Czech Baseball Day

日本語 |English

On June 12th, we had the opportunity to attend the Czech Baseball Day supported by Panasonic HVAC Company, held at ZOZO Marine Stadium. Czech Baseball Day was held as part of the Marines-Czech Baseball Bridge Program. This program was launched by the Chiba Lotte Marines to develop the baseball world in both Japan and the Czech Republic, due to their connection with the Czech baseball team at the still-fresh 2023 World Baseball Classic. Various exchange events have already been held, including the invitation of Czech national team players last year.

Baseball Day Event

In addition to watching games, Czech Baseball Day also featured Czech-related events and exhibits, allowing visitors to reaffirm the various forms of ties between Japan and the Czech Republic. Booths were set up by Panasonic Corporation Air Quality and Conditioning, the main sponsor of this program, as well as the Czech Center Tokyo and the Czech Tourist Board, and the venue was designed to be conscious of the Czech Republic in many ways.

On the cultural front, the folk dance group Valaška performed Czech dance. In a special collaboration with the Marines cheerleaders “M☆Splash!!” that took place in the center of the stadium before the start of the game, the dance in which everyone joined hands and stepped in a circle attracted a lot of attention.

Another highlight was the joint appearance of the Czech Tourist Board’s mascot, Lev Maru and the team’s mascot throughout the event. Furthermore, the event was attended by Czech Ambassador to Japan, Martin Klučar, who seemed enthusiastic about future business and cultural exchanges with Japan.

Prokop’s Opening Pitch

The day of the match was a clear day, and the match against the Yokohama DeNA Baystars was a passionate one, with both cheering squads cheering loudly. The first pitch was thrown by Milan Prokop of the Kanagawa Future Dreams in the Route Inn BC League. Prokop is a promising young player in Czech baseball, who also batted as a pinch hitter in the WBC match against Japan. He is the second Czech baseball player to play professionally in Japanese baseball, and is living his life challenging himself every day.

Ambassador Martin Klučar (pictured, center) stood on the mound with Milan Prokop (pictured, to the ambassador’s right) at the opening pitch, and it was impressive to see them bow deeply to the spectators in the stadium on all four sides. This scene also shows the mutual respect shown by the Czech people at the WBC. David Mergans (pictured, to the ambassador’s left), who played with Prokop in the WBC game against Japan, also came to Japan and participated in the event. Mergans is a designer by trade and is in charge of designing the logo for this event.

The event was also attended by Prokop’s family, who were enjoying a trip to Japan. When we spoke to Prokop’s father, who is a baseball coach, we learned that he looks forward to seeing his son overcome various obstacles and continue to be successful in the tough world of the professional baseball league.

Beyond just IT

“Until now, our company has deepened ties with the people of the Czech Republic through IT, but from now on we would like to become more widely involved in areas such as culture and sports from the perspective of contributing to society.” Nakajima, our company director and a Chiba Lotte fan, who was interviewed on site, also spoke about his expectations for future developments.

We began domestic distribution of Flowmon, a Czech-made network monitoring and security product, in 2012, and have been able to grow the business into one that is supported by many partners and customers. Through Flowmon, we have been able to have extensive involvement in the Czech IT industry, and now we have expanded the range of products and services we handle, and are well-equipped to provide advice on the diverse issues our customers face.

Our company wants to use the relationship we have built with the Czech Republic and the connections we have with our many friends there not only as a business, but also as a way to contribute to society. Within that framework, we hope that the keyword “baseball,” which was born from the WBC, will be an effective element, although it also has a personal aspect as baseball fans.

Contributing to further goodwill

The Czech Republic leaves a strong impression on Japanese people in terms of art and culture, but awareness of the IT industry that we are promoting is still low. However, we feel it is a positive thing that the WBC has sparked interest in the Czech Republic in the new field of baseball. We believe that if this trend spreads to people-to-people connections, it will become a new stage in the friendship between our two countries. This event allowed us to reaffirm our desire to contribute, however small, to these new developments and to support them one by one.