*OK, maybe not baseball history, but still, it’s pretty awesome.
To say the Japanese baseball culture is slightly different than what we’re accustomed to America is an understatement. Whereas American baseball fans might see a trip to the old ballpark as a way to unwind for an afternoon to catch up with friends — with the actual game often being a secondary interest — Japanese baseball has a sense of urgency often rivaled only in the Major League Baseball playoffs.
And every game seems like a party, which certainly would help explain what apparently happens every time Yokohama DeNA Baystars closer Yasuaki Yamasaki enters a home game. After the 24-year-old right-hander is summoned from the bullpen, the entire crowd goes nuts, singing along with “Zombie Nation” and ultimately reaching a crescendo as Yamasaki hops into a convertible and catches a ride to the mound.
Yamasaki apparently isn’t the only one who benefits from the ride service, though. According to SportTechie.com, the Nissan Leaf (with zero emissions!) was announced as “the official bullpen car” for games at Yokohama Stadium.
However, when you watch that video and factor in all the singing and general hysteria, it’s hard to picture a better situation for a pitcher to enter. Yamasaki’s performance seems to suggest as much, as he’s allowed just four earned runs in 30 innings with 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings and 0.933 WHIP.
Perhaps MLB should circle back on the idea of the bullpen car, especially if it’s interested in speeding up pace of play.
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