WTF Fun Fact 13303 – MLB Opening Day in Japan

In 2000, the Chicago Cubs and the New York Mets played the first-ever MLB Opening Day game outside of North America. The game was held in Japan at the Tokyo Dome between the Chicago Cubs and the New York Mets. This was a watershed moment for baseball fans all over the world. Although not all fans were pleased because they had to get up pretty darn early to watch their teams play.

Mets vs. Cubs

The Chicago Cubs actually had a special connection to Japan at the time. That’s because their former first baseman, Ernie Banks, served as a goodwill ambassador in Japan in the 1980s for Major League Baseball. That made him a highly respected figure by Japanese baseball fans.

The games were broadcast live in Japan, and in the United States. The broadcasts featured a mix of American and Japanese announcers.

The two-game “Opening Series” saw the Cubs and Mets play. The Cubs won the first game 5-3 on March 29, 2000. The following day, the Mets beat them 10-1.

The success of an international MLB Opening Day

The games were a huge success, drawing crowds of over 55,000 fans to the Tokyo Dome each day. Many Japanese fans were experiencing live MLB games for the first time.

Since the 2000 Opening Series, MLB has continued to expand its international presence. They’ve scheduled regular-season games in Mexico, Australia, and Puerto Rico. The league has also focused on building relationships with baseball organizations in South Korea and Taiwan.

The Opening Series was not the first time that MLB teams had played games in Japan. In fact, in 1956, a group of MLB All-Stars, including future Hall of Famers like Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra, played a series of exhibition games against Japanese teams.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “Box score of the day: Piazza, Sosa slug in Japan” —

WTF Fun Fact 12657 – Daniel Gossett’s Hair Story

On August 1, 2018, pitcher Daniel Gossett of the Oakland A’s shaved his head following Tommy John surgery. The recovery after this kind of surgery is very lengthy, and Gossett knew his arm would be immobile for a while.

“I was in an arm brace for however many weeks,” Gossett told MassLive. “I was like, ‘Man, I can’t do anything with this hair.’ So I cut it all off.”

However, as baseball players (especially pitchers) are known for their rituals and superstitions, Gossett has decided not to cut it again. At least not for a while.

He was released by the A’s in 2020, but seeing his promise, another team snatched him up. In 2021, he was signed by the Boston Red Sox and played in their minor league system. Pitchers have to work their way back up to the major league teams.

It was at that time that Gossett made the decision not to cut his hair until he was back on a major league team – no matter how long it took.

And it’s taking a while!

The Red Sox released him as well (at the end of 2021). But he didn’t spend long as a free agent. In 2022, the Minnesota Twins signed him to their minor league team.

Now, we’ll have to wait and see how long it takes for him to work his way up, but his hair is still growing – many inches down his back, in fact.

Luckily, it’s healthy, beautiful blond hair and he’s promised to donate it when the time comes.

 – WTF Fun Facts

Source: “Meet Daniel Gossett: Boston Red Sox depth starter lives in RV, won’t cut long hair until he returns to big leagues or he can donate it” — MassLive

WTF Fun Fact – Unsuspecting Feminist Anthem

WTF Fun Fact - Unsuspecting Feminist Anthem

The mostly unknown second and third verses of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” reveal the song was originally written as a feminist anthem about a woman wanting to go see a baseball game rather than go on a date to a show. – WTF Fun Facts