After five weeks of insider photos from MLB Spring Training baseball is finally here. The 2012 season kicked off in Japan early this morning when the Oakland Athletics took on the Seattle Mariners at the Tokyo Dome in front of 44,000 fans. The game went 11 innings with Dustin Ackley driving in the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th inning. Fan favorite Ichiro Suzuki went 4 for 5, while picking up the first hit of the MLB season as the Seattle Mariners beat the Oakland Athletics 3-1. The game itself was just one part of the trip as players took time to meet with Earthquake/Tsunami victims. Mariners players also stopped by the United States air force base and took a adrenaline filled helicopter ride over Japan. Here are insider photos from MLB’s opening day in Japan. Good luck with your fantasy drafts this week!
Departing Phoenix on a private jet to Japan.
Young Japanese baseball players play with Stomper, the Oakland Athletics mascot, during a baseball clinic by major leaguers of the Athletics and the Seattle Mariners at Ishinomaki Municipal Baseball Stadium in tsunami-hit Ishinomaki, northeatern Japan, Tuesday, March 27, 2012. The major leaguers, currently in Japan to open the MLB’s 2012 season in Japan on Wednesday and Thursday, made a friendly visit. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
Seattle Mariners’ Hisashi Iwakuma (2nd R) and Hector Noesi conduct a baseball clinic for children at Ishinomaki municipal stadium in Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecture.
US Major League Baseball (MLB) team Seattle Mariners players Alex Liddi (R) and Hisashi Iwakuma (2nd R) chat to Ishinomaki youths during a baseball clinic at the Ishinomaki Municipal Stadium on March 27, 2012.
Oakland Athletics pitcher Tyson Ross watches the ball during the Baseball Youth Clinic at Ishinomaki Municipal Baseball Stadium in Ishinomaki Northern Japan Tokyo,Tuesday, March 27, 2012 . (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
US US Major League Baseball (MBL) team Oakland Athletics players Tyson Ross (L) and Evan Scribner (2nd L) conduct a baseball skills clinic for Ishinomaki youths during a visit to the Ishinomaki Municipal Stadium, Miyagi prefecture on March 27, 2012. Players from MLB’s Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics are here to hold a baseball clinic and serve “tonjiru” stew or miso-pork stew to youths affected by the 2011 tsunami disaster in the city of Ishinomaki. AFP PHOTO / TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA (Photo credit should read TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images)
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Fans enter the Tokyo Dome ahead of the MLB Opening Series game between the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics at Tokyo Dome on March 28, 2012 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki (3rd L) and his teammates warm up during a team practice at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo on March 27, 2012. The Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics are here ahead of the 2012 Major League Baseball (MLB) season opening two-game series on March 28-29. AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)
US Major League Baseball team Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin (C) and his players, (from L) Jemile Weeks, Kurt Suzuki, Coco Crisp and Tommy Milone, join hands during the photo session of the team’s press conference in Tokyo on March 24, 2012. Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners are here to participate in the 2012 MLB Opening Series in Japan, March 28 and 29, 2012. AFP PHOTO / TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA (Photo credit should read TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images)
Oakland Athletics pitcher Brandon McCarthy, who is scheduled to pitch on the opening game against Seattle Mariners on March 28, speaks during a press conference after a practice session at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo on March 27, 2012.
TOKYO, JAPAN – MARCH 28: line up for national anthem during MLB match between Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics at Tokyo Dome on March 28, 2012 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN – MARCH 28: Brandon McCarthy #32 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Seattle Mariners during the MLB Opening Series game between the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics at Tokyo Dome on March 28, 2012 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Dustin Ackley watches the ball after hitting a home run in the fourth inning of the MLB 2012 Opening Series in Japan