Mariners vs. Hanshin Tigers, Part 2
Check out Part 1 for the pregame festivities.
A few differences between Japanese fans and their American counterparts were apparent from the first pitch of the Mariners game against the Hanshin Tigers.
When the Mariners batted, the crowd was almost completely silent. Outs prompted intense but quick cheers. Otherwise, it was mostly respectful silence. The Japanese seem to love their respectful silence. The lone exception was Ichiro, who received the loudest cheers of any player throughout the game. Flashbulbs erupted on every pitch to the Mariners right fielder.
The home halves couldn’t have been more different. Led by a section of young fans in left field — many of whom appeared to have visited the combo ice-cream-and-beer concession stand — the crowd sang and chanted nonstop when the Tigers were at the plate. Most hitters had their own unique cheer, no doubt glorifying their strength, good looks and exemplary baseball instincts.
The cheers were coordinated by a band leader of sorts, one fan maybe 35 years, old who stood on his plastic bleacher seat calling out instructions to four trumpet players and a drummer. With a whistle and exaggerated hand motions, he sparked the crowd to life time and time again, enthusiasm never wavering as the Tigers hung onto a 5-1 lead.