Thursday, May 21, 2009

This little piggy went to the ball game

Swine flu is sweeping the world, and it is effecting baseball. Games have been cancelled due to too many players being sick, or the fear of spreading the flu during contests. All of these things make sense. The flu, any flu, is dangerous, and people die from it every year.

It is also causing economic problems, not just in business, but in baseball as well. Or is that an oxymoron? Anyhow, the flu is causing problems with baseball in Japan:
As we all are aware by now, the swine flu epidemic is causing problems all around the world and is even affecting baseball and baseball fans in Japan. Along with the economic climate, the flu epidemic will be another problem teams will need to fight through during the season to maintain their attendance.

The most immediate loss caused by the outbreak will be the sale of jet balloons. One of the traditions in Japanese baseball, especially at Koshien Stadium is the jet balloons that fans shoot during the 7th inning stretch and after a victory. The risk has gotten too big to allow the fans to continue the tradition and three teams have already prohibited the use and sales of jet balloons in the ballpark including the Hanshin Tigers.
Somehow I don't equate this with being as serious as people dying in Mexico and other places. I'll be honest and state that I don't necessarily understand the fan culture in Japan all that much. It's kind of like college football and the NHL, as much as I can tell.

I don't understand the issues with the jet balloons, and how they are helping to spread the flu. But sometimes being cautious is okay:
Cautious fans are protecting themselves by wearing masks at the game and players are also doing the same while traveling on the road. Despite this, NPB has not yet taken the measure of actually cancelling games. NPB may need to prepare for the worst, if the situation does not improve, as many sporting events and concerts have already been cancelled in Japan.
I have a hard time the fans understanding fans being so dedicated to a toy that they would boycott games because they are prohibited during a health crisis:
Tigers fans who have already purchased tickets are asking for refunds at Koshien Stadium. The longer the swine flu is around, the more it will affect the game of baseball.
Sure, it's baseball, and I love the game, too. But these seems a little ridiculous to me. How about someone who understands the culture of the Japanese fan commenting on this.

1 comment:

Patrick said...

The fans didn't want to go to the games because they were afraid of catching the flu, not because of the balloons.