And it’s about as even-keeled as you would imagine.
Hideki Matsui was only “vaguely aware” of what Ozzie Guillen said over the weekend, according to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, but after being informed of the context of his remarks, he said the following through his interpreter Roger Kahlon:
“I think the circumstances might be a little different for us vs. Latin
players. If Latin
players came straight to the big leagues after playing in professional
leagues in their own country like Japanese players do, then I think they
would be treated exactly the same as Latin players in those
“I think there’s a good chance the circumstances may be a little similar
for Cuban players who played professionally there then defected and
came over here.”
Can’t argue with any of that. Matsui also mentioned the disparity between Asian and Latino ballplayers, and how most of the time, Latino players have a built-in support system, while Asian players do not.
Matsui has only had one Japanese teammate (Kei Igawa, sometimes) during his time in the major leagues, and as we recently learned with Hideki Okajima, he has battled with loneliness and homesickness due to the cultural divide. In other words, nobody has it perfect.