Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Yeah, Yabu !!

Since Hideo Nomo arrived in
the United States with the
Los Angeles Dodgers
around a decade ago,
Japanese players have
started pouring into
the Major Leagues.
The A’S have the most
recent entry, it’s a Yabu.

By Amaury Pi-GonzálezThe most famous Japanese
names in the United States
are imported cars, I believe
Toyota is currently only
third in the world in
car production behind
#1 GM and #2 Ford.
But in baseball the
Japanese invasion
continues. The most
recent is right hander
Keiichi Yabu who was a
veteran of the Japanese

Yabu is 36 years old
and pitched for 11 seasons
with the Hanshin team.
Billy Beane presented
#13 uniform to the
Japanese pitcher in
front of around 60
reporters from the
Japanese media at
the official announcement
in Oakland.

I have worked in Seattle
during the past two seasons
so I am not new to the
coverage of the Japanese
media, specially of
Ichiro Susuki who is
probably the best
Japanese player in
the Major Leagues.
At least Ichiro holds
one very important
MLB record when
in 2004 he finished
season with 262 hits,
the new Major League
record. Not to mention
that the Mariners have
been owned by Japanese

For the Japanese Media
is more Nationalism
that the Sport of baseball
(which is #1 Sport
in Japan) with no
competition at all
amoung team sports.

I remember when the
San Francisco Giants
signed Tsuyoshi Shinjo
who came from
the New York Mets.
I remember Spring
Training in Scottsdale
with the Giants the
amount of Japanese
reporters covering
Shinjo. This was Shinjo
(who we all know it
was no Willie Mays)
but you would think
he was Mays by the
coverage he got.

I remember speaking
at the Scottsdale Press
Box with a Japanese
baseball writer. He told
me his assignment
was to write one
Shinjo story each
day during the
almost 2 months of
Spring Training.
I image by the
end of March everybody
in Japan knew what
kind of vegeterian
restaurant Shinjo
liked in Scottsdale
and which movies
he went to see
what kind of golfer
he was and his favorite
tooth paste.
Overkill ? You tell
me, it was only
Spring Training.
By-the-way, Shinjo
was a failure with
the Giants.

Keiichi Yabu in 11 seasons
with Hanshin in Japan
won 84 games and
lost 106 with a 3.54 ERA.
I know records sometimes
do not mean much and
baseball is a funny game.
Look at Don Larsen
was 81-91 in a 14 year
career in the Majors
but in 1956 pitched the
only perfect game in
a World Series.
Still by the amount of
Japanese media covering
the signing of Yabu
you would think the
Athletics landed
Randy Johnson !
Of course and
-for the sake or argument-
if the A’S had signed
Randy Johnson there
might be 5 or 6 Japanese
reporters present, just
the regular wires two
newspapers and NHK
the NBC of Japan.

Yabu is a good addition
to the ever younger
Athletics pitching
staff this season and
he brings a lot of
experience. But the
reaction of the Japanese
media is always amazing
when one of their players
is signed to play in
the Major Leagues.

This was a bargain
for a pitcher that has
(we have been told)
very good command
of four pitches: fastball,
curve,slider and a cutter
and is very effective
against lef-handed

For $700,000 dollars
to pitch in 2005 for a team
that is For Sale that was
a bargain for Billy Beane,
who also must ponder his
future if Mr. Wolff indeed
buys the A’S.

The New York Mets under
Dominican GM Omar Minaya
are going after great Latino
players: Pedro Martínez
and Carlos Beltrán are
signed with the Mets and
today they are pursuing
Carlos Delgado and
Sammy Sosa. New York
City and the Tri-State
area has millions of
Latinos and the
Mets are definetely looking
to increase their attendance
with Latino fans. The “other”
team in New York, the
Yankees, never really had
a great tradition of hiring
great Latino ballplayers,
although they have the best
reliever in baseball in
Mariano Rivera(Panamá)
and Bernie Williams,
Jorge Posada and Ruben
Sierra from Puerto Rico.

Are the A’S after the
Japanese community of
the Bay Area ? No, I do
not think so, they are
after making their pitching
strong like in the last
few seasons when they
were either #1 or #2
in pitching in the league.
But Public Relations
never hurts a team
and Japanese players
are a very attractive
commodity in the Major

Mr.Yabu, welcome to
the Bay Area !
Sorry, but the only
Japanese I know
is Sayonara,
see you in Spring


There are no comments yet...

Kick things off by filling out the form below.

You must log in to post a comment.