Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Yeah, that'll show those Koreans
Now, as a Swede here in Japan, there are two popular sports that are completely alien to me and, as you might be able to guess, it's sumo wrestling and baseball. For the first sport, the basic rules are simple enough to understand, but I just never really saw the allure and/or any ceremonial significance. When it comes to baseball, I have severe problems in understanding the rules and an urgent lack of any motivation to actually try to understand them either in any case.
Both of these sports are basically non-existent in Europe and my image of these sports are that they are shown as fillers on the EuroSport channel when they lack any exciting sport, such as bicycling, to fill their schedule with. The commentators usually seemed to have roughly the same understanding of the sports as me as well, further detracting from any potential enjoyment that could be had out of watching these.
However, recently the World Baseball Cup has been going on and yesterday Japan beat the US team and squared off against the Korean team for the final match earlier today. Normally, I wouldn't care less about a baseball game, but the media has been quite successful in hyping up the event here in Japan to the degree that even I started caring a little bit. The game against Korea was further hyped up since Japan had played against Korea for 3 matches earlier in the cup and had lost two of the three games, making it quite intense. My general feeling was that the atmosphere between the two teams/countries is a bit like that of Sweden vs. Finland in the Hockey world cup, with Korea taking the role of the finns. As any Swede knows, Finland doesn't care what place they end up in the hockey cup, as long as they beat Sweden.
The game took place this morning Japan team (with the game played in California) and I actually followed it over the Internet with a tied score at the end of the 9th inning and the Japanese baseball star Ichiro ensuring the victory in the 10th inning with a final score of 5-3 to Japan. It was exciting to the degree that during a meeting we had during this time, that one of our senior directors actually succumbed to the excitement and brought out his mobile phone with tv receptor and had us all watching it for the final inning. However, not until he made us promise not to tell anyone and had it hidden from view of anyone passing by the meeting room.
So, Japan are now the world champions in baseball, which is great, but now I can finally go back to not caring about this sport anymore. At least there's no Sumo wrestling world championship that I would have to get excited about...