"Despite the difficult conditions, we are able to open the season because everybody helped us to do it," said Rakuten Eagles infielder Kazuo Matsui, an infielder who has played in the U.S. major leagues with the New York Mets, Colorado Rockies and Houston Astros.
"I want to carry this feeling of appreciation for the whole year by playing baseball," Matsui said. "During training camp, I went to a shelter and I saw people there with energy in their faces. I went there expecting to cheer them up, but instead they cheered me up. That's why I want to play hard."