This was it. The one we've been waiting for. The introductory press conference we all secretly hoped would happen this offseason, even if we didn't have the guts to say it out loud. Masahiro Tanaka was introduced to the NY media at Yankee Stadium today and the spectacle did not disappoint. Tanaka kicked things off by dropping 195 thou to charter a 787 for himself, his wife, a few buddies, and his pet poodle, which is the best possible thing he could have done to make me a bigger fan of his. If you missed any of today's festivities, here are the highlights:
- No seriously, that is such a boss move dumping that cash to fly to New York in style. That tells me that the guy doesn't take himself too seriously, which I like, and that he may have a little bit of that "don't give a fuck" attitude, which I also like and should serve him well making the transition to MLB.
- Cash spoke first and described the signing as "Yankee big" and "Steinbrenner big", saying that bringing in Tanaka "would make The Boss proud". I'm not big on George reminiscing, but I have to agree with Cash on that one.
- Joe stressed the importance of pitching and thanked Hal and Hank for "opening the checkbook" to sign Tanaka.
- When it was Tanaka's turn, he made his first statement in English. He said, "Hello, my name is Masahiro Tanaka. I am very happy to be a Yankee." I don't think he speaks much English if any, so good on him for making that effort. He should do fine with the NY media.
- Tanaka confirmed that he spoke to Hideki Matsui about playing in New York, said he liked pizza, and said his first meal in the US was going to be sushi from a grocery store. All good things to know.
- When asked if there was anybody in particular he was looking forward to facing, Tanaka answered, “Basically I have not faced anybody here, so just basically looking forward to facing anybody.” Like the attitude. Doesn't care about getting anybody out, wants to get everybody out.
- Lastly, Hal said he thought the signing of Tanaka made the Yankees a "championship-caliber team" again. I applaud the efforts they made this offseason, and I do think this year's team will be better than last year's with the chance to be much better, but I don't think you can call this a championship-caliber team right now. Not yet.
So that's it. The $155 million man is stateside for good and the next stop for him will be Spring Training. The next big media frenzy should come in a few weeks when he makes his ST debut.