A Chiba Lotte Marines Game at QVC Marine Field

Baseball season is over on both sides of the Pacific, but that doesn't mean I can't post about my favorite pastime.

The first game I was able to go to this year was an early-summer match in Chiba. I attended the game with friends and their families.
The stadium sits next to the bay, a long way from the station. You can expect to walk for about 15 minutes or so. Along the way you'll pass some places to eat, a small team souvenir store fairly close to the station, and at least one convenience store. There are buses to get you to the park, too.

It officially opened in 1990 with a Madonna concert (thanks, Wikipedia) but the Marines didn't move in until 1992.
 Across from the stadium, in the plaza, is a building that I'll visit at the end of the post. Or you can enlarge the photo and ruin the suspense.
 Despite the scary-looking skies, it stayed dry the entire game. The stadium has a circular shape, though it has multi-level seating only in the infield.
 The outfield has a big wall and some outfield seating along with the giant scoreboard.
 The stadium seats 30,000, and it was pretty full by mid-game (here you see first pitch).
 Like most NPB stadiums, you can bring your own food and drink. They didn't check us for bottles or cans on my visit, though if they saw you with a bottle they'd make you get a cup. You see, you can't bring in bottles or cans, and instead they give you a paper cup to pour your beverage in.

Anyway, the food selection inside the stadium didn't seem too nice, but there are a bunch of food trucks and stands in the plaza out front. We got our hands or tickets stamped,  and I was able to get a kebab sandwich that was pretty good - there are other selections as well! Also in the plaza is a monument with hand prints of several former Marines.
 So, you remember that building across from the stadium? It holds the main team store and the Marines Museum. What I thought at first was a small collection of exhibits turned out to be so much more.
 In the entrance was a bunch of memorabilia and this giant autographed ball.
 A trophy from years past.
 More trophies.
 Game-used spikes.
 Exhibits on successful players and years.
 In the back, on the first floor, there are some stadium-like areas to play around in. Here you can stand in the batter's box. Nothing really happens, but it's a good photo op.
 See a real locker. Those things are pretty big!
 This locker has uniforms and game memorabilia from the WBC.
 There's an outfield wall at the same height - kids were jumping to try to touch the top, though it isn't so high... not like the hefty bag in Minneapolis. The old ball/strike/out sign randomly cycles through various combinations.
 After you finish playing around here, head upstairs for some legacy and vintage artifacts.
 The team's history starts in 1950 as the Mainichi Orions.
 You can see old photos, programs, and memorabilia.
 The throwback uniforms are pretty cool.
 The upstairs serves as a sort of Hall of Fame too.
1974 is one of four years when the Marines won the Japan Series (the others being 1950, 2005, and 2010).
 The Marines (Orions) won the Pacific League pennant in 1960 and 1970, and have won various other awards (First Half or Second Half champions, for example).
 I'm not sure what the significance of this exact jersey is (it probably belonged to Bobby Valentine) but the Marines seem to have actually worn pink jerseys at some point.
 There is a collection of autographed balls near the end...
So we'll close with one of the greatest foreigners in NPB - Bobby Valentine, who led the Marines to a Japan Series title in 2005.

The stadium isn't too hard to get to from Tokyo Station - a couple lines go direct in 40-50 minutes. I'd like to visit again for the museum and to explore the stadium a bit more. Since I went with friends, I'm not sure I was able to get a great idea of all the Marines have to offer, though I had a great time.


  1. I think the jersey is probably for Masaru Uno who was a star for the Dragons in the 1980's and played for Lotte (and wore that number) in 1993 and 1994. Lotte only wore those jerseys from 1992-1994 (and spring training 1995 - there are cards for new players and Bobby Valentine in the 1995 BBM set with that uniform but Valentine wore #80 in his first stint as manager). I'm sure the Marines have had a "turn back the clock" game in recent years so the jersey could be Valentine's from one of those games.

    Man, one year as Red Sox manager has really killed any positive feelings I had toward Bobby.

    Thanks for the info on the museum.

  2. If I can get back next season I'll be sure to check out the details on the jersey. It's certainly a unique color, and actually I wouldn't mind having one if they weren't so expensive.

    It's amazing how different people's perceptions of Valentine are in Japan and America.