The One about the Two Tokyo Central League NPB Teams: The Yomiuri Giants and the Tokyo Yakult Swallows

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New York has the Yankees and the Mets, Los Angeles has the Dodgers and the Angels but yet in two different divisions. In Japan, two of Tokyo’s Nippon Pro Baseball (NPB) Teams, the Giants and
Swallows play in the same division and have a heated rivalry.

Every major city has their cross-town sports rival. In Tokyo, for Japanese baseball, the Yomiuri Giants and the Tokyo Yakult Swallows have had a solid rivalry. For one, as the Yomiuri Giants are often revered as the New York Yankees of the East (the team have won 22 Japan Series and 36 Central League Pennants) .

Established back in 1934, the Giants are known for their deep pockets and indoor Tokyo Dome Stadium.

The Tokyo Yakult Swallows (the team has won five Japan Series and seven Central League Pennants) can be compared to the New York Mets, who are sick and tired of the attention that the Giants often receive. Established in 1950, the group plays in the outdoor Jingu Stadium.

And often, when these two teams face-off within the Central League, it’s always a big deal. As it was once again a big deal for the 2015 Central League Climax Series Final Stage Playoffs as the Central League pennant winners, the Yakult Swallows would end the Yomiuri Giants’ season by eliminating them 3 games to 1.

While the Tokyo Yakult Swallows would make it to the Japan Series to face off against the powerful Softbank Hawks of the Pacific League. The Hawks would become victorious and win their a back-to-back championship, beating the Swallows 4 games to 1.

I had the opportunity to watch a few baseball games in Tokyo for both teams and both have wonderful fanbase but no doubt, the rivalry between these two Tokyo baseball teams is strong and is always an exciting matchup worth watching!


 

Dennis A. Amith