Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lost in Translation?

Spring training is now officially here!

Beyond Mauer’s knees and Blackburn once again getting ‘Blackburned’ (a.k.a. ‘Bobby Abreued’) in the face, the biggest news story out of spring training so far has been, not surprisingly, Tsuyoshi Nishioka’s transition from Japan to the U.S. and Major League Baseball.

Most U.S. coverage of Nishi and his arrival in Florida (which, by the way, was way back on February 6th) has centered around the huge number of Japanese media members following him everywhere and the fact he worked out mostly alone, sans Twins gear, up until today. Some U.S. media members called him a prima donna, a distraction. Then, when Nishi actually did take an informal batting practice with Thome, Cuddy, and Kubel, the Star Tribune’s Jim Souhan commented: “When Nishioka moved toward the batting cage on a back field at Twins camp on Sunday, a dozen reporters aimed cameras and phones at him, and ignored future Hall of Famer Jim Thome as he walked through their midst.”

I know this needs no reiteration—but Souhan is an idiot.

Of course, the Japanese media is focused on their native son, Tsuyoshi. That's the real story here (especially for them). Besides, how many of the Japanese reporters know English? I'd think some, I do not know. But to think Japanese baseball followers do not know who Jim Thome is?

News Flash: The Japanese are, and have already been, Major League Baseball fans too. This isn’t nearly as new to them as it is to us.

With the help of my new best friend—Google Translate—I have been reading the reports all those Japanese media members have been grinding out. (And, yes, it’s sort of weird being able to find more Twins reports in Japanese than in English). Let me tell you, the batting practice with Thome was definitely a headliner.

For example:

西岡 メジャー589発男からスイング絶賛 ("Praise for Nishioka from a man swing from measures 589!"): "Nishioka bat, which measures 589 from wow man." (Yeah--Google Translate is far from perfect--but I kinda get a sense for what a sentence with 589 [Thome's career homeruns] and 'wow man' means).

ツ軍トーミも西岡に「いつでも力貸す」 ("Thome also Nishioka's Team "force to lend at any time"): "Twins second baseman Nishioka Tsuyoshi (26), but was overwhelmed by slugger Thome 589 career home runs eighth largest in history. February 20 (21 Japan time), participated in joint training camp fielder. ... In particular, witnessed the appearance of a rapid succession over the fence Thome just lightly swinging, and Nishioka said, 'I'm a major, which made me feel like' his eyes widened." Picture of Nishi batting--with Thome perfectly placed in the background (right).


Tsuyoshi was happy and honored for the experience. “He [Thome] is as nice as Igutchi [his former White Sox teammate] said he was,” Nishioka said (or, at least, I imagine that’s what he said).

But that’s not all...

While Google translating the latest Japanese reports on Nishioka, I came across a Japanese Baseball Message Board—where I found Japanese fans Yahoo Translating American reports on Nishioka by La Velle E. Neal III! (Note: The doubled red-writing in the last link is the Japanese translating, but because I found the page with my Japanese to English translator on, it all appears in English).

And they apparently seemed a bit perturbed by the fact Nishioka’s interpreter could not explain the meaning of the new uniform day, and why Nishi was not wearing his new team gear before today. I guess, the first day wearing a new uniform is special in Japan and/or to Nishioka personally. Nishioka had decided early on his first day in the new uniform would be the first official workout on February 23rd. This wasn't a thing of superiority--this was a thing of great honor, respect, and commitment.

The Japanese media might be centered on their hometown boy--but the Twins are now their hometown-boy's team, and now their team. Do you really think all of those reporters are just covering Tsuyoshi? They've reported about Bert Blyleven's HOF entrance; the re-signings of Thome, Pavano, Young, etc.; Morneau's concussion; even about the trees in the outfield being chopped down.

We're all a team now--go Twins (移動ツインズ)!!!


Please view my blog post from December 9th, in which I introduce--multiple times--the song fans should have been learning instead of moaning about the J.J. Hardy trade. (Really--great guy, but let's keep in mind that he was injured a lot in 2010).

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

KARE 11 Airing Profile on Tsuyoshi Nishioka (Feb. 3 & Feb. 7)

(Oka Nishi major start to "the feeling of Rookie")

In case you haven’t heard, KARE 11 will be running a two-part profile on Tsuyoshi Nishioka on Thursday, February 3rd, and Monday, February 7th, both at 10pm CT. That's right--KARE 11 actually got around to sending reporters out to Japan to interview Nishioka and learn more about him.

If watching KARE 11 isn't your thing, you can get more Nishioka in your life by immediately driving down to MSP International and finding where all the Japanese reporters are staked out--because as I type, Nishioka is on a plane heading to Minneapolis! I had heard he wanted to be in the US by early February to avoid any jet-lag at camp, not to mention he probably needs to get the Minneapolis house he and his wife plan to share situated. Hope he brought his long johns.

And a note on TwinsFest--I unfortunately don't have any pictures. Why? Because I didn't go. My Mom and I had two tickets, and we were about to go... but then we realized we were both broke, that the parking was bad, the place sounded absolutely packed, I had a ton of law school work, and it was in freaking Blaine. I've heard mixed reports about how it fared, but I hope those that did go had a good time.


Nishi's here!! ツインズの西岡、米国入り 「早く暖かいフロリダへ」 (per Google Translate, my new BFF):

AP - Minneapolis. Oka Nishi 3-year contract with Major League Baseball - Twins hand Takeshi Utino reviews (26) February 2, arrived in Minneapolis on direct flights from Narita Airport. The impact of cold wave that hit the Midwest, freezing temperatures have frozen negative 18 degrees, "though it is cold, it was expected after that conference when I joined," said bright.

Upon arrival, tired and healed 100 + reviews Oka Nishi is ready for life in the United States and three days of house-hunting. In 5 days he will enter the Twins camp in Florida, "I want to practice in the warm Florida early" and seemed not wait.