Sunday, July 31, 2016

Card Of The Week July 31

I ordered a book off of Amazon Japan a while back called something like "Nostalgic Stadiums Of Kansai".  It's a mostly picture book showing vintage photos of the various former (and one current) ballparks in the Kansai area - Koshien Stadium, Hankyu Nishinomiya Stadium, Fujiidera Stadium, Nippon Life Stadium and Osaka Stadium.  As I was thumbing through the book, I noticed some interesting photos of Fujiidera Stadium with what looked like half finished light towers - what was interesting was that the photos of the half finished light towers were from a time period between 1974 and 1983.  What could possibly have taken them so long to complete the light towers?

I did a little research on the Japanese wikipedia page for the stadium and got my answer.  To fully explain it though, I need to give a little background about the home stadiums of the Kintetsu Buffaloes.  I've been confused for a while about what stadium actually was the home of the Buffaloes up until the late 1980's as I had seen things that indicated both Fujiidera and Nippon Life Stadiums were the Buffaloes home park.  It turns out that they both were.  They apparently used Nippon Life Stadium during the week as it only sat around 20,000 fans and used Fujiidera Stadium on weekends and holidays as it sat 30,000 fans.  Kintetsu decided to renovate the stadium in 1973 to add more seating to the outfield and to add lights.  The people living around the ballpark, however, were concerned about the light and noise that having night games at the stadium would cause and went to court to prevent the team from adding the lights.  The case took 10 years to get resolved in Kintetsu's favor and Fujiidera Stadium hosted its first night game in April of 1984.  I'm not positive but I think they stopped playing weekday games at Nippon Life Stadium after that.

Here's some photos I scanned from the book.  First here's a shot showing the ballpark right before the renovations in 1973:

I think this is a protest by the local residents:

Here's the light-less light towers:

The lack of lights had forced the Buffaloes to host their Nippon Series games in 1979 and 1980 in nearby Osaka Stadium but now that they had lights, they were able to play at Fujiidera Stadium when they reached the Series again in 1989.

Here's what the ballpark looked like in 1991, just a few years before the Buffaloes would move to the Osaka Dome in 1996:

1992 BBM #109

1 comment:

Sean said...

Oh wow that is really interesting. I`ve been interested in Fujidera Stadium for a while since seeing some antique postcards of it from its early days, the entranceway looked really iconic (too bad they tore it down).

It seems even today a lot of NPB teams have multiple "home" stadiums, at least with the regional teams. The Hawks for example play a number of their home games in other cities in Kyushu (Kumamoto, Kagoshima, etc), and the Dragons play a few home games in neighboring prefectures in the Tokai region (Gifu, etc) too. Its kind of cool to watch those games on TV since they are played in dintinctively smaller scale stadiums than the big ugly domes that constitute their main home stadiums.