We interrupt my normal trying-to-write-entries by the fact that I'm watching the Chunichi-Hanshin game on BS1. Matt Murton got his 200th hit of the season, a home run to left field off Kazuki Yoshimi... and the game didn't stop at all (though BS1 put a 200安打達成 line on the screen when replaying the HR). No flowers, no announcement, no nothing beyond the normal high-fives after a player's home run.
Well, Murton's next at-bat he cranks one off Masafumi Hirai that bounces on top of the centerfield wall, and is first waved around as a homer, then Ochiai comes out to argue and the umpires take it back and make it a ground rule double.
It's nuts, really. I've seen the NPB stop games and give flowers to guys for less impressive milestones. I guess maybe it's because Hanshin is the away team, but... I'm wondering, if Modasho Boy makes it to 200 too, what they'll do to commemorate the moment.
Heck, I almost think there was more of a celebration for it being Naomichi Donoue's 22nd birthday today.
Murton, for his part, seems to be taking this all very much in stride; they keep showing him on TV and he's just... out there doing his job like it's any other game. Very stoic, very Japanese. No wonder he's doing so well this year :)
(Anyway, the real message here is, congratulations to Murton. I don't follow the Tigers much, but it's a fantastic accomplishment regardless of what country a ballplayer was born in.)
Murton WAS the game hero in the end. They only showed the first part of his hero interview on the BS1 broadcast, though.
First he came out and tried to say, in Japanese, "神様は私の力です。" (God is my power.)
The interviewer asked, basically, "You got your 200th hit today, how are you feeling?"
"I'm so thankful. I'm humbled by the whole thing. I have such respect for this league. I first want to first say thank you to God and to my family, to the organization, the coaching staff and my teammates that made this possible."
"--And how can I forget the fans? Can you get that in there? Make sure..."
Then the next question was, "What's your secret to staying healthy and hitting well?"
"There's really no secret. You work hard, you have a god-given ability, and then you're given an opportunity. An opportunity is all I could ever ask for and I've been given that, this organization's been good to me and my family and made it a lot more comfortable for us and a lot easier, so I thank them, and we've still got a ways to go here yet, though."
And then it cut out, so I have no idea what else he said, or whether they presented him with anything cool afterwards. I was only watching this game in the first place because today's a national holiday so I had the day off, but it's raining, so all the college/etc baseball games outdoors got cancelled.