Chaos and Kanji is the blog where I write about my adventures through Japan!

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Monday, April 9, 2018

It's a Baseball Autograph, I Swear!

As football gained popularity in the US, friends would often bring up the question: Why aren't there cheerleaders in baseball? The Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders got their own trading card sets in the 1980s, and there was at least one cheerleaders-based set issued in the 1990s.

Baseball has become less pastime and more entertainment since the 1980s. The 1980s had mascots, between-innings trivia on the scoreboard, and the seventh-inning stretch. Today's ballparks have fun zones for the kids, and noise is played almost constantly with walk-up songs, sound effects, and between-innings advertisements.

And Major League Baseball has played around a bit with cheerleaders. I count at least ten teams with pretty girls in skimpy clothes who dance around on the field. I remember the Atlanta Braves' Tomahawk Team from when I lived in Georgia.

The problem with cheerleaders in baseball is the lack of a pause in action. Yes, some "big" football play happens every down - everybody rushes and moves and there's a lots of excitement - but then there's a long break as everybody resets on the line. The basketball's always bouncing, but there's about 20 seconds between each shot, and assuming the ball is going back and forth, that's about 40 seconds between shots on any one team's basket. 

Baseball cheerleaders come out when there is a pause in the action: between innings or perhaps during a pitching change. Which means they might make an appearance about 15 times per game. Don't forget all the "lost" times due to contests.

Japanese baseball does have cheerleaders. I'm pretty sure I've talked about them here. Each fan section has a real leader of cheers - a pure cheer leader by definition - to announce and orchestrate the mass chanting and clapping by fans.

As a side note, Japanese spectators are more-involved in concerts, too, and fan groups will create chants to sing back to performers during shows:

(Skip to 1:00 to see it.)

And if you've followed this blog enough, you'll know there are cheerleaders that are basically dance teams, too, in Japan. Similar to MLB "cheerleaders", they show up between innings and do events before and after the game. You can also sometimes find them wandering around the stadium during the game. 

BBM has issued cheerleader card sets for the past seven years, and I've picked up autographs here and there for my type collection, but I have also added a few additional ones for my personal collection.
Rino Ohta is one of two Fighters Girls that I have autographs for. Despite not being very expensive, it took me quite a while to actually get this card; that might be because I only just kept it on my watch list in YJA and never bothered checking in stores.
Not my photo.
I like her because she seems pretty sweet in person. I managed to make it to a Fighters game last year and she stood out as special - I get the impression that she's actually having fun out there. It doesn't hurt that she's cute, too, I guess.

Anyway, until next time...


  1. Replies
    1. Yeah, it is! The women tend to put more thought into their signatures than the men. Not always, but more often.

  2. A. Japanese baseball is cool.
    B. Japanese baseball cheerleaders are cooler.
    C. Japanese baseball cheerleaders autographs are the coolest.

    1. Interesting logic. Though an MLB cheerleader set (or even NFL/NBA/whatever cheerleader set) wouldn't be too tough to sell in the US even today.

    2. Hmmm? Contemplative "I now have an idea for another card set" hmmm or "You didn't mention Korea's cheerleaders" hmm?