The Boston Red Sox and Oakland A's opened the Major League season by playing at Japan's Tokyo Dome. Now the American Association, a far, far cry from the prestige of the majors, is getting into the trans-Pacific competition, too, as the Saints take on the Ibaraki Golden Golds of the Japanese Baseball Association. The Golden Golds (whatever that means) are an amateur club owned and managed by 69-year-old comedian Kinichi Hagimoto, who's something of a Japanese Johnny Carson. There couldn't be a better choice for the Saints' opponent, since the Saints are also owned partially by a comedian (Bill Murray). Both teams also debuted female players, and both are well known for gimmicks to get fans to games and keep them interested. Hagimoto has been known to bring a microphone to the dugout and provide game commentary for the fans. This meeting of East and West will provide fans a first look at the upcoming Saints season, and a chance to see a team that in all likelihood will never return to Minnesota.
Tue., April 29, 7:05 p.m., 2008