Playing ball — Japan style
Gameday here in Tokyo. It’s the Red Sox and the Hanshin Tigers. The Red Sox put what amounted to an Opening Day lineup and it paid off in the top of the first when David Ortiz launched one into the seats in left. Yes, Big Papi’s swing translates at Tokyo Dome.
One of the most interesting things to watch in Japanese baseball is the pregame BP. They have two cages set up side by side. And the batting practice pitchers don’t lob them in there in these parts. They throw serious heat from about 45 feet away. I would imagine that would be very beneficial to helping the hitters get their timing by game time. I’m told that the BP pitchers in Japan make about $100,000 a year. Not a bad way to make a living.
I roamed the concession stands during pre-game and found some pretty good sushi. I had no idea what I was eating but it tasted good. Some of my fellow writers — Amalie Benjamin and Jeff Passan — weren’t as impressed with it. Oh well. Rob Bradford of Boston Herald fame found the chicken sticks which are awesome. I remember having those when I was here in 2006. I might have to go find some. Late news udate: I did find some. Just as good as I remember. And only 300 yen per piece.
And just like Ortiz’s swing translates to the Tokyo Dome, so does Manny being Manny, who entertained the small gathering of Boston scribes this morning with some insightful stuff. He wants to hit 600 homers in his career. Here is the transcript of what he said:
Being in Japan: “I don’t have no problem
with the time, I’m sleeping good, I’m ready to go.”
Sushi, “Love it.”
Has he thought about the rest of his career?
“I know what lays ahead. I’m going to get two more years
here, and then I’m going to get four years, so it’s going to be six years. I’m
going to finish my career here.”
“I’m ready to play. I’ve prepared myself good to play the
game. I’m going to go have fun, play the game and that’s it.”
“I’m going to get to 600 [homers]. Why not? The sky’s the
limit. There’s no limit.“
“I’m going to play six more years and there’s no doubt I can
“Like I say, sky is the limit.”
“I want to be like Julio Franco, play until I’m 50.”
“I’m ready to go.”
“I’m happy. Like I tell them, I’m going to get two more
years, than sign a contract for four years and that will be six years. I’m
going to finish here. I feel like a baby now.”
Repeating, “Like I told you, sky’s the limit. There’s
nothing impossible in life. If everybody in this room gets the same thoughts
and we’re thinking right, there’s no way … we have the same group of guys that
won last year so there’s no doubt that we can do it again. Nothing is
Playing in Japan:“It’s great. A bunch of
people, they don’t get to see us all the time, they’re going to get to see us
here in person. They’re going to love it. They’re going to enjoy it.”
“I’m ready to go.”
That’s all from Manny. Of course, the big newsmaker in Tokyo is Dice-K. His every step is chronicled around here. Which brings up the question: Who is the next Dice-K? Bradford has uncovered that fact in the Boston Herald.
That’s all for now. More later. Until then, Sayanora,