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mikeycp
Nov 24, 2010



Welcome to the world of Nippon Professional Baseball
Professional baseball started in Japan in 1936, under the name "Japan Occupational Baseball League". It would change its name twice more, once to "Japanese Professional Baseball" in 1939, and finally to "Nippon Professional Baseball" (NPB) in 1950. In NPB there are 12 teams divided into two leagues, the Pacific League, and the Central League, each team playing between 130 and 140 regular games, before the best three in each league play in the Climax Series, before finally advancing to the Japan Series. The main difference between NPB and MLB is that if a game goes beyond 12 innings, or goes too late into the night(they apparently stopped doing this) it is called a tie. The post-season allows 15 innings.

So what are the teams?
As I said, there are 12 teams in two leagues. First let's look at the Central League, which plays by NL rules (no DH, pitcher hits).


Chunichi Dragons

The Dragons are owned by the Chunichi Shimbun (newspaper). They play in the Nagoya Dome in Nagoya, Aichi prefecture. They are 8-time CL champions, and 2-time Japan Series Champions.

Hanshin Tigers

The Tigers are owned by Hanshin Electric Railway. They play in Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo prefecture, near Kobe. Though their park is near Kobe, they are more thought of as an Osaka team. Koshien Stadium is also where the famous Koshien High School Baseball Tournament takes place. It is also one of only 3 Japanese parks with natural grass, and one of the only remaining parks in which Babe Ruth played. Their rivals are the Yomiuri Giants. The Tigers have won 5 CL titles, and 1 Japan Series Title. Ryan Vogelsong and Cecil Fielder both played for the Tigers.

Hiroshima Toyo Carp

The Carp are owned by the Matsuda family, founders of Mazda. They play in the MAZDA Zoom-Zoom Stadium Hiroshima (more boringly known as Hiroshima Municipal Stadium), in Minami-ku, Hiroshima prefecture. As of the last decade or so, they are sort of like the Astros of the NPB in that they have been the team farthest from any sort of title. In 2006 they employed a Baseball Dog named Mickey to bring balls to and from the umpire. The Carp have won 6 CL titles, and 3 Japan Series titles. Hiroki Kuroda and Alfonso Soriano both played for the Carp.

Tokyo Yakult Swallows

The Swallows are owned by Yakult, makers of drinkable yogurt. They play in Meiji Jingu Stadium in Shinjuku, Tokyo. It is the second oldest stadium in Japan, and Babe Ruth also played here. The Swallows have won 6 CL titles (most recently in 2011), and 5 Japan Series titles. Norichika Aoki played for the Swallows.

Yokohama DeNA BayStars

The BayStars are owned by DeNA Co., Ltd.. They play at Yokohama Stadium in Yokohama. They have won 2 Japan Series Titles. This is their mascot.


Yomiuri Giants

The Giants are owned by the Yomiuri Shimbun. They are the Japanese team, and are often compared to the Yankees. They are the oldest Japanese team, and play in the Tokyo Dome in Bunkyo, Tokyo. The dome is always closed. Field rules state that if a ball gets caught in the rafters it is to be considered a home run. Their name and uniform are modeled after the New York Giants. The Giants have won 33 CL titles, and 24 Japan Series titles; they won the 2012 Japan Series. Koji Uehara and Hideki Matsui played for the Giants; Sadaharu Oh, the holder of the world career home run record (868) played his entire career with the Giants.
---
Then comes the Pacific league, which plays by AL rules.

Chiba Lotte Marines

The Marines are owned by the Lotte conglomerate. They play in Chiba Marine Stadium in Chiba City. They have won 5 PL titles, and 4 Japan Series titles.

Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks

The Hawks are owned by the SoftBank Corporation. They play in the Fukuoka Yafuoku! Dome in Chuo-ku, Fukuoka. They have won 15 PL titles, and 5 Japan Series titles.

Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters

The Fighters are owned by Nippon-Ham. They play in the Sapporo Dome, in Sapporo, Hokkaido. The Sapporo Dome has an absurd amount of foul territory.

The Fighters have won 5 PL titles, and 2 Japan Series titles. Kensuke Tanaka and Yu Darvish played for the Fighters.

Orix Buffaloes

The Buffaloes are owned by the Orix Group. They play in the Osaka Dome in Nishi-ku, Osaka. Opposite of the Tigers, though their park is in Osaka, they are known as a Kobe team. In their history, the Buffaloes have won 16 PL titles, and 4 Japan Series titles. A number os notable players have come from the Buffaloes to the MLB, including Ryan Vogelsong, Hideo Nomo, and Ichiro .

Saitama Seibu Lions

The Lions are owned by the Seibu Group. They play in the Seibu Dome in Tokorozawa, Saitama. The Lions have won 21 PL titles, and 13 Japan Series titles. Daisuke Matsuzaka and Kazuo Matsui both played for the Lions, with Matsui being the first Japanese infielder to play in the MLB.

Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles

The Eagles are owned by Rakuten. A very new team, the Eagles were formed in 2004 after the Buffaloes and BlueWave merged, leaving an empty space in the Pacific League. They normally play in the Miyagi Baseball Stadium in Sendai, but the terrible 2011 earthquake damaged it, and they are temporarily at Hotto Motto Field Kobe, at the opposite end of the country. The Eagles haven't won any sort of title. Kazuo Matsui currently plays for the Eagles.

---

Why are the teams named after companies?
This is apparently because franchising rules aren't as rigid as they are in the Major League, however many teams have added their location to their team name to attempt to gain more support from local fans.

So why should I care?
Because Japanese baseball is a lot of fun. The level of competition and skill is somewhere between the MLB and AAA. It also gives you the chance to maybe see the next Ichiro or Yu Darvish before they get to the MLB.
There's also these guys:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FGFWXtSNFg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjiH9voAloc
The fans at these games are awesome. They all have chants for every player, some are more awesome than others, but the fact that it happens at all is amazing.

Ok, you may have convinced me. So how can I watch it?
That's the tricky part. As far as I know there isn't any official way to watch these games outside of being in Japan. One way I've found somewhat reliable is justin.tv. If you search for baseball there, or sports channels that are in Japanese (日本語), there will usually be one or two channels with a game on.

This guy has games on sometimes (usually Buffaloes), and there are a few recorded games if you check his previous videos: http://www.justin.tv/ralph_25251

Crovie posted:

For watching games, @spartiecat occasionally posts streaming links. Past links usually work for future games too (until the account gets banned)

There's also this japanese stream aggregator, which usually fills up with streams when games are going on. Unfortunately some of them are passworded but a lot aren't.


Standings:
http://bis.npb.or.jp/eng/2013/standings/


Other Stuff:
NPB English Site: http://www.npb.or.jp/eng/
This image has lots of interesting information about NPB (as of 2011):

SporkOfTruth posted:

Some other links of interest on Japanese baseball in English:
  • Yakyu Baka - run by Gen Sueyoshi, has great translations of post-game summaries/news tidbits from the major Japanese sport sites, and also covers the rest of Japanese baseball as a whole (high school, college, industrial leagues, the NPB's minor leagues).
  • Japanese Baseball - A long running (since 1995!) site run by Michael Westbay that has a forum, team blogs, and the only (as far as I know) place to get raw NPB stats in English. Also hosts the Japan Baseball Weekly Podcast hosted by John E. Gibson and Jim Allen.
  • NPB Tracker - Patrick Newman's blog that has some good insights into NPB. Also has a velocity tracker stat page (which isn't pulling data correctly at the moment, but is great for historical pitch data).
  • Japan Ball - Bob Bavasi's site that's mostly an ad for his NPB-oriented travel service. Decent daily news translations, an English language media guide that's available for purchase.
Since I'm a Yakult Swallows fan, I also regularly read Tokyo Swallows, a good English language blog solely dedicated to the Swallows. I think there might be some other single-team blogs, but I can't remember them off the top of my head.

Batflips:


If anyone has more places to watch games, or other information, post it or send it to me and I'll throw it up here.
If anybody has stuff on other international baseball, feel free to send it to me and I'll put it up here.

mikeycp fucked around with this message at Apr 5, 2013 around 01:36

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mikeycp
Nov 24, 2010


Reserved

Pander
Oct 9, 2007

Fear is the glue that holds society together. It's what makes people suppress their worst impulses. Fear is power.

And at the end of fear, oblivion.


Man, gently caress tradition. I want to see MLB catch up to Japan in terms of mascots and logos. They are LIGHT YEARS ahead of us in terms of making awesome/adorable mascots.

I haven't done real checking on this, but it feels like more Japanese players are sticking longer in the majors. It always used to seem like Japanese players peaked in their rookie season (memory brings to mind Tadahito Iguchi, Shingo Takatsu, Kaz Matsui, Hideo Nomo). Is this simply a function that most of the players who come over are already at/past their peak? Or do they usually succeed early due to different/unique approaches that eventually get figured out by scouting reports and experience?

Probably not a question with a set answer, just something I've been curious about wrt Japanese players who come over.

Smoking Crow
Feb 13, 2012

*Laughs at you*


I need to know if there's a team in Japan that have been bad for a while, but used to be really good. As a Pirates fan, it's all I know.

OrangeKing
Dec 4, 2002

They don't play in October.


I was going to ask why the standings in previous years had so many ties -- I knew the 12-inning rule, but that shouldn't ever give a team 15 ties in a 144 game season -- but I didn't know the "or if the game goes too late" rule. That makes the standings a little more sensible.

mikeycp
Nov 24, 2010


Smoking Crow posted:

I need to know if there's a team in Japan that have been bad for a while, but used to be really good. As a Pirates fan, it's all I know.

The Carp did really good from like '75 to '91, and now they're one of the worst team in Japan, if not THE worst.

OrangeKing posted:

I was going to ask why the standings in previous years had so many ties -- I knew the 12-inning rule, but that shouldn't ever give a team 15 ties in a 144 game season -- but I didn't know the "or if the game goes too late" rule. That makes the standings a little more sensible.

It's so fans won't miss the last train home.

fisting by many
Dec 25, 2009



For watching games, @spartiecat occasionally posts streaming links. Past links usually work for future games too (until the account gets banned)

There's also this japanese stream aggregator, which usually fills up with streams when games are going on. Unfortunately some of them are passworded but a lot aren't.

Central League games are usually pretty easy to find but some Pacific League teams don't have many or any people streaming.

OrangeKing posted:

I was going to ask why the standings in previous years had so many ties -- I knew the 12-inning rule, but that shouldn't ever give a team 15 ties in a 144 game season -- but I didn't know the "or if the game goes too late" rule. That makes the standings a little more sensible.

The time rule was put into place for two seasons following the earthquake to conserve power (games were called if the inning ended after 3h30m) but it seems to have been rescinded - the Chiba Lotte Marines started this season with back to back 12th inning walkoff wins which both took nearly five hours.

The game time led to a funny situation last year where, with the game tied in the bottom of the 10th inning with 3:25 on the game clock, a Lotte player took a lap around the catcher and ump after every pitch because the other team was at the top of their batting order and Lotte were in the middle. Unfortunately the inning ended up ending with 3:29 elapsed so it went to the 11th where they lost.

fisting by many fucked around with this message at Apr 5, 2013 around 00:35

mikeycp
Nov 24, 2010


Crovie posted:

For watching games, @spartiecat occasionally posts streaming links. Past links usually work for future games too (until the account gets banned)

There's also this japanese stream aggregator, which usually fills up with streams when games are going on. Unfortunately some of them are passworded but a lot aren't.

Central League games are usually pretty easy to find but some Pacific League teams don't have many or any people streaming.


The time rule was put into place for two seasons following the earthquake to conserve power (games were called if the inning ended after 3h30m) but it seems to have been rescinded - the Chiba Lotte Marines started this season with back to back 12th inning walkoff wins which both took nearly five hours.

The game time led to a funny situation last year where, with the game tied in the bottom of the 10th inning with 3:25 on the game clock, a Lotte player took a lap around the catcher and ump after every pitch because the other team was at the top of their batting order and Lotte were in the middle. Unfortunately the inning ended up ending with 3:29 elapsed so it went to the 11th where they lost.

Oh, cool. I'll update the OP with this stuff! Thanks!

fisting by many
Dec 25, 2009



Pander posted:

Man, gently caress tradition. I want to see MLB catch up to Japan in terms of mascots and logos. They are LIGHT YEARS ahead of us in terms of making awesome/adorable mascots.

Smoking Crow
Feb 13, 2012

*Laughs at you*


Still waiting for the day Mr. Redlegs snaps.

SporkOfTruth
Sep 1, 2006

this kid walked up to me and was like man schmitty your stache is ghetto and I was like whatever man your 3b look like a dishrag.

he was like damn.


Ah, you beat me to it. Great OP!

Some other links of interest on Japanese baseball in English:
  • Yakyu Baka - run by Gen Sueyoshi, has great translations of post-game summaries/news tidbits from the major Japanese sport sites, and also covers the rest of Japanese baseball as a whole (high school, college, industrial leagues, the NPB's minor leagues).
  • Japanese Baseball - A long running (since 1995!) site run by Michael Westbay that has a forum, team blogs, and the only (as far as I know) place to get raw NPB stats in English. Also hosts the Japan Baseball Weekly Podcast hosted by John E. Gibson and Jim Allen.
  • NPB Tracker - Patrick Newman's blog that has some good insights into NPB. Also has a velocity tracker stat page (which isn't pulling data correctly at the moment, but is great for historical pitch data).
  • Japan Ball - Bob Bavasi's site that's mostly an ad for his NPB-oriented travel service. Decent daily news translations, an English language media guide that's available for purchase.
Since I'm a Yakult Swallows fan, I also regularly read Tokyo Swallows, a good English language blog solely dedicated to the Swallows. I think there might be some other single-team blogs, but I can't remember them off the top of my head.

e:
Tsubakuro don't take no poo poo.

SporkOfTruth fucked around with this message at Apr 5, 2013 around 01:14

soggybagel
Aug 6, 2006

Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.

-Robert F. Kennedy on Being a Minnesota Sports Fan

Two years ago I went to a Carp game when I was in Hiroshima. I posted some pics from my visit in an old MLB News/Views thread. Here are some of them again! I apologize for the quality. All done on my iphone. Some might look a bit ghosty because I tried to do HDR photos on some of them.

Walking up to the Park



Outside the park you can't bring closed cans of alcohol in. But they let you have cups and you can literally just open a beer, pour it in a cup, then walk in.





The deck you see with the yellow is the visiting fans section. Both teams have a hardcore fan section. They are the ones who are chanting the whole time. Both sides if I recall had a small pep band and would start chants and things like that.





Super Chill Lounge Section



The Park is on one end of town. There's a rail station right next to the place but its also very residential as well. Hiroshima isn't that big of a city so it really felt small towny, especially for Japan.





This isn't life size. I think its like half life size. You could as a fan post next to it and take a picture.



Concourse catering. I believe this group was a party.



Wide view concourse that has the history of the city with a heavy emphasis on Mazda.



Rival Mascot:



Bizarro Phillie Phanatic:



More concourse shots looking out of the park:











Can't remember when this was, but I believe during the 7th inning stretch fans would get balloons and blow them up and then after a song release them at the same time and cheer:



Weird Pizza Wedge:



HAR HAR HAR:

mikeycp
Nov 24, 2010


Apparently if you have Dish you can get One World Sports, which broadcasts all Yomiuri Giants home games.
http://www.oneworldsports.com/about/

I also added SporkOfTruth's links to the OP.

Arctic Baldwin
Nov 22, 2006

In BOD we trust



I will refuse to my dying day to call them anything but the Nippon Ham-fighters

Funkysauce
Sep 18, 2005
...and what about the kick in the groin?

When we were in Tokyo in October the Giants had just beaten the Dragons. Wish I would have been able to see a game. They look like fun. If the famous Japanese baseball documentary Mr. Baseball is anything to go by I'll be in for a rip-roarin' time!

OK, who should I root for? I am a Mets fan so I need choking, terrible contracts and an awful front office! I was thinking about Chiba Lotte Marines just because when I was in Tokyo in 2005 Bobby V was the manager and they won.

SporkOfTruth
Sep 1, 2006

this kid walked up to me and was like man schmitty your stache is ghetto and I was like whatever man your 3b look like a dishrag.

he was like damn.


It appears BBRef has started giving a poo poo about NPB (or at least has learned to scrape NPB-BIS' English page): http://www.sports-reference.com/blo...ings-and-stats/
http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/npb.shtml

Of course, NPB-BIS' English page omits fielding stats for some odd reason, so BBRef's claim of "full player stats" is a bit off.

fisting by many
Dec 25, 2009



If you know Japanese (or can bumble through an internet translation well enough to figure out how to navigate), http://baseballdata.jp/ has up to date stats, much more detailed than the NPB site.

Funkysauce posted:

OK, who should I root for? I am a Mets fan so I need choking, terrible contracts and an awful front office! I was thinking about Chiba Lotte Marines just because when I was in Tokyo in 2005 Bobby V was the manager and they won.

The Marines were 1st in the PL going into interleague play last season, and then ended up going something like .350 over the last 70 games to finish in 5th. If it's possible to choke over half a season, that was it.

No terrible contracts but they keep wasting import slots on useless pitchers, I guess that's close!

Also there was the saga in the offseason where the team president said they were sticking with their manager, then the next day said they weren't going to offer him an extension, then a week later said surprise, he actually has a year left on his contract (did we say it was two years? It was totally three, my bad), then ended up firing him anyway. I'll put that as a check for awful front office.

fisting by many fucked around with this message at Apr 6, 2013 around 03:05

mikeycp
Nov 24, 2010


Hey everyone.
There are some games streaming right now.
Here is Giants v. Dragons: http://www.justin.tv/ralph_25251#/w/5300588864 or http://www.justin.tv/hideki1179#/w/5300570432
Ham Fighters v. Hawks: http://www.justin.tv/gyon_hd602ch#/w/5300564704
BayStars v. Swallows: http://www.justin.tv/yoh12345
Eagles v. Marines: http://www.justin.tv/akichan2#/w/5300419920/2

Jeff Wiiver
Jul 13, 2007

So I parallel double park that mutha fucka sideways
Old folks talkin bout "Back in my day..."
But homie this is my day


Thanks for the links. Watching the Hawks-Hams game in hopes of seeing a Wily Mo Pena dinger.

Xenophon
Jun 28, 2003

HISTORY!

Watching Dragons/Giants, down with the evil empire, go Dragons

e: these commercials are amazing

OrangeKing
Dec 4, 2002

They don't play in October.


Crovie posted:

No terrible contracts but they keep wasting import slots on useless pitchers, I guess that's close!

Also there was the saga in the offseason where the team president said they were sticking with their manager, then the next day said they weren't going to offer him an extension, then a week later said surprise, he actually has a year left on his contract (did we say it was two years? It was totally three, my bad), then ended up firing him anyway. I'll put that as a check for awful front office.

These are very Mets things. Go Marines!

Jeff Wiiver
Jul 13, 2007

So I parallel double park that mutha fucka sideways
Old folks talkin bout "Back in my day..."
But homie this is my day


Xenophon posted:

Watching Dragons/Giants, down with the evil empire, go Dragons

e: these commercials are amazing
Pretty much any of the commercials I'm seeing could be included in an episode of Tim & Eric and no one would bat an eyelash.

SporkOfTruth
Sep 1, 2006

this kid walked up to me and was like man schmitty your stache is ghetto and I was like whatever man your 3b look like a dishrag.

he was like damn.


Lastings Milledge and Kaz Hatakeyama, two Power Hitting Tastes that Taste Great together!

Jeff Wiiver
Jul 13, 2007

So I parallel double park that mutha fucka sideways
Old folks talkin bout "Back in my day..."
But homie this is my day


SporkOfTruth posted:

Lastings Milledge and Kaz Hatakeyama, two Power Hitting Tastes that Taste Great together!
I remember seeing Milledge's first career homerun against the Giants in 2006. Only time I've been to Shea, and all I can recall is that HR and Barry Bonds being booed for four hours straight.

SporkOfTruth
Sep 1, 2006

this kid walked up to me and was like man schmitty your stache is ghetto and I was like whatever man your 3b look like a dishrag.

he was like damn.


Also, Alex Ramirez (formerly of Yakult and Yomiuri, currently of Yokohama DeNA) just got his 2000th NPB hit via a towering dinger at rainy Meiji Jingu Stadium! He's the first foreigner to get 2000 hits in NPB.

Jeff Wiiver
Jul 13, 2007

So I parallel double park that mutha fucka sideways
Old folks talkin bout "Back in my day..."
But homie this is my day


Wily Mo isn't playing tonight for whatever reason. Probably because he's got like 4 hits in his first 20 ABs this season. They showed him on the bench and he looked so sad.

fisting by many
Dec 25, 2009



Just got home and Watanabe was in for Lotte?

He's a submarine pitcher that hasn't been very effective for the last two years because his pitches are in the 55 to 80 mph range (I am not making that up) and he serves up far too many floaters right down the middle. I'm actually surprised to see him go 7.

He's entertaining to watch though (when he's not getting shelled)

mikeycp
Nov 24, 2010


The stream that had Yokohama DeNA just switched to Buffaloes v. Lions.
Top of the 9th though. 1-1
http://www.justin.tv/akichan2#/w/5300419920/9

ZenVulgarity
Oct 9, 2012


American baseball needs Japanese bat flips.

Is there a good place to watch replays of recent Japanese baseball games?

ZenVulgarity fucked around with this message at Apr 6, 2013 around 15:32

LordPants
Mar 5, 2011

Four more years boys, four more years.


Why does the Nippon team fight ham?

Mr. Fix It
Oct 26, 2000

"I never killed a man in my whole life!"

LordPants posted:

Why does the Nippon team fight ham?

Because ham is the food of filthy gaijin

They're the Fighters, sponsored by Nippon Ham

SporkOfTruth
Sep 1, 2006

this kid walked up to me and was like man schmitty your stache is ghetto and I was like whatever man your 3b look like a dishrag.

he was like damn.


ZenVulgarity posted:

Is there a good place to watch replays of recent Japanese baseball games?

If you go back to the justin.tv feeds linked in either @spartiecat's twitter feed or elsewhere in the thread, many of them should have recordings of previous airings on that channel under the URL justin.tv/USERNAME/videos. For example, Hideki1179's previous broadcasts are here. The only caveat is that the channels don't often correctly label or catalog the games, so you'll be hunting around a bit if you want a particular game.

Funkysauce
Sep 18, 2005
...and what about the kick in the groin?

OrangeKing posted:

These are very Mets things. Go Marines!

We got ourselves a team overseas baby!

fisting by many
Dec 25, 2009



Former fringe MLBer and serial catcher murderer Josh Whitesell homered on three consecutive at-bats last night. Which is one more homer than he had in all 142 of his MLB plate appearances.

Incidentally, Yakyu Baka is a good site for news & game summaries for english-speaking NPB fans.

mikeycp
Nov 24, 2010


Holy poo poo, I didn't realize that the Giants haven't lost a home game in three years.

I'm also glad that Kenta Maeda is doing good. I liked him a lot in the WBC.

Does anybody know where one could get NPB stuff besides eBay or having a friend in Japan? If such a place exists.

Funkysauce
Sep 18, 2005
...and what about the kick in the groin?

mikeycp posted:

Holy poo poo, I didn't realize that the Giants haven't lost a home game in three years.

I'm also glad that Kenta Maeda is doing good. I liked him a lot in the WBC.

Does anybody know where one could get NPB stuff besides eBay or having a friend in Japan? If such a place exists.

Dude, I lost a whole loving night trying to find a store in Tokyo that sold NPB stuff. Like snapbacks or even fitted hats for all teams. I couldn't find any but I had no real idea where to look. Every store I came across only had MLB or the Giants. The Tokyo Dome had Giants hats for 9000 Yen that weren't the size I needed and the rest were velcro. It was gonna be for my brother who needs to to be fashionable which is why it had to be either snapback or fitted.

If you find a place post it!

SporkOfTruth
Sep 1, 2006

this kid walked up to me and was like man schmitty your stache is ghetto and I was like whatever man your 3b look like a dishrag.

he was like damn.


Rakuten Global Marketplace is the only viable English-language place to get NPB merchandise. Many of the merchants do ship outside of Japan via EMS. For those that don't, Rakuten has a link to proxy buyer/shipping services. Otherwise, you can go to the team websites and hope their shops will either ship to where you are or use a proxy service to do the same. There used to be a fantastic website called YakyuShop that imported a massive variety of NPB fan goods (hapi coats, replica jerseys, caps, etc.), but they closed down a few years ago because the yen strengthened enough to blow away their already tiny profit margin.

I want to point something out though:

Funkysauce posted:

Dude, I lost a whole loving night trying to find a store in Tokyo that sold NPB stuff. Like snapbacks or even fitted hats for all teams. I couldn't find any but I had no real idea where to look. Every store I came across only had MLB or the Giants. The Tokyo Dome had Giants hats for 9000 Yen that weren't the size I needed and the rest were velcro.
The stuff that I bolded is the way things are in Japanese baseball merchandising. It wasn't until very recently (5-6 years ago?) that "like the pros wear" fitted caps were even offered in fan stores in Japan. The velcro-back caps (~US$21-35) were the only ones available for years and years.

Now, of course, there's been a bit more of an explosion of variety. New Era has a line of NPB Vintage fitted caps (~US$62-65) and leather strapbacks (~US$43-45) celebrating defunct teams/older team-names like the Taiyo Whales, Nankai Hawks, and Lotte Orions. Mizuno has replica team caps (velcro-backed) for about ~US$35. If you want the "on-field" fitted caps, they'll run you (like you said) US$80-90.

As for why you could only find Giants merch, that's because the marketing departments for NPB teams, and the league as a whole, are provincial as hell. They assume that only people living in the immediate area around a team will care about that team, and only an even smaller subset of those people will be "crazy" enough to buy team merchandise. Hence, the only brick-and-mortar way to buy merchandise for a team not named the Yomiuri Giants is to go to the stadium (or similar stores nearby). The Giants, on the other hand, are owned by Japan's biggest media group, so they and their crap are pushed down everyone's throat at every opportunity.

The provincialism also explains why stuff is so drat expensive. Since the marketing departments assume only hardcore fans would purchase jerseys/fitted ballcaps/etc., they apply a huge markup to compensate for the (assumed) low volume.

mikeycp
Nov 24, 2010


Velcro is fine with me, though I definitely assumed that Japanese baseball goods would be 2-3 times what the American equivalent would be.
I definitely saw a Buffaloes store when I was wandering aimlessly around Kobe, but I never went in to see how marvelously expensive everything was.

LordPants
Mar 5, 2011

Four more years boys, four more years.


Assuming that the NPB is "Major league" (even though it isn't, I understand that) what level would the minor league(s) be?

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Mr. Fix It
Oct 26, 2000

"I never killed a man in my whole life!"

LordPants posted:

Assuming that the NPB is "Major league" (even though it isn't, I understand that) what level would the minor league(s) be?

二軍 (ni-gun). Each team has a second lower level team where they keep prospects/ORG filler. I'm not sure their playing schedule, but I have seen them playing independent teams (Yomiuri Giants ni-gun vs. Gunma Diamond Pegasus).

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