British racers might spend the winter months longing for warmer climes and thinking of their training regimes – Japanese racers play baseball.
Race stars Yukio Kagayama, Nori Haga, Makoto Tamada, Ryuichi Kiyonari, Katsuaki Fujiwara, Tady Okada, Shinichi Ito, and Kazuo Sakata are all part of one of the most formidable teams of racers in the world. The trouble is for race team managers, this team plays baseball.
The Racers baseball team was formed three years ago and is dedicated to the memory of the late Japanese star Daijiro Kato. It’s managed by his widow Makiko.
So far they have only managed to squeeze in three matches, but a further pair of games this week at the Tokyo Swallows football team ground where they play.
They are the only baseball team allowed to do so – saw them notch up two more wins against two teams of magazine journalists and staff.
WSB stars Haga and Kagayama scored the winning runs, and Alstare Corona man Kagayama said: “We really had big fun today. It's very interesting that riders can get together like this away from the racetrack. Normally we never have a chance to talk about anything else except racing but, at the baseball field, we never talked about racing at all!
“Also, it was the first time we had won a match and we did it by playing real baseball. We all want to get together again before 2007 season starts and do it all over again!”