EDITOR'S NOTE: Kate Longworth is Tokyo-bound with the A's! Although it's not her standard practice to let strangers read her diary, she invites you to go behind the scenes with the A's up-and-coming players. Log on throughout the day for Kate's journal posts from Japan, and tune in nightly for her A's reports on SportsNet Central and NBC Bay Area. Whether the players are in the Tokyo Dome taking BP or trying exotic sushi, you can explore the streets of one of the most fascinating cities -- Comcast SportsNet is your ticket to Tokyo!
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Saturday morning marked the Athletics' first workout at the Tokyo Dome. As we entered the Dome, after passing through security, we had to one by one, be let in to the facility through a pressurized door -- as to not offset the pressure inside, much like the MetroDome.Taking the field here, was incredible. The turf is in impeccable shape and the Dome, to me just looked like a thing of beauty. You hear so many stories about watching games here, how it is an experience like no other. And although there was just a handful of media members on the field when I first saw it, I could quickly envision what it's going to be like starting tomorrow, and I can't wait!And neither can the players. The team is currently in the visitor's clubhouse but will be moving over to the home clubhouse for some of the games next week. It's tighter spaces here than back at the Coliseum, but the players don't seem to mind one bit.Many of them brought along their own cameras and video cameras to capture the moment. A half hour before team stretch, most of the players were already out on the field taking it all in.The relievers found the bullpen placement interesting...it's behind home plate in a closed in room. So while a pitcher is warming up, facing his bullpen catcher, he can't see the action on the field. But Brian Fuentes quickly explained to the younger guys that there will be a TV in there so they'll know exactly what's going on.I overheard the outfielders discussing the Dome, jokingly concerned that it'll be tough to track a fly ball because the Dome and lights literally are the color of a baseball. Some of the players compared the Dome to Tropicana, but quicklyaknowledged it'll be a scene like no other when the fans are here.As the players took the field for the workout, we put amic on Jerry Blevins, and working along sideMLB Productions whomic'd Jonny Gomes. We'll be featuring this footage ofTokyoDome through the players' eyes on our Japan Special on CSN California."PlayersReact to a New Culture"I hung out in the dugout with the players as they came onto the field before stretching. We all commented on how unique the sunk-in dugout is with two rows of benches, and then two little seats above the steps for the manager and bench coach.And after we got over the new digs, we all recapped the first night in Tokyo. Luckily for the fans wanting to see good baseball from the A's, the players got sleep. I, however, did not. My body woke up at 6 am after a restless five hours of sleep -- maybe it thought I had to attend our3 pm newsroom meeting back home? Without Starbucks in me and minimal sleep over the last few days, I am guessing my internal clock will catch up, but right now the excitement keeps me going.And the players are sharing that same excitement. Tonight they have a free night, and many can't wait to go try some sushi and take in some of the culture."Money Matters"One thing that concerns the players is how much money they are spending. We're all still trying to figure out the Yen translation into US dollars. I've been told a roughguestimate is to drop the last two numbers and you will know a ballpark price range.For example, the soup I had last night was written in the menu at 1,094... so yes, I had a 10 bowl of soup!Wes Timmons was sitting with me when we learned of this shortcut translation...when we started talking money, he joked "it's fun, kind of like we're playing with Monopoly money because you don't really know what you're spending."After, we learned the Yen amount in US dollars."Ok, so I definitely should have eaten more at breakfast," Wes told me, moments after bragging about his great meal. "Apparently I spent 27 for the egg and toast I got at the buffet."It's humbling to see the minor league journeyman watching his dime. After all, he substitute teaches in the offseason to help makes ends meet for his wife and two kids... slightly different than some of the millions of dollars his teammates make each year."On Deck"Tonight we have a "Night on the Town with the Athletics." We will be dining with Brandon Allen, Josh Reddick and CollinCowgill and then hitting up a Karaoke spot. Rumor is Allen is pretty incredible. I am guessing more players will be stopping by as well, so I will send updates American Idol style on Twitter!