Lefty Hawks pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada gave Matsuzaka a phone call to congratulate him after his first start. Personally, I'm mostly amused that he's complaining about having to stay up until 3am to see the Red Sox games, while I'm complaining about having to stay up until 2am to see the Hawks games:
Tsuyoshi Wada's blog, April 6th
DICE-K NICE PITCHING!
Today Daisuke made his debut.
7 innings pitched, ten strikeouts.
But the game started at an impossible 3am...
Usually I think I can get up at 9am to see the game,
but this time it was already done when I awoke...
"Whaaat!? Game's already over? Who was the winning pitcher?"
Hey, y'know, I was REALLY HAPPY FOR HIM :)
I got a phone call from Daisuke when I won my first game of the season,
So I wanted to call Daisuke for his first win,
But I wasn't sure of the time difference...
I didn't call him right then after all,
But I made a point to specially call him later on.
He spoke in a REALLY happy-sounding voice.
Seems like it was really cold there...
So getting those results is pretty awesome.
In the majors he'll have to deal with lots of weather.
I want to try to watch his next start live.
Of course, it'll be tough if it's at 3am again :)
Anyway, from tomorrow we play two games against Nippon Ham.
We're not going to lose to anyone in Japan!
Okay, that was the mostly-straight, now this is the freaking funny. The other day the Eagles and Fighters played a game and the Eagles won it 4-3 in the bottom of the 12th, with goofball closer Kazuo Fukumori pitching the last inning and a half for Rakuten. The game was won on a double up the third base line by outfielder Koichi Isobe. Isobe was the game hero and gave the after-game interview at the stadium, but Fukumori came in to pitch in the top of the 11th with one out and runners on first and second and struck out Shinya Tsuruoka and got Yukio Tanaka to ground out, so in his own mind, for getting out of that pinch, he was the actual game hero... or at least, in his own blog...
Kazuo Fukumori's Blog, April 5th
YAY! WALKOFF VICTORY!!
Thanks to my teammates and to all the fans who were cheering for us. You guys rock.
You'd think that if the hero interview came from the pitching staff, it'd be me, right? Sadly, it didn't. I'm not really complaining about it, I didn't REALLY expect to give one...
Relief and middle pitchers simply don't get to stand up as the game hero.
I only have one or two chances per year at all at it... it sort of sucks.
So since I didn't get to do it in real life, here on the blog I will do my HERO INTERVIEW!!!
Q: Today's hero interview is with Kazuo Fukumori! Congrats!
Q: The last time you got a win was June 26, 2005, 1 year and 9 months ago. What are your thoughts about that?
A: Wooooooow... it has been a LONG time! Last year my record was 0 wins and 3 losses. So when I do get a win, I'm really really happy about it.
Q: Today you stepped up to the mound in the 11th inning with 1 out and runners on first and second base. What were you feeling at that moment?
A: Because it was extra innings, I didn't want to give up ANY runs! That was the strongest thought as I took the mound. We had the worst time playing against Nippon Ham last year, so I was thinking that I was going to throw them my absolute best stuff.
Q: Yukio Tanaka, your elder alumni from Miyakonojo High School, only has a few more hits to go before reaching 2000, and you had to pitch against him.
A: Personally, because he's my sempai, of course I want him to reach his goal and get his hits, but today because he was facing me on an opposing team, I had to do my best to strike him down.
Q: Today you gave up no hits and struck out one. A perfect relief outing, right?
A: Nah, nah, I did well enough to be successful, but I think it was all due to being backed by great fielding.
Q: In the bottom of the 12th inning, what were you feeling watching the offense?
A: First of all, I was not thinking "we'll lose", because with the top of our lineup at bat, I was just praying to god that we'd have a good chance of winning.
Really, Yamazaki was saying to people on the bench, "You wanna be today's hero?" trying to stir them up! By the time I brought my coffee back to the bench, we had a runner on first. And then Isobe hit the ball and it went up the third base line for a double. I was so excited I spilled my hot coffee while Isobe was running off into the sunset!
Q: In pitching these two games in Fullcast Stadium, were you aware of the fans cheering for you?
A: Yes! There were people holding up a "Fukumori" sign behind the back screen, when I see that it gives me tons of courage!
Q: You have more wins than saves this season so far, how do you think that'll progress this year?
A: Wins and saves happen mostly by chance, certainly I am just doing my best for the sake of the team's victory.
Q: Tomorrow Masahiro "Ma-Kun" Tanaka is making his first start at home at Fullcast.
A: The team's going to go for its third victory tomorrow with Ma-kun on the mound. I should be closing it out for him, right?
Q: Alright, for the last question, please say a message to all the cheering fans who came to the stadium tonight!
A: Yeah -- today, even through the middle of that rainstorm, thank you all for coming out and cheering for us! Our team is being reborn into a new Rakuten Eagles team thanks to all of you. So please come on back to the stadium tomorrow and cheer for us and be eyewitnesses to the change! Thank you all so much for today!!!
...next time I hope I get to do a REAL hero interview,
but in the meantime, this was a "FUKUMORI-STYLE HERO INTERVIEW!"
Fukumori just cracks me up (this is the same guy whose blog I linked last fall when he was awed by the size of Ryan Howard's nose, among other things). Funniest thing is that I really can actually imagine him sitting there giving his own imaginary hero interview and typing it into the blog.
And of course, I don't have to translate CJ Nitkowski's latest blog entries for the amusement value to come out:
These are all learning experiences, good ones that I just have to take in stride. I certainly hold no ill will toward any of the parties involved. I like the coaching staff here very much and as long as I pitch well and take that Japanese veteran pitcher's advice things will be just fine. I really just need to treat them like my wife. Shake my head yes when they talk and retain none of what was actually said.