Solace in the Stadium as Baseball Resumes in Japan
And so it was on opening day, Japan style. There were staples of custom and optimism — fried soba noodles on the griddle, cheerleaders in pink satin outfits dancing in the early spring sun, long lines of fans eager to enter the stadium for the first time since last fall, when the hometown Lotte Marines won the Japan Series.
But the return of baseball has been infused with more poignant meaning this year as the country struggles to right itself after a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami leveled northeastern Japan a month and a day ago. For weeks, owners, players and fans debated whether to start the season on time when so many Japanese are still suffering. A very public discussion turned into a proxy for how the nation wanted to get back on its feet.