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Panda Puppet via YouTube
Panda Puppet via YouTube

Creepy Kid from The Ring Throws Out First Pitch

Panda Puppet via YouTube
Panda Puppet via YouTube

While American baseball has been content to allow celebrities and presidents to throw out the ceremonial first pitch during Major League games, Japan has innovated by inviting the undead to do the same.

In a game between the Nippon-Ham Fighters and the Yakult Swallows this past weekend, Sadako—the creepy little girl who terrorized viewers of a haunted VHS tape in 1998’s The Ring (and its 2002 U.S. remake)—appeared on the stadium’s monitors before idling out to the pitcher’s mound. The batter? Kayako, the ghostly apparition from 2002’s Ju-On: The Grudge.

As the cheerleaders ran away in horror, Sadako wound up and delivered a pitch that Kayako was able to crack; her undead son, Toshio, ran to first base in her place before all of them were carted off by team mascots.

The stunt was intended to promote the July release of Kōji Shiraishi's Sadako vs. Kayako, a horror movie mash-up in the vein of Freddy vs. Jason. Their on-field encounter joins a Kayako Instagram account and Sadako scaring people at Osaka’s Universal Studios as part of a highly creative marketing effort. And yes, Sadako is pretty creepy even in broad daylight.

[h/t Variety]

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Pop Culture
The Simpsons's Classic Baseball Episode Gets the Mockumentary Treatment
Fox Sports, YouTube
Fox Sports, YouTube

Opinions vary widely about the continued existence of The Simpsons, which just began its 29th season. Some believe the show ran out of steam decades ago, while others see no reason why the satirical animated comedy can’t run forever.

Both sides will no doubt have something to say about the episode airing Sunday, October 22, which reframes the premise of the show’s classic “Homer at the Bat” installment from 1992 as a Ken Burns-style mockumentary titled Springfield of Dreams: The Legend of Homer Simpson.

As Mashable reports, “Homer at the Bat” saw Montgomery Burns launch his own baseball team and populate it with real major league players like Wade Boggs, Steve Sax, and Jose Canseco to dominate the competition. In the one-hour special, the players will discuss their (fictional) participation, along with interviews featuring Homer and other members of the animated cast.

It’s not clear how much of the special will break the fourth wall and go into the actual making of the episode, a backstory that involves guest star Ken Griffey Jr. getting increasingly frustrated recording his lines and Canseco’s wife objecting to a scene in which her husband's animated counterpart wakes up in bed with lecherous schoolteacher Edna Krabappel.

Morgan Spurlock (Super-Size Me) directed the special, which is slated to air on Fox at either 3 p.m. EST or 4:30 p.m. EST depending on NFL schedules in local markets. There will also be a new episode of The Simpsons—an annual Halloween-themed "Treehouse of Horror" installment—airing in its regular 8 p.m. time slot.

[h/t Mashable]

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Seattle Mariners Fans Are Going Crazy for These Crunchy Grasshopper Snacks
Great Big Story, Youtube
Great Big Story, Youtube

Seattle Mariners fans have more than warmed up to the newest, offbeat addition to the Safeco Field concessions menu: toasted grasshoppers covered in chili-lime salt.

The crunchy snack, which sells for $4 and comes packed in a small container, has only been available for less than a season but has already sold 300,000-plus orders to date. That's about 1000 pounds of grasshoppers. 

Frequenters of Seattle's popular Mexican restaurant Poquitos will know that this delicacy—which first started as a novelty item on its menu—has actually been available to the public for six years. But it wasn't until local chef Ethan Stowell was hired to give the Safeco Field menu a hip retooling that the salty bugs found new, fervent popularity at the ballpark. (Also on the Safeco menu: fried oysters drizzled in hot sauce.)

Great Big Story met up with Manny Arce, the executive chef of Poquitos and visionary behind this culinary home run, to discuss the popularity of these crunchy critters. You can watch the video interview below:

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