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Bang-A-Gong Culture Shock: Japanese Fan Celebrations, Meet America

22nd March 2008

Maury Brown

Maybe it was jetlag. Maybe it was culture shock. Maybe it explains why he went 0 for 5. But, Dustin Pedrioa got a dose of what the atmosphere is like at a baseball game in Japan, and he didn’t dig it, according to Jeff Passan.

As choreographed drums and horns, chants and claps blared in-between at bats, Pedrioa looked up from dugout.

“What the (expletive) is that?” Pedroia asked.

When it was explained to him that it was all part of taking in a game in Japan, Pedrioa continued the part of the ugly American.

“Shut up!” Pedroia yelled toward the fans, some 400 feet away.

This coming from a guy that gets an earful of expletives at Yankee Stadium each time the Red Sox visit. Apparently, “different” doesn’t sit well with “Mr. 0 for 5”.

Recently, however, I’ve been looking into some of the promotions that are done in Japan, with an eye toward how the minor leagues might leverage them into revenues. Sometimes “different” is interesting enough to turn into gold.

The question is, will American fans take an interest?

Pedroia may represent those rooted in American baseball tradition to the point of being close minded about trying something new — or at least new when it comes to rooting at games. Japanese baseball fans may be more closely related to soccer fans. We’d rather scream and yell as individuals than do something collectively. Maybe Americans are far too individualistic to engage in collective rooting for their team.

Either that, or we’re too engaged in being Americans to give something outside our little world a spin. Personally, I think we should all take in a game in Japan. Taste from a different fruit off the vine, if you like. Doing a very poor job at being Confucius: “’Different’ can often lead to wisdom.”


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Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer.

Brown’s full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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