Baseball Plans Japan Tour in 2014

Consul General Dinner.jpgContact: Ben Badua

AMHERST, Mass. - In August of 2014, the Amherst baseball team will travel to Japan for a two-week cultural baseball exchange with the College’s sister school, Doshisha University.

Dating back to 1875, Amherst and Doshisha have the oldest relationship between two American and Japanese colleges. While many academic exchanges have taken place between the institutions, this will mark the first exchange between the schools’ sports teams.

“The exchange is the result of a coming together of coaches, professors, families and alumni who appreciate that the Amherst baseball experience goes beyond the field of play and is an integral part of the overall educational experience that the College offers,” says head coach Brian Hamm. “We have been planning for the tour for over a year and it has the makings of being something special.”

After arriving in Osaka, the squad will travel to Tanabe and Kyoto. In addition to practices and three games against their Doshisha counterparts, the team will watch the Koshien high school baseball tournament as well as a professional baseball game. In addition to cultural visits to Himeji Castle, Asakusa and day trips to Nikko and Toyko, the Jeffs hope to foster relationships between students, professors and administrators during their stay.

The idea for the trip began when Hamm, baseball alumnus Mark DeWaele ’79, and Professor Sam Morse helped organize a Baseball in Japan panel discussion at the College in April of 2011. The success of the panel, which included guests Bobby Valentine, Professor Bill Kelly ’68 and Frank Ramppen, led to the idea of taking the team to Japan for a cross-cultural baseball experience with Doshisha. While most American college and university teams travel to Latin America on overseas trips, rarely do they visit Japan, despite the game’s popularity in the nation.

To honor the cultural exchange between Amherst and Donisha, Consul General Akira Muto graciously offered to hold a dinner at his residence in Boston on Wednesday, Oct. 30. The dinner was a huge success as Amherst President Biddy Martin and the program presented Muto with a framed baseball jersey (pictured).