I could be highlighting a map video of volcanic ash clouds but instead we're going to talk about something really important -baseball! In Japan! I have one more post to honor the start of the baseball season. Bills Sports Maps did a very nice map showing the location of and attendance for Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball league teams.
The hats are sized proportionally to 2009 attendance figures. There's some nice detail when you zoom in. The topography is a bit extraneous but makes for a pretty map.
Some facts about Japanese Baseball (many are from Bill's Sports Maps.)
There are two leagues, the Central and Pacific. They do not appear to be arranged by location. The winner of each league plays each other in the Nippon (Japan) Series.
The Pacific League uses designated hitters while the Central League does not.
Teams are often named for corporations rather than, or in addition to cities or regions. So a team such as the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters are named for Nippon Ham. Not a group that fights their enemies with (or over) pieces of ham.
There is a much larger range of attendance among teams than in the U.S. Attendance figures for the lower drawing teams may be artificially inflated.
The Hiroshima Toyo Carp have seen a 34% increase in attendance after moving into their brand new Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium. They appear to be wearing recycled Cincinnati Reds hats.
The Hanshin Tigers had the highest attendance figures in 2009 despite their 4th place finish and history of disappointing seasons.
2 years ago