March 2012

March 25: Autograph Session

Sunday afternoon, Bartolo Colon, Brandon McCarthy, and Kurt Suzuki visited a sporting goods store for an appearance and autograph session.

A poster advertising the event signed by the three baseball players.

Japanese “Moneyball” DVDs were also autographed as giveaway prizes during the in-store event.

The scene inside the store.

This young A’s fan was happy to acquire some autographs…

…then he won games to Mariners vs. A’s!

A’s fans and baseball fans snapped photos and took video of the event.

Kurt Suzuki addresses the crowd with appreciation for their support.

The the back hallway, a poster caught the eye of everyone in the group, including Brandon McCarthy and Kurt Suzuki.

A closer look at the poster. It’s about energy conservation.

A little later and back near the team hotel, autograph seekers approach Adam Rosales and he’s more than happy to oblige.

And Kila Ka’aihue and Kurt Suzuki enjoy lunch.

March 25: Yomiuri Giants vs. Oakland Athletics

To complete the day, the A’s played an exhibition baseball game at the Tokyo Dome vs. the Yomiuri Giants. Take a stroll through the game below.

 

The dugout is prepped. The team is in the clubhouse, soon to make their way to the Tokyo Dome field.

 

The team is ready and wait for their turn to practice.

 

The A’s take batting practice inside the Tokyo Dome.

 

Manager Bob Melvin hits baseballs to the infielders behind short.

 

A’s fans are out in force. Here…

 

…there…

 

…and everywhere inside the Tokyo Dome.

 

A local personality speaks with Yoenis Cespedes and admits Cespedes is much stronger than he.

 

Jordan Norberto autographs for many fans down the left field line.

 

Stomper is here! And he’s with a new friend from the Yomiuri Giants.

 

Stomper offers his new friend a piggyback ride and off they go.

 

Stomper wishes everyone well from the Tokyo Dome.

 

Josh Donaldson helps Stomper stretch for the game.

 

During pregame, the visiting A’s are announced first. Tye Waller and Chili Davis are all smiles greeting Travis Schlichting with high fives.

The home Giants are announced next as Bob Melvin looks on.

 

Managers of both clubs are presented with flowers during the pregame ceremony.

 

The national anthems of both countries are sang.

 

Brandon Allen and Josh Reddick bow their heads during The Star Spangled Banner.

 

Bob Melvin goes over the Tokyo Dome ground rules with the umpires.

 

The Tokyo Dome scoreboard says it all just before the first pitch.

 

Coco Crisp picks up the A’s first hit of the night, a ringing double down the left field line.

 

As the A’s head out to the take their defensive positions, they toss baseballs into the crowd, including this one by Josh Reddick.

 

Tommy Milone was sharp, limiting the Giants’ offense.

 

With Josh Reddick on second…

 

…Jemile Weeks plates the A’s first run with this base hit.

 

With the A’s taking a lead, let’s check out the scene inside the Tokyo Dome’s concourse. Here’s one of the many team shops.

 

And in the stands, this is just one of the many colorfully dressed drink vendors.

 

With the A’s up 5-0 in the 9th, backed by a home run from Kurt Suzuki, Grant Balfour takes the hill for a 1-2-3 inning.

 

Yes, “Celebration” by Kool & The Gang was played as soon as the A’s recorded the final out.

 

The top performers of the game, Tommy Milone and Kurt Suzuki, are brought on-field for postgame Q&A.

 

This Kurt Suzuki fan is pleased.

 

Comcast SportsNet is on the scene with Kurt Suzuki…

 

…and Tommy Milone.

 

A’s fans in Tokyo head home happy.

Please note: This exhibition game and the next vs. the Hanshin Tigers will not be broadcast on TV or radio. On March 28 and 29, the Seattle Mariners vs. Oakland A’s games will be broadcast live on 95.7 FM The Game and tape delayed for television on MLB Network (6am & 7pm PT each day).

 

March 24: See the Sights

As the team holds an afternoon workout at the Tokyo Dome, many A’s front office and family members head outside Tokyo for a day trip to the south-eastern area of Hakone.

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A ropeway travels up a mountain to get a better view.

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The Cotroneos pose for a photo at the top of the mountain. The fog behind them is actually steam, a result of volcanic activity.

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While waiting for the trek down the mountain, you can play Whack-An-Alligator, similar to Whack-A-Mole.

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Down the mountain, people fish in the large lake.

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Lunchtime! Squid, fish, or corn are available options at this grill stand.

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A closer look at the meal options.

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Amanda McCarthy decides to make a purchase…

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…and offers 95.7 FM The Game’s Chris Townsend a bite.

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The A’s board a boat and Townsend poses with the pirate captain.

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Lakeside sights are seen, including this gateway.

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The “captain” looks on as the scenery passes.

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It’s been a cold winter, the guide tells us, so blossoms are a little late this year.

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Previously covered in fog, Mt. Fuji finally makes a majestic appearance. Amazing!

 

Later in the evening, Wes Timmons and Collin Cowgill sing a song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers at Fiesta International Karaoke Bar. Brandon Allen and Josh Reddick root them on.

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Finally, we picked up a set of 3 Way Mini Chopsticks, one of a handful of items from Japan that Kara will give away at the Opening Weekend games of April 6 & 7.

Tomorrow, let the games begins! The A’s play the Yomiuri Giants at the Tokyo Dome.

March 23: A’s Arrive in Japan

Spring Training camp in Phoenix is complete and the team and travel party depart for Tokyo, Japan to open the Major League Baseball season. After a 12 hour flight, the A’s arrived in Tokyo. The travel began Thursday morning in Phoenix and ended Friday evening in Tokyo.

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A’s players and staff enjoy breakfast at Phoenix Municipal Stadium before departure to the airport.

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A’s players and staff await TSA check-in at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

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Passport – check. Boarding pass – check.

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Kurt Suzuki and Jordan Norberto are all smiles as they board the aircraft.

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A’s players and families board the flight to Japan.

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Comcast SportsNet is on the scene.

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The large 747 aircraft boarded almost 200 people.

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Goodbye United States. Next stop Japan.

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Players settle in for take off.

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Ray Fosse is ready for departure.

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More than 10 hours into the flight, we begin to prepare for arrival. The A’s left at noon Pacific Time on Thursday. The A’s will land in Tokyo after 4pm on Friday.

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After making their way through customs…

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…the A’s are met with a wall of media cameras and a large group of baseball fans.

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Upon arrival to the hotel, the team receives hotel keys and information…

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…plus a dinner that includes hamburgers and fries.

As Oakland wakes up this morning, the A’s head to bed in Tokyo.

Follow for a Daily Recap of the A’s Visit to Japan

Beginning Friday, March 23, visit athleticsinjapan.mlblogs.com for a daily recap of the Oakland A’s visit to Tokyo, Japan to open the 2012 Major League Baseball season.