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Play ball! Mariners and Boeing a smash hit in Tokyo

Baseball is a passion for the people of Japan. They love their local teams, like the Hanshin Tigers, and they praise visits from American teams, like the Seattle Mariners. The two clubs squared off in the Tokyo Dome for an exhibition game.

"The fans are great and loud," said Casper Wells, Mariners player. "Seems like a lot of big energy."

That energy increased when Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki stepped on the field. Fans cheered for Japan's greatest baseball export to the United States.

Boeing partnered with Major League Baseball and the Seattle Mariners to be a major sponsor for what's called "Japan Opening Series 2012," a beginning to the MLB season. It includes exhibition games with Japanese teams and a two-game series between the Mariners and the Oakland As.

"It's really thrilling for us to be part of the excitement," said Mary Foerster, vice president of BCA communications. "Boeing and Japan have been partners for nearly 60 years."

In that time frame, Japanese carriers have ordered nearly 900 Boeing jetliners -- and the country is the biggest customer for the 787 Dreamliner.