First Pitch from Space

» 20 April 2009 » In npb »

The ceremonial first pitch for the first game between the Yomiuri Giants and Hanshin Tigers was thrown from a great distance. Koichi Wakata, an astronaut on a long-term mission at the International Space Station, filmed the first pitch wearing a Giants uniform (supplied by manager Tatsunori Hara) inside the station, and was shown on the scoreboard prior to the game at the Tokyo Dome.

The ball used for the ceremonial first pitch was a speciality made ball, the “School Lunch Ball.” Inside the ball was a message-filled ribbon signed by Giants captain Shinnosuke Abe and nine students selected from the School Lunch program that the Giants participate in. The “School Lunch” program involves players interacting with students and eating lunch together in school classrooms.

Wakata commented, “If I practice more, maybe I will be able to throw a pitch that is impossible to imitate in Earth. I will hope to continue reporting news of dreams and hope from space.”

A new gyro ball in the works, perhaps from outer space. Stay tuned.

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