words // Brennan Hiro Williams

The 2012 MLB season officially kicks off tomorrow when the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners start a two game-series in Japan at the famous Tokyo Dome.

The tour of Japan started for the two teams earlier this week, including exhibition games against Japan’s two most beloved teams, the Hanshin Tigers and Yomiuri Giants, and an important goodwill visit to the city of Ishinomaki, which was devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami (the MLB is donating $500,000 towards the city’s reconstruction efforts).

The series features several interesting storylines, including the MLB debut of Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes and the return of Mariners superstar Ichiro Suzuki to Japan.

The Mariners will send ace Felix Hernandez to the hill against resurgent A’s pitcher Brandon McCarthy in game 1. Your baseball fandom will be tested, however, as tomorrow’s game starts at 6:00am ET.

Photos via Y! Sports.


A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki (Nike Shox Gamer) launches a solo home run against the Hanshin Tigers.


Highly touted prospect Dustin Ackley (Nike Air Huarache LWP90) goes deep against the Yomiuri Giants.


The A’s have a super prospect of their own at second base – Jemile Weeks fields grounders with his new Wilson A2000 series glove.


Newly acquired A’s outfielder Josh Reddick (New Balance 40/40) slides home past Hanshin catcher Akihito Fujii.


Former Tohoku Golden Eagle and 2008 Sawamura Award winner Hisashi Iwakuma delivers a pitch wearing Nike Baseball gear.


A’s speedster Coco Crisp takes a hack in the new adidas adiZero 5-Tool.


The man, the myth and the legend – Ichiro returns to Japan.