Results tagged ‘ Osaka ’
The 2014 MLB all star series will be held the first couple weeks of November. The best of five series will be played in the Osaka, Sapporo and Tokyo domes with two exhibitions planned at Okinawa and Koshien. The history of the Japan All star tour event dates back quite a ways. This will be the 36th time a group of MLB players will travel to Japan to compete in a friendly series and the 11th All Star tour.
during the site checks our first stop was Okinawa. A small island located way south of the mainland. It’s about a 2 hour flight from Osaka. There is a lot of history in Okinawa as it was considered the turning point of WWII. This is a really cool ballpark which sports a Japanese traditional baseball field which is composed of an all dirt infield. Japanese players have been competing on these type of fields for over 75 years. It’s a 25000 seat park and it was very loud and clear that the Okinawans are excited about hosting an exhibition game. There is a large military base located near by and I’m sure there will be some serious fans supporting their favorite MLB and Japan All stars.
There are two parks proposed for competition in Osaka. Koshien stadium is the older venue with the most history of baseball in the country. Connie Mac brought a tour here in 1934 featuring the likes of Babe Ruth and others. In the early 90’s MLB international and the players union had another tour which stopped by koshien. The park is truly unique hosting the national high school tournament every year. The park is packed for these games. The venue has a all dirt infield, big foul territory and a natural grass outfield. Koshien stadium is about a 30 minutes drive from the Osaka dome.
The other venue planned for games is the Osaka dome. I remember last time it was for the 2004 MLB all-star series. It was good seeing old friends and more importantly seeing the mound and homeplate improvements they had made. They did an amazing job at matching the infield clay around the base pits with the synthetic turf color.
The 4th planned venue is in Sapporo and it is also a domed ballpark. Again this is another impressive dome with huge foul territory and a synthetic turf surface. The outfield wall is about 20ft tall and the distance to the fence is respectable at 330 down the lines and 400 to center. This venue has the ability to open the center field wall and “float” in a regulation size natural grass soccer pitch. The size of the building is massive. I was told by the local management that the entire Tokyo dome can fit inside this dome!
The Main venue for the games will be in Tokyo at the ever so popular and well-known “big-egg” . The big news for this venue is it has a new synthetic turf surface which was really needed. The amount of events this facility sees is truly impressive. Always great to see and work with our friends at Yomuri and the grounds staff in the Tokyo dome.
Looking forward to the tour and working with our Japanese friends.
Plans are well underway on the field and ballpark improvements at the Tokyo dome for the 2013 MLB Opening Series. Teams arrive tomorrow, practice saturday then back to back double headers before the opening games on weds and thursday between the A’s and Mariners . Reconstruction of bullpens, homeplates, mounds, base pits, turf repairs, etc… took place over a 38hour time frame due to the event constraints around the opening series…The guys worked in shifts from the crew but there were a few Yomuri warriors along with the grounds supervisors that worked straight through along with Chad-son an Murray-son. The dome is a slightly pressurized facility that helps support the roof membrane that covers the stadium. Built in 1988 on the old Velodrome site, you can still walk in the outfield and see the track railings. Every time you leave the park your ears pop from the pressure in the building.
This is our 5th time working in the “egg”. The staff has always been great and they recently made a few changes. The head groundskeeper Hoshimoto an his trusty assistant Suzuki retired last year after working 50+ years with yomuri giants and the Tokyo dome . They look like they are both 40! A true inspiration to sportsturf managers around the world. 50 years with one company! Hoshimoto was telling me about the earthquakes and how the dome was swaying last night. What’s cool is they promoted Tamba and Kohike from within showing consistency and loyalty to the young guys on the crew. The Dome is showing its age but at the sametime versatility to be able to host major events throughout the year similar to the rogers centre in toronto.
Going to be a fun event…i really like not having that big tarp to mess with!