University of Chicago Tours Japan

22 03 2008

University of Chicago - coming to JapanHiroshima City Municipal Stadium on March 23, Osaka Dome on March 24 and the Seibu Dome in Tokyo on March 25. Starting tomorrow, the University of Chicago baseball team will come to Japan to play Waseda University in celebration of Waseda’s 125th Anniversary.

In 1910, the University of Chicago made a trip to Japan and traveled around the country where they gave regular beatings to the teams in a nation where baseball was only just kicking off. Fast-forward nearly a century, and the University of Chicago is a team that struggles to get 150 people to it’s Division III games, whereas the prestigious Waseda University is the number 1 ranked university in a country that baseball-mania rivals that of the US.

Waseda University are eager to include the University of Chicago in their celebrations. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, the UofC faced many difficulties coming to Japan, and Waseda was always their in support.

U. of C. coach Brian Baldea was initially hesitant to come on the tour…
– they faced problems with the tour interfering with U. of C. final exams. Waseda pushed back the dates.
– there was the specter of financial difficulties… Waseda pledged $50,000 towards the tour.
– Baldea was concerned about the fact that the University of Chicago isn’t what it once was in baseball. Waseda University reassured them that it was understood.

In what should be a phenomenal tour, the games hope to attract massive crowds – despite the beginning of Nippon Professional Baseball, and the MLB opener in Tokyo between the Boston Red Sox & the Oakland Athletics.

The tables have definitely turned though. Back in 1910, U. of C. was a baseball powerhouse, and Waseda was the fledgling. Now, Waseda boasts an almost professional program, lead by the ‘Hankachi Oji’ (Handkerchief Prince) Yuki Saito – a pitcher who is not at all put off by the big occasion.
Yuki Saito - Hankachi Oji Saito lead his Waseda Jitsugyo High School to a title at the prestigious Koshien Summer Tournament.
Saito surprised many by opting to go to Waseda University instead of going professional – where most considered he would have been one of the top lottery picks.
Saito finished the fall season with a 15-strikeout, 4-hit shutout of Keio University in the Tokyo Big Six University League title game.
The 15 Ks were a record in the long rivalry between Keio and Waseda.
He had a 0.78 ERA for the fall season and four wins, leading in both categories.

The games promise to be an event of epic proportions, and hopefully will lead to a renewed rivalry between the two schools.

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14 responses

23 03 2008
Linda Wagner

What was the outcome of the first game?

24 03 2008
Courtney Broaddus

How did the first game turn out? Where can we find the play-by-play of these historic games? Thank you.

24 03 2008
withmalice

Linda, Courtney – I wish I could find out too! I’m scouring the net, as soon as I get them, I’ll post them!

24 03 2008
withmalice

After placing a call to Hiroshima City Council, I obtained the scores!

Waseda University 15 – University of Chicago 0

24 03 2008
Courtney Broaddus

Our son is playing – we are eager to learn whether Univ of Chicago gets any runs! Go Maroons.

24 03 2008
withmalice

Yup, they didn’t in the first game…

But Waseda’s a VERY strong team… maybe game 2.

25 03 2008
Linda Wagner

Thanks for the update. Keep us posted if you get any further scores!

25 03 2008
25 03 2008
Linda Wagner

Thanks again Don! Glad you’re there. I hope Game 3 was even better for the U of C!

26 03 2008
Diane Gallan

Hi Don. Thanks again for your help. I found a little blurp about the first game. Although it’s in Japanese it is still nice to see. On YouTube if you search “Yuki Saito baseball” and then click on “this week” it will bring up a clip of the phenom pitcher with the U. of C. Maroons in the background. It’s something for us parents to look at at least. Thanks!

26 03 2008
Caryn

http://tokyo-apple.livejournal.com/tag/baseball
Here is the scoop on the third game; Waseda – 10, UC – 0

26 03 2008
withmalice

Aaaah… 10-0? Ouch.

Oh well, I am betting that even despite the lopsided scores, it’s an experience the ballplayers from U. of C. never forget.

And Diane? Was good to be involved, even if in a very, very small way.

26 03 2008
Courtney Broaddus

Thanks again for your help. I couldn’t find any news so we appreciated your reporting.

27 03 2008
Caryn

Yes, the Chicago boys report that they had the experience of a lifetime. Their Japanese hosts were terrific. Now they are on to Phoenix for more hardball.
Thanks for your coverage of these events!

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