My colleagues got me this year's first interleague baseball game ticket for Rakuten Eagles (local team in the Pacific League) play against Chunichi Dragons (Central League). Tom Selleck acted as an American player in Chunichi in the movie Mr. Baseball.
Where as Chunichi is an established team with a long history and 5-time Japanese Champion, Rakuten is a very young team that was formed in 2004 and has been in the league since 2005.
The game was interesting - because Chunichi was the Japanese Champion last year, I think the local crowd did not expect the Eagles to play such a good game against them. But, we were pleasantly surprised that the Eagles beat the Dragons 6-1! The game was very exciting and the supporters were very happy!
Rakuten's come a long way since their debut in 2005. In their first year, the record was just aweful - out of 136 games, they won only 38 times and lost 97 times with one game a draw. That is .281 average - sounds like someone's batting average! Needless to say, they were the 6th out of 6 teams of the Pacific League. The owner fired the manager and brought in the current manager - Katsuya Nomura. Under his direction, the team is steadily becoming better and as of yesterday, they're in the 3rd place with 25 wins and 24 losses.
It is ironic that the Eagles' best hitter - a 39-yr. old Takeshi Yamazaki was formerly of the Dragons. He was let go from Chinichi after 2002 season and joined Kobe Orix in 2003, but was again let go after 2004. Yamazaki joined the Eagles the year it was formed and is currently hitting .343 (2nd in the league) with 9 home runs and he is definitely the play maker of the team.
It was a glorious night for the city of Sendai and we had a very exciting and fun time. I have my colleagues to thank for the arrangment.