With baseball being such a popular sport in Japan, several baseball teams have incorporated various themes as a representative of their brand. Some teams incorporate land animals to be their team characters such as the Hanshin Tigers while others incorporate flying animals such as the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. For a water-themed professional baseball team in Japan, look no further than the Chiba Lotte Marines.
Known as the Chiba Lotte Marinzu in Japanese, the Chiba Lotte Marines are a professional baseball team included in the Pacific League. Based in the city of Chiba in Chiba Prefecture, the team hails from the Kanto region and is owned by the Lotte group of companies. It is also one of the most popular baseball teams in Japan.
How the Chiba Lotte Marines Came to Be
In the beginning, the team was known as the Mainichi Orions. Starting in the year 1950, the Mainichi Orions was an inaugural part of the Pacific League. In the same year, the team was able to win the inaugural Japan Series. Eight years later, the Mainichi Orions was merged with the Daiei Unions in the year 1958. Together, they were known as the Daimai Orions. Their name was changed to the Tokyo Orions in the year 1964.
Five years later, the name was altered to the Lotte Orions in the year 1969. Despite the promising path of the Orions after having won the inaugural Japan Series in the year 1950, the team was unable to repeat their success in the following years. While the team was able to make it to the Japan Series both in the year 1960 and in the year 1970, they lost in the final outcome for both years.
The location of their plays was in central Tokyo until the year 1972. For four years after, the team played in Sendai city, which is located up north, from the year 1973 to the year 1977. Within those years, the Lotte Orions was able to beat the Chunichi Dragons in the year 1974. The victory was considered a huge feat for the team, as they were the first team in the Pacific League to have won the Series in a span of 10 years. Prior to this win, the Yomiuri Giants were the ones who gained the previous nine titles.
After those four years in the city of Sendai, the Lotte Orions moved back to the area of Tokyo and decided to settle in Kawasaki in the year 1978. The team’s final move was in the year 1992, where they transferred to the city of Chiba located on the eastern shore of Tokyo Bay. Following this move, the team was renamed as the Chiba Lotte Marines.
The Chiba Lotte Marines struggled for a number of years before they were able to enter the Japan Series again in the year 2005. The beginning of that season promised a great path for the Marines, as they were in first place under the guidance of their manager Bobby Valentine. However, as the season progressed, the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks took the lead and the Marines fell short.
In the Pacific League Championship, the Chiba Lotte Marines were able to beat the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks three games to two. Because of this, the Marines were able to win the rubber match even though they entered the eighth inning trailing 2-1. Due to this win, the team was able to enter the Japan Series, which was a victory in itself for the Marines since the last time they were able to enter the Series was in the year 1974. This ended their 31-year drought.
The Chiba Lotte Marines were also able to beat the Hanshin Tigers in four games in a one-sided series. The Marines were able to score 10 runs in the first three games each. Seeing how easily the Marines were able to beat the Tigers, administrators debated about the need to add a playoff system in the Central League. Eventually, this system was added in the year 2007. In the final round, the Marines emerged victorious against the Samsung Lions of South Korea in the Konami Cup Championships.
On the last day of the baseball season in the year 2010, the Chiba Lotte Marines were able to secure the third spot, which earned them a place in the Climax Series. Against the Chunichi Dragons, the Marines were able to win the Climax Series, which made them the first team in third place to win the tournament. They beat the Dragons in seven games. The Marines won four of the games, lost two, and attained a tie against the Dragons. This was their second Japan Series win in a span of fewer than ten years.
The Team’s Uniform, Hat, and A Number of Mascots
Initially, the team’s uniform was composed of three colors, namely, black, white, and neon lavender. However, this combination of colors was retired following the end of the season in the year 1994. After which, their uniform changed to just black pinstripes, which are worn whenever they are playing at home, and to black on gray when playing outside home.
Another set of uniforms were unveiled in the year 2018. The Marines showed their new Marine Festa Uniforms in a press conference early this year. The uniforms were reportedly designed by Yudai Fujioka and Yasuda Hisanori. It is apparent that the design follows a wave pattern as the uniform’s base design element.
It is said that these patterns were used to signify the hope for Tadahito Iguchi, the new manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines. The wave patterns represent a “Marine Wave,” which Iguchi is to ride in his first year on the job. The symbol of the marines is a seagull. The team also uses a logo on the chest that was designed based on the logo of the Lotte Orions back in the year 1969.
The Chiba Lotte Marines also have not one but four mascots that represent them in every game. The only female mascot in the team is called Rine. Another avian mascot that cheers for the Chiba Lotte Marines is Zu-chan or Zu. Of all the mascots in the team, Zu is the youngest one. Stories revolve around mascots in baseball teams and for Zu, it is said that he has a secret crush on Buffalo Bell.
The third mascot in the Marines team is known as Cool. To Zu-chan and Rine, he is called Cool-kun. Unlike the two avian mascots, Cool is a penguin mascot. This mascot portrays a lot of emotions during the games based on timing. He can be rude or stuck up at times. This mascot is also famous for challenging rival mascots like B.B. or Doala to contests. Because Cool has acrobatic skills, he challenges them to somersault contests.
While Rine and Zu have been part of the Chiba Lotte Marines for a long time, Cool is actually a recent addition to the team. Most mascots in baseball teams often just wave around and put acts on stage but Cool is one of the few that “speak” on live shows. Just last year, another addition to the team was made when they introduced a new mascot.
Known as Nazo no Sakana, the new mascot is known as the mysterious fish of the team. The mascot is apparently based on the anglerfish. It is a bony fish that consists of a fleshy growth on its head. The new mascot run around the court and spits a man outside the costume after some time. The man would then perform dances on stage to the entertainment of the supporters of the team.
ZOZO Marine Stadium: The Home of the Chiba Lotte Marines
Like most professional baseball teams in Japan, the Chiba Lotte Marines have their own home stadium. Their former ballparks were the Korakuen Stadium, the Tokyo Stadium, the Miyagi Baseball Stadium, and the Kawasaki Stadium. Today, the ZOZO Marine Stadium serves as the home of the Chiba Lotte Marines.
Known as the Zozo Marin Sutajiamu in Japan, the official name of the stadium is Chiba Marine Stadium. Located in the city of Chiba, the stadium was opened in the year 1990. It has a capacity of 30,000 people. Typically, the stadium is used for baseball although it is also sometimes used for Rugby union Inter Rules.
Its left and right field have a length of 99.5 meters each, which is equivalent to 326.4 feet, while its center field has a length of 122 meters, which is equivalent to 400.3 feet. The height of the outfield fence is 4 meters, which is about 13.1 feet. The cost for constructing this stadium was about 13.3 billion yen.
The stadium is about a 20-minute walk from Tokyo station. Visitors can either walk on the sidewalk or on the pedestrian overpass. One may also take a cab ride from the station, which can take only about 5 minutes to reach the stadium. Another option is to get off at Makuhari Hongo Station and take a cab to go to the stadium. The cab ride would only take about 10 minutes.
The stadium is open-air so people get to enjoy the fresh, cool air coming from the bay nearby. The prices of the tickets vary depending on the seats being chosen. Some people say that the best seats are located on the second deck. These seats are unreserved and cost 2,300 yen per person, which is equivalent to about $30 per head. When watching highly anticipated games, it would be best to go early to ensure that one gets the best seats before the place gets packed with people.
The seats in the stadium are also color-coded per section. This color-coding matches the stadium seating map. Hence, guests are able to find their seats easier based on the colors. The colors of the seats are red, orange, green, sky blue, and dark blue. The seats also provide a vibrant picture in comparison to other stadiums that have the typical monochrome seating arrangements.
The batter’s previous results can also be found on the ribbon board located on the facing of the upper deck. On the other hand, the scoreboard would show the lineups as well as the line score. Because Lotte is a company that produces candy and gums, visitors are treated to a pack of lemon gum whenever they enter the stadium. It is quite a nice treat to enjoy while cheering for the Chiba Lotte Marines.
Its Current Roster and Game Schedule 2018, Plus Getting Tickets
Every baseball team is composed of a manager, pitchers, catchers, infielders, and outfielders. For the 2018 roster of the Chiba Lotte Marines, the team is managed by Tadahito Iguchi.
The team’s pitchers are Kazunari Abe, Yuki Ariyoshi, Mike Bolsinger, Kuan-Yu chen, Seiya Dohi, Takahiro Fujioka, Kota Futaki, Shu Hara, Ayumu Ishikawa, Daiki Iwashita, Yuki Karakawa, Naoya Masuda, Takahiro Matsunaga, Masaki Minami, Atsushi Miyazaki, Shoji Nagano, Kakeru Narita, Yuji Nishino, Edgar Olmos, Yuta Omine, Tomohisa Otani, Kenji Otonari, Tomohito Sakai, Chihaya Sasaki, Tanner Scheppers, Ryota Sekiya, Takaaki Shima, Keisuke Takano, Yasuhiro Tanaka, Atsuki Taneichi, Taiki Tojo, Tatsuya Uchi, Hideaki Wakui, Keita Watanabe, and Daiki Yamamoto.
The team has six catchers, namely, Naoya Emura, Tomoya Kakinuma, Takeshi Kanazawa, Yuito Munetsugu, Tatsuhiro Tamura, and Yuta Yoshida. The team’s infielder are Matt Dominguez, Yudai Fujioka, Kazuya Fukuura, Taiga Hirasawa, Kei Hosoya, Seiya Inoue, Kazuya Kaysuki, Tu-Hsuan Lee, Ryo Miki, Shogo Nakamura, Shunichi Nemoto, Takamasa Oki, Shota Omine, Daichi Suzuki, Takuya Takahama, and Hisanori Yasuda.
As for the outfielders of the team, they are Ryuzo Hijii, Shota Ishimine, Katsuya Kakunaka, Shohei Kato, Ikuhiro Kiyota, Mazuma Mike, Takashi Ogino, Yoshifumi Okada, Francisco Peguero, and Sugano Tsuyoshi. At present, the team is developing Ryotaro Mori and Yoshizumi Yasue as pitchers as well as Kashiro Wasa as an outfielder.
Their game schedule this 2018 against several teams can be found in various baseball websites. The season begins in March or April and ends in October. For the avid fans of the Chiba Lotte Marines, it would be best to purchase tickets as early as possible in order to get the best seats. After all, there is quite nothing like a baseball game with the Chiba Lotte Marines.