Nippon Professional Baseball finally made its return over the weekend, as fans streamed into ballparks around Japan to support their favorite teams. The camaraderie forged by the common goal of the World Baseball Classic was replaced by loyalty to different teams and players as the pennant races officially began in the Central and Pacific Leagues.

The opening weekend didn’t disappoint, with lots of interesting things happening. The season already has its first extra-inning sayonara grand slam — by the Tokyo Yakult Swallows’ Atsushi Ugumori in the 10th inning against the Yokohama BayStars on Sunday — and seen two teams combine to walk 27 batters and hit another, while allowing 17 runs, in a game between the Hiroshima Carp and Hanshin Tigers that lasted 5 hours and 24 minutes on Saturday. Oh, and the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters’ Shohei Otani looked amazing as usual, doing it from the plate since an ankle injury has so far kept him off the mound.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.