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Baby and Baby

Congratulations to Urawa Reds forward Emerson on the birth of his son in Saitama -- a 53 cm, 4012g bundle (April 8 2005).

And Congratulations to Gamba Osaka forward Araujo on the birth of his son in Brazil, 3,280g on April 6, 2005.

Ya know it's spring when the babies start popping out...!

Urawa's Acrylic "Security" Fence Falls Flat
Last year, Urawa Reds management decided on acquiring two-meter-high acrylic (one of those plastic-like see-through) fences for the Away seats at Saitama Stadium, Urawa Reds' home stadium. The plan was to put the fencing on both sides of the Away seating block and one between the very front row of the Away seats and the pitch. This is pretty standard practice abroad, but has not been done yet in Japan....probably because there really hasn't been much need to, with crowds in Japan being relatively well-behaved regardless of whether they are away or home. Still, if one team were to begin implementing such a thing, it makes sense that Urawa is it. Apparently, the fencing would be taken down for Omiya and National Team games that take place in Saitama stadium.

With the acrylic fencing boxing the away supporters in, it means that the away cheering and chanting will be muted. Not a great feeling for the away team, and I'm still not sure exactly what the catalyst was to decide on doing this -- aside from the obvious home-game advantage reasons (maybe that's all the reason one needs!). But anyway, they were unable to have the thing ready for the beginning of this J season and the aim was to have it ready for the Gamba/Urawa match (tomorrow).

However, an announcement came out today saying that the plan will be put on hold again. The Director for Parks and Green Project Coordination (who have management control over Saitama Stadium) have sent a note to Urawa Reds. They say that putting a fence around only the away seats seems unfair, and they requested that Urawa hold off until they can do a better survey of how the prefecture/residents really feel about the whole thing.

I think it's awkward to put in fencing just in one area, especially when no other stadium does it. And besides, Urawa have a huge crowd turnout from their own supporters and really don't need that type of home-game advantage do they? They already have the crowd advantage pretty much whether they play at home or away. I have a feeling that they may have to wait until something "happens" (like crowd trouble)... Maybe they can get back the million yen they spent on the thing by renting it out to NT supporters when they go abroad to cheer against hostile opponent crowds... And those Gamba fans who had prepared their non-erasable pen markers to christen the fencing must be slightly disappointed...

Kawaguchi Back to Save Jubilo
Goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi
broke his finger upon returning to the J-League this pre-season. However, it was announced he has played in his first full practice game yesterday and is bringing some hope back to his new team Jubilo, which hasn't been doing all that well in these past couple monhts (in the J1, Nabisco, or ACL). Kawaguchi has made it on the roster for Jubilo's next away game against FCTokyo on the 10th -- if he ends up playing that game, it will be his first time playing in a J match in three and a half years (the last time was while he was playing with Yokohama F.Marinos).
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