Yuki Saito reveals the 15 years he carried the “Prince Handkerchief” on his back and his second life | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Yuki Saito reveals the 15 years he carried the “Prince Handkerchief” on his back and his second life

A video led him to win the Koshien Championship in the summer of 2006, his "biggest regret" in his professional life, and what he wants to accomplish in his second life.

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I get up at 6:30 every morning to work out. I don’t have to worry about the pain in my shoulder anymore, and I can sleep well every day.

<Yuki Saito, 33, retired after pitching against the Orix on October 17, 2009. The story of the “Prince of Handkerchiefs,” which began in the summer of 2006 at Koshien, came to a close with a force out. >The story of the “Prince of the Handkerchief” came to an end with a fore-ball.

I went to see my parents when I was given the chance by the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters to play for another year after completing treatment for my torn right elbow ligament. It was around December of ’20. I said, “If I can’t produce results in the ’21 season, I’ll quit. I told them that I was ready to quit if I couldn’t produce results in the 2009 season, and they encouraged me to do my best to contribute to the Fighters. He didn’t look pathetic, he looked peaceful. I think my father was more grateful than I was that so many people were supporting his son, who was not able to play such an active role. ……

The ligaments in my right elbow were connected and the pain was gone, but the damage to my right shoulder was out of my control.’ In September 2009, I decided to retire and went to see my parents again.

I am retiring. Thank you for all your support.

That’s what I told them as soon as I arrived at the table. My father said, “I’m glad you’ve allowed me to play baseball up to this point,” and my mother said, “Thank you all and do your best until the end. She seemed somewhat relieved.

Life is a series of choices – there are too many to list, but the biggest one was the change of form in the spring of my junior year.

Waseda University participated in the 2006 Spring National Championship, but we lost in the quarterfinals to Yokohama High School (3-13). I was devastated, thinking, ‘If we don’t change, we may go to Koshien in the summer, but we won’t win the championship. While I was searching for something to change, one of my seniors from the Waseda University baseball team came to coach me and gave me a video of Mr. Satake (Katsutoshi, 38, Waseda University → Toyota Motor Corporation) pitching. He bent his legs and threw with a sinking motion, which became the model for my later form.

There were videos of other pitchers, and manager Minoru Izumi (60) advised me to learn the sinker, but it was Mr. Satake’s form that stuck with me.

But it was Mr. Satake’s form that stuck with me. The reason it stuck with me was, “Why do you throw with such a unique form? The answer was, “Because you can throw with your hip joints engaged. I didn’t understand the logic behind it, but when I tried it out in the bullpen, I felt good. With little time left before the summer tournament, changing his form was a gamble.

Even after the qualifying rounds of the tournament began, I was unable to master the new form. In the semifinals of the Koshien tournament (against Kagoshima Kogyo. The score was 5-0 in the semifinals. Until then, the maximum speed of my straight ball was 145 km/h, but I had to swing my arm as hard as I could to get it. But now I can throw 145 km with ease. I was able to throw the ball more than I was swinging. This was a great discovery. Manager Izumi also noticed it while watching me from the bench, and after the Koshien tournament, he said, “That semifinal game was the best game of the three years.

On the other hand, I also asked him about his “failed choices. For example, in the summer of his junior year of high school, when he won the Koshien Championship by pitching against Masahiro Tanaka (33, Rakuten), was it right for him to choose to enter Waseda University instead of submitting his application to become a professional?

Even now, I don’t regret that choice one bit. When I won the Koshien Championship, the thing I lacked the most was confidence. People called me the “Prince of Handkerchiefs,” but at the same time I thought that I was too good for them and that life was not that easy. Even if I had gone on to become a professional right after graduating from high school, I might have been able to win for a year or so. However, I was keenly aware that if I wanted to continue doing so, it would be difficult with my muscle strength and stamina at the time. I needed the four years of college to study and strengthen my body more.

Rather, what I regret the most is the choice I made at the end of the ’12 season. My right shoulder was still tired, and I had an unpleasant sensation of constant muscle pain, but I didn’t stop throwing. That year, in my second year as a professional, I was assigned to be the starting pitcher and I won five games. However, in the second half of the season, I was not in good shape and was not able to contribute to the team. I couldn’t get any results, so I practiced. Even then, I couldn’t get results, so I practiced again, and again.

I lied to my trainer and said, “My shoulder is a little tight, so please relax it. If I had been brave enough to report my injury and take care of my shoulder, I would have gone to ……. However, even if I could make a timely leap and meet the me of that time, the Saito of ’12 would not listen to me. That’s how stubborn or desperate he was.

<Saito’s vision for the future was “to win double digits for years while keeping the rotation in the professional leagues,” but his record as a professional was 15 wins and 26 losses. His batting average was 4.34.

On December 10, he established “Yuki Saito Co. Saito says, “I would like to be able to take some action within a year. Here are some suggestions from this magazine on what he should accomplish in his second life. > Sportscaster

–Sportscasting, including the Olympics.

It’s an option in terms of studying other sports. Some people say they don’t want to appear on the stage after retirement, but I don’t think so. On the contrary, there are places and people you can’t go or meet without the help of TV and other media. I’d like to use that in a good way.

–Variety Talent.

I wonder if I can make a witty comment. ……

–Baseball commentator.

Actually, I had an offer. I had an offer, but I turned it down because I have no experience in professional baseball. No matter what I said, it wouldn’t be convincing. He followed up by saying, “That’s not true,” but it is true! (laughs). (laughs) I need to learn more and be able to explain based on data. There is a saying that a person who thinks about baseball 24 hours a day, in and out of sleep, will make it as a professional, but I think this is just a theory of results. But I think this is just a theory of results. I don’t want some little kid like me to continue pitching even though he feels uncomfortable and lose his baseball career. Maybe there is a key to success in brain science. I would like to collect such hints.

–If I can talk with evidence, I might be able to persuade Yuki Saito in ’12.

Yes, you can! (laughs)

–What do you think of the manager of Waseda University?

There may come a time when I would like to try it, but not at this time.

–Producing a yakiniku restaurant.

Hahaha! I don’t have time for that, and I don’t have any offers.

–Professional golfer.

Ooh. It’s true that some professional baseball players are good at golf, but for me, it’s just a hobby.

–Opened “Tasuku Channel”.

I think it’s a great job, but not at this stage.

<I think it’s a great job, but not at this stage. When an article about Saito appeared on the Internet, it caused a firestorm, with eye-catching abusive language being written. Why doesn’t Saito try to distance himself from baseball? >Why doesn’t Saito distance himself from baseball?

For the past four or five years, Hideki Kuriyama, 60, the former manager, said to me whenever something happened.

Hideki Kuriyama, 60, the former manager, would say to me whenever something happened: “I know you’re going through a tough time right now, but you have a responsibility to show everyone how you work hard and get covered in mud.

He said that. My evil thoughts disappeared.

–It’s been a tough baseball life for you, being burdened with the cross of being the “Prince of Handkerchief.

Everyone says so, but I struggled hard to get results, and it was certainly painful, but I was happy to be able to play baseball, which I love, for such a long time.

In front of the relief of Sadaharu Oh, 81, the chairman of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, who was a senior at Waseda University, my spine straightened up!
With Yu Darvish (35) at the spring camp of his first year as a professional. When he arrived in Fukuoka, 1,200 fans were at the airport!
He established his company to do “what only I can do. I’m going to give back to the baseball world the experience of seeing heaven and hell.
Yuki Saito tells all about “15 years of carrying the ‘Prince Handkerchief’ on my back.
Yuki Saito tells all about the 15 years he carried the “Prince Handkerchief” on his back.
Yuki Saito tells all about “15 Years of Carrying the ‘Prince Handkerchief'”.
  • Photo Hiroyuki Komatsu Photography cooperation The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

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