Hanshin Tigers Fans; Photo: Reuters

With the Yankees in Japan, there is plenty of coverage of how they are doing (Matsui is doing great in his return to Japan), but Jack Curry of The Times brings attention to the Hanshin Tigers. Curry compares the Tigers to the Boston Red Sox, both teams with maniacal fans and a championship dry spell.

At the Tokyo Dome, the Hanshin Tigers played the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in an exhibition game, where the fans turned out and cheered their team enthusiastically. The fans are led by "oendan", or cheerleaders, using drums, horns, whistles, and songs. Of the fans, Alex Rodriguez said, "It's like nothing I have ever seen." Unlike the United States, fans in Japan just cheer for their players, and don't boo opponents. Curry writes, "The polite fans never boo, so they turn from incredibly raucous to incredibly silent when the opponents are batting, as if transferring from a Metallica concert to a library in seconds." The Yankees face Hanshin today in another exhibition game.

Gothamist marvels at the baseball fans in Japan and would love to see this happen in New York. Then again, we know that in New York, fans can turn on you instantaneously. Case in point, Hideki "Fat Toad" Irabu, who is happy to be back home.