After excelling in Japan for 10 years, Hideki Matsui signed a three-year deal for $21 million with the Yankees. He was met with much fanfare and did not disappoint. This was especially punctuated by my friend saying sheâ€™d â€śhit that for sureâ€ť after he slapped a homerun in a game we were watching. She usually likes sketchy guys so this was a big accomplishment. Matsui won over a chick thatâ€™s into unemployed weirdos who think the government is tapping their phone. Well done, Hideki! Thatâ€™ll be on your Hall of Fame plaque for sure.
But alas, his harshest (and probably only) critic was himself. After fracturing his left wrist in 2006 while making a sliding catch against the Red Sox, Matsui released a statement apologizing to his teammates and then-manager Joe Torre for getting hurt. The next time you think your work ethic is top-notch, think again. Iâ€™d like to see Grady Sizemore, Joe Mauer or Rich Harden apologize to their teammates and manager the next time they visit club DL. Actually, Joe Mauer can do whatever he wants. Even if that means more Head & Shoulders commercials with Troy Pamalomadingdong. Shut up.
Before heading stateside, Matsui slugged 332 homeruns inJapan. He slammed 175 more over here, 140 came as a Yankee. Youâ€™ve heard of the Yankees, right? Theyâ€™re like a baseball team that plays in New York. The have a bunch of World Series championships or whatever. Theyâ€™re kind of a big deal.
Matsui also played with the Angels in 2010, the Athletics in 2011 and the Devil Rays in 2012. Youâ€™ve heard of the Rays, right? Theyâ€™re a hockey team or something. I donâ€™t know. I donâ€™t follow the NBA.
A career .282 hitter with 760 RBIs, our boy owns the highest homerun, RBI and walk totals for any Japanese player in MLB history. Relax Ichiro, youâ€™ll get there. Matsui played 1,250 consecutive games to finish his Japanese career and did not miss one single game in his first three seasons with the Yankees playing in 518 straight contests before having to sit out. Somewhere Lou Gehrigâ€™s looking down being all like, â€śHell yeah!â€ť Heâ€™s also probably telling Babe Ruth to watch his flatulence and Ty Cobb to watch his language. Baseball Heaven â€“ different from regular Heaven. Everybody gets in.
In a press conference yesterday in his adopted city of New York, Matsui said, â€śThese past two years, I wasn’t able to yield very good results, and from around five years ago, both of my knees hadn’t been doing too well.â€ť Seriously Godzilla, you are way too hard on yourself. At 38 you could easily re-sign with the Yankees and have a better year than A-Rod. Amirite? High five.
The 2009 World Series MVP leaves behind quite the legacy for which heâ€™ll probably apologize for profusely. Someone give this guy a hug. Derek Jeter? Brian Cashman? Anyone?
Take care, Hideki. You will be missed.