A warm welcome to Bat Flips & Nerds for Andy Brown, a British artist based in South Korea. Andy regularly shares his wonderful work on Twitter and it’s an absolute pleasure for us to be able to share some more with you right here…
Every Spring, the revered Koshien Stadium in Osaka is the location for the Senbatsu, or National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament. For this event, 32 high school teams from across Japan are invited to compete, all hoping to make it through each elimination game to have the chance to win the final.
I paint and record baseball around the world. I have worked in ballparks in the Major, Minor and Independent leagues in the US, Japan, Korea and China. Recently I spent 5 days recording the 90th Senbatsu. This tournament is unlike anything else I have ever seen before.
Wednesday 28th March 2018, 9am
Playball! The Koshien is the only Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) stadium to have an all-dirt infield. Babe Ruth once played the Koshien in 1934 as part of a tour of the Major League stars. The richness of the infield is striking.
The Koshien Scoreboard
The Koshien was opened in 1924. It is the oldest baseball stadium in Japan, and is used by the Hanshin Tigers, who play in the Central League of the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). The scoreboard is as iconic as Wrigley Fields board, and Fenway Park’s Green Monster. Its geometric appearance is suitably menacing, towering over the field and the players on it.
All Koshien stewards wear Mizuno tracksuit tops and tan chinos. This steward was trying to help.
At the conclusion of a game the winning team line up at home plate and sing their school song.
Each school has 2 or 3 boys who stand behind the teams brass band and dancers bearing a flag with the schools emblem on. It is a prestigious honour to be chosen to have this role, and not taken lightly.
Saturday 31st March 2018
The capacity of the Koshien is 47,757. Most days of the tournament are very busy, this day it was packed.
During the preliminary stages of the tournament there are 3 to 4 games a day. With this much baseball it is necessary to take a break sometimes between innings.
Next to the Koshien is a small Shinto shrine. Players, fans and artists can ring the bell and write their hopes and dreams onto pieces of wood in the shape of home plate or a baseball, and tie these onto the red supports.
This years victors were Osaka Toin, who beat Chiben Wakayama 5-2. Akira Neo was the young man on the mound for the winning team.
Andy Brown is an artist originally from the UK. He currently lives and works in South Korea.
His work is held in the collections of galleries, museums, and teams in the US, UK and Korea, and players from the MLB and KBO.
For more, please visit www.andybrownstadiums.com
Wow! Loved the artistic contribution to the posting! I’m no artist but the works look like watercolours style. I was not so familiar with the high school tournament, yet the words and images gave me a memorable insight.