While the archipelago was abuzz with excitement over the “Kansai Derby” between the Hanshin Tigers and the Orix Orioles, Japanese major leaguers, whose season ended earlier than the rest of the world, were enjoying their time off.
One such player is Seiya Suzuki, 29, of the Chicago Cubs, who, as we all remember, snuck off to watch the Climax Series game between Hiroshima and DeNA at Mazda Stadium on October 14 and 15. An alumnus of the baseball team recalls.
They enter the stadium through the back entrance just before the game starts. He was accompanied by his wife Airi, 29, a former rhythmic gymnastics Olympian from Rio de Janeiro who is now a sportscaster, and their first child, a boy, born last September. When team officials saw Suzuki pushing the stroller while looking around, they were deeply moved and said, “Seiya has become a father, too, hasn’t he?
Behind the bench, there was this exchange.
“Since the Carp batting lineup couldn’t score any runs, the officials and fans who noticed him coming to the game said, ‘Seiya, please come to the game! Seiya was said to have laughed when he heard this.
A TV station noticed that Seiya was watching the game in the VIP seats behind the back net, and they picked him up on camera, and his image quickly spread on social networking sites. There was a hilarious scene in which Carp fans who were watching the game noticed the postings on the Internet and started taking pictures of Seiya with their phones, ignoring the game.
In the second game, former manager Koji Yamamoto (77) threw out the first pitch, but just before the game was about to start, Takahiro Arai (46) urged him to bat and made a surprise appearance. Of course, since he was watching the game privately, he was paid nothing.
Perhaps encouraged by the visit of former mainstay pitcher Seiya, the old team won back-to-back games to advance to the final stage. One would have thought that the evening would be spent enjoying a delicious meal at …… with his former teammates, but “that didn’t seem to be the case,” said a local TV station official.
During their stay, Mr. and Mrs. Suzuki stayed at a foreign-affiliated hotel in the center of Hiroshima City. If you walked around a little bit, you would find familiar restaurants that had served them well during their Carp days lined up in various places. I’m sure she would have liked to visit with her like-minded friends, Mrs. Airi is a person who puts her family first. She spent all hours of the day with her family.
She visited some of her favorite restaurants, but she was accompanied everywhere she went. When a popular Major League Baseball player comes to Japan, he is always welcome at any restaurant, and I am sure he is popular with the ladies. He may have been watching him to make sure he didn’t get off on the wrong foot (laughs).
Some people sympathized with him, saying, “He can’t relax with that,” but his wife is a former popular female athlete and anchor. If her husband’s nightlife were to be reported, it would affect her work, so I can understand why she wants to keep him on his toes. Like Kenta Maeda (35, Minnesota Twins) and his wife, she will continue to take the lead in the future. I feel a little sorry for them, though, because they are athletes in their prime for fun. ……” (local TV station official)
Seiya, who became the first Japanese right-hander in history to hit 20 homers in a season in the majors and has carried the No. 4 position in the Samurai Japan team, is behind his successes thanks to Mrs. Airi’s loving “management” that keeps away all distractions and troubles. –Perhaps this is the reason for his success.
Photo： Kyodo News