WOW!! The A’s and Red Sox split the two game series and the success of the event has been pretty hard to put a figure on. The stadium was packed for both games (44,700) and the Red Sox nation ruled the crowds. If you put all that aside the event meant a lot to growing baseball worldwide. This is our 4th visit to manage The Big Egg for an exhibition game and (second opener). Actually 3rd… but the 2001 Opener between the cubs and A’s was postponed because we went to war with Iraq that spring. Budge Clark actually came over to Tokyo for about 24 hours then they can can celled the event
Lots of thanks to a lot of guys (and gals) making this event happen. Chad Olsen is up there pretty high (along with Ann his wife for putting up with him being gone so long…mine too) The crew at the big egg was great as usual and the pre game ceremonies was also pretty awesome. We ended up doing more work this year than in the past. I think it was due to the multiple events the dome hosts.. Moshikito and Suzuki-son were the lead groundskeepers. They led the crew with a great since of pride . The tools they use to maintain the playing surface are very simple but at the same time very effective. next stop B’more! Nationals opener this weekend should be fun!
And by the way..all the huff about the Japanese Cherry Blossoms compared to the seasons in DC. Its all true. They are spectacular everywhere you look in Tokyo. This photo is across the street from the dome.
The batting practice set up photo is very common with japan teams as they put two batting cages together. Its pretty wild to watch.
Preparing for the 2008 MLB Opener between the Red Sox and the A’s has been pretty interesting. Folks at the dome have got this gig down pat, and they love their toys! Each time we show up for an MLB event they always amaze me as to how they approach the projects. Always with detail and concern… Its a good group and considering the field is synthetic turf our job is a bit easier than Beijing. The push is that we have have to totally rebuild the mounds and home plate in 48 hours. This sounds like a lot of time but the clay bricks are cumbersome. Bagged clay would be better to use. They have a ton of equipment but local supplies are limited. When Dan Cunningham and I came over back in 2004 to help set up for the Yankees / Devil rays series , he had tried to ship over some soil amendments…well it never made it and each year there after I have asked if it made it through customs yet! We were able to get tons of product through customs in Beijing, but Japan is currently batting .000 for materials from the states.
It should be a fun series. All 6 games ( four exhibition and 2 regular season) are sold out/ I even think the pre-event B.P. is filling up the park. They Love there baseball in Japan!!!
We noticed something cool today. They remove there logos from the field turf product with a floor scrubber. This thing strips the paint right off the field turf and it looks great. As we were replacing the clay around homeplate we also noticed a piece of concrete about 5 inches below the clay directly behind homeplate. We were not concerned about the depth of the concrete as its about 6 inches below the surface of the clay, just curious. we soon found out that the concrete was the sleeve for the goal post at the NFL football games.
The games were successful according tot he MLB officials drawing about 25,000 for both nights. More importantly to us the field played great. Feedback from players and coaches was that the mounds infield etc were perfect. All that being said I need to thank the ground crew here in china all of which are students a the local university. Along with Jeff Nancarrow, Erik Frye and Chad Olsen members of our brickman sports turf team that spent the last 3 weeks getting he field ready.
Now its off to Japan for the final Asian series before heading home.
Taichung – Since the World cup event in November of 2007, I have mentioned the Dou Liou stadium as being the best kept secret in all of the baseball world as it relates to Asian ballparks. Mexico and Taipei played in front of a packed house to officially showcase the park for the 2008 Olympic Qualifier. Taipei won 6-1. Now that both stadiums are up an running the tournament (which ends in 5 days) will soon settle the next Olympic teams to join USA, Japan, China and Cuba in Beijing. Canada, Chinese Taipei and Korea have jumped out to a 2-0 start. Just thinking …if Chinese Taipei and Korea qualify for the Olympics during the tournament, 4 of the 8 teams competing in the 2008 Olympics will be from Asia. Japan and China have already qualified. That will set up some tremendous rivalries in the Olympics along with the most important value..showing the IOC that baseball is truly and international game.
We have been preparing for a crazy month in Asia for the past several weeks. The first tournament to start is in Taichung, Taiwan March 7-14. IBAF is hosting the final Olympic qualifier for the 2008 Beijing Games. Eight teams are competing for 3 slots. Favorites are Australia, Canada, Mexico and obviously Taiwan and Japan. Over 40 minor league players from the states will be playing for there country during the tournament.
Brandon Putnam, Sportsturf manager for the York Revolution is overseeing the stadium in the city of Tio Liu which is about 45 minutes outside of Taichung. Jeff Nancarrow sportsturf manager for the Charles County Bluecrabs is holding down the fort at the Intercontinental stadium in Taichung. I would have to say the ballpark in Tio Liu is probably the finest outdoor stadium in all of Asia. From the seating bowl to locker rooms the ballpark is comparable to a triple A park in the states. intercontinental stadium is nice as well.
Erik Frye is preparing the field in Beijing for the Padres vs Dodgers exhibition series which takes place in about 12 days. Weather is looking better as the temperatures are currently slated to be in the low 60’s. More to come on this project as we get a little closer. We still have the plastic on the field trying to trick the ryegrass that its really warmer than it thinks. It comes off today!