The Seattle Mariners’ official site is part of Major League Baseball’s sprawling footprint on the Web. MLB did a very smart thing this year in taking over every team’s site and hiring beat writers to go head-to-head with the ink-stained wretches of the local dailies — and with the likes of ESPN.com and USAToday.com. The results are awesome, and already some of MLB’s reporters are scooping the established pros. The site keeps you up to date on Ichiro and Sasaki in English and Japanese. And it couldn’t be easier to jump to other team sites, like that of the Boston Red Sox, where you can follow Hideo Nomo and Tomokazu Ohka.

The Yakult Swallows Home Plate focuses on one team as an introduction to Japanese baseball, then takes you through the rest of the two leagues (the site’s a couple years old, though). It also navigates you to the stadiums so you can take in a Pacific or Central League game and teaches you a few kanji so you can read a score card once you get settled into your seat.

Some real baseball nuts have set up a comprehensive and interactive site devoted to the Japanese game. Now all they need is a few more users to get the ball rolling.

Japanese Pro Yakyu provides as up-to-date-as-possible statistics for Japan’s 12 teams and all their players. Plus, there’s lots of links to game stories and what not from Japan’s feeble English-language media.

This is a small corner of a great site that catalogs and sells vintage Japanese baseball cards. This page reviews English-language books on Japanese baseball and even offers help in locating out-of-print titles.

Global Villager Mikio E. puts meters of personality into a short glimpse of the “Japlish,” Japanese-English, that has sprung out of Japan’s love of baseball.

What’s it like at the ballpark? Read this account from Yokohama Stadium.