Archive for the ‘ Japan ’ Category

Mariners Game Central (March 26)

The Mariners (12-8-1) play tonight in Japan vs. the Yomiuri Giants at Tokyo Dome. Here is game information for today’s game vs. the Giants:

Opponent: vs. Yomiuri Giants
Site: Tokyo Dome
Pitching Match-up: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma vs.  RHP Dennis Houlton
Time: 7:04 p.m. in Japan/3:04 a.m. in Seattle
Radio: The game will air live on (subscription) and on ESPN 710 Seattle.
Live Stats: Live pitch-by-pitch coverage will be provided on via the Gameday feature.
Game Information:  | Mariners Game Notes  | Gameday Roster | MLB Gameday |

Mariners lineup vs. Yomiuri Giants, March 26

Japan: Mariners vs. Hanshin Tigers (March 25)

Here is a recap of the Mariners first day in Japan playing an exhibition game vs. the Hanshin Tigers. The Mariners dropped the game to the Tigers 5-1.

An early morning for the Mariners traveling party, with 8:00 am bus times to head to the stadium.  Once the players got to the Tokyo Dome, it felt like the regular season once again (though we’ll get that true feeling on Wednesday when Felix Hernandez takes the mound against the Athletics).

The Tigers had the early batting practice time slot and it was interesting to walk out and see the side-by-side batting cages on the field.  Two former Mariners were on the field for the Hanshin Tigers, Kenji Johjima was all smile as he took his swings in the cage, and pitcher Randy Messenger made the rounds greeting former teammates and friends. Both Johjima and Messenger are entering their third season with the Tigers.

Hanshin had two cages on the field for BP.

The crowd started pouring in early and the stands quickly filled up as the pre-game ceremonies approached.

Pre-game introductions.

All of the coaches and players for both teams were introduced, Guillermo Quiroz sat behind the plate for the first pitch but he didn’t actually need his glove to catch it. The pitch came in and it sailed way over Quiroz’s head and hit the backstop, nearly hitting Mariners team photographer Ben Van Houten.

The game got underway and the flashing cameras filled the Tokyo Dome when Ichiro stepped up to the plate. Ichiro promptly rewarded the fans for their support with a single to left field.

Ichiro steps in for his first at-bat.

Right-hander Hector Noesi got the start and had a solid performance, retiring the side in order in the first frame, allowing three runs in the 2nd and bouncing back to toss three more scoreless frames.

Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez relieved Noesi and retired the side in order in the sixth, striking out the first two batters he faced.  Munenori Kawasaki got a rousing ovation when he entered the game in the bottom of the sixth.

Erasmo Ramirez congratulated after a shutout inning.

After Brandon League pitched a scoreless eighth inning, Casper Wells put the Mariners on the board with a long home run to center field on the first pitch he saw from the right-hander.

Casper Wells congratulated after his home run in the ninth.

Something a little different that is done in Japan that isn’t the norm in Major League Baseball is the in-game quotes. Twice during the game assistants came around with quotes from Hanshin Tigers players. Since Casper Wells hit a home run in the ninth, we had to gather a quote from him post-game.

Casper commented, “I assumed he was going to try to get ahead so I went up there trying to be aggressive and I got a pitch that I could handle.”

These games in Tokyo are being handled like they were MLB postseason games. After the game, the losing team is made available first while the winning side comes in right after.

Eric Wedge, Munenori Kawasaki and Miguel Olivo in the post-game news conference.

The clubhouse was a chaotic after the game with 60-70 people in there at one time trying to grab quotes from players. The clubhouse in the Tokyo Dome is tiny, with the only one on the same level being the Fenway Park visiting clubhouse.

We’ll have more tomorrow with a few players making appearances in the area, but we’ll leave you with a slideshow:

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Mariners vs. Hanshin Tigers, March 25 in Tokyo

Pictures will be added at the game progresses.

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Mariners Game Central (March 25)

The Mariners (12-8-1) play today in Japan vs. the Hanshin Tigers at Tokyo Dome. Here is game information for today’s game vs. the Tigers:

Opponent: vs. Hanshin Tigers
Site: Tokyo Dome
Pitching Match-up: RHP Hector Noesi vs.  TBA
Time: 12:04 p.m.
Radio: The game will air live on (subscription) and on ESPN 710 Seattle.
Live Stats: Live pitch-by-pitch coverage will be provided on via the Gameday feature.
Game Information:  | Mariners Game Notes  | Gameday Roster | MLB Gameday |

Mariners vs. Hanshin Tigers, 3.25.12

Japan: Getting Back In The Swing of Things

The Mariners had the morning off before heading to the ballpark so some players took advantage of what the area had to offer. Several players including Kyle Seager and Blake Beavan wandered over to the Esplanade Akasaka area to check out the small shops and others tried to catch up on their sleep (unfortunately some woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t go back to sleep).

Right around noon, a crowd of fans swarmed the sidewalk just outside the team hotel and one quickly found out why. Felix Hernandez emerged from the crowd after taking pictures and signing autographs, and right behind him doing the same was Alex Liddi.

Liddi later remarked, “they only asked me for autographs because I was with Felix.”

Getting to the stadium is an easy experience when traveling with the team, but if you’re adventurous like ESPN 710’s Shannon Drayer, you take the subway. Shannon, along with members of the MLB Productions group got to the Tokyo Dome with the help of Hide Sueyoshi, the Mariners Director of Minor League & International Administration. There was some trouble trying to purchase a ticket to the subway but after some poking around, tickets were printed (if only the “English” button was spotted earlier!).

The Mariners team bus left the hotel at 2:00 pm and after getting to the stadium, the players got on the field for the first time since Wednesday in Peoria .

Quick team meeting before taking the field.

Players began to trickle out half an hour before the 3:30 pm workout and started taking in the atmosphere that the Tokyo Dome provides. Players observed the end of the Athletics workout and soon they were on the field themselves.

There was a large crowd of photographers just in front of the dugouts and while they were snapping pictures of all the Mariners, they were clearly waiting for Ichiro. At one point Miguel Olivo tried to fake out the Japanese press by making it sound as if Ichiro was already on the field.

Photographers wait for the Ichiro to emerge from the clubhouse.

After stretch, players began taking BP and they soon began making trips to the stands. Mike Carp felt right at home, launching several baseballs into the seats. While plenty of players went deep, the home run of the day came from Carlos Peguero, who hit one off one of the billboards above the bleachers, specifically off the cheek of Shigeo Nagashima, the Japanese legend who teamed with Sadaharu Oh to capture nine straight championships in Japan.

Carlos Peguero hit Shigeo Nagashima's billboard cheek with a drive to right-center.

Jason Vargas and Blake Beavan both pitched simulated games today and had an interesting defensive alignment behind them. Munenori Kawasaki was at his usual spot at shortstop but his double play partner was none other than than Ichiro.

Jason Vargas throws to John Jaso during a simulated game.

In their simulated games, Vargas tossed 3.0 innings and made 64 pitches, while Blake Beavan tossed 2.0 frames and made 31 pitches.

On Tap  For Sunday (Seattle times in parenthesis)
9:00 am (5:00 pm Saturday): Mariners bus departs for Tokyo Dome.
7:00 pm (3:00 am Sunday): Mariners vs. Hanshin Tigers

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Mariners Have Arrived in Japan

The team gathered at the Peoria Sports Complex early Thursday morning with travel bags in hand and ready for an experience that will not be soon forgotten.

Brandon League boarding the Mariners flight to Japan.

The group left complex around noon Thursday and were in the air shortly after 1:00 pm.

The Mariners plane  touched down at 5:33 pm local time (1:33 am in Seattle) and after a long 12 1/2 hour flight, all most people wanted to do was sleep. Unfortunately, with the time difference the traveling party was advised to stay awake for a few more hours to help fight jetlag.

The flight itself had a little bit of everything to help pass the time, some played cards, others watched movies, and if you’re Munenori Kawasaki, you showed off your dance moves to Felix Hernandez in the back of the plane.

The plane was full of energy as the excitement of finally being on the way to Japan was setting in.

While some in the traveling party have already been to Japan (Chone Figgins, Jaime Navarro) with the MLB All Star Tour, this will be the first visit for the vast majority of the players.

After landing and going through customs, the team went out into the airport concourse where they were greeted by 50-60 photographers who gave everybody the Hollywood red carpet treatment.'s Greg Johns gets the red carpet treatment at Narita International Airport.

It was a very warm welcome that was much appreciated by all.

The team then took a one hour and forty five minute bus ride to the hotel where plenty of tired travelers will quickly meet their beds for a good night of rest.

This is just the beginning of a fun week as we get ready for Opening Day on March 28 against the Athletics so check back often as we’ll keep you updated on what the team is up to each day.

 On Tap  For Saturday (Seattle times in parenthesis)
2:00 pm (10:00 pm Friday): Team bus departs for workout at the stadium.
3:00 pm (11:00 pm. Friday): Mariners Press Conference.
3:30-5:30 pm (11:30 pm – 1:30 am): Mariners workout at Tokyo Dome.

 On Tap  For Sunday (Seattle times in parenthesis)
9:00 am (5:00 pm Saturday): Mariners bus departs for Tokyo Dome.
7:00 pm (3:00 am Sunday): Mariners vs. Hanshin Tigers

 Pitching Probables in Japan:
RHP Hector Noesi vs. Hanshin Tigers
RHP Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Tokyo Giants
RHP Félix Hernandez vs. Oakland Athletics
LHP Jason Vargas vs Oakland Athletics

Mariners Spring Training Update – Day 39

Day 39 / Wednesday, March 21, 2012 / 7 Days ‘til Opening Night in Tokyo (March 28 vs. Oakland) / 23 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle (April 13 vs. Oakland)

It was 65° and partly cloudy at first pitch here at Peoria Stadium, but the clouds have disappeared and there’s nothing but blue skies as far as the eye can see.

Tweet of the Day:

Game Recap vs. White Sox: Recap | Box Score
The Mariners scored six runs in the final two innings but it wasn’t enough to overcome a nine run deficit, falling to the Chicago White Sox 13-8 in Cactus League play in front of 9,244 fans at Peoria Stadium. Felix Hernandez made his fourth start of the spring and after facing the minimum through the first two innings, gave up a run in the third, three in the fourth and four more in the fifth. His final pitching line was 5.0 IP, 10 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 1 BB, 4 K while making 92 pitches, 56 for strikes. Ichiro, Jesus Montero and Alex Liddi each recorded multi-hit games in the loss. Ichiro is now batting .400 (12×30) this spring while Montero is batting .306 (11×36) with three doubles, two home runs and 11 RBI.

Manager Eric Wedge Announces Rotation:
Manager Eric Wedge announced today that the rotation will include RHP Felix Hernandez, LHP Jason Vargas, RHP Blake Beavan, RHP Hector Noesí and RHP Kevin Millwood. Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma will initially join the Mariners bullpen.

Video on (click on picture):

Manager Eric Wedge sets his pitching staff before the team heads to Japan to open the season.

Mariners slugger Justin Smoak talks about how he performed this spring and preparing for Seattle's trip to Japan to open the season.

Upcoming Pitching Probables in Japan:
Sunday, March 25 vs. Hanshin Tigers: RHP Hector Noesí
Monday, March 26 vs. Tokyo Giants: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma
Wednesday, March 28 vs. Oakland Athletics: RHP Felix Hernandez
Thursday, March 29 vs. Oakland Athletics: LHP Jason Vargas

Japan Opening Series vs. A’s Sold Out:
MLB announced today that the Japan Opening Series 2012 games at the Tokyo Dome between the Oakland A’s and Mariners on March 28 and 29 are both sold out. The Tokyo Dome as a seating capacity of 46,000. Tickets for the Mariners two exhibition games, against the Hanshin Tigers on Saturday, March 24 (Sunday, March 25 in Tokyo) and Monday, March 26 against the Yomiuri Giants, both at the Tokyo Dome, are apparently still available via the English language website for ticket information.

Mariners All-Access:
Mariners All Access airs tonight at 6 p.m. PT on ROOT Sports (replays at 10:30 pm). The 30-minute show is dedicated to game highlights from today’s game vs. the White Sox and the following features:

  • We hear from Eric Wedge on today’s announcement of the 2012 Mariners starting rotation.
  • The Mariners were in action for their final Spring Training game before heading to Japan. We’ll see how Felix Hernandez faired against the White Sox in Peoria.
  • The high skies are well-known to outfielders in Arizona during Spring Training. Hear about how they’re impacted while roaming the green grass.

Leaving on a Jet Plane:
The Mariners fly to Japan on TOMORROW (March 22)…buses roll from Peoria at noon, and hopefully wheels up at 1 pm…the traveling party is scheduled to arrive at Narita Airport at 6 pm on March 23.

On Tap Tomorrow (3/22):
Depart for Japan

2012 Japan Opening Series Tickets

Tickets for the 2012 Japan Opening Series against the Oakland A’s in Tokyo go on sale tonight at 6pm PST (that’s 11am Saturday in Japan).

Here’s the link to the English language site. You’ll note the prices are in yen. Seats behind home plate, equivalent to good lower box seats at Safeco Field, are 18,000¥, or $253.73US, and standing room are 1500¥, or about $19.64. These prices are approximate, and could go up or down slightly, depending on the dollar to yen exchange rate at the time your order is processed. Another side note, the 2012 Japan Opening Series is a joint venture of Major League Baseball International and the MLB Players Association. Ticket prices were set by MLBI and the MLBPA in conjunction with the event promoter, Yomiuri.

Tickets for the two exhibition games the Mariners will play against the Hanshin Tigers and Yomiuri Giants are also available at the site.

For the two regular season games against the A’s (March 28 and 29), the Mariners are the visiting team. As is customary in Japanese baseball, the home and visiting team’s fans are seated on different sides. For the two games against the A’s, the “Mariners’ side” will be along third base at the Tokyo Dome. You can certainly sit elsewhere, but like soccer, fans in Japan tend to stick together.

For the two exhibition games, the Mariners’ side will be along first base for the game against the Hanshin Tigers on March 25 (due to the time change, it’s actually March 24 in Seattle), and the third base side for the match-up with the Yomiuri Giants on Monday, March 26.

Here’s a blog post that gives some insight into what Major League Baseball fans can expect in Japan. According to the post, fans of both teams are organized and chant throughout the game. Hanshin fans are known to be especially boisterous.

Wedge and Griffey Visit Japan

Mariners manager Eric Wedge and Ken Griffey Jr. spent the past weekend in Japan.

The quick (48 hours!) jaunt to Tokyo provided an opportunity for the pair to help promote the Japan Opening Series 2012 when the Mariners and Oakland A’s will open the regular-season with a pair of games in the Tokyo Dome (March 28 and 29).

Mariners Manager Eric Wedge gives some batting tips.

More importantly, it provided an opportunity for Ken and Eric to help spread their passion for the game to youth in Japan.

The duo flew from Seattle to Tokyo, leaving Friday the 13th, and landing about 6pm on Saturday the 14th. On Sunday, they drove about an hour outside of Tokyo to the Yomiuri Giants training facility to assist with a clinic for 110, 8- to 12-year-old kids from around Japan, including a special group from Fukushima.

Ken Griffey Jr., center, chats with children at a baseball clinic (AP)

Fukushima was devastated by the earthquake and ensuing tsunami and the 36 players from there (who took a four-hour bus ride to be at the clinic) are still dealing with the aftermath of the tragedy.

Eric Wedge poses for photos with particpants in the clinic.

The clinic went about two hours; Ken and Eric (joined by coaches and players from Yomiuri) worked with the kids, gave an opening and closing statement, signed autographs and posed for pictures. Ken and Eric brought oversized baseball cards of themselves and, at the end of the clinic, the kids lined up and every player received a photo and a handshake for both Ken and Eric.

Oakland Athletics Manager Bob Melvin, left, Seattle Mariners Manager Eric Wedge, center, and Mariners Special Consultant Ken Griffey Jr. pose for photographer after a press conference of 2012 MLB Opening Series in Japan in Tokyo (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

At the end of the formal clinic, Eric and Ken held a special meet and greet with the Fukushima kids; each child received either a Mariners hat signed by both guys, or a ball signed by both Ken and Eric.

Not surprisingly, in addition to the excitement and rapt attention paid to both Mariners, the major league players and staff from Yomiuri were very interested to meet, talk with, and (shyly) ask for autographs and photos from Wedge and Griffey.

Monday afternoon (after spending an hour at a sumo wrestling (!) tournament in the morning) Wedge and Griffey were joined by Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin for a news conference to talk about the Opening Series.

The passion for MLB in Japan is obvious, as nearly 200 media packed into a hotel ballroom to see the three, and ask questions about the two exhibition games and two regular season games in March.

Mariners Manager Eric Wedge and Athletics Manager Bob Melvin after the news conference for the 2012 MLB Opening Series in Japan (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

Wedge and Griffey left about an hour after the news conference, and flew out of Tokyo on 6 pm flights. Thanks to the magic of time zones, Wedge was back in his office in Safeco Field (meeting with Jack Zduriencik) by 10:30 am Monday morning.

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– TH