Many years ago, Hanshin Tigers fans, overstimulated by their team's Central League championship, tossed a Col. Sanders statue into the filthy Dotonbori River in Osaka. Yes, the Col. Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame. Apparently, the Dotonbori victory splash has long been a Hanshin fan tradition, and they thought since the statue resembled the ever-popular Randy Bass, he'd like to take part in it. Twenty-five years later, and the Colonel has risen from the polluted depths.
Not as exciting as locating the Titanic or the wreck of JFK's old PT-109, but still worth a moment's reflection. Hanshin fans are pretty extreme. Late last summer, while I was in Tokyo, I got to ride a train with a group of them. Tiger masks or painted faces, pinstriped jerseys, outfits predominantly in the team colors of yellow and black. One had a battered stuffed Yomiuri Giants elephant toy on a leash. He dragged it along across the concrete, let it lie defeated and humiliated on the nasty floor of the train car.