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April 26, 2009 at 12:06 am ET
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Kevin Mench HEADed for Japan: Awful April

menchlogoIn December 2008, former Rangers, Brewers and Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Mench avoided a likely platoon, bench or minor league role in Major League Baseball when he signed a lucrative 1-year/$2 million contact to join the Hanshin Tigers of Japanese baseball.

Additionally, Mench is unable to grow hair anywhere on his body; he has one of the largest heads in the world, hails fromテつDelaware and willingly has barb wire and a Philadelphia Eagle’s logo tattooed on his bicep. Follow me in keeping tabs on one of baseball’s most underwhelming, odd and polarizing figures as he HEADs to the playing field of Asia.

In direct opposition of 1992 Tom Selleck vehicle “Mr. Baseball,” Mench’s arrival to the orient was met with little to no fanfare. He was shouldered with the unenviable task of replacing Lew Ford who played as poorly in Japanテつasテつhe played in America. One can assume most of any such press conference likely focused on his Sloth-like appearance, tiny feet, lack of body hair and poor choice in tattoo.

Add an awkward customary bow for the cameras here, a destroyed podium from bowing head there, quick physical where baffled doctor assumes he’s close enough to human to be allowed to play – and we’ve reached the beginning of the Central League season.

Mench wasted little time starting off in Japan where he left off in Toronto. Since I’m low on big head-related shtick and have a suddenテつurge to watch hentai, I’ll just sum his first few weeks in the country as… bad. Really bad. Here are some of the lowlights.

– Goes 0 for 11 in first 3 games of the season.
– Manages few hits in subsequent week’s games. He hits 7th in the batting order, when he’s even in the starting lineup.
April 18: The Tigers previously struggling offense finally strings together a good night at the dish. They hang 9 runs on the BayStars. An enthusiasticテつcommenter writes of the game…

“…even Mench looked great at the plate.”

– April 21: Mench or, as Google translates it, “Mince” has an 0-fer. He grounds into a double play in a rare Tigers scoring opportunity. The Tigers lose by one. Organizational shame ensues.
April 22: Mench has reportedly been “deregistered” (put on injured list) and has failed to live up to his contract thus far. In the words of Tiger Tailsテつblogger Christopher Amano-Langtree…

“This is due to fatigue and kidney problems and there is no news on whether he will be back soon. If he does recover he will probably have a spell in the farm team first but it is looking very likely that he will not be asked back next year unless he can magic out a massive pennant winning performance from his hat.”

Yikes.

But even though Mench has incurred a very Mench-like first month while disappointing legions of some of Japan’s most die-hard baseball fans, I’d love to be him right now… with the obvious exclusion ofテつhis looks, cranium size, body art preference and alopecia.テつSo what if he’s hitting .136 and has kidney problems? He’sテつpulling in $2M to play a game in another country; he evenテつhas his own goddamn song (poorly translatedテつtitle:テつ“Go Mince Go! Go Mince Go!”).

Plus, the Eagles have drafted well so far… so, in all, it’s still good to be Kevin Mince Mench. I don’t know if you could honestly say that before.

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