First up was a stop by the Mint Fukuoka store in the Tenjin-Vivre Mall. I wanted to get there not long after it opened at 1000 so I walked from my hotel down to Hakata Station and hopped on a subway to Tenjin station. My next stop was Maizuru Park which is about a mile west of Tenjin station. I decided I'd walk along Meiji-dori to the park instead of taking the subway one stop.
The main reason I wanted to got to Maizuru Park was because it was the site of Heiwadai Stadium, home of the Nishitetsu Clippers/Lions from 1950 until 1978 and the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks from 1989 until 1992 (and the Nishi Nippon Pirates in 1950). The park was formally closed in 1997 and torn down in the late 90's/early 00's.
The stadium site has been left undeveloped - there's basically a stadium shaped plot of grass where it used to stand. I don't know for sure if this is simply because it's in a city park or because there's an archeological dig going on there. Maizuru Park contains the ruins of Fukuoka Castle and I thought I had read something somewhere about relics being discovered on the stadium site but I'm not finding anything on-line about it right now.
There's a plaque for the ballpark on the sidewalk on Meiji-dori just outside the park:
Here's what the site looks like:
It's hard to get any perspective on the site at ground level so I went into the ruins of Fukuoka Castle via the East Gate to try to get a better look. I wasn't particularly successful:
Here's what the ballpark looked like in the early 1990's:
|1992 BBM #106|
Oh, and speaking of the Nishitetsu Lions, the Lions may be gone from Fukuoka but Nishitetsu remains:
I thought about walking around the park a little more but it was getting late in the morning and I wanted to get to the ballpark. I got back on the subway and went a couple stops to Tojinmachi station. From there it was a 15-20 minute walk to Fukuoka Dome:
The gate I needed to enter the park through was on the far side from where I came up to the ballpark so I had to walk around it. I didn't mind too much because I got a chance to see some of the stuff outside the stadium:
There had been a museum for Sadaharu Oh at the ballpark that I was hoping to check out but unfortunately it closed a while back and it's moving somewhere else. It won't reopen until next year.
The Hawks opponent that day was the Eagles and it didn't take long to see that this wasn't going to be Softbank's day. Eigoro Mogi lead off the game with a home run and the Eagles added two more runs in the top of the second. Meanwhile Rakuten starter Manabu Mima was mowing down the Hawks - I'm not positive but I don't think he gave up a hit until Takuya Kai hit a solo home run in the sixth. Regardless Mima only gave up three hits in the six innings he pitched while striking out six. Hawks reliever Arata Shiino also struck out six but he only pitched two innings. The Eagles tacked on another run in the top of the ninth and then (just like the Eagles game I was at the previous Sunday) Yuki Matsui closed out the game to earn his 16th save. Final score was 4-1 Eagles (also just like the Eagles game I was at the previous Sunday).
Here's the highlights of the game from Pacific League TV:
One other note from the game - Carter Stewart was a guest of the Hawks at the game (this was the day before his press conference formally announcing his signing) and he was introduced to the crowd during the "Lucky 7" celebration:
After the game I followed the crowds back to Tojinmachi Station and took the subway back to Hakata Station. My last stop for the day was at the Mint Hakata store a few blocks west of the station. From there I walked back to my hotel, picking up dinner from a Hotto Motto fast food restaurant on the way.