Friday, October 25, 2013

Nippon Series Substitute Ballparks

1992 BBM #482

Weather permitting, tomorrow Miyagi Baseball Stadium in Sendai, home of the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles,  will host a Nippon Series game for the first time.  This is not, however, the first time that the tenants of the ballpark will play in the Series.  The Lotte Orions called Sendai home from 1973 to 1977.  They won the Pacific League pennant in 1974, however NPB decided that the ballpark's capacity was too small for the Series and relocated the Orions' home games to Korakuen Stadium in Tokyo, home of the Giants and Fighters.  (The Pacific League Playoff between the Orions and the Hankyu Braves was allowed to take place in the ballpark however.)  Between reading about this and noting in this post the other day that the Swallows used Korakuen Stadium as their home ballpark in the 1978 Series instead of their normal home ballpark of Jinju Stadium, I got curious to see how often it has happened that the Nippon Series has moved a team to another ballpark.  It turns out that it's happened a handful of times.

- 1962 - the Toei Flyers beat the Hanshin Tigers four games to two (with one tie).  The Flyers played their home games at Meiji Jingu Stadium in 1962 and 1963 (I think they got displaced from the ballpark they were playing in in Setagaya ward in Tokyo by a stadium being built for the 1964 Olympics).  Games Three and Four of the Series were played in Jingu but Game Five was moved to Korakuen Stadium (where the Flyers would move in 1964 and remain until the ballpark was replaced in 1987).  Bizarrely, it looks like the Game Five was moved due to a schedule conflict with college baseball being played at Jingu.

- 1974 - the Lotte Orions beat the Chunichi Dragons four games to two.  Lotte's home games in the Series (Games Three, Four and Five) were moved from Miyagi Baseball Stadium in Sendai to Korakuen Stadium in Tokyo due to the low seating capacity in Sendai.

- 1978 - the Yakult Swallows beat the Hankyu Braves four games to three.  Yakult's home games (Games One, Two, Six and Seven) were moved from Mejii Jingu Stadium to Korakuen Stadium due again to scheduling conflicts between the Series and college baseball games.

- 1979 - the Hiroshima Toyo Carp beat the Kintetsu Buffaloes four games to three.  Kintetsu played their home games in Fujiidera Stadium in Osaka.  Fujiidera did not have lights at the time and so was unable to host any night games for the Series.  The Buffaloes home games in the Series (Games One, Two, Six and Seven) were moved to Osaka Stadium, home of the Nankai Hawks.

- 1980 - the Hiroshima Toyo Carp beat the Kintetsu Buffaloes four games to three (again).  Once again, Kintetsu's home games (Games Three, Four and Five) were moved to Osaka Stadium.  Lights were added to Fujiidera Stadium in 1984 so that the next time the Buffaloes lostmade the Series in 1989, they were able to play at their home park.

1992 BBM #109

There were two other Nippon Series that were played in ballparks other than the home parks of the two teams involved.  The first Nippon Series in 1950 was apparently played as a tour across Japan.  The six games between the Mainichi Orions and the Shochiku Robins (Orions won 4 games to 2) were played in Jingu, Korakuen, Koshien, Nishinomiya (home of the Hankyu Braves), Nagoya and Osaka Stadiums.  The 1953 Series between the Giants and the Hawks had a very odd breakdown of games.  Instead of the standard 2-3-2 pattern the schedule was quite different.  The first two games were played in Osaka (home of the Hawks), the next two were played in Korakuen.  Game Five was played back in Osaka, Game Six was played in Koshien(!?) and Game Seven was played in Korakuen.  I have no idea why this Series and only this Series has this weird schedule.

I got some of the information for this from the Nippon Series page on Japanese Wikipedia, specifically a section on "Irregular Schedule".

No comments: