Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Spring Training Custom of the Day: Tanaka Edition
For a nice block of ten years, all the big Japanese prospects were going to other teams and absolutely thriving there. Daisuke Matsuzaka landed in Boston first, and he brought the house down for a while over there. And then Kosuke Fukudome got to Chicago and was good for two seasons. After that Yu Darvish, Hisashi Iwakuma, Hyun-jin Ryu, Kyuji Fujikawa and Norichika Aoki all got to the States and became generally big deals for other teams. Darvish is still really good.
All the Yankees ever really got from Japan was Kei Igawa, who lasted a season of disappointing baseball. Having someone as lackluster as Kei Igawa the same time as Boston was making Daisuke into a star was pretty embarrassing. It was the equivalent of Jose Rijo flaming out during Doc Gooden's reign in New York. I don't really count Hiroki Kuroda, because he was in Los Angeles for a few years before he became a crowd favorite in New York.
And then, this year, we finally got someone good in Masahiro Tanaka. I am so glad that he's pitching well in Tampa, because I had a sinking feeling for a while. I thought he'd go the way of Kei Igawa. He still could, and I really, really, really do not want him to.
Then again, we're not gonna know for sure until after the season, or a few seasons down the line. But I hope we picked a good one. A really, really good one.
Coming Tomorrow- Hopefully somebody at my photo-sharing site will upload some more spring training photos so I can make more.