If you're reading this as I post, you must live on the East Coast
by Bob Timmermann
TOKYO - My watch, which has two times listed on it, says it's pushing 4 am on the West Coast of the U.S., but it's just shy of 8 pm here in Tokyo. I'm ensconsed in a hotel which is right next to Haneda Airport in Tokyo where I will board a flight tomorrow for Sapporo to go see the first two games of the Pacific League playoffs.
The Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters will send their young ace, Yu Darvish, out to the hill in Game 1. Darvish was 12-5 with a 2.89 ERA with 115 Ks in 149 IP. The Softbank Hawks of Fukuoka haven't named their starter yet (or they may have and I just can't read it.) If the Hawks get a win in either of the two games in Sapporo, then I get to make the long journey down to Fukuoka, which is on the opposite end of the country from Sapporo (consult your local atlas).
Because of the time my flight was scheduled to land, I was not allowed to be booked on to a connecting flight to Sapporo tonight and I have to wait till morning. Of course, since I was isn't in a hurry, I went through immigration, baggage claim, and customs in a record pace. And the flight was 30 minutes early.
But I kick back and hope to stay awake until the end of the Chunichi Dragons-Yomiuri Giants game that's on right now. It's tied 3-3 after 7 innings. If the Dragons win, they clinch the Central League title.
As for tomorrow night's game, I've been told that U.S. residents should be able to watch the game online through Yahoo Japan. If you want try this link. The game will start Wednesday night at 6 pm, which would be 2 am PT, or 5 am ET.
Or you can wait until you get up and I should have something written for you.
UPDATE - The Chunichi Dragons scored six runs in the 12th inning at the Tokyo Dome to beat the Giants 9-3 and wrap up the Central League pennant. They last won in 2004. Tyrone Woods homered twice and drove in seven runs, including a grand slam in the 12th.