Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Japan: Picking up the Pieces

The USA was united in the 1980s by a hockey team that consisted of average college kids. New Orleans was lifted from the rubble by a football team. Japan begins it's road to recovery with baseball.

This year Japans opening day for baseball was delayed 15 days. It was an opening day that was most needed for the damaged country. Japan is still recovering after suffering an apocalyptic earthquake and tsunami. Still today, aftershocks can be felt all across the country.

But in a stadium in Chiba filled with 22,525 fans, a sense of normalcy was found. Baseball was back.

On Tuesday the Rakuten Eagles squared off against the Chiba Lotte Marines. The Eagles beat the defending champions by a score of 6-4. Fans all across the country in refugee camps were tuned into the game. There were even signs of encouragement in the stands. People had signs that read "Stay Strong Japan".

The Rakuten Eagles from Sendai will not be able to play in their own stadium until after April 29th as there stadium is located in the hardest hit disaster area.

Baseball is what is going to keep this country together. Japanese people are very passionate about their beloved sport. On the front page of most newspapers I am sure you will find a picture of a Japanese player currently playing in the major leagues here in the states.

The country is looking for something to help them escape this harsh reality. All they have now is baseball.

"It is a sense of normalcy for them," Darrell Rasner, Rakuten pitcher, said. "It's something that's ingrained in them and, you know, I think this is going to be a healing process. This is going to be a great thing for them. Just for them to have something to cheer about, something to be happy about. I am and my teammates are really excited to be a part of this."

Just as the people of Louisiana rallied around a football team, expect the people of Japan to rally around not just their favorite team, but a whole sport.

Quote from espn.com