Long-suffering Tigers Fans Ready To Roar At Baseball's Japan Series

OSAKA, Oct 27 (AFP) - Fans of baseball's Hanshin Tigers are at fever pitch ahead of Saturday's start to the Japan Series, with the country's most passionately supported team desperate to win only their second national title.

Celebrations in the Tigers' home city of Osaka exploded last month when the team won the Central League pennant, with fans thronging the streets and hurling themselves into the local Dotonbori River.

After advancing through the playoffs, they now face the Orix Buffaloes in Japan's version of the World Series, with the chance to capture the title for the first time since 1985.

The Tigers lasat reached the Japan Series in 2014, where they lost a best-of-seven series four games to one against the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks.

The team's fortunes fell afterwards and they endured their worst-ever start to a season last year, losing 18 of their first 21 games.

They have made a spectacular recovery this season, winning the Central League with room to spare under the shrewd guidance of returning manager Akinobu Okada. ...continue reading