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West Coast Monster

Tyler Kepner catches up with Hideki Matsui at Angels camp (sniff):

Matsui is already comfortable in the clubhouse. He played with Abreu and Juan Rivera on the Yankees and has known Torii Hunter since an all-star event in Japan in 2002. Matsui and Hunter have adjoining lockers.

“He’s got a really good sense of humor,” Hunter said. “It’s unbelievable. I’ve been bringing him up in our meetings at 9:30 every morning. It’s like a comedy show. He gets us warmed up, laughing, cracking up, sweating, and we go out on the field happy. He fits right in. He told me, ‘Man, I feel comfortable here.’ ”

And here’s another bit from Kepner:

“You hear about the professionalism, you hear about the talent level, you hear about how he prepares,” Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said. “When you see it first-hand, it just validates everything that’s said about him.”

Scioscia added, “I think when a guy like Derek Jeter says he’s the most professional guy he’s played with in his career, that statement says it all.”

One last piece on Matsui, this one from Robert Whiting, author of the classic baseball book, You Gotta Have Wa.

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1 Jon DeRosa   ~  Mar 3, 2010 9:31 am

Thanks Alex, great finds, especially the Whiting piece. I brought "You Gotta Have Wa" with me on my trip to Japan last summer and at the end I desperately wanted an update from Whiting on how he thought the post-Nomo events had changed the landscape.

2 ms october   ~  Mar 3, 2010 9:37 am

yes, interesting reads alex.
i hope matsui's knees hold up for him to have a good season - just not too good :}

and chyll's score truck with matusi is better than that plane. though he is going to have to update it this year.

3 Sliced Bread   ~  Mar 3, 2010 9:44 am

Good stuff, Alex. Already miss the dude. Would have loved seeing him finish his career as a Yankee. Hope he stays healthy and rakes for the Angels.
As much as I hate to see the Yanks lose to the Angels - if Matsui were to hit a go-ahead shot off Mo, part of me would still want to stand up and cheer for him. I've enjoyed rooting for Mats as much as any player in the last 7 years.

4 Sliced Bread   ~  Mar 3, 2010 9:44 am

[3] no such case in October, of course.

5 ny2ca2dc   ~  Mar 3, 2010 9:48 am

Sniff Sniff indeed. Dug Damon, enjoyed Melky (sometimes), but losing Matsui is really sad. Worst departure since Bernie, from an emotional/nostalgic sense?

6 Sliced Bread   ~  Mar 3, 2010 9:54 am

[2] seriously, who gets the coveted score truck side panel? Granderson? Johnson? They haven't earned it yet. ARod and Jeter are too obvious. Posada, or Robbie would work.

[5] I'd say so.

7 Alex Belth   ~  Mar 3, 2010 10:08 am

Boatzilla, a commenter, left that Whiting link on Monday.

8 a.O   ~  Mar 3, 2010 10:21 am

Tough to watch.

9 Just Fair   ~  Mar 3, 2010 10:25 am

Godspeed, Matsui. I hope he mashes against the league and puts on his groundzilla show for the Yes games. : )

10 Yankster   ~  Mar 3, 2010 11:53 am

Matsui has been my favorite yankee for a while and seeing him go just felt wrong. Unlike even Bernie, Matsui's decline is still speculative. Even if he doesn't do what he did last year, it's not hard to imagine that he could have had an important role on this year's team (incidentally, something I've never really imagined for Damon).

It will be hard not to root for him even though he's on a team that, next to the Mets and RSox, are such traditional nemesis to the Yankees. I hope he wins and the Angels loose.

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