Play ball: Team USA dominates Israel - as KPRC 2′s Christine Noël gets a first row seat to history

Christine Noel's coverage of Team USA and Israel's game at Yokohama Baseball Stadium.
Christine Noel's coverage of Team USA and Israel's game at Yokohama Baseball Stadium. (Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

TOKYO – As I write this, I am sitting in the press box at Yokohama Baseball stadium for the opening game of the Tokyo Olympics.

This marks the first event I’ve been given clearance to attend here at these Olympic Games. (COVID-19 restrictions have made it difficult for the media.) The game is between Team USA and Israel. It’s the bottom of the 5th inning, the Stars and Stripes are up 3-1.

Christine Noel's coverage of Team USA and Israel's game at Yokohama Baseball Stadium. (Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

It’s a warm, balmy evening under the Friday night lights here in Tokyo. And despite the absence of fans, cracker jacks, and cold beer...baseball is being played on the world’s largest stage and I’m grateful to be here.

Christine Noel's coverage of Team USA and Israel's game at Yokohama Baseball Stadium. (Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

I have to admit, the energy isn’t the same without any spectators. Yokohama stadium is beautiful, but would be even more so with thousands of spectators packed into seats bringing the kind of energy to a game of this magnitude that only fans can.

But still, ball is being played! And Team USA is bringing the heat.

I am here following not one, not two, but THREE Houston-area players, all three are pitchers.

First up is Simeon Woods Richardson from Sugar Land. He graduated from Kempner High school and is part of the Blue Jays Organization.

Next is Shane Baz from Cypress. He plays for the Tampa Bay Rays Minor league team.

And veteran ball player, Scott Kazmir. He’s played for several teams over the years, including the Houston Astros back in 2015. He graduated from Cypress Falls High School. I had a chance to speak to Scott and Shane via zoom the other day and they both told us it’s an honor to play for Team USA and represent the Red, White & Blue.

Christine Noel's coverage of Team USA and Israel's game at Yokohama Baseball Stadium. (Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

8:21pm

From where I sit now, it’s now bottom of the 6th. One more run added to Team USA. Score is now 4-1. Let’s go boys! 🇺🇸

8:36pm

7th inning now— another run for the US! 5-1.

Christine Noel's coverage of Team USA and Israel's game at Yokohama Baseball Stadium. (Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

8:38pm

Bars are swinging! Another run for the home team. Team USA now up 6-1.

9:00pm

A fly ball just flew its way into the stands, near where I am now sitting. I really wanted to go grab it.. but I didn’t. Covid protocols. ⚾️ (I really thought about it though.. ha.)

9:01pm

Another run for Team 🇺🇸 USA! Score is now 7-1 at the bottom of the 8th.

9:05pm

Just left at the top of the 9th inning to go to the mixed zone- where the media gathers ahead of the games end. We get into place to be ready to interview the players once the game wraps up.

Christine Noel's coverage of Team USA and Israel's game at Yokohama Baseball Stadium. (Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

TEAM USA WINS! Final: 8-1

I had a chance to interview our Hometown Houston guys after the game right there on the field! It was great to meet them in person. They gave a shoutout to all their family and friends back in H-town and said they’re so proud to be representing Houston and the USA on the global stage.

Christine Noel's coverage of Team USA and Israel's game at Yokohama Baseball Stadium. (Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

Next up, Team USA plays South Korea at 7pm Saturday (Japan Time.)

Go Team USA!

It’s 11pm in Japan.. and I’ve been up since 2am. Time for a late dinner and some much needed sleep. Tomorrow marks day 14 here in Tokyo… and that means QUARANTINE PERIOD ENDS! Cannot wait. More of the freedoms we will have once out of the quarantine status— to come…

But for now, Happy Friday to you!

Goodnight from Tokyo!

Christine


About the Author:

A small-town girl from West Michigan with a passion for storytelling, traveling the world and meeting remarkable people along with the way.