- People will be safe at 118th Boston Marathon, Mayor Marty Walsh says
- Boy Scout, 12, killed by rolling tree during troop outing at Washington park
- South Korean president: Ferry crew actions ‘murderous’
- President Obama poised to grant clemency to nonviolent drug offenders: report
- Teen OK after riding in wheel well of Hawaii jet
- Kraft recalls 96K pounds of Oscar Mayer hot dogs over cheese error
- Boy Scouts boots church as host after gay leadership dispute
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s new book raises 2016 presidential speculation
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Rep. Marsha Blackburn: Hillary Clinton won’t be first female president
LOVERRO: In a world basically devoid of mystery, Yankees provide some with Tanaka signing
There’s not much mystery in today’s world. We can watch outer space on our computers and ask a woman named Siri on our phones what is the meaning of life.
There are scouting reports on elementary school athletes. Football game films are there to break down on your tablet in your living room, just like the coaches.
You can argue that the biggest mystery today is that there is no mystery anymore.
And then the New York Yankees pay $155 million to a pitcher that most of America has never seen before, a hurler from a faraway land.
This is how legends begin – the tale of the 10-foot tall, 120 miles per hour pitcher from Japan who is unhittable.
Masahiro Tanaka is neither 10-feet tall, nor does he throw 120 miles per hour. But he did go 24-0 last year with a 1.27 ERA in Japan last year, and much of the baseball world here never saw one pitch.
So when he takes the mound at Yankee Stadium this season, he will be a wonderful mystery to American baseball fans, who will have already talked about his split-fingered fastball that one report claims may be “the best in the world.”
How will the great Tanaka fare when facing the great Miguel Cabrera? Or the darling of the jihadist sabermetricians, Mike Trout? How will the stats king do against the Japanese mystery?
We have seen glimpses of Tanaka in the World Baseball Classic, and if you really followed Japanese baseball, you could be very well versed in the career of Tanaka. But for most of the three million plus fans who will come to Yankee Stadium this season, and the millions more watching, he will be a great, well paid unknown.
Will he be Hideo Nomo, who lit the baseball world on fire with his tornado delivery for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1995, leading the National League in strikeouts and going on to pitch two no-hitters in his 12-year major league career?
Or will he be Daisuke Matsuzaka – “Dice-K” – the hurler with the “gyroball” pitch who the Boston Red Sox paid a record $51 million to his Japanese club, the Seibu Lions, just for the rights to negotiate with Dice-K, followed by a six-year $52 million contract and, overall, a major league career defined by disappointment and injury?
The Yankees – the most high-profile major league baseball franchise – have had a defining presence in Japan ever since the great Babe Ruth played there in a 1934 barnstorming tour, and several reports have indicated that Tanaka wanted to be a Yankee.
The contigent of Japanese reporters who cover the Yankees is larger than most press corps that cover many of the teams in American baseball.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- LOVERRO: Bryce Harper-Mike Trout comparisons may be a career-long thing
- LOVERRO: On the Wizards' trip to Brazil, a miracle happened
- LOVERRO: Capitals' major challenge is finding someone who can win with Alex Ovechkin
- LOVERRO: Bo Belinsky, Sonny Liston share a cemetery - one found peace, the other didn't
- LOVERRO: Injured hand didn't keep Scott Christopher from a life of baseball and art
Latest Blog Entries
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- USAID documents cite Hillary Clinton in chaos of Afghan aid
- CURL: Shelly O first lady Michelle Obama comes in last
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
- Twitter blocks accounts critical of Turkish government
- Inside China: Marine's comment on islands draws sharp Chinese response
- Building a D.C. memorial for an endless war bumps into regulations
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.