2006 Upper Deck "Inaugural Images" #II-25 Ichiro Suzuki
The first two games of the 2012 MLB season are in the books.
I just got done watching today's Mariners-A's game. Another good one, although I'm not expecting a whole lot from either team this year.
Although it made the schedule a bit funky (both teams still have a few more spring training games left), I loved seeing Japan's baseball culture first-hand. Much like it is here, every game is an event in Japan.
The one thing that stuck out the most was the "homecoming" reception for Ichiro. He's always been one of my personal favorites, but Japanese fans take the word "favorite" to a whole other level. He got an immense ovation every time he stepped up to the plate. They went crazy after each of his four hits in yesterday's game. He's bigger than the Beatles in his home land.
I can't imagine what it would've been like had he gone deep.
This is mainly why I'm looking forward to next year's World Baseball Classic tournament. I love seeing all the baseball cultures around the world, and it's extremely refreshing to know that baseball is being played around the world, even in places like Brazil and Colombia.
However, I don't think any other place can match Japan's enthusiasm for the sport, judging from what I witnessed over the last couple days. While the U.S. and Japan have obviously had their differences over the years, there's always been one thing we could agree on.