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Creepy first pitch features characters from ‘The Ring’ and ‘The Grudge’

In this country, having a “Ring”-versus-“Grudge” showdown on a baseball field means something like what happened on Opening Day, when the World Series champion Royals engaged in a rematch with the runner-up Mets. In Japan, however, things were recently taken in a much creepier direction.

Later this month, Japanese movie-goers will be treated to “Sadako vs. Kayako,” a film that pits the murderous ghosts of “The Ring” and “The Grudge” against each other (or do they join evil forces? Stay tuned!). To promote the upcoming release, the two scary characters appeared at the start of a baseball game between the Nippon-Ham Fighters and the Yakult Swallows, with Sadako throwing the first pitch to Kayako.

Pretty solid throw there by Sadako, and good contact by Kayako, although we’ll never know whether the third baseman would have made the play had he not been frightened off the field. Oh, and that’s Toshio, the ghoulish son (well, he’d be more ghoulish if he weren’t wearing an “I love Kayako” shirt), handling the pinch-running honors.

The stunt might not seem like the best way to get movie fans to think of these characters with dread, but it sure made for a memorably creepy first pitch. One also has to wonder how many small children were in the crowd thinking they were in for some fun times only to be presented with this nightmare fuel. Of course, the presence of the teams’ mascots probably helped sell the whole thing as harmless family fare.

The film follows in a hallowed (haunted?) tradition of pitting iconic movie villains against each other, with usually some element of camp involved; American audiences, for instance, have seen the likes of “Freddy vs. Jason” as well as “Alien vs. Predator.” In addition to the first pitch, and in keeping with the social-media-saturated times, Kayako and Toshio also have an Instagram account, in which they add a spooky element to such otherwise mundane mother-and-son moments as grabbing some breakfast before school and trying to get your kid to eat his vegetables.