On the one hand I like it when baseball stories break into the mainstream. You want more people talking about and thinking about baseball, right? It’s a good thing.
But then when it actually happens you end up with stuff like this:
… there are a lot more important things to think about than the trials and tribulations of professional sports figures. But the case of A-Rod opens a window to give us a view of where we are—and where we need to be going—as a culture.
See, no matter how much I love his game, how anyone can look at A-Rod and say anything meaningful about where we are as a culture is beyond me. He was an athletic freak from the youngest of ages, held separate and apart — and usually above — normal people. From the time he hit the bigs he has been elevated even higher. And he has done so on a pile of money most of us could never fathom.
I don’t know what makes that guy tick or whether he’s a narcissist or any other number of things he’s been called. But boy howdy I’m not sure how he, of all people, can tell us where “we” are as a culture, let alone where we need to be going.
Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.
Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”
Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.
The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.