Buy me some peanuts and cracked-bat-cups…♪

Hot off Japan’s victory in the World Baseball Classic last month, the Nippon Professional Baseball season kicked off on 20 March. Perennial favorites the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks are again off to a good start, with six wins and two losses to lead the Pacific League as of this writing, but what they’re doing off the field is just as impressive.

For the three consecutive opening home games at the Fukuoka PayPay Dome, fans were able to buy some interesting –and socially responsible –memorabilia. The Forest Tumbler for Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks was developed with Asahi Breweries and sold for 2,200 yen (US$16.50) filled with beer.

But much more than just a classy-looking wooden cup, these vessels are crafted from bats that were used and broken by SoftBank Hawks. And while drinking from a genuine bat that’s been upcycled is cool in its own right, it also helps to reduce plastic waste.

For three days, 1,000 cups were sold and the response appeared to be good. Buyers told media, “It’s more delicious than drinking from a plastic cup,” and “It’s a good initiative and I hope they keep doing it.”

Reaction online was mixed, however, with many readers focusing on the price.

“I want them to sell those huge paper cups like in America.”
“Is there a way of knowing who broke the bat? I feel like they’ll cheat and just use regular wood soon.”
“I think a lot of baseball fans would want that. It’s not too expensive either.”
“Don’t they spray oil and stuff all over those things?”
“Wooden cups have a strange smell and I don’t think it goes well with beer.”
“I could get a whole meal for 2,200 yen.”
“I want one. I like wooden bowls, so why not wooden cups?”
“People who think that’s expensive must only watch baseball on TV at home.”

It’s certainly nothing new to pay outrageous prices for food and souvenirs at professional sports games. And with that in mind, 2,200 yen for a beer and limited-edition souvenir that was on the field doesn’t sound half bad. In addition, fans who re-use their Forest Tumblers at PayPay Dome will get a 100-yen discount on the price of beer, which means after enough drinks the cup pretty much pays for itself.

It is a great idea, and makes me wonder what the SoftBank Hawks are doing with all those discontinued Pepper robots that were dancing in the stands during the pandemic. While I do agree that drinking out of a wooden cup tastes way better than plastic, I could probably get behind drinking out of Pepper’s skull or forearm too…

Source: Fukuoka Prefecture, Asahi Breweries, NHK News Web,
Top image:  Fukuoka Prefecture
Insert images: Asahi Breweries
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