Wednesday, August 5, 2015
THE BIG JAPANESE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
I’ll tackle this bad boy! I’ll say it. My concern with Masahiro Tanaka goes deeper than his partially torn elbow ligament...that will or won’t need surgery at some point in his career.
No, what troubles me is that I can’t think of one highly touted Japanese hurler that panned out to be the game changer he was rumored to be before making the trip across the Pacific.
I have a buddy who has bought Volkswagen Jetta after Volkswagen Jetta. Yet every time he gets one he will complain to me that, “As soon as the warranty is up it sounds like I have a tea set under the hood.” Basically he is saying that the car is a headache in the making after the 5th oil change…and yet he buys them as if he didn’t have any other choice! Maybe he should go with a BMW or Range Rover…maybe an Acura or Kia…or maybe…BUY AMERICAN!
Nomo, Dice K, Irabu, I’d say Igawa, but…well, you know that story. They come over, make big money, have one good year and then the Major League hitters time that leg hitch or odd delivery and tee off like John Daly after 4 or 5 Bloody Mary’s. And yet…MLB GM’s still feel the need to pay top dollar for players that just might not be that good.
Look, I really like Tanaka. He seems like a class act. He is humble and works hard. His spilty is NASTY…but puts tremendous strain on the elbow. What happen when it goes “POP”? Then he will rely on a hittable fastball and possibly have to learn some different breaking stuff…while collecting crazy money to be a number 4 or 5 starter.
I am not looking to bring doom and gloom to the otherwise happy days in the Yankee Universe. This is just something I have wanted to get out there for discussion. Masahiro is good…but he probably won’t be great…and hopefully won’t join the list of Japanese heroes that transform into Major League zeroes.
Food for thought….
** Yeeeah, Chuck! Tell ‘em what time it is Bhoy! **
--Mike O'Hara Senior "Features" Writer
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