he got a baseball. I yelled and yelled and flailed my arms just like I did when Jesus Montero had a baseball. Steve looked at the baseball and sort of stared at me while I waved my arms. I started to feel like an idiot. But then he launched it my way. And it was dead on! I leaned back, took a deep breath and then saw a mess of baseball gloves closing in on the ball. I did everything short of getting physical to get my glove out in front of the growing pile and made the smooth catch! I gave Steve Delabar a thumbs up and pointed at him after I made the catch and got a few pats on the back from the locals. That was number two. Number three came from George Sherrill in left field and I had to sort of use my crow-hawking technique. Sherrill launched one my way and I wasn’t quite sure it was intended for me or for someone else. But the baseball seemed to have bounced off someone elses glove and the ball actually landed on my wrist not in my glove. I quickly secured the ball with my free hand and placed it back in my mitt. Feeeww!

Here’s the Delabar baseball…

…you can also see Shawn Kelley standing next to him. And here’s my George Sherrill baseball:

Tom Wilhelmsen and Charlie Furbush are on the right side of Sherrill. Anyway. So I bagged three baseballs on the evening, which for me, that’s pretty good, and especially good in a foreign land in a stadium I’ve never been to. Five baseballs total in two games. I really wasn’t interested in any third out baseballs or foul balls or home run balls either. I will say this about the Tokyo Dome security. For the most part, it’s easy to sweet talk your way through them. It’s easy to catch them off guard and sneak past. So if you ever end up going to a Major League game in the Tokyo Dome, remember that. Security is there to ensure safety, enforce the rules, but they’re human beings after all and if you can stay one step ahead of them, you’ll do just fine.

And remember; watch out for batted baseballs:

Here’s Zack and I hanging out after batting practice:

The next morning when I woke up, I started to pack and get my things ready to leave. I thought check-out was at like, 3pm but it was at 11am. Oops! Sorry! Anyway. I walked down for breakfast and when I returned it was like, 10 minutes to eleven. I started to blog about the first game at the Tokyo Dome and then I got a phone call from the front desk instructing me that check out was like, now! Helloo!! Time to leave, right? Well, I had to do one last thing before I left.

When I walked down stairs, I told the young lady at the counter that I had a gift for her. I pulled out one of the baseballs that I caught at the game and left one of my business cards as well. I wrote a nice little note on the back of my business card stating that I had a great time at the hotel and it was a great place to stay. And I truly did enjoy my stay. It was the quietest hotel I’ve ever stayed at in my life. I also told them that Ichiro hit the baseball I had given them. The young lady’s hands were actually shaking when I told her that. Ichiro is huge in Japan, we all know this.  Here’s a picture of them after I donated the baseball to the hotel:

And that pretty much concludes my trip! Unless you want to see pictures from the skyliner train from Ueno to Narita, that’s about all I got to show! I hope you all enjoyed reading about my trip as much as I enjoyed visiting Japan! I’m not too sure where I’ll end up next as far as baseball games, but I am planning on visiting Oakland in April possibly for the Royals series. I think that would be a good start to the 2012 season after this epic trip, you think? Anyway, if you’re in Oakland, drop me a line!

I’m snagging baseballs for puppies again this season for the Seattle Humane Society! If you want to check out my charity information, just click here!

Last season, with the help of all of you, we were able to raise over $250 dollars! This year I’d like to break $300!

Today’s game snagging Highlights: Oakland Athletics Vs. Seattle Mariners- attendance 43,391

Baseballs snagged: three (One BP HR, toss-up from Steve Delabar and George Sherrill)

Total baseballs snagged this season: 5

Total baseballs snagged last season: 135

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies this season: $3.70

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies last season: $257.00

Total number of donors this season: 4

Total number of donors last season: 7

If you’d like to join my official Snagging Baseballs for Puppies Facebook page, just click here! And if you want to like Collection of Baseball on Facebook, click here!

Plans for 2012 MLB Baseball Season

I know it’s soooooo early but I wanted to get this information out in case anyone was planning on trying to catch up with me at some baseball games next year. So mark your calendars, people! I’m hoping to make it to a few new stadiums next season but I can’t promise anything! What I’m really excited about for the 2012 season is that the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland Athletics are going to hold their season openers in Japan! Yeah, that’s right! They’re going to play a couple of games at the Tokyo dome! What does that mean for me? I’m going to JAPAN!

I’ve never been to Japan so I have no idea what to expect. But I’m sure it will be an epic trip! This all happens on March 28th I believe. So mark those calendars! And yes, Snagging Baseballs for Puppies will be in full swing for these games!

My next stop is Minute Maid Park. I’d usually save this trip for some time in the distant future because I’m not really an Astros fan. But I am a fan of Ryan Rowland-Smith and Bud Norris. I love to see Norris pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals. He destroys that team and since I’m not a Cardinals fan I gain much joy from watching that. Minute Maid has something spectacular going on next season though, and I want to be apart of it. They’re celebrating their 50th Anniversary in 2012 and they’re using special 50th Anniversary commemorative baseballs. And this is the logo that’s going on all of the baseballs:

So with that being said, I am in dire need of one of these baseballs. I may have to travel to San Francisco a few times to watch the Giants play the Astros just to increase my chances of snagging one of these gems. And I’ll do it if it comes down to it. But I hope to snag one at Minute Maid.

 

Speaking of commemorative baseballs being used next season, the Los Angeles Dodgers are celebrating their 50th season as the Los Angeles Dodgers next season too! If you’ve  figured out how obsessed I am about snagging these collectible baseballs then I shouldn’t have to tell you that Dodger stadium is in the works for a visit as well. Although, I’ve heard many nasty rumors about how unfriendly this ballpark is to fans, how ridiculous the rules are about ticketing and seating, and I’ve also hear the parking lot opens up to the park the same time the gates open. So I’m really not too excited to visit. This stadium will surely be visited towards the end of the season.

The stadium looks friendly enough. So I’ll give it a try. Other stadiums that I may try to make it out to next season will be AT&T Park, Oakland Coliseum, PETCO Park, and possibly Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. I’d also like to make it out to Miami Park next season, the new home for the Miami Marlins, but it may not happen. They too are using commemorative baseballs to celebrate the new baseball stadium and the new direction the Marlins are going to try to go next season.

So there you have it folks! Things are in the works for this Japan trip which I am totally stoked about! If you plan on being in the neighborhood at any one of these stadiums next year make sure you stop by and say hello. Or drop me an email sometime and let me know what dates you’re planning on going and I’ll try to meet up with you!

You can get the latest of what I’m doing and where I’m going on all my social media websites! I look forward to hearing from you and thanks for reading!

 

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