I went to Koshien this Tuesday to see the Tigers play the Marines, had a great time with friends but witnessing that 9th inning Marines grand slam in person was a bit of a gut punch. Anyway, before heading up to Koshien I took a trip to nearby Naruohama to visit the Tigers Den, the Hanshin training ground.
Also known as the farm, this is the place where younger players spend their time, as well as veterans who are recuperating from an injury or need some downtime to get back on track. Entry is free and there are regular morning and early afternoon games against visiting farm teams – farm schedule here. Facilities are minimal so if you want beer or food, you’d better bring your own!
One of the great things about the farm is the size, there’s seating for a few hundred people at most, all infield. No matter where you sit you’re guaranteed to be close to the action.
Tuesday was a game against the Orix Buffaloes farm team, unfortunately it ended in an 8 – 4 loss but it was still an exciting game, plus I got to see some main squad guys up close! Taiga Egoshi and Ryutaro Umeno!
Egoshi up to bat, home dugout was right under me, on third base side which was a little strange as it’s usually first base side.
Looking for a hit…
Here comes Umeno!
Umeno got two hits and an RBI in this game, good job! Slightly off topic, but I find batting stances really interesting, everyone has their own unique style, from Fukodome’s perfectly vertical bat, to Murton’s little bounce thing and Uemoto’s incredibly awkward looking stretched stance, but whatever works!
I’d definitely recommend a visit, it’s a great chance to see the up and coming players, and perhaps even a well known face or two! The Tigers Den is accessible by bus from Koshien stadium(Hanshin bus No.7 stop) or it’s a 20 minute walk from Mukodanchimae station(that’s how I went)