The New York Times are reporting that the SoftBank Hawks had interest in obtaining the services of aging New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez. Although the Yankees would have liked to free themselves of A-Rod, the Times reported that A-Rod’s upcoming hip surgery and his unwillingness to play in Japan made such a deal impossible.
As good as A-Rod (was) is, his coming to Japan would have ended in disaster, setting US-Japan relations back to the late 1980s.
While Hiroshima Carp pitcher Bryan Bullingtonhas had a fine professional career in Japan, he probably didn’t imagine he’d end up in Japan after being selected as the first overall pick in the 2002 MLB draft. While he has had more success than fellow first overall picks Matt Bush and Matt Anderson, I believe he’s the only player to selected first overall in the MLB draft to play in Japan. Lotte Marines pitcher Seth Greisinger was selected sixth overall while former Seibu Lions outfielder Dee Brown was selected fourteenth overall in the 1996 draft. Both players were selected ahead of last year’s Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, who was selected eighteenth overall.
Below are some other first round draft picks that have played (or continue to play) in Japan
It seems that players selected in the first round of the MLB draft often do well in Japan, though it’s no guarantee of success.
Former Boston Red Sox and Yomiuri Giants outfielder Gabe Kapler was selected 1488th in the 57th round of the 1995 draft. Although he had a successful major-league career, his time in Japan wasn’t so successful. I think Kapler is the lowest draft pick to play in Japan.
When my kids were babies, I changed their diapers, though my wife would probably say not enough. One thing that I’ve never done is change a dirty diaper at a ballgame, and I was under the impression that ballparks were no places for babies, but now that I think about it, I’ve seen loads of videos of guys making barehanded catches holding babies. It’s pretty amazing stuff.
Amazing stuff 1 Impressive stuff 2
While I was watching a ballgame at QVC Park, I spotted a special room for parents to change their kids’ diapers and for mothers (and maybe fathers) to feed their kids.
Japanese guys changing diapers at a ballpark! I think that’s great, and it really changes my perception of Japanese men. As for me, I’m more like this guy in the video below.
There have and continue to be some well-known red-headed ball players in Japan. The first that comes to mind is former Kintetsu Buffaloes slugger and current Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. While Manuel was known and feared for this power, Hanshin TIgers outfielder Matt Murton, who also sports a nice head of red hair, is known for this superb hitting, and holds the record for most hits in a season. Murton was joined by fellow redhead and former New York Mets pitcher Blaine Boyer, who recently signed with the Tigers.
As an aside, I have a friend who lives in the Kansai area (where the Hanshin Tigers reign supreme) who can’t go to a pub without hearing someone comment “You look like Matt Murton.” Minus my friend’s red hair, I think he looks nothing like Murton.
In his second start, Nippon-Ham Fighters rookie pitcher Shohei Otani earned his first career victory. It’s not too often an 18-year-old player, who’s not even a year removed from high school, pitches well enough in a top professional league to earn a win. Despite his getting a win in the stat column, his performance was not great, mostly mediocre.
Oh, he also hit slugger Takeshi Yamasaki with a pitch.
Although his pitching so far has been descent with some flashes of brilliance, he’s a year or two from being a polished pitcher. The fans (myself included) want to see him start, both as a hitter and pitcher, regularly. Who else on the Fighters roster can play left field regular? And I would even argue he’s good enough to be the Fighters sixth starter in the rotation. As a fan, I wants to see Otani do well and succeed at his attempt to be an ace/clean-up batter, something many are openly starting to doubt.